Date of this Version
Genocide Studies and Prevention 6:2 (Summer 2011), pp. 152–173; doi: 10.1353/gsp.2011.0123
The historiography of the Adana Massacres of 1909 is represented by two diverging views. While some Turkish scholars deny the involvement of the local government officials in the massacres by putting all of the blame on the Armenians who revolted as part of a conspiracy to establish a kingdom in Cilicia, some Armenian scholars, whose work is overshadowed by the Armenian genocide, accuse the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) of acting behind the scenes to destroy the Armenian economic infrastructure in Adana in order to curb any future political and economic development in the area. By deviating from the existing historiography, the present article contends that the Adana Massacres should be viewed as part of the revolutionary process which led to the erosion of social and political stability in the region, the creation of weak public-sphere institutions, and intensification of the existing economic anxieties, all of which led to the enactment of violence against the vulnerable Armenian population of Adana. Understanding the factors and the motives that led to the enactment of violence will shed new light on understanding the future acts of violence perpetrated against the indigenous Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire.