01 October 2007
Free E-Book Included At The End Of This post At 5 Nov 2011
The following valuable article is from the tetedeturc.com site, and it was only discovered by accident, through an unrelated search. This Turkish site in France excels, when compared to the many other run-of-the-mill Turkish "genocide" web sites, because the operators of tetedeturc ("Turk's head") actually take the trouble to dig up original material. It's too bad the site is in French, and this material is unavailable to those of us who follow the universally imperialist language of English.
The following unofficial translation is poor, mainly brought to you by the automatic translation service that you can see from the flags at left, and is only meant to give the gist of what is being said. To get at the purer original, readers are advised to consult the original French, the link for which has been provided above.
What's below is a remarkable telling of history, because practically everything the French historian wrote is in alignment with "Turkish propaganda," and yet Gaillard could not be .. accused, by any stretch of the imagination, to be an "agent of the Turkish government," particularly when the government at the time of his authorship was next-to-nonexistent, for all practical purposes, as the puppet Ottoman Turkish government was under the domination of the British and the French. And it's not that the author did not write from an Armenian slant, and relied on Armenian sources; note his constant description of the area in question as "Armenia," a common practice among Westerners of the period, even though there was no "Armenia" at the time; Gaillard also accepted Armenian figures for the worldwide population at the time as over four million, when the reality was closer to three million, and for the Ottoman Empire itself, the wildly propagandistic 2.3 million.
Note the accurate historical points that are made, totally contradicting the claims of Armenian propaganda:
Since the 14th century, Turks and Armenians co-existed rather well, until roughly 1878.
The role of the terrorist organizations in spoiling relations, and how the Patriarchs cooperated with them.
How the treacherous Armenians pledged themselves to Russia.
Most Ottoman-Armenian soldiers crossed over to the Russians.
Interestingly, note the usage by the Armenian-British Committee that what took place "among the various local races," at the behest of the Ottoman government, amounted to civil war ("la guerre civile"). This is a term that Vahakn Dadrian and other Armenian propagandists abhor when applied to what took place between the Armenians and the Turks, to preserve the image that the Armenians were all poor, innocent lambs. How ironic that the very term was good enough for the Armenians of the period, in a most related context.
Do bear in mind that the Tachnaktzoutioun in the text, and the "Tachnakistes" refer to the Dashnaks, and the "Hintchakistes" are, of course, the Hunchaks.
The introduction directly below is a not complete version of what the Turk's head web site operators had to say.
The text below is extracted from the book of Gaston Gaillard, "The Turks and Europe" ("Les Turcs et l'Europe"), published in 1920 by the Librairie Chapelot in Paris. The French historian, Gaston Gaillard, specialized in the Balkans and the Middle East, and his books included, "Le Mouvement Panrusse et les Allogènes" (1919), "L'Allemagne et Le Baltikum" (1919) and "La Fin du Temps" ("The End of Time," 1933). In "The Turks and Europe," the author analyzes "The Dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire" in chapter VII, beginning with the "Turco-Armenian Question" (pp. 264 to 297).
According to Gaillard, the Turco-Armenian question is inseparable from the "Question of the East" as a whole, and was made more critical by the policy of the Allies "which, after having carried out the dismemberment of Turkey, did not seem to have renounced the rejection of the Turks in Asia." The detachment of Armenia from the Ottoman Empire, according to the author, within the framework of this policy of "rejection" of the Turks, awakened the movements of pan-Turkism and pan-Arabism.
Not very known by the general public, the book of Gaston Gaillard sheds very interesting light on the historical Turco-Armenian disagreement, rupturing from the single thought which the Armenian lobby in France imposes on us.
Thanks to Professors Nuri Bilgin and Mustafa Oner for their invaluable contribution to the realization for this page. Good reading!
The team of Turk's Head
March 11, 2003
THE TURCO-ARMENIAN QUESTION
The Armenian question, which so deeply disturbed Turkey and complicated the question of the East, has in its origins Russia's covetousness of Asia Minor and comes from the interference of the latter in Turkish affairs under the pretext of protecting the Armenians. This question, as the difficulties prove was raised as a result, is one of the factors feeding the antagonism of the Slavs and the Turks and served as an episode of the conflict, supporting the blockage of the descent of the Slavs toward the banks of the Mediterranean, which the Russians always sought to reach either by way of Asia Minor or Thrace, or simultaneously by these two ways.
Mahomet II , after the conquest of Constantinople, had however instituted, in 1461, a patriarchate in favor of the Armenians. Different rights were granted to them various times by imperial decrees.
Of the religious Armenians of Calcutta, benefiting from freedoms which they enjoyed in India, at the beginning of the XVIIIth century, were Aztarar , Novelist, the first newspaper which appeared in the Armenian language, and, at the end of the same century, Mékhitharistes appeared in Venice Yéghanak Puzantian, the Byzantine Season. About the middle of the XIXth century, the same monks published a literary and documentary review, Pazmareb, which still appears nowadays. The Protestant Armenians also published a review of propaganda, Chtémaran bidani Kidéhatz, in Constantinople and, in 1840, the first big national daily in the Armenian language, Archalouis Araradian, the Dawn of Ararat, appeared in Smyrna.
In 1857, in the monastery of Varag, close to Van, Miguidirtch Krimian, who became patriarch and catholicos later, founded a printing works. Under the name of Ardziv Vaspourakan , the Eagle of Vaspourakan, he published a monthly review to support the cause of Armenian independence, and, at the same time, in Mush, printed a similar publication Artsvik Tarono , the Eaglet of Taron. The Armenians of Russia also started about the same time various publications, such as Hussissapaц╞l , the Aurora borealis, review published in Moscow in 1850 , and several newspapers with Tiflis and Bakou. The Armenians of Russia also started towards the same one to make appear time various publications, such as Hussissapail, the Aurora borealis, a review published in Moscow in 1850, and several newspapers in Tiflis and Baku. In 1860 , the authorization was granted to the Armenians to constitute an Armenian national Assembly to discuss and regulate their religious and national affairs.
Since the XIVth century, until this time, the Armenian element lived in good understanding with the Moslem element, and even the Armenians persecuted in Russia came to take refuge in Turkey. The Turks, who had found Armenians but not Armenia, because the latter had a very troubled history, with quite short periods of independence and changing borders, and the Armenians, which had successively undergone Roman, Séleucide, Persian and Arabic dominations, lived peacefully for six centuries with the Turks.
But since 1870, a group of young people gave a new strength at the same time as another orientation to the movement created and maintained by the Armenian monks and published in Constantinople works in favor of the Armenians.
In 1875, Portakalian founded the first Armenian revolutionary committee and published a newspaper, Asia. Shortly after the Araratian committee was constituted, which aimed at establishing close connections between the Armenians of Turkey and Russia, then other[s followed], Tebrotssassiranz, Arévélian and Kilikia.
Concurrent to those, committees were created with an aim of charity or economy such as 'the Association of devotees' and 'the Charitable organization,' founded in 1860, which proposed the development of Cilicia and collected important sums; these were not without an important role in the Armenian movement.
The Armenian question started to really arise and soon took an acuity which did nothing but grow, in 1878, following the Turco-Russian war, at the moment when Turkey had to face serious difficulties, interior as well as external; this question was covered by article XVI of the Treaty of San Stefano of July 10, 1878 and article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin.
Article XVI of the Treaty of San Stefano, written at the request of the Armenians and proposed by the Russian plenipotentiary, stipulated that "the Sublime Porte is committed in carrying out, without more delay, the administrative autonomy required by the local needs in the provinces inhabited by the Armenians." The Turks, who could not admit the formula "administrative autonomy", asked that this should be replaced by that of "reforms and improvements," but the Russians then required as a guarantee the occupation of Armenia by the troops of the Tsar. The Congress of Berlin removed this clause of guarantee and replaced the drafting suggested by Russia by the text proposed by Turkey.
With an aim of acquiring a moral influence on the Armenians in Turkey in order to secure domination of the region, the Orthodox [people] pledged themselves to tsarism, and worked toward being recognized as a higher authority by the patriarchate of Constantinople, and succeeded there, helped by Russian political agents. One was not going to be long in realizing that the purpose of the fastening of the catholicos to the patriarchate of Constantinople was to create a hostile current in Turkey within the Armenian populations of Russia and Asia Minor, and that this movement, as we will see, was going to appear anti-Turkish.
At the time of the arrival of the Russians to the doors of Constantinople at the end of the Turco-Russian war, Nerses Varzabedian who had succeeded Khrimian, went to the Grand Duke Nicolas with a delegation and a memorandum given to him in which, after having enumerated the objections of the Armenians against the Ottoman government, he asked "that one proclaim the independence of the Eastern provinces of Asia Minor inhabited by Armenians, or, at least, that these provinces pass under the control of Russia." A delegation made up of four prelates was sent by Europe in Rome, in Venice, in Paris and in London to ensure itself of the contest of the powers and those met at the Congress in Berlin. Their steps, the purpose of which were to obtain the maintenance of article XVI of the Treaty of San Stefano, only managed to insert article 61 in the Treaty of Berlin.
It is only towards 1885 that one intended to speak for the first time about what one called thereafter the Armenian movement, and which the Armenian revolutionists having taken refuge in England, in France, in Austria and America started to launch publications, to form committees, to protest against alleged Turkish exactions and to denounce the violation of the Treaty of Berlin.
These ideas of independence quickly made more and more progress, and the prelates who, after the death of Nerses, were known for their Turcophile feelings, like Haroutian Vehabedian, bishop of Erzeroum, elected official patriarch in 1885, saw themselves abandoned by the Armenian clergy and were soon in opposition with the members of the committees.
In 1888, Khorene Achikian, who succeeded Vehabedian, was also accused of Turcophilia and the committees endeavoured to replace him with Narbey who had formed part of the delegation sent to Europe at the time of the Congress of Berlin.
This Armenian movement necessarily caused between the various elements of the population the incidents which grew considerably worse and carried then by the bishops and the consuls with the knowledge of the European powers as the consequence of the cruelties exerted by the Turks.
Following the Turco-Russian war, the revolutionary agitation which occurred in Russia and in the Caucasus made its repercussion felt among the Armenians, and the Tsarist government , by measurements of rigor which it then took, did nothing but revive this agitation by increasing the dissatisfaction of the Armenians.
Migiurditch [Migirdich] Portakalian*, teacher from Van, came to Marseilles and in 1885 published the newspaper Armenia. Minas Tcheraz made its appearance at the same time in Paris, another newspaper under the same name. These publicists, so much in these bodies than by the conferences, claimed the application of article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin.
In 1880, revolutionary committees were formed in Turkey. In 1882, "the Association of the armed Men" was based in Erzeroum, and dissolved in 1883 following the arrest of some of its members.
An uprising took place in Van, in 1885, at the time of the election of a bishop, and insurrectionary movements occurred in Constantinople, Mush and Alachkehr, under various pretexts.
* (Holdwater: Portakalian is credited with the founding of the group Armenakan, but it was actually nine of his students who established it: Migirdich Terlemezian (Avetisian), Grigor Terlemezian, Ruben Shatavarian,Grigor Adian, Grigor Ajemian, M.Bratjian, Gevord Hanjian, Grigor Beozikian, and Gareghim Manukian. Others who read Portakalian's newspaper were inspired to set up the Hunchak Party.)
The following year, in 1886, a certain Nazarbey*, originating in the Caucasus , and his wife Maro, created, in Switzerland, Hintchak, the Bell, a social democratic committee proposing to grant the Armenians an autonomous administration, and founded in London a monthly body of the same name. This committee intended to reach that point not by the intervention or the mediation of the European powers which it considered useless to appeal to again, but by the only action of its organizations in all the country, charged to collect funds, to equip the men to foment disorders, and at the convenient period, after having weakened the government, to carry out its aspirations.
The Hintchak committee ensured itself of the representatives in all the large cities such as Smyrna, Aleppo, Constantinople, and its organization was completed in 1889.
In 1890, at the instigation of Hintchakistes, a revolt burst in Erzeroum and the incidents occurred in various localities. To Constantinople, armed demonstrators, preceded by the Patriarch Achikian, moved towards the Sublime Porte to present their objections, but were dispersed, and the reproached patriarch's correction was to resign thereafter.
Indeed, the Hintchak committee, which was not without finding support material from the representatives of the powers and mainly of those of Russia and England, continued its intrigues and redoubled their activity.
Sunday March 25, 1894, Samsoun, in the court of the church, a certain Agap, of Diarbekir, who had been selected by the Hintchak committee to assassinate the Patriarch Achikian, to which the committee reproached for maintaining the correct relationship with the Ottoman government, shot at the prelate a blow from a revolver which did not reach him. Following this attack, Achikian resigned and Matheos Ismirlian, who was supported by the committees, was elected patriarch thanks to the pressure exerted by the latter on the French National Assembly. Matheos Ismirlan took at once the chair of Hintchak to which it gave a new extension, and a little later was named president of the ecclesiastical council of the patriarchate and then the catholicos of Cilicia, a priest named Kirkor Aladjan, which had been revoked and sent from Constantinople after having insulted the governor of Mush.
* [Holdwater: Avetist Nazarbek, or Nazarbekian]
(The committees stepped up their activities) benefiting from the tolerance of the Ottoman government and its benevolent provisions with regard to the Armenians, devoting itself to active propaganda against the Turks.
Some Armenians, who felt that the program of the "Hintchak" committee did not satisfy, founded in 1890, a new association under the name of "Trochak" which took, later, that of "Tachnakizoutioun," and published the Trochak newspaper . The members of this committee had recourse to the threats and terror to obtain the money which was necessary for them and did not feel reluctant to assassinate people who refused to go to along with the injunctions of the committee. In 1896, the committees attempted an armed attack against the Ottoman Bank. Armed comitadjis* from Europe with Russian passports, made an [eruption] at the Ottoman Bank and were dispersed by the governmental troops. But the promoters of the attack were not stopped thanks to the protection which was granted to them by the Russian and French authorities. Escorted by Maximof, of Armenian origin, first dragoman of the embassy of Russia, and Rouet, first dragoman of the embassy of France, they were brought aboard the steamer "the Gironde," of the Maritime Transport. The members of the "Trochak" retrenched in the churches of Galata, of Samatra and the Patriarchate beseeched the grace of the government, while Arméne Aktoni, one of the chiefs of the committee, committed suicide, after having awaited the arrival of the English fleet [boat] of Soulou-Monastir, in Samatra.
The bishops continued, not without success, to request the contest of the Russian, English and French consuls; however, Monsignor Ismirlian, who had sent an ultimatum to the imperial Palace and continued his intrigues, finally was revoked in 1896 and was sent to Jerusalem.
At that time, Armenians left in great number for Europe and America, and the Catholicos of Etchmiadzine sent to the Conference of the Hague delegates to expose the Armenian question in Turkey. These committees, which deployed such an activity in Turkey, did not undertake anything in favor of their compatriots in Russia.
The committees which had founded themselves during or before the patriarchate of Nerses under the names of "Ararat", "the East", "Friends of the Instruction", "Cilicia", had amalgamated themselves in 1890 under the name of "Miatzal Anikéroutioun Hayotz", and this association continued to extend the organization of committees to the smallest localities, benefiting from the tolerance of the Ottoman government and its benevolent provisions with regard to the Armenians, devoting itself to active propaganda against the Turks.
This propaganda was assisted by the Armenian bishops in the Eastern provinces, where they endeavored to cause a European intervention. On their end, the Russians, continuing their dream of domination of the Orthodox Church at the same time as that of the absorption of Armenia, pushed the Armenians by all the means against the Turks, and encouraged them to carry out their national ideal, thus more easily attracting them under Russian domination.
* [Holdwater: committee-men]
In 1905-1906, the maneuvers of the Armenian committees managed to create an animosity between Kurds and Armenians, to which no series of reform seemed able to put an end.
The action of these committees was, as we will see, very important in the events which proceeded in Asia Minor.
Insurrections, traces of which were found since 1545 and which lasted until the proclamation of the Constitution in 1908, continuously took place in the mountainous area of Zeitun. These insurrections were favored by the form of the feudal administration which had been maintained in this area. Each of the four districts of Zeitun was controlled by a chief who had taken the title of "ichehan," prince, a kind of lord to which the Turkish villages were to pay a royalty received by special clerks*. The action of the committees did not fail to make profitable this state of affairs, and it is only in 1895 that the Ottoman government put an end to it
The Armenians had already refused the payment of the taxes and had revolted on several occasions between 1782 and 1850, time to which the Turks exasperated by plunderings and the exactions of the Armenian mountain dwellers gave up their goods and emigrated. Until there the revolts of Zeitoun could be allotted to the administration of the "ichehan." But the instigators of the Armenian movement were not long in being useful themselves of these continual disorders and soon gave them a new character. This movement was encouraged and largely supported by Armenians who lived abroad, and, in 1865, following alleged exactions of the Turks, the nationalist committees rose against the government to claim the independence of Zeitun. The revolts followed one another then without discontinuity until that which the Hintchakistes determined in 1895 and which lasted 45 days.
In 1890, the committees "Hintchak" and "Tachnakzoutioun" had caused insurrections with Erzeroum, and, in 1894, in Sassoun, where the attack against the Achikian patriarch took place about which we spoke of earlier. In 1905 Tachnakistes began a new insurrection there. The rebellion gained Amassia, Sivas, Tokat, Mush and Van, and the committees worked to extend and worsen it. In 1905-1906, the maneuvers of the Armenian committees managed to create an animosity between Kurds and Armenians, to which no series of reform seemed able to put an end. For the remainder of 1909-1910, at the time of new disorders, the revolutionary chiefs openly attacked the Ottoman troops.
Two years after the confiscation and the handing-over with the Ottoman government of the movable property and buildings belonging to the Armenian churches which had taken place on June 21, 1903, Batoum was, February 6, 1905, the theatre of massacres, and those were renewed then in Erivan, Nakhjivan, Choussa and Caussak. In 1908, the government of the Tsar made a violent oppression of all the Caucasus and an ukase ordered the election of a new catholicos, in the place of Mgr. Khrimian, who died in October 1907. Mgr Ismirlian was named to succeed him in 1908. At this time, Russian tyranny was felt so hard that the Tachanakistes took refuge in Constantinople, where the Young Turks did not hesitate to give an opinion in favor of the Armenians of Russia.**
* (Holdwater: we are frequently told how the eastern Armenians needed to pay off the persecuting Kurdish tribes. Here, we learn the Turks were paying off the Armenians of Zeitun. The following paragraph makes clear the extent to which the Turks were persecuted by these "mountain Armenians," finally forcing them to leave the area.)
** (The Dashanks fled the tyranny of Russia, for the safe refuge of the Ottoman Empire. The irony could not be greater.)
Since 1905, the Armenian committees had decided, in a Congress held in Paris, to put to work all its means to arrive at the independence of Cilicia. Russia, on its side, actively endeavored to spread orthodoxy among the Armenians ... in order to extend its zone of influence ... and to thus clear a passage towards the Mediterranean.
In 1907, the Armenians of Bitlis, Diarbekir and Harput provided a petition to the consulate of Russia, composed of more than 200.000 signatures, to ask their admission to Russian subjection.
One could believe that after the proclamation of the Constitution, the committees which had sought to hasten the fall of the empire by an agitation that would have enabled a foreign intervention, would put an end to their revolutionary activity and occupy themselves more with social and economic questions. Sabah-Gulian, originating in the Caucasus, chair of the "Hintchak," in a meeting of the Hintchakist committee held in 1908 with the Sourp-Yerourtoutioun church of Pera, declared, concerning the Hintchak program and of the constitutional mode: "Us Hintchakistes, fine at revolutionary activity, let us work all of our forces for the progress of the fatherland." On its side, Agnoni, of Russian origin, one of the presidents of the Tachnaktzoutioun, proclaimed that "the first duty of Tachnakistes would be to join their efforts to those of the Committee Union and Progress to maintain the Ottoman Constitution and to ensure the harmony and the harmony between the various elements."
The union of the committees was then dissolved, the new situation of the Turkish empire having brought between them differences in opinion, but, a little later the Tachnakzoutioun committees, Hintchak, Veragaznial-Hintchak were not long in reorganizing and in forming new committees in all of Turkey. The Ramgavar * committee, right of the people, was constituted in Egypt, by Mr. Boghos Nubar, after the proclamation of the Constitution, and made watch of the greatest activity. This committee, in March 1914, intended itself to act in liaison.with the "Hintchak", the "Tachnakzoutioun" and the "Veragazmial-Hintchak." Another committee, the "Sahmanatragan," also constituted itself. These committees ensured themselves of the support of the patriarchate and the bishops to harden their influence and extended their ramifications everywhere in order to obtain the majority with the elections. They were devoted to an active propaganda to gain the Armenian public opinion using publications of all kinds: books for the schools, almanacs, postcards, songs, etc, published in Geneva or in Russia
Since 1905, the Armenian committees had decided, in a Congress held in Paris, to put to work all its means to arrive at the independence of Cilicia. Russia, on its side, actively endeavored to spread orthodoxy among the Armenians in the areas of Adana, Marash and Alexandrette, in order to extend its zone of influence on this side and to thus clear a passage towards the Mediterranean. With the remainder, the bishop of Adana, Mochègue, got busy to prepare the revolt which was to explode soon.
The Christians of Armenia thus facilitated the extension of the Russian empire. In 1904-1905, steps were taken by Nestoriens so that Russian priests were sent to them and [for them] to pass [convert] to orthodoxy. In 1907, the Armenians of Bitlis, Diarbekir and Harput provided a petition to the consulate of Russia, composed of more than 200.000 signatures, to ask their admission to Russian subjection.
* (Holdwater: It is believed in some circles that the Armenakan Party evolved into Ramgavar.)
(Russian consul in Bitlis to his ambassador in Istanbul writes that the Dashnaks' purpose is to bring the Russians into the Ottoman Empire, and that) "to arrive at this purpose, the Dashnaks have recourse to various means and endeavor to bring collisions between the Armenians and the Moslems and especially with the Ottoman troops."
The chief Hintchakiste Sabah-Gulian himself acknowledged, in the newspaper Augah Hayassdan (Independent Armenia), that the members of the committee had benefited from the negligence of the Turks to open armories where those were sold at half price, when they were not given as free.
The Armenian committees benefited from the legislative elections to attempt a new agitation. They redoubled activity, and, contrary to their engagements, Hintchakistes parted with the members of the opposition who fled abroad.
At the time of the Balkan war, in 1913, the Tachnakistes committees launched proclamations against the Ottoman government and the Union party. The consuls of Russia at Erzeroum, Bitlis, did not dissimulate their sympathies, and, that of Van threatened the vali [Ottoman governor] of the arrival of the Muscovite troops through Azerbaijan under the pretext of the alleged dangers which the Armenians had to fear on behalf of the Turks and to restore the order.
But while Russia choked without care at all the attempts of the Armenian committees, it encouraged and gave an energetic support to those which fomented revolts in Turkey. Of the remainder, in the report addressed by the consul of Russia to Bitlis, with the ambassador from Russia in Constantinople, the date of December 24 1912, this one under the No. 63, informs its government that the intention of the Tachnakistes is "according to their own terms to bring the Russians here" and which "to arrive at this purpose, the Tachnakistes have recourse to various means and endeavor to bring collisions between the Armenians and the Moslems and especially with the Ottoman troops." It quotes in support of this assertion some facts which do not leave any doubt about its veracity
He wrote, which today singularly clarifies the policy of the Allies:
"Your Excellency will understand that the future conflict between Armenians and Moslems will depend, partly, on the policy and the activity of the Tachnakzoutioun Committee, the course of the negotiations of peace between Turkey and the Slavic States of the Balkans, and, following these negotiations, of the possibility of an occupation of Constantinople by the Allies. If the deliberations of the Conference of London did not lead to peace, the approach of the fall of the Ottoman capital would not be without influencing the relationship between the Moslems and the Armenians of Bitlis.
The Armenians of the cities, as well as those of the country, have, just as their religious chiefs always testified to their leaning and their affection for Russia and declared on several occasions that the Turkish Government is unable to maintain order, law and prosperity. Many Armenians promise, as of now, to offer their churches to the Russian soldiers to be converted into Orthodox temples.
The current state of Balkans, the victory of the Slavic and Hellenic governments on Turkey, over-excited the Armenians and filled to their hearts with the hope and the joy of being delivered from Turkey."
A press campaign was made at the same time by the Armenian newspapers of Europe, Constantinople and America and, in particular, by Agadamar, organ of the Tachnaktzoutioun committee, which did not feel reluctant to launch all kinds of calumnies against the Turks and to announce so-called attacks.
The sending to Bitlis of a Commission made up of Armenians and Turks, chaired by an English[man], for the application of the reforms in the Turkish provinces close to the Caucasus, was not, as well one thinks, to satisfy the Armenians and the Russians who had sacrificed many soldiers to assure the possession of it.
Benefiting from the difficulties of the Ottoman government after the Balkan war, the committees reflected agreement to again raise the question of the "reforms of the Eastern provinces." A Special subcommittee, which had as a president M. Boghos Nubar, was sent by the Catholicos of Etchmiadzine attached to the European governments to support the Armenian claims. A press campaign was made at the same time by the Armenian newspapers of Europe, Constantinople and America and, in particular, by Agadamar, organ of the Tachnaktzoutioun committee, which did not feel reluctant to launch all kinds of calumnies against the Turks and to announce so-called attacks.
In 1913, Russia took the initiative of a project of reforms to be introduced in Armenia. She made Mr. Giers* communicate with the Conference of the six ambassadors which entrusted the study of [the reforms] through a commission. German and Austrian representatives being shown unfavorable to the Russian project before this commission of the Armenian reforms which meets of June 20 to July 3, 1913 with the embassy of Austria-Hungary at Yeni-Keni; Russia, following this failure, endeavored to lead Germany to accept its point of view.
*(Holdwater: Mikhail Nikolayevic von Giers was the Russian ambassador in Istanbul. From Ambassador Morgenthau's Story book: "Giers... was a proud and scornful diplomat of the old aristocratic régime. He was exceedingly astute, but he treated the Young Turks contemptuously, manifested almost a proprietary interest in the country, and seemed to me already to be wielding the knout over this despised government." A knout is a "leather scourge formerly used for flogging criminals in Russia.")
Mr. Giers and Mr. Wangenheim fell from agreement in September 1913 on a program to which the Sublime Porte opposed a counter-proposal. However the representatives of Russia managed to conclude between January 26 and on February 8, 1914, a Russo-Turkish agreement.
Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Sasonov was fired
by Tsar Nicholas in 1916.
When the plan of the reforms was outlined and that attributions and the competence of the inspectors and their personnel were determined, the Catholicos addressed a dispatch of congratulations to Mr. Boghos Nubar and this one sent another of them to Mr. Sasonov, because the Armenian committees regarded the results obtained as a first step taken towards autonomy. Encouraged by this first success, the committees stepped up their activity. The Tachnaktzoutioun transferred its seat to Erzeroum and a congress was established. The Hintchak committee sent to Russia and to the Caucasus several of its most influential members to collect funds, in order to foment a rising with an aim particularly of reaching the Union party and Progress and of reversing the government. Meanwhile, the war exploded.
(The Hunchaks and Dashnaks instructed) that if the Russians advanced, all the means were to be employed to obstruct the retirement of the Ottoman troops, to disrupt their supply and that, if the Ottoman army advanced, the Armenian soldiers were to give up their formations, to constitute bands and to join to the Russians.
...The majority of the Armenians which were mobilized crossed over to the Russian side, where after being equipped and being armed again, they were sent against Turkey.
...The Armenians did not answer the call of the mobilization and prepared for the insurrection while waiting for the arrival of the Russians.
The patriarch, serving as the representative of the Armenian nation, brought together in council, under his presidency, the chiefs of Tachnaktzoutioun, Hintchak, Ramgavar and Vergazmial-Hintchak, and the members of the Armenian French National Assembly affiliated at these committees, to intend itself on the attitude to adopt if the Ottoman government would take part in the war. No decision was made, as reserved Hintchakistes and Tachnakistes preferred to await the turning of events. However each of these committees continued on their end their activity and transmitted to the provinces the instructions saying that if the Russians advanced, all the means were to be employed to obstruct the retirement of the Ottoman troops, to disrupt their supply and that, if the Ottoman army advanced, the Armenian soldiers were to give up their formations, to constitute bands and to join to the Russians.
The committees benefited from the situation in which the Ottoman government hardly left a disastrous war and engaged in a new conflict to determine insurrections in Zeitun and in the sandjak of Marash, Cesaree and especially in the vilayet of Van, and that of Bitlis, in Bitlis, Talori and Mush, and that of Erzeroum. In the sandjak of Erzeroum and Bayezid, after the order of mobilization, the majority of the Armenians which were mobilized crossed over to the Russian side, where after being equipped and being armed again, they were sent against Turkey. It was the same in Erzindjan, where three quarters of the Armenians passed to Russia. Armenians of the vilayet of Mamouret' ul Aziz (Harput), where the Moslems were also attacked and where weapons were gathered, provided many recruits to the battalions directed by Russia towards Van and the Persian border. Many emissaries had been sent out of Russia and Constantinople to Dersim and its surroundings to rouse the Kurds against the Othoman government. It was the same in the vilayet for Diarbekir, where the Armenians were however in a minority. One discovered there deposits of weapons of all kinds at the same time as of many refractories.
In the area of Kara-Hissar, where they had tried small revolutionary movements during and after the Balkan war, the Armenians did not answer the call of the mobilization and prepared for the insurrection while waiting for the arrival of the Russians.
Similar incidents: insubordinations, attacks against the Turks, threats with the families of the mobilized Moslems, occurred in the vilayet of Ankara. In the vilayet of Van, when the Russians, which had joined Armenian volunteers, undertook an offensive movement, Armenian peasants gathered and prepared themselves to attack the Ottoman civil servants and gendarmes. At the beginning of 1915, revolts took place with Kevache, Chatak, Havassour and Timar and were propagated out of Ardjitch and Adeldjivaz. In Van, more than five thousand had risen, of which seven hundred of them attacked the fortress, jumped the military and governmental buildings, those of the Ottoman Bank, the national Debt, the Control of the Tobaccos, the mail and telegraph Stations and put fire to the Moslem district. This insurrection was calmed towards the end of April. Many Armenian bands, ordered by Russian officers, then tried to cross the border on the side of Russia and Persia.
But one cannot accept information which claims that the figure of the Armenians massacred by the Turks would rise to more than 800.000, and who do not speak about the Turks massacred by the Armenians.
Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich
After the capture of Van, the Armenians offered a banquet to General Nikolaevich, commander-in-chief of the Russian army of the Caucasus, who in the speech he made on this occasion, declared: "Since 1626, the Russians always worked to deliver Armenia, but the political circumstances prevented them from succeeding. Today as the grouping of the nations has radically changed, one can hope that the release of the Armenians will be achieved." Aram Manoukian, known as Aram pasha, that General Nikolaevich named as provisional governor of Van, answered: "When one month ago we began our uprising, we counted on the arrival of the Russians. Our position was very perilous. We had to return or die. We preferred to die, but, at one unexpected time, you have run to our help."
The Armenian bands obliged the Ottoman government to distract a part of its troops to repress their carried out revolution in the vilayet of Brousse and its surroundings. In Adana, as in the other provinces, the Armenians made all kinds of insurrectionary preparations.
Responding to these attempts at revolt, the Turkish Government ordered military expeditions which, considering the circumstances, were shown without pity and devoted to a pitiless repression. An order of the Turkish Government of 20 May 1915, relating to the changes of the places of residence of the Armenian populations, comprised measurements for the deportation of the Armenians. Considering the negligence of the Turks and the similar methods which had been employed by the Germans on the Western face, one can however wonder whether these measurements were not suggested to them by the latter.
Tahsin pasha, governor of Van, was replaced by Djevded bey, brother-in-law of Enver, and Khalil pasha, another relative of Enver, and received the command of the Turkish troops of the area of Ourmiah. Talat named Mustapha Khalil, his brother-in-law, in Bitlis.
By an inevitable sequence and their reciprocal repercussions, the insurrectionary operations of the Armenians which called repressive measurements on behalf of the Turks revived existing disagreements and to create a deplorable situation for the ones and the others. It is understood that, under such conditions, ceaseless conflicts rose between these two elements of the population, that in turn there were reprisals on one side and the other, after the Turco-Russian war, the events of 1895-1896, at the time of the conflict of Adana, during the Balkan war and the last war. But one cannot accept information which claims that the figure of the Armenians massacred by the Turks would rise to more than 800.000, and who do not speak about the Turks massacred by the Armenians. This figure does not correspond to reality and is obviously exaggerated, since the number of the Armenians, which was approximately 2.300.000 for all the Turkish empire, did not exceed before the war, in the Eastern provinces, 1.300.000 and which the Armenians still claim to be in a sufficient number to constitute a State. According to the Armenian statistics, before 1914, there were approximately 4.160.000 Armenians of which, apart from the 2.380.000 that accounted for the Ottoman Empire, 1.500.000 were part of the empire of Russia, 64.000 lived in the provinces of the shah of Persia and in the colonies abroad and approximately 8.000 in Cyprus, in the islands of the archipelago, Greece, Italy and Western Europe.
One cannot better make besides, in response to the sharp and ceaseless complaints made by the Armenians or presented at their instigation, that to return to the Report entitled, Statistics of the provinces of Bitlis and Van, of General Mayewsky, consul general of Russia initially with Erzeroum during six years then with Van, and representative of a power which had been always shown fundamentally hostile to Turkey. He wrote:
"Without exception, the allegations of the publicity agents, according to whom the Kurds would work to exterminate the Armenians, must be rejected as a whole. If they were founded, it had been necessary that not an individual pertaining to another race had not been able to exist among the Kurds and that the various people living in the medium of them had been in the need for emigrating in mass, fault of being able to get a piece of bread or to become their slaves. However, neither one nor the other of these situations were carried out. On the contrary, all those who know the Eastern provinces will attest that, in these regions, the villages of the Christians are in any case more prosperous than those of the Kurds. If the Kurds were only brigands and robbers, as Europeans claim, the state of prosperity of the Armenians, which lasted until 1895, would never have been possible. Thus, until 1895, the distress of the Armenians in Turkey is only one legend. The state of the Ottoman Armenians was not worse than that of the Armenians being in other countries.
The complaints whereby the state of the Armenians of Turkey would be intolerable hardly bring back to the inhabitants cities, because those enjoyed their freedom from time immemorial and were favored under all the reports. As for the peasants, with a perfect knowledge of the agricultural work and artificial watering, their condition was better by far than that of the peasants of central Russia.
As for the Armenian clergy, its efforts about religious teaching are null. On the other hand, the Armenian priests worked much to cultivate the national ideas. In the interior of the mysterious convents, the teaching of the hatred of the Turk took the place of the devotions. The schools and the seminars contributed largely to this work of the religious chiefs."
Following the Russian rout, the Armenians, Georgians, and the Tartars formed a Transcaucasian Republic which was to have only a transitory existence, and we exposed elsewhere the attempt made jointly by these three States to safeguard their independence.
The Government of the Soviets published, January 13, 1918, a decree stipulating in its article 1. "The evacuation of Armenia by the Russian troops and the immediate formation of an army of Armenian militia with an aim of guaranteeing the personal security and the materials of the inhabitants of Turkish Armenia," and in its article 4, "the formation of an Armenian provisional Government in Turkish Armenia, in the form of a council delegated by the Armenian people, elected on the democratic basis," which obviously could not give satisfaction to the Armenians.
Two months after the promulgation of this decree, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, in March 1918, stipulated in its article 4 that "Russia will do all in its capacity to ensure the fast evacuation of the Eastern provinces of Anatolia and their restitution in Turkey. Ardahan, Kars and Batoum will be evacuated without delay by the Russian troops."
The Armenians were shown all the more dissatisfied and anxious following these events that not having concealed their hostility to the Turks and their satisfaction to be withdrawn from their domination, they feared their renewed attack and that those at the very least took again the provinces which they had lost in 1878.
In April of the same year, the fight started again and successively Trebizond, Erzindjan, Erzeroum, Mush, Van fell to the hands of the Turks. Following the talks started by Georgians with the Turks and of the negotiations that occurred, the Armenians constituted a republic on the territories of the area of Erivan and the Lake Sevan.
Following the discussion of the Armenian question at the Peace Conference and the long exchanges of views which had taken place, Mr. Wilson, in August 1919, directly addressing the Ottoman government, put it in residence to prevent any massacres of Armenians and informed it that, if the government of Constantinople would not succeed there, it would cancel the twelfth of the fourteen points of his program envisaging the maintenance of Turkish sovereignty, which, one must notice while passing, became contradictory with other points of the same program and in particular with the principle of the famous right of the people to conceive the application in an absolute manner.
Zaven on cover of memoirs
Not [content] with the tactic which had attracted against them the animosity of the Turks and had exasperated them, the Armenians, at the end of August 1919, were on the point of giving to the combined High Commissioners in Constantinople a new note to draw their attention to the situation of the Christian element in Anatolia and to the danger that the Armenians of the Republic of Erivan began to seek. Mgr. Zaven, the Armenian patriarch, in a public statement in Le Temps indicated the direction and the spirit of it.
Mr. Gerard, former ambassador from the United States in Berlin, in a telegram addressed to Mr. Balfour, February 15, 1920, expressed his surprise with the news where the Allies could not ensure the existence of Armenia and affirmed that agreements on the division of Armenia had been concluded while Mr. Balfour was minister of Foreign Affairs, and at one time when the leaders and the allied statesmen supported their action on the principle of the right of the people to govern themselves. He declared that 20,000 pastors, 35 evacuees, 250 vice-chancellors of universities and colleges and 40 governors who took part for [supported] Armenia will not fail to protest against the ruin of Armenia. The Americans gave 6,000,000 pounds besides to the Armenian aid fund and 6,000,000 pounds are still required of them to help the Armenians for the period of organization of their State. He recalled that ten members of his party, including Mr. Hughes and Mr. Root, and with the approval of Senator Lodge, had telegraphed the President to remind him of the duty that America was to help Armenia. And he added: "We wish highly that Great Britain seriously holds account of the American public opinion concerning the Armenian affairs and ask whether it is not possible to defer the study of the Turkish question after the ratification of the treaty by the Senate."
Mr. Balfour, in his reply, remarked to Mr. Gerard that the first paragraph of his telegram contained an error and that he had not concluded any treaty, concerning Armenia. He declared that he did not understand that 20,000 pastors, 35 evacuees, 250 vice-chancellors of universities and colleges and 40 governors can make England responsible for the immediate creation of Greater Armenia including Russian Armenia to the north and extending to the Mediterranean to the south. He added:
"Allow me to point out the facts to you:
1. Great Britain does not have interests in Armenia, except those which are based on humane reasons. In this respect its position is exactly that of America.
2. I have always asked, all the time that I have had occasion, that the United States took a part of the load necessary to improve the situation in the territories which were Turkish before the war, and especially that America accepts a mandate on Armenia. Events on which Great Britain did not have control prevented the realization of this idea and by delaying the regulation of peace with Turkey had very unhappy results.
3. It seems that the ideas that one is done on Armenia contain serious errors. You make call in your first sentence with the principle of car-provision. You refer in your first phrases to the principle of auto-dispostion. If one takes it in his ordinary direction i.e. while conforming to the desire of the majority really living in a district, it should be remembered that in vast areas of Armenia, the inhabitants are, in an enormous proportion, Mahommedans, and that if one allowed them to vote, they would certainly vote against the Armenians. I do not think that this is a conclusion, but it should not be forgotten. It should not be forgotten that whoever will want to help Armenia for the period of formation will have, I fear, to be ready to employ military force. The United Kingdom has the greatest difficulty in ensure the responsibilities of which it has already taken care. It cannot add Armenia to it. America, with its vast population and its entire resources, without new obligations imposed by the war, is placed well better to do so. She has shown herself to be very liberal towards these oppressed people, but I well fear that even the most generous liberality, if it is not supported by political and military help, will not prove completely insufficient to cure the unhappy consequences of cruelty and the bad Turkish government.
If by reading your telegram, my attitude with regard to this question were badly understood in America. I will be grateful to you if you want to publish this letter."
Lord Curzon: "it should well be recognized that the Armenians during these last weeks, are not comprised of innocent small lambs, as some think. Actually, they were devoted to a whole series of wild attacks, where they were bloodthirsty."
Mr. Gerard answered to Mr. Balfour, February 28, that by referring to the treaties concluded during the ministry from Mr. Balfour, he had in mind the Sykes-Picot agreements and, after having said "that Great Britain and France did not have the right to ask America to help Armenia, before they consent to do justice in Armenia," he declared "that the confusion which reigns in the question of Armenia since 1878 is not without relationships to a series of arrangements, quite disposed, probably, in which Great Britain played the dominating role.
"Our faith in the chivalrous conduct of England and France, and our conviction of the inopportunity to let the Turkish threat prevail on the will of Western civilization by new sacrifices of Armenia, encourages us to require of you to put an end to the unfavorable situation of Armenia by begging you to outline a plan to help it reach its legitimate claims, holding account that we will want to put up us well our share one day and not forgetting the absolute necessity to continue the agreement which must exist between our democracies for our mutual good and that of the world."
A little later Lord Curzon said to the House of Lords that "it should well be recognized that the Armenians during these last weeks, are not comprised of innocent small lambs, as some think. Actually, they were devoted to a whole series of wild attacks, where they were bloodthirsty." The Times of March 19 made the account of these atrocities.
At the beginning of February 1920, the British Armenia Committee of London had given to Mr. Lloyd George a memorandum that consigned, before the final regulation of the Turkish problem was elaborated, essential claims of Armenia.
In this document the committee recorded with regret the doubt expressed by Lord Curzon, on December 17, 1919, that the total realization of the Armenian program including the constitution of Armenia extending from one sea to another, was possible, especially as he realized that the attitude of the United States did not facilitate the solution of the Armenian question. After having remembered the declarations of Lord Curzon and Mr. Lloyd George in the House of Lords as well as the House of Commons, the British Armenia Committee, without ignoring the difficulty, if the United States declined the load of a mandate and if no agent could be found, of organizing the political unit of all the Ottoman provinces having to form part of Armenia in accordance with its project, outlined a program which, to be described as a minimum, did not comprise of less than the complete liberation and final release of these provinces from Turkish sovereignty. They stated:
"An Ottoman suzerainty, even nominal, would be a moral insult, since the Ottoman government deliberately tried to exterminate the Armenian people. "
It would be an international scandal if the bad precedents of Eastern Roumelie, Macedonia and Crete were followed in the case of Armenia, on the not very solid ground of the expedients. The relations of Armenia with the Ottoman Empire must cease completely, and the territory thus separated must contain all of the old Ottoman provinces. The Ottoman government of Constantinople, during long years, maintained the hostility and the civil war among the various local races, and there exists much evidence showing that this strange and malevolent drawn aside sovereignty, the races populating these provinces would arrive at living together in terms of friendship and equality."
The British Armenia Committee required that the Armenian territories which were to be separated from Turkey be immediately joined together in an Armenian State independent of and not limited "to the only completely insufficient territories of the Republic of Erivan", and which would include the old Russian districts of Erivan and Kars, the zone of the old Ottoman territories containing the towns of Van, Mush, Erzeroum, Erzindjan, etc. and a port on the Black Sea. This document affirmed that the surviving Armenians were in rather great number "for, without losing the hope to do better, strengthening, to consolidate and establish the fortune of a Armenian State within these limits." [They] added:
"The economic distress which currently prevails in the territory of Erivan is due to the formidable number of refugees of the provinces bordering the Ottomans who are camped there for the moment. The inclusion of these territories in the Armenian State would make easy the whole situation, because it would put these refugees adequate to turn over to them and to cultivate their grounds. With a reasonable foreign assistance the surviving force as men of the nation would be sufficient to establish a national State on this territory, which contains only half of the Armenian total territory that must be separated from Turkey. In the new State, the Armenians will be even more numerous than the other non-Armenian elements, elements which do not have union between them and which were decimated during the war like the Armenians."
Lastly, in support of its thesis, the committee stressed the threat that the nationalist movement of Mustapha Kemal posed for England and showed that Armenia could only avoid danger by coming on this side.
"If, indeed, the government of Mustapha Kemal remains upright, our new Kurdish border will never be quiet; the loads of its defense will constantly be increased, and the effects of the disorders would be felt to the Indes. If, on the other hand, this hearth of disorders is replaced by a stable Armenian State, our burden will be surely decreased."
The British Armenia Committee, summarizing its principal claims, claimed the complete separation of the Ottoman empire from the Armenian territories, and, in the absence of an American mandate, the meeting of the Armenian provinces of the Turkish empire bordering on the Republic of Erivan to the territory of this Republic with a port on the Black Sea.
In the report of the American Commission sent to Armenia, under the direction of General Harbord, to make there an investigation, and that President Wilson, at the beginning of April 1920, transmitted to the Senate which had already asked for this communication twice, no conclusion was reached on whether America were to accept or refuse the mandate concerning this country. The report declared only that the United States was not to accept a mandate without agreement with France and Great Britain and without Germany and Russia giving their approval in a formal way. One found there only enumerated carefully the reasons which can militate for the acceptance of this mandate and those who were to call against it.
It was declared there first of all that, whatever the power which accepts the mandate, this one should have under its control the entirety of Anatolia, Constantinople and Turkey of Europe and to absolutely maintain the foreign relations and the fiscal system of the Ottoman empire.
The reasons which General Harbord put forward the acceptance of the mandate by the United States were, after having called upon the humane feelings and to have said the interest that there was for them to ensure the peace of the world, that was to answer the view of the people of the Middle East from which all the preferences went to the American administration, and which in the alternative of a refusal, their choice would preferably be made upon Great Britain. He made the point that each great power, if he could not obtain a mandate, prefers that America be in charge.
The report evaluated the expenditure which would cause the acceptance of the mandate to 275 million dollars for the first year and to 756,140,000 dollars for the first five years. At the end of a certain time, the benefit obtained by the power agent would end up balancing his expenditure and the American capital could find there an advantageous placement. But the board of directors of the Ottoman debt should be dissolved and all the commercial treaties concluded by Turkey should be abolished. The Turkish imperial debt would be unified and a system of refunding should be established. The economic conditions granted to the elected power would be prone to revision and should be able to be cancelled.
Moreover, the report pointed out that if America refuses the mandate, the international competitions which had free course under the Turkish domination were still going to be prolonged.
The reasons given against acceptance in the American Commission Report were that serious interior problems held all the attention of the United States and that the fact of a similar intervention in the businesses of the Old World would weaken the position which they took from the point of view of the Monroe Doctrine. The report also pointed out that the United States had by no means contributed to create the difficult situation which exists in the East and it was one which could not engage their policy for the future, because the new congress cannot be dependent on the policy pursued by that which exists today. Great Britain, as well as Russia, claimed this report, as well as the other great Powers, ignored these areas, but England has experience and the resources necessary to ensure control of it. The report also emphasized that the United States has more imperative obligations to follow with respect to nearer foreign nations and, the interior, than the more pressing questions to regulate. Of the remainder, the maintenance of law and order in Armenia would require an army from one hundred to two hundred thousand men. Lastly, great advances would be initially necessary and it is certain that the reception would be at the beginning very weak.
In addition, the British Union of the Company of the nations required of the English government to give instructions to its representatives so that they may support the proposal of the Supreme Council tending to entrust to the Company of nations the protection of the independent Armenian State.
According to the content of the peace treaty with Turkey, President Wilson was invited to fulfill the functions of referee to fix the Armenian borders, regarding the provinces of Van, Bitlis, Erzeroum and of Trebizond.
Under these conditions the final solution of the Armenian problem is deferred for a rather long time and it is difficult to envisage how it would be resolved.
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