22 April 2008
Caution: Partially Auto Corrected "Patriotism Perverted" Text May Still Have Some Typographic Errors Due To Automated Processing - Editor
Armenian Genocide Resource Center
Kapriel Serope Papazian's 1934 book, "Patriotism Perverted" is more valuable today than ever, exposing as it does the true unconscientious and murderous nature of the Dashnaks, the ones who have caused so much harm and destruction, not only to those whom the Dashnaks have regarded as their enemies, but to the Armenian people themselves. . . And not only in exposing innocent Armenians to massacres by committing violence against Muslims, and not only by subjecting hundreds of thousands of Armenians to death in the first few years of the Armenian Republic (mainly through famine and disease, in no small part because of the Dashnaks' profiteering and corruption, leading to what Richard Hovannisian termed as "verily, a land of death," and to what Sam Weems termed as "the real genocide of the Armenian people" — not to mention combat, thanks to the power-hungry Dashnaks' greed that started three wars in quick succession ["while the country had thousands of ills that needed attention"], as well as a hopeless revolt against the Soviets in 1922 which in itself, according to Papazian [p. 51], led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Armenian lives).
K. S. Papazian told the truth in the most lucid way, as he worded the effect of the Dashnaks in his book's conclusion:
"Thus we behold the picture of the A. R. Federation as an enemy of the nucleus of Armenian political life; as an organization that has degenerated so far, that it can be compared with the Italian Mafia, and the gangsters of this country. It stands alone and condemned by the Armenian public. Its hands are raised against everybody, its plottings and crimes have rocked the conscience of all decent Armenians, and have disgraced our people before the civilized world."
While the wiser Armenians from the early 1930s might have been beginning to see the light, particularly when there were brave Armenians such as K. S. Papazian (and, later, Arthur Derounian, a.k.a. John Roy Carlson) to slap them around regarding what should have been so very obvious. Unfortunately, the voices and deeds of the fanatical often outweigh those who are rational. Today, the Dashnaks control the worldwide Armenian diaspora and the Republic of Armenia; If there are Armenians who recognize what an enemy the A.R.F. has been to the Armenian people, they usually keep it to themselves. This probably is primarily because Armenians are aware of the dangerousness of the A.R.F. (via outright violence, other forms of intimidation, or, as Papazian explained on p. 65, by being "true to its traditional method of blackening the character of their victims"), and also because the Armenians who are reasonable still choose to keep quiet, because their own brand of patriotism requires that dishonesty and viciousness are to be held as necessary evils in service to Hai Tahd, or the Armenian Cause.
As a result, the Armenians we near-exclusively hear from publicly are the extremists, the ones who fanatically write letters, relentlessly contribute to forums, and send in votes on issues directed through organizations as the ANCA; these are the ones who won't think independently, and their first instinct when they run into a real fact is not to see whether the fact has merit, but to see what can be said or dug up to distort the fact. Some, unfortunately, are so far gone, they can't think independently, what has been described in the psychological world as "The Lemming Effect." Papazian nicely alludes to this factor on p. 13:
"The rank and file have continually been kept under the spell of their invisible rulers, who, through sensational though futile acts, managed to keep their own prestige high, and their coffers bulging."
This is the predominant mindset. And for those who have come to recognize this unfortunate characteristic of too many Armenians regarding genocide matters, the Dashnak-style willingness to be unfair, deceptive and to lose sense of rhyme or reason, it is, as Papazian put it, exactly what has "disgraced our people before the civilized world."
The only way out of this trap is for honorable Armenians to force themselves to think, look at the objective facts (or even the facts presented by their own leaders; it is plain as day what really went on during "1915," even if we listen strictly to the many Dashnaks of the period themselves who let the cat out of the bag), and to find the courage to speak out. And this is precisely why Patriotism Perverted by K.S. Papazian is so valuable, to convince Armenians that the voice of truth belongs to one like K.S. Papazian, and not someone like Dennis Papazian.
But only insofar as the villainy of this terrorist group that still enjoys a stranglehold on Armenians worldwide. K.S. Papazian was blinded himself when it came to other matters. He believed in an Ottoman-directed extermination policy against his people, as well. There's nothing "pro-Turkish" in his book whatsoever, and in fact, we can see from his tone that he likely had a fairly good distaste for the Turks.
And this is what makes K.S. Papazian especially valuable to those honorable Armenians who need help in taking at least the first step of waking up from Dashnak control, and ultimately from their genocide-worshipping stupor. K.S. Papazian was not only a true patriot in recognizing and publicizing the villainy of the A.R.F., but K.S. Papazian fulfilled the primary element that is required of Armenians to show their patriotism: Anti-Turkism.
So nobody can accuse K.S. Papazian of being an "agent of the Turkish government," as even the Dashnaks themselves were ironically accused circa 1908, when they teamed up with the CUP government. Unfortunately, for those of us who value the goodness of humanity and for those of us who realize how absolutely wrong it is to sow togetherness through the advocacy of hatred, K.S. Papazian was a victim of "Patriotism Perverted" in his own right.
Thanks to Erkin, Patrick and Fatma, for their efforts in making this book available.
A Discussion Of The Deeds And The Misdeeds Of The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, The So-Called Dashnagtzoutune
By K. S. PAPAZIAN
By K. S. PAPAZIAN
All rights reserved
(Printed in the United States of America)
To the memory of those Armenian martyrs who, for their devotion to their people and
their loyalty to their fatherland, met death at the hands of their brothers.
In the following pages I have tried to present to the English speaking Armenians of this country and to the American public in general, a fairly clear picture of an organization, that has received so much publicity in connection with the recent assassination in New York of Archbishop Leon Tourian.
An understanding of the background, past activities, the purposes and the methods of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation may be important, if we are going to try and rid the Armenian-American community life, of the predatory inclinations of this society. Its mode of organization, its discordant mental make up as expressed in its publications, its belief in the use of violence rather than persuasion and free discussion to overcome opposition, its tendency to disregard and distort the will of the majority in dealing with public issues, are all alien to our American ideals and Christian principles, and have repeatedly precipitated conflicts in the past.
This booklet, I hope, will help create in the minds of its readers a fairly adequate idea as to the moral and physical dangers with which our youth and our community are threatened on account of Dashnag activities. Such knowledge is necessary, if we are to ward off these dangers, and establish peace and harmony in our midst. The task of presenting the Dashnagtzoutune in its true political and moral character was rather difficult, as this society has had the agility of repeatedly changing its face and color with perfect ease of conscience. At first they were nationalists diluted with socialism; then they turned out and out socialists, with Bolshevistic leanings, and adopted the red flag for their emblem. However, it co-operated with the imperialistic tyrants of Turkey. It now professes nationalism again, and even leans towards fascism or Hitlerism, still clinging to the red flag and dangling a dagger, symbol of revenge and conspiracy, from its emblem.
I have tried to be fair in my presentation of facts and in my judgments. Most of my conclusions are based on facts of contemporary history, and are fortified with quotations from Dashnag publications and Dashnag authors. My picture of the A. R. Federation will not be pleasing to the eyes of its devoted adherents; however, I have tried to cling to the idea, that at least the rank and file of the society, although deluded and misled, still have patriotism for a motive, even though a distorted and perverted form of patriotism.
K. S. PAPAZIAN,
May 10, 1934.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the so-called Dashnagtzoutune, was organized in the Caucasus, in 1890, through the consolidation of several secret revolutionary societies, that had as a common purpose or ideal, more or less definite ideas about the liberation of Armenia from the oppression of the Turks. The elements that composed the Dishnagtzoutune in the beginning, were Armenian intellectuals belonging to the Russian school of socialism, Armenian groups who were staunch nationalists, some pure and unadulterated Marxists, some liberals and some representatives of the bourgeois classes.
Speaking of this assortment of groups, Mikael Varandian, an ideologist and historian of the Dashnagtzoutune, states: "Right and left, moderates and radicals, those with national and all-human tendencies.... all imbued with the idea of the liberation of the Armenians of Turkey." ("History of the A. R. Federation", by M. Varandian, Vol. I, Page 59, Paris 1932. ).
This idea of the liberation of the Armenians of Turkey was interpreted differently by different groups that sought the union. For socialists, liberation did not mean necessarily the independence of the Armenians of Turkey from the rest of the peoples composing the Ottoman empire. They rather imagined a condition where all workers, Armenian, Turkish, Kurdish etc., would enjoy universal freedom and be free from economic oppression. For the nationalists, liberation meant at least some measure of autonomy for the Armenians in Turkish Armenia. The contending groups finally agreed upon the general principle, that they should shake off the abominable yoke of the Sultan, should annihilate the tyrannical and autocratic
regime of Turkey, "should secure harmony between nationalities, safety for labor, and liberty of conscience, of speech and convictions". Their endeavor was going to be "to achieve equality for nationalities and religions before the law". (From the Program of the A. R. Federation, adopted in the General Convention of 1892, Pages 6 and 9).
The purpose of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation was defined in the following formula, as it is given in the above mentioned pamphlet, page 15,—"The purpose of the A. R. Federation is to achieve political and economic freedom in Turkish Armenia, by means of rebellion . . . . "
It is worthy to note, that the attitude of the Dashnag society towards Armenian independence has been rather vague right from the beginning. It did not demand independence for Turkish Armenia. "The pioneers of Dashnagzoutune, not only did not utter the word Independence in their public speeches but they did not have 'independence' as a demand", says M. Varandian, in his "History of the A. R. Federation", page 118. The same Dashnag historian, in order to prove his point, quotes from the "Droshak" (The official organ of the Dashnag central Bureau) Nov. 5 , 1893, the following lines:
"We are opposed to those views according to which the independence of a people is an absolute condition for the amelioration of its lot".
This vagueness and equivocation was designed from the beginning, in order to appease the ultra radicals and socialists in the ranks of the organization. "Political and economic freedom in Turkish Armenia", was more acceptable to these groups, than political independence or autonomy for Armenians in Turkish Armenia.
This vagueness in the definition of their purpose, and the dilution of their national ideals with international and socialistic tendencies, made it easier for the Dashnag leaders,
in later years, to subject the Armenian political demands to dangerous compromises with the young Turks. To run with the hare and hunt with the hound, has been the tactics of the A. R. Federation.
The idea or policy of an independent Armenia was forced upon the society, through the turn of political events that resulted from the Great War and the Russian Revolution.
The consolidation of these various revolutionary societies was engineered by Christopher Mikaelian,.Simon Zavarian and Rostom Zorian, three leaders of ability and personal power, who, while they lived, contrived to maintain harmony among the diverse and somewhat discordant elements that composed the Dashnagtzoutune * ).
Even though a common purpose—the liberation of the Armenians from Turkish oppression—brought together these various groups, divergence of political principles and tendencies were not eliminated from amongst them: and this fact, in later years, became the cause of great confusion in the program and the policies of the organization. From its very beginning the society has lacked consistency of purpose and method, and opportunism and lack of common sense have characterized most of its actions.
The organization is democratic in form only; its various committees and conventions are little more than debating societies and furnishers of money, for the achievement of the purposes of the society. The actual direction of affairs from the beginning has rested in the hands of affairs from the beginning has rested in the hands of a secret Bureau, which established itself in Geneva, Switz-
* ) The word Dashnagtzoutune is the Armenian equivalent for Federation and was adopted for the new society because it designated the alliance of various groups.
erland ruled its adherents with an iron hand and strict discipline. The common members are not encouraged to communicate with each other or with Committees about matters pertaining to the society. This has reduced criticism to a minimum and discouraged independent thinking.
Article 35 of the By-laws drawn up for the A. R. Federation District of America, and published by "Hairenik Press" in Boston, 1910, forbids communication between individual members with the following words:
" .... it is never permitted to a Dashnagtzagah *) member to send circulars to members and committees".
On the other hand, the leaders and official bodies or Committees can withhold important facts and information from the rank and file , if they choose to do so.
The organization is rather oligarchical; and its followers have been taught to accept, without any discussion, the decrees and orders of the higher ups, Dr. Jean Loris-Melikoff, a personal friend of Christopher Mikaelian.and one of the founders of the Dashnag society, speaks as follows: —"The truth is that the party was ruled by an oligarchy, for whom the particular interests of the party came before the interests of the people and the nation". (La Revolution Russe et les Nouvelles Republique Transcaucasiennes, page 84, Liberairie Felix Alcan, Paris, 1920).
Section 7 of Article 57 of the By-laws for the American District, printed in 1910 by the "Hairenik" in Boston, describes as follows some of the duties of the Central Committee of America :—
"To communicate to Committees, by means of circulars, such news received from the fields of activity of our organization, (Turkey, Persia, Caucasus) that have nothing to do with conspiracies..."
*) Dashnagtzagan means a member of Dashnagizoutune. In this discussion the word Dashnag is also used to designate a member of Dashnagizoutune.
Many plots, intrigues, conspiracies and terroristic enterprises are kept secret from the members. Many innocent members are made co-partners in plots without being apprised of the directing motives or purposes behind them. This privilege of secrecy has been often and gravely abused by Dashnag leaders.
The rank and file have continually been kept under the spell of their invisible rulers, who, through sensational though futile acts, managed to keep their own prestige high, and their coffers bulging.
To this day, the Dashnagtzoutune is the meeting place of divergent elements. In its “Report on Russian Armenia,” the American Commission under Gen. James G. Harbord, which was sent to the Caucasus by the Peace Conference in 1919, speaks as follows of the Dashnagtzoutune:—
“This is really a political society, rather than a party.
“It contains three clearly defined elements, all of which are strongly socialist.
“a. The right wing composed of comitadji, (meaning secret revolutionists who believe in strong armed methods).
“b. The centre comprising intellectuals who control both Wings.
“C. The left wing, which is almost Bolshevist.”
TERRORISM IN THE EARLY PROGRAM
Patriotism, and the influence of early leaders maintained loftiness of motives, if not prudence in activity, within the party. Gradually however, established traditions, and self interest governed the policies of the Dashnagtzoutune. Men of smaller intellect and questionable patriotism, and even opportunists, managed to place themselves at the helm of the society; and there began a process of degeneration; and questionable, and even criminal
methods were resorted to, in order to achieve the purposes of the party.
Speaking of the Dashnag Society in the Caucasus, the report of the American Commission under Gen. James G. Harbord declares again:—
"It is highly organized, has agents everywhere, and still plays a dominant part in Armenian National life.
"The opponents of the Dashnagtzoutune say that, despite its patriotic work, it is only a relic of barbarism and
must be suppressed. "Its adherents maintain that it is a vital organ of Armenian life, and that its vicious elements being the inevitable product of former conditions, will be eradicated as order is restored.
"It is probable, that the Dashnagtzoutune still employs terroristic methods, and undeniable that it is now a source of danger, owing to its liability to precipitate conflicts".
This report was submitted to the Peace Conference and to the United States Government, in August 1919.
Terrorism has, from the first, been adopted by the Dashnag Committee of the Caucasus, as a policy or a method for achieving its ends. In this they have followed the Russian Socialists or Nihilists. Under the heading "Means", in their program adopted in 1982, we read as follows:—
The Arm. Revolutionary Federation, in order to achieve its purpose through rebellion, organizes revolutionary groups. . . ." and these groups are to use various means or methods, which are given on pages 17 and 18 of the program.
Method No. 8 is as follows:—
“To wage fight, and to subject to terrorism the government officials, the traitors, the betrayers, the usurers, and the exploiters of all description”.
Method No. 11 is :—
“To subject the government institutions to destruction and pillage”.
Dashnag publications are full of stories of terroristic exploits.
At first, these terroristic methods were resorted to in order to obtain money for the revolutionary movements in the Turkish territory. Says Dr. Jean Loris-Melikoff: “They made collections among the bourgeois and the great merchants. At the end, when these means were exhausted, they resorted to terrorism, after the teachings of the Russian revolutionaries, that ‘the end justifies the means’ . . . (La Revolution Russe et les Nouvelles Republiques Transucasiennes”, Page 81).
In a signed article entitled “Armenia, its History and Customs”, which appeared in “Hairenik”, the official mouthpiece of the Dashnag Central Committee in the United States, the following is said on this matter.
“In addition, Turkish oppression was often quickly reduced or eliminated by the Dashnag policy of exterminating arbitrary officials. Another effected practice was the intimidation of prominent men in order to obtain financial support. Those who refused were put on the "spot". In fact, it was very similar to the underground methods of modern racketeering, except that its goal was noble". “Hairenik”, Sept. 16, 1933).
If we are to believe the late M. Varandian, who was a prominent leader of the society belonging to its inner councils, terroristic methods were often used in order to collect money from rich Armenians.
"The first attempt at collecting money by force, was tried in Shousha. In the summer of 1902, our leader Christopher was there, with his soldiers. . . . The first blow of the "storm" fell upon the well-known millionaire, Isahag Jamharian — . . . the "storm" squad arrested him one night and took him to a lonely spot outside the city." They let him free when he promised to pay 30,000 rubles. However, he notified the police, and his abductors were arrested. "With his cynical betrayal, says Varandian, Jamharian forged his own tragic fate. And a few months after this episode, in Moscow, in broad daylight, and in the courtyard of the Armenian church, in the presence of a great throng, this traitor paid for his sin; he fell under the blows of a dagger . . . ." ("History of the Dashnagtzoutune", by M. Varandian, Vol. I Page 325, 326, 327, Paris, 1932).
Jamharian had committed the sin of defending himself from the arbitrary demands of self-appointed and irresponsible saviors of our people, who had gone so far as to abduct him and threaten him with violence. He was, therefore, a traitor in the eyes of these people. He was still a traitor for the Dashnag historian Varandian, in the year of grace 1932, and was even denied the right of self defense.
All those who disagreed with the Dashnag leaders, or against whom the local Dashnak chiefs nourished a grudge, were denounced as traitors, and betrayers of the cause. Mateos Baliozian, a wealthy merchant of Smyrna, was thus denounced, although to this day there is no proof at all that he betrayed anyone to the Turkish government, However, according to Varandian, he was killed in 1902, by a Dashnag terrorist, Horen Sarkisian or Bedros Azizof of Magnisa. Here is how this episode is related by the Dashnag historian: "The two spies were being protected morally and materially, by the local Armenian Croesus, Mateos Baliozian, who was influential within the government
circles. . . . The organization, naturally, did not retreat and punished the Armenian moths. Maksoud and Karekin (alleged spies) were subjected to terrorism. The same lot fell also on Baliozian, who continued, stubbornly, to assist the police. His terror was organized by Hrach himself (1902), and the terrorist was Bedros Azizof of Magnisa, ( "History of the Dashnagtzoutune", Vol, I. Page 450).
That terroristic methods were also used, in those early days, within the ranks of Dashnag leaders for differences of opinion and to satisfy personal grudges, is also admitted, by Varandian himself, in his famous "History of the Dashnagtzoutune", page 86. "In the same year 1891 Gerektzian was killed in Erzouroum, by the decision of the local Central Committee .... His "guilt " was, that he was against hasty revolutionary moves, he preached prudence, he advised that long preparations be made. 'Whoever is not with us, is our enemy'—said the hot headed comrades of Gerektzian. They cast lots, and the lot fell on Comrade Aram Aramian who has also killed Comrade Gerektzian.
"The Central Committee of Dashnagtzoutune condemned this step in 1892, in the presence of Aramian, and issued a special bulletin on it". But the Dashnag Center did not punish Aram Aramian for his crime. A verbal reprimand was considered sufficient.
Judging from the contents of the "History of the A. R. Federation", as written by Varandian, the early Dashnag organization has been very prolific in organizing and carrying out terroristic acts. It seems that terrorism against their own co-nationals has been a prominent part of the revolutionary activities of the Dashnag leaders of the Caucasus. Organized to fight the Turks, these chieftains have been more successful in their fight against their
Armenian opponents in Turkey, and the Caucasus, very often defenseless and innocent. Varandian exalts the terroristic activities of the A. R. Federation, in his history, pages 211-213. in the following glowing terms :—
"Terroristic acts, which, alas, have very often been directed against the internal adversaries—against betrayers, against unfaithful spies and against all kinds of traitors.... Perhaps there has never been a revolutionary party— not even the Russian Narodovoletz, or the Italian Carbonaris— with such rich experiences on the road of terroristic acts, as the A. R. Federation, which in its difficult environment, has developed the most frenzied types of terrorists, and given hundreds of masters of the pistol, the bomb and the dagger, for acts of revenge. "The terror of the Dashnagtzoutune, although directed mainly against cowardly Armenians at first, gradually was turned against the enemy itself, and we see its hundreds of victims, Turkish, Kurdish, Russian, great or small tyrants .... etc."
One of the most unfortunate results of these terroristic methods, was the gradual development of a class of terrorists, who used their bullet and their dagger indiscriminately, both against those who betrayed the cause, and against those who were unfortunate enough to make personal enemies of the Dashnag leaders. This class of terrorists enjoyed a place of honor within the society.
A partial list of alleged Armenian victims of Dashnag terrorism is given at the end of this discussion, (See Appendix I ).
ACTIVITIES AGAINST TURKEY
Under the leadership of Sarkis Gougounian, a dare devil student from Moscow, a band of some 100 Armenian enthusiasts were organized in Alexandropol, in the summer of 1890, crossed the Turkish border sometime in September of that year, and had some encounters with the Kurds. However, when the Turkish regulars appeared on the scene, they had to retreat. Their retreat into the Caucasus was cut off by the Cossacks. A good many were killed, most of them arrested, and Gougounian was exiled into Siberia.
Thus ended the so-called Gougounian expedition, in which the newly organized Dashnagtzoutune had no part. On the contrary, its leaders tried to dissuade Gougounian from carrying out his plan. as r rash, premature and harmful move. They believed, at that time, that there should be a more careful and general preparation for an uprising against Turkey.
However, they soon discarded this more prudent policy of action, and adopted the methods of sensational, sporadic and partisan fights along the borders of Turkish Armenia. This method was tried for a few years, but without the desired results. European governments did not intervene in favor of the Armenians who as a result of these forays were subjected to more systematic anrl bitter persecution by the Turks and the Kurds. The Hunchagist party had tried the same method of sensational acts and sporadic fighting in Constantinople, Sassoun, Zeitoun and elsewhere, and had failed to bring about European intervention. They had given up these methods as futile and harmful. The Dashnag society thought it would succeed where others had failed. Therefore it decided to carry the fight into
the Turkish capital, and to attempt a move, that would rattle the Sultan, and would cause the European powers to intervene and compel the Turkish government to put into force the reforms promised for the Armenian provinces, under Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin. (See appendix III ).
The Dashnag high command had decided an attack on the Bank Imperial Ottoman.
Accordingly, one day in August 1896, a group of young men entered the Bank in Constantinople, subdued the employes, barricaded themselves in, and threatened to blow up the bank with bombs and dynamite, unless the Sultan promised reforms for Armenia. The Sultan made no rnove, and represented these revolutionists as brigands. Dr. George Washburn, a famous missionary, goes even so far as to say in a book of his, that Abdul Hamid was aware of the plans of the Dashnags, and let them enter the bank in order to discredit the Armenian revolution and use it as a pretext for a massacre. After waiting in vain for a whole day, and through the intervention of the Russian embassy, our heroes were safely escorted out of the bank and placed on board a European steamer and saved themselves; while 16,000 Armenians were massacred in Constantinople during the following two days by the Turkish rabble and the regulars * ).
However, the Dashnag leaders clung to the idea that sporadic uprisings and partisan fights with the Turkish armed forces, were essential to bring about diplomatic intervention.
* ) " . . . . it is certain that the Turkish government knew all about it many days before, even !o the exact time when the bank was to be entered, and the Minister of Police had made elaborate arrangements not to arrest these men or prevent the attack on the bank, but to facilitate it and make it the occasion of a massacre of the Armenian population of the city". (Dr. George Washborn, "Fifty years in Constantinople", page 246).
"The purpose of the Armenian movement, has been, says M. Varandian, the most prominent Dashnag ideologist and historian, from the beginning, to organize as far as possible a long drawn-out fight against the Ottoman tyranny, to create in the country a continuous revolutionary state, always having before our eyes the intervention of the third factor . . . . the European factor," (M. Varandian, "History of the Dashnagtzoutune", page 302).
They ignored a fourth and most important factor, the people of Turkish Armenia.
Being all Armenians from the Caucasus, these people never took the trouble of inquiring into the actual conditions in Armenia, and consulting the Armenians in Turkey. They even refused to co-operate with other secret societies, organized in Turkish Armenia, who believed only in methods of self defense against the Turkish and Kurdish oppressors, and in long and silent preparation for a general uprising in the distant future. They pursued their own disastrous methods.
Another futile expedition, that took place in the summer of 1897, and ended in a fiasco, was that of Khanasor, Its net result was disastrous for the Armenian population of the district between Van and Persia. Many Armenian villages were wiped out as a result of this adventure of the Dashnags, who, for the most part, escaped with their own skins intact.
The Khanasor expedition, so-called, was the result of the machinations of the Russian authorities, whose purpose was to encourage political unrest and turmoil along the eastern borders of Turkey. There is reason to believe, that some of the Dashnag leaders of Tiflis, were playing the game of the Russian government. Their more prudent leaders, as well as all other Armenian political organizations, opposed the undertaking as one that was certain to
bring failure and disaster. However, the central authorities of Tiflis prevailed upon local opposition. Enormous amounts of money had been collected from the Armenians to organize and equip this expedition; therefore, they had to show results. The Russian authorities had to be pleased too.
The avowed purpose of the expedition of Khanasor, was to punish the Kurdish tribe of Mazrik, that had been the scourge of the Armenian population of those districts, There were about 250 fighters in the band that attacked the camp of the Mazrik tribe in the plain of Khanasor just before daybreak, and set fire to the nearest tents and killed a few Kurds. The main body of the Kurds put up a stiff fight, and drove back the attackers, who in their confusion fired upon each other.
The Dashnag band was in danger of being surrounded by the Mazrik fighters, and had to retreat to safety, leaving 19 in dead on the battlefield, according to "Droshak", the Dashnag central organ, Nov. 11, 1897.
The Mazrik escaped punishment, their chief, Sharaf Beg, although declared killed in the fight in all Dashnag papers ever since, was still alive twenty years after Khanasor; and he took terrible revenge on the peaceful Armenian peasants.
To this day, Khanasor is celebrated every year, by the Dashnag society, and the rank and file is made to believe that it was a glorious victory; and that the blood thirsty Sharaf Beg was killed in the fight.
The rebellion of the mountain district of Sassoun in 1904, is another chapter in the revolutionary activities of the A. R. Federation. Sassoun had already taken up arms against the Kurds and the Turkish soldiers in 1894, under the leadership of the Hunchagist leaders Mourad and Damadian. This early movement during which the heroic
mountaineers fought bravely, was ruthlessly crushed by the regular army, and many villages were destroyed and the people massacred.
The new rebellion in 1904 was better organized and was led by Antranik, whose Homeric exploits against the enemy, form some of the most glowing pages of the history of Armenian struggle for independence. However, its outcome was not any different than that of the earlier rebellion. After a series of long drawn-out fights, during which the peasants and their leaders from outside displayed great bravery and inflicted heavy losses on the Turkish troops, the rebellion was finally crushed, many mountain villages were destroyed and the revolutionists had to retreat to the districts of Moush and Bitlis.
This second Sassoun episode created a little more noise in the European press; a few more speeches, supporting the Armenian cause, were delivered from the rostrum of some European parliaments; some consular agents were dispatched to the scene of operations in order to send firsthand information to their respective governments; and the incident was ended so far as European diplomacy was concerned.
The third factor—European intervention—never displayed any signs of effective action to force the Sultan to carry out the stipulations of Article 61 of the treaty of Berlin for Armenian Reforms.
These periodic fights with limited numbers of fighters. and scattered over isolated regions. involved great sacrifices of human life and money, but were not effective enough to wrest the least concessions from the government of the Sultan. It will hardly be an exaggeration to say, that all the revolutionary activities of the A. R. Federation out together, did not equal, either in magnitude or in actual results, the rebellion of the town of Zeitoun in 1895. For
over three months, the inhabitants of this mountain town defended themselves against a regular army of 30,000, under Edhem Pasha, captured a whole Turkish regiment and forced the government to come to terms and grant some measure of local autonomy for the district of Zeitoun. The Dashnagtzoutune had no part in this memorable fight.
The attempt on the life of Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid in 1905, constitutes the last episode of the revolutionary attempts of the A. R. Federation in behalf of Turkish Armenia. This was another of the spectacular but futile acts of the Dashnagtzoutune. Its success would not have helped the Armenian cause; its failure probably saved our people from greater misfortunes.
* * *
The Armenian struggle for independence was directed against the most ruthless tyranny in the world. Obstacles were overwhelming. Neither geography nor friendly diplomacy helped our cause. These facts taught a lesson to the early Armenagans * ) and the Hunchagists, who, after a few spectacular exploits, gave up the method of armed insurrection with small numbers.
The Dashnagtzoutune would not learn any lessons from the experiences of others. Its doctrine was, that liberty is won by bloodshed only, and the more the Sultan is goaded into massacring the Armenian people, the stronger will become our claims for autonomy, and the greater will become the hope for European intervention.
As we have already stated, this expected intervention never materialized, and the Sultan was left free to deal with the Armenians as he saw fit,
* ) Armenagens were the earliest Armenian revolutionary society, formed in Van, directed by local leaders who believed only in patriotism and not in other isms. They preached self defense and tried to prepare the people for an uprising in the future. They afterwards joined the Ramgavar party,
Years of futile and wasteful struggle against the Turkish government finally forced the scholastic leaders of the Dashnagtzoutune, who had directed the struggle from their safe refuges of Geneva and Tiftis, to admit their defeat, but not their ignorance.
"We were defeated, says Mikael Varandian on page 191 of his hodge-podge of a 'History of the Dashnagtzoutune', and adds immediately, "but the enemy was not victorious either". This last sentence is simply a bravado in keeping with Dashnag mentality.
Although mostly disastrous in its final outcome., the Armenian revolution produced the beneficial impression among the Turks and Kurds, that the long oppressed Armenian infidel can also strike back at its tyrants. Some real fighters sprang up from among the people, who struck terror into the hearts of the Turks. The prestige of various revolutionary societies was built on the personal bravery of these fighting patriots, who, like the great Antranik, later symbolized the struggle of the Armenians for independence.
The Dashnagtzoutune exploited the fame and prestige of Antranik and others, to the fullest extent. These heroic figures were represented as the product of the revolutionary school of the party.
Here is what Gen. Antranik has to say about this kind of exploitation by the Dashnagtzoutune.
"They say, that I have been the spoiled child of the Dashnagtzoutune.
"Fortunately my revolutionary teacher of 1889 was not the Dashnagtzoutune, I can not understand what right can a party have to appropriate its followers of the past, when its present is completely against its doctrines of the past and the national spirit?
"It would have been a good thing, of course, if the Dashnagtzoutune had had well-known and less-known heroes, whose teachers had been the intelligentsia belonging to itself.
"For decades it was the people of Sassoun, Moush, Akhlat and the Armenian people in general, who have supported me and other soldiers like me; and we have been their soldiers only, and not the soldiers of the Dashnagtzoutune or any other party.
"When these brave soldiers, who sprung up from the bosom of the Armenian people, were fighting in the mother country. . . . the Dashnagtzoutune was only waging partisan quarrels in its press abroad, and exploiting the names of my inimitable fighting comrades. It is hard to understand therefore, whether we, fighters, are the ones who have nourished and spoiled the Dashnagtzoutune, or. this latter has spoiled us?
"Today the Dashnagtzoutune is deprived of the right to speak in the name of those who fell like heroes". ("Antranik Speaks", pages 4, 5, 6, Paris 1921).
ADHERENCE TO SOCIALISM
When the Russian Czar issued a decree in 1903, by which the government was going to confiscate the property of the Armenian church. the people rose in one body in defense of their rights. The authorities in the Caucasus, in order to weaken the Armenian people, incited the Mohammedan Tartars to attack them. Riots and murders increased to the proportion of massacres in many cities; while the police and the Cossacks turned a deaf ear to the appeals of the Armenians for protection.
Then the Armenians took up arms and defended themselves very effectively from this double attack. The rev-
olutionary societies, with their organization and their leadership, naturally, played an important part in this conflict; and the Dashnagtzoutune won great credit and fame for its share in the fight. However, the claims of the Dashnag writers, that their own organization and their own partisan chiefs played the leading part in these internecine fights seem to be greatly exaggerated. The accounts of these clashes, which lasted almost a year and a half ( 1905-1906) and in which the Armenians were victorious, come mostly from Dashnag writers, and grossly overestimate the importance of the A. R. Federation as a fighting element.
According to H. Katchaznouni, the A. R. Federation did not take the initiative in that national struggle; it rather followed the popular movement. Here is what this veteran Dashnag leader, who was also the prime minister of the Armenian Republic from 1905-1906, has to say on the subject.
". . . . In Transcaucasia, the Dashnagtzoutune has been not so much as a leader or initiator in the past. as a follower of those movements, that have grown independently of itself. It was thus in 1903 (rebellion and demonstrations on account of the confiscation of the property of the church). l t was thus during the period of 1905-1906 (bloody Armeno-Tartar conflicts); it was also thus during the first great labor movements (1903-1906), when the Dashnagtzoutune was being governed, in Baku, Tiflis and Batoum, by the policy and mode of action of the foreign socialistic parties". ( "A. R. Federation Has Nothing More to Do", pages 7-8, by Hov. Kachaznouni, Vienna, t923).
These conflicts and also the first revolutionary movements that broke out in the Caucasus after the Russo-Japaneses [sic] War, threw the Armenian people and its organizations into close contact with the Russian socialistic parties.
Many Dashnag leaders of the Caucasus had socialistic tendencies already; and they conceived the bright idea that the open adoption of socialism as a political program, would secure the support of Russian and European socialist leaders for the Armenian cause. Accordingly, about the year 1906, they adhered to the social-revolutionists of Russia. This step meant a deviation from their original program of the liberation of Turkish Armenia, and was bitterly opposed by some of the most eminent fighters in the ranks of the Dashnagtzoutune, such as Antranig, Mourad, Mihran, etc., mostly all Armenians from Turkey.
These men were pure and simple patriots. They did not give a rap tor socialism or other isms. Mihran could not be won over to the viewpoint of the intellectuals and the secret Bureau. Therefore, he was assassinated one day.
In their convention of Vienna, that was held in I907, the Dashnagtzoutune condemned Mihran to death.
Here is what M. Varandian writes about this decision.
"At last, here is the decision of the meeting about Mihran, which was passed unanimously, with one exception:—
1 "To consider the conduct of Mihran and his accomplices a grave offense against the organization and the Turkish-Armenian cause that it defends. On this basis, to consider them expelled from the ranks of Dashnagtzoutune.
2. "To recommend to the proper body, that it subject Mihran and his accomplices to the penalty that is foreseen in the by-laws of the organization.
" ( Soon the death penalty was carried out ) ". ( M. Varandian, 'History of the Dashnagtzoutune, page 491, Paris, 1932).
The opposition, however, did not stop there. When in the above mentioned convention, which was held in Vienna in 1907, the Dashnags finally adopted and ratified
the program of social-revolution, some of their most eminent fighting leaders, Antranik among them, left the party. His prestige among the Dashnag rank and file was so great, that the Bureau did not dare to put him on the "spot", like it did Mihran.
Here is what General Antranik has to say about this convention of Vienna, in his booklet, "Antranik Speaks"' pages 7-8-9- 10.
"At the Convention of Vienna, in 1907, the Dashnagtzoutune adopted the Caucasian Program, that is to say it renounced its real aim, which was the liberation of the Armenian people of Turkey, in order to pursue pan-human purposes.
"This, to a certain extent, meant the burial of the Turkish-Armenian cause.
"For three days, during which the Caucasian Program was debated, I opposed it with all my soul. Maloumian, who was presiding that day, protested, and declared, that I myself and a few others with me, were to blame for the prolongation of the convention.
"Then I answered — Let your blood be on your own heads. Do as you please, but don't close the doors of Russia against us. We have too many enemies already, don't make an enemy of Russia too; and do not furnish any excuse for reducing the Armenians of the Caucasus to the condition of the Armenians of Turkey.
" . . . . I deemed it useless for me to stay in the Dashnagtzoutune, and I wrote my resignation from Varna and sent it to Geneva, so it could be published in the 'Droshak'.
"From that day on, as I beheld the doings of the Dashnagtzoutune, I became more and more firm, in my convictions that brought about my resignation.
"Indeed, after that I saw that the Dashnagtzoutune made it a business to persecute the Armenian 'bourgeoisie'.
Presumably to protect the rights of the workers, it caused strikes in Bakou and Batoum. These strikes harmed only the Armenian owners of oil establishments, from whom the same society had often begged for money. Many of them had to close their factories; thus making happy the Tartar factory owners. Tens of thousands of Armenian laborers were thrown out on the streets, and wandered without work. After the 'Ottoman Constitutional Regime', the Dashnagtzoutune spread its strikes from Constantinople out until it came to the rug factories of Harpert and Sebastia.
"From that time on, the Dashnagtzoutune remained faithful to its socialistic aims. When we had an independent Armenia, they preached socialism, from Karabagh to Sarikamish, to the Armenian people, eighty per cent of whom did not know the alphabet. They wanted to teach socialism to the Turks and Tartars too: and they shouted in their organs "Workers, unite without distinction of race l "
Adherence to socialism had other and more grave consequences for the Dashnagtzoutune and the Armenian people. At once the Russian government began to persecute the Armenian revolutionists, as the allies of the Russian revolutionary societies.
Formerly the activities of the Dashnagtzoutune were tolerated in Caucasian Armenia by the authorities, as they were directed against Turkey only. Now the Czar and his ministers saw a great danger in their presence on Russian soil. The leaders were arrested, exiled and persecuted. The Dashnags, according to their grandiloquence, were fighting the powers of both the Sultan and the Czar. But the position of the Armenians in the Caucasus became untenablc, and the revolution was deprived of its only base where the operations against Turkey could be organized and started. On the other hand, European socialism failed
to come to our help, as European diplomacy had already failed. The net result was a tremendous waste of energy and internal dissensions.
YOUNG TURKS AND THE DASHNAGTZOUTUNE
The Dashnagtzoutune, while devoted solely to the purpose of Armenian liberation, had shunned the overtures of the young Turkish leaders in Europe for their co-operation in overthrowing the tyranny of Abdul Hamid. Now that they began to play high politics, they came to an understanding with the Turkish Revolutionists. Some of the bases of this agreement between the Dashnags and the young Turks, which was drawn up in Paris in 1907, were the following :
1. The abandonment by the Armenians of the demand for the enforcement of 61st Article of the Treaty of Berlin *). This meant that the Armenians were not going to demand separate reforms for Armenia, but were going to work for a constitutional government for Turkey as a whole, and become citizens, with equal rights, of the Ottoman empire.
2. Rebellion against the Czarist government in the Caucasus; and the liberation of the various peoples of the Caucasus-Armenians included—from Russia, under the hegemony of Turkey. Dashnagtzoutune was to play a leading part in this movement against Russia.
3. The curtailing of the privileges enjoyed by the Armenian Patriarchs of Constantinople, under age old Fermans of the Sultans, according to which the Armenians were given some sort of autonomy in ecclesiastical, educational and purely Armenian community affairs. These
* ) See Appendix III
privileges made it possible for Armenian community life to exist under Turkish oppression and tyranny.
After the young Turkish revolution of July 1908, when the Dashnagtzoutune for the first time appeared in Turkey openly and as a legal political party, and a constitutional government was declared by the young Turks, a few seats were allotted to the Dashnag leaders in the Ottoman Parliament. One of the first acts of the Dashnag deputies was their agreement to a resolution whereby the Turks proposed the abrogation of the Article 61, of the Berlin treaty. This, at once, aroused opposition among the Armenian authorities and the people.
AGAINST THE CHURCH
The intellectual leaders of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation have never been very friendly toward religion in general, and towards the Armenian church in particular. Their attitude has been, that the church should confine itself to strictly religious and ritual activities only, and should play no other part in the social or community life of the Armenian people.
Such a doctrine is unthinkable even under the free institutions of advanced countries like the United States or England, where the church is always accepted as an active force in the social well being of a community. Under governmental regimes that obtained in Russia and Turkey, the national and community life of subject peoples was organized around their religious institutions; therefore, the application of the radical principles advocated by Dashnag leaders, would have been both absurd and disastrous.
However, as soon as socialism was adopted by the Dashnag leadership as a party program, they set out with the zeal of newly created converts to put it into application within the Armenian national life.
The Czar of Russia had proclaimed a constitutional form of government for his empire. A more liberal atmosphere prevailed in the political life of the Caucasus. Taking advantage of this opportunity, His Holiness Khrimian Hairik, who was then Catholicos of all the Armenians, ordered an ecclesiastical meeting of the Armenians of Russia, to be held in Echmiadzin. The purpose of the convention, as drawn up by His Holiness, was to be to adopt measures for improving the Armenian schools, for regulating and increasing the revenues of the church; and to draw up a constitution for the administration of church and community affairs that would be more in line with Armenian interests than the Balagenia—a law decreed by the Russian government for the administration of Armenian church affairs.
The ecclesiastical Assembly met in August 1906 at Echmiadzin, and was solemnly opened by His Holiness the Catholicos. The overwhelming majority of the lay delegates being Dashnags, these took charge. of the affairs, ignored the ecclesiastical nature of the gathering, drowned the voice of the clerical members, and changed the assembly into a political meeting.
Archbishop Ormanian, in his "Azkabadoum", speaks of this meeting as follows:
"Those who attended the gathering, forgot, from the first day, the sphere of educational, financial and electoral problems, which had been set for them, and began to invade other spheres . . . . The Armenian Church and the clergy were declared to be harmful to the Armenian people; antichurch feeling was aroused'; a campaign was declared against the ministers of the church. Even the authority of the Catholicos was scorned, notwithstanding the fact that their existence and activities originated in him." (Ormanian, "Azkabadoum", pages 5323, 5324, 5325, 5326).
According to the account given of this Ecclesiastical Assembly by M. Varandian, the program adopted provided that, "The property belonging to the churches and monasteries be turned over to the possession of the people itself; that the Catholicos and the entire clergy have authority to deal only with purely religious, dogmatic and. ritual problems and have no more connection with various national institutions and. affairs; that these temporal affairs be henceforth governed by temporal bodies elected by popular, universal, secret and equal ballot, etc." ("History of the Dashnagtzoutune", by M. Varandian, page 472) .
"Unfortunately, all this was to remain on paper only", declares Varandian regretfully, for neither Khrimian Hairik, nor the saner minority of the Assembly would tolerate this attempt to remake the Armenian church in accordance with the "liberal spirit of the Dashnag ideology". The Catholicos saw nothing but danger in this farce of an Assembly, and most probably it was he who invited the police authorities to put a stop to it .
The attempt of the Dashnagtzoutune to dispossess the church of its property and its functions, and exploit them for its own purposes was thus frustrated. The church and the people had just rescued their sacred rights from the encroachments of the Russian Czar, and would not tolerate trespassing by Armenian despoilers.
The agitation against the church in Turkish Armenia, which was started by the Dashnagtzoutune soon after the declaration of Constitutional government in Turkey, was simply another phase of the hostile attitude of this society towards church and religion. This agitation had for its object, the opening of all the Armenian churches for political meetings. The church authorities and the people opposed this agitation most vehemently, and there were widespread dissensions and fights in practically every Armenian com-
munity. This was known as the "Open, Close" controversy, and lasted three years.
In a great many instances, the Dashnag leaders made their henchmen break into the churches, throw open the doors, and start their political meetings, using the pulpit and the chancel as their platform.
This dispute was so violent, that there were many instances of riots among the disputants, and in one instance, at least, two Armenians who wanted to protect the church of Smyrna from being sacrileged, were then and there shot and killed by Dashnag terrorists.
The committee of Union and Progress, Turkish allies of the Dashnagtzoutune who controlled the Turkish government, secretly encouraged these internal dissensions; and the Dashnag violators of law and order were treated very leniently by the Turkish police and in Turkish courts.
This movement against the church was well supported by an anti-religious propaganda which was carried on systematically in the Dashnag daily and periodical publications. Being newly converted socialists, they represented everything religious and ecclesiastical as reactionary and medieval anachronisms. Unfortunately, many were the Armenian youths who followed these teachings; and faith in religion, respect for paternal authority and other solid social ideals in the hearts of many of the young generation were undermined.
The anti-religious movement was carried to such extremes, that even the highest church dignitaries were treated discourteously by Dashnag leaders.
I shall cite one glaring example of this disrespect for religion and religious authority. The meeting of the Armenian National Council, which was a sort of a legislative body, always opened with a prayer by its president, the Patriarch, who was always an Archbishop. Custom and
courtesy required the councilmen to stand up during these prayers. In one instance, while the Patriarch was reciting the Lords prayer, Mr. Shahrigian, the leader of the Dashnag group in the council, and one who was high up in the party, crossed his legs and kept his seat, declaring, afterwards, that religion did not mean anything to him.
The opposition of the clergy and people to these designs for using the churches for political meetings, sprang first of all from religious principles. The church buildings were for worship only. Secondly, the Dashnag leaders, who claimed they had no other meeting halls, used these churches, wherever they were able to, for mass meetings against the Russian government, which had at this period (1909-1912) unearthed an alleged plot of the Dashnags against the authorities in the Caucasus, and had imprisoned many of their leaders. Such a movement against Russia was agreeable to the young Turks, but would embarrass His Holiness the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin, and would endanger the position of the Armenians in Russia. The Patriarchate would not allow the churches to be used for such agitation.
After throwing the entire Armenian community into dissension and disorder, this "Open, Close" controversy ended in the defeat of the Dashnag leadership.
The Armenians and the Armenian authorities in Turkey, based their opposition to the Dashnags principally on the following points :—
1. Their leaders were Russian-Armenians, and therefore, ignorant of the peculiar conditions of Turkey; but they concluded agreements with the Turkish Authorities, over the heads of established official bodies.
2. During the period from 1908-1914 they frustrated the efforts of the other Armenian political parties
and the Patriarchate to organize a united front to the Turkish government. They would rather ally themselves with the young Turks, than with their own co-nationals *). The popular conviction was, that the Deshnag leaders were bought by special privileges, seats in the Parliament, and offices.
3. Their socialistic program and propaganda among the youth and the peasants was obnoxious to the Armenians, Who thought such doctrines had no place in a struggle for political freedom.
4. Their anti-religious propaganda and publications, undermined the morals of the youth.
THE WORLD WAR
When the world war broke out in Europe, the Turks began feverish preparations for joining hands with the Germans. In August 1914 the young Turks asked the Dashnag Convention, then in session in Erzerum, to carry out their old agreement of 1907, and start an uprising among the Armenians of the Caucasus against the Russian government. The Dashnagtzoutune refused to do this, and gave assurances that in the event of war between Russia and Turkey, they would support Turkey as loyal citizens.
*) In the A. R. Federation, the Committee of Union and Progress. the so-called young Turks, who controlled the Ottoman government at this period, found ready and willing tools for their program of weakening the political authority of the Armenian Patriarchate. which represented the nation before the Turkish government. The young Turks encouraged the Dashnak leaders in their attempts to reorganize the Patriarchate and other ecclesiastical institutions depending on it, in accordance with she "liberal spirit of the Dashnag ideology." being sure that their success would mean the weakening of the Armenian community throughout Turkey. Even after the Adana massacres of 1909, where 20,000 Armenians were killed, the Dashnaqrzoutune supported the young Turkish viewpoint. and weakened the position of the Patriarchate that demanded swift and drastic punishment for the instigators of that great crime.
On the other hand, they could not be held responsible for the Russian-Armenians.
The Turks were not satisfied. They suspected them of duplicity. This perhaps was not true, because the answer given the Turks was based on a resolution adopted by the convention. The fact remains, however, that the leaders of the Turkish-Armenian section of the Dashnagtzoutune did not carry out their promise of loyalty to the Turkish cause when the Turks entered the war. The Dashnagtzoutune in the Caucasus had the upper hand. They were swayed in their actions by the interests of the Russian government and disregarded, entirely, the political dangers that the war had created for the Armenians in Turkey. Prudence was thrown to the winds; even the decision of their own convention of Erzurum was forgotten and a call was sent for Armenian volunteers to fight the Turks on the Caucasus front.
Thousands of Armenians from all over the world, flocked to the standards of such famous fighters as Antranik, Kery, Dro, etc. The Armenian volunteer regimen rendered valuable services to the Russian Army in the years of 1914-15-16. However, their deeds of heroism and the blood they shed in the conquest of Turkish Armenia by Russia, did not help the Armenian cause. The Dashag leaders declared, that the Russian government had promised freedom for Armenia. There was no foundation to this : and the deception was exposed finally. But thousands of Armenians had already answered the false call, and incidentally, millions were poured into the coffers of the Dashnag “National Bureau”.
On the other hand, the methods used by the Dashnagtzoutune in recruiting these regiments were so open and flagrant, that it could not escape the attention of the Turkish authorities, who were looking for an excuse to carry
out their program of exterminating the Christian population which they had adopted as early as 1911.
Many Armenians believe, that the fate of two millions of their co-nationals in Turkey might not have proved so disastrous, if more prudence had been used by the Dashnag leaders during the war. In one instance, one Dashnag leader, Armen Garo, who was also a member of the Turkish Parliament, had fled to the Caucasus and had taken active part in the organization of volunteer regiments to fight the Turks. His picture, in uniform, was widely circulated in the Dashnag papers, and it was used by Talat Pasha, the arch assassin of the Armenians, as an excuse for his policy of extermination *).
The fact remains that the real representatives of the Armenians in Turkey, the Patriarchate and its organs, were never consulted by the Caucasian leaders of the Dashnagtzoutune in adopting their policies with regard to the Armenian people; yet, the disastrous consequences of these policies were suffered by the Armenians in Turkey.
THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND THE ARMENIAN EFFORTS AT DEFENSE
The Russians did not liberate the conquered provinces of Armenia; and after the revolution, their army abandoned the front, and left it defenseless against the Turks. The Nationalistic elements of the Dashnags in the Caucasus, along with the National Council of the Western or Turkish Ar-
* ) When the deportations and exile of Armenian leaders began in the summer of 1915. an Armenian lady, the wife of another Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, had gone to plead with Talat Pasha, asking the [?] of her husband from exile and probable death. During the interview, Talat Pasha produced a copy of the Dashnag paper “Horizon” in which Armen Garo's picture in the uniform of a volunteer was published, and, pointing to the picture, said, “Madam, look at our mebous (deputy)”. Armen Garo, incidentally, was one of the “heroes” of the Bank Ottoman episode of 1896.
menians who had fled across the Russian border, tried to raise an army corps under the leadership of Gen. Antranik and the supreme command of Gen. Nazarbekoff, an old Armenian veteran of the Russian army.
The Bolshevistic branch of the Dashnags, led by such leaders as Chamalian and Vratzian, who even up to this date are in the secret Dashnag Bureau in Paris, opposed the introduction of capital punishment as a disciplinary measure into this new army. They wanted regimental councils or “proletarian discipline”. Much valuable time was wasted in this way. On the other hand, some Dashnag leaders did everything within their power to frustrate Antranik’s efforts in Erzerum to organize a defense against Vehib Pasha’s army. Antranik had opposed the corrupt methods and policies of the Dashnagtzoutune, therefore he had to be punished somehow. That punishment cost the Armenians the strongholds of Erzerum, Kars and Alexandropol, and the lives of multitudes.
By a curious twist of Turkish and German diplomacy, the Armenians were forced to declare the independence of Russian Armenia, which was recognized by the Turks in June 1918, by the Treaty of Batoum. Turkish defeats at Karakilisa and Sardarabad, and the stiffening resistance of the Armenians were important factors in this recognition; but the main reason was, that the Turks wanted to separate Armenia from Russia and deal with it at their pleasure at a more convenient time. Secondly, they did not want an enemy army in their rear during their advance towards Bakou and the rich oil fields.
The Dashnag party found itself in the saddle. A ministry and parliament were formed, in which the Dashnags were the overwhelming majority. However, being
long used to underhanded and violent methods as a revolutionary party, they failed to show any ability for governing and statesmanship. The ministry and the Parliament were often overruled by the secret and powerful Dashnag Bureau; and the agencies of law and order were often flouted by Dashnag Mauserists *), who had been thus far petted and pampered by the society for secret terroristic purposes, and could not be controlled now. They tyrannized the people and defied the government.
Speaking of the policies of the Armenian government, the report of Gen. Harbord’s Commission declares as follows :—
“The policy however, is unfortunately affected by Dashnagtzoutune methods, which are always liable to precipitate trouble”.
H. Kachaznouni, the former prime minister of the Armenian Republic, decries the methods of his own party in the following words :— “Armenia was a democratic republic . . . . This was the form. But reality was otherwise. In practice, our party endeavored to control both the legislative body and the
government. “There was created an intolerable duality of authority; on the surface it was the Parliament and the government, while in secret, it was the party and its organs.
" . . . This state of affairs made very difficult the work of forming a serious and sincere coalition. Actually, the alien elements who entered the coalition were forced to pursue a policy which was not their own, since it was being developed and planned outside of the government and by party committees, to which they could not have access and participation.
* ) The name Mauserist is from the maurer pistols wth which these henchmen of the Dashnag leaders were usually armed.
“In Armenia there was no Parliament; it was an empty form without content.
“The problems of state were being discussed and solved behind closed doors, in the rooms of the Dashnag faction, and then declared from the rostrum of the parliament. In reality, there was not even a parliamentary faction, because this latter was under the very strict supervision of the Dashnag Bureau, and was obliged to carry out its orders. There was not a government either. This also, was ruled by the Bureau; it was a kind of executive body for the Bureau in the state. This was the Bolshevistic system. But what the Bolshevist are doing openly and consistently, we were attempting to veil under democratic forms.” (“Dashnagtzoutune Has Nothing More to Do”, by H. Kachaznouni, pages 31-32 and 38, Vienna, 1923).
* * *
Internal and external troubles were not long in following.
In internal affairs, the Dashnag government first all failed to establish peace and a .minimum of law and order within the country. Brigandage and oppression were frequent, and in many cases the arbitrary acts of the underlie of the Dashnag chiefs precipitated trouble.
Secondly the socialistic legislation, passed by the Parliament, tended to retard the work of economic reconstruction of the country, by creating a large bureaucracy and supporting them at the expense of the peasants. For example, the farm crops were declared government monopolies and forcibly bought from the peasants at nominal prices and sold abroad by government agents who also collected the commission. The cotton crop was thus taken over by th ministry of agriculture, and sold in Batoum in 1919 by Sarkis Araradian, the then minister of finance, who at the same time collected his commission.
“Among the administrative and legislative enterprises, says A. Khatisian, prime minister of Armenia, 1919-1920, we might mention the declaration of the agrarian laws, by which, land in Armenia was nationalized and given to the workers”. (“The Origin and Development of the Armenian Republic”, by A. Khatisian, page 115, Athens, 1930).
In a proclamation of May 29, 1919, the Dashnag Bureau, which was the real government, declared, that the
“Dashnagtzouiune, after realizing its political ideal, the establishment of a Democratic republic, and being true to its fundamental doctrine (socialism), will steer our ship consistently and with determination, through the channel of social reforms, to that haven of social justice, towards which the workers of all the nations are bound, and where the workers of Armenia, without distinction of race or creed, will find the realization of the ideals of the entire humanity.” Accordingly the people were invited by the Dashnag press, to rise and take possession by force of individually owned lands, and the property and lands belonging to the churches.
Third—the government failed to win the co-operation other political parties.
Fourth—it could not maintain the dignity of the government against foreign representatives. A mere British general in Erivan dictated to the prime minister in a way that would be considered most insulting.
Fifth—It failed to organize the defenses of the country properly, because the trained and professional officers of the general staff were overruled by Dashnag chieftains who knew little or nothing about military science.
1. The Dashnag government waged three wars in two years and a half. The war on Georgia, in Dec. 1918,
lasted only three weeks but caused untold calamity to Armenia. The war with Azerbaijan over Karabagh ended disastrously for the Armenians. Finally came the war with Turkey in the fall of 1920, which almost put an end to the republic and threatened the Armenian remnant with extermination. At least two of these wars were avoidable.
The war with Georgia, waged over the question of the district of Lory, was precipitated by certain Dashnag partisan leaders, over whom the government had no control, and by the provocative acts of Russian officers in the Armenian army.
“It is not improbable, says H. Kachaznouni, that these (meaning the Russian officers) were inciting our military circles against Georgia, and creating a hostile atmosphere which was very favorable for beginning military operations.
“We had barely had an existence of 4 or 5 months as a state, and already we were engaged in war; while the country had thousands of ills that needed attention. And we waged war against a neighbor with whom we had the greatest need of allying ourselves closely. Wasn’t Georgia our only avenue for keeping in touch with the civilized world? . . . . Independently of the attitude of Georgia, which was doubtless to be condemned, no little part has been played by our own incapacity, our own lack of experience in political life, and our own unpreparedness conducting the life of a state.” (“Dashnagtzoutune Has Nothing More to Do”, by H. Kachaznouni, pages 34, 35.)
The war with Turkey was indirectly the outcome of the Act of May 28, 1919, by which the government of the Armenian Republic, claimed possession of the provinces of Western or Turkish Armenia. If we remember that the existing Republic was recognized by the Turks under the treaty of Batoum, in which the Russian-Armenian envoys
renounced all territorial claims over Western Armenia, we can readily comprehend why the Turks regarded the Act of May 28, 1919, as a provocation for war, and attacked the Armenian Republic as soon as they were ready.
On the other hand, the Armenian government overestimated its own strength, and created an immediate occasion for conflict by occupying the district of Olti.
We are again going to quote from Kachaznouni, the one time prime minister of Armenia, in order to show, that the Dashnag government failed to take measures to avoid this disastrous war. “It is an irrefutable fact, says Kachaznouni, a flagrant fact, that we have not done everything that we should have done—it was our duty to do—in order to avoid war.
“And we have not done everything for the simple but unpardonable reason, that we were ignorant of the real strength of the Turks, and too sure of our own strength. There lies the fundamental mistake. We were not afraid of war, because we were sure of being victorious. With the carelessness of inexperienced and ignorant men, we were not aware of the forces that the Turks had organized on our borders, and so we were not cautious. On the contrary, the hasty occupation of Olti was the gauntlet which we threw down, as if intentionally, to the Turks; as though we ourselves were desirous of war and went after it." (“Dashnagtzoutune Has Nothing More to Do”, by Kachaznouni, page 41)
2. The arrogant attitude of the Armenian government towards Soviet Russia during the critical year of 1920, deprived the small and weak republic of a strong and neutral ally.
A BODY BLOW DEALT TO THE ARMENIAN CAUSE
The so-called “Armenian Cause”, was centered on the issue of reforms for the Armenian provinces in Turkey; in other words, it was a demand on the part of the Western Armenians that they be protected from oppression and be given some measure of limited autonomy. This demand of the Armenians was recognized internationally by the 61st Article of the treaty of Berlin, which the great powers and Turkey had signed in 1878, after the Russo-Turkish war *). Internationally, therefore, the Armenian Cause, was the cause of the liberation of the Armenians of Turkey.
During the world war, the Armenian Cause was represented before the allied powers, by a National Delegation, representing the Western Armenians only, who spoke for their cause only.
This delegation, headed by Boghos Noobar Pasha, was recognized by the allies, and concluded formal agreements with them, according to which the Armenians were to have autonomy in Cilicia, under the protection of France. It was under these agreements, that the Armenian regiments fought for France in the Syrian campaign during 1917 and 1918. The final defeat of the Turks raised Armenian hopes for a free and autonomous existence in the greater part of Western Armenia, which was now abandoned by the Russian army.
The appearance, on the diplomatic scene, of the representatives of the newly formed Armenian Republic in the Caucasus, complicated matters at once.
* ) See Appendix III.
The Dashnag delegation led by A. Aharonian, instead of co-operating with the National Delegation in the work of achieving the freedom of Western Armenia, started right away to lay plans for the removal of the National Delegation. The Dashnagtzoutune could not tolerate the dominance of any other authority in Armenian life, but its own. They had repeatedly sacrificed the interests and jeopardized the physical existence of the Western Armenians, in order to follow the policies and views of their leaders from the Caucasus. They would stop at nothing now in order to discredit the National Delegation, which enjoyed the confidence of all the Western Armenians, and to take into their own hands the direction of the Armenian Cause before the Peace Conference.
Accordingly, on May 28, 1919, the government of Erivan, came out with a proclamation by which it declared the Armenian Provinces of Turkey—which the ‘Western Armenians claimed from the allies—united with the existing republic. This proclamation is what is known as the Act of May 28. It was actually a usurpation of authority by a government which owed its existence to the incident of the Russian Revolution, which did not represent the Turkish Armenians, and which had not even been authorized by its own parliament for this disastrous act. The whole thing was designed in Paris, plotted in the Dashnag Bureau at Erivan, and foisted upon the public.
The immediate result of this act was the flaring up of an internal conflict among the Armenians, which made it impossible for the political factions to present a united front to the allies in the peace conference, which they had done up till then. The Social Democrats and the Peoples party withdrew from the government and the parliament of the republic, protesting that the government had no
authority for such an unlawful act. This weakened the government even on its own home front.
According to Kachaznouni, the Act of May 28 aimed to put the National Delegation out of existence. This did not materialize. While on the other hand, the intolerance of the rulers at Erivan, made impossible the formation of a coalition government, composed of both Eastern and Western Armenians.
On the diplomatic front, the Act of May 28 created confusion both among our representatives and in the minds of the allied powers. The Armenian question was at first the problem of the liberation of Turkish Armenia, which the allies had promised and for which the efforts of the Western Armenians had created the basis. Now, the Armenian question was something else. Accordingly, the allied powers saw in this Act of May 28, an easy way out of a difficult problem. Instead of liberating Western Armenia, and organizing it into a separate state, they decided to add some of the provinces of Turkish Armenia to the existing Republic. This was consummated in the Sèvres treaty *). However, they also attached a joker; that the final solution of the entire problem depended upon the course of the Russian revolution.
The cause of the freedom of Western Armenia was thus killed by Dashnag intolerance and intrigue. The treaty of Sèvres which recognized Armenia, at the time, denied freedom to Western Armenia. It was by the representatives of the Republic at Erivan, on Aug. 10, 1920. The same men were to repudiate the Sèvres treaty and the claims of Armenians in Turkey by signing the treaty of Alexandropol on Dec. 2, 1920.
* ) See Appendix IV.
The Act of May 28, 1919, which claimed Turkish Armenia for the newly formed Armenian Republic, that was recognized by the Turks under the treaty of Batoum, (June 4, 1918), prepared grounds for the attack of Mustafa Kemal on Armenia. As soon as the treaty of Sèvres was signed in Paris, the Turks began their attack. The Armenians were without allies in the Caucasus. The European allies were too far distant to give them aid. The country was not unified internally, and the army was demoralized by Dashnag military methods. The Armenian forces failed to make an effective stand before the seasoned Turkish troops. The key fortress of Kars was surrendered; and the Turks advanced as far as Alexandropol, where on Dec. 2, 1920, the Dashnag government, represented by a delegation headed by A. Katissian, signed a treaty that virtually ended the independence of Armenia, and put the fate of the Armenian remnant in the hands of Turkish Pashas. (The Treaty of Alexandropol is given at the end of this discussion, Appendix IV).
A timely intervention of Soviet Russia saved the Armenians. Concerning this Bolshevik intervention H. Kachaznouni declares:—
“The Bolsheviks entered Armenia without meeting any resistance. This Was the decision of our Party ........
“There were two reasons for acting this way, First, we could not resist it if we wanted to Second, we hoped that the Soviet authorities, backed by Russia, would be able to introduce some order in the state-a thing which we, all alone, had failed to do, and it was very plain already that we would not be able to do”
The Dashnags were driven out of authority in the newly formed Soviet Armenian Republic.
AFTER THE DISASTER
The Dashnag leaders, however, could not reconcile themselves with the idea of being out of power. Especially, they were deprived of a sure means of livelihood and were utterly discredited before the Armenian public. Being of Bolshevistic tendencies, some of them, such as S. Vratzian, the present head of the invisible Bureau in Europe and a former editor of the Boston “Hairenik”, were allowed by the Bolshevik Armenian leaders to stay in Armenia.
Two months and a half elapsed since the fall of the Dashnag government, when on Feb. i8, 1921, a serious rebellion under the leadership of Vratzian broke out in Armenia against the Bolshevik government.
The Bolshevik forces were temporarily driven out of Armenia, but Vratzian’s government was not sure of its own ability to hold out against them. They sought military assistance from the Turks by invoking the infamous treaty signed at Alexandropol, article 7 of which provided, that “whenever the Armenian government so desires, the Great National Assembly of Turkey undertakes to give armed assistance to Armenia, against internal and external dangers.” The reentry of a Turkish army into Armenia would have meant additional destruction and disaster for this much harassed land. However, the Dashnag leaders seemed to prefer Turkish rather than Russian protectorate over what was left of the Armenian Republic. So, on March 18, 1921, Mr. Vratzian sent to Angora a formal appeal in which Armenia expressed the hope that "during her fight she would receive help from her neighbors; and in the first instance, the interests of the Turkish people would also require that Armenia should issue victorious from this fight and remain independent.” Then the Turkish government was asked to let the Armenian government
know, whether it “finds it possible to send military aid to Armenia; and if able to do so, to what extent and when?
“In making this appeal, the Armenian Government relies on the friendly relations that have been established under the treaty of Alexandropol, and which have been disturbed during the Bolshevik rule.” (The complete text of this appeal by Vratzian is given in Appendix V.)
Fortunately for the Armenian remnant, the awe of the rising power of the Soviet Union kept the Turkish army out of Armenia.*)
There was much bloodshed, until the Dashnags were again defeated by the Bolshevist, and driven out of the country. This civil war lasted almost three months, and cost Armenia the lives of tens of thousands.
ACTIVITIES IN EXILE
The Dashnag leaders and former ministers came out now and declared that they had decided to follow a policy of loyal opposition, toward Soviet Armenia. However, they secretly fomented conspiracies against her. With an amazing flexibility of policy and conscience, they extended friendly hands to their former foes; the Mousavat party of the Azerbaijan Tartars, and the Mensheviks of Georgia.
*) This appeal of Vratzian as the president of the newly formed Armenian government, was virtually the ratification of the treaty of Alexandropol, by which the Dashnag leaders declared to the whole world that Armenia has renounced all her demands on Turkey and has no more cause of dispute. The Turks utilized the above mentioned treaty and this last appeal of Vratzian as powerful weapons in the conference of the great powers at London, in 1921, and again in the Lausanne conference in 1923, against the demands of the Armenians for a free national status on the soil of Turkish Armenia. They claimed that they had settled all disputes with Armenia, by the treaty of Alexandropol and for them the Armenian question did not exist any more. Thus was consummated the burial of the Armenian question, which was already killed by the representatives of the Dashnagtzoutune when they signed the treaty of Alexandropol on December 2, 1920. The organization that set out to free Turkish Armenia, finished by first repudiating, then by Interring that same cause.
These societies were similarly exiled from their respective countries by the advent of the Bolsheviks. In 1922 there was secretly concluded what is now known as the “Promethean” alliance between the Dashnags, the Tartars, the Georgians and the representatives of Daghestan Mohammedans. Its purpose was to organize a concerted rebellion in Transcaucasia against the Soviet Republics. Attempts to this effect were suppressed rigorously; but the secret agreement is still in force.
Failing in this, the Dashnags tried to consolidate all the Armenian political and other organizations abroad, with the idea of creating a sort of government without territory, the alleged purpose of which was to coordinate national and cultural activities of all the Armenian communities in different countries. The real motive behind this move was to use the united public opinion and the material resources of all the Armenians abroad, against Soviet Armenia.
This policy was vigorously opposed and frustrated by the Armenian Democratic Liberal party, which, although hostile to the principles of socialism or Bolshevism, championed, however, the cause of Soviet Armenia as the only political hope for the nation.
The Dashnagtzoutune tried next to cooperate with the Kurdish leaders in their rebellion against Turkey. They made their followers believe, that in case of success the Kurds were going to recognize Armenian rights over the territory of Turkish Armenia. There was no basis for such belief, as the Kurds claimed the same territory as Part of their national program.
The Dashnagtzoutune muleted its credulous followers of thousands of dollars to support the Kurdish cause. The Kurds were finally defeated in 1928, Net result:—much needed propaganda for the Dashnagtzoutune, waste of the hard earned money of the Armenian workers, and more
oppressive measures by the Turkish government in dealing with the Armenian remnants in Turkey.
However, they sought other fields of activity, and finally managed to break up the unity of some of the corn patriotic societies. These societies were formed in various lands by Armenians coming from the same home town in their old country. They tried to raise money, so as to rescue their refugee compatriots, send them into Soviet Armenia, and establish them in towns named after their old homes. These towns, which have been built in Armenia by these same compatriotic societies, are now growing and developing through the co-operation of the Armenian government. Some of these societies are now on the verge of disruption, however, on account of the opposition of their Dashnag members.
On all these various fronts the Dashnags met determined opposition from other political parties, from organizations devoted to the work of Armenian reconstruction and from the people in general. Their most serious mistake has been a campaign of opposition, bordering on enmity which they have been waging against Soviet Armenia. This propaganda however, failed to dampen the patriotic ardor of the Armenians of the diaspora, and could not put a stop to their efforts at repatriating the refugees scattered in Greece, Syria, France and the Balkans.
DISSATISFACTION WITHIN THE RANKS
Dissatisfaction against this disastrous leadership began within the ranks of the Dashnagtzoutune right after the signing of the Alexandropol treaty in December 1920. For a while it was in secret. Soon it came out into the open.
Many leading Dashnags, who had always believed in socialism or Bolshevism, demanded that their party stop its opposition to Soviet Armenia, liquidate itself, and join the communist party. Being refused in this, they severed
their connections and went over, in groups, to join the communists, as there was hardly any difference in their ideology. These were branded as traitors by the leaders, who were able to maintain the party intact, thanks to their financial resources.
This process of disintegration was accelerated by the famous booklet of Hovhanes Kachaznouni, a life long Dashnag and one time prime minister of the Armenian Government, entitled, "Dashnagtzoutune Has Nothing More to Do."
After publishing his booklet, in which he tried to prove, that Dashnagtzoutune has no more ground for existence, and advising it to disband and support Armenia, Kachaznouni went over to Erivan and tendered his services to the Armenian government. His example was followed by many others, who were all "traitors", of course, for the Dashnag high command.
Soon it dawned on the more nationalistic elements in the rank and file of the party, that the present Armenia was really the beginning of a political future for the Armenian people; and they put a demand that the party stop its enmity to Soviet Armenia.
Convention after convention failed to satisfy this demand and finally many groups left the party and organized separately or joined the other parties friendly to Armenia. The most serious schism came two years ago, when almost the entire Dashnag organization in France came out openly against the policies of the Central Bureau.
These dissenting groups are mostly Western Armenians or Armenians from Turkey, rvho realized, finally, the betrayal of the Cause of Western Armenia by their leaders from the Caucasus, and saw the political blind alley into which they were being led by these unscrupulous intriguers, at the present time.
The patent criticisms leveled by the Dashnagtzoutune at the present Soviet Armenia is that, it is not independent, and it is a communistic and not a national government. These criticisms have no ground to stand upon. The Dashnags themselves, while they were at the helm, tried to place Armenia under the protection of some great Power —the United States for one—through the League of Nations. The mandate of any great Power, if it had materialized, would have meant a limitation of Armenian independence.
Armenia has now secured its political existence, not by accepting the mandate of a great Power, but by joining hands, as one of the federated republics, with the great commonwealth of nations known as the Soviet Union. Given the geographical, political and economic situation of Soviet Armenia, the severance of its federal ties from the Soviet Union, would mean nothing but ruination. As to the communistic form of the government, it is perfectly in line with the socialistic program of the Dashnagtzoutune.
If the Dashnags were sincere patriots, they would ardently support the present political union of Armenia with Moscow. On the other hand, if they were sincere adherents of socialism, they would not oppose the application of socialism in Armenia now. They are neither. Their leaders are simply unprincipled opportunists, who lead their followers into a blind alley for their own selfish material interests.
What they condemn now, was in their program once. Here is what we read in the Dashnag program published in Boston, by the Hairenik Press, in 1911.
Under the heading “Political Demands”, we read:—
“Led by socialistic principles, striving to attain our purpose not by political separation, but by reorganization of the body politic on federal foundations, and taking into ~ consideration the real and ripened needs of the territory we live in, the party proposes the following demands.”
For Transcaucasia, these demands are as follows :—
1. “The democratic republic of Transcaucasia shall form an integral part of the federated republic of Russia, united to it in matters of self-defense, monetary system, customs and foreign policy.
2. “In all internal affairs, the Trariscaucasian Republic shall be independent, having its central parliament, elected by general, equal, direct, secret and proportional balloting. Every Transcaucasian, who is over 20 years old, shall have the right to vote, irrespective of sex.
3. “Transcaucasia shall send its representatives to the federal Parliament of Russia, elected in the same manner.
4. "The Transcaucasian Republic shall be divided into cantons, enjoying the widest self-rule, The communities likewise shall have self-rule in purely communal affairs.
5. "In deciding the boundaries of the cantons, the geographical and cultural characteristics of the population shall be taken into consideration, in order to form as homogeneous units as possible.
6. "All the legislative, judicial and executive bodies as well as the officials shall be elected by the people, according to the above mentioned system.
7. “Direct legislation, and the rights of referendum and initiative.”
Even a casual comparison of the above articles of the Dashnag program with the present reality of Armenia, will make it clear, that these demands of the A. R. Federation are more than fulfilled. While the very name of Armenia is eliminated from the above demands, it forms today not a canton of Transcaucasia, but one of the federated republics of Transcaucasia, and is united to the central Union of the Soviets, and enjoys freedom for cultivating its own national life and culture.
ATTEMPT TO CONTROL THE CHURCH
Having failed in all their previous attempts to organize the Armenian diaspora into a unified body which they could use as a weapon against the Soviet Armenian government, the Dashnag high command decided to try another strategy.
For thirty years previously they had preached against church and religion. Now, all of a sudden, they discovered that they believed in religion and in the Armenian Apostolic church, as a bulwark of Armenian nationalism.
The church was being persecuted by the Soviet regime. Echmiadzin is robbed of its lands and of its means of support. His Holiness the Catholicos is a prisoner in the ancient seat of the Armenian church and is constantly being hounded by the Cheka. Therefore, it will be a good thing for the Armenians to move the Holy See to some place outside of Soviet Armenia. After this was achieved, the Dashnag high command thought, it would be easy to use the moral prestige of the Holy See, to discredit the Soviet Armenian leaders in the eyes of the people.
At one time in 1930, events seemed to play into their hands. His Holiness, Kevork V, died during that year.
Dashnagtzoutune came out openly then and declared that the Soviet Armenian government was not going to permit the meeting of a Church Council at Echmiadzin for the election of a successor; or, if it did, it was going to dictate the election, as Catholicos, of a churchman who was already a tool of the Soviet secret police.
Both these prophecies failed. The Armenian government allowed the Church Council, with delegates from all over the world, laymen, and churchmen, to convene at Echmiadzin in November, 1932. The new successor to the throne of St. Gregory the Illuminator who was elected, His Holiness Catholicos Khoren, could not be accused by the Dashnagtzoutune as a tool in the hands of the Cheka.
However, they floated a new story; that the Soviets allowed the election of a man like Catholicos Khoren, because they knew that he enjoyed the confidence of the Armenian people abroad; and therefore, it would be easier for them to mislead them through him. This being the case, the churches and churchmen would not be committing an offense, if they simply disregarded the decrees of the Holy See.
Almost from the first day of his landing in the United States, His Eminence the late Archbishop Leon Tourian had to fight these attempts to belittle the authority of the Catholicos, and the underhanded propaganda for moving tlre Holy See from Echmiadzin.
Church authorities who opposed the Dashnag designs and methods rvere everywhere denounced and subjected to indignities. They were represented as the tools of the Soviet secret police, who fomented conspiracies against the national aspirations of the Armenians and against the Dashnags. These churchmen were declared to be the allies of communists. At the present time, there is hardly any Prelate of the Armenian church, who
has not fallen under this accusation, and who has not been subjected to persecution and calumny. A partial list of these churchmen is to be found at the end of this discussion (see Appendix II ) .
I shall mention only one notorious example of Dashnag insolence in dealing with church authorities who fail to please them. Patriarch Sahag of the Armenians in Syria, was bitterly denounced by Housaper, the Dashnag official organ of Cairo, Egypt, because of a recent encyclical in which His Holiness exhorted his flock to refrain from acts of violence and to cultivate brotherly love. The occasion for this pastoral letter, was the assassination in Beirut, last October, of one Aghazarian, a bitter opponent of the Dashnags. Neither the said murder, nor the Dashnagtzoutune were mentioned in the pastoral letter, But the Housaper, denounced vehemently this "Cawing of Ill Omen", and closed its editorial with the following inflammatory remarks :—
" . . . . the gontag (pastoral letter) of the Patriarch is wicked.
"It is a cawsing of ill omen, that threatens our people, who long for peace, truth. the dangers of new schisms.
"However, is it only our lot to be calm and. circumspect?
"Let your blood be on your heads."
By controlling the churches in different countries, not only they hoped to win over the bishops and the prelates, to the support of their campaign against Soviet Armenia, but incidentally, to benefit financially, as these churches had property and income in a good many places.
THE LAST DESPERATE DRIVE
Failure on all these fronts and the gradual disruption of their ranks, forced the Dashnag General Convention, which met in Paris in March 1933, to take drastic measures. They had to terrorize the diaspora into submission, and incidentally stop the gradual disintegration of the rank and file. There could be no better means to achieve this double purpose, than to start a violent campaign against their opponents. War against the enemy would bring internal unity. In this, they succeeded in part.
It was decided to create a secret Supreme Council with invisible headquarters, and a central Bureau for window dressing. The real power and the direction of affairs was to be in the hands of these few men in the dark. The policy of action adopted was secret intrigue, conspiracies and violence. Of these methods they were past masters. The declaration was openly broadcast that the only obstacle to their domination of the Armenian diaspora was the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party; therefore, they should be fought by every means and on evrey [sic] front.
The immediate excuse for a fight was the Tricolor flag of the defunct Armenian government. All of a sudden quarrels sprang up in Egypt, France, Greece, America and Bulgaria, over the flag which the Dashnags wanted to raise in every public function and at every public gathering place.
Acts of violence followed in the wake of these quarrels. Armenian leaders of official standing, both laymen and churchmen, were assaulted in Egypt, Syria, Greece, America, and elsewhere. Even murders were committed in some of these countries.
The much lamented Archbishop Tourian, Prelate of the Armenian church in America, was assassinated because he obeyed the orders of His Holiness, the Catholicos, to keep the church away from political influences and to prevent its being used as a moral weapon in the hands of unbelievers and the avowed enemies of the government of Armenia. He did not belong to any political faction. He was a devoted servant of the church only, and had only her interests at heart. During the Armenian day exercises at the Chicago fair last year, he supported the decision of the committee in charge, which was to display only the Stars and the Stripes. He was opposed by a group of Dashnag adherents, who had insisted on bringing the Tri-color of the former Armenian government into the hall, in spite of the decision of the committee. The Prelate's stand was supported by the votes of an overwhelming majority of the audience.
However, the Chicago incident was not the real reason for the Dashnag opposition to the Prelate. This antagonism started soon after he landed in this country in 1931, and tried to preserve the moral prestige of the Holy See of Echmiadzin, which was being represented by the Dashnag press as controlled by the Soviet Secret Service—the Cheka. The Archbishop also opposed the Dashnag propaganda in favor of removing the Holy See from Armenia to some other country. Their success in this move would have meant the closing of a spiritual center that has existed for sixteen centuries, and the final stamping out of Christianity from Soviet Armenia. Armenian bishops all over the world acted like Archbishop Tourian did, and most all of them incurred the enmity of the Dashnag society.
The incident in Chicago was used merely as an excuse to intensify the persecution of the Prelate, Led by
the Hairenik, their central mouthpiece in Boston, the entire Dashnig organization went out on the war-path. Calumnies and indignities were hurled in abundance at the churchman who had dared to "insult the tri-color". For months, previous to the death of this saintly servant of God, bitter hatred and denunciation of him were spouted by the Hairenik and roared from platforms.
He was first represented as the agent of the Soviet Cheka, and his ousting from office was demanded. He was then threatened with violence, at first covertly, and soon, openly. Besides pouring out its venom and malice editorially, the Hairenik admitted to its columns communications which demanded that the Archbishop be punished ruthlessly. On July 27, 1933, it published a letter in which a monetary reward was promised to those who would teach the Prelate a lesson. The writer of another letter, published by the Hairenik on August 1, 1933, demanded that Tourian "be ruthlessly punished", and expressed surprise that "Tourian has left Chicago without being punished".
The deplorable results of this fanatical agitation were soon to follow. On August 13, 1933, some young ruffians belonging to the Dashnag society assaulted the Prelate in Westboro, Mass. and would have caused him serious physical injury if they had not been prevented. Three of these were arrested, tried and punished. The Hairenik condoned this outrage in an editorial on August 17, 1933, and made heroes of the culprits, at the same time blaming the victim for the episode.
The overwhelming majority of the community supported the Prelate. His Holiness, the Catholicos of Echmiadzin, Supreme head of the Armenian church, approved of the conduct of the Archbishop and sent him, repeatedly, his blessings and full confidence. He ordered
that the controversy be stopped, and the community follow the Prelate. The Dashnags alone defied the authority of His Holiness, and continued in their anarchistic opposition in a more violent fashion. Short of actually inciting their followers to murder the Prelate, the Dashnag publications did everything else, in order to injure him morally and materially.
In a virulent editorial entitled, "A Masterpiece of Pharisaism", Hairenik hurled blasphemy and insult at the late Prelate, who had published a pastoral letter for the Christmas season, exhorting his people to cast away hatred and selfishness and cultivate brotherly love and forgiveness. "That unworthy clergyman is so shameless, that he is not even ashamed of giving such advice," declares the Dashnag paper, and continues, "Indeed, instead of addressing to 'the beloved people' those sermons, the sincerity of which nobody can believe, Archbishop Leon should have rendered an infinitely more Christian and patriotic service to this colony and this church, if he would have, at least under the inspiration of the great mystery of Christmas, the comtton decency of publicly confessing the sins he has committed, and, as a first step of repentance, he would resign once for all from his culpable leanings of dividing this colony and this church".
The editorial appeared on December 21st, 1933, three days before the assassination of the Prelate in the Holy Cross Armenian church of New York. This horrible crime shocked everybody except the members of the Dashnagtzoutune, their leaders and their press. These latter could hardly conceal their satisfaction; their only regret was that eight members of their society were arrested and indicted for the murder. They even tried to excuse the crime, and held the victim and his supporters morally responsible for the bloody tragedy.
The Boston Hairenik, which had for six months preached hatred against the Prelate, and had inflamed the passions of its followers to white heat, came out with a brazen editorial in its issue of December 27th, 1933, and expressed the wish that the blood of the Archbishop would, "Finally bring to their senses all those who incite and inflame the passions of the masses". With the same breath, the Dashnag sheet blamed the Cheka—Soviet secret police—and the opponents of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, for the unfortunate situation. "Moreover, said the Hairenik, the opponents of the A. R. F. gradually became very rash and reckless in their inciting and intransigent conduct, and in a precipitous manner, brought upon us the stormy reality in which we are found". The above sentences can only mean one thing, that those who dare to oppose the Dashnag society are bound to suffer punishment and physical injury. Such language and mentality are becoming only to the Italian Mafia and the underworld gangsters.
Not one Dashnag paper condemned the murder without reservation. Some even excused it, as did the Paris Harach in its issue of January 5th, 1934, in the following words.
"if the Dashnagtzoutune or any Dashnag has suggested this murder, under such horrible circumstances, and without any excuse, they also should be tried and condemned,"
Of excuses, the Dashnagtzoutune had plenty, of course.
Armenian public opinion did not hesitate in coming to the decision that the group that had so bitterly hated and persecuted the Archbishop was closely connected with the instigators and the plotters of the murder. A mighty wave of indignation and protest swept the Armenian
communities all over the world and the United States. Public mass meetings were held in which the Dashnag society and its leaders were charged with responsibility for the crime; and the people, stirred to the bottom of its soul, demanded that the actual murderers, as well as the, organizers of the murder, be found and handed over to justice.
Special memorial services were held in the Armenian churches all over the world, and the death of the Prelate was mourned by the highest ecclesiastical authorities. He was declared a martyr. All national organizations and groups came out officially, and expressed deep sorrow for the crime. All the Armenian press condemned the A. R. Federation as the author of this crime; that is, all, except the Dashnag press, which acted true to its traditional method of blackening the character of their victims. Even after his death, the late Prelate was subjected to calumnies and slander.
Whatever the fate of the nine Dashnags who are now under indictment in New York for the murder of the Archbishop, the Armenian public will always be firm in its conviction, that the demands of justice will be only partly satisfied until the real instigators and plotters of this horrible crime are found and punished.
The late Archbishop Leon Tourian was martyred for his faithfulness to his duty and his God.
Dashnagtzoutune was organized for liberating Turkish Armenia. Its leaders, all Armenians from the Caucasus, failed to take into consideration the peculiar political and social conditions under which the Armenian people lived in Turkey; and their insurrectional attempts and methods were used as excuses by the Turkish authorities for massacres and renewed oppression.
Its opportunism, its internal corruption and terroristic methods prevented the best Armenian elements from joining the movement for Armenian independence; while its adherence to the Russian socialism created confusion and wasted much precious energy in the Maelstrom of the Russian revolution.
Its high handed acts in dealing with the instituted Armenian authorities in Turkey, created internal quarrels and prevented the formation of a unified front against the Turkish government before the world war, and in the allied conferences, after the war, thereby preventing the solution of the Turkish Armenian question independently of the course of the Russian revolution. This failure was consummated in the treaty of Sèvres. By their signing this treaty themselves, instead of the Armenian National Delegation, the rightful representatives of the Armenians in Turkey, the Dashnag government of the Armenian Republic invited the Turkish attack on itself and hastened its own downfall.
^ The former ministers and officials of the Armenian Republic fomented internal dissensions and quarrels wherever they went, in order to impose their will on the Armenian people and its institutions. Being always believers in terroristic methods, the Dashnag leaders encouraged
physical violence against their opponents, with the result, that many acts of violence have been committed by their followers during the last few years in various countries.
While the Armenian people, as a whole, and all its organizations, political, charitable, ecclesiastical etc. see a political future for our race in the present Soviet Armenia, and therefore support it despite its communistic regime, and desire to bring their assistance to its reconstruction, the Dashnagtzoutune stands alone in its opposition, advocates its separation from the federal union of the Soviets, and foments plots against its government.
Thus we behold the picture of the A. R. Federation as an enemy of the nucleus of Armenian political life; as an organization that has degenerated so far, that it can be compared with the Italian Mafia, and the gangsters of this country. It stands alone and condemned by the Armenian public. Its hands are raised against everybody, its plotting and crimes have rocked the conscience of all decent Armenians, and have disgraced our people before the civilized world.
A partial list of Armenian victims of terrorism.
1. Isahag ]amharian, a wealthy Moscow millionaire, stabbed to death in 1902, within the enclosure of the Armenian church at Moscow, by the agents of a group who had previously abducted him and tried to extort money. ('History of the Dashnagtzoutune', by M. Varandian, pages 325-326-327).
2. Mateos Baliozian, a wealthy Armenian merchant of Smyrna, was murdered in 1902, by one Horen Sarkisian, a member of the Dashnag secret group. ('History of the Dashnagtzoutune', by M. Varandian, page 450). Baliozian was accused of betraying Armenian revolutionists to the Turkish government. This suspicion had no basis. The more probable motive of his murder was that he would not give financial aid to local revolutionary chieftains.
3. Gerektzian was killed in Erzerum in 1891 by the decision of the local Dashnag committee. They cast lots and the lot was drawn by Aram Aramian, who killed Gerektzian. ('History o the Dashnagtzoutune', by M. Varandian, page 86).
4. Mihran, a famous fighter of the A. R. Federation, had opposed the adoption of socialism as a program by the society. In his opposition he even had threatened to use violence. He was found guilty by the Dashnag Convention of Vienna in 1907 and was condemned to death. This sentence was carried out in 1909. ('History of the Dashnagtzoutune', by M. Varandian, page 491).
5. Abbot Arsen Vartabed of the monastery of Akhtamar near Van, and his secretary Mihran, were brutally murdered in 1904 by Ishkan, a notorious Dashnag chieftain. Ishkan and his gang attacked the monastery one night, dragged the abbot and his secretary out, shot them first and then stabbed them to death. The bodies were then cut to pieces and thrown on the shores of lake Van. Arsen Vartabed was a saintly and patriotic clergyman. He had opposed the designs of Ishkan , who wanted
to control the property and the income of the monastery. After his death, Ishkan and his gang pillaged the ancient monastery.
6. Dehertzi, David was a very capable and trustworthy man in the ranks of the Dashnags in Van. He enjoyed the confidence of the local Committee and knew all the secrets of the society. He was therefore sent into Persia on a secret mission. Returning to Van he found that his fiancee had been gravely mistreated by Aram, the chief Dashnag leader in the district. He was immediately disarmed and imprisoned at Aram's order, but managed to escape. Maddened with thoughts of revenge, he betrayed everything to the Turkish authorities, causing the arrest of many, and the confiscation of all the weapons of the society. He was one day shot and killed early in 1908.
7. Garjganttzi Manoug, a former Dashnag, who had opposed the authority and the arbitrary acts of Ishkan, Dashnag leader, was shot and killed in 1910. However, the murderer was shot by a companion of his victim and died in a few days, after charging Ishkan with responsibility for the unfortunate episode.
8erdos Capamajian, the mayor of Van, a wealthy and ambitious man had antagonized Ishkan. He was shot and killed one winter night in 1912 while entering his carriage with his wife and daughter.
9. Hampartzoum Arakelian, the well known 70 year old editor of the journal "Mushag" of Tiflis, and a powerful and relentless toe of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, whose biting pen and sarcasm had mercifully lashed the Dashnag stupidity and arbitrariness for many years, was one night stabbed and killed in his bed by terrorists. He had often been branded as a 'traitor' by the Dashnag papers. Popular opinion blamed the Tiflis Committee of the Dashnags for this crime, which was followed as usual, by a campaign of falsification and calumny in the Dashnag press throughout the world. This was in 1918.
10. Garjigian, a Dashnag of high rank, who occupied a ministerial chair in the newly formed Armenian Republic at Erivan, was shot and killed late in 1918 by another Dashnag, an officer of the army, Egor Der Minasian. The real motives for this murder were never made public by the government. The
probable causes may have been dissensions within the Dashnag party.
11. Bedros Atamian, manager of the Ramgavar paper, 'Nor Alik', was attacked on a street in Saloniki, Greece, on the night of November 4, 1926, and hit on the head and stabbed. He died in the hospital after a few hours. Arshak Enofkian, a Dashnag, was arrested for this crime, just when he was going to sail from Saloniki for Marseilles, France, on a false passport. The case was tried before the criminal court in Saloniki, on January 26, 27, and 28, 1928. Arshag Enofkian was found guilty as an accessory, and was sentenced to four years of hard labor and a fine of 15,000 drachmes.
12. Dekhruni, intellectual, a member of the Hunchagist party, was shot and killed in 1929 in Beirut, Syria. A Dashnagtzagan, Kuchuk Stepan, was accused of the murder, but was acquitted finally. Dekhruni was a vehement opponent of the Dashnagtzoutune, and public opinion blamed the Dashnag Committee of Beirut for this murder.
13. Sarkis Keyijian, intellectual, a dissenting Dashnag, who opposed the Bureau in Paris, was shot to death in Athens, Greece, July 20, 1933, Several Dashnagtzagans were accused of this| murder by the authorities and are still under indictment.
14. Mihran Aghazarian, a Hunchagist editor and a bitter foe of the Dashnagtzoutune, on whose life an attempt had already been made several years ago, was shot and killed in Beirut, Syria, October 13, 1933. The murderers have not been arrested so far, but the Armenian public accused the local Dashnag society openly for this crime, and the victim was given a national funeral.
ARMENIAN CHURCHMEN PERSECUTED BY THE ARMENIAN REVOLUTIONARY FEDERATION
Archbishop Leon Tourian, who was brutally murdered on Dec. 24, 1933, in the Armenian Holy Cross Church, of New York, allegedly by Dashnag terrorists, was not the only churchman of high rank persecuted by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation. This society waged a campaign of calumny and persecution against all those leaders of the Armenian people, who would not allow the exploitation of the church and the national institutions by the Dashnag trespassers. This campaign existed for some time, but assumed a more violent character in the last few years.
The following are the most prominent churchmen who are being persecuted by the Dashnagtzoutune:
Most Rev. Archbishop Mesrob Magistross:—This churchman was formerly the Prelate of Tiflis, Caucasus. During the world war he presided over the so-called National Bureau, that was engaged in recruiting and equipping the Armenian Volunteer regiments for the Russian Army. This Bureau was under the control of the Dashnagtzoutune, and the Archbishop was everywhere advertised as a great patriot in the Dashnag press. A few years ago this eminent churchman was appointed to the Prelacy of the Diocese of Perso-India. On account of his friendly attitude toward Soviet-Armenia, the Dashnag society represented him as a communist to the Persian government, and, as a result of this false accusation he was expelled from Persia.
Rt. Rev. Bishop Roupen Manasian. He is the Prelate of the Armenians in Mesopotomia. For years this churchman has been subjected to persecution in the Dashnag press. He was even attacked once in the city of Bagdad. The Dashnag papers tried to discredit Bishop Roupen as "the agent of the Cheka", and published a long drawn fabricated story about him to prove their accusations. The Bishop brought a libel suit against "Housaper",
the Dashnag organ of Cairo. The mixed tribunal of Cairo, composed of Egyptian and European judges, found "Housaper", and its publishers guilty. They were condemned to pay a fine and the expenses of the trial.
Bishop Roupen was also accused by the Dashnag society as being a Bolshevik. However, the government of Irak would not heed these false accusations; and the late King Feisal expressed his confidence and respect for the Prelate by receiving him into royal audience.
Most Rev. Archbishop Housig Zohrabian, The prelate of the Armenians of Roumania, was regarded as a most worthy clergyman while he was supposed to be friendly to the Dashnagtzoutune. But when he opposed the intrigues and exploitations of this society and shut the gates of the prelacy against the Dashnag leaders and workers, a campaign of persecution and calumny was started against him. Archbishop Housig defended the church interests vigorously, and defeated all the intrigues against his office and the Armenian Prelacy of Romania.
Right Rev. Bishop Garabed Mazloumian, The prelate of the Armenians in Greece, who refused to be a tool in the hands of the enemies of Armenia. He was attacked one night and beaten by the agents of the Dashnags, who also sheared his beard in order to insult the aged prelate. He was also accused as an "age! of the Cheka" before the Hellenic government; but this false I accusation was not given any credence.
His Eminence Most Rev. Archbishop Torcome, Patriarch of Jerusalem:—While he was the Prelate of Egypt he donated a precious emerald ring for the benefit of the Independence Loan of Armenia (1920), and had services of thanksgiving held in the churches. After the establishment of the Soviet regime in Armenia, Archbishop Torcome, as a patriotic Armenian, maintained a friendly and correct attitude towards the new government, He would not allow the ex-ministers and dignitaries of the former government, who had established themselves in Egypt after being expelled from Armenia, to plunder the income and the property belonging to the ecclesiastical institutions of Cairo and Alexandria and suppressed all their attempts of exploitation with a vigorous hand. Therefore, he aroused the bitter enmity of the Dashnags
against him. Housaper, the Dashnag paper in Egypt, and all its colleagues, insulted and columnized the Prelate in a most infamous manner. They even organized an attack on the Prelacy; they represented him as a Bolshevik to the Egyptian government, and did everything within their power to prevent his being chosen to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
His Holiness Khoren I, Catholicos of All the Armenians was also subjected to attack by the Dashnag press. His first Gontag, (encyclical) was declared to be "inspired by the Cheka". The Pontiff was represented as a "man-machine" and his orders and instructions were declared to be void and without any value. The Dashnag press openly preached rebellion against the execution of those orders. This was done in the name of "popular rights". His Holiness the Catholicos and the Supreme Spiritual Council were all represented, continually, as the agents of the Cheka, and Echmiadzin was declared to be a nest of the Bolshevik secret police. The editorials of "Hairenik", the Boston organ of the Dashnagtzoutune, have been filled with these misrepresentations for the last six months.
His Holiness Sahak, Catholicos of Cilicia, now established in Antilyas, near Beirut, Syria, was also subjected to an infamous attack by "Housaper", the Dashnag paper of Cairo, Egypt. After the unfortunate murder of Mihran Agazarian in Beirut last October, His Holiness published a pastoral letter, inviting his flock to be calm and peaceful, observe brotherly love, refrain from acts of violence and be law-abiding citizens of the land where they have taken refuge. In its issue of Dec. 6, 1933, "Housaper" denounces this Pastoral letter as a "Cawing of Ill Omen", and insults the 85 year old Patriarch as "wicked", as one who was raised to his office by the Sultan, and as "one who incites national disruption".
THE 61ST ARTICLE OF THE TREATY OF BERLIN
After the close of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78, in which the Turks were thoroughly beaten, the European Powers met in a conference at Berlin, to settle all the problems effecting Europe as a whole, and to draw up a peace treaty between the two combatants. In this conference, the Armenian question was recognized as an international problem, under the Article 61 of the treaty.
Here is that Article—
"The Sublime Port (meaning Turkey) undertakes to carry out, without further delay, the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians Kurds. The Sublime Port will, periodically, make known the steps taken to this effect to the Powers, who will superintend their application."
THE TREATY OF ALEXANDROPOL
The text of the treaty signed between the Armenian delegation and the Turks at Alexandropol, has never been published by those who were responsible for it. Neither Mr. A. Khatisian, the head of the delegation that signed the treaty, nor Mr. S. Vratzian, the head of the Armenian government of the time, who have both written voluminous histories of the Armenian Republic, embody the text of the treaty in their books. This omission may be due to the consciousness of guilt and shame in their hearts.
The following is a translation of the document as it was published in the Turkish press:—
ARTICLE 3—As it is evident from Turkish, Russian and all other world-statistics, and from the established social situation, we again, at this occasion, confirm that there is no territory within
the Ottoman borders where the Armenians form a majority. (Articles 4 and 5 draw the boundaries of Armenia and Turkey according to which, the cities and districts of Kars, Ardahan, Ikdir, Alexandropol, also the Mt. Ararat and other important territories were left to Turkey. Armenia was almost halved and reduced to the boundaries drawn in the treaty of Batoum in 1918).
ARTICLE 6—Hereafter, with the good intention of preventing any act or episode, that may disturb tranquility through agitation and incitement, the Republic of Erivan undertakes not to allow any military organization, excepting a division of 1500 paid soldiers with 8 field or mountain cannons and 20 machine guns, which will protect the borders of the country; and lightly armed gendarmerie which will be able to keep the internal order of the country.
The Armenian Republic is free to erect fortifications to protect the country from enemies, and to place as many heavy guns in these fortifications as it desires. These heavy artillery will not contain obuses of 15 centimeters and long range guns of 10.50 caliber, and other howitzers, which could be used in the army if necessary.
ARTICLE 7—The government of Erivan agrees that, the Turkish minister or representative, who will reside in Erivan after peace is established, supervise and examine these matters. In exchange for this, whenever the Armenian Republic so desires, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey undertakes to give armed assistance to Armenia, against internal and external dangers.
(The rest of Article 7, and Article 8, relate to the question of repatriating refugees and fugitives).
ARTICLE 9—The government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, although it has been obliged to maintain an army for two years and at great expense, and though it has a right to demand an indemnity as a result of the war against Armenia which it has been compelled to wage, gives up this indemnity, because it has an extreme respect for the accepted and well known humanitarian and judicial principles.
ARTICLE 10—The government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey undertakes, with all sincerity, to assist the development of the Republic of Erivan, and the solidification of the
authority of the Erivan Republic, as it is described within the boundaries drawn in Article 4.
ARTICLE 11—The government of Erivan declares, that it considers as null and void the Sèvres Treaty, which is absolutely disavowed by the government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. It undertakes to withdraw its delegations of Europe and America, that are tools in the hands of some imperialistic governments and circles. Both parties assume mutual obligations in good faith to remove all kinds of misunderstandings that exist between the two nations.
As a proof of the sincerity of its desire to develop in peace and to respect the rights of good neighborliness with Turkey, the Armenian government is willing to keep away from the government those persons who pursue imperialistic aims and will disturb the tranquility of the two people. (Article 12 allows that the Secretariat of Religions of the Turkish government have the right to confirm the election of the religious head of the moslems living in Armenia).
ARTICLE 13—The two contracting parties mutually undertake not to prevent the free passage and transit of persons and merchandise belonging to the other party, over their railroads and highways.
Turkey, being under obligation to prevent menacing agitations by imperialists against her existence, will keep under her own control the railroads and the means of communication of the Republic of Erivan, until the signing of a general peace, so that, the quantity of arms to be imported will not be any more than specified in Article 6, on condition that this control will not interfere with the freedom of transportations. Also, the two contracting parties will prevent the entry into the Republic and the residence therein, of officials and unofficial bodies and representatives belonging to the imperialistic powers.
ARTICLE 14—The government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, will have the right to organize in Armenia temporary military measures against attacks that threaten the independence and the territorial integrity of the Turkish state on condition that the rights that are guaranteed the Republic of Erivan are not to be interfered with.
ARTICLE 15—The Republic of Erivan agrees to consider as null and void all those stipulations of treaties she has signed with any power, which relate to Turkey and are harmful to the interests of Turkey.
VRATZIAN'S APPEAL TO THE TURKS FOR MILITARY AID
As the president of the Armenian government, Simon Vratzian sent an urgent appeal to the Turkish government, asking that military supplies and Turkish troops be sent into Armenia, to help the rebel government fight its Armenian adversaries. The official document was handed to Behaeddin, the representative in Erivan of the Turkish high command, to be forwarded to Angora.
Here is the text—
"Please forward the present request promptly to your high authorities, and as I have explained to you, urge on them for an immediate answer.
"The fight of Armenia against the bolsheviks, and for its own freedom and independence, serves, as we are convinced, not only Armenia itself, but also the interests of all the nations of the Near East.
"For this reason, Armenia hopes, that during this fight she will receive help from her neighbors, and first of all the interests of the Turkish people also require that Armenia should come victorious out of this fight and remain independent.
"Relying on this conviction, the Armenian government requests the government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, that, in the name of the mutual interests of the two peoples, and as speedily as possible, it
1.—"Return the Armenian war prisoners that are now on the war front of Erivan.
2.—"Give the Armenian army some ammunition under certain conditions; first of all cartridges for Russian three-lined rifles and for Turkish mausers; or else rifles of the Russian and Lepel system.
3—"Communicate with us, if the government of the Grand National Assembly finds it possible to send military aid to Armenia, and if able to do so, to what extent and when?
"In making this appeal, the Armenian government relies on the friendly relations that have been established with the treaty of Alexandropol, and which were disturbed during the Bolshevik rule."
President of the Armenian Government.
March 18, 1921.
THE SEVRES TREATY
The Articles 88-93, Section VI, of the treaty of Sevres signed by the Allied powers and the Armenian Republic on the one hand, and Turkey on the other, relate to Armenia and its independence. The following is a translation of those articles as they appeared in Armenian papers.
ARTICLE 88.—Turkey recognizes Armenia as a free and independent state, in accordance with the step taken by the Allied powers.
ARTICLE 89.—Turkey and Armenia, as well as the other high contracting parties, agree to submit to the arbitration of the President of the United States the problem of the frontiers to be established between Armenia and Turkey in the vilayets of Erzerum, Trebizond, Van and Bitlis, and to accept his decision in the matter; also all other measures which he may prescribe in regard to an outlet on the sea for Armenia, and with regard to the demilitarization of the Turkish territories adjacent to the above boundaries.
ARTICLE 90.—When boundaries are drawn according to Article 89, and the above mentioned vilayets or definite parts of
them are ceded to Armenia, Turkey hereby renounces all her rights and claims over territories thus ceded. The amount and nature of that part of the public debts of Turkey, which is apportioned to Armenia, also the rights that are to be transferred to Armenia are to be determined in accordance with the stipulations of Articles 241-244 of the present treaty.
Subsequent agreements will settle, if necessary, all those problems which are not settled in this treaty and which are likely to arise, gradually, in relation to the transfer of the above provinces.
ARTICLE 91,—In the event that the territories indicated in Article 89, are transferred to Armenia, a commission for boundaries will be appointed, (the formation of this commission will be decided later), in order to draw up the boundaries between Armenia and Turkey within three months.
ARTICLE 92.—The boundaries of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan will be determined by direct agreements between those states.
If under any circumstances, these governments fail to decide upon their boundaries through mutual agreements, and the decision prescribed in article 89 is already given, in that event the boundaries will be determined by the principal powers.
ARTICLE 93.—Armenia agrees to incorporate in the treaties with the principal powers, those decisions which the powers deem essential to protect the rights of those inhabitants of Armenia, who defer from the majority in race, language and religion.
Armenia equally agrees to incorporate in the treaties with the principal powers those decisions which the powers deem essential for the freedom of transit and for a status of justice toward the commerce of other nations
The source site of this article gets revised often, as better information comes along. For the most up-to-date version, links and the related photos, the reader may consider reviewing the direct link as follows: