What, Talaat, the torturer, wrote a will? Yep! It can be found under heavy guard in the Ankara Archives… a few notes thrown down on a piece of paper, scrunched into a ball that he held tight in his clenched fist at the moment of his death. His final secrets, just think! Or the transcription of a nightmare he had just before his execution! Or even, the plan for a conference he would never see and what he wanted to propose to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin. In any case, the expertise of the manuscript, of the handwriting and the signature, attest to the fact that these few fine and regular lines were traced by his own, firm hand.
This last point is, nevertheless, troubling. In the state the fugitive found himself, would he have been able to keep so calm? Would it not be, rather, notes collected from an interlocutor that he planned to denounce? But then why take so much care to report them? One doesn’t denounce a traitor with a work of calligraphy: the word of an informer of so high a rank would have pretty much sufficed.
No, no, it was indeed a sort of “will”, that its author could not, of course, have imagined as such, not knowing how close he was to death, a declaration made in a fully lucid state, an alternative program to offer to the highest German authorities…
Unless we are confronted with a forgery, a real forgery, an Armenian provocation, for example, meticulously reproduced by a skilled artisan from this hated race, intended to confuse the paper carrier.
Either way, what the devil does this “will” say?
Take a look:
“Well,” (excuse me, take a look at the translation) “I, the Serene Pasha of Young Turkey, hunted by the most hated enemies the world has ever seen, declare the need to regroup and to take our revenge and to proclaim, by diplomacy this time and not by taking up arms, which has served us so badly, our love for progress and the union of the peoples of Europe, of which our alliance is the foundation and the cement, and that, now we have rid our fatherland of the Armenian race, to recommend dialogue – alongside a few proven representatives of the few who escaped our scourge, as well as with all the chancelleries of Europe – for a reconciliation based on the wise recognition of shared fault.
The Ankara Archives hold many more surprises for you.
To be continued…