22 October 2006

1176) Seeds of Treachery: The Tsar Promises Support

Esat Uras's THE ARMENIANS IN HISTORY AND THE ARMENIAN QUESTION is a goldmine of pro-Armenian sources. The book is from 1953, and the following is from the updated 1985 English edition.

On this page, we'll examine examples of the "Period of Transition," the later mid-1800s, as the "Loyal Armenian Millet" was fast turning disloyal. Their Ottoman nation was increasingly getting picked on by the imperialists, and the greedier Armenians stepped up their plans of treachery.

1) Patriarch Izmirlian: "Seize this Opportunity"
2) Tsar Alexander Gives Personal Vow to an Armenian
3) 1869 British Consul Describes Seeds of Rebellion

Patriarch Izmirlian: "Seize this Opportunity"
Dr. Uras gives plenty of examples, mostly Armenian in origin, exploring the strategy to take advantage of their nation, as their nation grew weaker; unmindful of the centuries of prosperity and tolerance the Armenians had been offering, allowing them to prosper as never before in Armenian history. Here's the set-up for one:

The war had just ended and regular communications between Istanbul and Caucasia had not yet been restored. The only road was via Odessa and Poti. Realising that his arrival would be delayed, Izmirlian sent a letter to Bishop Vahram Manguni, a close friend and confidant of the Catholicos. Nerses, in another letter dated 12 February; asked the Catholicos to appeal first to the Tsar or, if this should prove impossible, to the Congress of Ambassadors.

The Catholicos Keork IV felt no hostility towards Russia, but Bishop Manguni, by whom he was very much influenced, was definitely hostile, and Izmirlian thus endeavoured to bring as much influence as possible to bear upon him. In a letter to Manguni dated 13 February 1878 he writes:

Matheos Izmirlian, the "Iron Patriarch"

"Nothing is so effective as the passage of time. Time can alter many things. We must bow to the requirements imposed by changing conditions. We must change our old modes of conduct. Our traditional prudence and foresight impel us now to appeal to the Tsar. Today, following the loss of a large and important part of its territory, Turkey lies prostrate at his feet. We must sieze this opportunity of taking possession of the Asiatic territories. Even if Turkey remains in that section of the Empire, it will remain there as a humble vassal of Russia. We are undoubtedly dependent on Russian assistance. We must therefore endeavour to attract its favour and sympathy, and to bring forward the Armenian question now so that we can become masters of our own country when the problem of Asiatic Turkey once more emerges, as it most certainly will, if not in the immediate, at least in the very near future."

(P. 444)
Tsar Alexander Gives Personal Vow to an Armenian

Humiliated and totally defeated by the Russians, the Ottoman Empire was at the mercy of Christian imperialists during the Congress of Berlin. ("On 30 May 1878, just before the opening of the Congress of Berlin, Russia and England signed a memorandum listing the points on which they could unite. The Armenian question was one of these...") Smelling blood, the Armenians tried to woo the nations involved on a massive scale. Dr. Uras:

...On a proposal put forward by Kirkor Odian it was decided that the Patriarchate would send a delegation to the Congress. This delegation was composed of the former Patriarch Khrimian and Bishop Khoren Narby, both of whom were well versed on the subject of Armenia, together with Stepan Papazian and Minas Cheraz as secretary and interpreter respectively. The delegation went first to Rome, then to Paris. They had conversations with the French Foreign Ministry and the German and British Ambassadors, to whom they submitted the memorandum that had already been presented to the ambassadors. After taking the necessary steps in England they set out for Berlin. Khoren Narbey went to Russia, where he was received by Gorchakov and Tsar Alexander II. Stepan joined the delegation bringing the Patriarchate code.

Khoren Narbey (Archbishop of Beshiktash) gives the following account of his audience with Tsar Alexander II on 18 March 1878: [1]

"In the anteroom a number of people were waiting their turn but I was introduced to the Tsar ahead of all the others. Tsar Alexander said: 'I know you. I'm very happy to see you again. I have seen your memorandum. If conditions and the political situation allow I hope to satisfy the Armenian people.' He then asked me how the reforms mentioned in article 16 of the Ayastefanos Treaty could be put into effect. I replied that we had been so often deceived by the Turks that we no longer placed any faith in their false promises, and that in any case, even if they were sincere, they were quite incapable of controlling the Kurds and the other barbarous tribes who inhabited Armenia. I also added that until Armenia was granted autonomy on the Lebanese model the Armenians could be protected from oppression and marauding attacks only by Russian protection and the presence of Russian troops. (At this point I presented him with the project on Armenian independence drawn up by Narbey.) The Tsar took the project and, after glancing through it, replied 'Good. Do your best, and pray God to help me.'

I repeated Gorchakov's statement that our nation had never opposed the flag and Crusade raised by the Tsar for the liberation of the Christians. The Tsar said: The heroism you have displayed is indeed praiseworthy. The whole world owes its gratitude to the heroism, loyalty, prudence and civilized behaviour of the Armenian commanders. They have given me great satisfaction.'

'May I bring up another important point,' I added. 'Your Highness has greatly facilitated the spread and diffusion among the Armenians of Turkey of the saving influence and spiritual light of the Catholicosate.'

Tsar Alexander II; he emancipated
the serfs

The Tsar: 'Any action in response to this that may be taken by you in the future may be extremely damaging.' ' I hope,' I continued,' you will forgive my dwelling on this point. Our nation recognizes the Catholicosate as a holy office, the centre of a religious unity. We therefore hope that it will continue to exert its old influence upon us, seeing it as we do as working towards our advantage and salvation. It is, however, opposed by the Sublime Porte. Count Ignatiev has, during his fifteen years of office, become fully familiar with our desires in this respect and with the opposition offered by the Sublime Porte, particularly during the signing of the agreement. I have already assured your Majesty that for us this is a matter of life and death. The Tsar:' Yes, this is indeed a matter of life and death. It was discussed at the time.' ' I beg you,' I replied,' to allow me to convey the gratitude felt by my compatriots for the promises I have heard from Your Majesty's lips.' ' Please convey to your compatriots,' he replied,' the love and affection I bear them.' On leaving his presence I seized his hand and, kissing it, exclaimed ' May I beg your exalted and blessed self to allow me, on behalf of four million suffering Armenians, to kiss the sacred and holy hand to which Armenia will owe its salvation.' 'Yes,' replied the Tsar,' You will always be the object of my favour and affection.' Then I left his presence, praying, with tears of joy running down my cheeks, for the health and long life the Tsar, his family and his children."

(From pp. 459-461; source for Footnote 1: "Letter written by Narbey from St. Petersburg to the Catholicos Keork dated 2 March 1878. Saruhan, op. cit, p. 330-332.[In the bibliography, there are three books attributed to Saruhan, and Holdwater's guess is the one cited here must have been "The Ottoman-Armenians and the National Constitution, 1860-1910."])

Indeed, the Armenians were helped by Russia, because of their "favor and affection." Must have exactly been the reason why William Saroyan had written, in "Antranik of America," that the real enemy of the Armenians were not the Turks, but the pawn-using Russians.

On p. 1019, the chapter entitled "Russian Views on the Armenians," Uras quoted from the book entitled Europe Without Turkey, by A. Tsherep - Spiridovitch, a member of the Pan-Slavonic Society and published in 1913; the footnote reads, "Archbishop Mushegh, Armenian Nightmare." (Boston, 1916.) Of four alternatives the Armenians need to choose from, the one describing "Autonomy for Turkish Armenia" reads:

Although this project is highly commendable, would it be possible to find one or two states which would guarantee its realization? Russia cannot do this because the Armenians of Transcaucasia would also demand autonomy and ask for the whole of the Caucasus including the province of Stavropol. Hence, this responsibility can only be taken over by the Entente States. In that case the Armenians could be asked what contributions they have made that entitles them to expect such help.

Contributions? From a nation accustomed to free hand-outs? A nation that, when it doesn't get what it wants, engages in criminal activity, as with the sneak attack on Azerbaijan in the early 1990s, with the help of Russian-interest serving Russia?

At any rate, the above rationale is perfectly logical. Yet "prudence was thrown to the winds," as K. S. Papazian worded the behavioral mode of Armenians, and trusted Russia again and again. This from a "smart" people. too.

Let's not lose sight of the explosiveness of the above: As early as 1878, an Ottoman-Armenian leader openly professed his people's allegiance to his nation's archenemy, well before the "1915" years, when the Armenians had clearly betrayed their nation. You know, the period where Christopher Walker (The Armenians, Survival of a Nation): will tell you: “The Ottoman Armenians had agreed to support the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian Armenians had agreed to support the Russian Empire.”

1869 British Consul Describes Seeds of Rebellion
Here we learn that Russian-Armenians (let's be real: there was no distinction between "Russian" and "Ottoman" Armenians; the Armenians wrre simply Armenians, with no loyalty to the countries they happened to be residing in) from Tiflis petitioned the Tsar in 1876, hoping for intervention on behalf of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The plea ended with:

We appeal to your grace and benevolence towards the non-Muslims in Turkey and towards the Armenians exposed to Muslim cruelty and oppression. Intervention in this matter and if necessary the settlement of the problem is dependent upon your Majesty's approval and approbation.

In the words of Uras (bold highlighting is Holdwater's):

The petition, presented to the Tsar by the governor-general, was enthusiastically welcomed by the leaders of the Armenians in Turkey, and by the Patriarch in particular. In 1876, a note on the Armenian moves was sent to the Foreign office by the British ambassador in Istanbul,[9] who observed that there was growing discontent among the Armenians, and that a leading member of the community had voiced his conviction that, although the main responsibility for the discontent lay with the Sublime Porte, yet the agitations and unrest were no doubt instigated by Russian propaganda, which was particularly effective in swaying the minds of ordinary folk, the enlightened being firmly anti-Russian.

The report sent by J. C. Taylor, British consul in Erzurum, in 1869, runs as follows:[10]

"Everywhere throughout these districts I found the Armenians bitter in their complaints against the Turkish Government, at the same time that they were unreserved in their praises of Russia, openly avowing their determination to emigrate. This bias is owing, as already stated, to the constant hostile teaching of their clergy; at the same time, ample cause for discontent, as has already been shown further back, is afforded by the really wretched system of Turkish provincial administration, the unequal imposition of taxes, scandalous method of levying them and the tithes, persistent denial or miscarriage of justice, and practical disavowal of the Christians' claim to be treated with the same consideration and respect as their equals among Moslems.

But experience has taught me that which candour and strict impartiality compel me to state, that the subordinate officers of the local Government are aided and abetted in their disgraceful proceedings or encouraged in persistent indifference to crying wrongs, as well by the criminal assistance as willful apathy or silence of the Armenian Medjiiss members, ostensibly elected by the suffrages of their co-religionists to guard their interest. Unfortunately then, as the evil lies as much with the Christians as the Turks, under existing regulations there is no remedy for it, and there can be none till the local authorities really see for themselves that the Porte's orders are really carried out and to open the way for the introduction of a higher class of people for such employments. As it is, no man of wealth, influence, or character will accept a seat in any one of the Councils; he will not waste time in attending to official duties in a place where he has to put up with the contumely and impertinent insults of the Moslem members, all which are patiently borne by the fawning and obsequious Christians whose living depends upon this appointment.

And even were a man of character and ability to accept a nomination at the hands of his community, the Pasha, with whom in fact the fate of such elections lie, as he has the power of rejection, would always prefer a needy, pliant member to one whose riches and position would place him beyond the reach of his menaces or influence. The interests of the community are consequently intrusted to speculators accustomed to the atmosphere of the Serai in their capacity of revenue farmers or Seraffs, who in such positions have, in addition to their own disgusting servility, all the chicanery and vices of Turkish officials-acquired a dangerous influence, either as the partners or creditors of the chief provincial officers. Such an influence might be meritorious and useful if exercised in the interests of justice and duty, but it becomes a downright evil when practised, as it always is, for their own benefit or that of their partners in corruption, and scarcely ever for their brethren. The claims of the poor are either neglected or betrayed, and those of the rich depend upon the amount of their presents or degree of their sycophancy. The Armenian clergy and head men, on their part, purposely ignoring the villainous conduct of their Medjiiss members representing the repeated failures of justice that inevitably result as due to the fanaticism or imbecility of a Government determined to ignore all just claims, exaggerate actual facts; the more readily to induce their dependants to adopt the disloyal views they propagate. As they pursue such intrigues, apparently unchecked and with the secret approval of Russian agents, wavering members, formerly content with or resigned to their lot, openly express disaffection and traitorous ideas.

Some of the reasons educated Armenians give to account for this Russian feeling among their countrymen are well expressed in a letter I lately received from one of the most intelligent Armenians in the capital. I am obliged to state that as far as my experience goes, his views are not groundless. While English and French Agents support by all legitimate means the efforts of their missionaries and complaints of proselytes, the Armenians are left to fight their battles through the interested elders or corrupt Medjiiss members of their creed, and are thus perforce driven to seek protection from a Power that does everything to gain their sympathy. The inhabitants of the Erzeroum Vilayet, as being closer to and more in contact with Russia, more especially the borderers, partake in a greater degree of this feeling than those living in the remoter districts of Diarbekr and Kharpoot, where it is comparatively confined to the Armenian agriculturists; but here in Erzeroum, I do not believe that one of the members of the higher moneyed classes does not in a greater or lesser degree heartily share such sentiments, while most of them, though Turkish subjects, are supplied with Russian passports. The traffic in such documents, carried on as secretly as possible, is well known and widely disseminated; no large town in my district being free from these pseudo-Russians.

The exaggerated pretensions, overbearing conduct, and ostentatious display of the Russian Consul in his relations with the local authorities, in which it is needless to say other Consuls do not indulge, coupled with him, tends, among an ignorant people, to give a false value to his particular importance or rather to that of the country he represents, which by still further strengthening their belief that no other Power than Russia is so able or willing to help them, makes them eager to apply to him in their differences and to acquire documents that to them appear claims to the interference of a foreign Power in their behalf. That the intriguing meddling conduct of the Russian Consul is approved, I may state that, although in disfavour with the Embassy at Constantinople, he is supported by the authorities in the Caucasus, to whose diplomatic Chancery at Tiflis he is directly subordinate.

(From pp. 434-437. Footnote 9: Blue Book. Turkey, N. 1, 1877. 10: ibid., N. 16.)

Now that was one unbiased Western consul, laying the facts right on the line. Bravo, Consul Taylor!

What he is telling us is very important. The Ottoman government wanted to straighten matters out, but local officials, a good number of whom were corrupt and mediocre men, were simply out of control. Just as with the "1915" period! (Henry Morgenthau on the weakness of central command. When crimes were committed against Armenians, was it really the central government behind the ills?

Here, during the mid-to-late 1800s, the Sick Man kept getting sicker, interfering imperialists providing no small contribution to the decline. The indebted and frequently bankrupt nation (think "capitulations") simply didn't have enough money to make things right, particularly by needing to divert money to fend off constant attacks by archenemy Russia. Attacks that traitorous Ottoman-Armenians would assist in growing frequency. More on this point.

Naturally, Russia kept hungering for the rich real estate of the Ottomans, and would do everything to keep sickening the Sick Man. Traitorous Armenians would help whenever possible, led by their "holy men," and would keep falling for promises of Russian friendship, again and again. Fanatics kept corrupting the minds of more and more Ottoman-Armenians, until the snowball of disaffection grew into the avalanche of 1915. The Armenians have only themselves to blame for the relocation policy (their synonym for "genocide"), but don't possess the makings of the Big Man who accepts responsibility. This shortcoming of national psychology is why they must blame others, immorally uncaring of the harm and racist hatred they produce.

© 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:



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