Projects and Studies
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This project is an expanding archival project which presents key primary documents on the 1915 destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The project currently focuses on United States records because:
(a) the United States was a neutral power for most of World War I (until April 1917). Consequently many of its nationals were in Ottoman Turkey in 1915, and they witnessed and recorded the treatment of Armenians;
(b) starting in October 1915, the United States government played a critical role in releasing information about the plight of Armenians. The United States had an ongoing humanitarian interest in the Armenian issue;
(c) the records released by the United States government informed the world about the plight of Armenians and provided the documentary basis for the 1916 British Parliamentary Blue Book, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-16, the first systematic thesis on the Armenian Genocide;
(d) today the official Turkish thesis on the Armenian Genocide denies the integrity, if not the existence, of United States records on the genocide of Armenians, as well as the integrity of the 1916 Blue Book. Consequently, the present documentary collection has great significance to current debates about the Armenian Genocide.
The Gomidas Institute (London) is working with Teatr Zar (Grotowski Institute, Wroslaw), a leading theatre group, which is developing a special performance related to the memory of the Armenian Genocide. The performance, "Armine, Sister" has been highly acclaimed in Poland - where it has been presented with a series of complimentary lectures, exhibitions and concerts - and it now enjoys the support of the Polish Ministry of Culture. The first performance of "Armine, Sister" outside Poland will take place at the Battersea Arts Centre in London on October 3rd and it will continue for two weeks.
Remembering the Armenians of Bitlis - Bitlis Ermenileri
This was an exhibition the Gomidas Institute put together as part of a Building Bridges Initiative in June 2013. It aimed at directly engaging Turkish civil society activists and beginning meaningful relations with them regarding Armenian issues. The response from Bitlis was positive and received support in diaspora-Armenian circles, including the Armenians Studies Programme (CSU Fresno). The project is now well underway.
This project was a proposal to Turkish historians to focus on a single case study of the Armenian Genocide. The proposal was made by the Gomidas Institute and applauded by large sections of the Turkish press. Although the head of the Turkish Historical Society, Yusuf Halaçoğlu, agreed to work on such a project when asked by Turkish journalists, he soon pulled out, stating that the relevant Ottoman records that were supposed to exist in Turkish archives today did not actually exist. This was a bizarre statement that brought the proposed project to an end. The veteran Turkish journalist Mehmet Ali Birand stated that Halaçoğlu had scored an own goal.