21 August 2007

1893) Project for Autonomous Armenian provinces - Put Into Force and Cancelled in Summer 1914

Dear All
Aug. 17, 07
Few months ago one of our devoted friends (HS) sent me a French Text of below Project, which he had found in the British Library. Since my French is insufficient, I asked another lady friend (A.V.) to translate it in English, which she did. I must admit that reading both the French text and the English version (as best it could be translated) this PROJECT has been penned by some unknown authority in the past, with much twisted mentality and distortion of facts, statistical figures, theories, scenarios. etc., forming an excellent example of bigotry. Before you read this mumbo-jumbo regulation of Turkish animosity and dictate of Super Powers to chop the provinces where Armenians lived for not more than 15% of the total population. . .

I provide below a book excerpt, which will show you what this PROJECT was all about, and which was pushed for many years by Super Powers, but could not be implemented because they could not agree on the names of the General Governors. Finally they agreed on Norwegian Colonel Hoff, and Dutch Mr. Westenek (ex-governor in West Indies) to take charge of the two new autonomy provinces one with capital in Erzurum, the other in Van. Actually, another protocol was signed with Russians (and may be other Guarantors) in Feb. 1914 and both Governor Generals arrived in Istanbul in April-May and went to their capital cities, but after the assassination incident in Sarajevo in June, and coming WW1, the Governors went back to their countries. This historical fact has not been brought into light by many scholars.

Still a much more significant fact which has not been emphasized by scholars, is the reality that during the Dashnaksutiun Congress in Erzurum in August 1914, the CUP government sent an envoy, informing that the interrupted/disposed PROJECT will be re-activated if the Dashnaks will fight on the Turkish side and those Armenians in Russia would raise in revolt. Whilst some vague promises were made for Turkish Armenians. the Federation in Tiblisi, after informing the Tzar (who promised not only the 6 Turkish provinces but 2 more Russian provinces) observed the advice by Britain to stick to their Russian Ally. Hence, the Russian urgently provided arms to the Volunteer Units and the quick course of known incidents happened before and after entering WW1. Given these facts, it will be not be logical to think that the CUP Government had devised a `plan of annihilation` at earlier dates for Armenians for just being Christians, when in reality Enver had counted on the Dashnak support.

Sincere thanks to HS and AV for their assistance. The French original text can be found at referred place and can be forwarded by me, although in not so clear format.

Sukru S. Aya

“At a time when Russia was insisting on extensive reforms for the Ottoman Armenians, it was denying its own Armenians those very rights… In the end, the Ottoman Government accepted a Russo-German proposal, worked out in February, 1914, which provided for the creation of two Armenian provinces, one incorporating Sivas, Erzurum and Trabzon provinces and the other the provinces of Van, Bitlis, Harput and Diyarbakir. Each of the provinces was to be administered by a European inspector-general appointed by the great powers; by May the first two inspectors-general, a Norwegian and a Dutchman, assumed their posts. This was the situation in Ottoman Armenia at the outbreak of the Great War. The February, 1914 reforms had fallen short of Armenian aspirations, portioning the region in two separate entities instead of creating a unified province, diluting Armenian proportional strength in these new creations. Yet, for all their imperfections they contained the most far-reaching concessions the Armenians had managed to extract from their suzerain and most of them were eager to preserve these gains come what way. Hence, when the Ottoman Empire entered the war, the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul, as well as several nationalist groups, including the Dashnaksuthiun Party, announced their loyalty to the Ottoman Empire and implored the Armenian people to perform their obligations to the best of their ability. Not all Armenians complied with this wish. In its congress held in the Romanian town of Constanza shortly before the outbreak of war, the Hunchakian Party vowed to fight the Ottoman Empire. Scores of Ottoman Armenians, including several prominent figures, crossed the border to assist the Russian campaign. Others offered to help the Entente by other means.“ Efraim & Inari Karsh, Empires of the Sand, Harvard U..Press, pg.153

English Translation of Document “Projet de REGLEMENT ORGANIQUE pour L’ARMENIE TURQUE «
« British Library, Shelf Mark 8028.g.38(1) »

As per enclosed table Turkish Armenia comprises the cities of Erzurum and Van’ the north of the Diarbekir city, i.e. the west part of the Sanjak of Kharput (having on the west side as border, the river of Euphrates, the Argana (Ergani) sanjak at the north side of the sanjak of Seghert (Siirt) forming the Turkish part of Armenia, as well as the harbor of Rize between Trabzon and Batum in an attempt to facilitate the commerce and exports.

Armenia will be administered by an Armenian Governor general\ who will be nominated by the Sublime Porte, who has obtained the agreement of the Guarantor powers. He will reside in Erzurum.

The Governor general will be authorized with all the attributions of the executive power, will provide order and security the public within the boundaries of the province, will asses the taxes and nominate the administrative officers under his responsibility. He will appoint the judges, will convene and preside the Council general and will inspect all the administrative transactions within Province.

Invested with an Authority for five years, the Sublime Porte will not have the authority of removing him\ without the agreement of the Warrantor powers.

There will be a central administrating council, presided by the Governor general consisting as members: (1) Director of Finance, (2) Director of Public Works, (3) Legal counselor, (4) Commander of public forces, (5) Inspector of Christian schools, (6) Inspector of Moslem schools. The last inspector will be nominated by the Governor general based on the presentation of the chief magistrate of the province.

The province is divided into Sanjacks and these are subdivided into Kazas. Sanjack governors and Kazas sub-governors will be appointed by the Governor general.

The Governor and sub-governors are agents delegated by the Governor general as well as representatives of all these subdivisions of the province/ They will be assisted in their administrative activities by two Counselors appointed by the Governor General.

Keeping public order and security is the responsibility of the Governor general and 20% of the total revenues throughout the Province, will be annually paid to the Imperial Ministry of Finance.

Remaining revenues of the Province will be spent for necessary expenditures of communication and other public services.

20% of the revenue\ will be allocated for establishment and maintenance of schools. Necessary deduction shall be made for higher education schools and the balance will be distributed between Moslem and Christian schools in proportion with the population of each faith.

The chief of the Moslem Magistrate Court, will be appointed by his highness the Sultan and he will have the authority ti inspect all Shariat Courts of the Province.

Shariat Court will handle only the disputes between Moslems.

All other proceedings, be Civilian, Criminal or Commercial between Christians or between Christians and Moslems, will be handled by Ordinary Courts These courts will consist of three Judges appointed by the Governor General, and one of them will act as the President of such tribunals. The decision of court justice will be submitted to the Sub-governors of Kaza and to the Counselors. Special Regulations will determine the number of competence and attributions of the Shariat courts and Ordinary Courts and judges. A Civilian and a Criminal Code will be prepared to conform to the modern principles of justice of Europe shall be prepared/

There will be an entire freedom of culture
Each community will be in charge of their own religious establishments and clergy.

The public force of the Province shall consist of (1) Gendarmes and (2) Militia men.

The Militant force shall consist of (1) Armenians and (2) other nin-Armenian elements who have been settled in the province for more than five years and excluding Kurds and Circassians.

The Gendarmerie is responsible for law and order over the whole Province.

The gendarmes are under the command of a chief of Gendarmes, appointed by the Governor general of the Province, based on proposal of the General Commander of Public Forces and shall serve under the command of the latter.

The Militia (National Guard) serves under the Commander General of Public Forces and will assist the gendarmes\ in case of necessity.

At ordinary times, the active force of the Militia shall be composed of 4,000 armed men, without prejudice of the regular army of the Imperial government, to be located at their own cost in the respective fortresses of the Province.

The formation of the General Council is described hereunder:

Each Kaza will send two delegates, one being a Moslem and the other an Armenian for respective Moslem and Christian populations of the Kaza.

These delegates united in the headquarters of the Sanjak, will elect together two Counselors for the Sanjak, one being a Christian and the other a Moslem.

The Turkish Armenia is composed of:
The Vilayets of Erzurum and Van, with exception of lands ceded to Russia as stipulated in the preliminaries of the Peace of San Stefano. The populous centers of these vilayets are: Garin (Erzurum), Papert (Baiburt), Yerzenga (Erzincan), Manazguerd (Malasgirt), Moush, Paghes (Bitlis) and Van.

The total population of these cities, as per Official Almanac (Salname) of
the Empire for the year Hagira 1294 is: 2.066.000

Deducting the population for annexed territories - 366.000


Proportions of diverse races:

Armenians…. 1.150.000
Turcs 400.000
Nomadic Kurds 80.000

Zazas or Dembeliks, having their own religion and language 35.000
Yezidis, Sun worshippers mostly nomad, have their own language 13.000
Kintchous, a kind of Nomadic Gypsies 3.000
Greeks and Jews 5.000
Syrians 14.000

These two Vilayets comprise 109 Monastery or Convent establishments. (Note 1)

Note 1: Among these establishments some date back to the first centuries of Armenians adopting Christianity. These establishments constituting ecclesiastic brotherhood, were semi independent and were endowed with big territorial concessions in granted regions.

Despite being the object of plundering, these monasteries could conserve a lot of farming land and revenues in order to support schools, printing houses, asylums and other national establishments enabling continuation of national old traditions.
The North part of the Vilayet of Diarbekir, that is the oriental part of the Kharput Sanjack (having a frontier to the West of Euphrates), the Sanjaks of Argana, and the North part of the Sanjak of Seghext (Siirt). Populous centers are : Kharput, Egin, Tehimisgazdadzak, Palu, and Seghert (Siirt).

Total population as per Official Almanac 664.600
Deducting for the rest of Vilayet - 302.300

STATISTICAL NOTICE for the Population of Turkish Armenia :

It is difficult to estimate exactly the total number of Armenians in Turkey and still more difficult to establish through official documents the number of those who lived in respective Vilayets. No census to merit this name, took place. The one that the Ottoman Empire ordered in 1845 and which served as basis for the evaluations of Mr. Ubicini and based on which publicists spoke about Turkey after him, is also very incomplete; regardless of the fact that most regular of all the statements earlier or since was based on the same. In Turkey there is a remarkable dislike for counting as the non-Moslem citizens consider it, and always true, as a fore runner of the aggravations of taxes of Capitulations and “Bedelat”(fee to be exempt of military service) The figures declared to the agents in charge, are the most minimal numbers which they would accept, since the Government does not possess a Register of the Civil State, nor other possibility within reach or control.Mr. Ubicini basing himself on the 1845 census, arrives at the figure of 2.500.000 Armenians in Turkey, out of which 400,000 live in Istanbul and the Balkans, and the balance in Asia.But in all parts of the Ottoman Empire, in princedoms where more complete census could be effected lately, it was found that that the numbers given at the counting of 1845, were below the actual population.

So, Egypt in 1871 had a population of 5.200.000 (1)
Tunisia in 1876 “ “ 1.500.000 (2)
Serbia in 1876 “ “ 1.300.000
Roumania in 1873 “ “ 5,000.000
Total 13.000.000

Whereas Mr. Ubicini gives the following figures:

Egypt and Tunisia united 3.200.000
Serbia 1.000.000
Moldova – Vallachia (Roumania) 4.000.000
Total 8.200.000

Notes: (1) See Egypt Statistics of M.de Regny (2) For Tunisia and other countries see Political Economy of Maur Block

Here there is an excess of 4.800.000 lives or an average augmentation of about 60%

Why then, the figure of 2.500.000 Armenians is the same today despite 30 years of time difference? The majority of the Armenian population of the provinces, live in the countryside where the Turkish villagers, unable to support their struggle, leave in order to concentrate in big cities where public employment, the army and perception of taxes are procured with exclusion of other races, and where means of existence are relatively better. Then, the rural life is the only favorable environment to a considerably closed population, particularly in a poor country, where industry is poor or nonexistent or very poorly developed. It is this movement of displacement that led Crete, Bulgaria and other places to the loss of the Moslem element, whereas the Christians did not stop, increasing in spite of the periodic convulsions and wars. A method rigorously observed in the Armenians, obligates the young ladies and men to get married as soon as they become adults, and that the sons and grand children live under the same roof, together with their parents and grand parents. They work collectively and worry little for their living conditions during growth of children, because the Family assures the common substance and prosperity. When the chief dies, the next oldest person of the house, takes over. ………. The richer ones think of being established elsewhere, thus forming new groups.

Under these conditions we could be tempted to share the opinion of those who have obtained more satisfactory information about the regions inhabited by Armenians, affirming that the numb3er of the last ones reaches 3.1/2 millions, provided the Kurdish neighborhood was not, in certain locations, a serious obstacle in the developments and if a considerable number of families, being unable to obtain from agricultural proceeds, because of the existing corruptions, the legal taxes and are obliged to send to the Capital one or two of their members who, having left to their brothers or their parents the need to nourish their children are in charge of taking care of all and provide the money which may satisfy financial needs. (In a statement of the Patriarchate some years ago, he said that there was bout 30,000 Armenians living in Constantinople, away from their own families).

We reduce this estimation to 3 millions which constitutes an increase of ½ million or 0r 20% on the result of the census of 1845, an increase that should be attributed partly to the fact that births exceeded deaths and partly for the imperfect conditions under which the official census was performed.

These 3 millions Armenians are subdivided as follows: 400.000 in Constationople and other parts of the Balkans; this is the figure Mr. Ubicini gives and maintains. The Armenians of the European Turkey are residents, almost all in cities where they deal in commerce, industry and have reasons to believe that their number hasn’t been derived sensibly.

600.000 in Asia Minor and plains of Cilicia, 670.000 in Lesser Armenia (city of Sivas and sandjak of Kaiseri) and 1.300.000 in Greater Armenia in Turkey, that includes the cities of Erzurum and Van and the north part of the city of Diarbakir and that is the oriental part of the sandjak of Harput (having as border the west of Euphrates), the sandjak of Ergan’ and the norh of the Siirt sandjak.

The European travelers that usually visit the Balkans and the West of Asia Minor, are made to believe and to spread the opinion that the Armenians they meet a bit everywhere, are equally scattered on the whole surface of the Ottoman Empire. This is a mistake. The great mass of the people occupies the land of its old country. It is not all of the times correct to judge through the crowds of urban masses because one will have the false opinion regarding the population of Crete island, without considering the Moslem population in principal villages, or that of Bulgaria and Hersegovina, without visiting Edirne, Rustcuk and Mostar.

It is equally established by evidence that in Armenia, like in many other parts of Turkey, the report of the Christians and that of the Moslems has enormously changed since 1845. Whereas along the years, the Christian population has increased on a rapid progression, contrary to the situation manifested by Moslems.

The reasons of such a decline are complex, such as:
1. Drafting by army for military service.
2. The influx of Moslems in the cities
3. Their immigration to the capital and elsewhere is due to the fact that they want to work with Turkish officers or learn their living under all sorts of available means.

If a regular census were to be done today in the provinces that Armenia comprises

in Turkey we would see that the number of Armenians have exceeded the number of Moslems.

It is equally to be noted that the Moslems living in Armenia, are of Armenian origin. These in many locations have conserved their customs, their languages and the habits of their race and it is not rare to meet among them individuals that are still designated by the name of their father or their Armenian ancestors; viz. Magros oglu Mustafa, Kirkor oglu Mehmet etc/

Note – 1: The Armenian Patriarch estimates that in Istanbul there are some 30,000 Armenians from villages working to support their families.

Note – 2: The prefix “DER” corresponds to the name of abbot; one known as priests of Armenian secular clergy. They get married as per rules of the old church.

The same applies for the Kurds who have permanent residence in Armenia/ It is easy to know from the names such as Mamketzi, Mentekli, Slivantzi, Rocgountzi or ancient Armenian families such as Mamkonian, Mantagouni, Selgouni and Rachdouni. Many of these Kurds practice a great number of Christian customs and they would not be considered as Mohammedans.

Here a question may arise in the mind of the lecturer, asking why Turks have neglected to this extent to occupy in superiority the regions of Armenia. It is because of the security of the climate which conserves this country for their children. The Turk, parasite and sensual by nature\ have preferred the warmer countries of Asia-Minor\ the European Turkey and Syria to the mountains covered with snow and the plateaus situated in an altitude of several thousands feet above sea level. He did not believe anyhow to be necessary to establish himself there politically or by foresight, the Kurds and other barbarous classes of people being there continuously to harass the in habitants, thus reducing them to powerless.

For this it was necessary to tolerate their (Kurds’) mistrust and encourage them always to be in need. He did it and it is probably the only case that one could not charge the Turk with negligence or default of the system.

They are electors and eligible for two degrees:

1. All inhabitants of the province aged over 25 years, who possess a property or contribute directl

2. The Clergy and Ministers of different religions

3. The professors and teachers of schools. The chiefs of the religious community will be acknowledged by law to be members of the council, one for each religion.

The General Council, convenes once a year in the headquarters of the province in order to examine and control the budget of the Province and assessment of taxes. An annual financial review must be presented by the Governor General to the General Council. The system of perception and assessment of taxes will be modified in order to facilitate the development of the country’s richness.

The Governor General and the General Council will fix under a common agreement .every five years the sums to be allocated to the Sublime Porte, in conformity with the dispositions indicated above.

An International Commission will be named for one year by the Guarantor Powers in order to inspect the execution of this regulation which will come into force in three months from date of of signature of the Protocol.
*********************** END **********************

Among the very thick dossier of authentic documents, I attach the French text of the Verbal Note dated 19.04.1919 by Ottoman Government, verbally reported on Feb.13, 1919 to the delegations of Swedish, Dutch, Danish and Spanish governments, requesting them to appoint two delegates to participate in the Investigation Committee for Armenian atrocities.

The negative reply of concerned delegations, abstaining from participation is also attached. This correspondence shows that:

a- The Ottoman Government who surrendered on 30.10.1918 with Mudros Agreement, and is under Allied Occupation in Istanbul, sincerely tried to have a neutral investigation, (most likely to please the Victors) but this request has been turned down. We also have information that Britain, when asked by respective four countries, said that they were doing the investigation themselves in Malta and that it was not necessary.

b- This correspondence is exchanged just a couple of months before Mustafa Kemal is sent to Samsun, again to investigate alleged atrocities in the district in mid May 1919.

Some of the Parliaments of the subject four countries have endorsed the Armenian Genocide accusation and no Turkish authority presented this official correspondence to them asking why they make such a claim today, when they abstained yesterday to be part of the investigation ?

Kind regards and thanks to Holdwater and T-Armenians

Sukru S. Aya

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