27 April 2006

604) Logically; was there reason and time for planning/implementing a GENOCIDE?

After reading below excerpts, please think and use your own judgement !
Sukru S.Aya

(1) At the outbreak of the war, Armenian nationalists saw in a Russian victory their chance to achieve the establishment of an Armenian state in Eastern Anatolia. Russian propaganda encouraged these aspirations. A few thousand Armenians joined the Russian army; there were Armenian desertions from the Ottoman army and guerrilla activity behind the Ottoman lines. Confronted withthis situation, the Ottoman Cabinet, on the initiative of the Interior Minister, Talat Pasha, decided to relocate the entire Armenian population of the war zone to Zor in the heart of the Syrian desert. (P.119)

(2) Furthermore, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation or Dashnaktsutiun entered into an understandingfor co-operation with the Young Turks Committee. (P.21) 

(3) Across the border, in Turkey, the General Congress of Dasnaktsutiun sitting in Erzerum in the autumn of 1914, had been offered autonomy by Turkish emissaries, if it would actually assist Turkey in the war. The Congress had replied that the Armenians, as Ottoman subjects, would faithfully do their duty individually, but as a nation they could not provoke revolts in the Russian Empire.(P.107)

(4) But the Young Turks secretly chose the side of the Central Powers, by a military convention with Germany in August 1914. The Dashnaksuithiuns Western section met at Erzerum and there rejected the proposal of the Porte. The proposal stated that if Russian and Turkish Armenians would cooperate with the Committee of Union and Progress in event of an Ottoman Russian war, the minority people would receive autonomy under Empire for three Turkish-Armenian villayets Erzerum, Van, Bitlis and for two Russian Armenian provinces Kars and Erivan. The Dashnaksuthiun demurred, but promised to advise Ottoman Armenians to carry out their citizenship obligations, Soon after this meeting at Erzerum, the Russian appealed to the Dashnakuthiun-led Armenian National Council at Tiflis. The Tsar promised autonomy to six Turkish-Armenian vilayets as well as the two Russian Armenian provinces. Earlier a Tsarist minister of foreign affairs reportedly had confided Russias aim: We need Armenia, but without the Armenians. Primarily because of trust in France and Great Britain as associates of Russia, the Armenian National Council accepted the Tsars offer. The Committee of Union and Progress in Dec. 1914 decided to attack Russian Armenia and Georgia. Led by pro-German Minister of War Enver Pasha, the Turks mobilized to capture Tiflis. When Envers forces moved across the Russian-Turkish border through the Bardiz pass, Russian-Armenian volunteers held them up at Sarikamish. This Armenian effort gave Russian military unit time to group and defeat the Turks. After this failure, CUP became convinced that Armenians were traitors, that not only should the police imprison and execute them but the Army should shoot them. (P.59)

(5) (Wilsons principles) Point Twelve, specifically addressing the future of the Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development. (P.265)

(6) Thousands of Mohammedan muhajirs-exiles passed through Mamouret-ul-Aziz after advance of the Russians in the winter of 1915-1916. These muhajirs, who were homeless, were most wretched appearing people and although the Governmentsometimes gave them scant rations, they suffered from both hunger and exposure.(P.118)

(7) During the last two months quite a number of Armenian soldiers have been brought back in groups of two or three hundred from Erzerum. They arrived in a most pitiable state due to their exposure on the way this season of the year and the privations they suffered. (P.181)

(8) A few are now getting the benefit of the order exempting Catholics and Protestants from deportation, but most of these were sent away before the order was received or at least it was announced. (P.169)

(9) On the Caucasus front, the Russians were first to attack in November (1914), but the Ottoman army managed to stop them. A counter offensive under the personal command of Enver Pasha started at the end of December. After a successful start, the Ottomans were heavily defeated at Sarikamis, on the road to Kars, in January, Only 12,000 out of 90.000 troops survived, most of the others dying of cold and exhaustion crossing a mountain ridge in the dead of winter. (P.119)

(10) The troops settled down to a winter which was to be hard and bitter. Izzets force, at the mercy of long and badly planned lines of communication, was deficient not merely in guns but in foodstuffs. No could any army any longer subsist here on the country, for the ironical reason that in the earlier stages of the campaign the Armenians had been massacred or deported en masse, leaving the land a virtual desert, without peasants to grow food or artisans to provide service. One division was reduced to a third of a ration per man and there was almost no fodder for the draft animals. Many of the troops had only summer uniforms, with foot rags for boots and following blizzards, whole detachments were found in caves, dead of hunger and cold. (P.100)

(11) After the Erzurum meeting, Vramian (The Dashnak rep) visited the governor of the province and proposed the following: If the Ottoman government declared war on Russia and attacked Caucasia, it must make a concrete promise to establish an Armenian state in order to enable Armenians to cooperate with the Turks,In this rather hypocritical approach to the governor, after having already approved the resolutions of the Erzurum assembly of the Dashnakists, Vramian had two special purposes in mind: to preserve the national aspirations of the Armenians if the Ottoman army was victorious, and to mislead the Ottoman government by concealing and protecting the secret Armenian organization. However, the Ottoman Third Army Command was informed about these Armenian activities, and the governor and army commanders were warned to be vigilant. (P.85)

Excerpts translated from Turkish OTTOMAN HISTORY Volume IX, Prof.Enver Ziya Karal ISBN 975-16-0010-3
P.417: The attacks made by the Ottoman Army on Nov. to get the Russian positions had failed and Hasan Izzet Pasha had to stop the fight. This failure of the 3rd Army to destroy Russian forces had much sorrowed Enver Pasha, The CUP Headoffice and Erzurum Branch, Van Erzurum governors and also the Special Organization were sorry and grieved to Enver.

P.418: Sections of Iran Forces and Special Organization were to provoke Turks and local population and hit the Russian Forces from behind. These principles were discussed by Enver Pasha with his German aides and reached to the following decision: The moves to be made are not impossible, but they are dangerous. All responsibility, should be left on the Turkish Headquarters and particularly on Enver Pasha.

P.419: This demand of Hafiz Hakki Pasha, who had not been even in command of a Division, now to command an Army-Corps and the chance of his success of this plan which was Envers thinking, could tarnish his reputation !
It may be because of this reason that Enver with his German aide Gen. Bonzard, took off from Istanbul on Dec.8
th on battleship Yavuzand landed in Trabzon on Dec.8th, thereafter continuing to Erzurum arriving Army headquarters at Koprukoy on Dec. 13th. After meetings with 3rdArmy Commander Hasan Izzet Pasha, he arrived at an agreement with him on the attacks. He returned Erzurum on Dec, 17th.

P.420: Hasan Izzet Pasha resigned on Dec. 18th, saying: I cannot see myself strong an confident enough to execute these movements. A day later (on Dec. 19th) Enver Pasha undertook the command of the 3rd Army. The backbone of the Ottoman forces was the 3rdArmy, which consisted of three corps and had a fighting manpower of around 90.000.

P.421: The majority of the soldiers had no training or fighting experience to execute such a large war planning. It was not sufficiently equipped in wearing or feeding. Logistic and health services were left at Gods mercy. There was practically no road network, but one in the battle zones. All roads were snow covered. At some places snow thickness was about 5 ft (1.5 meters). Temperature was varying between -20 to -25*C. And finally to all these the wholesaler attitude of Enver as Deputy Army Commander, was to be added. The Pasha was brave, patriotic and clever. But he lacked the experience to command large battles. He had no pity for his commanders or soldiers. He was a victim of his belief that harsh and endless discipline will resolve everything. On Dec. 22nd, the encircling attack started as planned. IX.th army corps moved toward Bardiz, X.th corps into Oltu directions. Owing to weak Russian resistance, some victories were won.A Russian attack was defeated and the Ottoman armies finally entered Bardiz and Oltu. On the other side they moved towards Ardahan and Kars. However, shortly thereafter these successes were overshadowed. The movement offorces by Enver 15 km eastwards, entailed lack of normal communication between Divisions and Corps; the fact that the exhausted soldiers were not permitted to rest even one day, weakened the thrust force.

P.422: During this period. Russians were talking evacuation of Sarikamish and retreat of forces. The Allahuekber Plateau was 25 km long and the snow was deeper than 1 meter. Soldiers could only walk 1 km an hour. After marching day and night and death of 10.000 soldiers because of hunger and cold, only 3.000 entered Sarikamish on Dec. 27th. On Jan. 4th the Russians counter attacked with a force of 30.000 against 7.000 soldiers holding the mountain ridges some 20 km long. Enver Pashas problem now, was to be able to pull back the remains of the 3rd Army. He left the command of Sarikamish forces to Hafiz Hakki Pasha, whom he promoted to 4-star general rank.. Same day, IX and X corps were ordered to pull back. This order was given too late. Gen. Bronzard was wounded in his arm. Ali Ihsan Pasha and IX Corps fell prisoner. Hafiz Hakki Pasha barely escaped by the gallop of his horse. On Jan. 8th, Enver left the command to Hafiz Hakki Pasha and took off for Istanbul via Erzurum. The Ottoman forces after suffering great losses retreated to their previous positions at Sarikamish on Jan. 18th.

P.423: The braveries of the 3rd Army was much more than the Russians, but they lost more than half of its force (70-80.000) also weapons and vehicles. Commanding headquarters of the IX Division fell prisoner. Army commander Hafiz Hakki Pasha became ill with typhus and died later. As regards Enver Pasha, he had a great depression during the retreat, he wrote his testament apologizing to the Turkish nation and decided to commit suicide. He was convinced by Talat Pasha with great difficulty to to quit this decision. One should add to the physical and moral losses of the Army, the loss of the Turkish and Moslem population of the war zone. Several villages were destroyed and burned because of war rules. Local people started to immigrate in the direction of Erzurum, leaving all their belongings, scared of Russian and mainly Armenian cruelties,

Personal Opinion by Logic: Enver and Talat had no reason to plan any annihilation, in so far that the
entry into World War I, was celebrated by the Armenian (Dashnak) community with church bells and prayers due to excellent relations with CUP in August. However, apparently, things changed after the unexpected refusal of Autonomy (which was to be recommended by Wilson at Paris 1919 Conference) in November 1914...
It seems, Enver and Talats patience turned into passion, and rather than implementing the Russian method of pushing the civilians up front towards the enemy lines, they took the lesser measure, the known exile system
from Babilonian, Assyrian times! Van revolt started in March and in April 15th the Van Armenian State was declared. The Allied troops landed in Gallipoli in April and hell broke loose ! The first communication about deportation is the telegram dated May 2nd, from Enver to Talat Pasha. Thereafter, the deportation law was urgently formulated and polished with nice words and principles. But regarding the implementation of the law the local Vilayets, neither had the money, or enough gendarmes(because the professionals were in the army), nor food or the desire to fulfill the requirements, when themselves, were deprived of all ... it is to be assumed!. Particular attention must be given to the fact that even the prisoner Armenian soldiers were marched from Erzerum to Harput instead of being shot! Also it must be known that all sea ports were under the blockade of the Allies, and transportation of the scarce supplies was impossible. Above paragraphs should be enough to picture the drama!

And to those who insist on Genocide accusations, may I frankly ask : What did you expect of a unqualified Minister of War who perished 80.000 young troops in a much shorter time than those deported !
If that adventurer was to live, he would have been court-martialed thousand times, for causing a tragic death of his own troops, by lack of management and evaluation of realities... In Turkish we say Gecmis olsun; herkesin basi sag olsun. May be someone should put down in Armenian as well these words of condolence. Those, disagreeing with above
historic facts, may please refer to below writers!

(1) & (9) Turkey a modern history, Erik J. Zurcher, ISBN 1 86064 222 5 Tauris Publishers London
(2) & (3) Britain and the Armenian Question, Akaby Nassibian, ISBN 7099-1820-8, Croom Helm London
(4) Protestant Diplomacy and the Near East Josehp L. Grabill, ISBN 0816 605 750 Univ. of Minnesota Press
(5) Empires of the Sand Efraim & Inarii Karsh, ISBN 0-674-00541-4 Harvard Univ. Press
(6-7-8) The Slaughterhouse Province: Leslie E, Davis, ISBN-0-89241-458-8, Aristides D. Caratzas, New York
(10) Ataturk The Rebirth of a Nation Lord Kinross, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1964
(11) The Great War and the Tragedy of Anatolia, S. Sonyel, T.T.K. ISBN 975-16-1227 

Sukru S.Aya
Oct 18, 2005


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