Armenian History and the Question of Genocide

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9780230110595: Armenian History and the Question of Genocide

An analysis of the Turkish position regarding the Armenian claims of genocide during World War I and the continuing debate over this issue, the author offers an equal examination of each side's historical position. The book asks "what is genocide?" and illustrates that although this is a useful concept to describe such evil events as the Jewish Holocaust in World War II and Rwanda in the 1990s, the term has also been overused, misused, and therefore trivialized by many different groups seeking to demonize their antagonists and win sympathetic approbation for them. The author includes the Armenians in this category because, although as many as 600,000 of them died during World War I, it was neither a premeditated policy perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government nor an event unilaterally implemented without cause. Of course, in no way does this excuse the horrible excesses committed by the Turks.

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About the Author:

MICHAEL GUNTER Professor of Political Science at Tennessee Tech, USA.


"Michael M. Gunter presents a scholarly and very readable presentation of the Turkish and the Armenian positions regarding the Armenian claims of genocide during World War I and the continuing debate over this issue. Without denying the great Armenian tragedy, the author illustrates that although "genocide" can be a useful concept, the term has also been overused, misused, and therefore trivialized by many different groups including the Armenians seeking to demonize their antagonists and win sympathetic approbation for themselves. This book is particularly timely given the recent "soccer diplomacy" between Turkey and Armenia and Turkey's growing importance in international political and economic relations." - M. Hakan Yavuz, Professor of Political Science, The University of Utah

"This book fairly and dispassionately presents and elucidates the Turkish position on what Armenians call the first genocide of the twentieth century. I recommend it as a useful addition to the literature on this controversial and acrimoniously debated subject." - Guenter Lewy, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and author of The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide

"Professor Gunter has written a superb book that fills an important gap in our understanding of the forces which have shaped the contemporary debate over the alleged Armenian Genocide of 1915. His elegant linkage of the past with the politics of the present gives the book great currency and relevance. Of particular note is Gunter's comprehensive exposition of the evolution of the indispensable and 'hypermobilized' Armenian lobby. It is an indispensible read for anyone seeking to understand these events." - Dr. Edward J. Erickson, Associate Professor of Military History, Marine Corps Command & Staff College, Quantico, Virginia

"In Armenian History and the Question of Genocide, Michael M. Gunter brings a historian's touch to separate fact from fiction and myth from reality and to examine one of the most contentious subjects in twentieth century history. Against the backdrop of Armenian genocide claims and Turkish denials, Gunter has written the most incisive and balanced account of the episode, shedding light not only on events almost century ago, but also on how and why the issue continues to resonate in international relations today" - Michael Rubin, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute

"With this book, Michael Gunter seeks to open up debate on one of the most volatile issues in modern Middle Eastern history, the 'Armenian Question'. Professor Gunter follows the trail from its appearance on the diplomatic agenda in the late 19th century to the assassination of Turkish diplomats in the late 20th and efforts presently being made by both the Turkish and Armenian republics to overcome their differences. For the wounds of the past to be healed, and for dialogue to succeed, he believes, all ethno-religious communities bearing the legacy of this brutal period of history must acknowledge the wicked deeds committed by their forefathers. Turks and Armenians committed to different versions of history that are equally blighted by propagandawill undoubtedly find fault with Professor Gunter's account Scholars are also bound to disagree with some of the points he makes but on such a sensitive issue this is virtually unavoidable. Overwhelmingly, though, above and beyond partisan or scholarly considerations, what Professor Gunter's narrative shows is that the 'Armenian question' is far more complex than many will have been led to believe. Herein lies the value of this book, although, read in the right quarters, it might also contribute to the rapprochement between two peoples - Armenians and Turks - driven apart by events that occurred before almost anyone alive today was born." - Jeremy Salt, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey and author of The Unmaking of the Middle East: A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands

'This is a book about understanding the historical forces, the dynamics, and the partisan constituencies that have shaped contemporary debate and discourse.' Middle East Journal

'In Akbarzadeh's compilation, the United States' strategic relationships in the Middle East are evaluated in light of recent events, from the beginning of Obama's presidency to the revolutions which characterized the 2011 Arab Spring. The articles bring together a wide range of scholars who write about subjects as diverse as the challenges confronting the Obama Administration in Afghanistan, the risk of the US losing its moral appeal in Central Asia, and the decisions the US must make in supporting Egypt's transition to democracy.' Middle East Journal

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