OPEN LETTER to be presented to IGNORANT (Danish-Dutch-Spanish etc)
E.U. POLITICIANS or their speakers: < WHO IS THE “REAL DENIALIST”?>
ANNEX 1: (courtesy of Holdwater’s WEB site) British Archive telegrams, proving that the Ottoman Government under British occupation appealed on Feb. 18, 1919 to “neutral”(?) countries such as Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands and Spain to appoint two legal assessors or magistrates to the “Turkish Commission” already constituted for investigation of the “alleged abuses” in connection with relocation of the Ottoman subjects:
Result: They first “consulted
Now, after some 90 years, the present politicians of said countries, accuse Turkey for a GENOCIDE, which their grand fathers were invited to investigate, but they did not have the courage or will to do so!
Isn’t this a hypocrisy for “human rights’ dishonored quacks”, which THEY SHOULD REPLY firstly?
ANNEX 2: Sincere thanks to friends who found the Original photocopy of the Dutch newspaper
The package, includes the photocopy of the Newspaper, the Dutch Text-rewritten, plus Turkish Translation, which was already known by Turkish Embassy in
it took some time until a friend found a Dutch lady in USA, which most kindly provided the ENGLISH TRANSLATION, which can be liberally used (with original) as NEW EVIDENCE. The “article, as confessed, is of a biased, but later objective correspondent”. Conclusion: what Armenians did first to Turks ? How and WHY TURKS reciprocated or equalized ?
Enough is enough of this CHRISTIAN INNOCENCE and VICTIMIZATION … There is “plenty of tezek of most countries that now pressure and try to teach ethics to
As you are noticing from daily papers the SOROS teamsters “paid for service”… apparently never hear or read or want to face such evidences! (Scholarship…blindfold, but with emptied money sacks!…)
How much of this information reaches our “concerned and authorized people” is beyond my knowledge!, Usually, such “critical counter-documentation” is produced by amateur volunteers (like me) who will rather “DIE instead of LIE” by saying that something “they know it is a lie” is TRUE! Those who think that everything is on sale and all would like it for money… will soon find that t most Turks may poorer but much prouder and honorable.
Please note this message and use the annexes as proper and forward to those irresponsible persons, who speak loud, without investigating seriously.
Best regards to all,
Sukru S. Aya
Armenia, published in Algemeen Handelsblad, Amsterdam on Tuesday, May 25th, 1920
From one of our colleagues in the Balkans, we received the following interesting letter, the contents of which give another glance at the Armenian situation than the in Western Europe prevailing one.
We have the greatest confidence in the objectivity of this colleague. His way of argumentation shows the proof that he deserves this and therefore we are printing his correspondence unedited and without comments.
Just as during the government of Sultan Abdulhamit, again we receive disgusting news from Cilicie, about mass killings of Armenian people, through which the nerves of the already relatively unnerved world again are being shaken. It is definitely not my intention to justify, in my opinion the most disgusting of all killings, those for reason of religion, no matter who ever does this. But each truth has two sides, and when the Armenian media campaign’s intention is to turn the Armenian bloodbath in Cilicie against the Turks to benefit from it and through that the total destruction of Turkey by way of the entente, then I am of the opinion that it is, in order to benefit the truth, necessary to investigate if indeed only the Turkish animalism is guilty in these murders.
I believe that I have the right to do that, because I have been in the able to observe Turkey during this war, by way of speaking “undressed”, and exactly there where the Armenian and Turkish clans were going at each other in the most hateful and bitter sense.
In the Spring of the memorable year of 1918, (when as a result of the Russian defeat, Turkey again started the offence, and the flag of the profit was victoriously flying in foreign lands, which had not happened since the Peace of Kucuk Kaynarca) I was at the Armenian/Russian frontier and took part in the Turkish march toward the previously Armenian occupied area.
Everybody who knows what war is about, shall have to admit that there is no better occasion of getting to know a country and its people, than actually in the war, where all human passions are coming to the surface, and where a cover of culture and pretense disappear before the raw, higher necessity war. As the only European I was at the time in this critical environment and have been possibly the only European witness of what way the happenings during this Turkish marching upon Russian/Armenia took place and how these both populations were situated towards each other.
Before I began my journey, I was already a sympathizer of the Armenians. I had during my interruptions in Constantinople, in the years 1916/17, heard enough about the disgusting details about the Armenian mass murders in Turkish/Armenia and the Europeans, who were more or less well informed about the happenings in Armenia, gave at that time only the Turks the blame and considered the Armenians as innocent victims of the Turkish religious hatred and of the animal passions of a barbaric population.
My relationship to the Turks was good enough to also speak to them about this controversial point, something nearly no other European dared to bring up. The Turkish attitude should strengthen my conviction that the Armenian people were innocent and the Turks would be totally guilty. Because again and again, with a special dismissal nod, each Turk to whom I asked for information as to the pro and contra of the Armenian issue, answered: “Yes, all is true what is told about us. We killed a million Armenians; it was a terrible bloodbath, but we were justified in doing so and we are therefore alone guilty towards our own responsibilities”. I was not successful to find out more details of the reasons for these terrible deeds. Thus I could only come to my final opinion that...in this war the religious fanatic passions towards the Christians were let loose, wherever the occasion arose. And that this happened in the highlands of Armenia, where the Armenians people were cut off from the world and were at the mercy of the Turks.
In the spring of 1918 I arrived in Trabzon, from where, as is known, the only accessible road to the interior of High-Armenia is situated.
Trabzon itself was in 1915 witness of an Armenian bloodbath and three years later the Greek and Levantine Europeans still could tell me colorful the unbelievable horror stories that have occurred between these ages-old walls of Trabzon in 1915. How in the streets of Trabzon the blood of the Armenian people was flowing! How the Armenian sections of the city went up in smoke and flames and that days and weeks after this bloodbath the bodies of children against the ages-old Constantian dyke and in the harbor of Platana had washed ashore. I saw parts of these ruins and was told that these once were areas were the Armenians had lived. I was shown Christian churches and these had been churches of the Armenian people. They opened up heaps of bone and bodies of deteriorated dead people. That were the bodies of Armenians, I was told.
That are such disturbing happenings that one never forgets and that makes everybody wish that God protects us for any of these barbaric acts and against the religious hatred of the Muslims!
But one priest of the old Franciscan order, a simple old priest, who without doubt was at the side of the Christians, shook his head, when I was cursing against the Turks:
“You are making a mistake, he said. The Turks alone are not guilty. Yes for someone coming from Europe and who would like to see prosecution with European habits and customs, would punish the destruction of this population as a crime. But it is not the entire truth that you have heard and seen. One has to see and understand these happenings through a pair of Asian eyes/glasses: that here are two populations with age-old hate and disillusion, who are going at each other. There are here two different mentalities, the Turkish and the Armenian, and both are saying one of them has to be destroyed. Yes in 1915 it were the Armenian people who were destroyed.
Everything was being done to work against them and they were defeated. But are you convinced that the Armenian people would not have done, or did, the same acts in similar circumstances? I have my reports from missionaries, dispatched through my (Franciscans (ed)) group in Beyazit, Van, Erzurum, Erzincan: from these reports I know that in 1915 then the war with Russia started, that it were the Armenian people, who behind the back of the Turkish army provoked the revolution and caused the depopulation of the Turkish villages and settlements and flattened them to dust (destroyed them ed.). The consequent results that happened later in Turkey, were only as a consequence of this first adversary position of the Armenian people. I admit that that terrible things happened; er has been so much blood shed as never before. But innocent were the Armenians not at the root of this blood bath. And when the Turks then went further than was necessary then the guilty part is not only the Turks, but because of the mentality of Asia, where the hatred of population against population goes deeper than with European populations and where war causes animalistic forms.”
“See for example Trabzon. You have been the Armenian areas that were burned to the ground, but did you observe as well the Turkish areas that were burned to the ground? Did you notice the still fresh graves of the Turkish population? No! See, when the Armenians found themselves in the same positions as the Turks, when they celebrated to advance under the protections of the Russian army, then the drama theater of the year 1915 repeated itself, but then the Turks had to pay their debts. Wherever the Armenians discovered a Turk, he was slaughtered without any pity and wherever they saw a Turkish mosque, it was plundered and set afire. The Turkish districts were just as the Armenians before, burned to the ground. Now you go inwards and you will find yourself the traces of the war: Baykurt, Erzincan, Erzurum and Kars. You will still smoking ruins and you will still smell the blood of the corpses, but this were however Turkish corpses.”
The Franciscan priest had told me the truth. For months I went through Armenia and Kurdistan and I found confirmation of what he had told me. After the retreat of the Russian army, that followed the Russian peace, took the battalions of the so-called Armenian army, the operation of the occupied Turkish areas over. During the Russian occupation the lives and possessions of the Turks had been protected. But what happened after the retreat of the Russians, is hart breaking. The small Turkish settlements were slaughtered till the last man and the churches till the last stone destroyed by the both generals Adronits and Murat.
At that time the expectations of the Armenians were still in high spirits. Their plans were far reaching, and took into account the entire Turkish state. And they anticipated that they could finish with their enemy till the last man, woman, and child. I have seen in Erzincan ruins, where hundreds of bodies of hanged Turks lay amongst these ruins. I shone lights into potholes that were full of bodies. I have seen with my own eyes that graves were being opened and where male and female bodies were laying over each other by hundreds. Who had done this. The victorious Armenians.
These sights accompanied me on the far and long road through Upper-Armenia, Kurdistan till Russian-Armenia. And is it a wonder that the Turks, when they were again the victors, took revenge and in turn paid evil with evil? I have to acknowledge that during the advance of the Turks to Russian-Armenia the murders by the Turks continued. At the other side of the border of the Sarikamis the settlements of the Armenian population, that were numerous, were being depopulated with fire and iron (weapons)ed) The most bitter hatred against the earlier victors continued, now won, ind the most animalistic manner, familiar for the wild land of Asia. Our European brains do not understand this ungodly hatred that agitates people against people in the worst gross crimes.
However, we are not allowed to forget that Upper-Armenia is a country where the civilization can be compared with the ancient culture of the European people. The countries there are not nations, but tribes . And just like in ancient times, the sights of two tribes meant the destruction of one of them, so that still in the mountains of the Great Ararat even today one cannot think of co-habitation, but of destruction. In the barren mountains of Upper-Armenia one does not understand compromise, but only fighting for life or death. The winner lives, the defeated one can only die.
During my stay in Alexandropol (Gumru) the following happened, something that sheds a good light on the mentality of the people there. From the direction of the mountains of Alagoz one could hear on one day, cannon thunder. The Armenian population, who were living and fright and terror behind the Turkish frontier, explained to me this noise like this, that the English were advancing against the Turks. And they were living in their conviction that the Turks would be defeated within a few days. Immediately the rebellion occurred behind the Turkish frontier and the weak Turkish posts in the Armenian villages were being terrorized and abused in a most refined way.
But the English did not come. A detachment of Kafkas/Armenians had tried to break through the thin Turkish frontier. That was what the cannot noise was all about. And when the fight was over after several hours, came the revenge. The villages, in which the Turkish soldiers lay murdered, were being destroyed. Can one say that the Armenian people were not guilty?
In Alexandropol itself, a pure Armenian city, where despite the Turkish occupation the Armenian people quite continued their work, I cam much in contact with Armenian in high positions. They were living continuously in terrible fright that one day through a stupid act of Armenian tribes ;the Turks would take revenge and that they then would be the victims. Some of the Armenian population, a good part of them was for a peaceful compromise with the Turks. One needed to be able to live together. And then only accepting each other would make an end to these murders. But the largest part and the tribes, the so-called militias, did not want to hear of peace. Their motto was: They or we, one of them has to be rooted out.
Those men who preached reconciliation and tolerance towards each other, were being cursed by the biggest part of the Armenian population. One told me openly in Armenian circles: “Now the Turks are the boss. But soon we will be master again and will not keep alive any Turk who we encounter. Between us is not compromise possible. We have make equal with them for ages-old accounts. Our strife is as old as our population. This strife began on the day when the Turks came in our country and will last till the day on which they or we will be destroyed. Compromise we do not want. Cursed are those who are friendly with the Turks.”
That was the atmosphere at a time in which the Armenian had not hope to be ever liberated from the Turks. It seemed as if the victorious half moon of the entire Russian/Armenia was pulling towards itself.
So because of the above one can imagine what happened when the Turks had to retreat and the Turkish settlement again fell in the hands of the Armenians.
A comparison is only possible amongst civilized people. With the populations of the wildest Asia, there consists only hatred and destruction. “The Turks are guilty, they have murdered.” Are however, the Armenian less guilty, those who also have murdered as soon as they had the power to do so?
Asia can only be judged through Asian eyes.
For those who would like to read more documentation on this “comedy of international justice struggling to prove the non-existent, impossible genocide” I am adding below excerpts from Holdwater’s web site. Given references regarding the archived sources, are self-explanatory.
“The Ottoman Empire was defeated at the end of World War I, and the armistice was signed with the British on October 30, 1918. The Allied forces occupied the capital city of Istanbul. The British Rear Admiral Sir Somerset Arthur Gough Calthrope, the signatory of the armistice for the U.K., was appointed the British High Commissioner of Istanbul. He formed a special staff for this new post headed by the Rear Admiral Richard Webb, the deputy High Commissioner. Also two members of the British Foreign Service, Mr. Hohler and Mr. Andrew Ryan were included on the staff. Mr. Ryan, a Catholic Irishman, had previously served as a "Dragoman" (official interpreter) at the British Embassy in Istanbul for 15 years (1899 to 1914) before World War I. He was a notorious anti -Turkish intriguer who was described later by Major J. Douglas Henry during his interview with General Rafet Pasha (November 27-December 5, 1921) as "the most hated man in Turkey... an intriguer of a kind who did not scruple to employ traitors and turncoats for his purposes."
British Foreign Office Archives: PRO - FO 371/6480
This time Mr. Ryan was appointed not only as a Chief Dragoman, but he also assumed the position of Second Political Officer. In that capacity, his portfolio included a special section of the British High Commission dealing specifically with the Armenian and Greek "victims of persecution”. The British High Commission immediately confiscated all the official documents, including the Ottoman State archives; an Armenian by the name of Haigazn K. Khazarian was appointed the head of the Archives Department, one of the most sensitive posts to be assigned, especially to an Armenian. Mr. Ryan engaged several Armenian informers to his staff, among them the most notable were:
Mihran Boyadjian, Former Ottoman civil inspector for the provinces of Bitlis and Musul;
Karageuzian, a member of the Bureau d'Information Armenien of Istanbul;
Dr. Armenak Mediatian, from Erzurum province;
Hagop Minas Berberian, from the province of Diyarbakir;
Hanna Hanoum (a woman), from the province of Diyarbakir;
Dr. Armenak Abu Haytaian, from the province of Urfa;
Eghia Bakalian, from the province of Sivas;
Aram Tosbikian, from the province of Kirsehir;
Hagop Terzi, from the province of Kirsehir;
Memduhi Tomasian, from the province of Erzincan;
Aroussiagh Yervant Iskian, wife of an antique dealer from Ankara;
Ardeshir Lepian, from Batum, Georgia.
The Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul was in close cooperation with the British High Commission to orchestrate these activities with great zeal. Between January 23, 1919 and April 7, 1919 with the instrumentality of the above informers, four "Black Lists" of Turks accused of alleged "Armenian massacres" were drawn up at the Armenian and the Greek sections of the British High Commission. The lists incriminated 140 former high-ranked Turkish government officials, including the Grand Vizier (equivalent of the Prime Minister), princes, cabinet members, the Speaker of the House, members of the Parliament, members of the Sublime Religious Council, Chief of the General Staff, Army commanders, governors, university professors, journalists, editors, and several prominent members of Turkish society at the time.
As a safety measure, Admiral Calthrope decided to intern all suspects outside the country, and the island of Malta in the Mediterranean was chosen for this purpose. He urgently informed the governor of Malta of the situation and asked him to make arrangements for a detention camp on the island to receive and intern those suspects for safe
British Archives: PRO — F. 0. 371/4172/ 23004
Telegram No: 212, January 30, 1919
However, at this junction, the French High Commission in Istanbul raised an objection to the British plans. General Franchet d' Espercy, the commander of the French occupation forces in Istanbul, protested the British move as unacceptable for the following reasons:
1. No court of law outside Turkey would be competent, nor would have authority to judge or to gather evidence for a judiciary action about those "alleged" offenders seized and deported from Turkey for a trial. Because, such deportation process would create an impression of arbitrary action of revenge on the part of the victorious Allies.
2. Such a summary arrest of the high-ranked Turkish officials "presumed" guilty of alleged offenses is a blatant discrimination against a single category of enemies, i.e. the Muslim Turks, while the German, Austrian and Bulgarian war criminals were released and repatriated to their native countries before their peace treaties were ratified. The French government shared the opinion of General Franchet d'Espercy and the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Pichon addressed a note on March 5, 1919 to Lord Derby, the British Ambassador in Paris. expressing his government's disapproval for this action.
British Archives: PRO—F. 0. 371/4172/26160
Derby to Foreign Office, Telegram No: 454 March 5, 1919
In view of the resolute determination of the British to smear the Turkish Nation with a horrendous crime, the acting Ottoman Government decided to carry the matter beyond the sphere of authority of the Allies, especially the British. On February 18, 1919, Reshid Bey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, appealed to five neutral European countries (Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands and Spain) and invited them to appoint two legal assessors or magistrates to the "Turkish Commission" already constituted for investigating the "alleged" abuses in connection with the relocation of the Ottoman subjects of different race and religion.
Mr. Wandel, the Danish envoy in Istanbul, forwarded this official request of the Ottoman government by telegram to Copenhagen on February 28, 1919. The Chief British Censor in Istanbul was quite upset when he found out about this Turkish initiative without his information, as it could have foiled the willful scheme of the British to falsely incriminate the Turks before the world, and he tried to stop this message, but it was too late. Similar notes had also been sent to Dutch, Spanish, Swedish and Swiss legations in Istanbul. Upon this Turkish demarche, the British Foreign Office decided that "it might be worthwhile to give a 'hint' to the neutral governments concerned”.
British Archives: PRO—F. 0.371/4172/29498
Foreign Office Minutes, dated February 25, 1919
Meanwhile, the Spanish Ambassador in London, Senor Don Alphonso Merry Del Val, addressed a confidential note dated February 28, 1919, to Sir Ronald Graham in the Foreign Office, advising the British government of the fact that while his government was examining the matter he wished to know how the Ottoman proposal was being regarded by the British government.
British Archives: PRO—F.O. 371/ 4172 Private and confidential:
February 28, 1919
In an effort to contain the spread of this matter outside the British domain, the Spanish Ambassador was informed by the British Foreign Office on March 4, 1919, that "the acceptance of the Turkish invitation might, and probably would, run counter to the arrangements made at the Peace Conference, and could cause serious complications" This was a stern warning to the Spanish not to get involved in this matter, and to refrain upsetting the sinister British designs.
British Archives: PRO—F.O. 371/ 4172
Letter from Sir Ronald Graham to the Spanish Ambassador. March 4, 1919
Mr. Balfour too, the British delegate at the Paris Peace Conference, suggested to Lord Curzon in a note that the Spanish Government should be discouraged from appointing any legal assessor to the so-called "Turkish Commission”.
British Archives: PRO – F.0. 371/4173/47913
Note from Balfour to Curzon, Number: 323. dated March 25. 1919
In view of this vehement opposition to the British Government, Spain and the other neutral countries declined the invitation of the Ottoman government either to take part actively in the process, or to act as independent observers.
Another initiative that compelled the British to uphold the principles of law and justice in dealing with the Turkish case was launched by the Indian Muslims. In early 1919, a delegation representing The Muslims of India headed by Muhammad Ali arrived at the Peace Conference to express the sentiments of the 70 million Indian Muslims and 230 million Indians who belonged to other faiths but supporting their Muslim countrymen in their feelings that the Ottoman Turks should not he subjected to a revengeful act by the British. This delegation was first received by Mr. Fisher, representing Mr. Montagu, the Secretary of India, to whom the delegation underscored the possible serious consequences in their country if the conditions of Peace Treaty contemplated for Turkey were in fact carried out. Mr. Lloyd George also received the delegation on March 19, and in the course of the interview Muhammad Ali made the following remarks with regard to the alleged "Armenian massacres":
"The Indian Khilafat delegation must put on record their utter detestation of such [alleged] conduct and their full sympathy for the sufferers, whether they be Christian or Muslim. However, if the Turks are to be punished as a criminal on the assumption that they have been tyrants in the past. and their rule was intolerable, then the delegation claims that the whole question of these massacres must be impartially investigated by an international commission in which the All - India Khilafat Conference should be adequately represented."
Yet, the British were intensely determined to take revenge from the defeated Ottoman Empire, and wipe it out from the surface of the earth; therefore, this appeal of justice and fairness of the Indian Muslims fell on deaf ears. The so-called "Armenian massacres" were a convenient pretext for their purpose. Thus, the British government callously pushed aside all the concerns for humanity, justice and morality, and reserved exclusively to itself the right to act as the judge as well as the prosecutor in the trial of the so-called "Turkish war criminals”. The following telegram was sent by Admiral Richard Webb to the British Foreign Office in London in that spirit:
"To punish all persons guilty of Armenian atrocities would necessitate wholesale execution of the Turks, and I therefore suggest a retribution both on a national scale by dismembering the late Turkish Empire, as well as individually by the trial of high officials, such as those on my lists, whose fate will serve as an example."
British Archives: PRO-F.O. 371/4173/53351
Webb to F.O. telegram No: 677 April 13, 1919
In the international arena too the British put forward an evil plan to dismember the Ottoman Empire. In 1917, Italy, predicting a Turco-German defeat, showed willingness to join the war on the side of the Allies, hoping for a possible share in the partition of the Ottoman Empire. The British and French saw in this proposal of Italy a further guarantee for their victory, and accepted the offer. The promise of Turkish territory was embodied in a treaty known as the Agreement of St Jean de Maurienne, signed by Italy, Britain and France, and concluded in April 1917. The Agreement contained a provision making it subject to the concurrence of Russia. However, in the October 1917 Revolution the Bolsheviks overthrew the Czarist government; therefore, the Agreement never came into effect.
There was no justification for Italy to claim any territory in Anatolia, nor was there any Italian community in Turkey for her to protect. Nonetheless, starting in mid-March 1919, the Italian Army landed in Antalya supposedly to restore order, and then to leave. Yet, within two months they occupied the entire Southwest coastline up to Marmaris. The Allies feared the Italians would march inland and occupy the entire section of Anatolia. At this point the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson intervened, and called for moderation in the Italian ambitions. Thereupon, the Italian delegation Ieft the Peace Conference on April 24, 1919, to consult their government. In the absence of the Italians, the United States, France and Britain turned against them.
Suddenly, yesterday's ally had turned to an imperialist aggressor posing a threat to the peace. Meanwhile, more Italian ships sailed for the Turkish post of lzmir, and on May 2, 1919, President Wilson, outraged by this flagrant defiance, spoke of the possibility of the United States going to war against Italy to stop the aggression. The reports of atrocities and horror stories committed by the Italians on the local Turkish population were an embarrassment for the Allies, and therefore, they decided to eliminate the Italians from the picture before the Italian delegation returned to the Peace table on May 7. Lloyd George suggested to ask Greece, which was near at hand, to land troops at Izmir, seemingly to keep order. but in fact to preempt the Italians. The Greek Prime Minister Eleutherios Venizelos had endeared himself to Lloyd George and won him over to his vision of Greece's historic mission embodied in the Megali Idea, encompassing Western Anatolia.
Greek troops landed at Izmir on May 15,1919, under the auspices of the Allies. Greece was not even at war with Turkey, therefore, this perfidious fait accompli on the part of the British government shook enormously the confidence, which the Muslim nations reposed in the pledges given to them by the British. Furthermore, the atrocities perpetrated by the Greek Army and the local Greeks in that region drove the Turks to desperation and outrage.
On May 28, 1919, the first group of the detainees (67 persons) was transported on board S/S H.M.S. PRINCESS ENA to Malta. With the subsequent transportations on July 23, August and September21, 1919, the number of detainees in Malta amounted to more than one hundred. In September 1919, Admiral de Roebeck became the new British High Commissioner to Istanbul. As far as realism and objectivity go, he was more moderate than his predecessor. He had not been intimately involved in this matter so as to be influenced by the massive Armenian propaganda, and let the hard facts be drowned out by his emotions. He reviewed the situation of the Turkish detainees accused of outrages to Armenians, and he reported to Lord Curzon on September 21 the following:
"As I have determined, the selection of deportees was made hurriedly by applying the general principles in the process, rather than relying on known facts. It is obvious that in such circumstances it might be very difficult to sustain definite charges against many of these persons before an Allied tribunal."
British Archives: PRO—P.O. 371/ 4174/136069
De Roebeck to Curzon. Telegram No: 1722/ R/ 1315 September 21, 1919
The new British High Commissioner was aware that the Turkish deportees accused of outrages to Armenians might have been arrested and deported not based on facts, but on a vicious slandering campaign waged by some Armenian informers and conspirators, and he felt that to sustain definite charges before a court of law against the deportees, whose crimes seemed to have had a dubious provenance, would be very difficult. Therefore, he ordered that further arrests be stopped, and made clear to his staff that it was politically inadvisable to deport any more Turkish detainees to Malta.
In December 1919, elections were held throughout the Ottoman Empire for a new Turkish Parliament, and on January 12, 1920, the new Parliament convened in Istanbul. On January 28, in a secret session the deputies voted to adopt the National Pact (Misaki Milli) drawn out by Mustafa Kemal, and on February 17, they announced their decision to the public. On March 16, 1920, Britain led an Allied military occupation of Istanbul, they replaced the Ottoman police, declared martial law, and attacked and dissolved the parliament, arresting 30 deputies. Those deputies were put on board the S/S BENBOW on March 18, and sent to Malta as "politically undesirable persons”.
In view of the ongoing arbitrary detentions and then deportations of the high-level Turkish officials, Mustafa Kemal, who formed the Nationalist government in Ankara, in the heartland of Anatolia, ordered as a reprisal the arrest of a number of British officers in Anatolia. About 22 of them were arrested, including Colonel Rawlinson, the younger brother of Lord Rawlinson, a British spy and a relative of Lord Curzon.
Despite the French objection to the British action on the basis of the unlawful nature of the deportations new series of arrests continued. In the meantime, the ignominious Peace Treaty of Serves was dictated and imposed on the puppet government of the Ottoman Sultan on August 10, 1920. This Treaty was described by Mustafa Kemal as the "death sentence of the Turkish Nation”, and was never ratified. On the alleged Armenian massacres this Treaty contained the following Article:
"Article 230 — The Turkish Government undertakes to hand over to the Allied powers the persons whose surrender may be required by the latter as being responsible for the massacres committed during the continuance of the state of war on territory which formed part of the Turkish Empire on August 1, 1914 [the date the Ottoman Empire entered the war.] The Allied powers reserve to themselves the right to designate the tribunals which shall try the persons so accused, and the Turkish government undertakes to recognize such tribunals."
(Holdwater: The Ottoman Empire entered the war on Nov. 2, 1914.)
In small groups transferred between March and November 1920, the number of 'Turkish detainees in Malta reached the total number of 144.
Around that time, the Allies, especially the British, who were in close cooperation with the Armenians, had an opportunity to look closer into their stories. Serious doubts emerged about the veracity of the Armenian accounts, and when the character of the Armenians and their wild stories were superimposed, the truth seemed to evaporate. Naively giving in to propaganda, and prosecuting innocent people for spurious allegations before a historical tribunal were indeed — different things. Thus, on July 19, 1920, Winston S. Churchill, the then Secretary of State in the British War Cabinet, submitted to his Cabinet the following secret memorandum expressing his concerns in that matter:
"I circulate to the Cabinet a long list of prominent Turkish politicians, ex-ministers, generals, deputies and others whom we are still keeping as prisoners at Malta. It seems to me that this list should be carefully revised by the Attorney General, and that those men against whom no proceedings are contemplated should be released at the first convenient opportunity."
PRO - FO. 371/ 5090 and C.P. 1649: Memorandum by the Secretary of State for War (Cabinet) on position of Turkish prisoners interned at Malta, dated July 19,1920.
It had been about two years since the first party of the detainees was sent to Malta, that at last on February 8, 1921 the British Attorney General sent the following message to the Under Secretary of State:
"The Attorney General is of the opinion that time has come to ask His Majesty's High Commissioner in Istanbul to prepare the evidence against those interned Turks whom he recommends for prosecution on charges of cruelty to native Christians."
The problem was that no such evidence ever existed in the files of the British authorities in London, and Lord Curzon was expecting a full report from H.M. High Commission in Istanbul, which had initiated the arrests and deportations. On March 12, 1921, Lord Curzon requested Sir H. Rumbold to report back to him as soon as possible with all the evidence against each of the Turkish nationals accused of cruelties to native Christians.
In view of the excessive delay and inaction — 20 months! — on the part of the British government, the Turkish detainees in Malta formally requested from the Governor and the Commander-in-Chief of Malta Field Marshal Lord Plumer, that they be furnished with the "summary of evidence" or with the actual charges, so that they would know what offenses they were accused of and be prepared to answer the charges. They further claimed that with this arbitrary and revengeful attitude by keeping them without any ground, the British government was in violation of the basic principle of justice, which considers them innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Thereupon, on March 16, 1921, an agreement was signed in London between Bekir Sami Bey, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Robert Vansittart, a member of the British Foreign Office, which stipulated the release of all 22 British prisoners of war in Turkey, and the repatriation of 64 Turkish detainees in Malta.
Sir H. Rumbold replied to the inquiry of Lord Curzon on the same day, and wrote that the evidence in the case of those Turks whom he had recommended for prosecution will be forwarded by the next mailbag, leaving Istanbul on March 16th.
The much expected "evidence" or the "details of charges" against the Turkish detainees in Malta reached the Foreign Office in London on March 22 as enclosures in Sir Rumbold's dispatch to Lord Curzon. Sir Rumbold wrote that he forwarded "a précis of information" concerning each detainee. However, he pointed out that none of the Allied, associated and neutral powers had been asked to supply any information, that very few witnesses were available, and that the Armenian Patriarchate had been the principal channel through which [the enclosed]. information had been obtained. "Under those circumstances," he said "the prosecution will find itself under grave disadvantage”. He further added: "The American government in particular is, no doubt, in possession of a large amount of documentary information compiled at the time while the massacres were taking place."
In short, this abject character, the anti-Turk intriguer laid down by himself a pervert "principle" that considers each detainee "a priori" guilty unless they proved their innocence, contrary to the basic principle of law and justice that considers each person innocent until proven guilty. In such a pathetic state were the so-called "dossiers" accusing the Turkish deportees in Malta of the "Armenian massacres”. Sir Harry Lamb, one of Mr. Ryan's colleagues at the British High Commission, and who was appointed Consul General of Izmir, minuted on the dossier of one of the deportees, Veli Necdet Bey, the following:
"None of the deportees was arrested on any evidence in the legal sense.
The whole case of the deportees is not satisfactory. No dossier exists in a legal sense. In many cases we have only statements of differing values by the Armenians. In some cases, including that of Veli Necdet, we have nothing but what is a common report and an extract from a printed pamphlet. It is safe to say that a great majority of the 'dossiers', as they now stand, will be marked 'No Case' by a practical lawyer.
“ The present Section (i.e. The Armenian and Greek Section of H.M. High Commission) seems to have recorded information concerning the 118 deportees, all alleged to have been guilty... (But) none of this information in itself has a strict legal value."
To sum up, there was no evidence at all to prove that such a crime as alleged "Armenian massacres" was ever committed in Turkey. Therefore, it was impossible to produce any dossier in the legal context against any of the Turkish deportees in Malta.
The officials at the British Foreign Office were disappointed when they received the so-called "evidence" or "dossiers" from the H.M. High Commissioner in Istanbul. However, they were not to give up so easily. They addressed for assistance the U.S. State Department, and the H.M. Attorney General's office. On April 1, 1921, the Foreign Office forwarded all available "evidence" to the Law Officer's Department for information of the Attorney General, and on April 29, they wrote again to H.M. Procurator General for a swift action on this matter.
On May 20, 1921, H.M. Procurator General's department returned the following reply (two years after the first group of detainees were transported to Malta): "...in as much as those persons are charged with political offense, their detention or release involves a question of high policy, and is not dependent on the legal proceedings. The Law Office considers that their treatment is a matter for decision by the Foreign Office, and it does not desire to offer any view upon it."
PRO - F.O. 371/ 6502/ E. 5845:
Procurator General Department to Foreign Office. May 20, 1921
Thus, the Law Office of the Crown, and H.M. Attorney General refused to involve themselves with the alleged "Armenian massacres", and they also carefully avoided to use the word "massacres," so wildly used by the Allied wartime propaganda machine. The following communication of the H.M. Procurator expresses their disappointment with the case and records their difficult position in handling the matter:
“There are in hands of Majesty’s government at Malta a number of Turks arrested for alleged complicity in the Armenian massacres. There are considerable difficulty in establishing proofs of guilt. Please ascertain if the United States government is in possession of any evidence that would be of value for the purpose of prosecution.”
British Archives. PRO - F. 0. 371/6500/ E.3552, Curzon to Geddes
Telegram No 176, dated March 31,1921.
No reply was forthcoming from Washington for about two months, and in the meantime, as noted earlier, H.M. Attorney General had refused to take any action against the Turkish deportees in Malta. Anxious for a reply, Lord Curzon reminded the British Ambassador in Washington on May 27, 1921:
“We should be glad to know whether there is any likelihood that evidence will be available.”
British Archives: PRO—F. 0. 371/ 6500/ E. 5845 Curzon to Geddes,
Telegram No 314 dated May 27, 1921
A few days later, Sir Auckland Geddes returned a reply, but it was not as promising as had been expected. He wrote:
“I have made several inquiries at the State Department, and today l am informed that while they are in possession of a large number of documents concerning the Armenian relocations, from the description, I am doubtful whether these documents are likely to prove useful as evidence in prosecuting Turks confined in Malta.
Should His Majesty’s government so desire, these documents will be placed at the disposal of His Majesty’s Embassy on the understanding that the source of information will not be divulged.” [An intimation that the available documents are flimsy, as such if their sources are revealed it would be embarrassing for the U.S. State Department.]
On July 13, 1921, the British Embassy in Washington replied as follows:
"I have the honor to inform your Lordship that a member of my staff visited the State Department yesterday in regard to the Turks who are at the present being detained in Malta with a view to trial. He was permitted to see a selection of reports from the United States consuls on the subject of the atrocities committed on the Armenians during the recent war. These reports, judged by the State Department to be the most useful for the purpose of His Majesty’s government, being chosen from among several hundreds.
I regret to inform your Lordship that there was nothing therein which could be used as evidence against the Turks who are being detained for trial in Malta. The reports seen made mention of only two names of the Turkish officials in question—those of Sabit bey and Suleyman Faik Pasha — and even in these cases the accounts given were confined to the personal opinions of the writers; no concrete facts being given which could constitute satisfactory incriminating evidence.
Department of State expressed the wish that no information supplied by them in this connection should be employed in a court of law. Having regard to this stipulation, and the fact that the reports in the possession of the Department of State do not appear in any case to contain evidence against these Turks which would be useful even for the purpose of corroborating information already in possession of H. Majesty’s government.
I believe nothing is to be hoped from addressing any further inquiries to the Department of State in this matter.”
British Archives: PRO - F. 0. 371/6504/E.8515 R.C. Craigie, British Charge d’Affairs at Washington, to Lord Curzon, Telegram No 722 of July 13, 1921 Mr. W. S. Edmonds, a member of the British Foreign Office minuted:
WHAT THE BRITISH SAY TODAY:
"The British Government had condemned the massacres at the time. But in the absence of unequivocal evidence that the Ottoman Administration took a specific decision to eliminate the Armenians under their control at that time, British Governments have not recognized those events as indications of genocide. Nor do we believe it is the business of Governments of today to review events of over 80 years ago, with a view to pronouncing them."
Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale, Foreign Office spokesperson, April 14, 1999
" The Government, in line with previous British Governments, have judged the evidence not to be sufficiently unequivocal to persuade us that these events should be categorized as genocide as defined by the 1948 United Nations Convention on Genocide, a Convention which was drafted in response to the Holocaust and is not retrospective in application. The interpretation of events in eastern Anatolia in 1915-1916 is still the subject of genuine debate among historians."
Baroness Scotland of Asthal, in a written response, February 7, 2001
The British could have easily tried and convicted their Ottoman "Hitlers" by the end of 1919. The kangaroo courts conducted by the puppet Ottoman government certainly did exactly that.
Why would the British have waited over two years... why would the British, at the end of those two years, still actively seek evidence to convict the Turks by appealing as far away as the shores of America? Don't forget the famous reply by the British embassy:
"I regret to inform your Lordship that there was nothing therein which could be used as evidence against the Turks who are being detained for trial in Malta..."
This reply was sent on July of 1921 !! “ # 24*
(With thanks to Holdwater for his vast knowledge and support)
New English Translation
9th Nov 2006
ALGEMEEN HANDELSBLAD AMSTERDAM
ARMENIA: THE ARMENIAN-TURKISH QUESTION
From one of our members of staff on the Balkan we have received the following interesting letter, the content of which gives a different view on the Armenian question from the customary one in Western Europe. We have the greatest trust in the objectivity of this member of staff. –The way in which he relates his story contains the proof that he is deserving of this trust- and we have therefore printed his correspondence unchanged and without comment.
Just as under the reign of Sultan Abdulhamit abhorrent reports of mass slaughtering of the Armenians have been coming in again from Cilicia, as a result of which the nerves of the dulled world are once again shocked. In absolutely no way is it my intention to justify slaughter, no matter by whom it is performed, and to try and protect the most heinous of all murders, [that is] murder committed on religious grounds. But there are two sides to every truth and when the Armenian press-propaganda manages to exploit the Armenian bloodbath in Cilicia against the Turks in the sense that she thus is trying to realize the complete destruction of Turkey by the Entente, then I am of the opinion that it is in the interest of truth to investigate whether truly only the beastliness of the Turks is to blame for these mass murders.
I believe that I have some right to state this since, during the war, I had the opportunity to see Turkey, in a manner of speaking, in her negligee and of all places there where the Armenian and the Turkish tribes fought each other with the bitterest of hatreds.
In the spring of the memorable year 1918, when as a result of the Russian defeat, Turkey started the offensive again and the flag of the Prophet waved victoriously in alien countries, which had not happened since the peace of Kücük Kaynarca, I happened to find myself in the Armenian-Russian border region and so witnessed a part of the Turkish advance in the area that was predominantly inhabited by Armenians.
Whosoever knows what waging war is all about will have to admit that there is no better opportunity for getting to know a country and a people than during a war, where all human passions are expressed with violence, where the thin layer of culture and pretense disappears before the higher necessity of waging war. At the time I happened to find myself the only European in the critical surroundings and so I have been perhaps the only European witness of in what manner the events during the Turkish advance in Russian-Armenia occurred and how these two people related to one another.
Before I started my journey I already favoured the Armenian side. During my stay in Constantinople, in the years 1916/17 I had already heard plenty of revolting details on the Armenian mass murders in Turkish Armenia and the Europeans, who were more or less well informed about the events in Armenia, therefore attributed blame to the Turks alone and they regarded the Armenians as the innocent sacrifices to [/victims of] the Turkish religious hatred and to the bestial pleasures of a barbaric people.
My relationship with the Turks was good enough to also discuss with them this difficult issue that many a European did not even dare to bring up. The position taken up by the Turks was to strengthen me in my convictions that the Armenians were innocent and that the Turks were to blame for everything. For with a quaintly brusque rejection I was answered by every Turk whom I had asked for information with regard to the pros and cons of the Armenian question: “Yes, everything is true what people say about us. We have killed millions of Armenians; it was a horrible bloodbath, but we were within our right and we are only accountable to ourselves for that.” I did not succeed in finding out further details, or grounds for these horrible acts. And so I could only arrive at the conclusion … In the released passions of the war the religious fanaticism towards the Christians was given a free reign wherever there was opportunity. And that happened in the highlands of Armenia, where, cut off from the entire world, the Armenians were entirely in the hands of the Turks.
In the spring of 1918 I arrived in Trabzon from where, as is known, runs the only passable road to the interior of Upper Armenia.
In 1915 Trabzon itself was witness to an Armenian bloodbath and three years later the Greek- and the Levantine Europeans still managed to relate to me in every detail the indescribable scenes of horror that occurred within the ancient city walls of Trabzon in 1915. How the streets of Trabzon ran red with the blood of Armenians! How the Armenian quarters went up in smoke and flames and that for days and weeks after the bloodbath the bodies of children continued to wash up against the ancient Constantine Dam in the harbour of Platana. I saw ruined stretches [of the city] and people told me that these had once been the Armenian quarters. People showed me Christian Churches. These were the Churches of the Armenians. People raked over dung heaps and bones and decomposed bodies appeared. These are the bodies of Armenians, people told me.
These are such awful realizations that one is never able to forget them and they evoke the same wish with everyone: God preserve every one of us for this barbarity and for the religious hatred of the Muhammadans!
But a Prior of the Franciscan monks, a simple old priest, who undoubtedly stood on the side of the Christians, shook his head, when I started to curse the Turks. “You are mistaken”, he said, “the Turks are not the only ones to blame. Yes, someone who comes from Europe and who wishes to judge Asia with a European understanding will [undoubtedly] condemn the crime of the extermination of this people. But it is not the entire truth that you have seen and heard. You ought to look upon these things through Asian eyes and have understanding for the fact that here two peoples have been going to battle with a hatred and bitterness that are centuries old. One has two mentalities here, the Turkish and the Armenian and both mentalities were saying that one of them had to go down. Everything was arraigned against them and they were made to suffer defeat. But are you convinced of it that the Armenians, under the same circumstances, would not have done or in fact did exactly the same!? I have my reports from missions, sent forth by my order in Beyazit, Van, Erzurum, Erzincan; from the reports I know that in 1915 when the war with Russia started, it was the Armenians who, behind the Turkish army, were fanning the revolution and who were depopulating Turkish villages and settlements and razed them to the ground. The subsequent events that happened in Turkey afterwards were only the consequences of this first hostile attitude of the Armenians. I admit that horrible things have happened and that never before so much blood was spilt. But the Armenians were not [exactly] innocent in how this bloodbath came about. And when the Turks went further than they had to, then the blame for that does not solely lie with the Turks, but with the mentality of Asia, where the hatred for a people runs deeper than with the European peoples and where war assumes beastly shapes.”
Just look at Trabzon, for instance. You have seen the burned down Armenian quarters, but did you also see the burned down Turkish quarters? Did you happen to pay attention to the graves of the Turkish population that were still fresh? No! You can see that when the Armenians found themselves in the same position as the Turks, when they advanced victoriously under the protection of the Russian army, the same spectacle occurred as in the year of 1915, but that time it was the Turks who got it in the neck. Wherever the Armenians found a Turk he was mercilessly hacked down, wherever they saw a Turkish Mosque it was plundered and set on fire. Turkish quarters went up in smoke and flames just like the Armenian quarters. You are presently about to travel round the country and you will still be able to follow in the footsteps of war: Bayburt, Erzincan, Erzurum, and Kars. You will still see smoldering heaps of rubble; you will still smell blood and corpses, but it so happens that these were Turkish corpses.”
The Franciscan Father only told the truth. For months I traveled all across Armenia and Kurdistan and I found confirmation of what people had been telling me. After the withdrawal of the Russian army, which followed after the Russian peace, the troops of the co-called Armenian army, took over the military operations in the occupied Turkish areas. During the Russian occupation the Russians protected the lives and properties of the Turks. What happened after the withdrawal of the Russians is heart rendering. The smallest Turkish settlements were killed down to the last man by the gangs of the Generals Adronits and Murat and Churches were destroyed down to the very last stone.
Back then the Armenian expectations were still highly strung. Their plans reached far, encompassed the entire Turkish Empire. And they were hoping that they could settle the score with the old hereditary enemy, down to the last man, the last woman, the last child. I have seen ruins in Erzincan where hundreds of bodies of strangled Turks lay amidst the rubble. I have had light shone down wells that were full of bodies. I have seen with my own eyes that graves were opened in which the bodies of men and women were thrown haphazardly across one another, hundreds of them. Who did this? Those victorious Armenians.
These spectacles accompanied me on the distant and long road through Upper-Armenia, Kurdistan right up into Russian-Armenia. And is it a wonder that the Turks, when they in their turn became the victors, exacted revenge, repaid evil with evil? I have to admit that during the Turkish advance to Russian-Armenia the murdering was continued by the Turks. On the other side of the border of the Sarikamiş the Armenian settlements, of which there were many, were depopulated with the aid of fire and iron. The most bitter of racial hatred was raging against the former victors, presently those who were conquered, in a bestial form, a wild country particular to Asia. Our European brains fail to comprehend this unrelenting hatred that sets people against people whipping them into a frenzy in which the worst atrocities are committed. But we should not forget that Upper-Armenia is a country the civilization of which can be compared to the primitive culture of the European peoples. The peoples there do not form nations, but rather hordes. And just like in the primitive situation of peoples a meeting of two hordes meant the annihilation of one them, thus in the mountains around Great Ararat, people’s minds are still not directed towards coexistence, but rather towards destruction. In the bare mountains of Upper-Armenia there exists no compromise, only a fight to the death. The victor will live all the conquered can do is die.
During my stay in Alexandropol (Gümrü) the following happened, which casts a good light on the mentality of the people there. From the direction of the group of mountains, the Alagöz, people one day heard the thunder of canons being fired. The Armenian population, which lived in fear behind the Turkish front line, explained this rumble of canons as that the English were advancing against the Turks. And they were under the conviction that within several hours the Turks would be beaten. Immediately there arose a rebellion behind the Turkish front line, and the weak Turkish posts in the Armenian villages were tortured to death in an ingenious manner. But the English did not come. A detachment of Kafkas-Armenians had tried to break through the thin Turkish front. Hence the reason for the rumbling canons. And when the fight was over only a couple of hours later there followed the revenge. The villages, in which Turkish soldiers had been murdered, were destroyed. Can one then say that the Armenians were not to blame?
In Alexandropol itself, in a purely Armenian city, where, despite the Turkish occupation, the Armenians quietly continued to do their work, I often came in contact with leading Armenian figures. The were continually living under a terrible fear that one day due to an ill-considered act of Armenian gangs the Turks would take revenge and that they would then be among the first to bear this revenge. A number of the Armenian people, the best part, were in favour of a peaceful coexistence with the Turks. For it so happened that they were more or less compelled to live together. And in that case only tolerance could put a stop to the murdering. But the greater number of the people and the gangs, the so-called soldiers, did not wish to know of peace. Their slogan was: “Them or us, one will have to go down.”
The men, who preached tolerance and reconciliation, were cursed by the greater part of the Armenian people. People in Armenian circles openly said to me: “At present those Turks are in control. But soon we will be lord and master again and then we will not suffer a single Turk that falls into our hands to live. No agreement is possible between us. We have a score to settle that is centuries old. Our fight is as old as our people. This fight started on the day on which the Turks entered our lands and it will last until the day on which they will be brought down. We do not wish to have reconciliation. Cursed are they who befriend Turks.”
Such was the mood in a time in which the Armenians had no hope ever to be freed from the Turks. It looked as if the victorious crescent would be making the whole of Russian-Armenia her own.
With this in mind one can judge what happened when the Turks were forced to withdraw and the Turkish settlements once again fell into the hands of the Armenians.
A comparison is only possible between civilized peoples. With the peoples of the wildest [part of] Asia there only exist hatred and destruction. “The Turks are guilty. They have murdered [people].” However, are the Armenians less guilty, who also murdered as soon as they had the power to do so?
One can only judge Asia with Asian eyes.
25.05.1920 van Dinsdag
De Armenisch-Turksche kwestie
Van een onzer medewerkers in den Balkan ontvingen wij den volgenden interessanten brief, waarvan de inhoud een anderen kijk geeft op de Armenische quaestie dan de in West Europa gebruijkelijke. Wij stellen in de objectiviteit van dezen medewerker het grootste vertrouwen. - Zijn betoogtrant bevat het bewijs dat hij dit verdient - en drukken daarom zijn correspondentie ongewijzigd en zonder commentaar af.
Evenals onder de regering van Sultan Abdulhamit komen uit Cilicie weer weerzinwekkende berichten over massaslachtingen van Armeniers, waardoor de zenuwen van de tamelijk afgestempte wereld weer opniew worden geschokt. Het valt mij in de verste verte niet in om slachtingen, door wie de ook worden gehouden, te rechtvaardigen en den weerzinwekkendsten van alle moorden, de gooddienstmoord, in bescherming te nemen. Maar elke waarheid heeft twee kanten, en wanneer de Armeensche perspropaganda het Armeensche bloodbad in Cilicie teger de Turken weet uit te buiten, in dezen zin, dat zij daardoor de volledige vernietiging van Turkije door de Entente bewerkt, dan meen ik dat het in het belang der waarheid is, om te onderzoeken of werkelijk alleen de beestachtigheid van de Turken aan deze massamorden schuldig is.
Ik geloof, dat ik eenig recht heb om dit uit te maken, want ik had gelegenheid om Turkije gedurende den oorlog bij wijze van spreken, in neglige te zien en wel juist daar, waar de Armeensche en Turksche stammen in den meest verbitterden haat elkaar te lijf gaaan.
In de lente van het gedenkwaardige jaar 1918, toen ten gevolge van de Russische nederlaag, Turkije het offensief weer begon, en de vlag van den profeet zegevierend in vreemde landen woei, wat sinds den vrede van Küçük Kaynarca niet meer gebeurd was, bevond ik mij in het Armeeinsch-Russische grensgebied, en maakte een deel van den Turkschen opmarsch in het voornamelijk door Armenieers bewoonde gebied mee.
Een ieder die weet wat oorlogvoeren betekent, zal moeten toegeven, dat er geen betere gelegenheid is, om een land en volk te leren kennen, als juist in den oorlog, waar alle menselijke hartstochten met geweld tot uiting komen, en waar het laagje cultuur en veinzerij voor de ruwe, hoogere noodzakelijkheid van de oorlogsvoering verdwijnen. Als eenige Eoropeaan bevond ik mij toen ter tijd in de kritieke omgeving en ben misschien de eenige Europeesche getuige ervan geweest op welke wijze de gebeurtenissen gedurende den Turkschen opmarsch in Russisch-Armenie zich hebben toegedragen, en hoe deze beide volkeren tot elkander stonden.
Voordat ik mijn reis begon, was ik reeds Armenisch gezind. Ik had gedurende mijn oponthoud te Konstantinopel, in de jaren 1916/17, genoeg weerzienwekkende details over de Armeensche massamorden in Turksch-Armenie gehord en de Europeanen, die meer of minder goed over de gebeurtenissen in Armenie ingelicht waren, gaven dan Turken alleen de schuld en beschouwden de Armeniers als de onschuldige offers van den Turkschen goddiensthaat en van de dierlijke hartstochten van een barbaarsch volk.
Mijn verhouding tot de Turken was goed genoeg om hen ook over dit netelige punt, wat een Europeaan bijna niet te berde durft te brengen, te spreken. De houding der Turken moest mij in mijn overtuiging sterken, dat de Armeniers onschuldig waren en de Turken alle shuld hadden. Want met een eigenaardige bruuske afwijzing werd mij steeds door iedereen Turk, wien ik ver het pro en contra van de Armeensche quaestie om inlichtingen vroeg, geantwoord: "Ja alles is waar wat men over ons verteld. Wij hebben een millionen Armeniers afgemaakt; het was afschuwelijk bloodbad, maar wij waren in ons recht en wij zijn daarvoor alleen tegenover ons zelf verantwoording schuldig." Het gelukte mij niet nog verdere details, of de gronden van deze verschrikkelijke daden te, weten te komen. En ik kon alleen tot den slotsom komen ..... In de loogelaten hartstochten van den oorlog het goddienstfanatiesme tegenover de Cristenen zich liet gaan, waar het maar gelegenheid daartoe zag. En dat gebeurde in het hoogland van Armenie, waar de van de gehele wereld afgesneden. Armenieers aan den Turken overgeleverd waren.
In het voorjaar van 1918 kwam ik in Trabzon van waaruit -gelijk bekend is -de einige beganbare weg naar binnenland van Hoog-Armenie loopt.
Trabzon zelf was in 1915 getuige van een Armeensch bloedbad en drie jaar later wisten Grieken en Levantijnsche Europeanen mij nog in kleuren en geuren te vertellen van de onbeschrijfelijke gruwelscenes, die zich binnen de oer-oude muren van de Trabzon in 1915 afgespeeld hebben. Hoe op de straten van Trabzon het bloed der Armeniers vloeide! Hoe de Armeensche wijken in rook en vlammen opgingen en nog dagen en weken na het bloedbad de lijken van kinderen tegen den oer-ouden Konstantijnschen dijk en in de haven van Platana aanspoelden. Ik zag geruineerde streken en men vertelde mij, dat dit eens Armeensche wijken waren geweest. Men toonde mij Cristelijke kerken. Dit waren de kerken der Armeniers. Men rakelde de mesthoopen op en beenderen en vergane lijken kwamen te voorschijn. Dat zijn lijken van Armeniers, zeide
Dit zijn zulke ontzettende gewaarwordingen, die men nooit vergeet en die bij iedereen maar een wensch doen opkomen: God behoede onsen een ieder voor deze barbaarscheid en voor den godsdiensthaat der Mohammeden!
Maar een prior der Franciskaner monniken, een envoudige oude prister, die ongetwijfeld aan de zijde van de Cristenen stond, schudde zijn hoofd, toen ik in verwenschingen tegen de Turken uitbrak. "Gij vergist u" zeide hij, "de Turken hebben niet alleen schuld. Ja voor iemand die uit Europa komt en die met Europesche begrijpen over Azie will oordeelen, die zal de misdaad van het uitroeien van dit volk verwenschen. Maar het is niet de geheele waarheid, die gij gezien en gehoord hebt. Gij moet deze dingen door een Aziatische bril bekijken en begrijpen, dat hier twee volken elkaar met eeuwenouden haat en verbittering te lijf gaan. Men heeft hier twee mentaliteiten, de Turksche en de Armeeensche en beide mentaliteiten zeggen, dat een van hen te gronde gaan. Ja, in 1915 waren het Armeniers, die te gronde zijn gegaan.Alles werd tegen hen in werking gesteld, en zij moesten de nederlaag lijden. Maar zijt gij er wel van overtuigd, dat de Armeniers in dezelfde omstandigheden niet hetzelfde zouden hebben gedaan of deden? Ik heb mijn rapporten van missies, uitgezonden door mijn orde in Beyazıt, Van, Erzurum, Erzincan; uit de rapporten weet ik, dat in 1915 toen de oorlog met Rusland begon, het de Armeniers waren, die achter het Turkse leger de revolutie aanwakkarden en de Turksche dorpen en nederzettingen ontvolkten en met den grond gelijk maakten. De verdere gebeurtenissen, die daarna in Turkije voorvielen, waren alleen de gevolgen van deze eerste vijandelijke houding der Armeniers. Ik geef toe, dat er verschrikkelijke dingen gebeurd zijn; er is zooveel bloed gevloid als nog nooit te voeren. Maar onschuldig waren de Armeniers aan het ontstaan van het bloedbad niet. En wanneer de Turken dan verder gegaan zijn dan nodig was, dan ligt daarvan de schuld niet alleen bij de Turken, maar bij de mentaliteit van Azie, waar de volkenhaat dieper gaat dan bij de Europesche volken en waar de oorlog beesachtige vormen aanneemt."
"Zie b.v. naar Trabzon. Gij hebt de platgebrande Armeensche wijken gezien, maar hebt hij ook de platgebrande Turksche wijken aanschouwd? Hebt gij op de nog frissche graven van de Turksche bevolking gelet? Neen! Ziet toen de Armeniers zich in de zelfde positie bevonden als de Turken, toen zij zegevierend voortrukten onder de bescherming van het Russische leger, toen herhaalde zich het schouwspel van het jaar 1915, maar toen moesten de Turken het ongelden. Waar de Armeniers een Turk vonden, daar werd hij onbarmhartig neergehouwen, waar zij een Turksche moskee zagen werd deze geplunderd en in brand gestoken. Turksche wijken gingen even goed in rook en vlammen op als Armeensche wijken. Gij gaat thans het land in en gij zult de sporen van den oorlog kunnen volgen: Bayburt, Erzincan, Erzurum en Kars. Gij zult nog rookende puinhoopen zien; gij zult nog bloed en lijken ruiken, maar dat waren echter Turkse lijken."
De Franciscaner pater heeft slechts de waarheid gezegd. Maandenlang ging ik dwaars door Armenie en Kurdistan en ik vond bevestigd, wat hij mij verteld had. Na den terugtocht van het Russische leger, die op de Russische vreede volgde, namen de troepen van het z.g. Armeensche leger, de militaire operaties in de bezette Turkse gebieden over. Gedurende de Russische bezetting beschermden de Russen het leven en eigendommvan de Turken. Wat na dan terugtocht van de Russen gebeurd is, is hartverscheurend. De kleine Turksche nederzettingen werden door de benden van generaals Adronits en Murat tot den laatsten man afgemaakt, kerken tot den laatsten steen vernield.
Toen waren de Armeensche verwactingen nog hoog gespannen. Hun plannen reikten ver, omspanden het geheele Turksche rijk. En zij hoopten dat zij met den erfvijand zouden kunnen afrekenen tot den laatsten man, de laatste vrouw, het laatste kind. Ik heb in Erzincan ruines gezien, waar honderden lijken van gewurgde Turken lagen tusschen de puinhoopen. Ik heb licht laten schijnen in putten, die vol lijken waren. Ik heb met eigen ogen gezien, dat graven open gemakt werden, waarin mannen-en vrouwenlijken overelkaar lagen, bij honderden. Wie hadden dit gedaan? Die overwinnende Armeniers.
Deze tooneelen vergezelden mij op den verren, langen weg door Opper-Armenie, Kurdistan tot in Russisch-Armenie. En is het een wonder, dat de Turken, toen zij weer overwinnaars waren, wraak namen, kwaad met kwaad vergolden? Ik moet erkennen dat tijdens den Turkschen opmarsch naar Russisch- Armenie het moorden voortgezet werd door de Turken. Aan den anderen kant van de grens van de Sarıkamış werden de Armeensche vestigingen, die daar tamelijk gezaaid zijn, ontvolkt met vuur en ijzer. De meest verbitterde volkshaat woedde tegen de vroegere overwinnaars, thans overwonnenen , in den beestachtigen vorm, een wild land van Azie eigen. Onze Europeesche hersens begrijpen deze onverbiddelijke haat niet, die volkeren tegen volkeren opzweept tot de ergste gruweldaden. Maar wij mogen niet vergeten, dat Opper-Armenie een land is, waarvan de beschaving vergeleken kan worden met de oer-cultuur der Europeesche volkeren. De volkeren daar zijn geen naties, doch horden. En zoals in den oertoestand der volkeren een ontmoeting van twee hordende vernitiging beteekende van een dezer twee, zoo is men in de bergen om den Grooten Ararat heden ten dage nog niet bedacht op samenleven, doch op vernietiging. In de kale bergen van Opper-Armenie bestaat er geen compromis, alleen strijd op leven en dood. De overwinnaar leeft, de overwonnene kan alleen sterven.
Tijdens mijn verblijf in Alexandropol(Gümrü) gebeurde het volgende, dat een goed licht werpt op de mentaliteit van de menschen aldaar. Uit de richting van de bergengroep Alagöz hoorde men op een dag kanongedonder. De Armenische bevolking, die achter het Turksche front in angst en beven leefde, legden dit kanongedonder zoo uit, dat de Engelschen oprukten tegen de Turken. En zij leefden in de overtuiging, dat de Turken binnen enkele uren verslagen zouden zijn. Onmiddelijk ontstond achter het Turksche front een opstand, en de zwakke Turksche posten in de Armenische dorpen werden op de geraffineerde manier dood gemarteld. Maar de Engelsen kwamen niet. Een detachement van Kafkas- Armeniers had getracht door het dunne Turksche front te breken. Vandaar het kanongedonder. En toen het gevecht een paar uur later voorbij was, kwaam de wraak. De dorpen, waarin Turksche soldaten vermoord waren werden vernietigd. Kan men zeggen, dat de Armeniers geen schuld hadden?
In Alexandropol zelf, in een zuiver Armeensche stad, waar, niettegenstaande de Turksche bezetting, de Armeniers rustig hun werk deden , kwam ik veel in aanraking met toonaangevende Armeniers. Zij leefden voortdurend onder een verschrikkelijke angst, dat op een dag door een onbedachtzame handeling van Armeensche benden de Turken wraak zouden nemen en dat zij dan het eerst er aan zouden moeten gelooven. Een gedellte van Armeensche volk, het beste deel- was voor een vreedzame overenstemmming met de Turken. Men was nu eenmaal gedwongen samen te leven. En dan zou toch alleen verdraagzaamheid een eind kunnen maken aan het moorden. Mat het grootste gedeelte en de benden, de zoogenaamde militairen wilden van vreede niets weten. Hun leuze was : "Zij of wij, een moet te gronde gaan."
De mannen, die verdraagzaamheid en verzoeninig predikten, werden verwenscht door het gros van het Armeensche volk. Men zei mij openlijk in Armeensche kringen: "Nu zijn de Turken baas. Maar spoedig zullen wij weer heer en meester zijn en dan zullen we geen enkelen Turk, die in onze handen komt in leven laten. Tusschen ons is geen overeenstemming mogelijk. Wij hebben een rekening eeuwen oud te vereffenen. Onze strijd is zoo oud als ons volk. Deze strijd begon op den dag, waarop de Turken in ons land kwamen en zal tot den dag duren, waarop wij op zij te gronde gaan. Een verzoening willen wij niet. Vervloekt zijn zij , die vriendschap sluiten met de Turken. "
Zoo was de stemming in een tijd, waarin de Armenen geen hoop hadden ooit van de Turken bevrijd te worden. Het zag er naar uit, alsof de overwinnende halve maan geheel Russisch- Armenie tot zich zou trekken.
Hiernaar kan men beoordelen, wat er gebeurd is, toen de Turken moesten terugtrekken en de Turksche vestiginggen weer in handen van de Armeniers vielen.
Een vergelijk is alleen mogelijk tusschen beschaafde volkeren. Bij de volkeren van het wildste Azie bestaat alleen haat en vernietiging. "De Turken zijn schuldig. Zij hebben gemoord." Zijn echter de Armeniers minder schuldig, die ook hebben gemoord, zoodra daartoe de macht bezeten?
Azie kan men alleen beoordeelen met Aziatische ogen.