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Turkish Professor Taner Akcam will be delivering a talk titled “Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide” at Columbia University on March 28, at 8 p.m, Armenian Weekly reported.

The lecture will be followed by a signing of Akcam’s newly-published book of the same title. The event will take place at 329 Pupin Hall, 538 West 120th Street (at Broadway), Columbia University.

The program is co-sponsored by the Armenian Center at Columbia University, the Research Institute on Turkey (RIT), the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), and Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights (ISHR).

In the immediate aftermath of the Armenian Genocide, Aram Andonian, an intellectual and survivor, sought out documents to establish the historical record about deportations and massacres. In 1918, Naim Efendi, an Ottoman bureaucrat in Aleppo sold to Andonian a cache of 21 original Ottoman documents, along with his handwritten memoir. The memoir included a total of 52 original documents Naim had copied by hand. In 1921, Andonian published The Memoirs of Naim Bey, illustrated with 14 of the original documents. Some of these documents originated with the Minister of Interior Talat Pasha, the architect of the genocide, and contain direct orders for the killing of Armenians.

A 1983 book, published by the Turkish Historical Society, asserted that these documents were forgeries. The claim was based on three arguments: 1. An Ottoman bureaucrat named Naim Effendi never existed; 2. this non-existent person can’t have written a memoir; 3. the original documents must be fakes as they contain significant mistakes relating to signatures and dates. 

Akcam has uncovered the missing evidence needed to disprove the claims of the Turkish Historical Society. He has established that Naim Bey was an Ottoman official in Aleppo, he has discovered original copies of his memoirs, and he has proven that the documents presented within it are genuine. We now have evidence demonstrating that the Turkish Historical Society distorted the truth: both the memoir, as well as the kill orders of Talat Pasha are authentic.

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