10 March 2006

535) WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS

Prof. Nursen Mazici Ph.D.

INTRODUCTION

One of the basic aims of the social sciences is to try to solve the contradictory issues and problems between people, groups, communities and societies, and their political and social systems. Thus, the problems must be fixed by following an objective method and a cause and effect relationship. The other necessity during scientific research is to avoid making propaganda and invoking the wrath of one group against another.In addition, researchers should not attempt to persuade others relating to their political beliefs. While studying the political history of the world, which has consisted of many wars that caused the loss of uncountable human lives, the documents one must depend on primary resources rather than secondary ones. Another important step in scientific studies is to use the terms, notions and concepts which are related to the topic, in the correct form.

In this context, since 1973 there has been an unfounded allegation that there was a genocide of 1,500,000 Armenians by the Ottoman Government in 1915 during the First World War. First of all it should be remembered what kind of position the Ottoman Armenians had before and during the War.

In addition, although nearly 25 million people ,including Turks, Kurds,Arabs, English, French , Germans , and Russians , died during WWI, what distinguished the Armenians deaths, which has been discussed for nearly 32 years, is the subject of this paper.

THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS ORGANIZATIONS BEFORE THE WAR

Prof. Langer, a Diplomatic Historian from Harvard University, explains how the Ottoman Armenians organized at Istanbul, Trabzon, Van,Harput, Izmir and Allepo against the Ottoman Empire to work toward its collapse and to create an independent Armenian state .Thus the Hunchak Armenian Bands and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) secretly arranged revolutionary bands which could fight the government and "terrorize government officials ,traitors and usurers and all kinds of exploiters" in
1890s . One of the revolutionary Armenians told Dr. Hamlin , who was the founder of Robert College in Istanbul,that the Huntchak Armenian Bands would . watch their opportunity to kill Turks and Kurds ,set fire to their villages and then make their escape into the mountains. The enraged Muslims will then rise, and fall upon the defenseless Armenians and slaughter them with such barbarity that Russia will enter in the name of humanity and Christian civilization and take possession. Dr. Hamlin was shocked. He told the revolutionary that the scheme was atrocious and infernal beyond anything ever known, and he got this reply:

It appears so to you, no doubt; but we Armenians have determined to be free . Europe listened to Bulgarian horrors and made Bulgaria free. She will listen to our cry when it goes up in the shrieks and blood of millions of women and children .We are desperate .We will do it.

Therefore ,the Hunchak Armenians decided that social organization in the Ottoman Empire could be shifted by violence against Turks. They explained how to terrify the Ottoman government. To achieve it, their methods included "propaganda ,agitation, terror organization and peasant and worker activities" led by guerrilla bands. For example, the Hunchak Armenians arranged a demonstration of Bab-i Ali (the Sublime Porte) which caused much bloodshed on Sep18-30 ,1895 in Istanbul. Similarly, on Aug.26,1896 members of the ARF bombed the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Istanbul in an event similar to the Sep11,2001 El Qaeda attack against the United States. The event at the Imperial Ottoman Bank caused an uprising by Muslims in which more than 900 Armenians and 700 Muslims died in Istanbul. Hayik Tiryakian, who was one of the people who bombed the bank, told what Armenian terrorists did as follows: .6 people were sufficient to begin the occupation. We set out ,with sack[s] full of bombs on our shoulders and guns in our hands.The bombs were giving incredible results, they did not kill [ the staff of the bank and the people around the bank ] instantly, but tore their flesh apart , and made them writhe with pain and agony. We went with Garo to the President's office and wrote down our conditions. We demanded that the Powers [referring to England, France and Russia] fulfill our requests, that those who took part in this confrontation be freed; if not, we would blow up the bank with ourselves .3 had died,6 of our friends were wounded . Our enemies' casualties [Turks were implied] were also heavy.


THE POSITION OF ARMENIANS DURING THE WAR

By 1914, the ARF had recruited many militants and in the spring of 1915,besieged the city of Van, massacring tens of thousands of Muslims spearheading a Russian invasion of Eastern Ottoman Anatolia. For example, a report I obtained from the National Archives proved that the ARF confessed to killing 60.000 Muslims in Sarikamis, Kars in 1914 and massacring many Muslim people who lived in Eastern Anatolia by collaborating with the Russian and French Armies which occupied Eastern and South Eastern Anatolia from 1914 to 1918.

According to this report, The Armenian Revolutionary Federation explained what they had done, which was confessed by the Ottoman Armenians who had migrated to the USA as follows : In August 1914, a Turkish Mission visited the Armenian Revolutionary Federation which had congregated for its annual meeting in Erzurum in Eastern Anatolia .Afterward ,The Turkish Mission suggested to the federation that "if the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire and of Russia made common cause with Turkey, Turkey would accept to create with a guarantee of Germany, an autonomous Armenian state by giving Erzurum, Van and Bitlis in Turkey." However, the ARF refused this arrangement. (p.3-4)

Meanwhile, before the entry of the Ottoman Empire into the war in October 1914,Russia , through the Russian Commander Count Varantzoff Dachkoff,proposed to Armenian Political organizations that , if Turkey should enter the war and if Armenians made common cause with Russia, thereby contributing to a Russian victory over Turkey ,Russia would incorporate in the peace treaty stipulations for the complete autonomy of the six vilayets (provinces) of Turkey" and Armenians accepted the proposal.Therefore ,"By Armenians excellent fighting qualities , especially when in the presence of an hereditary enemy [Turks are implied ], these troops really made the difference between success and failure to the Russians in the Caucasus . (p.7)

Another expression of the report is that: More than 200,000 Armenians
fought with the Allies [ England ,Russia and France which wanted to divide and share the Ottoman Empire ] or independently and 100,000 lost their lives. "Of the 900 College and University students, especially of those whose families were in Turkey,(p.21) who enlisted in Foreign Legion and fought on the Western Front all but 55 were killed in action ,and of the survivors every one received one or more decorations for gallantry in action. Following the defection of Russia, Armenians took over the Caucasus front-600 miles long- prevented the Turks from reaching the Baku oil fields for nine long mounts" (p.1).

The plan of the ARF, which was told to Dr .Hamlin, had been achieved by the Armenian Legion step by step during the War at the Caucasus Front. The report says: .in 1914.the tenth Turkish Army ,on its way from Olti to Sarikamis,was held up for thirty-six hours at Barbuz Pass by the first Armenian battalion ,under the Armenian Colonel Keri. This delay enabled the Russians to concentrate their forces at Sarikamis , where Enver Pasha [the War Minister of the Ottoman Government] failed utterly in his offensive." It adds : "The Turks lost 30.000;largely from freezing in the snow. Ali Ihsan Pasha and his staff were captured and shipped to Siberia. When Enver returned to Istanbul, he publicly announced that his failure was due to the intervention of the Armenians.Enver told the truth.In April, 1915 .Armenian leader Andranik fought off General Khalil Bey for three days .When Russian reinforcements arrived 3.600 Turks lay dead and
wounded in front of the Armenians trenches. (pp.9-10).

As a matter of fact, this information, that 100,000 Armenians had fought against Turks in the World War I, was confirmed at the US Senate as well.

Finally, the ARF declared "a people's war" against the Turkish Government and began to apply its plan by massacring hundreds of thousands of people.According to information provided by The Turkish State Archive over 523,000 Turk Ottoman subjects were killed by the ARF from 1910 to 1922. As is well-known, American and European Armenians have been claiming since 1973 that on April 24,1915 there was an Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Government. As explained in the report, the situation is so confused that it is almost impossible to understand who massacred whom in April 1915.

There has been an allegation that after the entry of the Ottoman Empire into World War I, a so-called Armenian genocide paralleled the genocide of Jews by the Nazi Government during World War II. As Professor Bernard Lewis mentioned, this allegation is unfounded because what happened to the Ottoman Armenians was the result of a massive Armenian Armed Rebellion against the Turks, which began even before the war broke out , and continued on a larger scale. .to make this a parallel with the holocaust in Germany you would have to assume the Jews of Germany had been engaged in an armed rebellion against the German State, collaborating with the allies against Germany. That in the deportation order the cities of Hamburg and Berlin were exempted, persons in the employment of the state
were exempted and deportation only applied to the Jews of Germany proper ,so that when they got to Poland they were welcomed and sheltered by Polish Jews.

The Russian occupation continued from 1914 to 1916 in the Eastern region. Consequently, it means that it was impossible to massacre Armenians who lived in Eastern Turkey in 1915 because both the Ottoman government and army did not have control over the region. Afterward, it is probable that the German and Ottoman governments, which were allied with each other during WWI, decided to deport the AFR members and their families temporarily to Syria, which was a province of the Ottoman Empire and very far from all active fronts at that time.

Finally, the Ottoman Government had to deport them on the ARF insistence on May 27, 1915. However, during the deportation some Armenians were killed in revenge by Kurdish tribes and local officers whose members and relatives had been massacred by the AFR from 1880s to 1915. The situation in the region is well - described by General Harbord : . in the territory untouched by war from which Armenians were deported the ruined villages are undoubtedly due to Turkish deviltry, but where Armenians advanced and retired with the Russians their retaliatory cruelties unquestionably rivaled the Turks in their inhumanity.


THE ARMENIANS AFTER THE ARMISTICE

After being deported by the Ottoman Government to Syria , in turn, Armenians restarted their fight against the Turks by collaborating with the French Army which was located in Levant .They formed an Armenian Legion and massacred thousands of Turkish people . The Chief of the Bureau of Operations of the French troops explains how the Armenians killed Turks. He describes the military quality of an Armenian soldier while fighting against the Turks as capable of quick training and a passion to bear arms and for military exercises, proud of his volunteer's uniform and impatient to meet the Turks. Col. Romieu, the other French Commander, also explains how the Armenians killed Turks during the funeral ceremonies of the Armenians on Sep 20,1918 as follows: .The Armenian battalion approached the objective assigned to it by an obstinate assault ;it maintained itself stubbornly under the shadow of the hills of Arara [t] , which the Germans had converted into the most powerful point of Turkish resistance in this sector, and it was right at this point that the Turkish line of resistance was broken.The magnificent behavior of the battalion ,not withstanding its losses , made it possible for us to fulfill the mission which had been entrusted to us.our Armenians heroes ,who fell in the first line , facing the enemy [Turks are implied].rest in your glory.

In short, although there was not any genocide during WWI, Armenians and Muslims massacred each other because of the imperialistic aims of the British, French, Russians and Germans.

As a matter of fact , Professor Hovannsian ,an expert on the Armenian issue from the University of California, criticizes the European Powers on the Armenian issue without discussing the ARF massacre of hundreds of thousands of Muslims before and during WWI . But he states that after losing the war of the Central Powers in 1918 ,there was a small Armenia in existence and the desire of Armenians was that Turkish Armenia be added to the existence one in South Caucasus. According to him, the realization of this hope was dependent on the "benevolence" of the Allies who were the victors of the war. He adds: "The key determining the course of that independence was in the hands of the nations of Europe and America." . He implies that although these nations promised justice to the Armenians, they ignored the representatives of Armenia in Western Europe in late 1918.

Though Bliss , extremely and subjectively blamed the Ottoman Government on the Armenian issue, he shares a similar idea with Hovannisian by questioning the European Powers and Russia of that time. He believes that they might have prevented the massacres, if they had made the correct decision.

As for, American General James Harbord, who wrote the report about Eastern Anatolia after visiting the region in 1919 , confirmed the massacring of the both sides .He says that the situation of the Turks was worse than that of the Armenians . According to Harbord's Report, before entry of the war the population of Turkish people in Armenian provinces had been 1,750,000; after the war they were 1,000,000 left. In the report, after objectively observing, the Harbord's Commission says that :

.Some Turkish officers were pointed out to us by American missionaries as having refused to carry out the 1915 order for [Armenians] deportation. That order is universally attributed to the Committee of Union and Progress, of which Enver Bey,Talat Bey and Djemal Pasha were the leaders . A court has been sitting in the capital practically since the armistice, and one man and an unimportant subordinate , has been hung .Talat ,Enver and Djemal are at large and a group of men charged with various crimes against the law of war are at Malta in custody of the British, unpunished except as restrained from personal liberty.

Although they had not been found guilty by the British Court in Malta,both Talat Bey and Djemal Pasha were killed by Armenians terrorists in Berlin and Tbilisi in early 1920s.

CONCLUSION

In my opinion, which side first began to massacre the other and who killed more than the other are not as important as who encouraged Armenians and Muslims, who were equal subjects of the Ottoman Empire at that time, to massacre each other for the sake of the expanding and exploiting desires of imperialism . It was catastrophic that both innocent Turks and Armenians died during WWI. Consequently, it is understood that War World I caused the massacre of too many people as current wars do in the world. According to the figures of the UN, more than 50 ethnic or religious massacres or genocides occurred in the 20th Century and some of them still continue. Therefore, every person who identifies himself/herself as a human being must struggle to stop wars through Non-Governmental Organizations by supporting the UN to prevent the most shameful events of the 21st Century in the contemporary world.


<>>><<>><<>><>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<>><<


THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS BEFORE AND DURING WWI

Prof. Nursen Mazici Ph.D.

Since 1973 there has been an unfounded allegation that there was a genocide of 1,500,000 Armenians by the Ottoman Government in 1915 during World War I. First of all it should be remembered what kind of position the Ottoman Armenians had before and during the War.


THE OTTOMAN ARMENIANS ORGANIZATIONS BEFORE THE WAR

In 1890s, one of the rebellious Armenians told Dr. Hamlin, who was the founder of Robert College in Istanbul,that the Huntchak Armenian Bands would their villages and then make their escape into the mountains. The enraged Muslims will then rise, and fall upon the defenseless Armenians and slaughter them with such barbarity that Russia will enter in the name of humanity and Christian civilization and take possession. Dr. Hamlin was shocked. He told the rebellious that the scheme was atrocious and infernal beyond anything ever known, and he got this reply:

It appears so to you, no doubt; but we Armenians have determined to be free . Europe listened to Bulgarian horrors and made Bulgaria free. She will listen to our cry when it goes up in the shrieks and blood of millions of women and children .We are desperate .We will do it.

Therefore ,the Hunchak Armenians decided that social organization in the Ottoman Empire could be shifted by violence against Turks. Armenian rebellious explained how to terrify the Ottoman government. To achieve it, their methods included "propaganda ,agitation, terror organization and peasant and worker activities" led by guerrilla bands. For example, the Hunchak Armenians arranged a demonstration of Bab-i Ali (the Sublime Porte) which caused much bloodshed on Sep18-30 ,1895 in Istanbul. Similarly, on Aug.26,1896 members of the ARF bombed the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Istanbul in an event similar to the Sep11,2001 El Qaeda attack against the United States. The event at the Imperial Ottoman Bank caused an uprising by Muslims in which more than 900 Armenians and 700 Muslims died in Istanbul. Hayik Tiryakian, who was one of the people who bombed the bank, told what Armenian terrorists did as follows: .6 people were sufficient to begin the occupation. We set out ,with sack[s] full of bombs on our shoulders and guns in our hands.The bombs were giving incredible results, they did not kill [ the staff of the bank and the people around the bank ] instantly, but tore their flesh apart , and made them writhe with pain and agony. We went with Garo to the President's office and wrote down our conditions. We demanded that the Powers [referring to England,France and Russia] fulfill our requests, that those who took part in this confrontation be freed; if not, we would blow up the bank with ourselves .3 had died,6 of our friends were wounded . Our enemies' casualties [Turks were implied] were also heavy.


THE POSITION OF ARMENIANS DURING THE WAR

By 1914, The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) had recruited many militants and in the spring of 1915, besieged the city of Van, massacring tens of thousands of Muslims spearheading a Russian invasion of Eastern Ottoman Anatolia. For example, a report I obtained from the National Archives proved that the ARF confessed to killing 60.000 Muslims in Sarikamis, Kars in 1914 and massacring many Muslim people who lived in Eastern Anatolia by collaborating with the Russian and French Armies which occupied Eastern and South Eastern Anatolia from 1914 to 1918.

According to this report, the ARF explained what they had done, as follows: In August 1914,The Turkish Mission suggested to the federation that "if the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire and of Russia made common cause with Turkey, Turkey would accept to create with a guarantee of Germany, an autonomous Armenian state by giving Erzurum, Van and Bitlis in Turkey." However, the ARF refused this arrangement. (p.3-4)

Meanwhile, before the entry of the Ottoman Empire into the war in October 1914,Russia , through the Russian Commander Count Varantzoff Dachkoff, proposed to Armenian political organizations that , if Turkey should enter the war and if Armenians made common cause with Russia, thereby contributing to a Russian victory over Turkey ,Russia would incorporate in the peace treaty stipulations for the complete autonomy of the six vilayets (provinces) of Turkey" and Armenians accepted the proposal.Therefore ,"By Armenians excellent fighting qualities , especially when in the presence of an hereditary enemy [Turks are implied ], these troops really made the difference between success and failure to the Russians in the Caucasus . (p.7)

Another expression of the report is that: More than 200,000 Armenians
fought with the Allies [ England ,Russia and France which wanted to divide and share the Ottoman Empire ] or independently and 100,000 lost their lives. "Of the 900 College and University students, especially of those whose families were in Turkey,(p.21) who enlisted in Foreign Legion and fought on the Western Front all but 55 were killed in action ,and of the survivors every one received one or more decorations for gallantry in action. Following the defection of Russia, Armenians took over the Caucasus front-600 miles long- prevented the Turks from reaching the Baku oil fields for nine long mounts" (p.1).

The plan of the ARF, which was told to Dr .Hamlin, had been achieved by the Armenian Legion step by step during the War at the Caucasus Front. The report says: .in 1914.the tenth Turkish Army ,on its way from Olti to Sarikamis,was held up for thirty-six hours at Barbuz Pass by the first Armenian battalion ,under the Armenian Colonel Keri. This delay enabled the Russians to concentrate their forces at Sarikamis , where Enver Pasha [the War Minister of the Ottoman Government] failed utterly in his offensive." It adds : "The Turks lost 30.000;largely from freezing in the snow. Ali Ihsan Pasha and his staff were captured and shipped to Siberia. When Enver returned to Istanbul, he publicly announced that his failure was due to the intervention of the Armenians.Enver told the truth.In April, 1915 .Armenian leader Andranik fought off General Khalil Bey for three days .When Russian reinforcements arrived 3.600 Turks lay dead and
wounded in front of the Armenians trenches. (pp.9-10).

As a matter of fact, this information, that 100,000 Armenians had fought against Turks in the World War I, was confirmed at the US Senate as well.

Finally, the ARF declared "a people's war" against the Turkish Government and began to apply its plan by massacring hundreds of thousands of people. According to information provided by The Turkish State Archive over 523,000 Turk Ottoman subjects were killed by the ARF from 1910 to 1922. As is well-known, American and European Armenians have been claiming since 1973 that on April 24,1915 there was an Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Government. As explained in the report, the situation is so confused that it is almost impossible to understand who massacred whom in April 1915.

There has been an allegation that after the entry of the Ottoman Empire into World War I, a so-called Armenian genocide paralleled the genocide of Jews by the Nazi Government during World War II. As Professor Bernard Lewis mentioned, this allegation is unfounded because what happened to the Ottoman Armenians was the result of a massive Armenian Armed Rebellion against the Turks, which began even before the war broke out , and continued on a larger scale. .to make this a parallel with the holocaust in Germany you would have to assume the Jews of Germany had been engaged in an armed rebellion against the German State, collaborating with the allies against Germany. That in the deportation order the cities of Hamburg and Berlin were exempted, persons in the employment of the state
were exempted and deportation only applied to the Jews of Germany proper ,so that when they got to Poland they were welcomed and sheltered by Polish Jews.

The Russian occupation continued from 1914 to 1916 in the Eastern region. Consequently, it means that it was impossible to massacre Armenians who lived in Eastern Turkey in 1915 because both the Ottoman government and army did not have control over the region. Afterward, it is probable that the German and Ottoman governments, which were allied with each other during WWI, decided to deport the AFR members and their families temporarily to Syria, which was a province of the Ottoman Empire and very far from all active fronts at that time.

Finally, the Ottoman Government had to deport them on the ARF insistence on May 27, 1915. However, during the deportation some Armenians,unfortunately , were killed in revenge by Kurdish tribes and local officers whose members and relatives had been massacred by the AFR from 1880s to 1915.

Nursen MAZICI
nmazici@marmara.edu.tr


0 comments:

Post a Comment

Would You Please Update/Correct Any Of The
3500+ Posts by Leaving Your Comments Here
- - - Your Opinion Matters To Us - - -


We Promise To Publish Them Even If We May Not Share The Same View

Mind You,
You Wouldn't Be Allowed Such Freedom In Most Of The Other Sites At All.

You understand that the site content express the author's views, not necessarily those of the site. You also agree that you will not post any material which is false, hateful, threatening, invasive of a person’s privacy, or in violation of any law.

Please read the post then write a comment in English by referring to the specific points in the post and do preview your comment for proper grammar /spelling.

Note To Spammers
If you believe Your Comments will ever appear here, You are DREAMING

You need a Google Account (such as Gmail) to publish your comments


Publishing Your Comments Here:
Please type your comment in plain text only (NO Formatting) in an editor like notepad first,
Then copy and paste the final/corrected version into the comment box here as Google/Blogger may not allow re-editing/correcting once entered in some cases.
And click publish.
-If you need to correct the one you have already sent, please enter "New Comment" as we keep the latest version and delete the older version as default

Alternative way to send your formatted comments/articles:
http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2007/05/Submit-Your-Article.html

All the best