The TDSB (Toronto District School Board) made a decision to teach about the Armenian Genocide in a genocide class. There is a Genocide class introduced to the curriculum for 11th graders in Canada which will teach about the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and Rwanda (For some reason, they find the Cambodian genocide and Darfur as less important). While the Canadian executive leadership has accepted the genocide, there is still some doubt in the position of the Canadian government on the issue; especially considering, that it was a political move to please Armenian-Canadians.


Canada is a multi-cultural country where one-sided point of views should not be part of an education system, instead facts in history, math, English, and science needs to be taught:
Canada Map

Information about the Meeting

The TDSB created a Program Committee Deputations in opposition and in favor of the course CHG38M (Genocide: Historical and Contemporary Implications). The video of it is located here, which you can compare and analyze yourself without prejudice:
CTC Council of Turkish Canadians

While the Turkish side was granted 2 speakers and a 10 minute speech, the pro-Armenian Genocide side was granted 4 speeches, with 5 speakers (2 of them shared a 5 minute time slot), the result was 20 minutes for the pro-course speakers. The unfairness of the meeting was expressed to the TDSB.

Summary of the Debate

Lale Eskicioglu and Prof. Dr. Ozay Mehmet, spoke for the Turkish side, which they mentioned how unfair the Armenian module of the genocide class is for Turks, and Turkish children. They also prove that there is a significant controversy on the issue and that historians are also not in agreement with the label of genocide. Lale Eskicioglu brought with her many books and documents which show that the genocide label is in question and presented it to the board. She also discussed the book that the course is based on for what is the Armenian genocide section; she tells us that the writer is not even a historian and is not an expert in Ottoman history but child psychiatrist. Dr. Ozay Mehmet provides important reasons and questions about the issue and why the genocide course should remove the Armenian Genocide module.

Leo Adler, Aris Babikian, Prof. Frank Chalk, David Warner, and MP Jim Karygiannis, represented the Armenian side to the issue. Leo Adler came up first, and discussed his past and his parents' suffering in the Jewish Holocaust, he is apparently a criminal lawyer, and feels that the legal term of genocide fits the Armenian definition of the events of the Ottoman Empire's last days. It seems more like Leo Adler wants to teach people about the Holocaust, and doesn't really care too much about the Armenian Genocide except for the fact that he has heard it to be true. Aris Babikian, introduced and established Frank Chalk's credibility, and talked about a petition where 2000 people supposedly signed approving the course.

Frank Chalk, a historian on many genocides, not specifically an Ottoman expert, but believes that the genocide was committed by the Ottomans, and feels that the Turks have nothing to be angry about. Chalk, talks about books, projects, and meetings where he says Turks and Armenians agree on the issue, what he fails to mention is the only Turks that does agree on the issue with Armenians is Taner Akcam, a known propagandist with a grudge against the Turkish government, since he escaped a Turkish prison in the late 70s and sought asylum abroad where he got his history degree from the Zoryan Institute (An Armenian institute). Chalk also mentions about the Armenian massacres perpetrated by Armenian rebels, but clarifies that it was "revenge", provoked, and justified.

A question is then asked to professor Frank Chalk by a Trustee, and thus he is given even more time to clarify the UN's definition of genocide and how the Armenian massacres fit into this description. Frank Chalk however, doesn't mention any proof or citation on the intent of the Ottoman government to exterminate Armenians, but simply says they had the intention.

MP Jim Karygiannis starts out with the mention that the Ottoman government was guilty of genocide in "1915, 17, 19" which is wrong because there were no Armenian massacres in 1919. He then begins to talk about Hitler, and as he does so, mentions to the committee "please tell the audience members to allow me to talk" in regards to a very inaudible noise that comes probably from someone mumbling or grumbling behind him in reaction to his mention of Hitler, it was nothing significant but was blown out of proportion in order to create the atmosphere that the Turks would not allow him to speak. Jim mentions Hitler because he says before he invaded Poland, he mentions that "Who today remembers the Armenians?", which is a quote that has been proven many times by even Jewish and German historians to be unverifiable as a "second speech" of Hitler that day, when Hitler never gave a second speech that day (he was trying to establish a parallel between the fact that Ottomans getting away with a supposed genocide of Armenians, and thus encouraged Hitler to perpetrate the holocaust against the Jews; what propaganda and absurdity).

Finally, MP Jim Karygiannis reveals his true colors by mentioning the Pontian genocide (an even worse work of propaganda by extremist Greeks who believe a genocide was committed by the Ottomans against Greeks in Asia Minor) and simply claims that it has been "written and proven" and says "this is straight facts" (apparently, a point of view is a fact; genocide is a legal term describing a crime by its intention to exterminate a certain people, it isn't a fact. With the Holocaust the intent is proven by the German documents, as with many proven genocides, the Armenian Genocide's motivation and intention by the government remains unproven).

Jim mentions "you cannot take away the fact that members of my family were killed in Asia minor", this is a fact, but it is proof of massacres or an isolated crime or murder, it is not proof of genocide or intention of a government. He mentions "You cannot take away the fact that there was an exchange of population between Greece and Turkey", which is true, but such exchanges occurred in wars, not sure how this proves genocide.

Then he says "You cannot take away the fact that in 1922, there was a burning of Smyrna" (The Turkish city of Izmir, which the Turks liberated from the Greeks in 1922; but apparently according to Jim, Turks burned down their own liberated city; this guy truly doesn't know history). He says "thousands, thousands of people were thrown into the sea", what he fails to say is that these people, were Greek soldiers who used boats to escape the Turkish liberation of Izmir, because they feared retaliatory massacres since they had massacred Turks in the region. Then he continues onward with other propaganda statements about how Rwanda wouldn't have happened if Turks hadn't denied the Armenian genocide (absurdity), and how he cries every time he watches the movie Ararat (About the Armenian Genocide).

Then Jim continues his rant about Turks, but always ending his statements with the words "together we can move forward", another propaganda technique to end statements in a positive note right after ranting with negative and inaccurate statements. He finishes with "saying that it didn't happen, trying to cover it up, that's a lie" and mentions that the UN cannot judge the history of the Armenian genocide, because it is made to discuss events after 1948, and thus explains away why the UN hasn't judged the Armenian massacres as genocide and then makes the parallel of the Turks as "ostriches" who stick their heads in sand to not hear the truth.

Then David Warner takes the microphone, and talks about his amazement at how people can still debate the "reality of the Armenian Genocide" when there has supposedly been 90 years of mountains of evidence of its reality; except Warner fails to mention any of these specific works of evidence, what he probably is referring to is the mountains of books written by Armenian nationalists and Armenian historians who all have a nationalistic agenda to seek recognition of the genocide. David Warner then says that the Ottomans were not punished for their crimes, and if they had been then maybe there wouldn't be a "half a dozen genocides in the 20th century". The funny part about that is, he actually uses this as an argument, considering, no genocide is related to one another, it's not like perpetrators of genocide are reading the history of other genocides and concluding "Hey, thats a great idea, I can do it as well!".

The sad part is that he fails to mention that the Ottoman Young Turk government were tried in the Malta Tribunals and stayed there in prison for 4 years, and were later released because the British found no evidence of genocide against Armenians. Armenians wash away this fact by concluding that either "the masterminds of the genocide escaped the prison island of Malta" or some claim that "these prisoners were exchanged for British prisoners of War with the Ottoman Empire, and thus the trial wasn't concluded". The first one sounds silly, because that's like saying if Hitler was captured he might have escaped from a prison island; how would perpetrators of a horrible crime like genocide, somehow escape a prison specifically running to hold them for crimes against humanity? (Maybe they watched too many Prison break movies or shows). The second one is a bit more reasonable sounding, until of course someone reads the history of the Ottoman Empire and realizes that the British occupation is already INSIDE Istanbul (Capital of the Ottoman Empire) during these trials and if needed can hold a gun to the Sultan's head to force him to give up the British "prisoners of war"; the fact is, there were no prisoner exchanges between the Ottomans and British, because the British had already captured the government of the Ottomans.

David Warner continues with information about how the Boards stance is great and that the coming generations should be taught about genocide, which no one is arguing about. The argument lies in the Armenian module, which many historians believe to be an incorrect label. He continues to talk about the 2000-signed petition and mentions a prominent Canadian's name as a signer.

Warner talks about how people should question why genocide happens and how they can stop it in the future. If genocide is such an important issue that Westerners actually care so much about, why is it that the genocide in Rwanda wasn't stopped? Why is it that the genocide in Darfur is continuing and no European nation takes the matter into their own hands and invades Sudan to stop the genocide if they care so much for the innocent? Such issues as genocide need to be debated amongst politicians and governments to stop genocides, children being educated about genocide is an important factor, but it should also be taught that people can also claim something is a genocide when it's not putting needless blame and finger-pointing on other ethnicities and in the Armenian's case it is a tool of igniting prejudice and racism towards Turks, and when Armenians are blamed for certain atrocities they committed the immediate response is "you're in denial" or "that was self-defense after 1915" even though the Armenian Revolutionary committee was established in 1890.

David Warner continues with his blame of the Turkish government for denying the historical truth of the Armenian Genocide. Warner says that even Turkish scholars agree to the genocide label, he's referring to Taner Akcam and Orhan Pamuk, a sociologist who escaped from a Turkish prison and got his history degree from an Armenian institute, and an insane fiction writer that mentioned the Armenian Genocide in order to win awards, fame, and money. He says that the Turks simply deny the facts and never provide proof, but this is so wrong on so many levels.

The Turks provide countless amounts of proof in form of documents, the opening of the Ottoman-Turkish Archives, and photographs about the events, proving that there was no intent of genocide, but rather an intent to protect the Armenian minority while figuring out a way to deal with the Armenian rebellions and punish the Armenian rebels who are causing the massacres of Muslims. Most massacres were carried out by Kurdish tribes and extremist Muslims where growing tension occurred between Armenians seeking independence and Muslims seeking revenge for Armenian massacres or uprisings. Yet Armenia keeps its archives locked even from its own Armenian Genocide scholars. The proof that Armenians point to is testimony by Europeans and Americans who have heard reports from missionaries but have never actually been on-location, yet this is still only proof of massacres and not of genocidal intent of the central government.


The TDSB now concludes the committee with their own remarks that they will reach a decision in the future.

Armenian Lobby's Press Release

Armenian's released to the press many articles about how "....Turkish Ultranationalists Try to Silence Prominent Canadians.", even though there were no Turkish ultranationalists only Canadian citizens of Turkish descent who might have mumbled one or two statements during the speech of the nationalist Greek-Canadian citizen Jim Karygiannis, who made a lot of baseless claims and false quotations. Watch the video, and you'll see there was no significant interruption, and were usually inaudible and the speakers were allowed to speak. In fact, the reality is that the Turks were silenced because the Armenians were given the last words, and they were given 5 speakers for about 30 minutes while the Turks only had 2 speakers for 10 minutes. Such disproportion of course is always justified by these biased people because Turks are the supposed Muslim perpetrators and Armenians are the supposed Christian victims.

Armenian Lobby's press release also mentioned "...The Turkish Government's propaganda machine tried to...", yet we didn't see any officials from the Turkish government speaking at the meeting, simply Canadian Turks expressing their views on an issue they find unfair and prejudice to them. And of course they fail to mention the Armenian propaganda machine that has spun the issue with propaganda webs for the past 50 years so that any objection to the Armenian Genocide argument is immediately labeled as "denialism" or "distortion". Censorship is key to the Armenian propagandists, and they believe that they can present the Turks as a minority view that is motivated by the Turkish government and that the Armenians are angel Christian victims that were a minority in the Ottoman Empire and were oppressed and crushed; all of which is false and driven by Armenian nationalism.

Dr. Guenter Lewy's letter about the debate of the Armenian Genocide

A letter was sent to the TDSB by historian and Ottoman expert Dr. Guenter Lewy, as a response to the recent controversy:

Guenter Lewy wrote:
To Dave Rowan, Associate Director
Nadine Segal, Superintendent
Toronto District School Board

Dear Madam/Sir:

I write to you as the author of several well-known books on the role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and the fate of the Gypsies and American Indians. My study of the mass killing of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey, published by the University of Utah Press in 2005 as The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide, began as part of a comparative study of genocide. The fact that I left Nazi Germany as a Jewish boy of fifteen is probably one of the reasons why I have been drawn to the study of genocide, a phenomenon of modern times that unfortunately is not limited to the Holocaust.

I commend the Toronto District School Board for its decision to organize a course on "Genocide: Historical and Contemporary Implications, " however it is my considered judgment that the inclusion of the tragic fate of the Armenian community during World War I is a mistake.

According to the Genocide Convention of 1948, intent is a necessary condition of genocide, and most other definitions of this crime of crimes similarly insist upon the centrality of malicious intent. Hence the crucial question in this controversy is not the huge loss of life in and by itself but rather whether the Young Turk regime intentionally sought the deaths that we know to have occurred. Both sides agree that several hundred thousand men, women and children were forced from their homes, and during a harrowing trek over mountains and through deserts uncounted multitudes died of starvation and disease or were murdered. To the victims it makes no difference whether they met their death as a result of a carefully planned scheme of annihilation, in consequence of a panicky reaction to a misjudged threat, or for any other reason. It does make a difference for the accuracy of the historical record, not to mention the future of Turkish-Armenian relations.

Armenians and their supporters concede the absence of Turkish documentary evidence to prove the responsibility of the Ottoman government for the massacres, but cite the reports of foreign diplomats and missionaries on the scene. Given the large number of deaths and the observed complicity of local officials in the murders, it is not surprising that not a few of these witnesses concluded that the high death toll was an intended outcome of the deportation process. Still, well-informed as many foreign observers were about the events unfolding before their eyes, their insight into the mindset and the real intentions of the government in Istanbul was necessarily limited. Indeed, to this day the inner workings of the Young Turk regime, and especially the role of the triumvirate of Enver, Talaat, and Djemal, are understood only very inadequately.

Many Turks, too, misread the historical record. Quasi-official historians speak of "so-called massacres" or blame the deaths on starvation and disease that are said to have afflicted a far larger numbers of Turks. And yet there exists an important difference between deaths lost as a result of natural causes such as famine and epidemics, blows of fortune that afflicted Muslims and Christians alike, and deaths due to deliberate killing. It is undeniable that thousands of Armenians died at the hands of their corrupt escorts and the Kurdish tribesmen who occupied their route southward to Ottoman Syria.

I spent many months studying this sad episode in the archives of the German Foreign Ministry, the Public Record Office in London , and the National Archives in Washington , and I immersed myself in the published recollections of survivors and other eye-witnesses. It was and remains my conclusion that the relocation of the Armenian community of Anatolia to the interior of the Ottoman Empire involved a badly mismanaged war-time security measure, aimed at denying support to Armenian guerilla bands and to remove the Armenians from the war zones. This relocation took place at a time of serious military setbacks for the Ottoman regime while well-armed Armenian guerillas were cutting roads and lines of communication in the rear of the Turkish army. Henry Morgenthau, the American ambassador in Constantinople , reported to Washington on May 25, 1915 that nobody put the Armenian guerillas "at less than 10,000, and 25,000 is probably closer to the truth." After World War I had ended, Boghos Nubar, the head of the Armenian delegation, proudly told the Paris Peace Conference that his people had played a crucial role in the war and that the Turks had devastated the Armenians "in retaliation for our unflagging devotion to the cause of the Allies." Hence callous and brutal as was the expulsion policy of the Ottoman government, it can hardly be called unprovoked.

Many aspects of the relocation process contradict the idea of a premeditated program of extermination and hence genocide:
The large Armenian communities of Constantinople , Smyrna and Aleppo were not relocated and survived the war largely intact. These exemptions are analogous to Hitler failing to include the Jews of Berlin, Cologne and Munich in the Final Solution.

The relocation experienced much variation that depended on geography and the attitude of local officials. In many places Protestant and Catholic Armenians as well as needed artisans were exempted. The same goes for the large number of Armenians who often were allowed, or even forced, to convert. In the absence of a large Kurdish population, no massacres took place in Cilicia , and a substantial part of the exiles sent to Southern Syria and Palestine survived.

While some respected historians call these events the first genocide of the twentieth century, other historians, including distinguished scholars of Ottoman history such as Bernard Lewis, Roderic Davison, and Andrew Mango, while not questioning the horrible events that transpired, have raised doubts about the appropriateness of the genocide label for the occurrences of 1915/16. It is thus simply wrong to assert that the Armenian genocide is an "incontestable historical fact."

Since we are dealing here with a genuine historical controversy, in my view the Armenian massacres do not belong in a high school teaching unit on genocide. Apart from the Holocaust, the 20th century provides other well-established instances of genocide, and it therefore should not be difficult to substitute another calamity such as, for example, the Cambodian genocide. If you do decide to reaffirm the inclusion of the Armenian massacres as a case of genocide, the unit, at the very least, should include references to the many scholarly works that challenge the genocide thesis.

Very sincerely yours,

Guenter Lewy
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
University of Massachusetts/ Amherst

The response from many neutral observers and Turks are applaud to Guenter Lewy, but Armenian propagandists called the letter a "work of propaganda", which is a very baseless claim. Dr. Guenter Lewy presented a very neutral response to the issue, and clarified the facts and questions around the issue and concluded why such a controversy should be taught in schools in such a one-sided manner. Any honest person knows that this view is very valid and should be respected.