Sunday 27 October 2013

"A stitch-up"

I hope he doesn't mind, but I think it's worthwhile re-posting a comment from historian Ara Sarafian, which was posted on The Ottomans: The Armenian Genocide thread. It seems to confirm the sense I had that the BBC Two series The Ottomans: Europe's Muslim Emperors was engaged in something of a whitewash of the Armenian Genocide.

His contribution to the programme was, indeed, remarkably brief and he was, as I wrote at the time, "talked over by Rageh's commentary saying that Turkey dismisses such accounts [those contained in the British Parliamentary Blue Book] as 'war-time propaganda'":
I agreed to give an interview for a BBC documentary regarding the Ottoman Empire and World War I. The focus of the interview was the British Parliamentary Blue Book, "The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire," which was published in 1916.
Prior to our interview, I corresponded with the BBC production team. I pointed out the strength of the various accounts that underpinned the British report, how such material was used to construct the Armenian Genocide thesis, and how this thesis can be critically evaluated today. 
When I met the film crew, they had already shot their interviews in Turkey and chose not to discuss any of their previous material with me. All of the questions in our interview were provided by the producer and restricted to the Blue Book. There was no exchange of views regarding the Armenian Genocide and its denial by Turkey today.
The final cut of the film was a stitch-up.
* Ara Sarafian is a historian specialising on the late Ottoman Empire. He is the editor of the critical edition of the British Parliamentary Blue Book "The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915-16... [uncensored edition]" and "Talaat Pasha's Report on the Armenian Genocide." For more information please contact 
We'd like to thank Ara Sarafian for his comment.

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