JERUSALEM – (The Jerusalem Post) – Lost evidence was recently recovered in a Jerusalem archive that researchers have dubbed as “smoking gun” proof of the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey.
Boxes of evidence have rested in the archives of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem for nearly a century, inaccessible to scholars “for reasons that are not entirely clear.”
In an article titled: “Sherlock Holmes of Armenian Genocide” Uncovers Lost Evidence, the New York Times reported that Taner Akcam, a Turkish historian at Clark University in Worcester, MA, has come upon an original telegram from the military tribunals that initially convicted the Armenian genocide’s planners. This key evidence has long been missing, and the lack of original documents, the Times said, is the foundation of the Turkish narrative of denying the genocide. “Until recently, the smoking gun was missing,” Akcam told the Times. “This is the smoking gun.”
The telegram, in code, is from Behaeddin Shakir, a high ranking Ottoman official, to a colleague, inquiring about specifics regarding the deportation and murder of Armenians in Eastern Anatolia. A copy of this telegram was used in Shakir’s conviction, shortly before almost all the original documents and testimony went missing, forcing scholars to rely on secondary sources for their research on the topic.
According to the Times, Armenian leadership in Istanbul shipped 24 boxes of records to England when Turkish Nationalists were seizing control of the country in 1922. The documents then made their way to France in the care of a bishop and finally to the archive of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, where they’ve remained since the 1930s, inaccessible to scholars “for reasons that are not entirely clear.”
Akcam came upon photographs of the original telegram in New York, the possession of the nephew of a now-dead Armenian monk.