Dr. Bahattin Şakir, the head of the Special Organization tasked with carrying out the genocide, wrote on March 3, 1915, that the Committee of Union and Progress “has decided to free the homeland from the inordinate ambitions of this accursed nation….[and] to annihilate all of Armenians living within Turkey, not to allow a single one to remain.” Until now, Şakir’s letter has not been considered authentic and has been ignored by researchers.
Based on recently uncovered archival sources and documents, Dr. Akçam will shed light on the role played by provincial governors in pressing upon the central government to adopt an empire-wide policy of extermination. The first decision to exterminate Armenians was taken on December 1, 1914 in Erzurum.
Join Taner Akçam as he demonstrates, for the first time in a public forum, the letter’s authenticity, revisits the timing of the final decision, and examines their significance in deconstructing Turkey’s denialist façade.