16 December 2006
Straight out of the mouths of Armenians and their supporters, from whom the following A. P. report relied completely upon, we learn that the Armenians had engaged in a treacherous revolt against their Ottoman nation. Note usage of such words as revolt, rebellion, and revolutionies.
The following appeared in the July 14, 1915 issue of the Dallas News. Thanks to Gokalp for the article, and to Serdar for having transcribed it.
CITY OF VAN FREE OF TURKS AT LAST
THEIR SIX-HUNDRED YEAR REIGN IN ARMENIAN TOWN AT END FOR PRESENT AT LEAST.
STORY OF THE REVOLT
Question Now Whether Van is to be considered Independent or Annexed by Russia
Correspondence of the Associated Press
Van, Turkish Armenia, June 18. —The 600 -year reign of the Turk has been brought to an end, for the present at least, in both the town and the vilayet of Van. It is no longer strictly correct to date this correspondence as coming from Turkish Armenia, at the same time it is a question whether Van may yet be considered an independent State or whether it will be annexed to Russia. A foundation of Armenian autonomy  has been laid, however, by the naming of one of the Armenian leaders, Aram, who was a former supervisor of schools, as civil Governor and the establishment of a provisional administration. 
The vilayet of Van has an area of about 15,000 square miles with a population of several hundred thousand. The story of the revolt, by which Turkey has lost control of the ancient region, has not hitherto been told with much fullness. In the midst of a racial war, with its innumerable massacres and scattered disorders, it was impossible to gather a comprehensive view of the situation, and even now the story of the [burghers'] fight for freedom must be discounted by the possibility of the Turks” return — although that is regarded as remote.
Origin of Revolt
The origin of the revolt, of course, is found in the hereditary discord between the races and religions of Van, but the uprising of the Armenians was more specifically due to the conduct of Jevdett Bey, the Turkish Governor General of the vilayet of Van in demanding Armenian recruits to the Turkish cause and in the severe measures he took when these recruits were not forthcoming. 
During the Turkish mobilization, the Armenians were singled out to do menial work and were not well fed, disarmed , they were exposed to the fury of their hereditary enemies, the Turks and Kurds, and so uprising became inevitable, although it was sought neither by the revolutionary leaders nor by prudent Turks. Even Jevdett Bey, who is a brother-in-law of Enver Pasha, the Minister of War, seemed at first disposed to peace. He consulted the Armenian leaders frequently and they trusted his professed sincerity, but when he returned from the Turkish front, early in the spring, he suddenly demanded 3,000 additional Armenian recruits. The men were promised, but perhaps not sincerely.
Armenians vs. Kurds
Trouble first arose between the sturdy Armenian mountaineers of Shadach and their Kurdish neighbors. Jevdett Bey then said that if the Armenians of Van stirred he would make an end of the race throughout the Empire. T here was shortly war between Armenian and Kurdish villagers in all parts of Turkish Armenia, mutual pillage and massacre, though the Armenians then suffered incomperatively more than the Kurds. The Armenian leaders counseled patience and submission and Jevdett Bey persuaded Ishkan and three other revolutionists to undertake a peace mission to Shadakh. On the way they were treacherously murdered, by order of Jevdett Bey, as the Armenians assert.
On April 16, Jevdett summoned Vremyan, another Armenian leader, for a conference and bundled him off to Constantinople. Aram barely escaped seizure. The Armenians, now aware of Jevdett’s hostile intentions, declared their inability to supply 3,000 recruits, but offered 100 and gradual payment of exemption charges for the remainder.
Jevdett Was Obdurate
Dr. C. D.Ussher and E. A. Yarrow of the American mission, accepted the [futile] office of intercessors. Jevdett was obdurate; he would put down rebellion at all costs, first at Shadakh and then at Van. He tried to force the missionaries to accept a Turkish garrison of fifty soldiers or to give him a written release from responsibility for their safety. They managed the ticklish problem cleverly; when they gave their final answer that the guard might be sent, though it would precipitate war, the Armenians had so far organized their forces that the road from the Turkish camp to the mission was cut off.
Hostilities began April 20 at dawn. Rifle and cannon fire was opened from five strong positions on the old town or business center and on the Armenian residence quarter, called the Gardens, as every house is partly surrounded by vineyards and orchards. By evening houses were on fire in all directions. Fifteen Armenian riflemen, reinforced at times by 1,500 youths armed with pistols or hand grenades, manned eighty barricaded houses, connected by trenches and mud walls. 
Made Their Own Munitions
Ammunition was scarce, but Prof. Menassian Efendi, head of the normal School and a graduate of Yale’s Sheffield School of Science, cleverly transformed such chemicals as were at hand and manufactured smokeless and black powder, while mechanics turned brass cartridge shells. The Armenian laboratories soon were issuing 2,000 cartridges daily, besides hand grenades. Before the end of the siege they made three brass mortars effective at 1,000 yards. Menassians boys’ band heartened fighters with continuous music. Women and children carried ammunition and food and water. Fourteen-year-old Neville Ussher and his recently organized boy scouts did heroic service in extinguishing fires, reporting and carrying sick and wounded and enforcing sanitary regulations among 4,000 Armenian refugees, who were now overcrowding the mission.
Jevdett, now throwing off the mask of friendship he had worn, for he had known Dr. Ussher from childhood, threatened bombardment in case a single shot were fired from Armenian trenches near but outside the mission. Dr. Ussher answered that the missionaries could bear no responsibility for acts of individuals beyond their control. Meantime the American missionaries were caring for Turkish as well as Armenian sick and wounded, and as the only practical administrators in Van had organized sanitation, soup kitchens and distribution of bread for the 25,000 refugees who flocked or were driven into Van from villages. The Armenians organized a city government, with Mayor, courts and police, and kept better order.
All the American missionaries worked ceaselessly and effectively. Miss Carolise Sillman organized and took charge of a hospital annexed for cases of measles. Miss Gertrude Rogers and Miss Elizabeth Ussher helped Miss Bond, superintendent of the hospital, where there were always 1500 patients for a fifty-patient capacity. Mr Yarrow discharged a multitude of administrative duties assisted by Mrs. Yarrow and Mrs. J.C. Raynolds, the veteran of the station, having lived there forty-four years without slackening energy or enthusiasm. Besides these there were, as sharers of the dangers and [spoils?] of the siege the eight children of the Usshers and Yarrows and Miss Knapp, a visitor from the Bitlis Misson.
In spite of day and night bombardment from the imposing Fortress Rock, an isolated [?rising?] sheer from the flat plain immediately adjoining the old town, the handful of Armenians remaining there cut off from their fellows by the intervening Turkish gardens, shortly captured some of the fortified government buildings in their midst. Thirteen thousand cannon balls or shells were thrown from the fortress into the old town, but mainly fell harmlessly into mud walls, only three lives lost from the cannonade there.
Excited to New Fury
At the end of two weeks a runner from Ardetch, the second town of the vilayet, brought news that the Governor had butchered all the male and many of the female inhabitants, and he alone had escaped to tell the story. He had passed a night under a heap of corpses, he declared, and his story excited the Armenians to a new fury.
Provisions and ammunition were running low when the end came with dramatic suddenness On May 15 and 16 all the vessels in the harbor sailed across the Lake of Van with families of Turks and, to mask the coming Turkish retreat, a more furious cannonade was begun; the Armenian mission at last became the target. In two days, half a hundred shells fell in the compound, one little Armenian girl being killed. Altogether 12,000 shells or cannon balls had been fired into the Armenian garden or residence city. At sunset May 16 the large barracks from which an unobstructed fire had been trained on the American mission, disgorged its garrison, who were seen to ride away across the farther hills. The Armenians rushed the last position of the Turks including the barracks and set them afire, killing most of the feeble remnant garrisons.
Wild Night of Rejoicing
There followed a wild night of frenzied rejoicing and incendiarism. The old town and the Turkish garden city went up in smoke. Half of Van, one of the prettiest cities of Asia, became a ruin. To make matters worse, Aram, appointed temporary Governor, allowed the cutting of shade trees in the Turkish quarter, partly for spite and partly to raise revenues.
The splendidly equipped Turkish hospital was plundered of its invaluable medicines before the missionaries, whose medical supplies were nearly exhausted, reached it. They extinguished three incendiary fires started in the hospital.
The Armenians claimed to have had ample provocation for reprisals, the Kurds having committed nameless atrocities and the Turks having executed160 Armenian prisoners, of whom 80 were sick or wounded, before they retired, shooting, besides all the Armenian conscripts in their ranks. The Turks left their own sick and wounded in terrible straits. Seventeen were rescued alive by the Armenians. The survivors declared they had had neither food nor water for four days. Scores were dead in their beds, largely of neglect.
The explanation of the Turkish retreat came on May 18 in the person of Vartan and 3.000 Armenian volunteers, followed by a Russian detachment.
Realizing that revenge must have its limits, both Armenian and Russian commanders delivered Kurdish women and children to the missionaries to the number of a thousand. The missionaries, however, were without proper medicines or food and were unable to give these refugees the care they required. Diseases have been raging in their narrow quarters.
The defense of the Armenian residence quarter was directed mainly by Armenak Yekarian, a noted partisan. To the correspondent of the Associated Press he related some of the incidents of the struggle. Early in the siege the Turks fired 110 cannon shot or shells at a position held by five Armenians. One was killed and another one was wounded. Three survivors and eight more riflemen took a house held by 220 Turks, killing at least six.
One of the most menacing of the Turkish positions was a barracks in the edge of the Armenian residence quarter. It was held by 120 Turks. Armenian sappers mined and dynamited it and the fleeing garrison left twelve charred corpses.
Jevdett Bey then sent ?00 men against an Armenian line held by forty-four riflemen. After a three hours’ fight the Turks retreated, leaving thirty-five dead on the field. The Armenians here lost one killed and two wounded.
The Turks had twelve cannon, about half of modern construction. Two of the old smooth bores exploded. The waste of Turkish ammunition contrasted strikingly in the prudence of the Armenians. It is estimated that half a million rifle shots were fired into the gardens in a single day.
What the Armenian revolutionary leaders will do with their opportunity remains to be seen. Grave errors have been committed. Some, not Aram, it is believed, have engaged almost openly in the pillage of Armenian merchants, of the stocks that were saved from the business center, and villagers of their remaining flocks. There is also murmuring among the democrats, who supplied half the fighting corps, but have not been allowed any influence in the administration.
Her Third Escape
Coming from a month's wandering over snow-bound passes with Russian armies, the Associated Press correspondent rejoicing exceedingly at the sight of the American flag, hospitably displayed to guide him into the town, and was enveloped in the peace of the hospitable missionary homes. One Armenian refugee remarked that it was her third escape into the same premises, from massacre. Not a year has passed without disquieting rumors or their realization.
But the missionaries have steadily pursed their work. Though they have guarded their neutrality and have helped all classes, there is some rejoicing now that the reign of the Turks is at an end. They are taking no sides for or against Russian annexation, which many Armenians prefer to autonomy; they say it will suffice if the Turk does not return to sow discord between the races and the religions of Van.
1. The Armenians had always enjoyed an autonomy, albeit an "internal" one, as Richard Hovannisian instructs us.
2. A mid-1915 French newspaper reported: "At the beginning of this war, Aram took up arms and became the head of the insurgents of Van." Aram Manoukian was not engaged in "self-defense," but fired the first shot; he was a great traitor to his Ottoman nation. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau believed Aram's forces numbered the higher end of 10,000-25,000, while the Armenian-sympathizing Rafael de Nogales, who faced off against the Van Armenians, vouched for 30,000-35,000, versus 12,000 Turks.
3. Naturally this account must make villains of the Turks and their "severe measures," but note the utter absurdity. When a nation is at war and particularly in desperate need of manpower to stave off invading superpowers bent on the nation's extinction, it is not as though the citizens of that nation would have the right to consider conscription as a "choice." From the war's outset, Ottoman-Armenians had joined their nation's enemies; their treacherous intention was clear, and that was to fight against their nation. Jevdet Bey was acting in self-defense. On April 24, the Armenians' celebrated "Date of Doom," it was Jevdet Bey who was considering a "deportation"... of Turks and Muslims whose lives the murderous Armenians were imperiling.
4. Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman army were treated no differently than Turkish soldiers, who were no less unfed. The reason why the Armenian soldiers were disarmed is that too many were acting treacherously and could not be trusted. The last thing the government wished was not to be able to make use of desperately-needed soldiers that were already trained and equipped.
5. Note how the lies of Armenian propaganda become unraveled even in a partisan article such as this. Despite efforts to make Jevdet into a monster (Peter Balakian tells us his hobby was to nail horseshoes onto Armenian feet), of course Jevdet was friendly and would have "consulted the Armenian leaders frequently and they trusted his professed sincerity"; it was only after the Armenians' treachery became too blatant to ignore did Jevdet perform his duty and try to defend his people and territory.
6. How could Jevdet have made "an end of the [Armenian] race throughout the Empire" if his authority extended only to Van? If this threat was not made publicly, it's curious where the Armenian who provided this alleged statement might have heard it from.
7. The stupidities abound. Practically all able-bodied Muslim men in the area were away trying to defend the empire from mortal enemy Russia, poised at the gates, particularly after the army in the east was decimated in Sarikamish, no thanks to treacherous Armenians. The traitorous Armenian men, either having deserted or having avoided conscription were behind in huge numbers, massacring the Muslims. Yet here we are told the Armenians, those eternal victims, still suffered "incomparatively" more. And just as we're trying to recover from that fearsome lack of logic, we're told Jevdet arranged for four Armenians to talk sense into their fellow revolutionists, to try and get their dangerous behavior under control. Then, for no reason whatsoever, he arranges for their murder. It seems even the reporter realized the stink, and made sure to remind his readers these stories derived from the assertions of Armenians."
8. If Jevdet was "obdurate" in trying to put down a rebellion during dangerous wartime, then Jevdet was doing nothing less than his job... much as the article tries to make it seem as though he were a brute. And do we need further confirmation as to how much these missionaries were in total cahoots with their beloved Armenians? The reason why they found the protection of a Turkish guard objectionable was because they did not want the authorities to be near the subversive activities the Armenians were up to, with the cooperation of the missionaries.
9. The "hostilities" had actually begun earlier than April 20th. They were merely heating up by this point, playing a good part in the government's decision to arrest the ringleaders of the rebellion in Istanbul four days later, marking the beginning of the "genocide."
10. 1,500 youths is nothing less than a small army. If we are to take that word literally, we'd need to assume many were "kids"; a dangerous component of the Armenian community, necesitating their inclusion in the "deportation."
11. Now doesn't that take the cake. The two-faced Armenians switch gears from "friend" to enemy as soon as they smell blood, and when Jevdet responds to this threat as he was duty-bound to do, suddenly his previous friendliness must be described as a "mask."
12. The accent here is on the word, "story." Such stories of hearsay from inventive Armenians were, as a rule, accepted as fact.
13. We're meant to get the idea that the Turks were so cruel, they neglected their own. Recruiting genocide-speak, was such neglect a result of "intent"? Or is it possible manpower and resources were severely limited? Whatever the reason, the "genocide"-busting conclusion is this: If the Turks couldn't take care of their own, why should Armenians have received special treatment?
14. Note the double standard, compared with Footnote 13 above. Suddenly, the neglect of Muslims under missionary care is presented as a "couldn't be helped" case. It's interesting to contemplate who might have received preferential treatment with the limited provisions on hand... Armenians, or Muslim Kurds? Since that one is a no-brainer, here is another point to ponder: precisely how limited was this revenge by Armenians? Since the mass killings had barely begun, of course that is another no-brainer. Finally, since the Armenians fired the first shot, how could their murders of Muslims be justified as a revenge mode?
15. Armenian battle stories must always be presented with limited losses for the Armenians and overwhelming losses for the Turks.
16. Business as usual for the Dashnaks and other revolutionary leaders, criminally exploiting their own. These were the gangsters the Armenian community put their trust in, only to see the terrorists destroy the Armenians' cushy, prosperous lives. Since Armenians are not "man" enough to take responsibility for their decisions, when they lost their gamble and were faced with ruin, they immorally had to make a "genocide" out of these events.
17. Yes, those missionaries were certainly known for their "neutrality," all right. And how interesting that the Armenians preferred Russian dominance over independence. They must have been very happy when they would get their wish some six years later, enslaved over the next sixty years, with that warm and cuddly, fair Russian treatment.
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: