2368) Leaving Cyprus To British Administration & Its Effect On Armenian Incident Erupted In Anatolia by Nejla GÜNAY

A new period has started when Cyrus was left to the British administration for the Christians, who inhabit there and the Armenians, who inhabit at the Eastern Anatolia. When making reforms at the places where Armenians inhabit was put as a condition at the Berlin Agreement, England started applying pressure on the Ottoman Empire for fulfilling the reforms in question. (1) England has also applied psychological pressure on the Armenian population with the Consulate network at various places of . . the Anatolia. During his conversations with public, when Captain Cooper, the Deputy Consul of Adana mentioned that one day Adana and its environment would also be left to the British administration, just like Cyprus by slandering the Ottoman administration and exalting the British administration, rumors had spread among the public signifying that Kozan, Zeytun, Dersim and Van would as well be left to England.

Lord Dufferin, the British Ambassador in 1882, went before the Ottoman ruler and submitted that Armenian people were exposed to unfair treatment and cruelty as a result of the bad management of the governors in Anatolia, many documents were sent to the British Consulates, which contained complaints on this issue and so, he was obligatory to present these documents with the orders of his government and subsequently he attempted to present the document in question.

They were in fact reminding the following article at the Cyprus Convention, when England, the Protestant missionaries, who were its extension at Anatolia, and Consulates make attempts before the state, when Armenians, who were arrested for their activities in Anatolia, were in question: “The Ottoman ruler promises to make reforms at the structure of the administration of this region for the protection of Christian subjects in Anatolia and the other inhabitants.” (2) On the other hand, the missionaries in Anatolia were using the Cyprus Convention for securing the European countries to involve in the Armenian incidents in Anatolia. Claiming that Armenians in Anatolia were exposed to cruelty because of the “Sason” uprising, a priest called McColl called England on duty for the provisions of the Cyprus and Berlin Agreement to be implemented. (3)

England applied both pressure on the Ottoman Empire by using the Cyprus Convention and gained a habit of interfering the domestic affairs of the Ottoman. (4)

The Armenian population in Cyprus has existed since the Byzantine period and Cyprus was one of the places, which Armenians prepared to inhabit. When the Cilicia Princedom was over in 1375, most of the Armenians living in Cilicia immigrated to Cyprus, Rhodes, Crete, Izmir and the other regions at the Byzantine Empire. The origin of the Armenians inhabiting here were the Armenians of Syria, Iran, and Cilicia. (5) There were also Greeks, Jews and Nasranis other than Armenians among the non-Muslims living in Cyprus. (6)

1. Kemal H.Karpat, The Ottoman Population (1830-1914), Istanbul TVYY, 2003, Page 92
2. Armenian-British Relations at the Ottoman Documents, Volume II, Page.124-130
3. Armenian-British Relations at the Ottoman Documents, Volume III, Page 84
4. Armenian-British Relations at the Ottoman Documents, Volume III, Page 103
5. Vartan Artinia, The Rise of the Armenian Constitution at the Ottoman Empire, 1839-1863, Istanbul, 2004, Page 18
6. Ali Efdal Özkul,The Socio-economic History of Cyprus, 1726-1750, Istanbul, 2005, Page 213

The Christian population in Cyrus led missionary activities, as it also did in the other regions of the Ottoman lands. By opening an Armenian school at Cyprus, England ensured the increase of Protestants on one hand; and on the other, she rose Armenian youth, who were devoted to her. Moreover, some of these students functioned during the uprisings that erupted in Anatolia. (7)

Cyprus was one of the prominent places, which sheltered the Armenian committees. The Tashnak Committee had Egypt, Iskenderiye and Cyrus branches. (8) The central committee of the Armenian Muhıbbanı Society was founded inCyprus. This committee aimed at helping Armenians to deal with agriculture, trade and art.

The English Armenians Society, whose headquarters was in London, had been founded by Minas Tcheraz. The main goal of this society was to attempt to convince that the Ottoman was executing tortures and cruelties to Armenians by forming gangs at the locations, where the Ottoman was relatively weak by exploiting from the political circumstance instead of attempting to make a revolution all of a sudden. (9) Hınchak Society was also influential in Cyprus. The head of Cyprus branch of this association was Sivaslıyan, an attorney in Magosa. Sivaslıyan was organizing Armenians in Cyprus in the name of the Society in London. (10) The members of the Armenian Committees in Anatolia fulfilled their communications with Europe via French and British ships, which visited Cyprus. (11)

Cyprus attracted attentions as a location from where the arms, which were used at the Armenian uprisings, were sent to Anatolia. Most of the arms that were used at the Armenian uprisings, were bought with the money that was collected by the committees at the European countries. The arms were introduced in the Ottoman country by sea. The arms that were brought from Europe and America were stored by the members of the committee, who were in Egypt and Cyprus, and from here they were unloaded at the coast of Iskenderun, Adana and Mersin and then to the regions where uprisings takes place. (12)

The British ships could introduce weapons to Istanbul by using their right to enter the Ottoman waters freely. When this activity was noticed by the Ottoman government, the security precautions were intensified.

The attitude of the British government and the activities of the committees in Cyprus led the Armenians, who committed crime against the Ottoman government take a shelter at the island.

The Cyprus island was used as a bridge by the Armenians during their escape to abroad and their illegal entrance. There were also criminals, who had committed crimes against the Ottoman Empire among the ones, who entered to Cyprus. Furthermore, most of the Armenians, who were claimed to be murdered by the Muslims at the various locations of the Anatolia were secretly fleeing to Cyprus, procuring arms license by paying a tax to the local government and were preparing to the uprising that would be erupted at Anatolia. (13)

7. Mim Kemal Öke-Anatolia with Its Internetional Dimensions- The Armenian Question at the Caucasus Axis, 1914-1923, Istanbul, 1996, Page 123
8. Hüseyin Nazım Paşa,The History of Armenian Incidents, Volume 2, Ankara, The Publications of General Management of State Archives, 1998, Page 348
9. Armenians at the Ottoman Documents, Volume XVII, General Management of the State Archives of Prime Ministry
10.The Presentation of “Yıldız Perakende Adliye ve Mezahip Nezareti”, 24/35, lef1 (1323 C 2/8August 1905)
11.Hüseyin Nazım Pasha, a.g.e, Volume I, Page 127
12.Nejla Günay, “1895 Zeytun Rebellion”, The Developments in Turkish-Armenian Relations and the Announcements of the International Symposium on 1915 Incidents, Ankara 2006, Page 433
13. “Yıldız Perakende Mabeyn” of the Head Clerk, 68/76 (1320 Z, 29/28 March 1903/17 September 1897)

The Ottoman Empire lost Cyprus, which was strategically important, when she made Cyprus Agreement with England. England had intervened domestic affairs of the Ottoman with this agreement. The Cyprus agreement was before the Berlin agreement and it included a condition, indicating to make an improvement at the places, where Armenians lived. That was the first sign that England was to use the Armenians against the Russians. As a matter of fact, England brought this article was accompanied by Berlin Agreement, whenever she reminded the Ottoman government to make improvements for the Armenians. On the contrary, the Ottoman Empire considered that the Cyprus agreement would be implemented unless it would “not harm the rights of the ottoman ruler”, and opposed the pressure of England, which resulted from this point.

Following the Ottoman government left the administration of the Cyprus to England, significant Armenian activities were staged at the island. The Ottoman Empire could not prevent the weapons, gangsters to enter from the south coasts, and as a result, many Armenian uprising were stated in Anatolia. And Cyprus became a camp, where Armenian rebels were trained and a depot, which arms that would be sent to Anatolia were kept waiting.

Published in : Gazi Academic View, Edit: Prof.Dr. Hale Şıvgın, Volume 1, Year 1, Number 1, Winter 2007