27 May 2006

697) The April 24 "Date of Doom"

April 24 marks the Armenians' greatest religious holiday, the beginning of their "genocide," even though what is meant by "genocide" is the resettlement policy, a policy that was implemented a month later, after its first serious consideration on May 2. The only "deportation" that was being considered on April 24 was, ironically, one for the Turks — given that the Armenians were gaining the upper hand with their treacherous rebellion in Van:

"Until now approximately 4,000 insurgent Armenians have been brought to the region from the vicinity. The rebels are engaged in highway robbery, attack the neighbouring villages and burn them. It is impossible to prevent this. Now many women and children are left homeless. It is not possible nor suitable to relocate them in tribal villages in the vicinity. Would it be convenient to begin sending them to the western provinces?"

Telegram dated April 24, from the governor of Van, Cevdet Bey, to the Ministry of the Interior. [41]

24 April was also the day when U.S. President Woodrow Wilson received the following telegram from Catholicos Kevork of Etchmiadzin:

Honorable President, according to the most recent information we have received from Turkish Armenia, massacres have started there, and organized terror has endangered the existence of the Armenian community. At this delicate time, I address to the noble feelings of Your Excellency and of the great American nation, and request, in the name of humanity and the Christian faith, that your great Republic interfere immediately through its Diplomatic Representatives, to protect my people in Turkey left to the horrors of Turkish fanaticism. [53]

As Kamuran Gurun wrote in "The Armenian File," "For the telegram to be received on 24 April, it is necessary for the Catholicos to have learned beforehand of the arrest, and to have sent the telegram before the 24th. As the American Ambassador [Morgenthau] sent his telegram about the arrest on the 27th,[54] the telegram of the Catholicos is enough to point to the guilt of those who were arrested."


[41]: Genelkurmay, 1/1, KLS 44, File 207, F. 2.
[53]: USNA M-353/43, 867.4016/591/2, p. 658
[54]: USNA M-353/43, 867.4016/58, p. 651


April 24 is designated as the date the "genocide" began, even though no known massacres were committed on that date. What we are told is this was the date when the intelligentsia and cultural leaders of the Armenian community in Istanbul were arrested, in a diabolical attempt to cut off the leadership of the Armenian community. Until very recently, it was not unknown for Armenian propaganda to tell us these people were not only arrested but massacred on the same day.

What Armenian propaganda makes sure not to tell us is that there was a full scale Armenian rebellion going on throughout various cities of the Ottoman Empire. Somebody had to be planning these rebellions. That somebody had to be Armenian leaders.


How Many Were Arrested?

The typical number of the Istanbul Armenians who were arrested has been given as 235. This is the number Kamuran Gurun wrote, although some editions (and other Turkish sources as well) have erroneously reported "2,345." Johannes Lepsius testified in the 1921 Berlin trial of Talat Pasha's assassin that the initial number was 235 as well.

Some writers like Peter Balakian of "The Burning Tigris" have rounded off this figure to 250. It is important to keep in mind this was not the total figure, particularly if we take into account the Armenian leaders who were arrested throughout the country. We can never be sure of the exact number, because of the lack of documentation.

What are some other indications?

Since 2,345 has been mentioned in various Turkish sources, I fished around. Prof. Salahi Sonyel is one of those who I'm told provided this figure, providing a document reference, perhaps taking the word of another who had cited this reference. When Prof. Kemal Cicek checked this document, the number of arrested Armenians was actually given as 100. (Not very meaningful, because obviously the number surpassed that figure; perhaps this document related to another arrest, or part of the main arrest. But what is meaningful is that evidently no one has been able to document the mysterious "2,345" figure. What probably happened is that an extra digit was accidentally added to the 235 figure, and people just mindlessly keep repeating it.)

Ambassador Morgenthau is said to behind a report saying the number of arrested Armenians in Istanbul on April 24 was 100. This is probably the source with the "100" mentioned above.

There is also an English consular report which claims that 1,800 Armenian committee members had then been arrested in Istanbul. Admiral Calthorpe is said to be behind this one, and the source has been provided as (FO 608/78, (75631; WO 157/691/9), although it looks like these figures may not all be correct. Whether it was reported to all be on April 24 is yet to be determined.


"What happened on April 24, 1915"


A wonderful Turkish blog, "Mavi Boncuk," did the kind of work that is so essential; actually translating some of these mysterious internal Ottoman reports. Remember: these were internal reports, never meant to be publicized, and thus cannot be construed as propaganda. From their web site:


What happened on April 24, 1915

On April 24, 1915 about 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were arrested in Constantinople and sent to Çankiri/Chankri and Ayas/Ayash. Among them the editors and staff of Azadamart [1], the leading Armenian newspaper of Constantinople. The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople and Zohrab, Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, petition the Grand Vizier, Said Halim, the Minister of the Interior Talaat, and the President of the Senate, Rifat, on behalf of the arrested Armenians of Constantinople. Though approached separately, all three give identical answers; that the government is isolating the Armenian leadership and dissolving the Armenian political organizations.

The MAM translated documents below with sources indicated from the Ottoman archives do not seem to be the documents of an administration "hell bent" for the total annihilation of Armenians. This is why calling for discussion can not be labeled as "Denial". Let the documents speak.

1915/04/24

Due to Van uprising a document was issued to vilâyets ve mutasarrifliks (provinces and counties) requesting the closing of Armenian Committees that facilitated the arming of rebels, confiscation of documents, authorizing the arrest of their leaders and other dangerous activists and their transfer to military courts. KG. ED, s. 213; SO-SY. ETPATGY, s. 101, 102

1915/04/24

Document requesting the diversion of transferees from Zeytun and Maras environs to Halep, Zor and Urfa instead ok Konya (in the interior). BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/93

1915/04/25

Document requesting that a portion of the180 Armenians transported by train from Haydarpasa (Istanbul's Asiatic Terminus) to be [im]prisoned in Ayas and the transfer of about 100 to Çankiri and their protection (muhafaza) at such location. BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/102

1915/05/05

Document requesting budget estimates for the settlement and daily expense cost of Armenians transported to Konya and their numbers since a request for funds were made to the Ministry of Finance to cover these costs. BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/235

1915/05/06

Armenian civil servants of Ministry of Finance will be assigned to provinces with no noticeable Armenian population or their employment will be terminated if they were proven without doubt to be unloyal or had connections to Armenian Committees. BOA. DH. SFR, nr.52/249

1915/05/07
Komitas


Permission issued for Torkumyan, Nargileciyan, Keropeyan, Bardizbanyan, Keçiyan, Tolayan, Kargözyan and Komidas to return from Çankiri to Istanbul. BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/255

1915/05/08

Diran Kelekyan's request for return to Istanbul denied from Çankiri with permission issued for residency in a province with no noticable Armenian population. BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/266

1915/05/10

Requesting documentation detailed in books (defter) of the names, professions, places of birth and addresses in Istanbul of Armenian detainees in Ayas and exiles to Çankiri. BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/297

(1. ) READ: ON THE ASSASSINATION OF VAN MAYOR KAPAMACIYAN BY THE TASHNAK COMMITTEE Excerpt " Viramyan, one of the writers of Azadamart newspaper published by the members of Tashak committee, Aram Manukyan, inspector of Armenian schools and Van representative of Tashnak committee and some of the notable Tashnak committee members were decided to be arrested as encouragers for the murder of Mayor Kapamaciyan."


You will have to visit the Mavi Boncuk site to get the lowdown on what they had to say regarding the good Mayor Kapamajian. Here is TAT's report on this loyal Ottoman.

Aram Manukian was the fellow the Russians rewarded with the Van governorship, in appreciation of the traitor's role regarding the taking of the city and holding it for the enemies of his country. Here is Le Temps, a newspaper in Paris, France, August 13th, 1915:

"The Russian government made a decision which will be welcomed with pleasure and enjoyment by all the Armenian circles : it chose Aram Manoukian, the leader of Armenian revolutionary movement for governor of the province of Van. Aram Manoukian was born in 1877, in the Caucasus, in the city of Chousta. (...) At the beginning of this war, Aram took up arms and became the head of the insurgents of Van. Russia which possesses at present this province named Aram governor for it, wishing to satisfy the Armenian element which so brilliantly participated in the war against Turkey."


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© Holdwater

The source site of this article gets revised often, as better
information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, and
the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing
the direct link as follows:

www.tallarmeniantale.com/April24.htm
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