Turkish forces mainly used German rifles and other weapons to carry out the 1915-16 genocide of the Armenian people, a new report has found.
Mauser, Germany’s main manufacturer of small arms in both world wars, supplied the Ottoman Empire with millions of rifles and handguns, which were used in the genocide with the active support of German officers. Historians have estimated that between 1 million and 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the two-year genocide.
“German officers who served in Turkish-Ottoman military staff actively helped carry out individual murders,” according to the report by Global Net — Stop the Arms Trade (GN-STAT). “The majority of the aggressors were armed with Mauser rifles or carbines, the officers with Mauser pistols.” Many German officers witnessed and wrote about the massacres in letters to their families.
The report represents the first “case” being researched and developed by GN-STAT, a new multilingual worldwide network of more than 100 organizations, and a database for activists, whistleblowers, journalists, artists, and others interested in arms exports. It is already preparing new case studies about the illegal G36 deal that Heckler & Koch made in Mexico, and which is about to go to trial in Stuttgart, and the $110 billion (€90 billion) arms deal that the United States struck with Saudi Arabia last year.
Accessory to murder
The Turkish army was also equipped with hundreds of cannons produced by the Essen-based company Krupp, which were used in Turkey’s assault on Armenian resistance fighters holding out on the Musa Dagh mountain in 1915.
In 2015, German President Joachim Gauck acknowledged Germany’s “co-responsibility” for the Armenian genocide, while a book published in the same year by the journalist Jürgen Gottschlich detailed the political collusion of Turkey’s most important European ally in the First World War, which provided military advice and training for the Ottoman Empire throughout the Wilhelmine period. But the new GN-STAT report is the first to detail the sheer extent of the material support provided by Mauser and Krupp.
Read more: DW