Mikhail Meyer: Germany and France set Turks against Armenians hundred years ago
The conflict, which took place between Armenians and Turks in the mid-1910s, was initially misunderstood; therefore it is misunderstood today by a number of historians and viewed as the so-called Armenian genocide. Meanwhile the situation itself was not determined by the confrontation of the two peoples in the Ottoman Empire, the President of the Institute of Asia and Africa of the Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, Mikhail Meyer, told Vestnik Kavkaza.
The renowned scientist admitted that his position on the events of 1915 in Turkey differs from the position of many politicians, which is why they even threatened to sue him for a violation of the State Duma's decree on recognition of the 'Armenian genocide'. "The 'genocide’ itself should not be determined by the confrontation between the Armenians and the Turks, but by the political situation which had developed by that time, because it was not the Turks who came up with an idea of the war in the Caucasus," Mikhail Meyer noted.
"This idea was suggested by German politicians, who wanted to turn Turkey and Russia against each other and promised the Turks that in case of successful development, you can revive the great Muslim empire - the Caliphate. In fact, it led immediately to a civil war situation, when a majority of the Armenians took the Russian side. The second step made in this regard was when the German command suggested an idea to deport the people from the war zone," the historian said about the role of Germany in the 1915 events.
At the same time, external forces helped Armenians to 'find the enemy' in the face of the Turks. Indeed, for a long time they have been perceived as rather difficult neighbors, because of the mutual claims of the same territories. And the most land, which Armenians lost, was captured by the Kurds, not by the Turks, and now the Turkish-Kurdish conflict is taking place on those lands from which Armenians were expelled," the expert noted.
An Incorrect understanding of the conflict is linked to a too narrow view on it. "It is the struggle of great powers, which, in essence, set the two peoples against each other. Let me remind you that Armenians were allies of both Russia and France. There were two main areas where Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire: the north, on the border with Russia and in the south, where the situation was controlled by the French ships. The Armenians were gathering intelligence and the French were ready to take military actions at any time. Instead, they waited for the end of the war and then entered the southern part of the Armenian settlement in Cilicia," Mikhail Meyer said.
Several 1915 events, which are not normally taken into account even by those who insist on the term ‘genocide’ - the relocation of the Armenian population from Cilicia to Cyprus and their subsequent return to carry out reprisal operations against the Turks was a consequence of the French provocation. "When the war ended, the British decided to invade the south of Turkey, but the British army was preoccupied elsewhere and the occupation was carried out by the French. The French brought the Armenians from Cyprus as a police force. And that was the second stage of the genocide which resulted in the loss by Armenia practically of all its lands in the south of Turkey," the President of the Institute of Asia and Africa of Lomonosov Moscow State University concluded.