(A.W.)–The Ottoman Archives are undergoing a purging campaign to destroy all incriminating evidence relating to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923, say scholars, and according to one source the evidence—at one time or another—indicated that what transpired in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire was purely and simply a “slaughter.”

According to Sabanci University Professor Halil Berktay, there have been “two serious efforts to ‘purge’ the archives of any incriminating documents on the Armenian question,” wrote Consul General David Arnett on July 4, 2004, in a Wikileaks released cable originating in the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul. The first, according to Berktay and others, took place in 1918; during the 1919 Turkish Military Tribunals it was revealed that documents had been “stolen” from the Archives.

According to Arnett, Berktay believes that a second round of house-cleaning was carried out in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during Turgut Ozal’s Prime Ministership and Presidency, as he undertook efforts to open the archives. Around that same time period a group of retired generals and diplomats, led by former Turkish Ambassador to London and NATO and Secretary General of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Muharrem Nuri Birgi, went through the archives, supposedly in an effort to destroy evidence.

“Berktay claims that at the time he was combing the archives, Nuri Birgi met regularly with a mutual friend and at one point, referring to the Armenians, ruefully confessed that ‘We really slaughtered them,’” wrote Arnett, adding that Director of the American Research Institute in Turkey Tony Greenwood had divulged that when he was doing work in the archives around the same time, “it was well known that a group of retired military officers had privileged access and spent months going through archival documents.”

Source: Armenian Weekly