2339) Brotherhood That Was Ruined By Imperialism (Turkish-Armenian Relations)

Our neighbor Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora, which is spread all over the World, accelerates campaigns opposing Turkey on every anniversary of April 24th, 1915. What is 24th of April? What happened during 1915? Before responding to these questions, we should examine how Turkish-Armenian friendship, which existed since the foundation days of the Ottoman Empire, is ruined under imperialism:

While Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Istanbul on 29 May 1453 and buried the Eastern Rome Empire to the depth of the history, the darkness of the Middle Age was coming to its end and a new age was starting. The conquest shook Europe from its roots. Europe was rescued from the cruelty of feudalism and the pressure of the Church and the torture of the inquisition. When the printing houses started to be used widespread, reforms and renaissance had started.

As for the Ottoman Empire, the non-Muslims were living in peace and quiet there. Before the conquest Fatih Sultan Mehmet was struck among the walls of the Byzantine city and expanded the authority of the Orthodox Greek Patriarchate, which had lost its glory. After that, he invited the Armenian religion man Ovakim in Bursa and declared him as the Armenian Patriarch in 1461. During the domination of Fatih’s son Beyaz?t the second, Jews, who fled from the genocide in Spain, took shelter in the Ottoman Empire, in 1492. Rights and freedoms were given generously to them. So, the four systems of beliefs in the Ottoman Empire coexisted for centuries.

While “Kazasker” which was a post that was responsible of organizing the jurisprudence of the Muslims (Later, this responsibility was transferred to “S,eyhülislam”), the Orthodox Greek Patriarch was responsible of Greeks and the “Chief Rabbi” was responsible of the Jews. Another privilege was given to the Armenian Patriarch. Because, he not only had the authority to organize the jurisprudence of the Armenians but all the non-Muslims in the lands of the Ottoman except for the Greeks, Armenians and Jews.

Under the circumstances of peace and indulgence, all the non-Muslims, who were Ottoman citizens, primarily the Armenians, improved socio-economically and culturally. They went beyond the Muslims on art, medicine, architecture and industry. For instance; printing machines, which were widespread used at the West in 1450, was used by the non-Muslims in Istanbul prior to the 1500. Nevertheless, Muslims could only obtain the machine in 1727.

The trade between Europe and Asia had move from the Silk Way to the open seas with the geographic discoveries at the end of the 15th century. However, the Ottoman Empire, which could not manage to open itself to the oceans from the Mediterranean, Red Sea and Gulf Basra, was under a global blockade. In this context, when the incomes gained from the Eurasia trade speedily decreased, instead of decreasing the spending and making investments, the prodigality continued and they lived on barrowed loan.

Extreme amount of taxes were loaded on the poor villagers, who were depended to the land. The Muslims, who lost their blood and lives at the wars, had become increasingly poorer. The non-Muslims, who are living at the big cities, got richer and richer by cooperating with industrialists and traders. The Ottoman Palace was keeping on getting into debt towards the 1800’s by taking loans with high interest ratios from the Bankers of Galata. The mentioned bankers of Galata, were consisted of Armenian, Greek and Jewish wealthy people. Later, foreign debt was added to this. As a result, when the national treasury went bankrupt, “Duyun-u Umumiye and Reji administrations” were founded and the Ottoman finance was handed to the imperialists.

The collapse that had started with the 1683 Vienna defeat, not only destroyed our military power, but our national strength as well. Moreover, the Russian Tsarist in the North was added to our Western enemies. Russia, which had adopted the will of Pedro the First as a national policy, had decided firmly to remove the Ottoman Empire for its aspiration of reaching the Middle East. In this framework, Russia had acquired the historical opportunity it longed for since ages with the 1774 “Kaynarca” Agreement which we had to acknowledge, following the Ottoman-Russia War that lasted six years. According to the articles of this agreement, Russia had achieved reaching the Black sea. However, more importantly, it managed to take our sovereignty under its control by opening consulates everywhere the Orthodox Christians origin Ottoman citizens lived, and started to involve in our domestic affairs.

The capitulations that were obtained by Russia motivated the Western imperialist countries, primarily England and France. So, they attempted intensive efforts for the missionary activities in the Ottoman lands. Armenian society was mostly damaged from this move. Some people left Orthodox Armenian Church and joined Catholic and Protestant Churches. While the Catholic French missionaries were influential on the Armenians in the region of “Çukurova”, Protestant, English and American missionaries were active within a broader area. They opened schools in various parts of the Ottoman land primarily Beyrut, I.stanbul, I.zmir, Merzifon, Tarsus, Harput (Elaz?g(). They incited religious and ethnical differentiation against the Ottoman administration in these schools. The number of schools belonging to foreigners in the Lands of the Ottoman, which was fifty in the beginning of the 1800’s, escalated towards seven hundred, in the 1900’s.

Exploiting the nationalist movements that were provoked by the 1789 French Revolution, the Pan-Islam ideology and the Orthodoxy, Russia first laid hands on the Balkans. It organized activities of the committee and supported every kind of riots against the Ottoman Empire. The Russian Tsarist met with Napoleon in 1808 and made an agreement with him for sharing the lands of the Ottoman Empire. The Serbian riot that started in 1804 was followed by “Eflak-Bug(dan” Greek and Bulgarian riots. Russia was planning to reach until the Mediterranean by guiding the countries, which gained their independence. Nevertheless, the Western countries prevented this plan to be implemented. As a result, Russia focused on the East. It drew Armenians to its ranks by promising them land in the Eastern Anatolia. By this way, the Russian Tsarist wished to reach at the “Iskenderun Gulf” by obtaining its aspirations on the East and Southern Anatolia.

Armenia followed the past example of Russia and the current developments in the Balkans, where violent activities of committees were being executed against the Muslims. They both had the support of the Russia and the Western countries against the Ottoman Empire. Socialist H?nchak organization was founded in Geneva, in 1886. The Tas,naksutyun organization, which was founded in Tbilisi in 1890, gathered all the Armenian terror organizations under the Armenian Revolutionary Societies Alliances. The church supported fully, instead of opposing the terror. Patriarch Matyos I.zmirliyan patronized the terror organizations. So, the Armenians rose against the Ottoman in Van, Erzurum, Merzifon, Kayseri Yozgat, Sason (Siirt) and Zeytun (Çukurova) during 1890-1900. These riots and the bloody terror activities continued in the 20th century.

We expressed how the Armenian society, which coexisted with the Muslims for over 600 years, was welcomed as the most loyal nation among the Ottoman origin non-Muslims, considered Turkish as their own language and even worshiped in Turkish, was loaded with hatred with the tricks of imperialism.

(…) The construction of the Ottoman palaces was handed to Balyan family, the ammunition store, which was the most sensitive institution of the Ottoman, was handed to Dadyan family. Beginning from the first constitutional monarchy, which was declared in 1876, a total of 22 Armenian ministers and undersecretaries took office in the government. At the 1876 and 1908 Ottoman parliaments, 33 Armenian deputies were elected. Furthermore, almost 30 Pashas, 7 ambassadors and many Armenian consuls served the Ottoman Empire.

Then, where did this genocide slander come from? When the Ottoman fleet, which Göben and Breslaw German Ships took the lead, bombed the Black Sea harbors of Russia on 29 October 1914, the Russians armies started the war by attacking the Caucasus. Subsequently, the Armenians also made a move.

a) Most of the Armenians, who were called at the army for their military obligation, fled with their weapons and equipment and joined to the Russian armies.

b) Armenian units were formed within the structure of the Russian armies. While the Turkish armies were fighting against the Russian and the Armenian units at the front, the Armenian gangs were hitting them at the back by organizing attacks at the back front.

c) The Armenian gangs had no mercy towards the civilian population. Because, Armenian population did not constitute a majority anywhere at the Eastern Anatolia, where land was promised to them for founding an independent state. Even at the cities, where they were intensively populated they could not pass over %40 comparing to the Muslim population. They committed violent massacres to cause the Muslims get away from the Eastern Anatolia and they killed the rest, who were not able to escape.

The most violent massacres had occurred in the cities of Van, Erzurum and Sivas. They murdered approximately 600 thousand of our citizens in Eastern Anatolia including Kurds, Turks, women, elderly and children. Approximately, two million of our citizens were led to immigrate to the West for to be able to escape from the Armenian cruelty. Hundreds of thousands Muslims died because of the bad climate circumstances, insufficient transportation circumstances, illnesses and hunger.

The Ottoman Empire was pursuing the Armenian organizations and warning them to prevent their betrayal right from the beginning of the World War I. When these warnings did not work, it arrested about 240 leaders of committees on 24 April 1915. A massacre has never occurred on this date. When these arrests also did not work, the Armenians, who were living at the regions, which threatened the security of the Ottoman army and the lives of the Muslim population, were caused to immigrate to Syria and Lebanon with a Relocation law that was adopted on 27 may 1915.

The Armenians maintained to claim until today that one and a half million of Armenians were massacred. However, according to the census that was made just prior the War, 1.3 millions of Armenians, 1.6 millions of Greeks and 330 thousand other minorities inhabited in the Ottoman Empire.

During the Armenian immigration many people died because of the bad climate circumstances, insufficient transportation circumstances, illnesses and hunger. Unfortunately, the Ottoman army could not manage to overcome these negative circumstances and the illnesses and approximately, three hundred thousand of its soldiers died. (Five hundred thousand Ottoman soldiers, who died while fighting, should be added to this figure.)
Following the World War I, Istanbul was invaded by the allied powers on 13 November 1918. With the pressure of the Armenian Patriarch and the invaders, the collaborator Ferit administration formed forged courts. The leading figures of the abolished “I.ttihat and Terakki Party” were arrested and sent to courts. Even though all the archives of the Ottoman were under the control of the invaders, they could not be able to find any evidence that would help them to accuse the arrested, including Ziya Gökalp, with genocide. The Muslim populace, who were agitated when Izmir was invaded, had been sent to Malta in exile. They were also unable to find anything in the archives of England during their research. The courts of England resorted to the archives of USA. It was reported that there is no evidence of genocide at the archives of USA. “The Blue Book”, which was published by England to lead USA for siding Allied Powers during the World War I, continues to be presented as the primary source for the genocide slander by the Armenian Diaspora.

As a result, we would like to put an end to the bloody ambition of the spherical imperialism, which led Turkish/Kurdish and Armenian societies suffer during the years of the World War I, with the following remarks, which were used during the defense of Ziya Gökalp at the court on 17 May 1919: “Do not slander my nation. There is a fighting between Turks and Armenians, not an Armenian massacre. They hit us at the back…So we hit them…” (The source that was used in the article: The History of Turkish Republic-Professor Dr. Ergün Aybars)

Source: E.Alb.S,.Osman Aras-Birlik Magazine-May-June 2007