01 August 2008

2546) The Documentary Entitled “Nargin, the Island of Hell”

 © This content Mirrored From TurkishArmenians  Site armenians-1915.blogspot.com The captivity years of the Turkish soldiers at the prison camps, who were taken to various prison camps in Siberia when they were taken as prisoners during Sarikamis, movement and at the Caucasus front, constituted the subject of the documentary film entitled “Nargin, the Island of Hell”. . .

According to the information that was given by the director of the documentary film Haluk Ölçekçi, the film, which was supported by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, was shot in 14 months. Staring out from the manuscript memories, which is consisted of 1850 pages and three volumes, of Brigadier General Ziya Yergök, who had stayed as a prisoner for five years at various camps, the documentary was prepared.

The memories of 11 soldiers, who stayed at Nargin and other prison camps and managed to come back to Anatolia, interviews with the close relatives and documents, photographs and images of the related period at the Turkish, English and Russian archives, were included at the documentary.

There are images from Prof. Dr. Birgün Sönmez`s private archive at the film, which was participated by Prof. Dr. Birgün Sönmez, the head of Sarikamis, Solidarity Group, Turhan Çömez, former deputy, Prof. Dr. Cemalettin Taskiran, Assistant Professor Cemil Kutlu, Assistant Professor Celal Metin, Dr. Umur Isik and Nurullah Yergök, the son of Brigadier General Ziya Yergök, who had experienced captivity, Ahmet Riza Irfanoglu, the son of Irfanoglu I.smail Efendi, in addition to journalist-writer Ergun Göze, the son of Ahmet Göze.

The lives of the Turkish prisoners constituted the subject of the documentary film, in which Russian State Military History Archives RDATA) and State Archives of England were used and which was directed by Haluk Ölçekçi, coordinated by Konur Alp Koz and whose visual direction was took on by Cihan Kahraman.

Also, thousands of documents and the memories of Turkish and Russian soldiers of the related period at the archives were examined.

The letters and the memories of the Turkish prisoners were also examined for the documentary film, which included images, which was used for the first time by the Turkish researchers and shot during 1914-1919 by the International Red Cross Committee.

In the first part of the documentary film, the incidents that Turks had experienced, who were taken as prisoners at the Eastern front by the Russians and Armenians and who had taken to Tbilisi on foot, and from there to the prison camps at Siberia via railway cars were put in the picture based on the official documents and memories. In the second part, the lives of the prisoners at the Nargin prison camp and the other prison camps in Siberia were pictured with the support of historical images related with the period and historical documents in the light of the representative of the Ottoman Prisoners, Yusuf Akçura`s report.

In the last part, the memories of the prisoners, who managed to escape from the camp and return to Turkey and the statements of their relatives, were placed. The documentary film was shot in Balikesir, Manisa, Istanbul, Ankara, Erzurum, Trabzon and Adana. Approximately, 39 thousand pages in Turkish, 2 thousand 67 pages in English and Russian, were searched thoroughly. 78 people were interviewed in Turkey and Azerbaijan and 16 of them were shot for the documentary film.

The images of the Turkish prisoners at the prisoner camp in the Nargin Island were included at the documentary film. On the other hand, it was mentioned at some reports in the light of the historical documents that were reached at the Russian State Military History Archives that the Armenians under the Ottoman administration had made intelligence activities for the Russians during the Sarikamis, Movement and some Armenian villages were burned down for preventing to ensure logistics to Turkish units by the Armenians.

While 7 persons were tasked at the shot of the documentary, the continuation of the documentary film, i.e. the second part, will be shot in England, Azerbaijan, Egypt, and abroad, where Turkish cemetery are. The documentary film will be participating to the festivals abroad.

Reporting his years under the Russian captivity in details despite his advanced age, the Brigadier General Ziya Yergök, told about his memories on Sarikamis, Movement.

According to the information given in the documentary film, Nurullah Yergök stated that his father, who was the commander at 83rd Regiment at the Sarikamis, Movement told that the soldiers had to eat whatever they found, and there were people, who lost their lives at the barns, where they entered for to keep away from the cold, and the number of battalions decreased to 300 due to the privation they suffered.

Stating that his father fought until the end of his strength against the enemy, Yergök expressed that the troops, who walked with rawhide sandals in the snow under -25 degrees centigrade, were frozen to death. Stating that his father used to cry while talking about these incidents when he was a child, Yergök pointed out that his father was taken a prisoner by the Russians at a hospital, where he was brought as a result of the wound caused by a piece of shrapnel hit on his head.

Telling that his father had always expressed that “captivity is worse than death for him”, Yergök, said: “Despite this fact, he resisted for staying alive. His struggle was a dignified effort for returning back to his land, rather than a matter of life and death. Stating that he heard from his father the fact that the Armenians within the Russian armies were tasked as the directors of the prison camps, Yergök quoted the incidents that occurred as he heard from his father as following:

“As war was not enough, we had lost many of our soldiers during these trips. My father used to get very emotional while talking about these occurrences. As he could not bear the captivity circumstances any more and he had escaped from the prison camp by taking the support of the Turkish associations that were located in Azerbaijan. During his escape, he was caught; he was put in the jail for months by the Russians, and he had grapple with death and contagious diseases like typhoid fever caused by louses. These were not pronounced or talked at the near history studies very much.”

Prof. Dr. Taskiran expressed that the Tsarist regime had given senior positions to the leading persons of the organization with a promise of land before the movement, and some members of the organization had infiltrated the Ottoman lands and burned the Armenian and Turkish villages with the intention of preventing the provisions supply.

Indicating that the Armenian commanders at the Russian units had caused the greatest suffers to Turkish prisoners at the history; Taskiran expressed these incidents with the following words:

“Almost all of our prisoners stated that Armenians had treated Turkish prisoners very badly. There are Armenians, who support and attend the Bolshevik revolution. These Armenians had reached at the managerial positions; they were tasked in the camps. It is reported that they had treated our prisoners very badly. These were the memories of the prisoners, who managed to return. An officer, who was in the financial office in Antep province, was taken as a prisoner; he told about the incidents he experienced at the camp in Egypt. There were Armenian doctors in the camp. They used to send us to a hospital right away as soon as we resort to the infirmary. We used to fall into Armenian doctor’s power. Even if we had no complaint about our eyes, the Armenian doctors used to cause our right eye go blind just because it is used at taking aim at with a gun. ”

Dr Tamara Ölçekli, who conducted the studies of the documentary at the Russian state archives said: “The fact that 35-40 Turkish prisoners died everyday at the prisoner camps, where Armenian doctors were present, was also reflected at the Russian archives. These people had not died, but were killed just because the necessary health conditions were not met.”

Indicating that the document that was send to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 23 February 1915 by the Russian Embassy prove that the Armenian gangs committed civilian massacres, Ölçekli noted that the Russian generals were also disturbed by the fact that the Armenian gangs had started civilian massacres at some of the Eastern provinces, and a telegram that was sent by a Russian commander 38 days after the movement, was revealing the activities of the gangs at the Eastern provinces and also summarizing the massacre that was told at the documentary film.

Source: Anadolu Agency-16.07.2008


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