27 December 2006

1327) Evidence for Talaat Pasha from Lt. General a.D. Bronsart v. Schellendorf

Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, Nr. 342, 24.07.1921
Beiblatt, Morgen-Ausgabe (Morning Issue)



An evidence for Talaat Pasha
From Lt. General a.D. Bronsart v. Schellendorf
Ex-Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Army, (Latest Commander of the Royal Prussian Infantry Division). .

The witnesses heard in the lawsuit of Teilirian, were composed of persons either from people whose statements had no relevance with the process or those who had only "heard" about the events. Eyewitnesses, who had observed the reality themselves were not invited. Why were the German officers, who at the time of Armenian horror were serving at the scenes of the happenings, not interrogated? They were listed at the court, some had also received invitations stating that they should be ready for their witness, but finally none were called to court.
I hereby am obliged for the sake of truth to add my witness account, the omission of which was not my fault. It took for me a long time to reach the documents, that caused the delay.

In order to understand the role of Armenian horror in relation to the murdered prime minister, a short review is necessary.

Armenian terror is very old! It always happened since the Armenians and Kurds lived near each other along the borders of Russia, Persia and Turkey.

The Kurds are nomads and cattle owners, the Armenian deal with agriculture, are handworkers and merchants. The Kurd is uneducated, doesn't have a deep knowledge of money and its worth, and believes that interest is forbidden by the Koran. The Armenian as a merchant takes advantage of the unaware Kurds and exploits them unscrupulously. The Kurd feels that he is cheated and revenges the money-lender and thus the "Armenian horror" start. It must be stressed that conflicts of religion does not play a role.

The old quarrel was fed again when the Armenians during the World War revolted dangerously in the eastern border provinces of Turkey. They had no reasonable excuses, because the reforms that were induced by the 'great powers"' had already started to show their effects. The Armenians had their seats and votes in the (Ottoman) Parliament; they even filled the post of Foreign Minister. They had social and political rights equal to those of the folks of the State.

Peace in their lands was accomplished by the gendarmeries who were trained by the French General Baumann.
The revolt had a long preparation period. Many findings, such as published appeals, agitating brochures, arms, ammunition, explosives found in the Armenian areas have proven that it was provoked, supported and paid by the Russians. A conspiracy planned against high bureaucrats and officers of the army in Constantinople was discovered on time. As all the Muslims, who were able to fight were in the Turkish army, it was easy for the Armenians to massacre the defenseless people, because they did not confine or limit themselves to a military flank attack from the back of the Turkish eastern army which had been engaged fighting the Russians in the front, but also exterminated the Muslim population in those areas. Their cruelty, I really testify as an eye witness, was far worse than later the Turks were blamed against the Armenian.

To keep in contact with his hinterland, the east army attacked. However, since they required all their forces against the overwhelming Russians, the revolt's circle encompassed Turkey's most distant places. So, the gendarmes were drawn near to attenuate the fight. As in all states, the gendarme is under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Minister was Talat, and he had to take the necessary precautions. It was very urgent, because the army's sensitive ways of support were blocked and endangered, the Muslim populations were escaping in thousands in desperation from the Armenian cruelty. In this critical situation the Cabinet decided to proclaim the Armenians as dangerous for the state and started to evacuate them from the border territories. They had to be transported into a non crowded populated but fertile, warless territory such as Northern Mesopotamia. The Minister of Internal Affairs and his subordinates, such as the gendarmes, had strictly to obey this decision.

Talat was not an unbalanced, revenging killer, but a statesman of comprehensive views. He generally believed that the Armenians, apart their temporarily agitation by the Russians and Russian-Armenians' religious faith comrades, would in peaceful times become serviceable citizens and hoped that they, without the Russian influences and Kurdish fights in their emigrated residences, would through their intelligence and diligence, put the land to flourish.
Talat also had foreseen that the Allied press would take advantage of the emigration of the Armenians to present make a holy propaganda against the "Crushing of Christians" by the Turks, and had therefore tried to avoid harsh measures. He was right. The propaganda started right away and was successful. Every foreign circle believed in this incredulous silly reaction. Crushing of Christians, Moreover, In a land, which had alliance with the Christian countries, with a great number of Christian officers and soldiers in their army as co-fighters.

I come now to the realization of the plan of the Armenian resettlement. The Turkish land with its wide spread out location, but with deficiencies in connections and correspondences, put the Armenians in a situation, with more or less independence from the central government. The governors (Valis) had more rights than our highest civil officials of provinces. Based on this situation, they take the final decisions or sentence themselves in their governing area. The orders of the Ministries would sometimes be carried out differently in a way not intended. This was carried out by the official directors in its sequence in their under officials, and the insight could be lost.

The uncommon difficult task, to lead beside thousands of Muslims who took refuge by escaping and also the Armenians in the ordered marching ways, in addition to feeding and sheltering them, was under the powers of the few and untrained officials. Here took Talat over with all the means and great energy. His ordered appropriate directions to the Valis and to the gendarmes must still be available. Numerous written records of the Ministry of Internal Affairs sent to the Minister of war, which are known to me due to my position, demanded urgent help from the army, which was granted as far as the war situation allowed. Food and forwarding agents, shelter rooms, doctors and medicine were disposed, in spite of considerable deficit in the army itself. Despite all efforts to alleviate their fate, thousands of Muslim fugitives and Armenian refugees unfortunately could not keep up with the difficulties involved during their strenuous march and succumbed.

At this point, one could raise the question as to whether the situation couldn't be foreseen and the resettlement be discontinued. Leaving aside that the Turkish fugitives, having reasonable fear from the Armenian violence and rape, would not allow to stay, one has also to consider the stately necessity of the migration of Armenians outside, of zones of revolt.

Let us take for example the present situation in Germany. If a Minister had the power to order: "All Polish revolts will be evacuated from Oberschlesien and will be put into a prisoners camp" or: "All the terrorist communists will be deported and left, on the shores of Soviet Russia!", wouldn't this lead to an uproar of approval throughout Germany?. May be the Judges in the Teilirian process will later ask themselves such questions. They will then come to a new and less severe judgment over the deportation of the Armenians.

Talat has rejected the Army's demand to deport all Greeks from the Mediterranean shores, because they were accused of espionage only. There was no revolt, as in the Armenian case. He was a statesman, not a murderer.

Coming now to the horror that was premeditatedly committed against the Armenians. They have been numerously verified, that there is no doubt that it is a fact.

I will begin with the Kurds. It is obvious that this race profited the rare and unique opportunity to plunder and kill the hated Armenians during their march, who in addition had committed horror against the Muslims. The painful trip of the Armenians crossed many days and weeks through Kurdistan. There was no other way to Mesopotamia.

Judgments differ about the behavior of the Turkish Gendarmes who were accompanying the Armenian herds. In some places they have safeguarded their refugees very bravely against the Kurdish bandits. In other places, it is said that they have fled. They were also blamed to have robbed or killed the Armenians with the Kurds or alone by themselves. No proof is available that they have committed these crimes on orders of higher offices. Talat cannot be blamed for it. The events occurred 2000 km away from him, and the gendarmes as mentioned before, had been trained by the French until the outbreak of war. It can not be denied that Turkish officers had profited from the Armenians or have violated them. However, if such an action was noticed by their commanders, they were strictly punished.
Wehib Pasha, the chief commander of the east army, let two Turkish officers shot to death by the military war tribunal..

Enver Pasha punished the governor of Aleppo, a Turkish general, who became rich by exploiting Armenians, with discharge from all his posts and with penalty of long imprisonment.

I think that these examples are enough to prove that there was no intension to abominate the Armenians. But it was wartime and the practice was wild. I remember the cruelties that the French have exerted to our wounded and imprisoned soldiers. Have the foreigners experienced such violence?

As I have heard, beside the murdered minister Enver Pasha was also attacked in the German court. As I have witnessed him, Enver loves his country very much; he is a respected soldier with great talents and unreachable courage. The reform of the Turkish Army was accomplished thanks to his efforts of long duration and fights against the mighty countries and he still is fighting for his country. According to my observations as chief of general staff from 1914 to 1917, having very near relations to these two men, I say that no German officer can be nominated to sentence him and his friend Talat Pasha.

Talat Pasha has become a victim of his love for his country. I hope that Enver Pasha will succeed, when his time comes, to improve his country to new peaks. The memories in most difficult times, of these two men with their full trust and friendship that they have bestowed upon me makes me proud.





Dear All,

Genl. Bronsart article Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung No.342, 24.07.1921

Above article in German and Turkish was kindly provided early this month, through TF and Sul hanim, and since then I have been begging (Dec.6th) for somebody proficient in both German and English to make the direct translation of this important document.

Thanks again to my class mate Prof. Teoman Onat (retired surgeon) who had helped me in finding a friend of his in New York which did the translation of the Dutch paper into English,

for providing attached translation from German into English. If you wish to thank him for his outside support you can send a hello to him at cc..

"By the way Ataov, Onat and myself we are all from the same class RC 51, and over 75 yrs of age. Imagine how much better we would have acted, if we were to be as young as most of the rest."

This is a very important document refuting all allegations of “intended annihilation”.

(General Bronsart was next to Enver as his right hand at all times, and of course in front lines of the Sarikamish offensive. Another source explains how they barely they escaped from falling prisoners to the Russian Army – supported by Armenian volunteers. They were all the way up in snow with soldiers, and if it was not to be the Armenian resistance delaying the surprise attack, Russian reinforcements that came, and the blizzard that followed, they would have been the victorious side. They gambled and lost with 80.000 young soldiers frozen and starved to death)

Sukru Server Aya

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