Turkey’s defense chief said on Thursday that 1915 incidents had a special significance for him because of his doctoral dissertation and his academic studies.

Hulusi Akar wrote, “Armenian Question and Harbord Report” for the RealClearDefense website where issues related to strategy and safety were discussed.

Reminding readers that he penned a dissertation, “Harbord Military Mission to Armenia,” he said American Gen. James Guthrie Harbord was an outstanding soldier who played an important role in conflicts the US was involved in, from the Mexican Revolution to World War I, and took an active role in forming modern diplomatic relation between his country and Turkey as well as the Middle East.

Akar stressed that Harbord’s report cleared uncertainties on the Armenian question.

“Consisting of 1,603 pages, the report cleared the curtain of mysteries and propaganda, and presented his intellectual honesty and objectivity in his approach to the relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian subjects during warfare,” he said.

He added that Harbord confirmed that Turks and Armenians lived in peace for years, quoting Harbord’s expressions which pointed out that the two nations lived on the same land together in peace for five centuries, which indicated mutual solidarity and reciprocal relations.

Turkish stance on 1915 events

Turkey’s position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as “genocide,” describing them as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to tackle the issue.

*Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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