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26.06.2019: Academic Workshop: The Thirty-Year Genocide? A Reappraisal of Turkey’s Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894–1924

Lepsiushaus Potsdam / University of Potsdam
Große Weinmeisterstr. 45
14469 Potsdam

The workshop discusses the recently published book “The Thirty-Year Genocide. Turkey’s Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894–1924” by Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi.
In this comprehensive study, the authors come to a reappraisal of the tremendous massacres perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire, followed in one timeline by the Turkish Republic, against their Christian minorities.

Between 1894 and 1924, three waves of violence swept across Anatolia, targeting the region’s Christian minorities, who had previously accounted for 20 percent of the population. By 1924, the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks had been reduced to 2 percent. Most historians have treated these waves as distinct, isolated events, and successive Turkish governments presented them as an unfortunate sequence of accidents. The Thirty-Year Genocide is the first account to show that the three were part of a single, continuing, and intentional effort to wipe out Anatolia’s Christian population.

The years in question, the most violent in the recent history of the region, began during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II, continued under the Young Turks, and ended during the first years of the Turkish Republic founded by Ataturk. Yet despite the dramatic swing from the Islamizing autocracy of the sultan to the secularizing republicanism of the post–World War I period, the nation’s annihilationist policies were remarkably constant, with continual recourse to premeditated mass killing, homicidal deportation, forced conversion, mass rape, and brutal abduction. And one thing more – according to the authors – was a constant: the rallying cry of jihad. While not justified under the teachings of Islam, the killing of two million Christians was brought about through the calculated exhortation of the Turks to create a pure Muslim nation.

After a presentation of the most important theses of the book, outstanding experts in the field of Ottoman and Turkish history as well as Genocide Studies will present their views on these theses in short lectures and discuss them together.


9:00–9:30 am


Rolf Hosfeld, Lepsiushaus Potsdam

Introductory remarks

Christin Pschichholz, Lepsiushaus Potsdam, University of Potsdam

9:30–10:15 am

The Thirty-Year Genocide. Turkey's Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894-1924

Benny Morris, Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Dror Ze’evi, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Moderation: Olaf Glöckner, Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum

10:15–10:30 am

Coffee break


Comment, followed by an open discussion

Hans-Lukas Kieser, University of Newcastle (Australia)

Comment, followed by an open discussion

Hervé Georgelin, University of Athens

12:00–13:00 pm



Comment, followed by an open discussion

Hilmar Kaiser, General Santos City/Yerevan State University

Comment, followed by an open discussion

Edhem Eldem, Collège de France

14:30–14:45 pm

Coffee break

14:45–16:00 pm

Comment, followed by an open discussion

Mark Levene, University of Southampton

Closing remarks

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