2702) 1890 The Kumkapi Demonstration (July)

One of the most important incidents, which the Armenian committees used as a propaganda was the Kumkapi Demonstration. H. Cangülyan, who administered this protest, about which the Armenians claimed that they had protested without a weapon, is explaining it as follows: . . .

"Because of the Musa Bey Question in Istanbul and Erzurum Incident, if a contrary move was not made, the Armenians would have thought that they were forgotten. That's why a reprisal was required. The murders, which would be committed in Anatolia, would not concern even Europe. Because of that reason in order to arouse the interest of Europe a complaint should be made in front of the ambassadors.

If the Armenian enthusiasm were solely and completely dependent upon the Armenians, this would attract the attention of Russia. Russia would be suspicious this and conquer Armenia one day. If the action were in the other provinces and in the center, this would attract the attention of the other states as well. In this case, since we found Britain closer to us than Russia, it would be more beneficial to shape the Armenian question within the framework of our national interests.

The situation, which was that the people were living with the other races in a dispersed and mixed way in the motherland, would cause the future actions fail only in the motherland. Because of this, the Armenian operations should be fulfilled outside the Armenian borders. For this reason, it would be impossible not to consider Istanbul as a convenient action centre. Including the bachelors and the other people who come from other cities, there were 200.000 Armenians in Istanbul.

The source of evil was in Istanbul. Consequently, it would be appropriate to fulfil the action very near the Palace.

When a revolution and rebellion spirit was aroused among a people, who lived under slavery for five-six centuries, it was necessary that the rebels should benefit from this, and should make this emotion much stronger, concrete and widespread. To disseminate the revolution among the people and to transform it to a much more fruitful way were among the objectives of their revolutionary activities.

The Turkish government and Turkish people believed that the sprit of unity among the Armenians, and a blow to Armenia atempted by these people by them would have negative effects in the other parts especially in Istanbul, where the international interests gathered. And if they see this, they will pursue a cautious policy. They will not dare to organise a new massacre."

Before the Kumkapi incident, the notables of the committee met at the home of a Russian citizen, Megavoryan, who was living at the house of a foreigner, in the back streets of Beyoglu. Two persons were elected to administer the protest, which would be materialized in Kumkapi on 15 July. Cangülyan assumed the responsibility to bring the Party to the palace and Murad to read the declaration.

On the day when the incident occurred, the telegram lines were cut and the Hinçaks gathered in the church. The declaration was copied in handwriting and distributed to people. During the ceremony Cangülyan attacked the dais air and read the declaration. The patriarch Asikyan, who was presiding the ceremony, escaped and took shelter in the patriarchate. He did not consent to go to the Palace together with the committee members. The Hinçak committee members occupied the patriarchate and guns were shot. All the windows and the ceiling of the building were broken to pieces.

At last the patriarch Ashikyan was persuaded by force and was put in a carriage to go to the Palace. The people and the member of the committee, who gathered were crying, "God save the Hinçak Committee, God save the Armenian nation, God save Armenia, God save Liberty". However since Dacad and Mampra Vartabets informed the government, the carriage, which the patriarch Asikyan was in, was stopped by the military forces. Upon this, the members of committee opened fire on the soldiers. Cangulyan was told this scene as follows:

"Our men were shooting at the soldiers continously and violently. The soldiers were trying to arrest those who were shooting. 6-7 soldiers were seriously wounded. 10 of them were slightly wounded. Two of us died."

The Kumkapi incident, which was alleged to be the "protest with no arms" by the Hinchaks, ended by this way.

After the Kumkapi demonstration, which took place in July 1890, the Hinchak Committee, started arranging assassinations to the suspected Armenians presumed to be the supporters of the government. Advocate Hachik was killed by a 15-year-old Armenian named Armenak. Dacad Varabet, the preacher of Gedikpasa Church was cut into pieces. Mampre Karabet, who was elected to the Spiritual Assembly, was wounded assassination and because of spying for the government.

It was suspected that Patriarch Ashikyangave the plans of the committee to the government, and due to this reason an assassination was arranged by an Armenian named Diyarbakirli Agop / Agop From Diyarbakir, elected by drawing lots by the committee in the patriarch ate church on March 24, 1804. Since the Karadag branded pistol the assassin used was defective, the young man was arrested.

The Hinchak Committee carried out an assassination on March 10, 1894 to Simon Maksut, when they considered being the friend of Ashikyan, through two committeemen, in front of the Havyar Han in Galata.

The French Ambassador Monsieur Cambon gave the following information to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 27, 1894 about these assassinations:

“From Cambon to Casimir Perier, Beyoglu: March 27, 1894
Last Sunday, while Patriarch Ashikyan was leaving the Kumkapi Church after the ritual service in order to go back to the patriarchate, an eighteen-year-old Armenian youngster aimed on him by his pistol and fired a few shots. Since the weapon was defective, no bullet hit the patriarch. The patriarch was fainted and he was treated in his home. The young Armenian was taken to the police station, and when he was interrogated on the reason of the murdering, he told that Ashikyan is the enemy of Armenians, and that he frequently informed the government, therefore, the Armenians had sworn to get rid of this man to save the nation. He also emphasised that he and his colleagues from the same sect were faithful to the Sultan.

Cambon. “

Monsieur Cambon states in his telegram which he sent on June 3, 1894 that :

“ From Cambon to the Minister of Foreign Affairs : Beyoglu : June 3, 1894
In the last days, an assassination has been made to a leader of Armenian Society in Istanbul. This person who survived the attack, is Simon Maksud, the gate attendant or the chief translator, a wealthy banker, and one of the contractors of the Ministry of Defence. Mr. Maksut, one of the members of the Patriarchate People’s Assembly, were known by the members of the same sect as a treacherous person who was sold to the Turks. Mr. Maksut, last year, when the celebration of the constitution granted by Sultan Mecit to the Armenians was banned by the Sultan, he refused to make conspiracies for the lifting of this ban. He attracted the hatred of the conspiracies and provocateurs violently.

The porters from Van, who tried to kill him, are the people who suffered a lot of from Kurds, and Turkish officials in Van.

There is no doubt that that we are facing a political murder. The murderers were carrying documents and letters written by the Armenian committees. These people admitted that they were hired by an Armenian person named Levona and who had paid them for the crime. After the assassination attempt, the committees wished to warn the members from the higher Armenian classes whom they considered to be treacherous and who did not serve to their national cause and were considered to be the friends of Turks. The committees wanted to strike their blows in the center of the government / in the capital, and not in the provinces from then on, and to provide a larger area for their activities, and to make a strong effect on the Sultan.

The Sultan was very annoyed by this assassination. A lot of arrests that were made by the police in Istanbul prove this.

P. Cambon “

The leader of the Hinchak Committee in Istanbul, after the Kumkapi demonstration, is Murad (Hamparsum Boyaciyan). Vart Badrikyan, came from Caucasia as the Hinchak representative. Badrikyan was arrested after one or two months later but since he was a Russian citizen, he was taken; by the Russian Embassy. Ardavazt Ohancanyan, was sent from Caucasia in lieu of him. The assassinations occured at a time when these representatives were in Istanbul.

The oppressions of Armenians on Armenians do not only comprise of assassinations. The Armenian committeemen, who tried to obtain money for the rebellions, robbed a great number of Armenian citizens. As a matter of fact, the following information given to M. Sifir, whose actual name is Rezi Yalkin, by the famous Pantikyan, who played a great role in the armistice, is very shocking :

“ I would like to stress especially that, in the raids made by the Kurds and the Turks, as a reaction to the rebellion movements in the several regions of Anatolia at those times, the amount of material losses were extremely small compared to the wealth pillaged by the Hinchaks in the robberies in Istanbul. The percentage would not total even to one percent. The committeemen robbed the Istanbul Armenians in such a pitilessly. They put several wealthy persons into a penniless situation.

I find it useful to list the amount of money stolen at that time, to give a lesson to the new Armenian generation, to expose these robbers by giving figures, and the names of the owners of the money as far as I remember:

A committee of bandits conducting robberies under the leadership of the priest Murat Irakliyan, from Van, one of the famous wicked men operated in Bakirköy, Yedikule and Samatya. The collected twenty two thousand gold coins only from poor Armenian shoppers and craftsmen. They apart from these they collected six thousand gold coils from carpets trader Karnik Sümbülyan, five thousand gold coins from draper Nisan ªahpazyan, and ten thousand gold coins from mobile grains traders.

The robberies made in Yenikapi, Kumkapi districts were not less than these were at all. The all existences of all-small traders, shoppers and craftsmen were taken away from their hands and the safes of the outstanding wealthy men were all seized. In case my memories do not mislead myself, the totals of the robberies made in this district also reached thirty thousand golden coins.

Those who collected tributes in Galata and Beyoglu brole all the records of robbery. Thirty thousand gold coins were seized only from one of the outstanding jewellers of that time named Istepan, who was a wealthy Armenian, and a total of the robberies in this district hundred thousand gold coins was the sum total. Izmirliyan, who gained control of even the patriarchate Migir, together with the five secret detectives of the committee; priest Murat Irakliyan; Musdic Kesisyan, from Aleppo and his friends became extremely wealthy.

The committeemen of that time claimed that an important part of that money was given to the men of the palace. But these words are absolute lies, because, ten years after the event, Murat Irakliyan escaped to Sofia, and settled there. He personally told the event to my father in detail, and he emphasized that the thirty thousand gold coins which was his share, was taken by force from him by Izmirliyan. “

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hasan Oktay, ation from the University of Yüzüncü Yil, Department of History, has found out a very shocking example regarding the oppressions of Armenians on Armenians :

“Following the atmosphere which prevailed after the announcement of the Second Constitutional Regime, the post of Mayor in Van, was given to Bedros Kapamaciyan, an Armenian member of Van Administrative Assembly, in the midst of the year 1909. In spite of the fact that the Moslem people constituted the majority of population in the city; Kapamaciyan Efendi was elected as a member without any considerations of discrimination by earning the respect of all the people, therefore, he also received votes the Moslem people. As a matter of fact, at the end of the elections, two out of ten members in the Administrative Assembly were Armenians.

Kapamaciyan Efendi, who pleased the people of the province during his administration and who always sided with the Ottoman State in spite of the Tashnak and Hinchak committees, served for the peace and the welfare of both the Turkish and the Armenian committees in Van. While Kapamaciyan, the Mayor, was working hard for the peace and the future of the city, the Armenian Patriarch was conspiring for plots and provocation in Van and its environs. He collaborated with the Tashnak committee in order to keep the Armenian matter alive for the European states.

As a result of these plots, a series of fires broke out in Van, and the houses of some of the Armenians were also burned up in these fires. The Patriarch wanted the Major to send a report to the Ambassadors of the European States stating that the fires and provocation were caused by the Moslem people, and that they are getting ready to destroy the lives and the property of the Armenians at any moment.

However, Kapamaciyan Efendi, the Mayor, sent a report telling that the matter was not so and the fires were started by the Armenian Tashnak committees.

The existence of Kapamaciyan Efendi, who spoiled the efforts of the revolutionary Armenians still working with great efforts in the center of Van, was an unbearable situation, so the committees took the decision to execute the major. The revolutionary gangs, who based their theories on an Armenian-Turkish conflict, had arranged assassinations before the outstanding Armenian people who supported theOttoman State and who weakened their domination over the people. Thus, with this assassination they were going to frighten the community and avoid further opposition.

Kapamaciyan Efendi, who was frequently threatened on December 10, 1912 in the evening, w,th all his family got onto the sledges that was waiting in front of the door of his home, to go to Marcidciyan Efendi, who was one of his relatives, for the celebration of “name giving”. He did not know that he was on the black list. A Tashnak group was waiting near his home the group started a volley of shots onto the crowd. The Mayor, who was caught unaware and without any protection at all, was shot with two bullets in his head and fell dead on the ground.

Since the home of the Mayor was in the Baglar quarter, the closest patrol station was ten minutes away. So, the murderers fled in the darkness before the gendarmerie arrived. The Baglar quarter was a place with gardens and vineyards. In this is quarter Armenians were the majority and it was easy for the murderers to hide and run away.

The witnesses who saw the incident started to be questioned. The facial features and other information about the murderers were slowly being revealed. Especially from the evidence given by the Mayor’s son, it was understood that Karakin and his friend were probably the murderers. Thus, the disclosure of the murderers prevented probable clashes between the Moslem and the Armenians. Karakin was caught after rapid operations, and his friend whose name we could not find out, escaped. The assassins who were among the group who committed the crime and was wanted for smuggling arms into Van whose names were Potur, the carriage man, Sarac, Osep, jeweller Karakin, and somebody named Sahaf who fled to Karagündüz village after the event and who was one of the leading members of Tashnak committee, and who planned the murder of Kapamaciyan Efendi, were caught after a difficult search. The friend of the murderer Karakin, who got lost just after the event, was later on captured and put in prison.

Viramyan Efendi, one of the writers of the Azadamart newspaper as published in Van by the members of Tashnak committee in Van; Aram Manukyan Efendi, the inspector of Armenian schools and the Van delagate of Tashnak committee; and some of the Armenian leaders of the Tashnak committee were arrested for plotting Mayor Kapamaciyan’s murder.

Because the Ottoman officials were successful in finding the murderer of Kapamaciyan, who was very popular among the Armenians, the capturing of the murderers, even though they were not punished severely, still met with pleasure by the people. But the Armenian people felt deep sorrow because the murderers were Armenians. Necessary measures were taken in the funeral and thus special care was taken to avoid any disturbances. The English, Russian, and the French Consuls were among the foreign missions who also participated in the funeral. However, the fact that nobody from the military and also from the Tashnak committee was at the ceremony, which was rather meaningful. With this attitude, the Tashnak committee made it clear to their supporters and enemies that they killed the mayor and thus this was a warning to their enemies.

The revolutionist Tashnak committees could kill their own people without any their hesitation to reach their goals. The committeemen were capable doing all kinds of actions for the formation of a suitable medium for a revolution. They conducted their actions systematically with the help of Russia; they were able to occupy Van, temporarily. When the Russians retreated because of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Van again passed to the hands of Turks. “

Oktay, reports the following from Altan Deliorman concerning to the oppressions of Armenians on Armenians:

“While the Armenians were conducting their activities in Anatolia, in Istanbul they were also, killing those Armenians who did not sympathise with them. Advocate Hachik; Dacad Vartabet, the Chief priest of Gedikpasa Church; Trader Karagözyan, Candle man Onnik; Apik Uncuyan; Policeman Markar, Mampre Vartabet, the member of the Spiritual Assembly; Hajji Dikran Migirdic Tütüncüyan are only a few of the Armenians who were murdered by the Armenian gangs. “

Uras, Esat, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi, Istanbul, 1987,pp.461-463

Source: Mavi Boncuk


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