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Judgment at Istanbul: The Armenian Genocide Trials

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ISBN-13: 978-0857452511
ISBN-10: 0857452517
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Editorial Reviews


Turkey's bid to join the European Union has lent new urgency to the issue of the Armenian Genocide as differing interpretations of the genocide are proving to be a major reason for the delay of the ratification. This book provides vital background information and is a prime source of legal evidence and eye-witness testimony of the intent and the crime of genocide against the Armenians. After a long and painstaking effort, the authors, one an Armenian, the other a Turk, generally recognized as the foremost experts on the Armenian Genocide, have prepared a new, authoritative translation and detailed analysis of the Takvim-i Vekâyi, the official Ottoman Government record of the Turkish Military Tribunals concerning the crimes committed against the Armenians during World War I. The authors have compiled the first-known English-language documentation of the trial proceedings and situated them within their historical and legal context. These documents show that Wartime Cabinet ministers, Young Turk party leaders, and a number of other parties inculpated in these crimes were court-martialed by the Turkish Military Tribunals in the years immediately following World War I. Most were found guilty and received sentences ranging from prison with hard labor to death. In remarkable contrast to Nuremberg, the Turkish Military Tribunals prosecuted solely on the basis of existing Ottoman domestic penal codes. This substitution of a national for an international criminal court stands in history as a unique initiative of national self-condemnation. This compilation is significantly enhanced by an extensive analysis of the historical origins, political nature and legal implications of the criminal prosecution of the twentieth century's first state-sponsored crime of genocide. For a better understanding of one of key controversies in Genocide Studies, this book is essential for historians, political scientists, sociologists, legal scholars, and policy makers.

About the Author

Vahakn N. Dadrian was director of a large Genocide Study Project sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the H. F. Guggenheim Foundation. The project's first major achievement was the publication of an extensive volume, The History of the Armenian Genocide: Ethnic Conflict from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Caucasus (Berghahn Books 1995), now in its 8th edition. This study was preceded by one published in the Yale Journal of International Law (1989), in which the Armenian Genocide was examined as a major problem of international law. His other major work, Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements in the Turko-Armenian Conflict (Transaction 1999). In 2005, he received four separate awards for his lifetime contribution to genocide studies. Vahakn Dadrian, who taught at the State University of New York (SUNY) system (1970-1991), has been Director of Genocide Research at the Zoryan Institute since 1999. Taner Akcam was born in the province of Ardahan in the northeast of Turkey and became interested in Turkish politics at an early age. As the editor-in-chief of a political journal, he was arrested in 1976 and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. One year later, he escaped and fled to Germany as a political refugee. His books include Dialogue Across an International Divide: Essays Towards a Turkish-Armenian Dialogue (2001), From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide (2004). A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility was published in November 2006 and has since been translated into Dutch, French, Italian, Polish and Spanish. He is the first Turkish scholar to have drawn attention to the historicity of the Armenian Genocide and has been persecuted by the Turkish state for it. In April 2006, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts presented a distinguished award to him for his outstanding work in human rights and fighting genocide denial. Currently, he is Associate Professor of History and the Kaloosdian/Mugar Chair in Armenian Genocide Studies at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857452517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857452511
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,631,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Sebu Tashjian on January 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book - Judgment at Istanbul - written by two renowned and respected scholars Vahaken Dadrian and Taner Akcam, an Armenian and a Turk respectively, is the most accurate and revealing account to date of the court-martial proceedings conducted by the Turkish Government and Courts (1919-1922) against the major conspirators that conceived, designed and perpetrated the Armenian Genocide of 1915, including the masterminds of the Committee of Union & Progress (CUP) leaders Talat, Enver and Cemal. It is mostly based on a vast factual, indisputable and contemporary (1914-1922) sources of information available in Turkish archives.
Any serious student of Genocide, particularly the Armenian Genocide of 1915, should read this book. It provides the reader an understanding of the prevailing legal structure of Turkey immediately after the end of the war; the nature and validity of the evidence brought to the attention of the Courts; the revealing interrogation and confession of the witnesses; the verdicts rendered; the results of the verdicts; and, finally the fate of the prominent fugitive masterminds that were convicted in absentia.
This book is simply an ensemble of the documented historical facts of the time. There is nothing in the book that one can dispute, deny or even wish to revise. It recites the naked facts as they are. It would be a valuable resource to anyone, Armenian or otherwise, reading this book as it will place the Istanbul Trials in perspective. It would be particularly helpful to Turkish scholars to better understand their past under the Ottoman rule. It is a must read book.
I want to thank the authors for their dedication, research and time for publishing this scholarly and important book to help us see the court-martial trials in Turkey concerning the Armenian Genocide in the right context and perspective.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Few people realize that the Turkish Government following world war one held war crime trials against the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide. The evidence was carefully gathered and affirmed, and all testimony was submitted to cross examination. These war crime trials were held simultaneously with those held by the British government occupied Istanbul. Unfortunately, the Turkish trials were abandoned before all the accused could be brought to judgment. With the success of Ataturk's nationalist movement, the trials were abandoned thus allowing the present day Turkish government to deny genocide.
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