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30 January 2008

2314) Mass Grave Discovered in Eastern Turkey by Michael van der Galien

 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site A mass grave has been discovered in the Eastern Turkish city of Bitlis. Researches said that some 20,000 corpses were buried in it. The individuals were Turks, probably killed by Armenian militias and Cossacks. “The bones in the graveyard found in Mutki belong to children, women and the elderly, as well as soldiers.” . .

According to one of the researchers, “Cossacks and local Armenian gangs massacred approximately 20,000 people in the Kavakbaşı village of Mutki” when the Russians invaded Bitlis for the first time in 1915.

He commented: “The violence here will be shown as proof. The Armenians know how to accuse Turkey of genocide with bills, but they either do not know their history or they simply choose to ignore it. Here is proof of who really massacred whom.”

We’ll just let the facts speak for themselves.

January 29, 2008

Comments »

January 29, 2008 @ 10:53 pm CET

Edited by MvdG: nationalist Armenians who declare war on all those who dare disagree with them aren’t welcome here. Especially not when they personally insult the author or anyone else for that matter.

January 29, 2008 @ 11:40 pm CET

Two questions:
From the very first preliminary report I heard about this in the Turkish press, the thousands of bodies were all called Turkish. There was never any sort of indication how they knew the bones were Turkish, since obviously on the inside everyone’s the same and don’t have nationalities tattooed on them. I even heard a report some years back about one grave of 8 "Turkic" bodies and one "Armenoid" body. If you want to consider superficial differences like higher cheekbones in Turks maybe you can extrapolate the potential ethnicity- but overall there’s no way to tell- especially in a place as genetically mixed as Anatolia. Maybe a few of the bodies were found with a piece of uniform or a button to tie them to a certain group, however there’s no way a massive grave and one found so recently without time for much study to be declared one full of Turks- let alone killed by Armenians. There’s just to way to determine this stuff nor a reason to believe it without compelling evidence listed as to where they got these conclusions from.
This is not Armenian spin or propaganda- this is purely being rational with the information given. It’s vital to turn a critical eye to claims on all sides, especially ones such as bombastic as this.

Second question:
This is the largest in a line of other graves found in Turkey in the past few years. Very often a common line I hear from the Turkish side is if Armenian Genocide is real then where are the bodies? Excellent question. The Turkish government recognizes at least 300,000 Armenians DID die during the 1915-period, yet every single grave the Turkish government has discovered is almost automatically decreed Turkish (without explaining how they knew this so difinitively). The Turkish government waves this very same "where are the bodies" question as proof the genocide is fake- and yet according to their own account this means about 300,000 bodies did vanish. Why are these mass graves only ever Turkish when all agree many Armenians died as well? Is it impossible to conceive that at least some of these mass graves are Armenians being attributed to Turks. Can you even imagine the Turkish government announcing they found a mass grave of 20,000 Armenians? That’d totally fly in the face of what they’re trying to say. It seems like by default they’d of course say they’re Turks in every grave and so far that’s what they’ve done.

Orhan Kelebek
January 29, 2008 @ 11:42 pm CET

I’m sure the bones found belong to massacred Armenians. But leave it to Turkey to call them "Turkish bones" and use it as propaganda to further their lies.
Not long ago, there were bones found in eastern Turkey. The military prevented the press or anyone else from investigating. I guess that looked too suspicious. So, this time they are calling them "Turkish bones".
Keep up the good work Turkey!

Michael van der Galien
January 29, 2008 @ 11:46 pm CET

lol: suuuure. Because they’re not allowing other people to check if they so want huh? O wait, those are the Armenians doing that. Ah well.

Anyway, mass graves with Turks have been found all over Turkey. It’s sad, but the Armenian militias were mass murderers. Time to come to terms with your past I’d say.

January 29, 2008 @ 11:55 pm CET

" Because they’re not allowing other people to check if they so want huh?"

It’s not even just that, it’s that they’ve never even explained how they knew bones were Turkish. Look at a pile of bones. Can you tell be femur length or finger bone shape if it was a Turk or Armenian? Bitlis was a heavily Armenian populated area and one where very few survived. I’m just asking you to have a discerning eye when considering these accounts- you so easily discount everything Armenians say as automatic lies and yet embrace everything from the Turkish government without proof. At least if they made an attempt to explain how one can tell from a bone it’s a Turk or Armenian- two peoples who often look extremely similar- then ok. But they don’t even try, they merely say 20,000 Turks who were murdered- by Armenians of course- have been found… the genocide is a lie and it was a genocide of Armenians on Turks. If you can tell us why you find this paragraph devoid of information and verifiable fact so trustworthy then ok, but I think it’s quite clear that this does not answer any historical questions but merely opens up some modern day ones.

Michael van der Galien
January 29, 2008 @ 11:57 pm CET

Yeah MM: sure. Good point. MAde up. Fake. Etc. I’ll remember to play that game when they find a grave with Armenians.

January 30, 2008 @ 12:54 am CET

Edited by MvdG: we’re not into comparing people to Nazis. It doesn’t work. Aside from that, the mass graves show that it weren’t the Turks who were the Nazis here.

January 30, 2008 @ 1:26 am CET

Michael, I’m beginning to think you should leave comments from the mad Ultranationalist Armenians up and expose them for the extremists and racists they are in their very own words.

In answer to the questions above, archeologists are able to identify the religious group with which the victims were associated with because along with the bones are other remnants, such as jewelry, cigarette cases, etc., stamped with Islamic symbols–not something large numbers of Armenians were likely to be carrying.

Before WWI, the Ottoman Muslim population of Bitlis was 30,000. After WWI, it was reduced to 4,000. So, what happened to 26,000 Ottoman muslims?

Pity MM and OK, they don’t even know their own history … and can’t bear to hear the truth. I suppose they don’t even read the writings of their own Armenian Revolutionaries published before the 1930, in which they admit they fought and killed Turks.

Nor have they read the Russian archives in which Russian military officials describe massacres committed by Armenian militias in eastern Anatolia.

Nor do they seem to know that Armenians lost French support for the formation of "greater" Armenia due to the enormity of the atrocities they committed against Ottoman Muslims after the Armistice of Mudros.

Captain Emory Niles and Mr. Arthur Sutherland were Americans ordered by the United States Government (in 1919) to investigate the situation in eastern Anatolia. Their report was to be used as the basis for granting relief aid to the Armenians by the American Committee for Near East Relief. The following is an excerpt from their report:

"In the entire region from Bitlis through Van to Bayezit we were informed that the damage and destruction had been done by the Armenians, who, after the Russians retired, remained in occupation of the country and who, when the Turkish army advanced, destroyed everything belonging to the Musulmans. Moreover, the Armenians are accused of having committed murder, rape arson and horrible atrocities of every description upon the Musulman population. At first we were most incredulous of these stories, but we finally came to believe them, since the testimony was absolutely unanimous and was corroborated by material evidence. For instance, the only quarters left at all intact in the cities of Bitlis and Van are the Armenian quarters, as was evidenced by churches and inscriptions on the houses, while the Musulman quarters were completely destroyed. Villages said to have been Armenian were still standing whereas Musulman villages were completely destroyed" [U.S. 867.00/1005].

For a complete copy of the report, see

January 30, 2008 @ 1:36 am CET

Bitlis is a province of eastern Turkey, located to the west of Lake Van. Kurds form the majority.[1] The capital of the province is the city Bitlis.

A folk etymology explanation of the name Bitlis, is that it is derived from “Bedlis”, the name of the commander who built a castle in the province, by the order of Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia. The history of Bitlis extends back to 2000 BC, and the city contains traces from the Urartian, Armenian, Persian, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

It was known as the Kurdish principality Badlis from the 12th to the 19th century. The region was also the home of the 16th century Kurdish historian, Sherefxan Bedlisi (also: Sharaf al-Din Bitlisi), who was also an appointed prince of the Persian and later Ottoman Empires.

Bitlis had a significant population of ethnic Armenians prior to 1915. During the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917, Turks and Kurds led by Jevdet Bey Pasha massacred some 15,000 Armenians until Russian troops, who were subsequently viewed as liberators by the survivors, moved into the area.[2]

January 30, 2008 @ 2:04 am CET

You cite Wikipedia? An open source in which anyone can write anything and Ultranationalist Armenians are known to babysit pages they’ve authored setting forth their genocide claims and completely avoiding any discussion of massacres committed by Armenian Revolutionaries?

By the way, Niles and Sutherland, those are primary sources. Do you happen to know what a primary source is "oh one who seems to think he’s Jesus"? One could say your chosen moniker seems to expose a tendancy towards megalomania.

January 30, 2008 @ 2:23 am CET

More Armenian bones found in Turkey and sold to the world as "turkish bones". Also Lazee next time don’t place a url which points to a "historians" writings who is known to have received grants from the government of turkey to push turkish denial.

January 30, 2008 @ 8:59 am CET

Ok, Ozan let’s apply the same principle to authors promoting genocide claims. Then what are the Armenians left with? NOTHING.

McCarthy is a well respected scholar of Ottoman history and demographics who is employed by an American university from which he receives his salary.

But, please, I encourage you and your compatriots to keep up and even accelerate the attacks on Professor McCarthy so that he finally has the the ammunition he needs to sue Armenians who attack his professional credentials for slander and libel.

Or perhaps, someone will bomb his house and threaten his life, just as was done to Professor Shaw in Los Angeles. After all, that’s the preferred way for Armenians making genocide claims to deal with academicians who publish scholarly works that disprove Armenian genocide claims, right?

Michael van der Galien
January 30, 2008 @ 9:56 am CET

Lazlee: they’re trying the same games again huh? It’s utterly amazing. As if someone actually thinks "yeah, those Turks; they won’t let anyone check, they’re dictators!" Everybody knows that Turkey is quite free, and a secular democracy. Unlike their dear Armenia where ultra nationalists and Christianists still rule.

We’ll just do the same when they say something about Armenians, won’t we Lazlee? "Armenian bodies found." "Nope: those were Turks, and I don’t care what scientists say."

The sad truth is that they’re not even ashamed of themselves.

January 30, 2008 @ 11:52 am CET

Edited by MvdG: not interested in personal attacks.

January 30, 2008 @ 3:15 pm CET

Edited by MvdG: yup, not gonna allow that either.

January 30, 2008 @ 4:28 pm CET

Edited by MvdG: yep, we get it. Turks are awful. Now, when you’re going to admit that your ancestors killed hundreds of thousands of innocent TUrks? Didn’t think so.

January 30, 2008 @ 5:04 pm CET

Since when was the definition of what (Turks call) a civil war "finding tens of mass graves of Turks but none of Armenians, of whom we acknowledge hundreds of thousands of whom died."
I don’t get it Michael. You decry Armenians for being blind ultra-national hate mongers and yet you have a burden of proof of 0 when it comes to anything a Turk or Turkey says. If they had announced they found a mass grave of 1 million Turks you’d believe it without question because it reinforces what YOU want to hear.

Instead, we have people here speculating that they probably found a button or cigarette pack or koran in the grave and assuming that’s how they even knew these bones were of Turks killed by Armenians (and Cossacks?) as a way of justifying what is nothing more than a random report of no scientific value and totally devoid of details.

You just need to come to terms with the fact that this issue is no longer about history but about today and that there’s obviously nothing Turkey would do to add fuel to the fire against them. That’s why it’s no coincidence that every single mass grave found in the past decade have been Turks killed by Armenians, despite the fact that seeing as Turkey recognizes 300K Armenians died (and your friend McCarthy actually says 600K). Yet you are gung-ho in insisting that every mass grave in Turkey is Turkish. Michael I’d like to know what your opinion is on the possibility of Turkey announcing an Armenian mass grave being found in Turkey one day (extremely unlikely)? The fact that an alleged Turkish mass grave has been found is being used as proof it was an Armenian Genocide of Turks, so what would a mass grave of Armenians mean? Why do you use the absense of such a mass grave ever being found as proof that there was no Armenian Genocide when according to both Turkey and McCarthy’s numbers there should be 300-600K Armenian bodies all over Anatolia and northern Syria?

Michael van der Galien
January 30, 2008 @ 5:14 pm CET

Yeah yeah, go on go on. Just to make this clear: I’m not even arguing about this. Spin it all you want (how much is the Armenian government or are Armenian organizations paying you?), I couldn’t care less. The facts are as reported.

January 30, 2008 @ 5:54 pm CET

13 Michael van der Galien
January 30, 2008 @ 9:56 am CET
“Everybody knows that Turkey is quite free, and a secular democracy.”

A hell for free souls!

Hans A.H.C. de Wit
January 30, 2008 @ 7:09 pm CET

Michael, ever heard about Prof. Zurcher? Leiden, Ankara? Turkish language and history? Decorated by the Republic of Turkey for his work about Turkish culture and languages. Do you know that he support the Armenian claim?

John Rohan
January 30, 2008 @ 10:13 pm CET

Two things to keep in mind here:

1) The article says that the investigation of the site is not complete yet

2) For such a controversial topic, it would be far more credible if there was some non-Turkish confirmation of the mass grave site, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way. At the very least, I don’t have much confidence in the objectivity of an article that relies on the opinion of Törehan Serdar, who is head of the "Association of Victims of World War I Massacres by Armenians", and says "Here is proof of who really massacred whom".

Also to MvdG: It is your website, after all, you can take whatever side you want. But if you will allow some constructive criticism - the Armenian Genocide has been discussed before on this blog (well, your old one). I disagreed with you, but at least I could see you had an open mind on the issue. It’s a very different Michael I read in this thread - someone who now takes Turkey’s version of events at face value and ridicules the Armenians. Is that really where you want to go with this? Also, removing 5 comments out of 20 in this thread looks a little excessive; like you are trying to censor those that disagree with you. Admittedly, I didn’t get a chance to see the original comments, so I’ll take your word for it that they were all extremely offensive, but the impression remains (I am now wondering if you are going to delete this comment too).

January 30, 2008 @ 11:06 pm CET

"Yeah yeah, go on go on. Just to make this clear: I’m not even arguing about this. Spin it all you want (how much is the Armenian government or are Armenian organizations paying you?), I couldn’t care less. The facts are as reported."

Forgive me blogmaster but I am utterly confused. What exactly was I spinning? How was I being an irrational nationalist? Basically you’re telling me to take the word of the head of the Association of Victims of World War I Massacres by Armenians on this that he found a pile of bones and that clearly they’re all a bunch of Turks killed by Armenians without any further facts. According to you though the facts are as reported, even though you have no further inside information on this than the rest of us. All things being equal here, all we have is the word of someone who has gone digging with a motive and that is to find the victims of the Turkish Genocide by Armenians. Not surprisingly he found some bones, so to him they’re automatically Turkish victims. At least if they had listed reasons for believing those 20,000 people were Turks or anything regarding the findings (how do they know there are 20,000 bodies if the excavation isn’t even complete- that’d be a huge number of skeletons to catalogue and ascertain) that’d be one thing.

You keep acting like I’m attacking you when I’ve done no such thing. I just want you to tell me without any facts being presented at all, why I should take the word of the clearly motivated (scientific?) Association of Victims of World War I Massacres by Armenians any more than an Association of Victims of World War I Massacres by Turks? Ask yourself if you’d so willingly accept the incomplete findings of an Association of Victims of World War I Massacres by Turks? If you wouldn’t accept that, what is it about a group with the opposite aim that you find so much more compelling regarding a time when you admit there was killing on both sides- making them both possible to a point.

P. Connolly
January 30, 2008 @ 11:49 pm CET

I think that the "Edited" posts are not an indication of an intent to stifle constructive criticism. Past experience on this blog and on so many others shows that these Armenian Agitators want only to spam the blog with their lying propaganda and personal attacks. That’s not constructive criticism and it needs to be blocked. I’d be happy to post links to many examples of the tactics they have used on this forum and on so many others as proof.
Above we see someone asking "Why are all these mass graves only Turkish when we all agree that many Armenians died as well?". Lame question. You Armenians Agitators have fabricated this argument that the Turkish Government never intended to relocate the Armenians, that a "secret plan" existed to exterminate them. You have come here to the West persuading your Christian Brethren that you harbor no ill will toward the Moslem Turks, that you only want "the truth" to be known so that future genocides can be prevented. You seduce our politicians with guaranteed deliveries of huge voting blocks because your "truth" needs legislation! But your "historical sources" have more holes than Swiss Cheese! The mass graves of Armenians are missing because your ancestors didn’t die in a genocide. They died during the breakdown of law and order that existed in Eastern Anatolia in 1915 after huge numbers of able-bodied men were moved from Eastern Anatolia to the Western front after the outbreak of WW1 in 1914. It was anarchy! They died of starvation and disease in a fatally flawed attempt to move them. Many Turks died there of starvation and disease at the same time. And yes, some of them were killed by Turks and Kurds. All of these things happen in a condition of Anarchy - when there is a breakdown of law and order. It would be naive to suggest otherwise!
Armenians need to stop denying the deaths of Turks who were killed by Armenians in the years before 1915 when Armenians allied themselves with Holy Russia in a failed rebellion. Armenians need stop blindly following their leaders and independently seek out the true facts of the tragic events of 1915. Many of us have a fundamental human need to know the true facts surrounding the misfortunes of our ancestors. Armenians have a right to know and the Turks of today are willing to help them.

January 31, 2008 @ 12:05 am CET

So basically Connolly you are saying that either 300,000 (Turkish gov. figure) or 600,000 dead (this blog’s fav historian McCarthy’s number) does not occur in mass graves? Please tell me what it is about Turkish deaths which result in mass graves and Armenian ones which do not- or at least where those 600,000 skeletons are hiding if not in Anatolian graves. Or what it is about this particular grave of allegedly 20,000 skeletons which is so verifiably Turkish and not Armenian. You even said right there that as a part of anarchy Armenians were slayed. So why is it totally inconceivable that some of these "Turkish" graves being found by ‘research’ groups created for the soul purpose of proving that Turks were slaughtered in huge numbers by Armenians and ‘Cossacks’ (thrown in for good measure?) could actually be Armenians? What is it that’s so ultranationalist about this view- I have yet to see anyone at this blog contend that there were no slaughters of Armenians, so whether Turks were killed or not why are you so convinced that every grave is of Turks? It’s as if you are trying to prove the alternative view of 1915 history through these mass graves- therefore every mass "Turkish" grave that is found is a point for the Turkish thesis and every Armenian grave found is a point for the established history. You’re basically not allowing for any grave found in Turkey to be of Armenians- and sure enough so far none found by the Turkish government have been. The one recently found of alleged Armenians was destroyed before outsiders could investigate. It sure seems like finding or admitting an Armenian mass grave COULD exist would be a point against Turkey so you all rule out the possibility- while at the same time supporting Justin McCarthy who of course said 600,000 Armenians died during this time. So I guess their bones just evaporated while the Turkish ones congregated into huge 20,000-people mass graves so that they could then be found by organizations with politically-motivated agendas and make big headlines at the very moment that the Armenians have a bill in Congress.

January 31, 2008 @ 2:45 am CET

MM your explanation is impaccable. P. C. has made his purpose in life to put down anything Armenians say and support Turkey’s denials. Here is a site MdG found offensive and deleted in 16

Edited by MvdG: yep, we get it. Turks are awful. Now, when you’re going to admit that your ancestors killed hundreds of thousands of innocent TUrks? Didn’t think so.

Investigator Accuses Turkey of Tampering With Assyrian Mass Grave

January 31, 2008 @ 5:28 am CET

"For such a controversial topic, it would be far more credible if there was some non-Turkish confirmation of the mass grave site, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way. "

No, you’re not and it’s an excellent idea.

Let’s not forget that the Turkish PM has proposed that a joint Turkish and Armenian historical commissions, together with interested and uninterested third parties investigate the events of WWI.

Armenia has thus far refused to participate. The Dashnak archives, those belonging to Armenian Revolutionaries of WWI who are accused of committing atrocities against Ottoman Muslims (not just against ethnic Turks, but also against Kurds, Circassians, Georgians, Laz, etc. in the region) remain concealed from the public to this day.

England continues to maintain historical archives relating to the events of WWI in eastern Anatolia in secret.

The French still do not discuss the fact that they armed, clothed, trained and inserted the so-called "French" Armenian Legion into Adana after the Armistice of Mudros in the hopes that the area would be cleansed of its majority Muslim population. However, when the Legion became uncontrollable and the atrocities mounted to the point that even the French couldn’t stand it any more, France withdrew its support of the Legion.

Yes, it would be great if others would go and confirm the findings. They’ve been invited, but refuse to participate. If Armenians and Armenia are so convinced these bones are evidence proving their genocide claims, one would expect them to go running to the region and accepting the Turkish PM’s offer, but they still refuse, prefering to keep the dispute alive. One has to wonder why…

January 31, 2008 @ 5:42 am CET

Oh, and John, just in case you doubt that such an invitation was ever issued, go to this site: Then, fast forward to the 47th minute of the interview and listen.

January 31, 2008 @ 5:57 am CET

"Instead, we have people here speculating that they probably found a button or cigarette pack or koran in the grave and assuming that’s how they even knew these bones were of Turks killed by Armenians (and Cossacks?)"

It’s not speculation MM, I actually took the initiative to search for articles concerning the digs and read about how it was they determined the remains belonged to Ottoman Muslims, and not, say Romans (remians of which have also been found in Anatolia).

Besides the remanants found with the skeletons, there are photographs of villages that were decimated, but whose inhabitants were never found. These bits of information were recorded by the Ottoman and Nationalist forces when they recovered the areas from Armenian forces that were in control of the area.

How do we know the dead weren’t killed by Cossacks? Perhaps you should read about the history of WWI and then you’ll know. It’s wild how everyone, except the Armenian diaspora, knows that after the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian army distintegrated and Armenian militias were in control of eastern Anatolia. The few Russian military officers that remained in the region, along with some missionaries and other third parties documented the atrocities committed by the Armenian militias.

Did you know that some of the arms used by the Armenian militias may have even been supplied by Armenians in the U.S. that owned munitions factories that supplied the U.S. war effort during WWI? It is known that at least one of those Armenians in the U.S. was sending large sums of money during WWI to a notorious Armenian gun smuggler (who had been caught smuggling guns as early as 1909, who used to parade around cities in eastern Anatolia with a horde of 150 Russian trained Armenians "guards" and who, after he was caught, fled to America with the aid of the British and the French), who also happened to be a priest.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit
January 31, 2008 @ 10:49 am CET

Anne Frank foundation is a Dutch one, established in the Netherlands. Anne Frank House gets more than 1 million visitors each year. The Anne Frank House supports the Armenian claim, that genocide happened during 1873-1921.
Anne Frank House foundation is one of the most respected institutions in the Netherlands. Its for me, as a Dutch, living in Turkey weird that the CE of this blog makes statements while his fellow countryman, like Prof. Zurcher, a specialist in this, tells the opposite.

Michael van der Galien
January 31, 2008 @ 11:29 am CET

Zurcher changed his views suddenly Hans. You know that, right? He believed it wasn’t genocide and then, suddenly, he changed his views. Why’s that? Ah, pressure.

January 31, 2008 @ 2:16 pm CET

Hans, I read your post and am perplexed. What makes the Anne Franke Institute a specialist in the history of WWI?

Every historian that is a recognized expert in WWI tand Ottoman history hat is not Armenian, disputes their genocide claims. It’s a rather long list. Who is Zurcher, what is his expertise in?

Why don’t you address the facts being discussed or the topic of MVDG’s article? the mass grave? artifacts found there? whether there were Armenian militias? whether massacres of Ottoman Muslims occurred during WWI?

Why don’t you discuss the facts? Why change the subject? Has the Anne Frank institute or Professor Zurcher gone to view the mass graves? Have they done any research to dispute there is a mass grave and who the bones belong to?

My guess is, the answer is a resounding NO.

Michael van der Galien
January 31, 2008 @ 2:24 pm CET

Zurcher is a Dutch historian and expert. Hans is right that Zurcher now says that it was a genocide, but forgets to mention that Zurcher believed that it wasn’t a genocide and suddenly changed his view, which shocked a lot of people.

Wonder why huh, since he didn’t do any research that showed that his previously held opinion was wrong. Even his students ask him about it, yet he can’t answer it.

Pressure does that, doesn’t it?

Anne Frank Institute: indeed completely irrelevant. It’s rhetoric. Trying to appeal to people’s emotions.

January 31, 2008 @ 4:38 pm CET


What makes you think Eric Zurcher was pressured into changing his opinion? Do you think Bernard Lewis changed his opinion because of Turkish pressure?

Also, what are "Christianists"?

February 2, 2008 @ 9:58 pm CET

Lezlee 28 It’s wild how everyone, except the Armenian diaspora, knows that after the Bolshevik Revolution, the Russian army distintegrated and Armenian militias were in control of eastern Anatolia.

May be you should check your source. The Turkish army went in after the Russians were in disarray and none of the Armenians had survived.
1/28/1918 - The German General Hans Friedrich von Seeckt, at the time Chief of Staff of the Turkish Army, is instructed to prevent Turkish atrocities against the Armenians of the Caucasus, since the Russian armies had fallen apart in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and the Turks were advancing almost unopposed.
5/2/1915 - Halil Pasha’s forces are defeated by the Russian Army in the Caucasus and in northern Iran, and retreat to Van, Bitlis, and Mush, where they participate in the massacre of the Armenians.
6/23/1915 - Wholesale arrests are made in Bitlis of the scattered remnant Armenians who had escaped the previous series of massacres.
6/25/1915 - The massacre of Armenians of Bitlis is carried out under the direct orders of Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda.
7/27/1915 - Behaeddin Shakir sends a cipher telegram to the governor-general of Adalia Province, Sabur Sami Bey, asking him what steps he was taking at a time, when in Erzerum, Van, Bitlis, Diyarbekir, Sivas, and Trebizond Provinces, not a single Armenian remains because they have all been sent in the direction of Mosul and Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor). Sabur sends a copy of the telegram to Talaat to show that he had received these indirect instructions.
8/2/1915 - Ambassador Henry Morgenthau reports that on this day Talaat indicated that three quarters of the Armenians had already been disposed of, and none were left in Bitlis, Van, and Erzerum.
2/16/1916 - The Russian Army occupies Erzerum. Only a handful of captive Armenian women are found alive in the entire province.
4/15/1916 - The Russian Army occupies Trebizond. With the exception of a few Armenian orphans and widows secretly sheltered by Greeks, no Armenians are found in the city.
Knapp’s volume below, with its extensive descriptions of horrific Young Turk slaughter and savagery in Bitlis shows just what would have happened had Armenians in Van submitted to Young Turk government orders. Knapp, refuting claims that anti-Armenian violence was the responsibility of Kurds, writes that whilst Armenians were indeed driven from ‘their homes by Kurds’ the latter were ‘acting under the orders of the government.’ (p32)

"The Tragedy of Bitlis" by Grace H Knapp, 110pp (Sterndale Classic titles, 2002, England)