01.04.2006 21:46 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Germany initiated deportation of Armenians in
Ottoman Turkey in WWI, specialist on Turkic peoples, Director of
the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University
Professor Mikhail Mayer stated in an interview with a PanARMENIAN.Net
reporter. In his words, it was done to divert Entente's attention
from the Western front, where Germany was being defeated.

"The situation in 1915 did not favor the Armenian population in
eastern vilayets of Turkey. On the one hand - Kurds and Circassians,
who forced Armenians away from villages, on the other - the policy
of the Young Turkish Government, which encouraged the banishment
and accused Armenians in pro-Russian orientation. All this resulted
in mass deportation and annihilation of half of the population of
Western Armenia," Mayer said. At that he remarked that "if Young
Turks had desired, to fully exterminate the Armenian nation, they
would not have left a single Armenian in Istanbul, Izmir and other
cities of Western Anatolia." "However, Armenians remained there,
except the intelligentsia, which was killed," Mayer said.

"Judging from archive documents, accusations of Armenians in
pro-Russian orientation are, to put it mildly, exaggerated. Most of the
Armenian population lived in villages and was rather law-abiding. There
was no much participation of Armenian retinues as part of the Russian
army at the Caucasian front - according to my calculations there were
some 3 thousand Armenians. This is not a figure that can account for
Rusofilia," Mayer said.

Nevertheless, Professor Mayer agrees that the events in 1915 were
Armenian Genocide. "There was no term "genocide" in early 20th century,
however it was genocide undoubtedly. The matter lies not in figures,
but in the fact itself. If you remember, in 1919 a trial started in
Istanbul against the Young Turkish Government that was organized by
the Entente.

Accusations in deporting and exterminating a whole nation were
voiced there for the first time. However, secondary functionaries,
mere executors were punished," Mikhail Mayer underscored.