Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Prepare for our Centenary - Vatican Service & Overseas Articles

from the New York Times

"It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the 
shedding of innocent blood. It seems that the human family 
has refused to learn from its mistakes caused by the law of 
terror, so that today , too, there are those who attempt to 
eliminate others with the help of a few, and with the complicit 
silence of others who simply stand by." 

POPE FRANCIS , describing the mass killing of Armenians by 
the Ottoman Turks as the first genocide of the 20th century. 

Click for the full film of the Holy Mass for the 
Faithful of Armenian Rite, The Vatican 12 April 2015 


Satenik Tovmasyan

Canonization of more than 1.5 million victims of the Armenian
Genocide on April 23 will, among other things, mean that from now
on the Armenian Apostolic Church will conduct intercession ceremony
instead of the Martyrs' memorial, Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisian,
chairman of the organizing committee for the canonization ceremony
and Armenian Genocide commemoration events, has told media.

"The annual memorial ceremony will be replaced by commemoration 
order, from now on, we, the generations of the survivors, ourselves 
will ask for their intercession," he said.

After a 400-year break the Armenian Apostolic Church will for the
first time conduct the ceremony of canonization, confirming that the
first saints will be the victims of the massacres that were launched
by Ottoman Turks against Armenians still in the late 19th century
and resulted the annulations of more than 1.5 million Armenians.

Representatives from sister churches will be present at the
canonization ceremony as well.

Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisian also mentioned that an inspection
ceremony will take place on April 22, the day before the canonization,
when relics brought from Deir ez-Zor, a desert in Syria where
many Armenians died on notorious death marches from Turkey, will
be excavated.

The Canonization ceremony is due to finish at 7:15 pm, or 19:15 on
the 24-hour clock, which symbolizes the year 1915 when the massacres
of Armenians began. 

Lessons not learned: The Armenian genocide 
As human beings, we want to believe that we’ve evolved beyond evil. 
7 April 2015 

Adolf Hitler is believed to have stated in 1939, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” Likely unknowingly, Hitler demonstrated an important lesson that remains as relevant today as it was at the time: a failure to confront evil, enables evil. 

Understandably, we don’t like to recognize evil, and never have. It is an uncomfortable, almost “religious” concept that cannot be explained by the rational. 

As human beings, we want to believe that we’ve evolved beyond it, that “evil” is simply a cultural misunderstanding, or a concept which exclusively belongs to a distant past. Yet evil is a part of reality – and a part of human nature that we have seen so clearly time and time again. By not recognizing it, and not standing against it, we allow it to flourish. 

This month marks 100 years since the official commencement of the Armenian Genocide – a dark chapter of human history which sadly we have yet to come to grips with. Despite overwhelming evidence, there are still those who deny that the Armenian Genocide occurred at all. 100 years later, no one has held the Ottomans – and their direct successor, Turkey – accountable for the unconscionable barbaric acts they committed. Shockingly, even countries such as Israel and the United States have yet to recognize this horrific event in human history that nearly eliminated the entire Armenian population. 

Where is the “Never Again” for the Armenian people? We cry out against the horrors of the Holocaust – and we rightly demand reparations. We demand justice for the genocide in Rwanda. We still take steps to repair the appalling treatment of blacks in the United States until far too recently. We protest the mass murders in Darfur – and we prosecute those responsible. We do our best to expose and to stop the sickening acts of Islamic terror committed by Islamic State and similar groups against Muslims, Christians, Jews and other minorities. We’ve established international institutions like the United Nations (partially for the precise purpose of preventing acts genocide from ever occurring again). 

We look back in history and say, “how could we not have known?” And yet, atrocities continue to occur all over the world, and these international bodies remain silent before the tyranny and human oppression in places like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, or Iran. 

Why? Because we do not want to accept that evil exists – and even more so, that many human beings have an affinity for it. Evil is an unpleasant problem to address, as evidenced by the failure, for one hundred years, to recognize the evil of the Armenian Genocide. 

April 24 , 1915 is known as the beginning of the Armenian Genocide – yet just as in the case of the Holocaust, the persecution began before that. No one paid attention when the systematic persecution of Armenians began decades before. Nobody cared about the land seizures, the forced conversions, and the general abuse which was rampant in the Ottoman Empire in the mid 1800s. 

In the 1890s there were brutal pogroms against Armenians. It is estimated that under Sultan Abdul Hamid, 100,000- 300,000 Armenians were murdered. 

Still the world was silent. When 250 Armenian intellectuals were rounded up and killed on April 24 , it was the beginning of one of the most horrific atrocities the world had ever seen. 

Following the implementation of Tehcir Law, Armenians were deported en masse – sent on death marches into the Syrian desert, and denied food and water. Their land and all belongings were confiscated, and if they survived the death march they were sent to concentration camps, or otherwise “disposed of.” Witnesses recorded that nearly 50,000 men, women and children were tossed into the Black Sea and left to drown. 

An estimated 1-1.5 million Armenians were brutally robbed, raped, starved and murdered by the Ottoman Empire between 1914 and 1918 for no other reason other than that they were Armenian. 

Is it too much to ask, 100 years later, for recognition from the world’s major powers? Is it too much to demand that Turkey, which actually outlaws referring to the Armenian Genocide as a genocide, be held accountable for these unconscionable crimes against humanity? This refusal to own up to our mistakes only enables evil to flourish. 

It enabled it in Kristallnacht, and it enables evil to thrive today . One cannot help but wonder: if we had recognized evil when the persecution of Armenians began in the 1800s, would things have been different in 1914 for the Armenians? Would things have been different when we witnessed Kristallnacht? Would things have been different when American Jews were screaming at the top of their lungs at the mass-murder of Europe’s Jewry in the 1940s? Would things have been different when more than 20 million were killed under Stalin, or when an estimated 45 million were killed by Mao Zedong’s “great leap forward” in China? When 800,000 were murdered in Rwanda, or when tens of thousands were killed in Darfur? When millions are still being murdered and tortured and starved to death in North Korea? We cannot stamp out evil for good. 

But we can stand up for what is morally right; whether it concern the past or the future. Though we may not want to believe in this day and age that any person or government is capable of such egregious crimes, we must always remember that evil is a very real threat – more than we can imagine. 

After all, who would have thought that enlightened German society, and pinnacle of liberal European culture, would end up murdering nearly 11 million people? As Judea Pearl – the UCLA Professor and father of the late Daniel Pearl – has emphatically stated, “We Westerners fail to understand that half of mankind today is aroused by cruelty.” 

In order to stop this cruelty, in order to make it right, we must first recognize it for what it is: evil. We must recognize the Armenian Genocide and hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes against humanity. 

Never Again, for Armenians too. 

The author is a freelance writer and the social media director for an 

Israeli non-profit organization. 

April 9 2015
Author: Mustafa Akyol
Posted April 9, 2015

In 1915, the Ottoman state, in the midst of World War I, took the
fateful decision of deporting all Armenians in Anatolia to eastern
Syria. An entire people was forced to migrate over night, and many of
them, perhaps a million people, perished on the road due to starvation,
disease and massacres by locals. There is no doubt this enormous
tragedy deserves remembrance and empathy today -- and we Turks must be
much more considerate about it than we have been over the past century.

The proper term to use in defining the fate of Ottoman Armenians has
been a matter of controversy. Armenians themselves and many others
in the West use the G word: genocide. Most Turks, in return, only
use the much more innocent term "tehcir," or deportation. Personally,
I take a middle ground and opt for the term, "ethnic cleansing." (The
difference between ethnic cleansing and genocide is that the former is
about cleansing a geographical area from a group of people, whereas the
latter is about the very extermination of that people. As a comparison,
note that the Ottoman government only pushed Armenians out of Anatolia,
whereas the Nazis searched for Jews everywhere in order to exterminate
them one by one.)

A perhaps more important question, however, is why did this catastrophe
happen? In the West, sometimes religion is perceived to be the
underlying problem, as "Muslim Turks" are pitted against "Christian
Armenians." Yet this perception disregards the very fact that, before
1915, the same Muslim Turks and Christian Armenians co-existed for
centuries under the banner of the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire was a multi-ethnic and multi-religious entity,
where faith communities constituted "nations." Muslims were the
"ruling nation," whereas Christians and Jews were "protected" nations,
in line with the status Islamic law gives to "the People of Book."

That is why Armenians, like Greeks or Jews, lived and flourished
in the Ottoman Empire for centuries with some autonomy and certain
rights. They were not allowed to become soldiers or public servants,
which were jobs reserved only for Muslims, hence they excelled
in artisanship. (No wonder some of the most beautiful mosques and
palaces in Istanbul were built by Armenian architects from the famous
Balyan family.) Moreover, in the Reform Era of the mid-19th century,
the Ottoman state gave all non-Muslims the status of equal citizenship.

That is why in final decades of the empire, Armenians began to take
public jobs, becoming ambassadors, ministers or parliamentarians.

Yet in the same 19th century, the road to disaster began to unfold,
in a seemingly unrelated place: the Balkans. The French Revolution
had ushered in an era of nationalism, which gradually influenced
Ottoman-ruled Christian peoples of the Balkans, such as Serbs, Greeks
and Bulgarians. Rebellions by these peoples led to nation-states,
which often resorted to ethic cleansing, whose victims were often
Muslims. A similar tragedy hit the Muslims of Crimea and Caucasus as
well, who were persecuted by the Russian advance. Historian Justin
McCarthy estimates that some 5 million Ottoman Muslims have perished
during the decline and shrinking of the empire over two centuries --
all due to various waves of ethic cleansing.

The impact of this drama was to lead the Turks, who tried to hold the
empire together, to finally develop their own nationalism, culminating
in the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) that dominated the Ottoman
state's final decade. When they entered the Great War in October 1914,
the CUP leaders faced the Russian onslaught from the east, and they
found that Armenian nationalists had established paramilitary units
to support the enemy. This formed the basis for the catastrophic CUP
decision to expel all Armenians in Eastern Turkey to Syria. It was
an inexcusable verdict -- but it happened out of the fear that the
Balkan nightmares would be repeated this time in Anatolia, the last
stronghold of the Turks.

In other words, the ethnic cleansing of Ottoman Armenians took place
not because of the Ottoman system. Rather, it occurred because of
the fall of the Ottoman system. Christian Armenians, who lived with
Muslim Turks for centuries, were driven out not because of religion,
but a modern ideology: nationalism.

It is therefore not an accident that some Islamic sentiments and
views of the era fell at odds with the nationalist motives behind
the deportation and murder of Armenians. In a famous incident, in
Bogazliyan, a district of the central Anatolian province of Yozgat,
the mufti of the town, Abdullahzade Mehmet Efendi, protested the
governor of the town who willingly executed the deportation orders
from the capital. Later the mufti testified in the Ottoman military
tribunal trial of 1919, stating, "I fear the wrath of God."

In the neighboring province of Cankiri, some elders accompanied by
their mufti put a request to the governing in May 1915, saying: "The
Armenians and their children from the neighboring vilayets [provinces]
are being driven like cattle to the mountain for slaughter. We do not
want these type of things to occur in our vilayets. We are afraid of
the wrath of God."

A more scholarly Islamic objection had come from Egypt's Al-Azhar
University in 1909, when Grand Sheikh Salim al-Bishri condemned the
massacre of Armenians in Adana, in a drama that preceded the bloodshed
in 1915. His fatwa, or religious opinion, read:

"We have seen in local newspapers agonizing news and vile reports
about Muslims of some Anatolian provinces of the Ottoman Empire
attacking Christians and killing them brutally. We could not believe
these reports and hoped that they were false, because Islam forbids
aggression, oppression, bloodshed and harming human beings -- Muslims,
Christians and Jews alike."

The Egyptian sheikh then reminded the "protection" Jews and Christians
deserve under Islamic law:

"Oh Muslims living in that region and elsewhere, beware of actions
prohibited by God in His Sharia [Islamic law] and spare the blood
that God prohibited to spill and do not transgress on anyone since
God does not like aggressors. Your duty toward those who are allied
with you, who entrusted their safety to you and who reside among you
and next to you from Ahlul Dhimma [Jewish and Christian minorities
protected under Islam], as imposed by God, is to uplift them as you
would uplift yourselves, prevent them from what you prevent yourselves
and your kinsfolk, make your strength their strength, make pride and
prosperity out of your strength, and protect their monasteries and
churches the way you protect your mosques and temples."

Of course, history is never clear-cut, and many of the Turks (and
Kurds) who engaged in the massacres against Armenians acted with
hatred against (or fear of) "the infidels," reflecting their Islamic
identities. Still, the distinction between the religion-as-identity,
taking the form of a nationalism, and religion as a set of values,
is important.

It is practically important, too, because if Turkish society will
develop a more emphatic view of the ethnic cleansing of Armenians,
this will happen not due to any foreign pressure, which actually
only backfires, but rather due to some honest self-criticism based
on authentic values. A wise reading of Islam presents such values,
and no wonder in the past few years some notable Islamist pundits in
the Turkish media expressed remorse and sympathy for the Armenians
by Islamic arguments. In my view, these arguments -- and not any
imposing statement from Washington or any other Western capital --
presents the key for a much-needed grand reconciliation between us
Turks and our good old neighbors, the Armenians. 

The conflict around the ‘G word’
April 11 , 2015

According to E! online magazine, reality star Kim Kardashian along with her husband, Kanye West, and other family members are on a journey to Armenia to mark the 100th anniversary of the “Armenian genocide” in Yerevan. During the trip, a film crew will accompany them to shoot several episodes of the reality series, “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”

Kardashian announced that she will be visiting the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in the capital, Yerevan, but will not attend any official commemoration. Since her late father, Robert Kardashian, was a third-generation Armenian-American, she has for years -- and on several occasions publicly -- supported the international recognition of the Armenian genocide, and now, for the first time, is visiting Armenia. But Kim Kardashian is not the only one paying extra attention to the issue this year.

Given that relations between Turkey and the US have not been going well recently, many people believe this might be the year when US President Barack Obama uses the “G word.” Forty-nine US lawmakers have already sent a letter urging President Obama to recognize the “Armenian genocide.” They claim this move would somehow help improve relations between Turkey and Armenia. As you might remember, during the 2008 presidential race President Obama promised to recognize “the mass killing of Armenians” as “genocide” and Armenian-Americans are more hopeful that this year he will keep his promise.

The term “genocide” was first coined and defined by Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin in 1943 to describe the massacre of ethnic Armenians by the Ottoman authorities in what is now Turkey. Armenians claim that during World War I, 1.5 million Armenians were either killed or died during forced exile in an intentional effort to completely destroy the Armenian minority in Eastern Turkey. Nonetheless, despite Turkey accepting that there were mass killings and forced deportations, as a state it has argued that “genocide” is not an appropriate term. Turkey has instead continued lobbying against the recognition of the 1915 events as genocide, arguing that the acts were a result of war and that the number has been inflated.

I have just finished a book by Turkey's Armenian journalist Hayko Bağdat entitled “The snail” (Salyangoz), and realized once more how difficult it has been for the Armenian minority to be “the other” in Turkey for centuries and that exile is only a small part of that ongoing inequity. Recognition of this mass killing with a proper term could be a strong starting point to heal the wounds in the hearts of Armenians. Yet Ankara is not even close to expressing any form of regret for what took place in history after all this time.

Ironically, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I would be held on April 24 . Choosing the same date that Armenians around the world annually observe as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day is absurd. Even pro-government Turkish-Armenian author and columnist Etyen Mahçupyan, who currently serves as a top adviser to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, accused President Erdoğan of not being “chic” over the decision and claimed that Erdoğan acted unethically to gain nationalist votes during the June 7 election.

So far, 22 countries have formally recognized the historical event as “genocide.” In addition, 43 American states have accepted its status as such. Nonetheless, apparently, when it comes to the US, it seems it is very important to Turkey if Obama uses the “G word.” Several high-level Turkish officials have visited Washington since January to convince the US not to. Nowadays, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is expected to visit Washington just before Obama's statement for the same reason. The freshly established Turkish Institute for Progress, a new Turkish-American lobby group that aims to bring about reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia, has neglected to label the 1915 killings.

Instead of efforts at this time of year to lobby in the US not to use the “G word,” offering different solutions and creating a new commemoration day is the answer. There is profound grief over the issue and 100 years is long enough for the denial stage. It is time to face it and find common ground to solve the conflict and heal deep wounds.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
April 9 2015
William Armstrong

'Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide'
by Thomas de Waal (Oxford University Press, 312 pages, $29.95)

In his annual address on the subject every April 24, U.S. President
Barack Obama has taken to referring to 1915 as the "Meds Yeghern,"
which is Armenian for "Great Catastrophe." This linguistic sleight
of hand artfully sidesteps the word "genocide," and gives the name
to this book by Thomas de Waal, a Senior Associate at the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace. The choice of title is deliberate,
as excavating in detail what happened in 1915 is not de Waal's main
aim. Rather, his focus is on tracing the fraught relations between
Armenians and Turks in the century since.

He knows that he is stepping onto a minefield. As the late Turkish
Armenian journalist Hrant Dink wrote in 2004, "Turks and Armenians and
the way they see each other constitute two clinical cases: Armenians
with their trauma, Turks with their paranoia." Such is the subject
matter, de Waal is guaranteed to annoy some people on either side,
but his book is sensitively judged - conversant in all the arguments,
sympathetic to all perspectives, and full of interviews. It includes
plenty of interest to both specialists and non-specialists.

Those non-specialists might assume that relations between Turks and
Armenians have been stubbornly unchanging since 1915 - like two rutting
stags locking horns and refusing to budge for 100 years. But as de
Waal makes clear throughout the book, the dispute has in fact gone
through a series of phases and there were many surprising episodes
on the road to the current impasse.

Public debate in the decades immediately after 1915 was relatively
subdued. "The Armenian question fell into a kind of historical abyss,"
de Waal writes. The quotation ascribed to Hitler, "Who now remembers
the Armenians?" is almost certainly apocryphal, but it does indicate
the international amnesia over the issue from the 1920s to the 1950s.

At the time, Armenians in the diaspora were more preoccupied with the
enormous "fratricidal feud" over the Soviet Union and the status of
Soviet Armenia than they were with Turkey.

De Waal provides a fascinating account of this abeyance period,
including the years immediately after the First World War, when
Armenians and Azerbaijanis continued to fight in the already ravaged
bloodlands of the South Caucasus. This grim period of mutual atrocities
is under-examined elsewhere, but it was another arena of the bloody
violence and ethnic cleansing that characterized everywhere from
Trieste to Baku from 1912 to 1922, leaving behind homogenous or
majority-dominated national entities. Also fascinating is the book's
section on the 1945 discussions between Stalin and Armenian diaspora
and church leaders, in which they planned to redraw the borders and
seize Turkey's eastern provinces for Soviet Armenia. This maneuvering
is today barely remembered, but it heralded Ankara's paranoia over
the issue of territorial reparations in the decades since, paralyzing
attempts at rapprochement.

While private grief for family members lost in 1915 has been constant,
it was not until the second half of the 20th century that the Armenian
genocide became a major international public issue. In de Waal's
account, the major watershed came in 1965 with its 50th anniversary,
marked by commemorations across the world on April 24 - from Tehran
to Marseilles, from Buenos Aires to Beirut. After the bicentenary,
the Armenian question revived as a political topic. "Younger Armenians
were awakened," de Waal writes, "They were more distant from events
and less confident of their Armenian identity - and perhaps for that
very reason they wanted to close the gap between themselves and their
grandparents." 1915 became a mobilizing, unifying force, a "mark of
collective identity" for an otherwise divided community. In the words
of anthropologist Amy Bakalian, the issue became "a common denominator"
for Armenians everywhere: "An equalizer of all differences between
Armenians: national, religious, ideological, political, socioeconomic,
generational, and so on ... The Genocide [became] an ideology."

On the extreme end of this reawakening, a terror campaign was carried
out from 1975 to 1988 by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of
Armenia (ASALA) against Turkish targets. Forty-six Turkish diplomats
and their family members were killed in capitals around the world,
defining the bitter parameters of the issue throughout the late
Cold War years. The campaign was purportedly aimed at forcing the
Turks to pay reparations, cede territory in Eastern Anatolia, and
recognize the genocide. Unsurprisingly it had the opposite effect. The
Turkish Foreign Ministry was put in a state of siege and the killings
rekindled Ankara's "Sèvres syndrome" - the perception that the country
was under a concerted siege by foreign powers.

Up went the Turkish defenses, and as Armenian zeal to get states
across the world to formally recognize the genocide accelerated,
so did Turkish efforts to deny it. Ever since the final years of the
Ottoman Empire, the Armenian issue and "imperialist designs" have been
associated in the official Turkish narrative, with "the Great Powers
eager to use the Armenians' suffering to pursue their own imperial
interests." Today, Ankara has determined that if the word "genocide"
is used, it would eventually threaten the very existence of the Turkish
state. As Ankara University President Dr. Tarik Somer told a symposium
in 1984: "The motive is to wear down the Turkish Republic; it is to
help the external enemies of Turkey to achieve their purposes." Such
paranoia is not helped by the fact that Armenia itself has repeatedly
made official noises that it still covets Turkey's eastern provinces -
a fact that is slightly underemphasized by de Waal.

In recent years Ankara and Yerevan have taken steps forward and
backward. The official centenary commemoration scheduled for April 24
has been accompanied as usual by intense lobbying on both sides in
Washington and other capitals. The diplomatic impasse looks likely
to continue, but as de Waal suggests toward the end of his book,
the most hopeful developments are the academic and civil society
steps in recent years to forge links across the divide. Ultimately,
these civil initiatives may change the long term situation and create
pressure on the two states to move forward. In the short term, emotions
on both sides will be running higher than ever on April 24 this year. 

todayszaman com
April 11 , 2015, Saturday
Let us be informed, remember and respect

The writing of history can be essentially the writing of a fiction, the result of carefully choosing and editing from countless events over the years.

But, of course, turning out a history that swells our chests with pride winds up creating a fake impression of the past. Not only is it misleading but it can also lead to great disappointment when one dreams of a future based upon a past that never actually existed.

The whole idea of “New Ottomanism” is precisely in this category. It's apparently difficult for some to accept that certain things, no longer fitting with the times, have had to withdraw from the stage. And so, some begin to dream of reforming this past based on its strongest form. According to this dream, once it's been recreated, all the former peoples of the Ottomans will once again gather under its flag. The dimensions of this sort of self-deception become clear when one looks at the Middle East of today .

April 24 is drawing closer. That date marks the symbolic start of events the Armenians refer to as “genocide” and which we tend to call “forced relocations” or “reciprocal massacres.” They are going to attack, and we are going to defend ourselves. But which dates are we going to use in our references? The ones they have written, or ours? Or will we perhaps finally find a more objective history we can all use?

The third option seems very unlikely, since there has been a purposeful erasure of this topic from society's memory. Which is why most of us are not able to complete the whole subject of World War I in either our minds or our spirits. Quite a few countries in the world believe what the Armenians have to say on this topic. Our government, seeing the trouble it will inevitably face on this matter, has abandoned its former “It wasn't us massacring them, but they us” thesis, instead clinging to the newer “fair and just memory” thesis that both sides experienced pain and loss.

Here is the new scenario: The Ottoman Empire, which had many Armenian citizens, was the target of an imperialist attack. While the empire was busy fighting for its life in Çanakkale, in the east, the Armenians had fallen under the influence of the Russians and were in the midst of an uprising. And so it was, responding to an essential defensive reflex, that “what had to be done was done.” And so, let us celebrate the victory at Çanakkale, which came only through so much loss, as an opportunity to commemorate and recognize all the pain all sides experienced.

The Armenians have already declared that they view this date-flipping maneuver as not only inappropriate but immoral. First of all, the Allied attack on the Çanakkale Strait began in February 1915 ; on March 18 , 1915, after they had experienced some great losses, the Allies pulled back. As for the land attacks, they came to an end on Jan. 9, 1916. None of these dates has any link whatsoever to April 24 .

There are two other important topics that we have overlooked, in the midst of all the comfort lent by forgetting and willful ignorance. The first is the role played by the German fleet and military personnel in the defense of Çanakkale. And the other is the role played by non-Muslim soldiers who fought to defend their land.

During World War I, there were around 35,000 German officers, NCOs and privates shouldering duties on various Ottoman fronts. Among the officers, there were top figures such as generals and admirals.

Overseeing the fifth unit of the military in the defense of Çanakkale as its commander was Gen. Otto Liman von Sanders. And in the Gulf of Saros, the commander of the first unit, Gen. Colmar von der Goltz, protected the forces under him. It was Adm. Guido von Usedom who was responsible for the defense of both the Çanakkale and İstanbul straits. Similarly, Vice Adm. Johannes Merten was on duty in Çanakkale, while in İstanbul, Marine Brig. Friedrich von Kühlwetter was at the helm. The heads or commanders of quite a few units at that time were German.

On the Çanakkale Front, fighting next to Muslim soldiers were also Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Assyrians and Chaldeans. Of those who lost their lives fighting at Çanakkale, 558 were non-Muslim citizens of the Ottoman state. They shared the same fates as their Muslim counterparts. Let us recall this, and show respect. May they all rest in peace. 

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