The National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) will present a lecture by Prof. Taner Akçam entitled “When Was the Decision to Annihilate the Armenians Taken?” on Thursday, February 20, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., in Batmasian Hall on the third floor of the new NAASR Vartan Gregorian Building, 395 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA. A reception will follow in the Shahinian Solarium, The Armenian Weekly reports.
In this presentation of recent research, Dr. Akçam argues that documents from the Ottoman archives in Istanbul indicate that the first decision to exterminate Armenians was made on December 1, 1914, well before most scholars have thought. Another document, a letter by Bahaettin Şakir, one of the main architects of the Armenian Genocide, written on March 3, 1915, says that the Central Committee of Union and Progress had decided to exterminate the Armenians, giving the government wide authority to implement this plan. Doubt has been the case on the authenticity of this letter, and most researchers have ignored it.
Drawing on these newly available Ottoman documents, Akçam presents the case that we must reconsider the question of the decision(s) for the extermination of Armenians and will attempt to shed new light on the decision-making process, its chronology and the role of governors in its implementation.
Taner Akçam is the Robert Aram and Marianne Kaloosdian and Stephen and Marian Mugar Chairholder in Armenian Genocide Studies at Clark University. His book publications include A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire, and Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide.