2434) 20 New Documents on Armenian Issue from Tsarist Archives (1914-1918) by Mehmet Perincek

Two tasks were given to Armenians, in the framework of the plans, which aimed at sharing the Ottoman Empire among Tsarist Russia and Western Imperialism during the World War I. The Armenians would cause weakness at the Turkish army by revolting at the back front. This was the first task. The second task was facilitating the Russian invasion by breaking the defense line of the Turkish army via voluntary units that were formed.

The Armenians of Turkey had played a active role at fulfilling both of the tasks. The matter is not composed of the acts of the couple of Tashnak terrorists. Sadly, large Armenian masses had joined to voluntary units and uprisings. The archives are full of applications of the Armenians of Turkey to the Russian authorities for fighting against Turkey within the voluntary units and serving for the Tsarist armies. The names of thousands of Armenians from the ordinary villagers to the Ottoman origin intellectuals and doctors, and to university students, are at the lists of the archives. This movement of the Armenians of Turkey had started long before the relocation. These documents are important for they demonstrate that the threat was not limited with leader and militants of the separatist organization and they enlighten the motives of the relocation.

Nevertheless, hundreds of reports that were written by the Tsarist generals and officers, and hundreds of official records and verdicts of the courts reveal that the Armenian voluntary units had massacred the Muslim population violently and looted their goods at the invaded regions during World War I. According to the documents, these practices were made systematically. Even the Russian commanders, who were exploiting the Armenian gangs, were terrified against these violence incidents. Many of the Armenian officers and soldiers were judged at the military courts of the Tsarist army for this reasons and sentenced to death. It is worth reminding to underline that these massacres and lootings had started prior the relocation.

Also, the documents and the sources of that period prove that the Muslim population was many times more comparing to the Armenian population at the region where Great Armenia was desired to be established.

The fundamental documents and sources that are put in order of date and published for the first time are presented below. These documents are under the records of the State Archives of the Russian Military History (RGVİA). It will be helpful to evaluate 20 sample documents with the serial of “The Armenian Genocide Lie with Armenian Documents, which was broadcast from “Kaynak” publications and the book entitled “The Armenian Issue at 100 Documents from the Russian State Archives” that was published from “Doğan” Books:

From the book, which was published in 1914, entitled “The Solution for the Armenian Issue” of Armenian writer G. D. Mnatsakanyan:

The Armenians should have a representative before the international “areopag” [1]. This representative should inform the real requirements of the Armenian nation, and should make clear the essential land and economic circumstances and present it to high areopag. Also, this representative should be authorized by the Armenians of Turkey for not making any mistakes on the matters that is examined by the European countries, and should guarantee that it would fulfill all the tasks that would be done by the Armenian nation.

The European diplomacy, do not give the honor to address every nation. For instance, have they ever negotiated with Kurds, Karapapaks, Ingush, Gypsies on the matters which concern these nations! In order to accept the representatives of any of these nations, which do not posses an organism of a government, an issue, should carry an international character besides having political and moral character, which would attract the attention of European public opinion and the government authorities. The issue related with Armenia carries an international character and the Armenians are a crowded nation so they can play an international role at this issue.

Nevertheless, Armenians have shown Europe its ability and moral values that are necessary for political organization capability. (…) The European diplomacy has listened to the Armenian nation and so, even though the Armenians of Turkey do not posses a representative before the areopag officially, in practice their representatives were accepted many times. The Patriarch of Istanbul has met with the ambassadors of the European countries under the notables of the Turkish palace. In 1878, the Armenian delegation, Petrograd, was accepted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of London and Berlin.

The representatives of Sultan and the representatives of the other nations had discussed the demands of the Patriarch of Istanbul during the Berlin Conference. During 1894 and 1895, the representatives of Russia, England and France had met the Patriarch of Istanbul in the framework of memorandum arrangement. During years of 1912-1913, with the approval of the Petrograd Palace, the Catholigos of all Armenians and the representative of the High Patriarch, Pogos Nubar Pasha, had gone to all European countries and was accepted at the Foreign Ministries and diplomatic representatives as the representative of the Armenians.(…)

Armenia is obliged to pay a certain amount of the loss of Europe, which arouse from the war with Turkey. How large piece of land Armenia is planned on, the money spent for the invasion of the underground sources, would be that much more than the war expenses. When Europe obtained it as an invaded land, it would not leave it to Armenians to a cheap price. Seeing that point, the Armenians should give everything the Europeans demand for Armenia. The Armenians should not be a sponger and should make her payment to Europe with her blood.

(G. D. Mnatsakanyan, Razreşenie Armyanskago Voprosa, Moscow, 1914, page 24 vd., 29 vd.)

From the Letter Regional Commander of Kağızman [2]
4 August 1914
Number 85

Dear Sergey Aleksandroviç,
8/ There is a secret organization among the Armenians, which organizes special units that would mobilize against Turks at the back front in the event of war between Turkey and Russia and if this effort would not be possible, then attempts to transfer these units to Russia and fight together with the Russian armies.(…)

(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, folder 528, leaf 1, 1 back, 2, 2 back)

Telegram (code number 14) of Russian Ambassador to Sofia dated 2 January 1915

Three young Armenians, Zarek Pilosyan, an Iranian Armenian from Tabriz, Haykazun Nalbandyan from Cilicia and Eduard Stapanyants from Harput, both of which are the Armenians of Turkey and members of Taşnaksutyun demand to be accepted to the voluntary units at the Caucasus as doctors. They possessed diplomas from the medical schools at Geneva. I request to be informed whether they can be accepted to the Caucasus via a telegram.


(RGVİA) fond 2100, list 1, folder 558, leaf 77)

Telegram (number 77) of Russian Ambassador to Bucharest dated 9 January 1915

With reference to my telegram dated 25 December number 506 and your reply dated 26 December number 939.

Following is the list of the Armenians of Turkey, who would like to join the units at Caucasus and who expressed their devotion before our mission:

Tashnak Armenians; Srab Agozyan Babik Apkaryan Migardıtsi Garabetyan Bedros Sarkizyan Agop Torozyan Agop Saakyan Ghanes Papaelyan Matos Arutinyan Mizak Nampartumyan Bedros Agopyan Antranik Ohanezyan Neprem Nigoozyan Mizak Norodyan Nasik Mdussesyan Ohanes Moradyan Sarkis Batmazyan Hamportum Artinyan Agop Kaykamciyan Ovaghim Pevalikyan Andreas Avedizyan Sarkis Margozyan Migardıtsi Nazikyan Vortan Donikyan Ozghean Ezikyan Sarkis Mergheryan Taniel Bludyan Arsak Hayrabetyan Ohanes Dulkheryan Nizan Ekzargyan Mizak Mentozyan Servitsen Somungyan Bagdasar Avedizyan Arsag Atinyan Sahak Segpozyan Sarkis Hupghyanos Apram Eprenyan Parseg Ekmegyan Ervant Tomanyan Vartan Bogozyan Nasik Bagirkyan Stepan Hipagozyan Mardiros Manukyan Kevork Kipgoryan Aymnznak Sahakyan Oski Sukizyan Ohanes Mardirozyan Asador Kozisyan Aliksan Tavityan Kapriel Ohanezyan Agop Nizaniem Maghirditsi Nasik Garabet Dikran Apram Ohanes Mighirditsi Margos Maghirditsi Tavit Kalusti Vakar Minas Kibkor Hayrabet Mighir Musagh Pilibos Nahabet Atam Tomas Oski Bedros Kevork Muzen Sefer Vartan Simon Manuk Kasbar Muzak Karbar Manuk Ohanes Giragos Kasbar Manuk Ohanes Giragos Kasbar Hosrov Ghavuz Mizak Melkom Senekerim Ovakhim Apkar Simon Satrak Sarakis Yeremya Tatyas Parunak Sarkis Bedros Kalus Avedis Mardiros Sarkis Mighirditsi Artinulis Nasik Atamyan Sarkis Sahak Armenak Kapriel Sarkis Apra Mikael Avedis Kirkor Kevork Nasik Mutos Suron Antik Aram Surmen Ardazes Apkar Avedis Eskigyan Siranus Krikoryan Sukias Kantseanyan Bedros Kalus Avedis Mardiros Ohanes Apikyan Kirkor Hayrikyan Sahak Aristakos Nizan Toros Parsek Hazar Mardiros Avdon Minas Hugas Nasik Kirkor;

Hınchak Armenians Hagop Hahinyan Garabed Guyragossyan Sarkis Krikoryan Miguerdiç Makazdicyan Madteos Kasparyan Nigoghos Ghahyan Gaghakyan Hagop Hoghanessyan Hagop Garabedyan Krikor Mateossyan Karnik Kaprielyan Garabed Macaryan Onig GhirinyanVahram Ahciyan Krikor Yeramyan Sarkis Karageuezyan Simon Papatsyan Avedis Horhannessyan Vartan Avedisyan Hagop Levonyan Horhaness Migueryan Garabed Horhanessyan Ervaut Gohgagaryan Stepan Bahdassaryan Krikor Minassyan Krikor Teheviguyan Essai Tahminciyan Tateosse Pondoidyandiakiporop Opkonoboa Arared Artinyan Hagop Tahciyan Mannik Tahciyan Margos Hamlacyan Avak Minassyan Mourad Krikoryan Mouzes Harutunyan Simon Maguguyan Tavit Serapyan Tavit Manugyan Krikor Boghossyan Garabed Minassyan Harityun Minassyan Sarkis Armaghanyan Horaannes Mercimekciyan Ervaut Ayneciyan.-


(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, folder 558, leaf 95, 95 back)

From the report of the Commander of the 589th Kuban Infantry Unit to the Commander of Kars Castle [3]

19 January 1915
Number 143
To the Commander of Kars Castle

I consider adding the following to the things that I have reported above as my duty: The local Greeks and Armenians, who returned back to their villages, are wandering around in large groups with the pretext of searching their cattle and goods and after the escape of the Turkish armies, exploiting from the penetration of the Kurdish population, they are looting the Kurdish villages and raping the Kurdish women. All the Greeks and the Armenians are armed and some of them posses licensed weapons. Most of them posses a Turkish gun. If regional authorities existed there would be no incidents of this kind, however, the administrational posts are completely lost and the armies do not have the possibility to follow them up. (…)

(RGVİA fond 2100, list 2, folder 460, leaf 110)

Letter of the Commander of Kars Castle to the Commander of the Caucasus Armies Headquarters [4]
20 January 1915
Number 141

To the Commander of the Caucasus Armies Headquarters

I request you to inform which Armenian units were formed at the Caucasus by indicating the names of their commanders, also who they are depended on and which ones were sent to Kars for to be billeted. The commanders of the units, which have come to Kars to be billeted, do not come and register themselves to the headquarters of the castle even though I have sent my order via police force. This information is particularly important for the are some serious disagreements based on murder, looting and every kind of aggression between the population and the units because of the undisciplined behavior of the soldiers, which can be realized right away.

Major General Zubov
Colonel Diyef, the Commander of the Headquaters
(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, Folder 558, Leaf 97, 97 back)

From the telegram of General Bolhovitinov to Kars Governor on 27 January 1915

General İstomin reports that Armenian and Greek looting gangs, who attacks on the civilian population and steals their products and food stocks, have erupted at Gülvabert, on the way to Ahılkelek and Kars from Ardahan. Also, the same circumstances exist at Merdenek and Gelsk region. (…) Number 507. Bolhovitinov

(RGVİA fond 2100, list 2, Folder 460, Leaf 66)


Telegram numbered 1165 of an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 2 February 1915

The telegram numbered 20 of the Deputy Consul General of Varna: The following Tashnak Armenians, who are recommended by the Church, demand to be send to Caucasus voluntarily. They will cover their own expenses: Ohanes Mahsudyan from Bitlis, Agop Milkonyan, Haçik Muradyan, Hosrov Haçikyan, Apraham Ohanesyan, Haçik Sarkisyan; Melkon Hazaryan from Muş; Solomon Bogosyan from Şebinkarahisar; Boskyan Babigyan from Sivas, Hmanyan Tsevsepyan, Mhitar Dagcaryan, Agop Bedrosyan; Yeremiya Bedrosyan from Erzurum, Arşak Artyan, Yehişe Krikoryan from Bolu. Can I give them a permission for passing?


(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, folder 558, leaf 232)

Telegram of the Caucasus Governor of the Tsarist Russia to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs


The representatives of Zeytun Armenians came to the headquarters of the Caucasus Armies and stated that approximately fifteen thousand Armenians were ready for the attack against the transportation routes of Turks but they did not have weapon and bullets. Because of Zeytun is on the way of the connection routes of Turkish Erzurum army, sufficient amount of weapon and bullets should be sent to Aleksandret, where it would be received by the Armenians. I believe there is a need for a meeting with the French or the English governments on sending the weapons and the bullets to Aleksandret with the ships of France or England since the activities of the Zeytun Armenians are useful for England and France, and because of the urgency of the issue and the fact that we don’t have the possibility to obtain them arms.

Graf Varontsov DAŞKOV
6 February 1915
(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, Folder 558, leaf 172)

Telegram of the Russian Commander dated 15 February 1915
To General Çernozubov

The telegram of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Commander-in-Chief: “On his way to Caucasus from Iran, the Ambassador of Iran reported the complaints on the Iranian Armenians and voluntary units, who looted the town of Şoca and Iranian Culfa, where particularly governmental institutions like post office and Iranian and Indian-European firms had also their share. During the incidents, 4 Iranian Kazakhs, 2 officials of the post office and many civilians were killed and 2 Kazakhs were injured. Sadly, the grounds of these complaints are completely confirmed with reports of Vedenskiy, who saw the traces of the destruction that was implemented by Armenian and Syrian Christians, who were armed by us, while going to Hoy. Please determine your prudence on what kind of precautions could be taken against the criminals of these incidents and by what methods these incidents, which cause the right anger of Iranian Muslim immigrants for making it impossible for them to return back to their homeland, can be prevented to happen again in the future. Sazonov” Please indicate which precautions were taken and which precautions will be taken by you against Armenian immigrants and voluntary units in the future. 2218.

(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, folder 558, leaf 207)

Letter of Commander of 109Th Brigade [5]
18 July 1915
Number 869

Lately, many Armenians, Greeks, Kurds and Russians (Molokan) appeared at the villages of Ardahan region because of the permission that was given for to immigrants for returning to their homeland. All of these nations behave quiet hostile towards each other. They quarrel and fight over economic issues. The civilian power is insufficient over giving an end to the fights and solving the disputes. The population, which is currently rather incited, conflict with guards from time to time. For instance, on the 15th of this month two guards, who came to Beberek village, where Greeks inhabit, with two Kurds with an intention of identifying their cattle, were beaten.

Currently, we do not have cavalry units, which can ensure law and order efficiently and quickly in the region of Ardahan. For this reason, I ask for a cavalry unit or at least half of the cavalry unit, which is deployed at Otlu region, to be allocated under my orders if possible.

Commander of Brigade, Colonel
Commander of Headquarters, Lieutenant Colonel
First aide-de-Camp of General, Captain
Approval of Brigade Commander of Headquarters
2nd Infantry Corps of Turkistan, Second Lieutenant
24 July 1915
Number 4246
The Caucasus Army
(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, Folder 986, Leaf 67, 67 back)

From an article dated August 1915 of an author named An
On the Armenian Issue in Turkey

It appears that, the solution of the Armenian issue, which was taken on the agenda of the European diplomacy since years, is being approached. The Armenian nation, who gave up hope of Turkish reforms, awaits its destiny to be determined from exterior forces. Therefore, there is nothing to be surprised at over the appearance of stronger hopes, which come into daylight currently, when the nations of Turkey are dispersed and their existence are put forward during the Great War of the nations of Turkey[6].(…)

Connecting the future of a nation, to the destruction of another country, where they live within, means to play with the destiny of it. This could be useful for the circles, which do not have an issue related with the ones, who lives and will live at the lands of enemy. Poring water to the mills of these people could only mean to enter into a dangerous adventure. Every kind of national policy, which endangers the existence of the physical existence of a nation, should be left aside eternally. (…)

The history exposes that a national issue in Turkey always finds its solution only with one way, by separating the oppressed nation from the Empire and founding its national government. Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania were founded by this way. Nevertheless, that does not mean that every nation would pursuit the same way for solving its own nation issue. Every nation can found its national government only with one condition: Only if it possesses a land, which comes in some degree from a single ethnical root. The Armenian nation, which is consisted of seven provinces, constitutes a minority at the region, where it exists. It lacks that national advantage and that’s why all of its rebellions turned out unsuccessful. (…)

However, it should not be forgotten that there is no pure national pressure in Turkey, which is different from Europe; In Europe, each Christian nation possesses religious and cultural autonomy. They are free on the issues like national culture (schools) and religion. The issues like public security, fair judgment, not having convenient transportation roads, and existence of Kurdish looting gangs, which are called as national issue in Turkey, are in fact general issues of citizenship. None of these are related with the core of a national issue. (…) There exists some limitations on the rights of Christians, but, they are in no way as much as the ones for Jews in other countries. For instance; there are some fundamental limitations like banning relocation, which should be totally free. The only country in the world, where there is freedom and no order, is Turkey! The government is obliged to ensure the basic elements of the public order eventually by rather liberal constitution and cultural-national autonomy.

The main reason of this disorder in Turkey lies beneath the under-developed economy of the country. All of Minor Asia lacks industry, factories, railways (only with an exception), trade centers, convenient highways and all economical bases, which contemporary countries are based on. The Jon Turks, who started to renovate the country not from its base and economy but from the top, from the political system, has been unsuccessful because, they attempted to do something that is not possible to be successful: To built the capitalist way of administration on the pre-capitalist economic basis! It has been a scene for bases, which comes from two different roots and the government has reached a dead end: the government have not gained strength but rather became a trouble-free hunt for its own former satellite. (…)

They (the Armenian officials) demand a sovereignty, which is based on Armenians as a more civilized element in independent Armenia (Orizon Newspaper [7]). However, as they also accept, they constitute the minority. How can a minority found sovereignty over the majority? There are two approaches on this: Turkish approach and European approach. In another words, a military dictatorship or privileged law norms. New exceptional administration methods would erupt when the second approach is adopted in Armenia: Limiting the right for elect of the masses, organizing the election regions against the Muslim majority, insisting for Armenian language and culture, and applying an aggressive national policy at every sphere. These circumstances will naturally cause a resistance at the oppressed nations and every nation will start a national war against each other. So, the national issue will not only be solved, but also it will turn into an issue based on of all nations. (…)

We attribute this study to nationalists, who always pursuit to fish at the muddy waters of the national conflict. (…) Separating citizens as own and step, the ones, who have rights and ones, who don’t, would lead the system inevitably to a dead end. The Armenians would have to fight not only with the external world but also with the opposition consisted of interior majority, which would attempt to destroy the government. None of the governments can manage to stand still at this bilateral war. (…)

(An, “K Armyanskomu Voprosu V Turtsii”, Sovremennıy Mir, August 1915, page 144 vd.)

From the report of the Armenian leaders that was written during World War I

The 1912 Balkan War made the situation of the Armenian in Turkey definite.

The Russians and Germans were closely interested in the subject. However, the Armenians adopted the Russian tendency, which was hoped to change the destiny of the Armenians of Turkey, who suffer right away and everywhere. (…)

Because it was evident that the war was inevitable at the circles of Armenian leader, the leaders of gangs of the oppressed regions of Turkey and the other voluntary units have started to flow to Caucasus from everywhere. At the same time, the local leaders of Armenian society, have established a relation with Graf İ. İ. Vorontsov-Daşkov, the Govornor of Empire, which is the supreme personality of the Caucasus. These leaders expressed the tendency of the Armenian nation to the governor without waiting the orders. (…)

The Catholicon of all Armenians resorted to the Empire government via governor by indicating that Turkey has not fulfilled the reforms she undertook and expressed to the governor that Armenians were ready to do every kind of activity during a war with Turkey.

The respond of the Empire government, which was sent by the governor of Caucasus from Petrograd, had come in a short time. At the respond, which was written with the orders of the government, it was stated that the fate of the Armenians of Turkey, would always be a continuous concern of the Empire government and in this case the Armenians should be prepared to be victims during the war.

At the private meetings, which were held Tbilisi Caucasus Governorship The Armenians were suggested to organize special units (humb), which would be within the military units and which would be under the order of experienced Armenian gang leaders (humbapet) during the operations from 4 main points of our Caucasus armies, where were attended by General Mışlayevskiy, Gofmeyster[8] Peterson, the Commander of the Headquartes of Caucasus Military Region General Yudeniç, The Manager of the Tbilisi Mesrop, the head of the Tbilisi city A. İ. Hatisov, the head of the Armenian Central Committee S. S. Arutyunov and Doctor Y. H. Zavriyev. These were selected by giving priority to the regions, where Armenian population constitutes the majority.

The Armenians met the suggestion for organizing units in an absolute decisiveness but, they demanded the Armenian population to be armed for the possible dangers and to go guarantor for them by making an agreement with the ambassadors of the impartial governments before hand for influencing Turkey in order to prevent a possible massacre towards Armenians.

The Armenian National Office, which is not official but in practice a recognized office, overtook the organization of the units. The abovementioned people carried out the meetings as the representatives of the Armenian National Office and continued their relation with the institutions of the governments.

A matter related with the units demanded quiet responsibility and authority. Therefore, the representatives of the significant cities and centers, which promised to support financially, were invited at the meetings, where the organization of the units in Tbilisi was accepted with absolute majority.

While the roots of the integration of the Armenians to the Russian government were strengthening at that period, the opposite incidents were being experienced, in Turkey.

The Armenians of Turkey, who believe in the absolute victory of Russia, were considering Russia as their savior. On the other hand, Turks attempted to draw the Armenians by themselves in every possible way and conducted meetings at İstanbul, Erzurum, Van, Muş. The Turkish government and Hacı Bey, Halil Bey, Talat Bey, Bahattin Şakir, Hilmi Bey, and Taksim Bey, the governor of Erzurum, had attended at these meetings in the name of the “Jon Turks”. They told Armenians the following:

“Let’s unite for a mutual prosperity. We will never carry out the reforms that are imposed on us by force directed from the exterior powers. However, we can execute these if we have a mutual agreement. We will win this war with Germany. Help us at the Caucasus. We need to see the Armenians at Caucasus at our side. Then we can invade Caucasus in a short period of time and offer you and the Georgians autonomy. And we can send Tatars from the Caucasus to the inner parts of Turkey. Armenian and Georgian autonomous regions that would be located between Turkey and Russia are in accordance with our interest for protecting our borders from Russia.”

In response, they demanded to conduct uprisings from the Armenians at the Caucasus and form voluntary units in Turkey.

The Armenians refused their demands by promising that they will be loyal to the government, which was the requirement of the Ottoman nationality. During the meetings the Armenians pointed out that it would be much better if Turkey would not fight for even if Germany wins a victory that would turn Turkey into a slave and it would need much more land than Russia, which owns endless borders for founding its colony in Turkey.

The Armenians attempted to persuade Turks paying attention to domestic reforms and strengthening the government by this way. However, Turks opposed this by indicating that there is no convenient time better that this for conducting their historical assignment by war. So, the Armenian-Turkish negotiations, that was attempted to revitalize by “Jon Turks” following the arrival of the reports pointing out that Armenian units were being formed at Russia, were fruitless.

The Turks demanded the Armenians of Turkey to influence Russian Armenians for giving an end to this move. However, the Armenians of Turkey replied that they cannot take responsibility and cannot guarantee the activities of the Armenians in Russia. (…)Turkey was particularly disturbed when Gagarin Pastırmacıyan (Garo), a member of the Turkish Parliament and other masses of Armenians of Turkey took part among the voluntaries. They started to say that Armenian nation declared war against Turks. They demanded a delegation to be sent to Salmast, Andranik[9] from the Armenians for preventing the Armenians going for a campaign.

The Armenian population took sides with an exterior country and surrendered its destiny to the power and protection of the supreme Russia, and attempted to organize its units for joining the salvation war at the side of the Caucasus army.


When we are about to mention about the activities, organizations and the figures of the units, we would like to point out the following briefly. Considering that the details of the military movements exist at the documents of the headquarters, this report will be limited with the outline of the activities.

In the beginning of 1914 September, it was declared that registration for voluntaries had started and just following the declaration the voluntaries rushed from all over the place. The Caucasus Armenians including the ones from the Turkish nationality, started to fill our glorious army. Young men from Southern Caucasus, from Northern Caucasus, from Rostov and Nahchivan, from Doru, from Crimea and from Beserabya, from Hazarardı region and Turkmenistan, Romania and Bulgaria, and from Egypt and America flowed to Tbilisi for enlisting the units with a great enthusiasm. As it was mentioned above four units were to be formed. However, the voluntaries kept on coming and a special announcement had to be made for giving an end to the flow. An administrational committee besides a National Office had undertaken the organization and equipping the units. At the second half of September, the units were ready for a war.

There were 1,200 people at the first unit, 382 at the second unit, 430 at the third unit, 470 at the fourth unit and 600 as reserve unit, which reached at a total number of 3, 000. [10]

The first unit was under the command of Andranik, who was an experienced and famous gang leader that promoted due to his success against the Bulgarian armies during the last Balkan War. This unit had moved tom Hoy from Culfa on 23 October.

The second unit had moved to Tapariz passage from Iğdır under the command of experienced gang leader Dro, who was a Russian Armenian.

The third unit, set out towards Eleşkirt plain on 1 November under the command of Amazasp, who was a popular humbapet[11] and an Armenian of Turkey.

The fourth unit moved towards Ahveran and Hoşab from Sarıkamış under the command of former gangster Keri, who is the commander-in-chief of the Iranian Armed Forces and who was famous for being comrade of Yefrem during the Iranian war and who substituted Yefrem after he died in Iran. (…)

29 October 1915
Aleksandr İvanoviç Hatisov[13]
Samson Stepanoviç Arutyunov[14]
(Episkop Mesrop, Aleksandr İvanoviç Hatisov, Samson Stepanoviç Arutyunov, “Zapiska Ob Armyanskom Voprose i Armyanskih Drujinah”, İstoriko-Filologiçeskiy Jurnal, 1991, Number 2 (133), p205 vd.)

The telegram of General Bolhovitinov dated 17 March 1916

In order to make things clear, information was demanded from the related commanders on the violence actions of the 1536th Armenian voluntaries against the civilian Turkish populace and the so-called participation of our Kazakhs. Bitlis War Commander Major General Abatsiyev stated the following: “I definitely do not accept the claims that Kazakhs have involved in the incidents. I got around Bitlis and its environment for several times. I have neither met a single complaint about undisciplined actions of Kazakhs nor an example of oppression against the civilian population. As for the Armenian units, whose personnel are Armenians of Turkey; I had to send this unit out of the city on the third day of seizing Bitlis because of the continuous aggression against the Muslim of the voluntary units. I sent them to a region between Bitlis and Muş. I think the figure of two thousand that was informed to be killed by the Turks, is an exaggerated figure.”

When I have learned that the civilian population was killed by the Armenians, I called Andranik, the commander of the Armenian unit. Andranik told me that these kinds of incidents are quite normal, and in fact, there are many people, whose wives, children and close relatives were killed by Turks. I know that following incident had occurred at Tatvan: A hunter battalion and Armenian voluntaries had deployed at one of the houses. The battalion took more than 20 homeless children to the mentioned house and gave them food. When the battalion came back from reconnaissance, they had found that the children were stabbed. When they had gone, there were only Armenians at the house. As a result of my investigation, I have definitely found out that this incident was materialized by the Armenians. Sadly, the criminals were never exposed. The Armenian voluntaries had complicated the matter in such a way that it was impossible to work out.” (…)

(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, Folder 646, Leaf 89, 89 back)

From the telegram of General De Vitt dated 19 June 1916 and number 3074[16]
To the Commander of the Army

Because of the relatively smaller amount of cattle at the region, where the corps were located, I have ordered not to give permission to purchase them from the middlemen of the Armenian authorities. (…) De Vitt. The Armenian authorities confiscate the cattle of the civilians without paying its money.

(RGVİA fond 2100, list1, Folder 1036, Leaf 297)

At the Publishing House of the Armenian Nationalist on 1916 November
From the Article Over the Loss of the Kurds
The Loss of the Kurds at This War

The issue on the quantity of the Muslim population at Armenia of Turkey following the war has a great significance over the political destiny of our country. We frequently heard that Kurds gave great losses during the war. However, the first information, which were based on evidences was broadcasted on the pages of Mşak [17] by A. Atanasyan, who was one of the official of the units of the Caucasus front in the city:

The reports that I have received and confirmed reveal that Kurds have given as great loss as the Armenians, if they lost 360000 losses during the war.

The region, where 800000 Kurds inhabit formerly, from Van Lake to South and West to Bitlis-Muş region and then to Eleşkirt together with Hınıs, Bulanık, Patnos, Malazgirt, Aladağ, Beyazıt-Diyadin region, is currently emptied. Hundreds of Kurd villages are destroyed.

The following question is really interesting: “Did the Kurds immigrate to other regions from these regions during the withdrawal of Turks, or did they die?”

In fact, both of them are true. What should be perceived here is their immigration and withdrawal had occurred under very difficult circumstances: During their withdrawal, contagious diseases had destroyed all of their tribe and the region; hunger and cold had hit them.

“During the first 6-7th months of the war, more than 8000 people died at the 20 villages where more than 12000 Kurds inhabited” told me famous Kurdish Aga, Bahri Bey at Hoşab. “My villagers were relatively under better conditions compared to the others. Even we were not able to move. And the most of our other tribes were completely annihilated. “

“There are no more than 3-4 people presently at the families where 20-30 people existed until the war. It is the same at everywhere. Don’t forget that you, Armenians have medical personnel, medicine, nurses; you have centers for food, national and governmental organizations, which deal with the immigrating population. They give you food, cloths and present the immigrants every kind of support. They protect the orphans. What about us? The Turkish government does not give us anything except for the lootings they carry out under the name of “legal expropriation”. The stockbreeding, which gives strength to Kurds, has come to its end as a result of war, hunger and legal expropriation.”

The statement of the Kurdish Aga matches the facts. The commanders of the Armenian voluntary units also confirm these with a sole voice.

“I think Kurds have lost everything they posses during the war”, said, one of them. “If they continue to fight against our forces, the number of poor Kurds will not pass beyond 250,000 at Eastern Kurdistan and Diyarbakır regions.”

The losses of Kurds, who had directly attended to war, are also interesting.

“I have been at the regions of conflicts with Kurds, where since the beginning of the war”, said a Russian officer: “It won’t be wrong if I say that the figure of the Kurds that have been killed is over 40000. And I don’t even mention about the number of casualties, which is twice the figure.”

Cafer Aga, who is a quite wealthy, famous and popular Turkish man from Muş, told me the following:

“I saw with my own eyes that during the first months of the war, all of the Kurdish tribe was destroyed due to cholera and typhoid fever. The bodies of hundreds of Kurds were on the lands of the villages. These bodies infected the Turkish armies so badly that military infirmaries were sufficient only for the 1/10 of the sick soldiers.”

-Then how many Kurds in total died during the war?

“It is hard to tell. It is even hard to tell an approximate figure. We never made any kind of a calculation. We cannot even tell how many people live in Muş. However, no doubt that Kurds have lost a quarter of their population. This was told to me by one of the Kurd leaders.” (…)

(“Poteri Kurdov V Nastoyaşuyu Voynu”, Armyanskiy Vestnik, 13 November 1916, Number 42, p 15 vd.)

From the report of a Russian Colonel, who is assigned at the headquarters of the invaded regions [18]

4 September 1917
Number 1962
I am presenting my report as the consequence of your verdict on the report numbered 11363 at the annex:

I/ The project, which has been prepared according to the new situation of the invaded Turkish region, suggest arming all police forces at the villages regardless of their nationality. Therefore, according to the mentioned project police forces would be armed at the innocent Turkish villages. This issue was discussed by a commission with all its dimensions and details and it was adopted that an exceptional practice should not be applied for Turks. The villages of “Lazistan”, where for the most part Turks and community of Lazs, who have became Turks, inhabit, suffered the attacks of the looting gangs at least as much as the other locations. Accordingly, in order to be fair and avoid a national massacre and hostility, arms should be given to Turks. Also, the society of Lazs is peaceful and extremism was not observed against the armies by them. (…)

Colonel Ostryanskiy
(RGVİA fond 13227, lists 2, Folder 22, Leaf 130, 130 back)

From the Commander of the Caucasus Front to the Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasus Front-To Tbilisi
From the telegram dated 5 October 1917 dated and numbered 36273

Commander of 5th Corps informs at his telegram numbered 02864 and dated 22 September that attacks have been organized against Turks by troops, who are incited on the basis of national intolerance by the Armenians on 16 September. Lootings, raids and murders continue. (…) 36273. De Vitt.

(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, Folder 272, Leaf 42, 42 Back)

From the Orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Caucasus Front
” December 1917[19]

I order a regiment to be formed consisted of the Armenian population at the invaded regions with the instructions of General-Commissar of the invaded regions due to the circumstances which is posed by deserters in every corps. (…)

(RGVİA fond 2100, list 1, Folder 72, Leaf 43)

Letter of the Commander of the Headquarters of the Invasion Regions [20]
February 1918[21]
To General-deputy Commissar of Turkish Armenia

As it is indicated at the enclosed correspondence, when the instruction for making a call was given by Ambartsumyan, Commissar of Van region to all Armenians of Turkey, who were working at Contra-intelligence Center and whose ages were convenient for enlistment, for implementing their military obligation, the contra-intelligence activities, were weakened.

Considering the fact that Armenians are tasked with Contra-intelligence activities at Van, I think the relations between Commissar Ambartsumyan and Contra-intelligence should be organized in such a way that Contra-intelligence activities would not be damaged due to enlisting activities.

In this connection, I offer a relevant order to be given to the Commander of Van by you.

Annex: 4 pages of correspondence.
Brigadier General, Commander of the Headquarters
Major, Secretary of the Headquarters
(RGVİA fond 13227, list 2, Folder 20, Leaf 52, 52 back)

[1] Governmental institution in Antique Greece.
[2] The letter had the letterhead of Kağızman Military Commander of Kars Region.
[3] The letter had the letterhead of the commander of 589. Kuban Infantry Unit
[4] The letter had the letterhead of the commander of Kars Castle. It was also registered and stamped by Intelligence Department on 28 January 1915..
[5] The letter had the letterhead of the Commander of 109th Brigade. It is also stamped by the 2nd Infantry Corps of Turkmenistan in the first page and at the back it is stamped by the clerical office of the Military Governorship of the Kars region.
[6] The World War I is implied..
[7] Publication of Tashnaks.
[8] The person, who manages the Palace and the Palace staff.
[9] The most significant commander of the Armenian voluntary units..
[10] The number of the units and troops would later increase. .
[11] The name, which is given to the commander of the Armenian voluntary units.
[12] The manager of the Tbilisi Bishop Department.
[13] The head of Tbilisi city..
[14] The head of Armenian Central Committee..
[15] General, who plans military operations at Headquarters.
[16] There is the stamp of the Department for Operations on the Telegram..
[17]One of the leading publications of the Armenian nationalism..
[18] The report is stamped by the commander of the Headquarters of the Armenia of Turkey, which was invaded in the framework of the war law and other Turkish regions The report is also stamped by the Organization Committee of the Military Management of the Invaded Turkish Region in the Framework of Law War.
[19] The number and the date of the order has not been specified on the document.
[20] The letter is stamped by the Organization Committee of the Military Management of the Invaded Turkish Region in the Framework of Law War.
[21] The date of has not been specified

Source: Mehmet Perinçek- Researcher at the Institute of Atatürk’s Principles and Revolution History of Istanbul University-03.04.2008