11 August 2008
Some Verbatim Excerpts From: “The Tricolor Over The Taurus” Robert F. Zeidner, (ISBN 975 16 1767 7)
This book elaborates the French occupation of Cilicia, vicinity, and the incidents during the period 1918-1922 puts light on the period of time and events In Cilicia, resulting with the exodus ending in Syria, Lebanon and France . . .
(p.5) Aside from such mundane matters as the availability of sources, the Cilician conflict reflected adversely on the glory and prestige of la France victorieuse by marking the first major French defeat in a colonial war since 1763. Moreover, as French overtures for peace with Turkey in 1920 moved toward a definitive pact during the following year, a significant number of French writers and political thinkers began to exhibit increasing discomfort with the prospects of abandoning the Armenians of Cilicia to Turkish rule in apparent violation of various assurances offered them since 1915. Then, in the course of the long flood of ‘Bancroftian’ historiography that followed the World War in France, there was little room for self-flagellation over so small an incident, small in comparison to French experience on the German front, as the Cilician conflict. Hence, it appears to have been swept under the rug.
(p.7) Ironically or perhaps naturally, each of the two principal contenders in the Cilician episode saw its enemy as the aggressor. France, although an invader, deemed her action as merely a lawful military occupation for protection of non-Turkish minorities and for the implementation of the Sykes-Picot.
(p.8) Agreement: The Turks, in contrast, saw themselves as simply defending their rightful territory, claimed under the terms of the National Pact and stipulated as theirs to hold by the Armistice of Mudros.
(p.9) Meanwhile, supporters of the moral approach traced France’s presence in the Levant back to the Crusades, and even to Charlemagne, laying great stress on her long tradition of protecting minorities and on her mission civilisatrice, embodied in her immense network of schools and oeuvres d’assistance (charitable entities) throughout the region.
(p.11) One would think that such masters of diplomacy as the French must have seen through this Levantine veneer of devotion to Grand Mére la France from the very start. As will be seen presently, the mutual infatuation that the war inspired between the French and the Armenians quickly wore thin between the millstones of Turkish resentment and Armenian importunism.
In fact, France had previously abandoned Armenians of all faiths during the disorders of 1894-1896, when cultivation of her Russian alliance overrode her traditional stewardship over the Christian subjects of the Porte. Paul Cambon, the “Nestor of the Quai dOrsay” and then ambassador at Istanbul, was so enraged by the indifference of his superiors to the Armenian Question that he sought and obtained a transfer to London. An enduring lack of official French sympathy for the Armenians of Turkey from about 1870 until 1914 can be traced at Paris through published diplomatic documents. It stemmed not only from Franco-Russian negotiations, embodied in the conventions of 1891-94 and continuing rivalry for railway concessions in eastern Anatolia, but from the simple fact that the Armenian Catholic community of Turkey was quite small in comparison to those of the Gregorian (or Apostolic) and Protestant creeds.
(p.12) On the other hand, Turkey’s entrance into the World War on the side of the Central Powers and worldwide revulsion to her Armenian deportations of 1915-16 revived the argument for a French presence in Cilicia and vicinity. This allowed Paris to blend moral interests with politico-military and economic considerations in undertaking secret talks within the Entente for the postwar partition of the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, the joint efforts of large Armenian colonies in Paris and Marseilles and of the Armenian National Delegation had generated widespread French sentiment for the liberation of Ottoman
(p.13) Armenians from Turkish rule. Tile latter group had been sent under the leadership of Boghos Nubar Pasha to western Europe in 1912 by the czar’s government and the Catholicos of Echmiadzin to promote support for the stillborn reforms of 1914. These efforts were soon reinforced by news of tile deportations and a concurrent spate of books and articles by French intellectuals, publicizing the long-standing plight of Turkish Armenians. Overtaken by the World War, the Boghos Nubar mission remained in Paris and shifted its focus to the creation of an autonomous or independent state, under Allied protection, from tile six “Armenian vilayets” of eastern Anatolia and Cilicia.
These diverse developments promptly led to many stirring declarations of support for Armenian national aspirations by leaders on both sides of the English Channel. All remained rather vague, however. In fact, all the Allied governments of Europe remained deliberately ambiguous in their public utterances on Armenian independence from early 1915 forward, because they had already commenced arrangements for sharing Turkey’s “Armenian provinces” among themselves. Tile product of these long and tortuous negotiations, the Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916 with its many informal amendments, assigned all of these lands, Cilicia included, to France and Russia. A search of official archives in Paris has failed to uncover any evidence of specific commitments to Armenian nationalists by tile French government. One vague pledge, nonetheless, resurfaced after the war to annoy and embarrass the Quai d’Orsay repeatedly, and thus merits expatiation here!
(p.14-15) In September 1915, while sailing off the Gulf of Iskenderun, a French flotilla discovered and rescued over four thousand Armenian survivors of the Turkish siege of Musa Dagi, an episode celebrated in Franz Werfel’s famous epic, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh.
(p.15-16) In the course of Franco-British negotiations for amendments to the Sykes-Picot Agreement at the French embassy in London during October 1916, Nubar approached Georges-Picot, an ardent supporter of a larger French presence in the Levant, with a tempting offer. Nubar proposed to recruit Armenians on a worldwide scale to fight the Turks under French officers, provided that these troops should become the nucleus of defense for an autonomous Cilicia under French protection after the war. Georges-Picot agreed, if only verbally and thus incurred for France a political obligation beyond the Sykes-Picot Agreement to establish herself in Cilicia. Paris sealed the pact on 28 January with the creation of the Détachement français de Palestine-Sync. This unit was a brigade, formed under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Philipin de Piépape and destined to embrace 7.000 men in the metropolitan regiment of infantry, a colonial regiment of cavalry, some support units, and the Legion d’Orient, three battalions of Armenian and Syrian recruits. The recruits of the Legion, assembled at Port Said on April 17, 1921. The recruits of the Legion had meanwhile been gradually transshipped to Cyprus for training as they collected at Port Said, commencing in October 1916. They finally joined de Piépape in Palestine in increments during the period February-July 1918.
(p.17) Indeed, so vast were these imports, principally in raw cotton, silk, wool and cereals that France had suffered a constantly increasing deficit in her foreign commerce since 1876. Moreover, among all major trading partners of Turkey, France alone had sustained a significant imbalance since 1854.
(p.21) Although all the Allies had suffered severe financial burdens throughout the war, in the forms of debt and inflation, France supported the added handicap of drastic increases to her endemic deficits in foreign trade. The devastation and occupation of her most productive provinces by Germany throughout most of the war had generated these increases, and the projected costs of reconstruction promised to swell them much more. These increases in trade deficits, in turn, led to a steady devaluation of the franc against both the dollar and the pound. Thus, while the index of wholesale prices in the United States doubled from 1913 to 1918, and rose almost two and one-half-fold in Britain, it swelled by almost three and one- half-fold in France. At the same time, moreover, the franc lost one-fifth of its value against the dollar, and the years 1919 and 1920 saw it fall to almost one-third and one-fifth respectively of its prewar position in the international monetary exchange.
(p.21-22) French military occupation of parts of Turkey, on the other hand, offered opportunities not only to obtain war reparations in the forms of cotton, silk and cereals but to hold Turkish lands at collateral against the overwhelming French share in the Ottoman Debt. This latter issue became acutely sensitive at Paris when the Bolsheviks abrogated czarist bonds, virtually all of which had been underwritten by French banks.
(p.24) As early as March 1915, in the course of Franco-Russian negotiations to ward the Constantinople agreements of the spring of that year, Maurice Paléologue, French ambassador at Petrograd, presaged the Sykes-Picot Agreement in pressing French claims to the entire eastern littoral of the Mediterranean Sea as far as the Taurus barrier, and thence east to the Tigris River. He reasoned that Cilicia, with the ports astride the Baghdad railway, would offer postwar opportunities to the French industrialists and financiers. This little episode, incidentally, illustrates the high degree to which industrial, financial, and commercial interests had infiltrated the French corps diplomatique and vice versa.
(p.29) In late August, when the Allied commissioner for the Caucasus, appealed to the Peace Conference for troops to protect the infant Armenian Republic against alleged attack by Turkish forces, Clemenceau consulted his military advisers briefly and volunteered a French division to proceed to Armenia via Cilicia. He had been Waiting for a pretext to increase the French armed presence in the Levant.
(p.30) Three days later, Lloyd George collapsed before continuing pressures for economies at home and before Clemenceaus insistence on military occupation by France of the area allotted to her direct administration in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. He submitted an aide-mémoire to the French premier providing for British evacuation of Syria and Cilicia, commencing on 1 November, and for French replacement of British forces in all of Cilicia and vicinity, including Syria west of the Sykes-Picot line. The last paragraph of this document stated:
" The French Government, having accepted responsibility for the protection of the Armenian people, the British Government will consent to the immediate despatch of French troops via Alexandretta [ Iskenderun] and Mersina [Mersin] for this purpose."
(p.38) Firstly, an incipient Armenian revolutionary movement in Istanbul took a special interest in the liberation of Cilicia from Ottoman rule. In sending agents provocateurs to Zeytun (Suleymanli), this organization pinned its hopes on the uniquely warlike Armenian population of that isolated but famous mountain village. An uprising was hatched there in 1862 with the hope of gaining sympathy and support from the great powers of the West, France in particular. However, Napoleon Ill contented himself with mere appeals to the Porte for clemency at Zeytun when its populace refused to embrace Catholicism as a condition to active French intervention. Although this particular movement appears to have collapsed thereupon, its cause was soon taken up by a more pernicious and fanatical group of Armenian revolutionaries formed in the Transcaucasian provinces of Russia during the 1870s. The hand of this group in Cilicia initially became evident with a sudden and constant flow of Armenian immigrants from eastern Anatolia toward the Gulf of Iskenderun throughout the final two decades of the nineteenth century. This second movement culminated with another unsuccessful uprising at Zeytun in mid-1876, yet another one in late 1895, and with the famous seizure of the Ottoman Bank in Istanbul during August of the following year.
(p.40-41) Finally, yet concurrently with the aforementioned developments, the Armenians of Cilicia and vicinity became the focus of attention for many Western Protestant missionaries, particularly those of the United States. Thanks to the large network of schools, orphanages, and hospitals founded by them throughout the region, local Armenians steadily acquired a position of general ascendancy over their Muslim neighbors, who usually shunned these institutions. From the mid-1870s onward, this ascendancy took an especially dangerous turn as the growing Greek and Armenian commercial class of Cilicia increasingly became creditors to Muslim petty tradesmen and cultivators…
Several Cilician Turkish memoirists and foreign travelers of this period have avowed that the Armenian merchants of Cukurova deliberately and systematically mired their Muslim clients in debts, both to hold them down and to lay claim to their lands. At any rate, the Armenians and Greeks of Cilicia steadily amassed agricultural property, often through an invidious process of foreclosure. In time the towns of the region gradually filled with an idle, volatile Muslim rabble ever mindful of the Greco-Armenian penchant for flaunting wealth. Meanwhile, continuing Armenian revolutionary activity remained evident in boisterous parades, the frequent flying of Armenian national flags, the stocking of weapons, and much boasting of the coming independence of “all Armenia.” Added to the two Armenian uprisings at Zeytun, this was sufficient to instill deep suspicion of all Armenians among Muslim elements. Given the passion for revenge of grievances, real or imagined, long prevalent among all Middle Eastern peoples, the seeds of ethnic violence in Cilicia had thus been sown. Local memory of such action in neighboring Syria from 1840 to 1860, moreover, remained vivid. As a matter of fact, Western intervention in Syria and the resultant creation of an autonomous Lebanese province had done much to provoke the Zeytun rebellion of 1862. It is also important to note that Aleppo, a major center of trade and general influence for the entire region, had suffered an outbreak of anti-Christian rioting in 1851.
(p.43-44-45) Tribal lawlessness, nevertheless, remained common in southeastern Anatolia and elsewhere until Mustafa Kemal Pasha broke the power of the Nak Kurds during the Sheik Sait uprising of 1925.
Thus, the massacres of Armenians throughout the Ottoman Empire, during the years 1894-96, 1909, and 1915-16, had deep social and political roots quite apart from the alleged savagery of Turks and Kurds long decried by Armenian apologists and Western missionaries and relief workers. It is most unfortunate for unbiased researchers of the Armenian Question that the great bulk of the vast literature available in this field comes from the pens of such authors, almost all of it bent on an ethnocentric course to demonstrate the supposed superiority of Christian Armenian culture over that of the “unspeakable” Muslim Turk. Most of these writers pursue this scholastic aberration with much breast beating for the questionable innocence of Ottoman Armenians in the matter of disloyalty to the Ottoman state throughout the Russo-Turkish conflicts of 1877-78 and 1914-17, rather than address the issue as a clash of nationalistic movements.
Worse yet, Armenian scholars have consistently dwelled on Turkish massacres of their compatriots in all their grisly details without so much as a word on the equally savage measures taken by the Armenians of the Transcaucasia and eastern Anatolia against the local Turkic populace from 1905 to 1920. Indeed, when questioned on such episodes, they even dismiss them as Turkish propaganda. Yet the evidence for accepting them as fact is overwhelming. This is not to excuse the massacre of Armenians as mere quid pro quo but to point up such violence as an evil endemic to Middle Eastern society in general. The long, lurid chain of massacres throughout the Levant since World War I illustrates the point, not to mention the “ethnic cleansing” now in progress in the Balkans and Transcaucasia.
More significant perhaps is the considerable body of evidence, which indicates that Armenian revolutionists deliberately fomented massacres of their compatriots in Turkey for the purposes of turning them all against the Porte and of invoking intervention by the great powers. On the other hand, it was thanks to prompt action by local Turkish authorities, so often maligned for incompetence, corruption, and bad faith by Western travelers and diplomats, that Cilicia proper and Elazig Harput were spared from slaughter during the massacres of 1894-96. During the episode of April 1909, Mersin and areas outside Ciicia proper were similarly spared, with the one notable exception of Latakia on the northern Syrian coast.
(p.46) In the case of the massacres of 1915-16, persistent reports of Armenian sympathy for and treasonous cooperation with the Allies provided a powerful motive for violence and pillage when the Porte ordered in April 1915 the “relocation’ of Armenians from eastern Anatolia and from settlements along Ottoman lines of communication to northern Syria. Needless to say, the still untamed nomads east of the Amanus range needed no pretext whatever to set upon the caravans of unarmed deportees.
(p.47) More is the pity, since these events fairly beg for study by detached scholars. The problems of research in the Armenian, Russian, and Turkish languages, however, promise to confine the matter to Armenian hands, wherein emotion still appears to ride often over reason.
(p.48) Other survivors are known to have remained in Syria or made their way to Europe and the Americas. One can still find many of them, or their offspring, in Paris, Buenos Aires, and various cities of the United States. This is not to deny, however, that a very substantial portion of Ottoman Armenians, most of them probably innocent victims of the acts of a few thousand revolutionaries, perished during or as a result of the deportations. On the other hand, the figure of 1,500,000 deaths, so often cited by Armenian apologists, appears grossly exaggerated in the light of Ottoman census data and the numbers of survivors recorded in many sources.
(p.50) At any rate, Ottoman census data remain the most accurate source available for an ethno-religious breakdown of the population of southern Anatolia on the eve of World War I.
(p.51) Thus, analysis of 1914 figures for each kaza comprising Cilicia reveals a total population of 442,700, consisting of: 366,500 Muslims; 61,500 Armenians; 11,500 Greeks; and 3,100 “others.” Similar study of the kazas occupied by the Allies east of the Amanus barrier indicates a total population of 590,800, consisting of 493,000 Muslims; 82,000 Armenians; 8,100 Greeks; and 7,700 ‘others.” A breakdown of the Muslim elements of Cilicia and vicinity is impossible, since Ottoman demographers did not distinguish among Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Tartars, and Circassians of the same faith. Nevertheless, it is significant to note that a host of veteran European travelers have identified a distinct language barrier between Arabic and Turkish speakers along the line Antioch-Kilis-Birecilc-Mardin over a period of several centuries. The great upheavals and dislocations of populace imposed upon the Cilician area by the World War make it utterly impossible to attempt an estimate of the population there, much less a statistical breakdown of it, following the Armistice of Mudros. In any case, the resurgence of the Armenian deportees into Anatolia from Syria quickly upset the ratios of ethno religious elements prevalent in the region in late 1918. Then, into this tinderbox of hatred, misery, and despair marched the Legion Arménienne, on 21 November 1918, behind tile French tricolor. Led by only a handful of native French officers and sergeants, tile rank and file of this unit included many Cilician Armenians who had long since styled themselves as la Legion de Révanche.
(p.53) News of the mysterious travels of several Unionist leaders, such as Generals Enver, Abmet Cemal, Halil (Kut), and Nuri (Killigil), throughout Germany, Russia, and even Turkey from late 1918 to the early 1920s confirmed such suspicions. Powerful Greek and Armenian propaganda apparati in France were fully aware of this sentiment and played upon it shamelessly in order to discredit both the Turks and the Bolsheviks during the years 1918-22. As a matter of fact, many French observers viewed Mustafa Kemal himself as, at worst, an accomplice or even a tool of the Unionists and their German and Bolshevik allies during that period, or, at best, as an adventurer willing to flirt with all of these elements in his pursuit of personal power.
(p.56) Nevertheless, in anticipation of the impending Turkish collapse, Paris and London agreed in principle on 23 December 1917 to land forces and supplies on the Russian coast of the Black Sea for the support of White armies in the Ukraine and the Kuban respectively. Moreover, when Turkey did finally capitulate ten months later, the two powers lost little time in landing a full corps each at Odessa and Batum. Meanwhile, both had already put smaller forces ashore at Murmansk and Archangel.
(p.57) Not long afterward, rebellions broke out among French forces of the Allied Armée d’Orient in Macdenia for lack of home leave, and, shortly after the conclusion of the German armistice, French units occupying Odessa and Archangel followed suit. Ironically, the most rebellious French unit at Odessa, the 156th Infantry Division, was redeployed in 1919 to Istanbul and then to Cilicia where it bore the brunt of subsequent combats. This apparent epidemic soon spread to French naval formations in the Black Sea, giving rise to fears at Paris of creeping Bolshevik influence among the armed forces in general. In consequence, all French units were withdrawn from Russia by the end of April 1919.
(p.59) Viewed within this context, Clemenceau’s abortive offer of August 1919 to send a division to the fledgling Republic of Armenia appears an attempt to plug the gap left by Britain and, as will be seen below, to make a client state of that small nation.
(p.62) [Referring to Mudros Treaty…] For example, Article 5 ruled immediate demobilization of he Turkish army except troops required for the surveillance of he frontiers and maintenance of internal order…“ In Kemal’s view, if demobilization were indeed immediate, Turkey would obviously sacrifice all means to resist any subsequent, arbitrary acts by Allied forces, not allowed by the provisions of the armistice. Equally ominous, in his opinion, was Article 7, whereby “the Allies have the right to occupy any strategic points n the event of any situation arising which threatens the security of the Allies.” Article 8, moreover, allowed “free use by Allied hips of all ports and anchorages now in Turkish occupation.” Kemal accurately predicted that the Allies, particularly the British, would exploit these two stipulations to gradually extend armed control over much of Turkey, thus enabling themselves to enforce any sort of peace terms they might wish on a prostrate nation.
He also challenged Article 10, providing for “Allied occupation of the Taurus tunnel system” on the Baghdad railway system, asking Istanbul for details as to the exact purpose of such occupation, the nature of the forces anticipated to be deployed, and the precise location of the tunnels concerned. Such details would obviously affect his own troop dispositions and actions for the defense of Cilicia. Kemal further saw Article 5, permitting “Allied control officers to be placed on all railways …,” as yet another indication of the Allies’ intention to gain total control of Turkey on both sides of the Straits. He suspected that these stipulations, in conjunction with those of Article 24, which stated “in case of disorder in the Armenian vilayets, the Allies serve... the right to occupy any part of them,” aimed at the creation of an independent Armenian state on Turkish territories in eastern Anatolia creation of an independent Armenian state on Turkish territories in eastern Anatolia.
(p.69) If, on the other hand, Allenby and the easterners’ on his staff were sufficiently calculating to foresee the great embarrassment France’s Armenian troops were destined to cause her in Cilicia and vicinity, they could scarcely have chosen a better vehicle to discredit French rule in the Levant than permit the expansion of the Armenian element within the Legion d’Orient. Although they fought valiantly during the Palestine campaign, the Armenians of the legion repeatedly revealed a propensity for brawling when off duty. Their French officers found them grossly undisciplined and dangerously divided in loyalty among several extremist parties. Many were Marxists or nihilists of varying persuasions, complying with orders only after reference to their respective “soldiers’ soviets.” The extraordinary period of time taken to organize and train the legion on Cyprus, from October 1916 to July 1918 (contrasted with an average of six months to prepare an entire American division of about 30,000 conscriptees for combat during World War I) suggests very serious problems in the formation of the former unit of only 3,000 troops at the time of its deployment in Palestine. The training of large formations, such as divisions, corps, and armies, which incorporate units of many different branches, was and remains far more complex and time consuming than training a mere separate regiment of infantry like the Légion d’Orient.
(p.70) This extra unit brought the effective strength of the legion to almost 4,300 troops when the entire command was finally concentrated at Beirut in late October. However, discipline within the legion then suffered an additional blow from constant meddling among the troopers by political agents from the Armenian National Union of Syria.
(p.75) All Turkish troops, other than gendarmes and railway guards, and all materiel, remaining in Cilicia after Allenby’s deadline for withdrawal were to be seized as prisoners or prizes of war. The implication was obvious: if these threats were to be enforced, a strong Allied presence in Cilicia was an a priori condition. The movement of the fleets and armies of the Entente into Istanbul from 13 to 15 November, also not stipulated by the terms of truce, provided powerful cause for Turkish suspicions of similar action in Cilicia. So did Allenby’s request for use of the port of Iskenderun and subsequent landings and highhanded behavior there by several Allied naval contingents, commencing on 9 November.
(p.87) Even then Nubar Pasha and other Armenian nationalists were demanding that Cilicia be included in a postwar Armenian state in order to provide that polity with an outlet on the Mediterranean Sea, thus gaining easy access to the West.
(p.89) In doing so, Sykes successfully argued that such an arrangement would relieve Russia of the bulk of Armenian nationalists and consolidate them with the many Armenians of the same persuasion residing in Cilicia and vicinity. Of course, his argument assumed repatriation of all surviving Armenian deportees to their original homes, an event which did not materialize.
(p.91) During that very month, the United States entered the World War, and Turkey broke her American relations. Many American missionaries and relief workers previously engaged in assistance to the Armenian deportees of Turkey, but far from all of them, returned home. There they joined the large colony of Armenians in the United States and a host of local Armenophile societies to form a powerful lobby for the establishment of an American mandate over a postwar Armenian state.
(p.92 – 93) Five days later, Pasdermadjian and Sevasly jointly approached Washington to ask that pending… final settlement of the Armenian question, all Armenian territory… be administered by a provisional inter-Allied Government.” Just one month later, in apparent response to American silence on these overtures, Nubar produced a bombshell. He issued to all the Allies and Associated Powers a declaration of the independence and integrity of all Armenian territories. Finally, in December, the cabinet of the Republic of Armenia reinforced Nubars group by sending its own delegation to Paris, where both delegations strove in vain to gain official seats at the peace table. They simultaneously cooperated to press demands for the annexation of Cilicia and vicinity to the Republic of Armenia, along with most of eastern Anatolia and much of Transcaucasia.
… They refused, however, apparently for fear of playing second fiddle to Syria in the receipt of French favors. Nevertheless, Paris persisted, naming Georges-Picot “high commissioner for Syria and Armenia” when he set up offices at Beirut only three weeks before Nubar’s declaration of Armenian independence…News of Nubar’s declaration moved Georges-Picot to telegraph Foreign Minister Stephen Pichon at Paris for instructions in dealing with Armenian leaders in the Levant. In confirming Nubar’s action, Pichon replied that only the forthcoming peace conference could decide the creation of a “Greater Armenia” and under whose tutelage it would emerge. Meanwhile, the high commissioner was to encourage the Armenians in Cilicia to request French help for statehood.
(p.95) The largest concentrations came from areas round Aleppo and Port Said, and between Beirut and Damascus. Tens of thousands of these refugees formerly dispersed in the northeastern deserts of Syria promptly swarmed upon Aleppo, thus forming there a veritable depot of human flotsam.
(p.96) Many Armenians flocked willingly into Cilicia simply because it lay under Allied occupation. Diarist Khacher A. Matosian, a Cilician native who fled Adana in September 1920, estimated the Armenian population of the entire region claimed by the French at 250,000. This seems a reasonable figure for a total of this minority, both east and west of the Amanus barrier.
An ominous precursor of things to come was the fact that many veterans of various Armenian guerrilla bands of Transcaucasia, such as the ‘army” of General Andranik (Ozanian), also made their way to Cilicia with the deportees. Equally foreboding, Georges-Picot noted as early as 11 January 1919 that Armenians in Cilicia were again resorting to the same sort of nationalistic and separatist demonstrations, mass meetings, and public declarations as had sparked the massacres of 1909.
(p.98) Finally, Allenby had entrusted military government in Cilicia to the French provided that they bear all immediate costs incurred. In brief, there was no question of Brémond’s getting funds for the administration of Adana, and for the resettlement of the Armenians there, from Istanbul, Paris, Beirut, or elsewhere outside his own domain. He had been cut adrift despite the plans of French colonialists for the postwar development of Cilicia.
(p.99) On a much more immediate plane, moreover, Brémond had to confront a vast tide of boisterous, importuning, and uprooted Armenians. This situation became particularly urgent during the final quarter of 1919…Similarly, the fall of that year witnessed another massive influx of former deportees from the vicinity of Kayseri, north of the Anti- Taurus ranges, again at the behest of the Armenian Patriarchate. At the same time, both the British and the French took to frantic dumping of the many Armenians still in Syria into Cilicia, so much so that Brémond lost control over the process of resettlement. The impending British evacuation of Syria demanded such haste, lest remaining Armenians should fall on the uncertain mercy of hostile Sharifians.
(p.102) Meanwhile, all taxes collected were forwarded to Istanbul, where provincial budgets were reviewed and funded. There, however, the high cost of servicing the Ottoman Debt had imposed a regime of extreme austerity on all Asiatic provinces since the final quarter of the nineteenth century…Brémond could hardly abide such a system if he was to settle over 100,000 impoverished Armenian refugees in Cilicia. The provision of food, shelter, and clothing at mere subsistence levels, moreover, would not suffice to “win the hearts and minds” of his new protégés for French, rather than American, rule. In fact, the year 1919 marked a period of considerable Franco-American competition in the area of resettling Armenian refugees.
(p.105) Indeed, an extraordinary campaign of violence by Armenian individuals and small groups against Turks of all classes developed with steadily increasing fury throughout the region during the summer of 1919.
(p.106) Behind this smoke screen, Armenian violence started as a sudden wave of widely scattered physical attacks against isolated Muslim individuals, both in the open and in remote residences and places of work. This action increased rapidly in scope, as well as scale, when the assailants became aware of the helplessness of local governments to stem it, much less locate and punish the guilty, and of the apparent reluctance of French authorities to intervene.
(p.107) In the process, he also completely reorganized all agencies of law enforcement and placed them under direct French supervision. It was then that the French introduced many Armenians into the gendarme at all levels of authority and into the police forces of the major towns as well. …Having given the natives one day in which to surrender all weapons, British detachments, each accompanied by an Armenian interpreter, undertook two days of house-to-house search to verify compliance. That process produced many unfortunate, and often tragic, incidents of honest misunderstanding, and instant, severe flogging upon discovery of various antique muzzle loaders and large cutting blades used in kitchens and assorted trades, not to mention such family heirlooms as old sabers and jeweled daggers. Turkish memoirists who observed these events have alleged that Turkish homes and shops received far more rigorous scrutiny than did those of other ethnic elements, and that Armenian interpreter took advantage of this situation to confiscate or simply steal anything that took their fancy on Turkish premises.
(p.108 - 109) Armenian assaults against the Turks, an event already mentioned above. The Turks of the region attributed this disaster, apparently with good cause, to yet another act by Brémond. During the summer and fall of 1919, he yielded to continuing Armenian complaints against the presence of various bands of Muslim brigands in the countryside by arming some of his Armenian protégés. He had already recruited several hundred of hem for the local gendarmerie and urban police forces. At this time, however, he turned to forming militia units among outlying Armenian villages. These units were organized, trained, and quipped under the direction of a captain of the French Foreign Legion, seconded from the Armenian Legion for this purpose: John Aram Shishmanian, an American citizen of Armeno-Cilician Origin.
(p.110) Had all or most of the Armenian militia been commanded by native French leaders, the activities of these units might have been confined to local defense. However, as noted above, the inexorable process of demobilization and the demand for administrators in local government had stripped all French military formations to the degree that a single lieutenant commanded two companies. Native French non commissioned officers were spread even more thinly. Thus, Brémond was forced to appoint Armenians with military experience to lead the militia. Prominent among the latter were veterans of several irregular Armenian forces that had recently fought against the Turks in eastern Anatolia, such as General Andranik’s guerrilla ‘army,’ a large band notorious among Turks for many atrocities against their compatriots and coreligionists in Transcaucasia.
Close comparison of French and Turkish documents cited in this monograph reveals a surprising degree of concordance regarding events in Cilicia and vicinity up to the creation of the Armenian militia and the subsequent wave of Armenian violence against the Turks of the region. In the latter two cases, on the other hand, French sources are utterly unrevealed. One finds only brief mention of the militia even in the memoirs of André and Brémond, and their references to it are quite oblique.
(p.111) In fairness to the French, one must observe that on the opposing side of the Cilician struggle, not a single Turkish source mentions any Turkish misbehavior toward the Armenians of Cilicia. Yet, given the long-entrenched pattern of vengeance among virtually all Middle Eastern peoples, and the heritage of lawlessness endemic to the Cilician region, it scarcely seems possible that the Turks of the region utterly abstained from violence against the Armenians except, of course, as they have claimed, in the process of self-defense. Among all French records found regarding the behavior of that unit in the region, only the memoirs of Gautherot and Pierre Pichon provide any details of these outrages. The memoirs of André and Brémond omit any mention of them whatever. Paul du Véou, who did not arrive in Cilicia until 1920, devoted less than two pages to them, treating them all as trivial, in great contrast to Gautherot, de Gontaut-Biron, and Pichon, all of whom were witness to them.
(p.112) The issue of provocation is paramount only in the initial (and most violent, in terms of casualties and material damage) engagement of the Cilician episode, which was the Turkish uprising at Maraş from 21 January to 10 February 1920. In this case, French accounts, and, for that matter, local American and Armenian reports too, heap all blame on the Kemalists for deliberately arming, inciting, and leading the Muslim populace of the city against occupying French forces and their Armenian protégés. Turkish accounts, on the other hand, ascribe all faults to French and Armenian acts of physical cruelty, while alleging that Muslims had been armed and organized only for self-defense.
(p.114) The development of widespread Armenian violence against the Turks of Cilicia actually figured as the final and decisive event in the gradual process of alienating the Turks from French rule in the region.
(p.116) Although the disarming of the people of Adana and other towns in the region may have been posed by the French as a key step toward the assurance of personal security for the populace at large, the local Turks saw the introduction of Armenians into local forces of law and order and the creation of Armenian militia units not only as a potential threat but as the essential cause of the many Armenian attacks against themselves during the latter half of 1919.
(p.117) However, widespread Armenian terrorism throughout Cilicia during the summer of 1919 soon produced a Muslim counterpart. Large bands of mounted Muslim outlaws, sometimes but not invariably identified as Kurds, took to raiding isolated villages in apparent response to French reluctance or inability to keep order.
(p.118) Meanwhile, the Armenians of the region added fuel to the fire by denouncing many members of the Turkish eşraf to the French as supporters or agents of the Muslim bands. According to the memoirs of three Turkish observers, a large number of innocent Turks were thus summarily arrested and executed! … Yet, it was not until September 1920 that the dangers of the colonel’s pro-Armenian policies became so obvious to the general that he relieved him.
(p.120) He also stated that Damadian had waged a violent :campaign of anti-French and pro-American propaganda among the Armenians of the region.
(p.121) Thus, if Lloyd George or the Armenian nationalists could induce Washington to exercise the option offered by Clemenceau, Paris would obviously lose its hold on a valuable source of sorely needed cotton and grain, not to mention a considerable piece of collateral against huge Turkish debts to France.
(p.122) Nevertheless, the many frustrations experienced at Paris by late 1919 in trying to wean “ungrateful” Armenians from their attachment top Washington moved Clemenceau to tell Lloyd George that, “the Armenians were a dangerous lot to get mixed up with. They requested a great deal of money, and gave very little satisfaction.
(p.124) He also claimed that Armenians totaled over 205,000 among the Christians and that Turks and Turcomans totaled only 78,000 among the Muslims. As reflected above, however, the updated census of 1905-06 gives a total population for Cilicia proper of 442,700, consisting of 366,500 Muslims; 61,500 Armenians; 11,500 Greeks; and 3,100 “others.”
(p.128-129) Then, as if challenged on his demographic assumptions by Beirut or Paris, the colonel resorted to Procrustean measures in order to prove them correct. He undertook yet another move destined to threaten the sense of security among Turks of all classes in Cilicia: the mass deportation of thousands of them north of the Taurus chain. Although the total extent of this action in terms of numbers is not revealed in available records, it marked an ominous event in the light of several French observations on the serious lack of available labor for the economic development of Cilicia. This new menace was new simultaneously reinforced among the Turks of the region by Brémond’s frequent acts to dismiss and banish many of their compatriots within his administration, and, in the case of banishment, many others among the e not in government. His replacement of banished officials with members of local minorities not only served to enhance the threat in Turkish eyes; it disrupted traditional relationships of patron and client within the intricate pattern of authoritarian paternalism characteristic of Ottoman society in general. Given the many tensions produced in Cilicia by Allied occupation, these traditional relationships could not be easily re-established, especially for Muslims who suddenly found their patrons in government replaced by Christians.
(p.130)…even the fabric of political and social structure among the Turks themselves, the Armenians achieved a high degree of cohesion shortly after their arrival. The presence among the latter of many activists from the Armenian National Unions of Syria and Egypt, plus the agents of Nubar and of Armenian circles in the United States, must have facilitated this development. Although factional wrangling among members of the three principal Armenian parties (the Dashnakists, the Hnchakists, and the Ramkavarists) divided the Armenians in the arena of immediate political goals, all agreed on three general programs. These were: creation of an Armenian regime in Cilicia under some sort of foreign protectorate or mandate; facilitation of Armenian immigration to and settlement in the region; and vengeance against the Turks for wartime deportations.
(p.132 – 133) … Turkish communities and chaired by a supposedly neutral person, such as a Greek or Assyro-Chaldean arbitrator. Decisions issued by them were summary in nature and not subject to appeal.
Although Allied observers of the work of these bodies have averred that all parties were generally pleased with their judgments, contemporary Turkish memoirists of Cilicia, emphatically disagreed. Were it not for deep feelings of hostility between Turks and Armenians, engendered by massacres and deportations and by many acts of violent revenge attributed to troopers of the Armenian Legion, and to individual civilian Armenians and their militiamen, throughout the year 1919, the committees might indeed have produced a measure of reconciliation. In the case of the Turks, however, the committees merely exacerbated a general sense of a Franco-Armenian conspiracy not only to detach Cilicia and vicinity from Turkey but to drive all Turks from the region.
Cowed by the presence of many armed, vengeful Armenians, and by the fear of denunciation by informers for involvement in wartime atrocities, as well as the specter of midnight “visitations” from Andranik’s terrorists or Armenian militiamen, most Turks meekly submitted to the decisions of the committees of arbitration. According to Turkish observers, the committees themselves were similarly dominated by their Armenian members and thus used as yet another instrument of revenge.
(p.134) …prohibition the display of the Turkish flag anywhere, either on public buildings or private property. This prohibition loomed all the more alarming in view of French tolerance of Armenian flags, which were flown widely. Allenby himself had forbidden the unfurling of any national ensigns whatever throughout the Levant, but the Turks chose to attribute the ban on their own to Franco-Armenian connivance. The obvious fact that Brémond and his staff turned a blind eye to Armenian flags and frequently flew their own proved more significant to the Turks than the general Allied ban on national ensigns.’
(p.135) They required all travelers entering or departing the region to present special passports, issued only by the colonel and his staff. Similarly, they surcharged all postage stamps for use in Cilicia with various impressions in French to reflect Allied rule there. Worse yet, when stocks of Turkish stamps for this purpose ran out, Brémond introduced French stamps with similar surcharges.
(p.136) …the Kurds and Circassians of Cilicia had turned against Brémond and his colleagues by the close of 1919. This judgment is supported not only by the unfortunate events outlined above but by the insignificant number of Cilician Muslims brought before the Kemalists’ dreaded “Independence Courts during the years 1920-23 for collaboration with the enemy.
(p.147) Moreover, the very appointment of Defrance (high commissioner from March 30,1919 t0 Feb. 9, 1921) as Amet’s successor indicates that Quai d’Orsay shared this sentiment. Defrance was married to the sister of the (then) current Ottoman minister of foreign affairs Yusuf Franko Pasha (a Jew).
(p.148) Nor were they restricted only to military authorities. When out of sight of their British colleagues, diplomats too participated. Defrance himself angered the British on several occasions with his obvious eagerness to curry favor at the Porte.
They also proved generous in providing French warships for the transportation of various Ottoman envoys to and from France. Similarly, the two French chieftains, in stark contrast to their British colleagues, avoided any direct role in the arrest and punishment of Unionists suspected of war crimes. In fact, while urging that such matters be left to Ottoman authorities they actually spirited at least five prominent Turks on the Allied “wanted list” out of the country on French vessels… Similarly, they frequently protested British arrests of various nationalists and pressed for release of prisoners held at Malta on several occasions.
(p.150) Equally significant was his offer of easy peace terms to the Porte in March 1919 against the services of three Turkish corps to suppress the Bolsheviks in southern Russia. The mere fact of his obvious tolerance, if not encouragement, of widespread fraternization between his officers and the Turks, even to the point of marriage, belies the claims of his critics all the more. Finally, one must note expressions of gratitude for Franchet d’Esperey’s active encouragement of the Kemalist movement offered in the memoirs of a well informed nationalist journalist, Nail Morali.
(p.152) Nevertheless, Franchet d’Esperey had identified Kemal as the real power in Turkey as early as 15 September, when he urged Paris to “extend him a guiding hand”.
(p.153) Chief French liaison officer at the Ottoman War Ministry, had advised Franchet dEsperey on 20 July that Kemal had already won wide support among Turks in all walks of life. He also commented that French interests demanded a firm ally, like Kemal, in Turkey. Mougin then went on to condemn the Greek army at Izmir for lack of reliability and to suggest that it be withdrawn before violence there could spread to all of Turkey. Finally, he urged the preservation of Turkish territorial integrity under a French mandate.
In reporting these events to Paris, Defrance urged that the Quai d’Orsay pursue a French mandate at the peace table, ‘while the British were preoccupied elsewhere.” As Pech noted at the time, French tutelage would preserve Turkish territorial integrity and simultaneously eliminate tile Greek presence at Izmir.
(p.154) He then bolstered his argument for a mandate by adding that it “should prove feasible (for France) if Armenia were excluded from Turkey, and if her maritime provinces (i.e., Izmir and Antalya) were retained to bear the cost.
(p.157) Moreover, as French officials at Beirut and Adana clung to their perceptions of Kemals dependence on Unionists, Germans, and Bolsheviks, another riddle to the Turkish settlement surfaced for their colleagues at Istanbul in the light of nationalist goals revealed through personal contacts and the public utterances of the Kemalists. The Kemalists made it quite clear that they aimed at the integrity and complete independence of all territory west of the Caucasus frontier established by the Treaty of Brest Litovsk and held by Turkey upon the signing of her armistice. This territory included, of course, Cilicia and vicinity.
(p. 157-158) Although French archives do not disclose any reply to this recommendation, Paris did indicate a shift in support of the policies pursued at Istanbul by consistently prohibiting the participation of French troops in any Ally action that threatened confrontation with Turkish units. Thus, again in contrast to British practice, the Quai d’Orsay refused to release any forces to man the Milne Line between opposing Turkish and Greek units in western Anatolia during the fall of 1919.
(p.160-161) He further committed France to the support of Turkish cessions of land in eastern Anatolia to the Republic of Armenia. In brief, the viable Turkey” sought by the Quai d’Orsay fell far short of the frontiers drawn by the Kemalists.
…Thus, French leaders saw appeasement of Turkish nationalist aspirations as insurance against Kemalist mischief in Syria.
Kemal’s propagandists had been active there since October 1919, and he was suspected of having played a direct role in the Arab nationalist raid on Deir ez-Zor in early December of that year. Meanwhile, the steady expansion of Bolshevik power into southern Russia gave the Quai dOrsay added cause for accommodation in Turkey. The Kemalists had repeatedly and publicly declared adamant opposition to the surrender of an inch of Turkish soil to the Republic of Armenia, and a hostile union of Turks and Bolsheviks in Transcaucasia posed a nightmare for all French interests in the Middle East.
(p.161-162) Persistent rumors of a secret accord between the Porte and Whitehall, reportedly sealed on 12 September 1919, and providing for a British protectorate over the entire Ottoman Empire, probably gave the Quai dOrsay good cause to close ranks with the colonialist and Defrance in İstanbul. At any rate, as the next chapter indicates the trend at the Quai d’Orsay toward accommodation of the Kemalists took a dramatic leap forward after the Turkish uprising at Maraş in January 1920.
... French military leaders, like their British colleagues, emerged from the war with a healthy respect for the prowess and gallantry displayed by the Turks at Gallipoli. On the other hand, French officials in general harbored deep resentment of what they saw as a very pro-German position taken by King Constantine of Greece during the period before his abdication (1914-17). In fact, it was this very perception of him that impelled the French to force his abdication, with British assent, on 12 June 1917. The key event responsible for this action was a Greek military ambush of a large detachment of French marines landed at Piraeus during December 1916. This episode led to the deaths of well over 100 marines, and a long spate of anti-Greek articles in the French press.
(p.162) On the other hand, French officials in general harbored deep resentment what they saw as a very pro-German position taken by King Constantine of Greece during the period before his abdication (1914-17). In fact, it was this very perception of him that impelled the French to force his abdication, with the British assent, on June 12, 1917. The key event responsible for this action was a Greek military ambush of a large detachment of French marines landed at Pireaus during December 1916. This episode led to the deaths of well over 100 marines, and a long spate of anti-Greek articles in the French press.
(p.163) In contrast to the Greeks, the Turks of Istanbul appeared to make extraordinary efforts in order to facilitate the settling of French troops in Turkey. Meanwhile, in the eyes of many Frenchmen, the Greeks had become a principal tool in the execution of British imperial ambitions. Thus, the rapid growth of Anglo French rivalry in Istanbul after the war soon led the French there to see the Turks as useful foils to the Greeks.
(p.164) Among them were many former agents of the Teskilatı Mahsusa, the shadowy cabal created by Enver Pasha during August 1914 for the conduct of covert operations. The activities of this body naturally embraced the gathering of intelligence.
Discharged members set up at least two competing and overlapping intelligence organizations during mid-1919 to assist Kemal from Istanbul. These were the Karakol Cemiyeti, directed by his close associate Colonel Kara Vasif Bey, and the Milli Müdafaa Grubu, commonly known as the “M .M. Grubu” and led by Colonels Ekrem (Baydar) Bey and Kemal (Kocer) Bey. Blessed with the services of many multilingual operatives of several nationalities, these bodies managed to penetrate all sensitive ministries of the Ottoman government, and even the chancelleries of the Allied high commissions in Istanbul.
… Roving Ottoman diplomatic agents in Western Europe, such as Ambassador Galip Kemali (Soylemezoglu) Bey, Senator Ahmet Riza Bey, and Dr. Nihat Reşat (Belger) Bey, kept him informed of pertinent developments at London, Paris, and Rome. All of these sympathizers, both those in Istanbul and those in Western Europe, concurrently provided Kemal with a steady stream of foreign newspapers. The value of such printed matter to the Kemalists is confirmed in discussions within the Supreme Council of the Allies on mysterious leaks of secret material to the press.
(p.165) Equally offensive to all Turks was the deployment of large contingents of Armenian troops in Cilicia by the French and their refusal to permit elections there for the Ottoman Parliament during the fall of 1919. Similarly, the French had concentrated a vast horde of Armenian refugees in Cilicia throughout that year.
(p.166) In addition to their pursuit of a blatantly pro-Armenian policy in the South, French authorities at Beirut and Adana made trouble for Defrance through an invidious practice of collecting petitions from various minorities for the annexation of Cilicia to Syria, under a French mandate. Defrance’s own colleagues at Istanbul added fuel to the fire. On approximately 22 November 1919, Franchet d’Esperey landed a detachment of troops at Bandirma, in northwestern Anatolia, under the pretext of protecting the French railway from that port to Balikesir.
(p.169) With the help of a large map of Cilicia, Kemal Pasha indicated the locations of caches of arms which he had deposited in the region before his recall to Istanbul almost one year earlier. On 1 November, he sent the officers south. Major Kemal was to direct activities from the Taurus and Anti-Taurus Mountains for Cilicia proper. Captain Osman Nun was to act as Major Kemal’s second in command, and to double as commander of the Kuvay-i Milliye to be raised in eastern Cilicia. Selim and Asaf (Kiliç Ali) were to direct activities in the vicinity of Maraş, only.
(p.171) In exchange for these promises and Georges-Picots consent to the formation of chapters of the Society for Defense of Rights in the South, Kemal engaged to avoid armed collisions between Turkish and French forces as long as neither the French nor their Armenian protégés abused Turkish laws or the rights of Muslims. It is essential to note Kemal’s proviso here and to bear in mind that he repeated it in several orders which he later sent to his lieutenants in the South for the avoidance of hostilities with the French.
(p.172) It is also significant that Briand had apparently tried to communicate with Kernal through an agent at lzmir during late November, 1919, because the agreement for a settlement in Cilicia that Briand and Bekir Sami reached in London on 11 March 1921 bore a strong resemblance to the solution proposed above by Georges-Picot.
(p.176) Furthermore, the Armenians of Mara too did not shrink from preparations for the struggle that appeared imminent. In cooperation with the French and the warlike Armenians of nearby Zeytun, they formed their own league for defense. Beginning with the very arrival of the French at Maraş, Dr. Mabel Elliot of the American hospital there observed that scarecely a night had passed without the sound of gunfire somewhere in the city.
(p.178) Bivouacking that night (January 12) at Araptar, on the road from Antep to Balpinar, the legionnaires committed a wide variety of outrages againt the Muslim villagers there. In reply to appeals for help from the villagers, several bands of armed Kurds attacked the column repeatedly on the following day. Consequently, the French suffered heavy losses in men, supplies, and materiel.
(p.179) Similarly, the Muslims had withdrawn to various strong points within their own quarters. Networks of defensive trenches surrounded each of these positions. All shops had closed and the streets were deserted around the clock. In short, a state of siege prevailed. …Meanwhile, he sent for more reinforcements from Antep as Kilic Ali’s ambushes along the roads to the south continued. The Turk even took to summoning Querette to the telegraph office in Maras, where, from Pazarcik, he repeatedly threatened direct attack within the city itself unless the French withdrew. In the interim, incidents of intercommunal strife continued, and the French began to burn and loot suspect villages near the sites of Ali’s ambushes.
(p.181) Meanwhile, both Turkish and French incendiary actions and gunfire produced several enormous fires throughout the city, reducing vast tracts to ashes. Of nine major churches in Maraş at the time, not a single one escaped total destruction.
(p.182) At that precise time, the Turks’ stocks of ammunition and food verged on exhaustion. Hence, a letter from Turkish leaders, proposing a truce, reached Querette on 9 February. On the next day, a Turkish truce delegate came to discuss terms. The general tenor of all evidence available indicates that the Turks were prepared to surrender Maraş to the French on three conditions. These were that the French should: (1) remove all their Armenian troops; (2) grant amnesty to all Muslims who had taken up arms against them; and (3) provide food and shelter to all elements. However, two circumstances intervened to cut negotiations short. When Quérette contacted Normand by heliograph on 8 February, the colonel inferred that Dufieux had ordered evacuation of the city. On the following day, the two commanders met and agreed to withdraw during the night of 10- 11 February. In the interim, the Turkish peace delegate mysteriously disappeared. Most sources ascribe this to an Armenian assassin.
(p.183) On the second day of the retreat, an extraordinary blizzard beset the route of withdrawal, It raged continuously for three days. In consequence, the progress of the entire column on the road to Islahiye, everybody on foot, or at best, mounted on animals, became painfully slow. This and ambient temperatures well below freezing produced massive casualties among all marchers, especially among the unprepared Armenians. At least one-third of them perished. Even among the troops, who en regular meals and adequate wraps against the weather, over 700 were injured. Equally bad for French morale throughout the region was the news of their first defeat at the hands of the Turks. (*)
(*)All eyewitness accounts of the Maraş episode agree that the French kept their decision to evacuate the city secret from their Armenian protégés. On the other hand, see Jalabert, “Situation,” 577 n. 1. Here, Jalabert vehemently denied this, without revealing the source of his information. However, cf. ibid; Davidson, 222-23; CP 11675/126 (end); Muré, 73; Naslian, 2: 201, 261-73, 277-80, 290-97; Turabian, 9, 74; “The 22 Days,” AR31 (Spring 1978): 67-68, (Apr. 1979): 410-14. These and other sources that can be cited reflect great bitterness among the Armenians of time region against the French for their abandonment of Maras. Also see Boudière, Itineraries, 139; CP 11835/20 (end.); Thibault, 248; Jeanmougin, 111 n. 12.
(p.189) Moreover, its credibility increases when one considers that the rebellion erupted just one day after the European Allies and Japan had granted de facto recognition to the Republic of Armenia. Kemal was, after all, a consummate master of timing. Hence, the launching of the Turkish attack at Maraş can be interpreted as his reply to that act of recognition.
(p.191) … On the other hand, Kemal used Antalya as a window to the West and had need of Italian loans and shipments of munitions. Rome had demonstrated a keen desire to accommodate the nationalist movement from its very inception.
(p.196) Thanks to their access to fareing media, mentioned in Chapter III, they were keenly aware of the bad name Turkey suffered for the Armenian deportations and for many allegations of mistreatment of other subject peoples during World War I.
(197) As a result of the understanding that he reached at Sivas with Georges-Picot in early December 1919, Kemal instructed his lieutenants in the South to avoid attacking either the French or the Armenians. He repeated this order at least five times, the final falling on 11 January, only ten days before the outbreak of hostilities at Maraş.
(p.198) At the same time, he also cautioned his officers charged with expanding the Kuvay-i Milliye in Cilicia proper to avoid ‘alienating local Armenians now favorably inclined toward Turkish rule and thus forcing them into the arms of the French.” The existence of such a group had been reported to the pasha in mid-December by the Adana chapter of his Society for the Defense of Rights. However, this report flies in the face of most information available on the Armenians of Cilicia. As stated above, the majority of them were united in a desire for revenge against the Turks for the deportations of 1915-16 and for establishing an autonomous regime in the South.
…In them, he indicated a highly aggressive trend in alleged cooperation between Kemal and the Porte, citing as evidence the proximity in time of the Arab raid on Deir ez-Zor (mentioned in Chapter Ill), the nationalist raid on the arsenal at Akba near Gallipoli, on 27 January, and the Maraş uprising.
(p. 208) Meanwhile, far to the north of the Hatay, detachments of Kuvay-i Milliye under Major “Kozanoglu Dogan” (Kemal Doğan) undertook the siege of Haçin on 3 February despite the absence of any known order from Kemal Pasha. According to Turkish sources, the Armenian militia there had launched a serie5 attacks on surrounding Muslim villages, and Dogan merely reacted to appeals for help from the victims of these attacks.
(p.209) During one of many lulls in the fighting, Djebedjian managed to smuggle most of his noncombatants to safety at Feke, whence they proceeded to Adana without incident. Thus, subsequent charges of a great massacre of women and children by the Turks upon entering the town do not ring true. In fact, the victors found that the Armenians had slaughtered all of their Muslim neighbors in a most horrible fashion. This was confirmed by a local Armenian who was not subject to any Turkish pressure whatever at the time of his report.
(p.210) When Major G. Hauger, commanding the French forces, refused to depart without authority from his superiors, a long siege commenced…Hauger accepted these conditions and his column set out on the night of 10-11 April. However, when the French entered a large depression along their way at Firuzpaşa, about 20 kilometers from Urfa, an immense band of tribesmen ambushed them. Most of the column perished then and there.
(p.213) In fact, cuts in the road bed became so numerous and so frequent that the French were soon forced to devote significant portions of their limited forces to the repair and protection of this vital artery within their system of re-supply and communications.
(p.216) ... On top of all this, troop shipping was still short in France and a financial crisis had begun with the rapid decline of the franc against the pound and the dollar during the winter of 1919-20.
(p.222) To raise the Gallic sense of pique even higher, the British in Istanbul arrogated unto themselves the chairmanships of all ‘committees of control” established there after the coup of 16 March to assure Ottoman compliance with the Mudros truce. Moreover, while rounding up “dangerous” nationalists during the coup, they arrested and deported to Malta many prominent members of the French party at the Porte and in parliament. All of this, added to the great relish exhibited by Lloyd George and Curzon in humiliating France for her new troubles in Cilicia during the London conference, must have appeared to Millerand as justification for his Turkish policy.
(p.224) On 1 April, after a long period of tension like that which preceded the rebellion of their brothers to the north, the Turks of Antep rose. They also tried without success to induce their Armenian neighbors to join them in a common stand against the French. Thus, the city quickly became an armed camp, with the Turks concentrating in the eastern half and the French garrison reinforcing the Armenians to the immediate west. A long campaign of attrition ensued. It ended on 9 February 1921, when the Turks finally surrendered the city after a siege of almost eleven months.
(p.232) On the other hand, the Council of the Allies justly reasoned that America must pay her share to the piper if she insisted on dancing amid the tables of the peace conference. In recognition of this obligation, President Wilson dutifully agreed to honor the request of the conference that he delineate Armenian frontiers. At the same time, on 24 May, Wilson petitioned his legislature for authority to accept a mandate for Armenia. Only one week later he received notice of congressional rejection by an overwhelming vote. By the time that he submitted his recommendations on the trace of borders for Armenia on 24 November, the entire matter had become purely academic. The Kemalists and Bolsheviks had already overrun the fledging state and divided between them.
(p.243) Moreover, they repeatedly resorted to burning Muslim villages suspected as havens of support for Kemal’s forces. Scarcely calculated to assist Brémond in his attempts to isolate the peasantry from nationalist influence, this invidious practice, which dated from the closing months of 1919, played a major role in turning Muslim villagers against the French. Similar practices by American forces in Viet Nam during the 1960s had also, of course, produced identical results. It is thus quite evident that the unfortunate Americans had learned little from the French, who, in turn, had learned even less from their own experiences in Cilicia, not to forget Africa. Although “little peoples” are often the most pitiful victims of such conflicts, they can also become formidable enemies when tables are turned.
(p.244) He also induced the warlike Milli Kurdish confederation to rebel against the Turks as a diversion to Kemalist interference Andrea’s mission.
West of that area, in the meantime, Dufieux took similar action between the Amanus chain and the Ceyhan River. Both withdrawals extended beyond the termination of the truce in Cilicia proper and produced a mass exodus of local Armenians toward the west. Although some of them settled at Antep, Aleppo, Antioch, and Iskenderun, the great majority collected Adana, where they immediately became a source of considerable disorder. The provincial capital was already inundated with Armenian refugees from other locales north of the railroad, who had accompanied French troops their retreat to the right of way in compliance with the terms of the truce.
As noted above, still others had made their way to Adana while fleeing the siege of Haçin.
(245) …Although the United States refused to send troops, they did provide an Allied high commissioner for Transcaucasia and an immense staff of relief workers for both that area and all Ottoman territories in general.
… As territorial disputes between Yerevan (Erivan) and Baku, capital of the Muslim Republic of Azerbaijan, surfaced during 1919, the Armenians felt all the more the danger of attack. In fact, even neighboring Georgia had designs on lands claimed as part of Armenia.
(p.246) Thus, when Lloyd George began to pull forces out of the Middle East in general during the summer of 1919, the Armenians had cause for much alarm. This development became all the more ominous with American failure to claim a mandate of any sort in the Ottoman Empire and Clemenceau’s loss of interest in sending troops to the Caucasus. As a remedy to this dilemma, it appears that the Armenians resorted to subterfuge for keeping the Oriental pot boiling, aimed at delaying Allied evacuation as long as possible. Such a scheme dovetails nicely with both Sonyel’s scenario of deliberate Armenian provocations at Mara as well as with a great host of reports of Armenian terrorism against Muslims in Transcaucasia. Indeed, it helps to explain the great wave of Armenian violence that erupted in the South during the summer of 1919. Moreover, rather than lie low during the several Turkish sieges of cities throughout the region in early 1920, the Armenians there apparently renewed their recent program of attacks on local Turks. The vast amount of documentary evidence at hand on this indicates a more intense and systematic effort than that undertaken in the previous year. The news of a cease-fire, moreover, produced Armenian attacks, both verbal and physical, against the French themselves.
(p.247) However, as the war in the o spread during subsequent months, Gouraud’s forces evinced steadily increasing disgust for the need to protect their protéges. For the first time, French officers began to voice accusations of treachery, cowardice, barbarity, and ingratitude against them. Junior officers, who dealt with the populace most frequently, had long known the Armenians for their lack of “responsible behavior.” This opinion probably stemmed from early problems with native troops of the legion, as outlined in Chapter II. Nevertheless, the French now began to take a hostile view of all Armenians in general. With the advent of the truce, moreover, senior officials began to share that view. In the latter case, a spate of Armenian demarches on French neglect of local security in general, and at Haçin in particular, probably embarrassed and irritated Gouraud and his chief subordinates. Many of these complaints had been addressed to foreign powers and could be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to discredit France before the peace conference. As stated above, the French knew that their charges preferred either American or British rule over that of Paris.
(p.248) Even before the close of 1919, Turkish Armenians and others had launched a subtle campaign of diplomacy and propaganda in Western Europe. The Apostolic Patriarch of Istanbul, Zaven Efendi, himself joined this effort, which aimed at checking Allied evacuation of Transcaucasia and the Levant or, failing that, pressing the European Allies to prevail upon the United States to fill the void. Closely related to this was, of course, Allied support of Armenian territorial claims on Turkey. Toward these ends, a variety of prominent Armenians joined to dog the steps of British peace delegates in particular at both the first conference at London and that at San Remo. In the interim, they haunted the foreign ministries and halls of parliament at London, Paris, and Rome. Nor did they neglect senior Western clerics, especially those of the Roman Catholic faith.
(p.250) According to French and Turkish records, at least six Turkish villages south of the Baghdad line, between Adana and Ceyhan, were attacked by Armenian terrorists during the first half of June. Paul Bernard’s description of one such atrocity is particularly grisly. Brémond, on the other hand, made light of it, attributing it to mere revenge for similar actions by local Muslims.
… During three days of stark terror, the Armenians panicked 40,000 Muslims into fleeing to the countryside. In Turkish historiography, this episode is known as the “Kaç Kaç” [ Flee! Flee] incident. It might have been-avoided had not most of Brémond’s gendarmerie deserted to the Kemalists during the truce. Just one week after this exodus, a rabble of Armenian refugees set fire to the deserted Turkish quarter of the city and commenced a long spree of looting there. Despite draconian measures by the French to restore order, according to Bernard, renewed incidents of arson and pillage by the refugees ran on into the first half of August.
Meanwhile, a few leaders among Armenian extremists introduced a bizarre series of abortive coups, apparently designed to establish several autonomous Armenian republics in the region. In each case, the would-be founders proclaimed independence under French protection for a specific parcel of land.
(p.251- 252) Mihran Damadian himself the final attempt on August 5. Arriving at the Adana konak (government house) early that morning with his “cabinet”. After temporizing briefly, Brémond sent a detachment of troops to dislodge and scatter the plotters.
Although this brief episode marked the end of such maneuvers by the Armenians of the region, their compatriots at Paris and Izmir had already taken measures to provide an Armenian defense force to prop up Damadian at Adana in the event of a French withdrawal. Funds were collected to buy munitions, and Nubar approached the Quai d’Orsay with a proposal to send Andranik to Cilicia as commander of troops. When both Millerand and Gouraud vetoed such action, the Armenian soldier nevertheless embarked on a tour of the Levant, where he made appearances to raise funds at lzmir and Cairo. Since Andranik spent several months at this, it appears that he was “waiting in the wings” for an opportunity to enter Cilicia surreptitiously, if need be, to take up his post a military leader there. His cue seemed at hand in mid September, when Gouraud announced the forthcoming evacuation of the region by French troops.
At that time, Nubar’s delegate warned Brémond that “a mass exodus of Adana had already begun” on the part of the Armenian populace and that all Christians would soon leave rather than accept Turkish rule. In ending his admonition, the Armenian leader insisted that his words be relayed to Paris.
Hence, the high commissioner made a quick trip to Karataş, where he met Dufieux and Brémond on 18 September. There, he announced his intent to evacuate Cilicia forthwith.
As preparation for French withdrawal, Gouraud directed that civil administration be restored to Turkish officials and that Armenians who had served under Brémond be removed from the province immediately. Moreover, in order to prevent any Armenian interference with the process of retreat, the general directed that local militia units be disarmed and disbanded. In complying with these instructions, Dufieux took Shishmanian, Damadian, and several other Armenian “extremists” into custody and promptly deported them to Beirut, whence they were taken to France.
Despite continuing interest in that area among a few powerful persons in government, such as Briand, Leygues, and Paleologue, the great majority of imperialists keen on the expansion of French influence there were, as Clemenceau correctly observed, ‘sentimental” in their approach. In short, their focus centered on the glory and prestige that France supposedly enjoyed by virtue of her far-flung empire. In the case of the Levant, they also clung to her traditional role as the protectress of Christendom. Over a period of centuries, that function had produced a vast constellation of oeuvres d’assistance and many thousands of native clients whom the sentimental imperialists saw a continuing obligation to nurture as spearheads of French influence.
He urged the founding of an elite corps of trained magistrates, while arguing that France simply could not afford a far-flung empire merely for the sake of glory and prestige.
Even though Hermite’s plan of 24 May for dealing with Faisal and Kemal one at a time might restore French authority in the Levant, there was no assurance of how long Gouraud would enjoy calm there. The Turks were even then advancing into the Kocaeli Peninsula, near Istanbul. If the British position there should collapse, the French in Turkey feared that Kemal might become so bold as to divert his forces in the peninsula to Cilicia. Hence, Millerand suddenly abandoned his independent position at Istanbul and posed no resistance to Lloyd George’s proposal to unleash the Greeks at Izmir for an assault into northwestern Anatolia. At the same time, Nayral de Bourgon sent units to secure French coal concessions at Zonguldak and Eregli on the Black Sea, east of Istanbul. Thus, the solidarity of the Entente enjoyed a sudden revival at the Ottoman capital.
In at least two cables to Gourard, he expressed great desire to extend the truce of May-June as long as possible, preferably until the conclusion of formal peace in the Levant. Having suffered severe budgetary cuts in parliament, against his request for credits in the Levant, early in May, the premier realized that Gourauds days in Cilicia were numbered in any event. As noted above, the left in the Chamber had begun to demand evacuation during February; now the center joined to punish him for his cessions to Lloyd George at San Remo. The cabinet was beginning to pay the price for secrecy in waging its own private war in the Levant.
Although Georges Leygues, who became premier on 23 September, briefly reversed his predecessor’s trend toward disengagement in Turkey, he failed to rally support in parliament. Even his initial position of rapprochement with the Armenians did not appease the “sentimental” colonialists there. As Philip Khoury has correctly stated in his definitive study of the French mandate in Syria, the events of 1920 gradually convinced virtually all colonialists that their game in Turkey was not worth the candle. Economies at home and abroad appeared inevitable. This realization gained impetus with the sudden collapse of Wrangel’s forces in the Crimea during November.
Due to his ongoing campaign to woo the Russian Bolsheviks, Lloyd George refused to take any part in the massive evacuation of White Russians that quickly followed along the northern coast of the Black Sea. In short, France was left alone to bear the entire expense of moving, feeding, housing, and settling over 250,000 destitute refugees.
Kemalist destruction of local grain crops during the siege of that city, the entire province now faced famine unless they made arrangements to import vast amounts of food. Although such arrangements did indeed materialize, it was not until December that they were completed, due again to a lack of funds.
…In Paris, parliament and most of the press joined in a long chorus of protest, demanding both the instant revision of the Treaty of Sèvres and the withdrawal of Gourauds forces from Cilicia.
(p.265 – 266) In the latter area, however, Britain pursued a consistently hostile policy toward the Ottoman Empire, while France steadily swung toward leniency. In each case, moreover, the party favoring reconciliation argued that a punitive approach would drive either Germany or Turkey into the arms of the Bolsheviks.
More specifically, Lloyd George and Curzon particularly vexed Millerand and Leygues during the year 1920 with their abandonment of Poland to the mercy of the Bolsheviks and their failure to assist France in the removal of Wrangel’s forces from the Crimea. The British had done so for fear of alienating Moscow’s support of trade negotiations undertaken early that year at London.
Needless to say, queries from London on behalf of Armenians did not fare well in Paris, especially so after the humiliation inflicted upon Millerand and his staff by Lloyd George and Curzon in the wake of the Mara rebellion during the first London conference of February-March 1920. The British had not only expressed scorn for French failure to protect Cilician Armenians on that occasion; they continued to query Paris on its efforts at law and order in the region for the balance of the year.
(p.267) Thus, the French cabinet did not dare submit the Sèvres pact to parliament for ratification. Leygues affirmed this to Lloyd George early that month (3 December). Just one week beforehand, moreover, Armenia, one of the signatories, had denounced this treaty while suing for an end to Karabekir’s invasion of September-October.
(p.268 - 269) Meanwhile, Italy had joined France in demanding revision of the Treaty of Sèvres, Of the remaining signatories, only Greece appeared completely satisfied with the pact. Of course, the Kemalists had actively opposed it ever since its provisions were published in mid-May 1920. Although Lloyd George continued to support it, much of his cabinet urged that Britain relent on some of the harshest clauses. Against this background, the second London conference convened on 21 February 1921. For the first time, the Turks were invited to participate, both the government at Istanbul and that at Ankara. In the former case, Ahmet Tevfik Pasha had long since succeeded Damat Ferit Pasha as grand vezier due to continuing French pressure at Istanbul, and he headed his delegation. Generally sympathetic to the Kemalist cause, Tevfik deferred to the chief of the Ankara delegation, Bekir Sami (Kunduk), who thus spoke for all the Turks.
(p.273) That night, after two days of nonstop bargaining, the contending parties filled in Briand’s check. In brief, they agreed to: a complete cessation of hostilities within one week; an exchange of all prisoners not under criminal charges; complete disarmament of all elements of the populace and the Kuvay-i MiIIiye by both French and Turkish military authorities; the establishment of a mixed administration in areas where Christians formed a majority of the population; the creation of a mixed gendarmerie under both Turkish and French officers; and the gradual withdrawal of all French forces to the Sanjak of the Hatay (Alexandretta).
(p.274) French concessionary interests in the Baghdad railway from Pozanti to Nisibin and the Ergani copper mines; a Turco-Syrian customs union; the maintenance of French oeuvres d’assistance in all areas to be evacuated by French forces; and a special administration for the Hatay in recognition of the huge Turkish element there. The new frontier between Turkey and Syria was to begin at Payas on the Hatay coast and extend due east. a1on the Baghdad line, to Cizre, with the right of way remaining in Turkey.
(p.276) Yet, they urgently needed munitions above all. Although the Italians had been providing some for many months, they often expected payment, and quantities fell far short of Turkish needs. On the other hand, as already noted, the Russian Bolsheviks had commenced to ship arms to Anatolia in June 1920. As that year progressed, these shipments increased dramatically in size and frequency. Moreover, they constituted outright gifts. What with the richest provinces of Turkey in enemy hands, the Kemalists also needed money. Moscow provided that, too, and in abundance.
(p.277) Then, on 18 March 1921, just one week after the signature of the Briand-Sami pact at London, the Kemalists and Bolsheviks joined to recognize mutually the authority of their respective governments and to pledge reciprocal friendship and military assistance. Their common border too was fixed.
(p.280) Finally, they added two surprise provisions: That the revised accord would end the state of war between Turkey and France; and that France would engage to support Turkey’s “legitimate territorial claims in her final settlement with the Allies.” This last stipulation referred obliquely to the restoration of Izmir and eastern Thrace to the Turks. Moreover, in a general sense it also pledged French support to the complete sovereignty of Turkey over all territories that she claimed. In the latter instance, the French themselves would be obliged to renounce all forms of control over the Turkish government envisioned to date at various peace conferences… This is somewhat ironic when considered against the great body of documentation released by the Quai d’Orsay in the mid of 1970s. In short, the literature now available on the accord, although essentially accurate, is not based on this documentation at all, but on British documents.
In view of the developments outlined above, we shall make short work of Franklin-Bouillon’s two additional missions to Ankara, those that transpired during the summer and fall of 1921. Rather than follow trails already blazed by other scholars, the remainder of this chapter will sketch out the diplomatic events, which produced peace, while pausing here and there to identify trends and pitfalls along the road to agreement between the two warring parties.
(p.282) Curzon, on the other hand, won admiration at the British Foreign Office for reading virtually all incoming messages, as already noted. With the aid of the infamous Black Jumbo” deciphering device, moreover, he probably had access to many French exchanges between Paris and Istanbul, and points beyond. Thus, the foreign secretary could follow Franklin Bouillon’s progress, or lack of it, in Turkey.
(p.285) So, Briand decided to await events on the battlefield before pursuing peace. Here, he took a calculated risk. If the Greeks prevailed, as it appeared to many observers that they would, France could dictate her own terms to Kemal. If, on the other hand, the Turkish line held fast before Ankara, or even drove the invaders back, the nationalists’ attitude could be expected to harden against an amicable settlement with Briand. Meanwhile, Pellé at Istanbul continued to warn his chief of British attempts at a rapprochement with Ankara.
(p.286) Briand had lost his bet, and it was Kemal who would set the tone to future negotiations. Realizing that France could not enjoy a peaceful mandate in Syria without a friendly Turkey next door, the French steeled themselves for harsh terms. Their position in Cilicia had become untenable, and they knew it.
With the Greeks in full retreat, Ghazi Mustafa Kemal could turn all of his forces to the South, an event that had not occurred during the entire span of the struggle there. Still, in the interest of splitting the Entent the pasha proved generous to the point of yielding the Hatay to French rule, as provided for in the abortive pact of London in March. On the other hand, he continued to resist without compromise French appeals for some form of guarantee for the security of non-Muslim minorities in the South.
As mentioned above, French officials at Paris, Beirut, and Adana had insisted on such guarantees from the start of 1921 as essential to preventing a general Armenian exodus from Cilicia upon evacuation by their forces. This was a contingency which all strove to avert due to the high costs of moving, settling, and feeding several hundred thousand refugees, an expense thought to be beyond French means. The memory of Wrangel’s flight from the Crimea remained fresh at the Quai d’Orsay, and Briand exchanged angry words with Gouraud on the need to convince all Christians to remain in place during the departure of his troops.
On the other hand, Armenian leaders had warned the French repeatedly since the truce of mid-1920 of a great stampede in the event of French evacuation. Worse yet, Kemal had repeatedly committed himself to the complete revocation of all capitulations to foreigners and special privileges to all minorities as part of the concept of Turkish sovereignty framed in the National Pact ever since its birth at the conference of nationalist leaders at Amasya in June 1919. Thus, the most the pasha could offer in this matter was Turkish adherence to the terms for the protection of minorities already contained within several European treaties of settlement for tile late World War.
(p.287) Moreover, with tile elimination of tile Greek threat in tile west, tile pasha felt no sense of urgency in ending tile Cilician struggle. He and his close colleagues had identified France from tile very start as exhausted, financially weak, and unwilling to prosecute a war abroad. In brief, having gained a lot of time during March and April for preparations against King Constantine, he could now spend it liberally, if needed, to induce the French to dance to his tune.
(p.288) The premier knew, of course, that his Allied colleagues would learn the terms of his peace with Turkey sooner or later. Equally evident was the great embarrassment before Britain and Italy, which these cessions would entail, once they became public. Moreover, the apparent abandonment by France of the Armenians of Cilicia promised to incur even more humiliation.
(p.290) Unfortunately, the conclusion of hostilities did not provide similar relief for the Armenian residents of Cilicia and vicinity. They were keenly aware of the lack of any binding guarantees for their safety and freedom from Muslim vengeance and bias within the peace compact signed at Ankara. Although both the Turks and the French struggled throughout the entire month of November and much of December to convince Armenians of the benevolent intentions of the Kemalist government, long. established distrust prevailed.
(p.291) The Armenians chose to flee with their French protectors. Indeed, they may well have chose this course correctly, since Kemal had inexplicably delayed his general amnesty for almost a week, enough time for hotheads among his troops in the South to do a lot of harm.
(p.292) Among the principals of my personal dramatis during the long episode, some simply disappeared from the stage, such as “Le Tigre” Clemenceau; his nemesis Lloyd George; Georges-Picot; Allenby; Gourard and his military assistants; Millerand; Franklin-Bouillon; Ali Celik “Ozdemir” (defender of Antep); Boghos Nubar and Woodrow Wilson. Boghos Nubar took up permanent residence in Paris, supporting various Armenian causes. His military partner Andranik “Ozanian died shortly after the Lausanne conference, where the Armenian national cause virtually died as an international cause, and was buried in Fresno, California; his remains were transferred to the new Republic of Armenia only quite recently.
(p.294) With such impressive credentials of power and “superiority,” the invaders scarcely anticipated serious armed resistance to their intrusion among “inferior” races which, from their perspective, owed them gratitude for their material generosity and the purported selflessness of their mission.
In search of a basis of common interests between themselves and the populace of the region, the invaders gathered there as many members as possible of their adoptive minority. Thus, they unwittingly amassed a base of power not only for themselves but for militant activists among their protégés as well. In the course of this process, they also upset the local network of individual loyalties and authority by introducing their wards into offices of local government, particularly in law enforcement, where many opportunities for abuse emerged.
(p.296) Two external forces played key roles in this process: (1) the unexpected skill in the arts of unconventional warfare demonstrated by the nationalists, arts for which the invaders showed scant talent despite a long and successful heritage in plying them; and (2) the rapid rise of resistance to the war among the people, the press and the legislature at home. A key ingredient in the making of that resistance was the general recognition that the l1ome government had deceived the public and the legislature as to the burgeoning scale of its ‘foreign military adventure’ while allowing preoccupation with it to push urgent domestic problems behind the scenery of war.
(p.297) The government of the invaders, on the other hand, not only took fright upon discovery of this Russian connection, but it had foreign obligations of its own concerning the disposition of the territory that it occupied and the protection of minorities assembled there. Moreover, on the field of honor, it had undertaken an onerous obligation to thousands of natives who had cooperated with occupation authorities in the disputed territories. Finally, the albatross of prestige demanded that the invaders, if they were to retreat at all, should avoid the appearance of doing so under pressure from an “inferior’ power.
• nevertheless, some form of strife between Ankara and Paris was inevitable so long as the latter strove to make an Armenian national home’ (under direct French protection) of Cilicia;
• with the flight of the Christian populace from Cilicia in late 1921 Armenian nationalist leaders lost their last territorial base from which they could support their cause (the Armenian diaspora had reached its zenith);
(p.300 - 301)
• in view of a general, long standing propensity for massacre, and even genocide, among almost all peoples of the former Ottoman Empire, the Turks in particular have probably suffered an unfair share of international rebuke for the treatment of minorities before, during, and after World War I;
• a vast amount of historiography on the modern Middle East was politically motivated (and continues to be so);
• equally disturbing, much irresponsible scholar-ship on the episode depicted here, some of it from the pens of celebrated academicians, has found its way into print;
• when war ends, promises made by great powers to “little peoples” are neglected more often than not (as the Kurds of Iraq discovered at great cost in the spring of 1991);
• “little peoples” who see themselves as suffering unwarranted oppression, on the other hand, inevitably deem almost any gesture of benevolence from an outside power as a sacred, binding act of patronal adoption, an obligation, which, if unfulfilled, they hold before the court of world opinion as evidence of shameful betrayal;
8.8.08 Istanbul – Excerpted by Sukru S. Aya