Chapter 5 - Statistics Of Turkey's Democide: Estimates, Calculations, And Sources
The infamy of executing this century's first full scale ethnic cleansing belongs to Turkey's Young Turk government during World War I. In their highest councils Turkish leaders decided to exterminate every Armenian in the country, whether a front-line soldier or pregnant woman, famous professor or high bishop, important businessman or ardent patriot. All 2,000,000 of them.
Democide had preceded the Young Turk's rule and with their collapse at the end of World War I, the successor Nationalist government carried out its own democide against the Greeks and remaining or returning Armenians. From 1900 to 1923, various Turkish regimes killed from 3,500,000 to over 4,300,000 Armenians, Greeks, Nestorians, and other Christians.
This wholly genocidal killing is difficult to unravel. During this period Turkey fought five wars, forcefully changed governments several times, endured major revolutionary changes, and was occupied by foreign powers. Suffering deportations, famine, exposure, war, genocide, and massacres, millions of Turkish Moslems, Armenians, Greeks, and other Christians died.
Moreover, current Turkish governments utterly reject any claim that Turkey committed genocide, and scholars specializing in the study of Turkey must avoid the topic or follow the Turkish official line if they hope to do research in the country. This line is that the government had to deport the Armenians from the eastern war zone because of, or for fear of, their rebellion. Many died in the process regardless of Turkish attempts to protect and care for them; others died in communal strife or in a civil war between Armenians and Moslems.1 On the other side, Armenian scholars may have exaggerated the size of the Armenian population in Turkey, the number killed, and Turkish brutality and genocidal intentions.
Then there are the third-party reports, commentaries, and studies, published during World War I. Since Turkey fought on the side of Germany, it was in the interest of the French and British, who during the war years widely disseminated anti-German propaganda, to put the worst face on events in Turkey. Moreover, Armenians themselves may have falsified high level Turkish documents and reports on the killing in order to win sympathy and support for restoration, reparations, or the independence of Armenia.
Nevertheless, I do not doubt that this genocide occurred. Extant communications from a variety of ambassadors and other officials, including those of Italy, the then neutral United States, and Turkey's closest ally Germany, verify and detail a genocide in process. Moreover, contemporary newsmen and correspondents documented aspects of the genocide. Then, two trials were held. One by the post-war government that replaced the Young Turks, which gathered available documentation and other evidence on the genocide and found the leaders guilty.2 The second trial was of the Armenian who assassinated the former Young Turk leader Talaat in Munich in 1920.3 Although the Germans were still friendly toward the Young Turks they had supported during the war, the evidence on the genocide presented at the trial convinced the court that the assassination was justified. Finally, Turkish government telegrams and minutes of meetings held by government leaders establish as well their intent to destroy all the Armenians in Turkey. In my related Death By Government4 I have quoted selections from this vast collection of documents and need not repeat them here.5 The sheer weight of all this material in English alone, in some ways as diverse and authoritative as that on the Holocaust, is such that the invalidity or falsification of some of it can hardly effect the overall conclusion that a genocide took place.
The problem, then, is somehow to cut through the exaggerations and propaganda to make some reasonable estimates of the number of Armenians and others killed. Tables 5.1A and 5.1B organizes this attempt, along with the relevant estimates from the literature, their sources, and my calculations and checks. Note that throughout the tables I use the specific term genocide where appropriate, rather than the more general democide. Here, the people were murdered simply because they were Christians, Armenians, Greeks, or Moslems.
I divide the tables into four major periods. The first covers the last years of Sultan Abdul Hamid's rule, 1900 to April 1909 (lines 1 to 4 of Table 5.1A). Then there is the Young Turk rule before World War I (lines 5 to 72--the six-month period when the Young Turks were out of power is irrelevant here and ignored) and that during the war (lines 74 to 274). The final major division comprehends the post-WWI interregnum (lines 276 to 436) until the internationally accepted establishment of a sovereign and independent Turkey (Treaty of Lausanne). In the following two sections I summarize the results for genocide (lines 438 to 488 of Table 5.1B) and total dead 1900 to 1923 (lines 490 to 504), and then present estimates for refugees (lines 508 to 539) and populations (lines 540 to 632). Finally, I calculate the overall genocide rate (lines 634 to 641).
Possibly two massacres took place during the first period, but there is no evidence in the sources that these were democidal (lines 2 to 3 of Table 5.1A).
Turning to the first years of the Young Turk period, first I list the three wars that Turkey fought (lines 7 to 26--one was started while the Young Turks were out of government). Although the sources record the military dead for these wars, they usually ignore the civilian war-dead. I assumed a total low of 20,000 civilian war-dead (line 30) for the three wars, but the sources are not adequate to estimate a mid-value or high. This low added to military war-dead (line 31) gives at least 84,000 overall dead in these wars.
As to the 1909 massacres of Armenians in the Cilicia region, particularly Adana, there are a variety of estimates shown in the table (lines 35 to 61). Most notable is that these massacres occurred when the Young Turks had just overthrown the government and even pro-Armenian sources differ as to their complicity in the massacres. I therefore treat these as nondemocidal, and consolidate them into a likely 30,000 killed (line 64).
Hints in the sources suggest that some genocide did occur elsewhere and subsequently. Turk authorities apparently did kill Armenians and Greeks in pogroms and expulsions from their villages, at least in 1913 (lines 67 to 68). Lacking more information, I can only give a conservative low estimate of 5,000 killed in genocide for the whole period.
The table recapitulates the various totals for this period (lines 71 to 71b) and sums them (line 72). Overall, some 109,000 to 152,000 people died, the vast majority in wars.
Considering next the World War I period, and the resulting war-dead (lines 76 to 90), a problem is separating from the estimates those for civilian war-dead, versus those including massacres and genocide. I could include confidently only one estimate for war-dead (line 86). When this is added to the probable 400,000 consolidated battle-dead (line 83), we find that some 650,000 Turkish soldiers and civilians died from the war (line 90).
Of greatest importance are the estimates of the Young Turk's genocide during the war. In the table I organize these into several categories. The first gives and consolidates those of the number deported (lines 93 to 102), and then also does this for the estimates of their toll (lines 104 to 121). I calculate an alternative total (on line 122) from the estimated percentages of those killed during deportation (notes on lines 105, 116, and 118) and the consolidated number deported (line 102). From these two alternative ranges (lines 121 and 122) I determine a total (line 123) in the usual way.
Next I list the estimates of Armenians that the Turks killed (lines 125 to 146). These I classified by soldier or civilian and by place killed and then consolidate or sum them (lines 131, 138, and 147), and total them overall (line 148).
Finally, the table presents the many estimates of the overall genocide's toll during 1915 to 1918 (lines 151 to 186). These I order from the lowest to the highest figures. As can be seen, they vary from a low of 300,000 (lines 151 to 152) to a high of 2,000,000 (line 163), which anchor the consolidated range (line 187). Consistent with the estimates 1,000,000 dead (see lines 157, 160, 164 to 178) appears the most prudent mid-value.
Next I independently check this consolidation against the sum (line 188) of those Armenians murdered during the deportations (line 123) and otherwise (line 148). As can be seen, the alternative totals (lines 187 and 188) are divergent, the mid-value alone being off by 808,000 dead. To compensate for this, I give the final genocide range (line 189) the lowest low and highest high of the two and average their mid-values. Thus, given all these estimates, the Turks murdered most likely 300,000 to 2,686,000 Armenians, probably 1,404,000 of them. A critical question is then whether this is consistent with the Armenian population, itself a contentious estimate. This I will later consider.
Not only did the Turks murder Armenians, but Greeks as well. Estimates of this are far fewer (lines 201 to 203), but we do have assessments of those deported (lines 193 to 197) from which to calculate the possible toll (line 198). The actual percentages from which I make this calculation reflect the relevant historical bits and pieces in the sources.6 Combining this calculation and the sum of the estimates (line 204) suggest a likely genocide of 84,000 Greeks.
Sometimes the sources would refer to Christians killed (lines 207 to 207b), which most likely included Armenians or Greeks, but could also refer to the relatively small number of Turkey's Nestorians, Bulgarians, or Cossacks. These are totaled separately (line 208).
During the war the British navy blockaded Turkey, including the Turkish Levant. No food was allowed in by sea. The resulting famine in Lebanon and Syria (with consequences shown on lines 208a to 208d) would not have become as deadly as it did had not the Turks commandeered available food supplies and refused to help the starving. As a result they bear the greater responsibility for the famine, which I calculate as probably around 75 percent of the total dead (line 208i).
The Young Turks did not confine their democide to Turkey. When they invaded Caucasia, their soldiers massacred Armenians and other Christians and also encouraged Kurds and Azerbaijanis to do so. Overall, Turks possibly killed (lines 212 to 220) 10,000 Christians, most of them probably Armenians--there were very few Greeks in Caucasia. (It is difficult to keep this number in perspective when other figures are in the tens and hundreds of thousands; but imagine the contemporary enraged and horrified outcry were the highest American, British, or French authorities to be responsible for the murder of 10,000 Moslem citizens--the responsible government would fall or be impeached.) For this genocide the table also lists some specific estimates (lines 224 to 227). These I consolidated (line 228) and then add (line 229) an assumed 4/5ths of the Christian dead determined above. The table then sums the two ranges (lines 228 and 229) to get the genocide (line 232).
As noted, the Turks also massacred Nestorian Christians, for which there are also a few estimates (lines 235 to 238). From my assumption that 1/5th of the Christian dead previously determined (line 218) were Nestorians, I calculate a final genocide (line 241).
Only one estimate of Moslem Azerbaijanis killed is available (line 244).
I now can calculate the overall foreign genocide (line 249), which probably ranges from 105,000 to 157,000 killed, most likely 131,000.
Turkey's Armenians also massacred Moslems. Claims that this may have amounted to at least 1,000,000, or even 1,500,000 Moslem dead (table 5.1A, lines 106b and 106e) however, have no substantiation beyond former Young Turks or their officials. Had the Armenians indeed massacred even half this number, the Young Turks surely would have given it wide publicity, photographs and all. They had no better way to counter sympathy for the Armenians they were killing. In any case foreign newsmen and diplomats in the country surely would have noted the massacres. Moreover, the Turkish statistician Ahmed Emin, who was hardly sympathetic to the Armenians, gave (table 5.1A, lines 105 and 106f) an upper limit of 40,000 Moslem Turks killed by Armenians (including possibly by Armenian-Russian troops) in the area occupied by Russian forces after the Russian Revolution in 1917, and at least 128,000 for the 1914-1915 period.7 Given the other estimates and the overall populations involved, I estimate that from 128,000 to 600,000 Moslem Turks and Kurds were killed. Since this was done by Armenian irregulars serving with Russian forces, I split responsibility for these deaths in Turkey between the Russians and Armenians, and show in Table 5.1A (line 255) the Armenian half--probably 75,000 murdered.
Many Moslem Turks also died from famine and disease during the war (lines 258 to 262). Most estimates mix up the toll from these causes with the number killed from combat. To compensate for this, I first consolidate the estimates (line 263) and then subtract the war-dead previously determined (line 264) to get an overall famine and disease range (line 265).
Finally, I can bring together these various totals (lines 268 to 271). Domestically and during their foreign military actions and occupations, the Young Turks probably murdered at least 743,000 and perhaps as many as 3,204,000 people, probably 1,883,000 Armenians, Greeks, Nestorians, and other Christians (line 273). Altogether, likely 3,947,000 died or were killed during the war (line 274). When I add this to the toll I will determine below for the next period, we will be able to test the overall total against the population deficit and unnatural death).
The next division in the table covers the interregnum period after WWI. Turkish Nationalist forces fought three wars during this time (lines 279 to 303). Estimates for the Greco-Turkish war give two ways of determining war-dead (lines 302 and 303), from which I select a final war-dead range in the usual way.
There is one incredibly low estimate of the overall war and massacre dead for this period (line 307) and a reasonable one for the Muslim male war-dead from 1914 to this period's end (line 308). From the latter I subtract the WWI war-dead to get an estimate of the post-WWI war-dead (line 310). Since it largely excludes female dead, this is a conservative result. Nonetheless, as can be seen by comparing this to the war-dead sum for the three wars (lines 311), the mid-value and high are significantly greater than the sum. Departing from the usual approach because of the incredible low of zero (on line 310--this implies that less than 500 were killed), I take the low of line 311 for the low (line 312), the high of line 310 for the high, and average the two mid-values.
Following this I list the estimates, consolidations, and sums for the Nationalist genocide of Christians (lines 315 to 329), Armenians (lines 334 to 359), and Greeks (lines 366 to 375). Regarding the Christian genocide, one estimate (line 322) of those killed in Izmir could refer to the former city of Smyrna, or to the Izmir peninsula next to Smyrna. I cannot determine which is meant (the estimate is only cited in Gross8 and his source is in Armenian), and I thus conservatively assumed that it largely duplicates those already given for Smyrna. Virtually all the total domestic Christian democide (line 329) took place in the Aydin Administrative District, of which Smyrna was a part. Since almost all the Christians in this area were either Greeks or Armenians, and in 1914 Greeks made up 94 percent of the total of the two,9 we then can assume that the Armenians were 6 percent (line 330) and Greeks 94 percent (line 331) of the Christian toll. I later employ the resulting ranges (lines 353 and 373) to determine the total number of these two groups that the Turks killed.
For the Armenian toll (lines 334 to 359) I include the refugee deaths (lines 358 to 359). Armenia, which became temporarily independent during this period, and adjacent areas contained hundreds of thousands who had fled the Young Turk genocide. Within a few years they also had to flee before the genocidal massacres of invading Nationalist forces and their Kurdish-Azerbaijani tribal allies. These refugees died from famine, disease, and exposure--deaths surely the responsibility of the Nationalists. The sources give one estimate of these deaths (line 358), and based on this and the estimates of the number of refugees I consolidate elsewhere in the table (lines 509 to 522), I estimate the range of deaths shown (line 359). To display the effect of these assumed refugee deaths on the Armenian genocide total, I sum the deaths for non-refugees (line 362) and then list one estimate of the overall number of returning deportees killed in Turkey (line 362a), which understandably is much lower than the non-refugee sum. Note, however, that it is the same as the low for those killed in Turkish Armenia (line 350). Adding the lowest of line 362a and 350 to the low for refugee deaths (line 359) gives us the low for the Armenian genocide (line 363), and summing all the estimates, including refugees, gives us the mid-value and high. Most likely then, in total during this period the Turks killed from 325,000 to 545,000, most probably 440,000 of their Armenians--these along with those murdered during WWI.
In the table I next list partial estimates (lines 367 to 374) for the genocide of the Greek. There is one calculation of Turkey's Anatolian (Asia Minor) Greek population deficit during 1912 to 1922, taking into account emigration and deportation from Turkey (line 378). Subtracting from this the WWI Greek genocide I calculated from previous totals (line 379), I get the range of post-WWI losses shown (line 380). This then provides an alternative to the sum of the specific mortality estimates (line 381). From these alternative ranges I calculated a final Greek genocide for this period in the usual way (line 382). Most probably, the Nationalists Turks murdered 264,000 Greeks; 703,000 Greeks and Armenians together in the post-WWI years (line 385).
Nationalist forces also committed similar genocide during their invasion of Armenia, particularly in Kars and Alexandropol (lines 389 to 398). Many Armenians also died during flight to escape the massacres and tribal Kurdish and Azerbaijanis allies (lines 405 to 408). One source provides the overall Armenian toll in Caucasia from 1914 to 1922 (line 412), which gives us a total for this period (line 414) when we subtract those killed during WWI (line 413). There is one estimate we can compare to this result (line 415), which we find within its range. I also repeat the result (line 418) so that we may compare it to an alternative total (line 419) that I summed from the previous consolidations. The two ranges differ enough for me to calculate a final genocide toll (line 420) as for previous such cases.
The Greek Army before and during the Greco-Turkish War massacred Moslem Turks or permitted such to take place by Greek villagers. I show some specific estimates of the democide in the table (lines 424 to 427). From these and material in the sources, particularly Housepian10 and Toynbee11, I believe a minimum number of killed is 15,000 (line 428).
Finally, I pull together the various totals (lines 431 to 434). In this post-WWI period the Turks killed overall probably 878,000 Armenians and Greeks, or at least 665,000 and even perhaps as many as 1,156,000 in total (line 435). Including war-dead, 1,031,000 Turkish citizens or those under Turkey's rule or fleeing from it died during these years (line 436).
The table's next section in Table 5.1B sums up the various sub-totals and compares them to overall estimates in the sources and demographic calculations. The first of these concerns the Armenian domestic genocide (lines 441 to 449). I consolidate these (line 450) and compare the result to one population based calculation of the Anatolian Armenian dead (line 451--relatively few lived in European Turkey) 1912 to 1922. Clearly this is way below that of the various estimates. Moreover, it also is under the low of the Armenian toll that I calculated in the previous sections (line 452), even when I omit refugee deaths (line 453). This suggests caution in accepting the totals.
To further check on this, I did my own demographic analysis and calculated the likely Armenian unnatural deaths (line 454--see lines 601 to 606). Given that this is calculated independently from the estimate-based totals, the range is remarkably close to that for the relevant non-refugee total (compare line 454 to line 453). Accordingly, I accept the totals previously calculated and restate their sum (line 455).
To get the foreign genocide of Armenians in Caucasia, I sum the previous totals (line 458) and compared the range to that of the Armenian-Russian population deficit (line 459) I calculated separately (lines 608 to 611). As can be seen, the summed range (line 458) is conservative and therefore acceptable (line 460), even keeping in mind that Armenians were also killed in WWI, in the Turkish invasion of Caucasia, in Armenia's war against Georgia, and in military conflict with Azerbaijan. Moreover, thousands probably immigrated from the region.
Next I add together the Turkey and Russian Armenian population deficits and compared them to the sum of domestic and foreign Armenian genocide (lines 463 to 466). The result is acceptable: the low is below that of the combined deficit, the high is close, and the mid-value is also close and below that of the deficit. This helps further establish confidence in the figures determined here.
As to the genocide of the Greeks, I sum the previous totals I calculated (line 470) and show beneath it a partial estimate of the Greek dead (line 471) and the Anatolian Greek population deficit (line 472). The deficit is well within the range that I independently calculated and I therefore adopt it as the final genocide (line 473).
After summing or displaying various totals (lines 475 to 485f), I show Tashjian's estimate of those killed or deported 1822-1922 (line 486). Now, as noted in Death By Government, the Ottoman Empire committed numerous genocidal massacres of Armenians in the previous century, particularly in 1894 to 1896 when Turks murdered perhaps 100,000 to 300,000 Armenians. Were I to add to this 100,000 for other pre-1900 genocides, and then reduce Tashjian's estimate by the sum to compensate for these deaths, and by another 10-15 percent to account for those surviving deportation (for the sources of the percentages, see line 122 of Table 5.1A), the resulting figure (line 486a) would still be within the range calculated here. Adding all the sub-totals (line 488) gives us the grand total genocide in turkey or committed by it: 1,428,000 to 4,380,000 murdered, likely 2,781,000 Armenians, Greeks, Nestorians, Moslem Turks, Azerbaijanis, and others.
Besides the tests of the genocide totals shown above (lines 451, 454, 459, 466, 471, 472, 486), we can also check the table's total domestic dead. The table first lists and consolidated three independent, overall dead estimates or calculations for the years 1912 (or 1914) to 1922 (lines 492 to 495), and then presents together the various totals (lines 498 to 501a) that I previously determined and sums them (line 502) to get the total dead, and next the overall domestic dead (line 503). Beneath this I show for comparison the consolidation of the estimated domestic dead (line 504). The comparison is as it should be: the low of line 503 is lower than line 504, the high is higher, and the mid-value is slightly below by about 5 percent. Because of this, there appears no need for me to reconsider the various calculations going into this total.
I next show the estimates and consolidations for refugees from Turkey's wars and genocides (lines 510 to 537). There is nothing unusual in their presentation and their consolidations figure in the calculation of population deficits and unnatural deaths (e.g., line 606).
In order to calculate population deficits I give population estimates and consolidations for Turkey as a whole (lines 542 to 551) in 1914 to 1915. To determine a population deficit later, I also calculate the population for 1920 to 1921 (line 552) from the minority population estimates given next for Armenians (lines 556 to 596), Greeks (lines 615 to 625), and Muslims (lines 628 to 630). Moreover, I had to calculate an average population controlled by the Nationalists (line 553) for later use in the genocide ratios (lines 640 to 641). I could not find any information on what this proportion was, even for a particular year, and therefore from narrative histories of this period12 I estimated it to vary from 40 to 75 percent, with a mid-value of 50 percent, taking into account that French and Greek forces occupied a portion of south-western Anatolia during this period.
The table lays out the calculation of the Armenian population deficit and unnatural deaths (lines 600 to 611). From the consolidated estimates of the Armenian's population growth rate, I projected what the population should have been in 1923 (line 604) and subtracted from it the actual population (line 589). Subtracting from this the number of refugees that escaped the genocide (line 522--this is conservative, since many refugees returned to later be killed by the Nationalists) gives an estimate of those Armenians who died unnatural deaths (line 606). I did the same for Armenian-Russians (lines 609 to 610). I also sum the two ranges of unnatural deaths (lines 606 and 610) to get the number of unnatural deaths for Russia and Turkey's Armenians together (line 611). And I also give or calculate the population deficits for the Greeks and Muslims (lines 626 and 632).
Finally, in the remainder of the table I calculate the democide rates for the Young Turks (lines 636 to 637) and the local Nationalists (lines 640 to 641). Per year the Young Turks killed almost 1 out of every 100 of their population (line 637). The Nationalists, however, were far more vicious. For the population they controlled they murdered 1 out of every 38 per year (line 641).
* From the pre-publisher edited manuscript of Chapter 5 in R.J. Rummel, Statistics of Democide, 1997. For full reference to Statistics of Democide, the list of its contents, figures, and tables, and the text of its preface, click book.
1. See McCarthy (1983), who in analyzing the change in the Armenian population from before to after WWI manages to avoid any hint that Armenians were killed by the government. McCarthy credits their population loss to war conditions or a civil war they fought with Moslems. See also Shaw and Shaw (1977), who in the three pages they devote to the Armenians allege that only 200,000 of them died, and these from war, famine, and disease in spite of the attempts by Turkish authorities to protect them.
2. For relevant documentation and discussion, see Dadrian (1991a, 1991b, 1991c).
3. For a report on this trial, see Alexander (1991).
4. Rummel (1994, Chapter 10).
5. For primary sources and analysis the work of Dadrian (1986, 1991b, and 1991c) is particularly useful.
6. As for example in McCarthy (1983), Miller (1966), Toynbee (1922), and Ladas (1932).
7. Emin (1930, pp. 218-219, 222).
8. Gross (1972, 47n.6).
9. Calculated from the population statistics in Karpat (1985, p. 188).
10. Housepian (1966).
11. Toynbee (1922).
12. For example, Miller (1966).