28 January 2009

2722) Free E-Book: Ottoman Archives Yildiz Collection The Armenian Question I -Talori Incidents

© This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.comCONTENTS
1) Introduction
2) Armenian Terrorism , Cengiz KÜRSAD
3) 19. and 20. Century Armenian Terrorism, Heath W. LOWRY
4) Armenian Terrorism History as Posion and Antidode, Justin MCCARTHY
5)Ottoman Archives Yildiz Collection The Armenian Question-Talori Incidents
6) Documents Concerning The Incidents in Talori. .

1) Introduction

The Foundation for the Establishment and Development of Centers for Historical Research and Documentation has begun publishing a collection of forty-eight volumes of documents from its archives. This corpus of material is divided into two groups under the heading of The Yildiz Collection: “The Armenian Question” and “Armenian Documents - 1331 (1915)”.

These documents will be published in fifteen volumes and will cover aft aspects of the Armenian minority communities, whose members were subjects of the Ottoman Empire and who were referred to by the government as Millet-i Sad?ka - “The Faithful Nation” - between the years 1860-1919 including their circumstances, their activities, the incidents of which they were the cause, the ideas and attitudes that directed and governed events, the acts and conduct that threatened the existence of the state, and the policies that were followed and the measures that were taken in the face of all these.

The Foundation will be placing at the disposal of the reader the documents in its archives (photographed in such a way as to retain unaltered aft their original features) together with their transcriptions and their translations into modern Turkish and into English.

The aim of the Foundation in its publication of these documents (whose originals are in the National Archives) is to be of assistance in bringing an end to the falsification and speculation that has been pursued (owing to what ever attitudes and expectations) and to enlighten public opinion concerning the events and deeds that took place within the historical process in question.

It has become understood in the “Information Age” in which we live and whose power we are only beginning to discover, that false interpretations of events that have taken place in the field of historical fact cannot long be promoted or disseminated in such a way as to turn individuals or communities into enemies of one another. The revolution in information has prepared the means whereby all mankind is capable of discovering and broadcasting the truth in aft its clarity. It is for this reason that, historical events should be regarded, interpreted, and disseminated as sources of experience that will guide people and societies towards love, peace, prosperity, and peace of mind and not incite them to hatred, terrorism, or murder. It surely cannot be not right for the unlimited opportunities to secure and produce knowledge through the means that mankind has today acquired to be restricted and limited to solely to examining current events and making projections about the future: mankind should also make use of these opportunities to shed light on events of the past which - deliberately or not - have remained in darkness or which have been distorted for one reason or another. And the reason is that the century that is now on the point of ending is filled with hundreds of examples proving that no dark, unknown, or distorted past can ever shed light on the future of humanity. Each one of these examples has been most costly to mankind: the first and second world wars whose disturbing effects have still not subsided, the lingering worries of the Cold War, innumerable conflicts and local wars; and at last we have come to the realization that political avarice, personal passions, conflicts of interest, and facts veiled by social expectations (and particularly by religious, sectarian, racial, ideological, and conceptual bigotry) are not the cause of human happiness, affluence, and peace of mind but rather of more and more spilled blood, wasted lives, misery, and want.

The Foundation believes that the series of publications that it is now embarking upon will enlighten public opinion on such matters.

An important point deserving consideration with regard to the features of historical sources that ensure their value is the problem of making good use of them.

There is no disagreement that every act and event that is included among the assets of history is the consequence of specific causes and views or that it is bound by conditions of time and place. In the examination, appraisal, and interpretation of documents that attest to or reveal the act or event however there are differing opinions and it is known that different approaches can lead to different conclusions.

We see that as a result of prejudicial, manipulated, and tendentious investigation, interpretation, and appraisal of events in history, enmities and conflicts among societies have persisted for centuries and that attempts are made to pass feelings of rancor, hatred, and revenge down from generation to generation and keep them alive. Because historical events cannot be made to occur again years later under the same conditions and furthermore because it is impossible to reveal the true aspects of events by means of methods acceptable to all such as testing and experimenting, opportunities are presented that can always be exploited by those holding set attitudes and views and this prepares for them areas in which to maneuver. The serious efforts made by impartial investigators and true scholars on the other hand in the face of such persons require great patience and assiduity - qualities that are difficult to expect always of people - and necessitate a great sense of responsibility and commitment. Particulary when researchers and scholars investigate matters that are of concern to their own societies, to their personal loyalties, and to the values they hold, psychological factors influence their interpretation and appraisal of events. In all such instances, the struggle to find the truth runs up against the interpretations and evaluations that prejudiced individiuals, tendentious opinions, and manipulated attitudes assign to events. The “truth” that supposedly has been found creates a result that is disputed, and as it is disputed it slowly loses its worth; but at the same time the result ensures the constant currency of conflict, enmity, rancor, and hate.

Another important situation that keeps inter-communal hostility constantly alive is the desire to interpret and evaluate historical acts and events not within the framework of their own conditions but rather within one of present-day attitudes and values or by attributing them to causes that are entirely artificial. In such situations, the truths inherent in events and acts are dispensed with and what gets marketed instead are the “truths” that are desired, which, as anile are the material from which propaganda may be made.

The manner of approach that directly or indirectly leads to the results that are revealed in any investigation and evaluation of historical events is also concerned with the events’ documentary evidence and with efforts to use and interpret such documents.

With the start of recorded history, humanity increased the means whereby it might acquire correct information about acts and events in its past. Today, the opportunities available toils have reached mind-boggling proportions. The ability to discover and understand the acts and events that make up one’s historical assets in all their aspects and elements has reached a level that will open up new horizons for mankind.

The evidence that helps us to discover and understand events reaches us in the form of documents. These documents are the sources that enable us to determine events directly and that help us to understand the consequences of them. However in order to understand and use documents correctly, a number of technical conditions must be fulfilled. Most important of all, the political, economic, social, cultural, and technological developments of the time when the document took form must be known, for every act and every event in history takes shape, proceeds, and comes to an end under the influence of such conditions and leads to and is the cause of a new act or event.

A second important point in the matter of the research and examination of documents is that one should never lose sight of the fact that they constitute a whole. To suppose that acts and events taking place in history can be fully explained by means of documents that one happens to come across by chance or that shed light on only one aspect of them is naive, to say the least. The obligation to deal as a whole with the circumstances that preceded the development of the act or event, its occurrence, and the subsequent stages makes it necessary for documents to be examined, researched, and understood only in that way. It is through efforts that make us understand the facts behind an event and not merely establish its existence, that documents become historical evidence: failing this, they never become more than material for propaganda and after a while they are gone and forgotten.

One of the most striking examples - of the immediate past and of the present day - of attempts to distort historical events and conceal facts undertaken on the part of those who view the realization of their interests and expectations as lying in continuing inter-communal disagreement and dispute and in keeping alive the feelings of rancor, hate, and revenge handed down from generation to generation may be witnessed in the efforts and activities that are disseminated under such names as “Armenian incidents” and “Armenian genocide”.

The publications and efforts that prepared the sources, environment, and groundwork for the Armenian terrorism between 1983 and 1986 and that provoked, encouraged, and gave psychological support to such terrorism cannot be expected to come to an end overnight for such undertakings and practices have for a century possessed not only the director indirect - support of more than just one country but also the willing - or unwilling - help in the form of provocation and encouragement on the part of religious and private institutions. For those committing these deeds furthermore, such activities, acts, and publications are each a source of income while in some circles they take the form of political, social, and/or economic “investments”. Ultimately there is not, in such encouragement, provocation, or support, even the slightest concern either for the societies in conflict or for the blood spilled or for the time and opportunities lost. The moment the slightest threat or danger is felt, the groups and individuals who will become the first targets and be neutralized will be those who have been provoked, encouraged, and supported. Whenever it is realized that interests and expectations cannot be realized in this way or by these means, new subjects of dispute and disagreement will be chosen.

It is now well understood that public opinion can be enlightened about these undertakings and activities - for which all Armenian communities or individual Armenians cannot be held responsible - only by laying out all the facts in full view. It is out of this belief that the Foundation has begun the publication of this series. But in doing so it seeks not only to enlighten public opinion but also to present these documents for the attention - and for the conscientious consideration - of those who have endeavored to turn two societies into enemies by distorting historical facts. There is no other service that one may render for the world of humanity.

In order to realistically appreciate and interpret the events set forth by the documents that are to be published in this series, one needs to know about the times in which the documents were generated and thus it is worthwhile knowing in outline the opinions, acts, and policies of certain foreign states concerning the matters covered in these documents, since it was these states that maneuvered and gave direction in line with their own interests and expectations to the Armenian minority communities in the Ottoman Empire and to Armenian activities within the historical process of that empire. It is with aim that the following information is presented for the benefit of the reader.

The Ottoman Empire

During the last three decades of the 19th Century and during the first two of the 20th the Ottoman Empire was faced with a host of domestic and foreign threats and dangers, and with wars and struggles that it was forced to engage in. Without being aware of the attempts to hinder, maneuver, and direct the empire’s every attempt to flourish and protect its existence, it is impossible either to understand or assess the events that took place in the historical process or the policies that were pursued.

The events of this half-century led to a steady attrition of the empire’s resources of manpower, land, and much more and also made it inevitable that this great Turkish state would be broken up, that its territory would be occupied by foreign powers, and that it would become a thing of the past.

Between 1870 and 1920, the Ottoman Empire lost 85% of the land under its dominion and control and 75% of its population. In the 1880’s the territory in which the Ottoman state was truly capable of defending and exercising its sovereign rates consisted partially of Rumelia and also of Anatolia, though even of the latter, some of its most vital parts in the northeast had been lost. What remained of the empire in Syria, Mosul, Hejaz, and Yemen could be considered to exist only because of the presence of its armies there.

The Ottoman-Russian War of 1877-78 and its consequences laid the groundwork for European countries’ establishment of a system whereby they sought to pay the price of the political balance they wished to preserve in Europe with the land, dominions, resources, and manpower of the Ottoman Empire and they made it possible for them to develop that system.

The Treaty of Berlin (13 July 1878) secured acceptance of this system at the international level and represents its basic document. At the conference where the treaty was prepared, the thought in the minds of European countries was to keep from upsetting the balance in Europe. Even Russia, emerging tired and distraught from war, wished to maintain the existing political balance and just about every country realized that upsetting the balance would make a great European war unavoidable and that aft existing relations would come undone. Europe was not ready for war.

The Treaty of Berlin did more than make it possible for the Russians (who already had the Ayastefanos-Ye?ilköy Agreement that was signed at the end of the war) and for the British (who had the Istanbul Agreement) to maintain, with minor alterations, their existing control over the rights and sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire: it also eventually gave every European country the means whereby it might intervene in any affair and undertaking in which the empire was concerned. It also represented the starting point of their strategies to erase the Ottoman state from the map of Europe.

In general, the system that the Treaty of Berlin set up secured two important opportunities for Russia and for the countries of Europe and also established time mechanisms whereby these could be realized. The first of these was a mechanism for massive intervention in the internal affairs of the empire through demands for and oversight of the reforms that were supposed to be carried out by the empire in Anatolia, particularly in the areas where Armenians were present. The second was an opportunity to breakup and divide the Ottoman Empire and wipe it from history, since when one European country sought to achieve its interests and expectations in the territories of the empire, other countries considered themselves free to take the same action. This system lasted up until the first world war and prepared for the end of the
Ottoman Empire.

In the face of the threats and dangers that this system created, the basic policy of Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876-1908) was to defend the final, remaining “fatherland” of Anatolia and Rumelia. For this reason, re-establishing the territorial integrity of Anatolia (which had been violated when Kars-Ardahan had been given to the Russians under the Treaty of Berlin) was a continuation of the geographical unity provided in Rumelia with the provinces of Selanik, Manast?r, and Kosova. Abdülhamid believed that social, economic, and cultural development was needed and he also regarded as essential a multi-faceted foreign policy. In domestic policy on the other hand he believed that problems could be dealt with through a fully centralized system governed by a single hand. The reflection of the social and cultural structure of the Ottoman state in its political life on the other hand explains why, under the conditions prevailing, the state was quickly brought to the point of collapse and the clearest examples of this is may be seen in the workings of the Ottoman parliamentary assembly that was formed under the constitutional administration following the acceptance of the Constitution of 1876.

For Abdülamid II, the aims of the Ottoman Empire were based fundamentally on the notion that the European power balance did not appear very durable in the long run and would eventually result in a European war. Under the circumstances, if the empire could keep out of such a war and remain neutral then in the meantime it could bring about its economic, social, and cultural development; furthermore if it could do this with a sound currency while achieving an accumulation of capital, then it might be able to take advantage of the opportunities that would present themselves in the confusion and collapse that would prevail in the postwar period, thus making itself secure and possibly even regaining its former strength in the region and in Europe. For this reason, the goals were to await the outbreak of European strife; until then, refuse to enter into any disputes or agreements with any other states and follow a fully balanced foreign policy; if necessary and only if it were unavoidable, consider engaging in localized “displays of strength” as in the war with Greece. At the same time, it was state policy that the most modern models should be followed in education and social life that economic opportunities should be exploited, and that resources should be put to work.

As late as the beginning of the 19th Century, the line of defense of the Ottoman Empire ran through the Danube, the Adriatic, the Persian Gulf and the Caucasus. Its areas of sovereignty in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas and its partial control of the Red Sea were what constituted the security of this line of defense. During the first three decades of the century however this line disappeared entirely and the territories under the empire’s rule came under the control of other countries. The system set up by the Treaty of Berlin in a sense placed the empire under a global threat and danger coming from the countries of Europe and from czarist Russia.
Through the capitulations, the bilateral trade agreements, the privileges granted for one reason or another, and the “build-operate-transfer” models to which recourse was had in order to encourage and increase foreign investment inflows, the Ottoman Empire’s economic, commercial, and fiscal life was to a large degree surrendered to the control of European countries.

In addition to all this, beginning in the second half of the 16th Century there were attempts to protect, spread, and strengthen various Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant religious sects on the part first of France, then of Russia, and then later of England under the guise of defending different minority communities in the empire but in fact to achieve a variety of interests and expectations. These, combined with the system of foreign schools, American missionary organizations, and similar activities all had a substantial Influence on the social and economic life of the Ottoman Empire and they pushed minority communities into rebellion and revolution and into engaging in bloody, rancorous, armed struggles.

Under such conditions, the Ottoman Empire could have no goal except to protect and defend its territories in Anatolia and Rumelia and to undertake reforms that would ensure development and prosperity in them. The Ottoman state regarded the protection and defense of Anatolia and Rumelia the sine qua non of its being and continued existence. It is natural that any act or activity that might lead to any separation, breaking off, or division of these territories should have been regarded as an assault on its existence. Indeed as it happaned, the loss and breakup of Rumelia and Anatolia did spell the end of the empire: with the loss of Rumelia after the Balkan War and the occupation of Anatolia by foreign forces after the first world war, the empire became a thing of the past.

In the system that the Treaty of Berlin setup and fostered the central question was how to decide to pay the cost of any competition, disagrements, and conflicts of interest that might occur among the countries so as to preserve the political balance in Europe. The “payment” they decided upon consisted of the land, domain, and resources of the Ottoman Empire. In a region in which Russia was preparing to take control of eastern and southeastern Anatolia - preparation for which was to be achieved by stirring up and inciting the Armenian minorities there, steering them towards revolt and thereby creating a pretext for intervention - all of which Britain considered tube contrary to its petroleum policies and its Mosul - Persian Gulf strategies, and which it regarded ultimately as a threat to its communications with lndia, Russian and British interests were in conflict and thus there could be no talk of a “share” in the payment that was to be made: Russia wanted the whole thing as its share, and Britain demanded the same for itself. This competition and conflict of interests on the one hand prepared, broadened, and developed the path to the events that history now calls the “Armenian Question”; but at the same time, because it postponed any British-Russian alliance, it also prolonged the gradual decline of the Ottoman Empire. This situation is indicated most clearly in a letter that the British prime minister Salisbury sent to grand vizier Said Pasha through the British ambassador in Istanbul:

I draw your attention to the great danger that the Ottoman government finds itself in. Since assuming office. I have watched with amazement as public opinion in Britain has turned against the Ottoman government. Opinions to the effect that this state cannot continue increase day by day.

It is important to regain British public opinion. For this reason, it is of vital concern that the reforms that are being demanded on behalf of the Armenians be put into effect without delay.
No one is asking for independence for the Armenians; all that is desired is justice... Officials that Europe can feel confidence in must be assigned to the East and the administration there must be strengthened. It makes no difference to Britain what religious group these officials may be from; only they must be left free by the sultan to do what their work requires of them.
Neither Germany, nor Italy, nor Austria can block Britain’s policy on the Eastern Question. France on the other hand remains faithful to Russia.

The one and only thing that ensures the continued existence of the Ottoman state is the fact that Britain and Russia are not in alliance and cannot come to an agreement. Should they become allied and reach an agreement the danger would reach its final and most extreme point and the Ottoman state would come to an end. (Said Pasha’s Memoirs, Volume I, p. 271 ff.)

The Armenians

Any impartial observation and examination of the circumstances of the Armenian minorities in the Ottoman Empire reveals two noteworthy and very important points.

First of aft, the rights and liberties of the Armenian minorities in the Ottoman state, their economic opportunities and assets, and their social and cultural lives were more advanced and developed than those of other minorities and indeed than those of the Muslim Turkish elements as well.

Secondly until the Ottoman-Russian war of 1877-78 (indeed not until the end of the war), there was no “Armenian Question” in the Ottoman state, no “Armenian Problem”. There were, to be sure, disagreements among the Armenians themselves and these were within their own organizations and were based predominantly on sectarian differences; but there were no disagreements with the Ottoman state or government. Before this date, incidents along the eastern border and in the areas near the border in which Armenian communities - with Russian or Persian influence - began migrating or provided Russia with support in wars were nearly aft of a localized nature and never took the form of a rebellion or revolution.

The views of Professor Enver Ziya Karal on the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire are today shared by aft authors, historians, and researchers who have concerned themselves with this subject:

The Circumstances of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire

Armenians could be found everywhere throughout the Ottoman Empire. They were fairly concentrated in eastern and southeastern Anatolia, but nowhere did they constitute a majority in comparison with the Turks. Only 39% of the population of the cities and environs of Erzurum. Bitlis, Harput, Diyarbak?r, Erzincan, and Harran was Armenian; and in the province of Adana this figure was much lower. As for the Armenians living in central and western Anatolia and also in some of the cities of Rumelia, they were a minority less even than the Greeks. In addition, there lived more populous, communities of Armenians in the neighboring Persian and Russian territories.

The Armenians demonstrated no sectarian unity and adhered to three churches. The majority were members of the Gregorian Church and this was followed in number by the Armenian Catholic Church. As for the Armenian Protestant Church, it was still in a state of development having been founded in the first half of the 19th Century.

Because the Armenians never constituted a majority anywhere and furthermore because they were divided along sectarian lines, they were insufficient in number to maintain their national cultures - as such other Christian communities as the Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, etc. had managed to do - in the face of Turkish culture and in many aspects they had become Turkish. The majority spoke the Turkish language. Even those priests and intellectuals that wanted to speak Armenian expressed themselves with heavy borrowings of words from Turkish. Armenians had adopted Turkish customs and folklore and there were even among them those who untertook scholarly investigations of Turkish literature and art. The Armenians who lived in the towns and villages of eastern Anatolia for the most part busied themselves with farming, local industries, and trade on a small scale. Unlike in Rumelia, these farmers were not the servants or partners of landholders on big farms but rather they worked the land that they owned. As for the Armenians living in the cities, these engaged in such economic and financial activities as domestic trade, foreign trade, money - changing, jewelry - making, banking, contracting, and revenue - farming. Instead of compulsory military service, the Armenians paid a light tax. (It was for this reason also that they always had the opportunity to busy themselves with their own business and affairs.) Their circumstances were more prosperous than those of the Turks yet their prosperity never was the cause of jealousy among the Turks or among other Muslims. It was for this reason that from the foundation of the Ottoman state until the reign of Abdülhamid II, Armenians lived side by side with Turks, as friends and brothers and in a state of peace and safety.

Because the Armenians had adopted Turkish culture and were aware of European civilization that they never chased after ideas of independence like other Christian communities in the empire and they were employed in government positions. Particularly after the Greek uprisings and following the Gülhane firman, business at the court and in the foreign ministry that previously had been the province of Greeks now began to be assigned to Armenians. Abdülhamid II relates the following about the relations between Armenians and the court: “I remember from the time of my father, Sultan Mecid: everybody - down even to the cellarers - was Armenian. In the Privy Treasury there were members of the Artin Pasha and Gümü? Gerdanlar families. 1 know of one ancient family who were tailors to the queen mother and were assigned duties virtually like harem aghas. In all the mansions of the powerful and the mighty they were the chief stewards. My father used to visit the Gümü? Gerdanlar family once a week and dine there. They would visit in return and be accommodated in the royal harem.” (Atif Hüsnü v. 9 p. 14.) After the reform firman we see them being brought into the leading services of the state and some were appointed governors, governors-general, inspectors, ambassadors, and even ministers. In addition, Mustafa Re?it Pasha, Ali Pasha, Fuat Pasha, and even Mithat Pasha all employed Armenian advisers. In the records we come across references to the help that Odian Efendi gave in Mithat Pasha’s drafting of the Ottoman constitution. Until 1983, even Abdülhamid II himself got along well with the Armenians for he appointed Armenians to ministerial positions.

The Attitude of The Ottoman Empire Towards The Armenians

One of the documents that most clearly puts forth the attitude of the Ottoman Empire towards Armenian activities and deeds is expressed in a memorandum of an interview held by Sultan Abdülhamid II on 16 January 1984 with the prince of Radolen, then the German ambassador, in which the situation and his opinions are given.

Document

From: Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II
To: The Prince of Radolen, German ambassador in Istanbul, to be conveyed to the German Kaiser Wilhelm
Date: 16 January 1894
Text of the interview given in writing to the Kaiser.

Armenian instigators have been encouraging the Armenians of Sus not to pay their taxes and to do violence to government officers and Muslims. The Armenians are clearly in a state of rebellion.

They have been acting with extreme cruelty, having dismembered a number of defenseless Turks and tortured others with burning gunpowder. The obvious object of the Armenians is to incite the Turks and when the forces come to suppress them assert that they are being treated cruelly and draw down upon themselves the mercy of Europe - and particularly of England. Thanks to a repeat of the legend of “Bulgarian atrocities”, the Armenians seek to gain a sort of autonomy like the Balkans have. Yet the Armenians are not congregated nor do they constitute a majority anywhere and for that reason they cannot justifiably ask for autonomy.

In this rebellious state of theirs, the Armenians have been emboldened by the rounds made - supposedly for the purpose of inspecting the country and the populace - here and there by the British consul in Van. Such visits have convinced the violent Armenians that the consul is interested in them and in their activities. Furthermore there is quite a widespread belief in the Armenian region that in the near future the “red coats” - that is, the British army - will be coming to deliver their country. A few Armenians disguising themselves as Turks have been apprehended. They were instigators who were murdering Armenians and in that way sought to stir Armenians up against the Turks. The names of a number of Turks who allegedly murdered Armenians were given to the British ambassador but l was able to prove to the contrary that it was the Turks whose names were given who had been murdered by Armenians.

I have heard that the British ambassador wishes to send a “military attache” to Erzurum to make an investigation. I do not consider this appropriate; the appearance of a British army officer there would be cause for the Armenians to rebel in the most open way possible. Is wear to you that I will not under any circumstances bow to these unjust and oppressive Armenian demands and I would rather die than agree to any reform that would lead to autonomy.

The Views of Foreign Representatives Concerning Armenian Activities

From the standpoint of the works to be published here, it would appear particularly beneficial to document the views of the representatives of foreign countries concerning the activities of Armenian minority groups (whose members were after aft Ottoman subjects and living in the Ottoman Empire) between 1880 and 1913.

George Washborn, who represented Great Britain for many years in Istanbul had the following to say about the incidents of 1894 in his work Fifty Years in Constantinople.

The circumstances of the Armenians began to change and become more difficult, particularly in the interior of Anatolia, after the Congress of Berlin. British policy shares a great deal of the responsibility for this situation. Britain came forth claiming to be defending Armenians’ rights and by suggesting that she would have reforms brought about and have an independent Armenia set up for Armenians, she incited them. She did this partially out of Christian zeal but rather more to serve her own personal interests - that is, out of an expectation that an independent Armenia would be a barrier to Russian advances into Anatolia. In the end, she succeeded in causing the Armenians to rebel against the Ottoman state.

A report dealing with the “Armenian Question” sent by Vangenheim, the German ambassador in Istanbul to the German foreign ministry on 10 June 1913 displays not only some of the most serious and impartial views on the subject of Armenian activities and deeds but also how the subject affected relations between countries.

Document

No one would claim that the circumstances of the Armenians in the Turkish state are extraordinarily good; yet hardly anyone could prove that any of the other in habitants of Turkey - particularly the Turks - are in a better situation than the Armenians or that the present circumstances of the Armenians are worse than they have been at any other time in Turkish history. One thing is certain and that is that the present Turkish government is entirely convinced of the necessity to do something for the Armenians and that it is ready to fulfill Armenian aspirations to the best of its ability without falling into the danger of severing the various parts of the state. The Armenians in Turkey are under relatively better conditions than those under which the Jews, Poles, and Finns find themselves in Russia today. Despite this, propaganda operating through the most radical of vehicles seeks to create the impression all over the world that the agonies suffered by Armenians are increasing day by day and that today they have reached such a point that European intervention has been rendered indispensable. A number of Armenian envoys playing the role of martyr have been making the rounds of the European capitals where they have also set up an office that collects the complaints coming from Armenians in the Turkish provinces and, after skillfully working them up into bulletins, disseminates them all over the world. Such printed complaints used to come to the imperial embassy once a week whereas now I receive one or even two a day. While news coming from non-Armenian sources gives no information whatsoever concerning any increase in Turkish excesses, it is clearly apparent that there has been an increase in systematic agitation. The reasons for Armenian agitation are clear and evident: the Christian races in European Turkey have been delivered from Turkish domination; now the Christians of Asia Minor want to be delivered. But in the case of the Armenians, there are no brother allies who can take up the sword to rescue them. For this reason, all their hopes are dependent upon the good will of the major powers. In the opinion of the Armenians, it is a mistake not to take advantage of a time when government cabinets are busy with the winding-up of Turkey-in-Europe and with the future of Turkey-in-Asia. Had the Armenians been reasonable, it would have been easy, under present conditions, for an agreement to have been reached between other governments and Turkey concerning the amelioration of their destiny. The Armenian demands however go far beyond whatever Turkey can give without endangering her own existence. The country that has been the cause of rising Armenian demands is Russia. With the assistance of the Katogikos, of the Armenian patriarch here, and of their countless agents working in the Armenian regions as well as by means of the expenditure of great sums of money, Russia has for years been inciting Armenian discontent. it is Russia that has been blocking the construction of roads and railways in eastern Anatolia. But without roads and railways, the Turkish government can never establish peace between the Kurds and the Armenians. It is a fact that Russia has been giving assistance in the form of money and weapons not only to the Armenians but also to the Kurds so that the latter may perpetuate their brigandage at the expense of the Armenians. The Armenian central committee here receives both money and advice from the Russian embassy. For Russia, the Armenian movement is a vehicle that makes it possible for her to keep Turkey-in-Asia in a state of constant uproar and in a condition that will make it possible, when the time comes, for her to intervene there as an interested neighboring country. With the assistance of the Armenian question, Russia wishes to keep the road to Constantinople open. For her, it is a key which, when the day comes, will open the straits. For Russia the problem of the straits and the problem of the Armenians are mutually dependent and we may agree without reservation that whenever Armenian complaints rise in St. Petersburg concerning their condition, one may immediately expect a move there in the direction of Constantinople. For this reason I cannot concur with the opinion of my many çolleagues who explain the present action of Russia as being a desire to regain in Asia Minor the prestige that she lost in Europe because of the failure of her Balkan bloc. Certainly what we have here is not a sudden upsurge of Russian policy but rather an act that has been carefully planned in the grand style. At a time when the Balkan states were jointly celebrating their victory, the Russians were diligently working up the Armenians.

Russian designs on Constantinople have been occurring with ever-greater frequency. The most recent was the attempt by Mr. Charikoff, which Europe acting jointly managed to render unsuccessfu4 whereupon Mr. Charikoff was dismissed. Mr. Von Giers took up his predecessor’s plan in a more comprehensive manner and what they failed to achieve by sea two years ago he is trying to achieve overland.

For this reason, the inspiration coming from the Petersburg cabinet deserves all the serious attention we can give it. Should Russia be given freedom of action, there could be a great move because of what was a rather harmless program prepared for the conference at the time; and this could go as far as the dismemberment of Turkey. In Mr. Von Giers’s hands, the Armenians are a powerful vehicle by means of which he can exert pressure on his colleagues. If the negotiations make no progress, there could be outbreaks of disorder everywhere just by a single sign from Russia. Such disorder cannot fail to have an effect on the results of the conference. The first massacre that takes place near the Russian border could be an excuse to march.

Nevertheless I cannot concur with the ideas of the Marquis of Pallavitchini to the effect that the partition of Turkey has been decided upon by the Triple Alliance and that the curtain will rise on the last act of the Turkish drama in the near future. One senses quite clearly here the fact that Russia and France wish to bring this Turkish business to an end. Only yesterday Mr. Von Giers repeated his request to your excellency that you arrange talks with the Russian government so as to clearly delimit the areas of interest of both parties. In his opinion, the time for this has come. Mr. Bompar has also put forth his idea that an agreement between us concerning the division of territory would be desirable. The implication is that Russia and France wish to break up Asia Minor without quarreling with us. As for whether or not the underhanded ambitions of these two countries can be realized or whether or not a conference on the Armenian question can be transformed into a court to decide the division of an inheritance, that is a matter that is dependent not upon France and Russia but first and foremost upon Britain. If the Triple Alliance acts with solidarity, Germany will - more or less as she was in the matter of the islands - be alone in her desire to preserve Turkey and she may expect only a limited measure of help from her allies. That, it would seem, is the point of view of my Austrian colleague: Germany cannot, by herself, rescue Turkey. During the last few months I found an opportunity to observe British policy. If my impressions are correct, I doubt whether Britain would give Russia and France freedom of action in the matter of Turkey. After its experience in Persia, Britain does not wish to enter into any joint enterprise with Russia in which the benefits are rather more on the Russian side. Britain must take into account the possibility that Germany might not wish to be left out of any partition. From what Britain has been doing lately it is clear that she will endeavor to preserve Turkey - not because she wants to but because she has to - and for that reason she will try to align herself to a degree with Germany. If Britain were seriously considering the abandonment of eastern Anatolia to the Russians, it is quite unlikely that she would have decided to send to Turkey reformers for Armenia.

This is why I wish, with your excellency’s consent, to bring the situation up in line with this view at the conference of ambassadors that may be taking place in the near future. It is possible that Britain may ask Germany to oppose excessive Russian demands, her aim being to avoid having to do so herself, Of course it would be a mistake for us to pull the chestnuts out of the fire just for Britain’s sake. So long as Britain fails to make it clear that she is not falling into line with excessive Russian demands, l intend to remain a prudent distance behind her. If Britain wants to see Turkey partitioned, then there remains nothing for us to do but officially demand our own share of the inheritance.

For the time being, lam of the opinion that it will suffice to indicate - by means of clear manifestations as has been done so far - the specific parts of that inheritance so as to render Britain interested in preserving Turkey.

The Views of Russia

The interests and expectations that Russia wanted to achieve in the Ottoman-Russian war of 1877-78 were the acquisition of certain rights over the Balkan and Macedonian territories of the Ottoman Empire and over the societies living in them under the theme of “Pan-Slavism”. Russian hopes regarding eastern and southeastern Anatolia on the other hand may be summarized as an opening of the fine connecting the Caucasus and Iskenderun. This line of course had to be entirely under its own control and it was for this reason that Russia opposed any move for Armenian independence in this region - particularly if that Armenian independence was to be “dependent” upon Great Britain; for were the Armenians to achieve a position of superiority or independence in that region, it might happen that Russia’s own Armenians, who engaged in acts that occasionally turned into rebellion, might be motivated to take action. This is why Russia looked with complete disfavor on any Armenian rebellion or revolution though it did not overlook opportunities to bind Armenians to itself for at the same time Russia wished to make use of them as a means whereby it might render the Ottoman Empire even weaker, and so did not deny them support in the form of weapons and supplies. Russia in a sense considered its acquisitions of Kars-Ardahan and Batum after the Treaty of Berfin as the starting point of its eastern and southeastern axes. It was with these thoughts that Giers, the Russian ambassador in Istanbul, met with the Armenian doctor Zavaryan, a Dashnaksutian representative, and provided him with the following information which while being of the greatest interest to him is also an indication that the Armenian committees could be managed and directed by means of the least sign from Russia.

The imperial government makes the biggest contribution to the Armenian destiny. Nevertheless, Armenians should not lose sight of the present exceptional conditions. They should not make their positions more difficult with imprudent acts. Armenians must appear to European eyes as the victims of the arbitrary rule of Turkish despotism and they should not turn into political revolutionaries desiring to take advantage of Turkish military defeats in order to achieve their national goals. Armenians should not incite the Turks in any way whatsoever nor should they initiate even the most minor act of rebellion. They should not make any political demands of Europe at all. On the other hand, it is their natural right to try to seek to make public opinion aware through the press and through declarations of the murderous injustice they have suffered at the hands of the Kurds and of Turkish officials.

The View of France

Under the Treaty of Istanbul, Britain achieved the means to establish its control of Cyprus and these means were even further strengthened by the Ottoman Empire’s obligation under the treaty to make reforms not only where its Christian subjects lived in Anatolia but elsewhere, a fact that bothered France. For this reason, France was not in favor of any Armenian rebellion or revolution that anyone - particularly Britain - might give direction to in Anatolia nor of the independence that might result from it. Of course France was also aware that there was no possibility of such a situation and for that reason it took a position of keeping watch over Armenian activities and acts and assumed an attitude that appeared to support them in order to satisfy its own public opinion at home.

The following document indicates the views of the French ambassador in Istanbul in 1895 and his explanations on the subject of the Armenians were both the source of and the support for the policies indicated.

Document

From the French Ambassador in Constantinople M.P. Cambon to the President of the French Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs M Casimir-Perier.

Pera, 20 February 1894

Two years ago a high-placed Turkish government officer said to me “There is no ‘Armenian Question’ but we are creating one. “His prophecy has come true. Today there is an ‘Armenian Question’. For more than a year now, Armenia and the provinces bordering on it have truly been the scene of events of the utmost seriousness. The Turks are reopening the Eastern Question on the Asian front. In order to indicate the importance of the present events and to determine precisely the attitudes of countries on the Armenian Question it would appear that the time has come to note briefly the stages that have been passed through in recent years. Mr. President, you are aware of the military and political- importance of Armenia. The impassable mountains that reinforce it so dangerously divide it in two and completely sever the Ottoman Empire’s two Muslim areas of Mesopotamia and Anatolia. Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin was concerned with the fate of the Armenians and the Cyprus Treaty of 1878 declared the necessity of “ameliorating the living conditions of the Armenians”. At that time, the awakening of Armenian nationalism had still not taken place. There was no concept of Armenian independence; or if there was, it was in the minds of only a few intellectuals who had taken refuge in Europe. The great mass simply wished for reforms and dreamed of nothing more than orderly government under Ottoman rule. The insensitivity of the Ottoman government however discouraged Armenian good intentions: the promised reforms were not carried out; the oppression and malversation of government officials was shameful; there was no redress to justice. The Kurdish Hamidiye regiments that were set up supposedly to keep guard over the borders were nothing more than an official organization for looting and the commission of robbery at the expense of the Christian Armenians. From one end of the empire to the other, Greeks, Albanians, and Arabs all complained about injustice, the corruption of officials, and the lack of security of life; but it was the political importance of Armenia that particularly attracted countries’ attentions to those living there. It was close to 1885 that Europe first became aware of the existence of an Armenian movement. Armenians dispersed about in France, England, Austria, and America united in a common action: a national committee was created and newspapers servings as the organs of national rights and causes were published in French and English. One by one they skillfully set about revealing the evils of Turkish administration, thereby warning Europe that the Treaty of Berlin was being violated by the Turks. Armenian propaganda originally sought to win France over to its own cause and appealed to feelings of “chivalry” and “heroism”: a few articles were published in journals; festivals were held; speeches were given; demonstrations took place at the grave of Lusignan in Saint -Denis. One has to agree however that France understood none of this and showed no interest in people who were talking about Mount Ararat, Node, or the Crusades. Armenians had a better reception in London. The Gladstone government attracted to its side those who were discontent, brought them together, and brought them under some discipline. It made them promises of support. Ever since then the propaganda committee has taken up residence in London and that is where they draw their inspiration from. The mass of Armenian people had to be instilled with two very simple ideas - the idea of nationalism and the idea of freedom - and the committees undertook to do this. Slowly the lives of people who had become accustomed to slavery became unbearable and intolerable. By repeatedly telling the Armenians that the Turks were plotting against them, they eventually got the Armenians to plot; by repeatedly being told that Armenia did not exist, the Armenians eventually came to believe that it did. Thus in a few years secret societies were set up and in line with their own propaganda they spread, throughout all of Armenia the word of the evil and error of Turkish administration and the idea of a national awakening and independence. With the ground thus prepared, nothing remained lacking for the development and appearance of action but an excuse, or incitement, or support. The Armenians found their excuse (or incitement or encouragement) in the appointment, to the office of Catholicos, of Monseigneur Kirimian, the former Armenian patriarch in Istanbul who had been exiled to Jerusalem for his Armenian chauvinism. My official reports last year informed you of the incidents taking place in Kayseri and Merzifon (January 1893), of the arrests that followed them, of the trial in Ankara (May-June), and of the execution of five of the condemned (July). This is the true situation of the Armenian Question here at the beginning of 1894. What methods of solving so complex a problem may be recommended or even forseen? An independent Armenia? That should not be given consideration. Armenia is not like Bulgaria or Greece for it constitutes no state defined by natural borders nor is it identifiable by masses of people. Armenians are scattered to the four corners of Turkey and in the truest sense they have become interspersed with Muslims all over Armenia. To this, one should also add that Armenia is split up among Turkey, Persia, and Russia. It is hardly at all likely that it would be possible, were Europe to insist on the establishment of a new Armenian state at the end of some future war, to determine its borders. The same difficulty would obtain even if consideration were given to the setting up of a semi-autonomous province with special privileges, for where does Armenia begin and where does it end? What remains then is he promise of reforms. But we know what value such promises have in Turkey. In order to bring about reforms it is first necessary to re-establish and recreate everything all over again. As for the correction of details that might have made the Armenians happy ten years ago, one fears that nowadays they will not be satisfied with just that. In my opinion, there is no possible solution to the Armenian Question. It will remain open and through their misgovernment and injustice the Turks will do nothing but make it worse still. From time to time some crude act will stir up a crisis and more strident complaints or even incite rebellion after which the European press will again take up these interminably renewed incidents, public opinion in Christiandom will feel pity, and the movement that is today restricted to England and France will spread to every Christian nation. The Treaty of Berlin will again be taken up as a subject of debate and intervention will become unavoidable. Will this happen tomorrow? A few years from now? We can set no date at all. All that can be said is that the most extraordinary conditions can last in Turkey for a long time. It is always possible to see them collapsing and yet the surprising thing is that they do not.

Armenian Activities and Rebellions After The Treaty of Berlin

The first instances of intervention - under the system set up with the treaties signed at Ayastefanos (Ye?ilköy), Istanbul, and finally Berlin after the Ottoman-Russian war of 1877-78, - in Anatolia (land that constituted the basis and core of the Ottoman Empire’s existence) by European states (foremost among them being Britain and Russia) proffering the excuse of
the Armenians (who were dispersed and nowhere in that land constituted a majority)began in the 1880’s. The establishment of Armenian secret societies also took place around this time. As we enter the 1890’s, these societies - as well as the states that encouraged and supported them - also started putting into practice what has come to be known in history as “Armenian rebellions” and “Armenian activities”. The most comprehensive and realistic research on this subject to have been carried out so far is The Armenians in History and the Armenian Question, by Esat Uras. The excerpt from this book that we present below summarizes Armenian activities and rebellions during the roughly four-year period from 20 June 1890 to March 1894. The “Talori Incidents” (or the “First Sasun Rebellion” as it is also known) referred to in the summary are associated with the documents published in this volume.

Mutinies and Rebellions

The following are the most important of the mutinies instigated by the revolutionary committees:

The Erzurum Incident

The Erzurum mutiny took place on June 20 1890. The governor, Samih Pasha, and several other responsible persons had received information that the Armenians had imported weapons and ammunition from Russia and that these had been stored in the Sanasarian School and in several of the churches. In July orders were given for a search of the school and the churches to be carried out by the zaptiye and the police, but the Armenians, who had received word of this, took the necessary precautions and prepared to resist. At the first order, the rebel Armenians opened fire on the approaching soldiers, killing one officer and two men. A policeman was also killed. A search was carried out in the church. The following account was given by an Armenian who was an eye-witness of the event.

The founder of the Sanasarian School died in 1890. Prayers were said for his soul, and a period of mourning declared. Meanwhile, the government received information that arms had been stored in the school. The informers are thought to have been Catholic Armenian priests. Before the search took place, a member of the “Citizen’s Defence League” known as “Bogos the Dog” sent word that the school was to be searched with in two hours. Everything that was likely to attract attention, such as national history books and notebooks were immediately removed. The search revealed nothing. The Armenians shouted, “The entry of the Turks into the church is an abomination and a desecration.” Later, the followers of Gergesian, one of the founders of the “Citizen’s Defence League” who had been ‘killed by order of the Erzurum centre of the Dasnaktsitiun Revolutionary Committee, began to incite the people to mutiny. Shops were closed, church services were forbidden, and no bells were rung. The Armenians were in complete control of the situation. Taking advantage of this, the mutineers began shouting, “The Armenians have been free for three days, we shaft defend that freedom with our arms.” At the same time they demanded the lowering of taxes, the abolition of the military service exemption payment, the burning and reconstruction of churches that had been desecrated and the implementation of article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin. For three or four days they remained within the limits of the cemetery, the church and the school. The Armenian leaders who tried to persuade them to disperse were beaten up. A government order that everyone should go about their daily business was completely ignored. The members of the revolutionary committee went around inciting the people. Meanwhile, Gergesian’s brother shot and killed two soldiers. A two-hour battle broke out between the two sides. The following day the consuls toured the city. On both sides there were over a hundred killed and two to three hundred wounded. Dr. Arslanian, who had submitted a report to the consuls on behalf of the Armenians, was wanted by the government and fled from the city.”

The most important passage in these memoirs is the following:
“During these events a cold foreign wind could be felt blowing from the north. On the occasion of the Armenian demonstrations the Russian Consul, Tevet, visited the Vali and said that if these events had taken place in Russia the rebellious mob would have been utterly crushed. At the same time, he told the Armenian marhasa that life was not worth living under a barbarous administration like that of Turkey.”

Hanazadian writes the following in his memoirs:
“The most remarkable aspect of the affair was the situation of our own people in Trabzon and the other cities. We had believed that the consuls of the European governments would immediately send horrifying accounts of the events to their respective governments and that a solution would at once be found. When this failed to happen we were all left utterly bewildered.

We discussed the matter in our executive committee and reached the following conclusion: To awaken the great European Powers from their stony indifference it would be neccessary to stage a demonstration in the Sultan’s capital, under the Ambassadors’ very noses.

Great hopes and been placed on the Erzurum mutiny, but it had produced none of the results hoped for. Nevertheless, it was a first step.

The Musa Bey Incident

The Kumkap? demonstration staged in Istanbul by the Hunchak Revolutionary Committee was preceded by the Musa Bey incident, which was exploited in various ways by the revolutionary committee in the form of propaganda directed towards a European audience. The incident was used as a basis for bitter complaints concerning the question of the security of Armenian life and property in Turkey.

Musa Bey, a native of Mutki, was the subject of the following complaints:
Complaints and appeals concerning him had been completely ignored in the region. He had been involved in cases of rape and robbery. He had carried off a girl by the name of Gulizar, the niece of a priest from Mu?, taken her to his house, raped her and then given her as wife to his brother, who however, insisted that she become a Moslem. On the girl’s refusal to renounce her faith she was so brutally beaten by Musa that she lost the sight of one eye. Having managed to escape from the house, she went to Istanbul with a group of citizens from Mu? with the intention of lodging a complaint.

Fifty-eight citizens of Mu?, including the priest and the girl herself, presented a petition to the Grand Vizier and the Ministry of Justice. They received no reply. The revolutionary committee arranged for them to have accommodation in a han. On the instigation of the revolutionary committee they cried for mercy during the Friday procession of the Sultan to the mosque, and were thereupon taken into the palace and interrogated.

Musa Bey was brought to Istanbul and tried before a large audience including foreign political representatives and members of the press. Some sixty plaintiffs and witnesses were heard. No grounds were found for an accusation and Musa Bey was acquitted. The whole incident, to which the revolutionary committee had given such importance, produced no result whatever. Nevertheless, it remained a powerful propaganda topic. Photographs were taken of Gulizar, her mother and her uncle, the priest, and hundreds of copies sent out, particularly to foreign countries. It was hoped in this way to arouse Christian zeal.

The newspapers of 13 November 1305 contained a detailed account of the trial, which the Patriarchate and the Revolutionary Committees regarded as partial and unjust, although in actual fact aft the plaintiffs and witnesses had been heard in the presence of foreign observers.

The Kumkapi Demonstration

An account of this demonstration, claimed by the Hunchaks to be the first peaceful demonstration in Istanbul to be held purely to demand justice, was given by one of the organizers, H. Djangulian:

1.- It was felt that a protest demonstration should be held in response to the Musa Bey and Erzurum incidents, otherwise the Armenians would feel that they had been forgotten.
2.- Crimes committed in Anatolia hold little interest for Europe It was essential, therefore, to attract European attention by holding a protest demonstration in the actual presence of the foreign ambassadors.
3.- If Armenian protests had been solely confined to Armenia itself this would have attracted the attention of Russia, who might have grown suspicious and annexed the territory. If, however, demonstrations were held in other provinces, and particularly in the capital, this would attract the attention of other countries. As we found England much more sympathetic to our cause than Russia, the Armenian issue could thus be presented in a way much more in conformity with our own interests.
4.- As the Armenian people were to be found in their own homeland dispersed among people of different races and religions, action taken in the Armenian homeland was doomed to failure. It was thus essential that Armenian operations should be held outside Armenian boundaries. Istanbul was obviously the most suitable centre for such an operation. Istanbul contained more than 200,000 Armenians mostly I single men who had come as workers from other provinces.
5.- The seat of all evil was in Istanbul. Therefore it would be more effective to hold a demonstration there, right in front of the Palace.
6.- Once the spirit of mutiny and rebellion had been awakened in a people who had remained in servitude for five or six hundred years, it was essential that the revolutionaries should take advantage of this and invest it with qualities of a sounder, more basic and widespread character. One of the aims of revolutionary activity was to spread the spirit of rebellion among the people and to render it more effective and productive.
7.- The Turkish government and the Turkish people would then realise that in the present context of Armenian national unity, any blow aimed at Armenia would spark off a reaction in other areas, particularly in Istanbul, a centre of international interest, and in that case they would follow a more cautious policy amid would not dare arrange a new massacre.

The leaders of the revolutionary committee met in the presence of an individual of Russian nationality by the name of Megavorian who lived in a house belonging to a foreigner in one of the back streets in Beyo?lu. At this meeting they decided:

1.- To, inform Sultan AbdulHamid on the first day of Kurban Bayrami through Patriarch Ashikian of their intention to hold a peaceful demonstration on 15 July at the patriarchate and cathedral at Kumkapi.
2.-That the members of the committee Hanazad, Megavorian, Simeon and Rapael, being of Russian nationality, should not take part in the demonstration.
3.- That one member should read out the manifesto from the pulpit during the service, and that two members should be chosen to accompany Patriarch Ashikian to the palace to submit their requests to the Sultan. Another two colleagues were to be chosen by secret ballot to direct the demostration. Djangulian undertook to escort the Patriarch to the palace, while Murad undertook to read the manifesto.

All telephone communication was cut on the Anatolian side. The Hunchaks gathered in the church. Copies were made of the manifesto and distributed to the people. During the service Djangulian ascended the pulpit and read the manifesto. The Patriarch Ashikian, who was conducting the service, fled from the church and took refuge in the Patriarchate. He refused to go to the palace with the members of the revolutionary committee. The Hunchaks occupied the Patriarchatre, broke aft the windows and wreaked considerable damage on the building.

Finally, the Patriarch was forcibly persuaded to accompany them to the palace and was placed in a carriage. A crowd that had gathered there shouted, “Long live the Hunchak Committee! Long live the Armenian people! Long live Armenia! Long live Freedom!” But as the government had already been informed of the situation by the Vartabets Dadjad and Mampre, the carriage was turned back by a troop of soldiers arriving on the spot the revolutionaries opened fire on the soldiers. Djangulian writes that, “Our people savagely flied round upon round at the soldiers, while the soldiers attempted to arrest those who were firing. Six or seven soldiers were seriously wounded, about ten slightly wounded. Two of our own people were killed.” Thus ended the “peaceful” demonstration!

The Armenian manifesto distributed by the organizers of the Kumkapi demonstration may be translated as follows:

“Armenians,
By your demonstration today you wish to publish your demands to the whole world. You know full weft that the realization of these demands will be no easy task. You endanger your lives with every just and legal step you take. But there is no alternative. No matter how terrified you may be, you must take the most extreme action in order to make your voice heard in the world at large and to attain your just objectives. That is the aim of our action today. It is our duty to further our cause, to defend our rights even at the heaviest cost.

What are your demands?
The cause of aft poverty and destitution is the economic situation. That situation must be changed. The soil of your native land is not your own. You plough it. You sow it. You graze your flocks, and you work under the gravest difficulties. But the produce is not your own. You want the land to belong to the farmer, you want everyone to work honourably for his own livelihood. Once your economic demands are met, you will have a responsible assembly, and you yourselves will introduce freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of conscience, freedom of assembly, freedom of association and free elections.

Our demands:
Our deeply respected father, Your Beatitude, the Patriarch:
For many years, Armenia has witnessed arbitrary arrests, unjust decrees, pitiless banishments, and the patience and resignation of the people in the face of such injustices has only resulted in the steady increase in the number of such incidents, and particularly in the wilful damage done in recent years to our schools, our monasteries, our churches and our private dwellings. The same things were witnessed in Erzurum, and as a result of the just complaints of the local inhabitants, this innocent and defenceless people were herded like sheep by rabid troops and mercilessly slaughtered. No importance was given to the Armenian dead, the hundreds, the thousands of wounded, the screams of pregnant women, and such atrocities are perpetrated every day in Van, Mu? and other Armenian towns and cities. Although even the very bread-knives were collected from Armenian homes, fire-arms were distributed to the Turks and Kurds. In the end our native land was placed in a state of siege and every action of every Armenian viewed with suspicion. We declare, on behalf of the Armenian people, that so long as this situation persists, there can be no security of life, property or honour. At the same time, Your Beatitude, the National Council remains indifferent. You are in fact, powerless to find a remedy or provide a cure. That is why we want to take you with us to the Palace to submit the just complaints and requests of the Armenian people.

The Merzifon, Kayseri and Yozgat Incidents

In the years 1892-1893 the Hunchak Revolutionary Committee began to engage in more open activity in Kayseri, Develi, Yozgat, Çorum, Merzifon, Tenus, Aziziye and various other districts. In all these places, notices were hung on the mosque doors and manifestos bearing the Hunchak emblem distributed.

Hunchak activity was organized from the Merzifon centre, which bore the name of The Revolutionary Committe of Lesser Armenia. The leader of the committee was Karabet Tumaian, a teacher in the Merzifon American College, while its secretary was Ohannes Kayaian, a teacher in the same school. Both of them were Protestant Armenians. Tumaian and Kayaian corresponded under the aliases of Baron Meleh and Vahram.

These two men, accompanied by the Protestant preacher Mardiros,first of all visited Çorum, Yozgat, Kayseri, Burhaniye, Tenus, Sivas, Tokat and Amasya, stirring up the Armenians, giving political speeches in the guise of sermons, opening new branches, choosing executive committees, calling upon the Armenians to unite after the divisions caused by the ‘93 Turco-Russian War, declaring the necessity of activities that would attract the attention of foreign powers and engaging in revolutionary propaganda. One of their main activities consisted in uniting the Protestant and Catholic Armenian communities in the national cause.

In 1892 a great revolutionary assembly met in Merzifon. Here it was decided that:
1.- that conventional arms should be supplied,
2.- that the rebels should wear Georgian costume and head-gear,
3.- that the members of the revolutionary committees should buy their own weapons and ammunition,
4.- that the revolutionaries should be divided into groups,
5.- that the entrance money and monthly donations should be allotted to purchasing arms for the destitute,
6.- that subscriptions should be canvassed for the Hunchak newspaper.

Tumaian sent his Swiss wife to France and England to collect money, ostensibly to be used for the building of a hospital in Merzifon, but actually for the revolutionary committee. She spent four and a half years in these countries and collected 3000 pounds sterling for the Hunchaks. At the same time, Jirair of Hachin, the brother of Hamparsum Boyadjian and a member of the revolutionary organization, spread word among the people that Armenians should arm in order to protect their lives in the event of hostilities.

While time Merzifon centre was engaging in this type of activity in the neighbouring region, Andon Rishtoni, one of the representatives of the Hunchak Committee, arrived in Kayseri.

Andon Rishtoni was a native of Istanbul who, after teaching in Armenian schools in Galata, Beyo?lu and Çorlu and spending some time as an actor, had gone to Iskenderun, where he published one or two numbers of an Armenian newspaper. He finally returned to Istanbul in a state of complete destitution. As his association with the organizers of the Kumkap? incident had brought him to the attention of the authorities he fled from Istanbul to Athens where, on the instructions of the Hunchak Committee, he and the Russian Leon Parseh were entrusted with instigating rebellion among the Armenians in Adana. These two activists went first of all to Cyprus, where they managed to procure British passports, and thence to Mersin. Leon was expelled by the government, while Rishtoni went on to Adana. From there he proceeded to Everek in the province of Kayseri, where he spoke in the churches. From there he went to Talas, finally settling down with the priest Daniel in the Divonik monastery, which he had selected as the centre for his activities. While there, he engaged, with Daniel’s help, in various acts of incitement and provocation. He then joined Jirayir in distributing the notices and manifestos prepared by the Merzifon centre to the people in the various towns and villages.

The guerilla bands operating under the instructions of the Derevenk and Merzifon revolutionary centres acted in accordance with a carefully thought out plan:

The Osmandj?k mailcoach was intercepted and the drivers and zaptiyes attacked.
Guerillas by the name of Zaropian of Gürün, Toros, Gülbenk, Kasbar and Serop killed the guard, Ibrahim, and the driver, and seized the horses, weapons and money. They then attacked the Derbend karakol (guard house) between Çorum and Merzifon and murdered the Derband zaptiyes.

Activists by the name of Panos and Misak robbed the mall-coach belonging to the salt mines. They also seized the horse belonging to Izzet, a guard in the service of the Commission for Public Debt, and brought it to Deverenk. There the priest Daniel, who had previously altered the color of the horse, killed it.

Ismail, the driver of the Maden mafi-coach, and the zaptiye Necip were both murdered.
Three activists by the name of Gülbenk, Panos and Mihirdjan, while passing through Ankara on their way back from Istanbul, seized a coach, strangled the driver, Kaltakç?o?lu Köse Hasan, on the Yozgatroad, and buried him in a ditch. They then seized his horses, his watch and his money, later selling the horses in Tokat.

Rishtoni was arrested in the Deverenk monastery where he was staying. A letter of commission from the Hunchak Committee dated 29 July 1892 was found on his person, together with the official seal. A search carried out in the monastery yielded a number of other documents, and Tumaian and Kayaian, both teachers in the American College, were revealed as the organizers of the incidents.

This, then, is an objective and impartial account of an event that caused such a sensation in the European press.

For more information on these punitive expeditions one may turn to the account given by M. Ximenes, who remained in Bitlis throughout these incidents until November 1894.

“On the request of the governor of Bitlis, Zeki Pasha was given orders to send in troops for the restoration of order. Four battalions were mustered to disperse the rebels. The soldiers encountered a force of 3000 Armenian rebels on the slope of a mountain. They first of all hurled stones and insults at the troops. Then they opened fire, and the soldiers fired back. Later the rebels collected in a narrow valley. The soldiers marched on their position. The Turkish commanding officer tried to persuade the rebels to come to terms and disperse. Some of them accepted his advice, but most of them stood their ground patiently and stubbornly. The soldiers twice opened fire. Altogether three hundred rebels were killed.

This was the only real confrontation in the whole series of incidents. It is true that several prisoners were taken, but these were later freed.”

While investigations were continuing in Mu?, another appeal for the implementation of reforms in the six provinces was made by Great Britain, Russia and France, who joined together to submit the well-known May reform project It was while this project was being discussed that the Hunchaks arranged a demonstration at the Sublime Porte.

CONCLUSIONS

The apparent aim of the acts of Armenian terrorism committed against Turkey and Turkish citizens in the years between 1973 and 1985 - the murders, the massacres, the kidnappings, the woundings, the bombings, and so on - was to turn the “Armenian Question”, which began in the 19th Century during the Ottoman imperial period and which persisted until the territories of the great state were divided, broken up, and occupied, into a subject - newly conceptualized as the “Armenian Cause”- that would be talked about and debated by world opinion and for which solutions would be developed. Nevertheless, it was impossible any longer to refer to the existence either of an “Ottoman empire” or of an “Armenian minority in Anatolia”. The disappearance of the Ottoman Empire from its historical location took place with a national struggle brought about by the Turkish nation and the Republic of Turkey was founded. This struggle is one that could serve as an example to the history of all mankind and the foundations of the newly-formed state rested on the principles of human rights, freedom, and independence. All the people living in its territory were Turkish citizens and were struggling to grow and develop in affluence, peace, and happiness. The Republic of Turkey was a European state, a member of NATO, and one of the most respected (and earliest) members of the United Nations. It was a country that felt worry whenever disorder or disquiet occurred anywhere in the world and that made every effort to do what it could to eliminate such conditions. In the region where Turkey was located - from the Pacific Ocean to the Aegean and from the North Sea to the Mediterranean - it was the only country that was attempting to achieve its development and growth under the principles of democracy, principles whose existence Turkey regarded as indispensable elements. It was engaged in no disputes - neither over land nor over interests of any other sort - with any other country whatsoever.

This then in general outline is the picture as it appeared in 1973 of the country and its citizens that Armenian terrorism took as its target.

Before the eyes of the world this terrorism, which could never for any reason or cause be justified and which was rejected by nearly all Armenians living around the world, led to the death of nearly a hundred sons of Turkey and to the wounding of nearly three times that number of Turkish citizens. Turkish diplomats, believing themselves to be under the protection of the country in which they were located, were attacked and murdered and the missions of the Turkish foreign ministry suffered heavy, irreplaceable losses. These losses gave rise to important debilities in the general policies of European states and particularly in their relations with countries of the Middle and Far East. Their influence was reduced and the vacuum created was not restored for a long time.

Armenian terror required years of preparation in the form the dissemination of propaganda and those who wished to keep the subject of the Armenians fresh in people’s minds by distorting historical events made use as their theme a thesis that they put forth. The force of their psychological effect was based on this theme as well. They began to work up on a comprehensive scale the notion that in 1915 the Ottoman Empire had the intention of committing a purposeful, planned, and organized slaughter of its own Armenian subjects; that it deported them; and that in this way it endeavored to destroy the Armenian race. It was explained that the terrorism being caused was being committed to take revenge for these events and that modern-day Turkey was responsible for incidents taking place in 1915. It was also announced that the murders and massacres that were perpetrated would, by putting pressure on the Republic of Turkey, lead to the realization of the matters being demanded of it Things went so far that one even encountered books and articles that held up and treated Armenian terrorism as a “new war of independence model”. The more this theme was worked, the more terrorism was committed. Every murder, every killing took place for this theme, spread the theme, embellished the theme. In short, it was almost as if they attempted to make it seem as if the people being killed, destroyed, and maimed were the ones responsible because Turkey refused to accept the demands of Armenian terrorists. From police flies to courthouse corridors, from congressional lobbies to plenary sessions, the “deportation thesis” was made the subject of debate in virtually every investigation, study, or trial concerned with the subject and was employed to garner political support. All attention was drawn to it.

Just as took place in the past, a number of countries that had designs on or expectations concerning the territory that Turkey possessed as its homeland and its resources saw in Armenian terrorism a means by which they might realize those designs and expectations or at the very least, prepare in the medium or long term the ground for conditions under which they might be realized. Binding their hopes to such terrorism they became its encouragers and supporters. They provided terrorists with money, shelter, and means. For them, the “Armenian deportation” was a branch to cling to. Through publications and broadcasts in their own country they sought to take charge of the “Armenian cause” with so-called research and studies. They made their own people and electorates interested directly or indirectly in Armenian matters. In short, they tried to make the “Armenian Question” a vehicle for and the material of their foreign and domestic policies. But in the end, the questions and subjects that stuck in people’s minds could no longer be resolved by means of Armenian terror, furthermore, terror began to threaten those who had encouraged and supported it Those who, until that day, had attached no importance to the murder and massacre of Turks and who even out of historical hatred applauded such acts, now one by one began taking sides against terrorism and the terrorism stopped. The propaganda however has not: activity in the form of a planned psychological operation with a variety of goals and aimed at many target audiences has continued. The subject has now taken on the appearance of examining historical sources for the existence - nor non-existence - of deportation and the present situation and consequence appears to have turned into a search through archives and documents.

Thus it is that the Foundation wishes to serve, through this series, by publishing documents for those who wish to seek, discover, and learn the truth. In the preceding pages we have summarized how Russia and the countries of Europe approached the subject of the Armenians within the system set up and fostered by the Congress of Berlin. This volume presents for the attention of public opinion the “Talori Incidents”, which served as the most important (and also most typical model) of the mechanism whereby the system of the Berlin treaty could be put into action. The mechanism, back in the 1890’s, was to focus world public opinion on the Ottoman Empire and bring about the intervention of European countries by dragging the empire’s Armenian subjects into rebellion and revolution and causing them pain and agony. Today, a hundred years later, the goals of this terrorism committed against Turks outside Turkey is to influence world public opinion, increase the pressure exerted by particular countries on Turkey, hinder the development of the Republic of Turkey, and create threatening and dangerous conditions in Turkey and abroad and thereby prevent the continuance of stability in the region. If through this series the reader is able to make comparisons to the current events of his day on the one hand while on the other following activities and events that took place in the history of the past, then he will be able to look forward to the next century with greater hope and more human values.

The sole aim of the Foundation in this service is to put forth the facts and thereby prevent the further distortion of events and keep societies and individuals from regarding one another with feelings of hostiliy and ultimately to contribute to the abandonment of people’s feelings of malice, hatred, and revenge - even if only where in this matter is concerned.

For years these two men had been printing the committee manifestos in the college printing press and attempting to win over to the Armenian cause al the young Armenians attending the college. Their arrest sparked off an Armenian mutiny in Merzifon. A number of the demonstrators were arrested and tried in the Court of Appeal in Ankara. Tumaian, Kayaian and a few others were sentenced to death, while others were given various punishments.

Protestant newspapers and religious circles in England appealed to the Sultan and the Ottoman government only on behalf of the Protestants Tumaian and Kayaian. They were both pardoned. Tumaian went to London, where he became one of the most influential members of the revolutionary committee. At meetings held there he was always introduced as an innocent, much-wronged Armenian.

The letter written by Sir Clare Ford to Lord Roseberry contains some interesting information regarding Armenian activity in Merzifon and the situation of the Armenians there.

Sir Clare Ford to the Earl of Rosebery - (Received May 31.)
Constantinople, May 27, 1893.
My Lord

I have the honour to forward to your Lordship herewith copy of a Memorandum which I have received from Sir A. Nicolson respecting an interview which he had yesterday with certain American gentlemen who had just arrived from Marsovan and district.
I have, &c.

(Signed) Francis Clare Ford

Memorandum
(Confidential)

The Rev. Dr. Smith, Dr. Farnsworth, and Surgeon Dodd came to see me this morning, being introduced by the Rev. Joseph Greene. The first of these gentlemen lives at Marsovan, while Dr. Farnsworth and Mr. Dodd reside at Caesarea. All these gentlemen have no doubts but that numerous Secret Societies existed among the Armenians; that the members of these Societies were determined and desperate; that they were procuring arms and collecting money; that their aims were distinctly revolutionary; that they blindly obeyed the orders of the head-quarters of these Societies; that they did not flinch from assassination when instructed, and that they were commencing to exercise a terrorism over their more peaceably disposed compatriots. Dr. Farnsworth and Mr. Dodd were more explicit, and appeared to have fuller information on the subject than the other two gentlemen. They informed me that the seditious movement was not confined to the Gregorian Armenians, but was also extending among the Protestants; that the members of the Societies were becoming more outspoken in their views and intentions, stating that they would in the summer take to the mountains, exercise brigandage, and make the life of a zaptieh a burden to him; and that they would compel the attention of the Powers to the Armenian question, The Mussulman population was becoming alarmed, and a serious tension of feeling was arising between Moslem and Christian. Dr. Smith told me that to his knowledge some Russian agents at Marsovan, Amasia, and another place whose name l have forgotten, were instigating and encouraging the movement. The revolutionary party no doubt, the gentleman added, received indirect encouragement from the sympathy and interest which the Armenian grievances evoked in England and other countries, and of late their attitude had become bolder and more aggressive. The terrorism they exercised over their more tranquil compatriots was increasing, and some murders which had recently occurred of supposed informers or lukewarm supporters had deepened the fear of the peaceable. The latter felt, in many instances, compelled to contribute to the secret funds; if they refused they were liable to serious consequeuces; if they agreed they ran the risk of being discovered by the Government and impeached for conspiracy - an awkward dilemma. Dr. Farnsworth was of opinion that the majority of the Armenians were in sympathy with the objects of the movement, though not with the methods. Both he and Mr. Dodd considered that the Armenians have no special grievances as Armenians; in any case, they were not worse off than the Greek rayah, and in many respects they suffered equally with the Moslem subject. The evil results of a corrupt and unjust administration fell equally on the Moslem and the Christian, while the former had no foreign Power to take his interests to heart. Equality before the law perhaps did not exist, the evidence of a Christian was scarcely considered of the same value as that of a Moslem, but this would necessarily always be the case. Still, during the last ten years there had been an improvement in the lot of the Christians, and both Dr. Farnsworth and Mr. Dodd considered evidently that, on the whole, there was no justification for the sedition among the Armenians, which they considered very prevalent and possibly very dangerous in the near future. Both these gentlemen had seen M. Tumaian recently at Angora and found him in good health and well cared for.

The general impression I received fom a conversation with these gentlemen, all men of experience and of good knowledge of the country, and especially of the Armenians, was that the seditious movement is more widely spread and more active than we had imagined, and the vanguard of the revolutionary party are more desperate than was believed, and desirous of bringing about a state of things which may, in a different field and in a different degree perhaps, be similar to the situation in Bulgaria before the war.

May 26, 1893

After the Kumkap? incident the suspicions of the Hunchak Committee were aroused and attacks began to be made on Armenians thought to be government supporters.

Hatchik, a lawyer, was murdered by a fifteen year old Armenian boy by the name of Armenak.

Dadjad Vartabet, a preacher in the Gedik Pasha church, was torn to pieces.
Mampre Vartabet, who had been chosen member of the clerical assembly, was wounded in an assassination attempt.

The Patriarch Ashikian was suspected of having revealed the committee’s plans to the Ottoman government, and was wounded in an assassination attempt carried out in the church of the Patriarchate on 25 March 1894 by Agop of Diyarbakir, a young Armenian who had been chosen by lot by the committee. The Montenegrin revolver used by the assassin failed to fire and the young Armenian was arrested.

On 10 May 1894 an attempt was made by two militants under the orders of the Hunchak committee on the life of Simon Maksut, believed to be a Mend of the Patriarch, in front of Havyar Han in Galata.

Information on these two assassination attempts was sent to the French Foreign Ministry by M. Cambon, the French Ambassador in Istanbul:

From M. Cambon to Casimir Perier

Beyo?lu: 3 June 1894

Last Sunday just as the Patriarch Ashikian was leaving the Kumkapi chuch after the service to return to the patriarchate, an eighteen year old Armenian youth aimed a revolver at him and fired several times. The revolver was faulty and none of the bullets hit the Patriarch, who fainted and was taken home and given treatment. The young Armenian was taken to the police station and, when interrogated as to the reason for his attempt at assassination declared that Ashikian was an enemy of the Armenians, that he had frequently given information to the government and that the Armenians had sworn oath to get rid of him. At the same he declared that both he and his co-religionists were loyal subjects of the Sultan.

Cambon.

From Cambon to the Minister of the Interior, Hanotaux

Beyo?lu: 3 June 1894

An attempt was made a few days ago in Istanbul on the life of a member of the Armenian community. This person, who is now out of danger, is Simon Maksud Bey, a rich banker and one of the contractors employed by the Ministry of War. Maksud Bey, who was also head dragoman to the Patriarchate and a member of the Patriarchate popular assembly, had long been regarded by his co-religionists as a traitor in the pay of the Turks. Last year, when the Sultan forbade any celebrations to be held on the occasion of his granting the Armenian National Constitution, Maksut Bey had refused to work for the lifting of the ban. Since then he has been regarded by the Armenians activists and militants with the most vehement detestation.

The Armenian labourers who attempted his assassination had suffered a great deal at the hands of the Kurds and the Turkish officials.

There can be no doubt that we are here confronted with a political crime. The assassins were carrying documents and letters written by the Armenian Revolutionary Committee and they confessed that they had been hired for the purpose by a person by the name of Levon. They said they had been given arms by the militants, who told them that they wished in this way to issue a warning to the various members of the upper classes of the Armenian community who, since the attempt on the life of the Patriarch, had become friends of the Turks and traitors to the national cause. By these various operations the revolutionaries hoped to strike at the government in the capital rat her than merely in the provinces, thus making their activities more highly effective over a much wider area.

The fact that the Sultan was greatly shocked by the assassination attempt is proved by the large number of arrests made by the Istanbul police.

Cambon

After the Kumkapi incident Murad Hamparsum Boyadjian became leader of the Istanbul branch of the Hunchak Revolutionary Committee.

About this time Vart Badrikian arrived from the Caucasus as a representative of the Hunchaks. He was arrested a couple of months later but, being a Russian subject, he was handed over to the Russian Embassy. Ardavazt Ohandjanian was sent from the Caucasus to take his place. The assassination attempts were made during his period of office.

The First Sasun Mutiny

Sasun, famous for its mutinies, was at that time a kaza connected to the administrative centre in Siirt containing over a hundred villages and situated about fourteen hours from Mu?. Nearby were the kazaz of Mutid and Garzan. The mountainous and inaccessible nature of the terrain made it difficult for the government to exert any great influence. The people, including the Armenians, spoke a mixed language of Zaza and Kurdish.

Accordingto V. Cuinet the distribution of the population of Sasun was as follows:

Muslim 10,370
Armenian 8,389
Yezidi 970
Others 372
Total 20,101

Although no census was carried out, Armenians probably made up one fifth of the population, the rest being Kurds.

In the 1890’s the district was toured for three years by an Armenian by the name of Mihran Damadian, who disseminated Hunchak propaganda and incited the people to revolt. On information given by the Armenians this man was arrested in 1893, taken to Istanbul for trial and later freed.

The Sasun mutiny, which place some time after the Kumkap? incident, was organized by the Hunchak Revolutionary Committee with the sole purpose of inviting foreign intervention, and was carried out according to a plan prepared by Murad (Hamparsum Boyadjian).

On his way to Sasun, Murad passed through Caucasia, where he received help and support from the Dashnaktsution Committee. On arriving in Sasun he collected a number of Armenians around him and began to prepare his plans.

Before the actual incident, a letter in the name of the Hunchak Committee appeared in the third number of the Hunchak newspaper, dated 1894, which clearly heralded the storm that was about to break. This letter was written by Armenak from the village of K?z?la?aç in the province of Mu?, who went by the alias of Hrair Tjokh and continued working in that region until the second Sasun mutiny of 1904. The letter was as folows:

“Brother Armenians,
A t last the day we have been awaiting for centuries has arrived. The bells ring out from the hills of Sasun, red flags wave from the mountains, carried by a people whose humanity and Armenian soul have been trampled underfoot. The hour of vengeance has struck. The time has come for a decision to be made on the life or death of the oppressor.

Today the Armenian cause is entering its latest and most glorious phase. The resignation and submission of the destitute, the sighs and silence of the humiliated, the stifled complaints of the oppressed, will soon be replaced by the roaring of a lion.”

According to Varandian:

“The Hunchak organization was in a weak position. They were anxious to do something as quickly as possible and to produce a stir.

The inhabitants of Sasun fought heroically, even with their fairly primitive weapons, against the Kurds, but they were unable to withstand the attack by regular troops. In August 1894 the Armenians annihilated the Kurds after a successful onslaught and were about to carry off their flocks when they were suddenly surrounded on all sides by troops. No one has ever been able to give even an approximate number of the Armenians killed. Some say six or seven thousand, others say around one thousand. Probably the latter is nearer the truth.”

This mutiny, which had been carried out with the sole aim of attracting the attention of foreign countries, was reported abroad by the Patriarchate and the revolutionary committees in the bloodiest and most sensational manner. Meetings were held in support of the Armenians in various European capitals and statements made in the various parliaments. Everywhere, references were made to the responsibility Britain had assumed in signing the Cyprus Convention.

Hallward, the British consul in Van, wished to go to Sasun to examine the situation but the Ottoman government, who regarded him as one of the instigators of the rebellion, refused to grant him the necessary permisson.

The government set up a commission to carry out investigations on the spot and applied to the American government for a consul that would participate in the work. This appeal, however, was turned down by the American government.

The British Embassy at first wished to sent Colonel Chermside, the Military Attaché, to the spot, but later abondoned the idea. Mr. Shipley, Dragoman to the Embassy, was appointed assistant to the Consul in Erzurum, and was ordered to visit the site of the incident.

After a great deal of correspondence, the principle was finally accepted that the states with Consuls in Erzurum, namely, France, Great Britain and Russia, should participate in the work of the Ottoman investigation commission. These were to be present at the meetings as observers, and could, if necessary, ask questions.

The commission appointed by the government was to be presided over by ?efik Bey, head of the petition department of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Omer bey, the Director of the Emniyet Sand???, Celalettin Bey, President of the Criminal Court of Appeal and Mecit Efendi, from the Ministry of the Interior. The consuls taking part as observers were Vilbert, the French Consul, the Russian Consul-General Jevalsky, and the British Consul, Shipley.

The commission carried out investigations for six months, from 4 January to 21 July 1895. It held 108 meetings and heard more than 190 witnesses. Omer Bey had to resign from the commission on 29 January on his appointment as deputy Governor in Bitlis. Murad was arrested on 23 August.

A certain amount of fight is shed on the situation by the following rather more accurate passages of the reports of the Consuls, which tend on the whole, as is only to be expected, to be biased in favour of the Armenians:

“After those events, Hamparsum Boyadjian, a native of Adana who had studied medecine in Istanbul and Geneva and who employed the alias “Murad” to avoid recognition, arrived in the Talori region accompanied by an armed band, one of the members of which was Damadian, an old friend of his whom he had recently met.

He toured the villages in the Kavar region under the pretext of carrying out madical practice, inciting the Armenians to free themselves from Kurdish domination. But neither he nor the five companions whom he had supplied with arms and ammunition for their defence, could offer a convincing explanation of their presence in the mountains. One of them gave as a reason the wrongs he and his family had suffered at the hands of the Kurds. Practically aft the Armenian witnesses said that they had never heard the name “Murad”. On the other hand, the Kurds and the government witnesses said that they had heard the name. It was impossible, under these circumstances, for the Commission to Investigation to collect the information necessary for a true understanding of the event It would appear from the evidence collected that he and his colleagues roamed around the Talori regions and the neighbouring villages and sometimes even the mountains giving, as he himself confirmed, advice on relations between the Armenians and the Kurds, persuading the former to engage in revolutionary struggle and the second to withhold government taxes in order to attract attention.

Furthermore, the notebook filled with patriotic poems that was discovered on his person and employed in his attempts at provocation, as well as notes forming the beginning of a letter written in pencil, which he admitted to be his own, describing the events of 1894, clearly prove that Murad, like Damadian, had arrived in the country on a secret mission with the aim of sowing discord between the Armenians and the Kurds.”

Another passage from the reports runs as follows:
“It is impossible to deny the propaganda work, or the fact that Murad and his friends took part in the first armed conflicts.”

The Armenians had set great hopes on the Sasun mutiny. They had hoped that the mutiny would lead to European intervention and the realization of Armenian aspirations. A great deal of money for the prosecution of the mutiny was collected by the Hunchaks in Istanbul and other provinces by the sale of tickets bearing the Hunchak emblem.

During the Sasun incidents the Russian Armenians appealed to the Catholicos Khrimian in Etchmiadzin to intervene in favour of the Armenians in Turkey. The Catholicos, in spite of his advanced age and the inclemency of the winter weather, immediately set out for St Petersburg, where he told the Emperor that the Armenians in Turkey looked upon him as their sole protector and were awaiting his help and protection. Khrimian’s appeal produced an intense political reaction The British Ambassador Sir Philip Curries told the Patriarch Izmirlian that he was amazed that the Catholicos should make such an appeal at a time when the Armenian Question was being discussed on the international forum.

Vte. des Coursons gives the following account of the Sasun mutiny:

“Murad (Hamparsum Boyadjian) deceived the Armenians by hinting at British support for the Sasun mutiny. In March 1895 the text of a circular sent from London was published in the French newspapers. This circular had been sent to Vehabedian, the Marhasa of Adana, and the spiritual leaders of the Armenian church.”

As for the incident itself, the best thing would be to quote the article in the New York Herald Tribune, a newspaper that could never be accused of partiality for the Turks.

“European observers are of the opinion that the Armenian revolt was instigated by Armenians from abroad. The rebels were armed with the most up - to - date weapons from England. After committing crimes of arson murder and looting they resisted an attack carried out by regular troops and withdrew to the mountains. The investigating committee concluded that the Ottoman government was fully justified in dispatching troops against the rebels. These troops were able to defeat the rebels only after a bloody conflict. It takes more than persuasive words or newspaper articles to overcome a body of nearly three thousand well-armed rebels who have taken refuge in inaccessible mountains.

The Armenians ringleaders appeared in the Talori Mts. to the south of Sasun and Mu?, between Bitlis and Genç. Here they were joined by a person by the name of Hamparsum who had already instigated disorders in the region under the alias of Murat, and placed their forces under his command. This Hamparsum had been born in Hachin and had studied medicine in Istanbul for eight years. After taking part in the Kumkap? demonstration he had fled first to Athens and then to Geneva, after which he returned to Bitlis via Iskenderun and Diyarbakir in disguise and under a false name. He there joined with five others in subsersive activities. Hamparsum tricked the simple people into believing that he had been sent by the European Powers to overthrow Turkish domination and thus succeeded in realizing his murderous plans.

They first of all occupied the Talori region which included the villages of Siner, Simai, Gülli-Güzat, Ahi, Hedenk, Sinank, Çekind, Effard, Musson, Etek, Akcesser. In 1894, leaving their wives, children and property in these inaccessible spots, the Armenians joined forces with other armed bands coming from the Silvan districts in the plain of Mu?, after which the whole body of 3000 men gathered in the Andok Mt. Five or six hundred wished to surround Mu?, and started off by attacking the Delican tribe to the south of the city. They slaughtered a number of the tribe and seized their goods. The religious beliefs of the Muslims who well into their hands were derided and disparaged, and the Muslims themselves murdered in the most frightful manner. The rebels also attacked the regular troops in the vicinity of Mu?, but the large numbers of the regular forces prevented them from occupying the city.

The rebels joined the bandits in the Andok Mts., carrying out the most frightful massacres and looting among the tribes of the neighbourhood. They burned Omer Agha’s nephew alive. They raped a number of Turkish women at a spot three or four hours’ distance from Gülli-güzat and then strangled them.

At the beginning of August the rebels attacked the Faninar, Bekiran and Badikan tribes, perpetrating equally horrible atrocities. The rebels in the villages of Yermut and Ealigernuk in the nahiye of Cinan in the kaza of Cal attacked the Kurds in the neighbourhood, as well as the villages of Kaisser and Çatçat.

Towards the end of August, the Armenians attacked the Kurds in the vicinity of Mu? and burned down three or four villages, including Gülli-Güzat. As for the 3000 rebels in Talori, they continued to spread death and destruction among the Muslims and other Christian communities, refusing to lay down their arms. Regular troops were finally sent to force them to submit.

Hamparsum fled to the mountains with eleven other rebels. He was finally captured alive, but only after he had killed two soldiers and wounded six. By the end of August all the rebels had been crushed.

The women, the children, the aged and the lame were treated by the Turks in accordance with the charity and humanity characteristic of Islam. The rebels who died were those who refused to surrender and preferred to continue fighting against the legitimate government of the country.”


2) Armenian Terrorism , Cengiz KÜRSAD

FOREWORD
Armenian terrorism throughout history has manifested aft the characteristics of an organized movement. This was also the case between 1973 and 1985, when the Turkish Republic and Turkish citizens were selected as the target of terrorist attacks in an attempt to influence public opinion not only in Turkey and the dispersed Armenian communities but also throughout the world. What are the real reasons lying behind the murders, attacks, bombings and massacres - the destruction of life and property which has continued up to the present and has been carried out mostly by one, sometimes by more than one Armenian organizations? What structure, what connections do these Armenian organizations have which compete with each other to claim responsibility for such actions, and which, by the very magnitude of their terrorist operations and the murders they commit, try to gain publicity not only for their organizations but also for the rivalry and power struggles among them? What are their aims, aspirations, policies and strategies? From where and from whom do they obtain support?

In order to find the true answer to these and similar questions and to reach unanimity of opinion, it is necessary first of aft to state clearly the essence of the Armenian problem in the years 1973 to 1985. The differences of opinion and approach in relation to the Armenian question or the “Armenian cause” - the “Hai Tahd” which was so important during the period just mentioned - have served to draw a veil over Armenian terrorism and to obscure from world opinion its true meaning as weft as the threat it presents, thus precluding any effective world reaction.

It is wrong to attribute the reasons for the failure to state the Armenian problem consistently and accurately to the attitudes and actions of the Armenian terrorist organizations and to hold them responsible for the obscurity surrounding their activities. On the contrary, these organizations have taken advantage of the state of confusion created by those, directly or indirectly involved, whose aspirations and interests lie in keeping the question alive under various pretexts. The ambiguities, arguments and conflicts have served to prolong their chances of survival. Especially during the period from 1973 to 1985, Armenian terrorism derived the greatest psychological and moral support from writers, politicians, the church and religious associations still clinging to the crusading spirit with regard to the Turkish people. They have aft sought to model the Armenian cause, as weft as the terrorist activities connected with it, on the various national liberation struggles that have arisen on account of developments in the world over the last fifty years. These terrorist activities are thus seen as part of a national liberation struggle, and the terrorist activists are acclaimed as heroes.

Propaganda and Psychological Pressure

The continual campaign of intensive and widespread propaganda and organized psychological pressure has had a tremendous effect in promoting the various contradictory view points on the Armenian question. It has become the practice, when interpreting and assessing particular historical events, to prejudge the issue under the psychological pressure of a “theme” or “themes” determined by a propaganda campaign. Such an approach, on the one hand, prevents the problems and issues from being viewed as a whole; on the other hand, it allows the conclusions reached to be turned into propaganda material for political ends on subjects already researched and documented, which in effect, fail within the scope of historical judgment There is actually nothing new in this. Thousands of pages of political history are filed with similar speculation. In the present day too, such a method is being sanctioned by states, under cover of organizations they have founded, supported and maintained to operate against countries which are or are likely to become their rivals.

In the new phase of Armenian terrorism from 1973 to 1985, the clearest example of the approach discussed above can be seen in the way the idea of “genocide” or “mass murder of the Armenians” has been promoted, manipulated and exploited. This campaign of propaganda and psychological pressure which sustains Armenian terrorism has succeeded in winning over active public support in many countries. From the standpoint of their aspirations and interests in the region within the borders of Turkey, some nations view Armenian terrorism as a means of threatening and undermining the stability of the country; others see it as a counterforce that will erode Turkey’s growing strength and development, which the consider an obstacle to future activities. Regardless of their stance, they aft zealously promote the manipulation and exploitation at every opportunity and at every level of the theme of “genocide”.

As a result, a claim which runs counter to historical fact has at the national level gained a place on the agenda of various parliamentary groups and associations and has at the international level become the subject of discussion and debate. Thus, the grounds used to justify terrorism have become the very instrument for legitimizing it. It is natural that the contradictions inherent in such an approach should render impossible any true understanding of the Armenian question and should lead to the chaos which in turn sustains terrorism. All the debates over whether “genocide” did or did not take place, closely bound up as they are with a vigorous campaign of psychological pressure and propaganda, have ensured the persistence of this state of chaos. In so far as fictive claims acquire the force of propaganda, they achieve more in the short and even medium term than honest and serious attempts to present the facts. Furthermore, when such claims are bound up with numerous vested interests and aspirations, scientific truth, historical fact and common sense are set aside, only to be superseded by vague promises of opportunities and conditions to be created by those who promote and sanction these claims. Expectations of material gain and power quickly breed lies and a thirst for blood and violence, as opposed to knowledge and common sense.

Towards the end of the Second World War, the theme of “Armenian genocide” again became topical. At the end of the war, it was exploited as the subject of political debates and demands among the victorious powers, especially during the period of dispute between the USA and USSR over the straits, the Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern question. Upon the failure to achieve any results, the theme was next taken up by the masterminds of psychological warfare and dealers in terrorism. Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, they exploited the issue, using lies, fictitious events, hearsay reports charged with violence and hatred, and false documents of all kinds. Through the press and publications, audio-visual media, monuments and memorial ceremonies, they touted their ideas first among the Armenian youth, then among politicians anxious to win votes, those seeking a new order in the world, proponents of human rights at the price of blood and violence and finally among academic circles in pursuit of self-interest as if it were scientific truth. As a result, the way was prepared for the new phase of Armenian terrorism during the period from 1983 to 1985 and for the situation exposed in this work (See IV, section ill).

The ensuing panorama of violence, which has included massacres, murders, attacks, raids and bombings, has served to blur the Armenian question even further, to obscure the reality of the situation and, from the point of view of the policies and courses of action they have pursued, to reduce states to the level of mere dealers in terrorism.

Political Means and Costs

Another reason for the contradictions surrounding the Armenian question is the mistaken view that the declared policies of states and their secret ambitions and goals are distinct from each other. In effect, states establish all their policies on the basis of their objectives, aspirations and goals. Careful never to lose sight of the main goal, they are led by opportunity and circumstance to pursue policies and courses of action, merely in order to attain interim goals. As they zigzag hither and thither within the political process, they can, therefore, appear to believe in causes they do not believe in, accept opinions and ideas they do not sanction and even sacrifice on the short term a part of their own interests. Just as important for states as these interests are the choice of the appropriate means to secure them and the price required to be paid; otherwise the specific goals of a policy cannot be achieved. In international relations, the means that rival states will use to gain political advantage and attain their national goals are diplomacy, psychological pressure and war. The cost will be determined and delimited by the extent of their national strength. Just as states do not have recourse to war, except in emergency situations, to achieve their medium and long-term goals, so too they do not deploy their entire resources or even a significant part of them for this purpose. On the contrary, they prefer the cost which must be paid to secure their own interests to be borne by weak states, torn by domestic problems and open to corruption, or by dependent states and their citizens. It is, in effect, through the sacrifice of the lives, property and value systems of the people of other states that nations attain their ends. They consider it natural to do so; thus, their declared policies stand in open contradiction to their activities behind the scenes. It is generally possible to determine time ambitions and goals of every state and political organization in the world, but confusion and secrecy are inherent in the means to be used, the resources to be deployed and the price to be paid in order to achieve these goals. In short, it is not always clear who will pay the price.

To conclude, the situation outlined above clearly lies at the root of the contradictions between, on the one hand, the declared stand and policies of nations with regard to the Armenian question and, on the other hand, the means they use and the price they will pay to attain their goals. The Armenians, however, have not understood, or appear not to have understood these contradictions. Even today can the Armenian terrorist organizations in particular accept the reality of the situation we have tried to explain? It is dufficult to say; they do not give much cause for hope.

Mistakes and Fallacies

In so far as can be ascertained from events in recent history and from the main causes of the resumption of Armenian terrorism during the period from 1973 to 1985, the principal terrorist activists and the leaders of Armenian terrorist movements have taken for granted that certain states, having taken a stand as defenders of the Armenian cause, can therefore use, as required, every means available through the international networks to support It. The activists have also taken for granted that these states will meet the cost of terrorism from their own national resources and strength. In every period, they have seen evidence of attitudes and actions to support these views. However, through out history and also in our own day, they have wrongly identified the real intentions and goals of the states backing Armenian terrorism. They have not taken into consideration that the activities of such states which support and actively encourage terrorism are only of value to these states in terms of their own national goals and that, as soon as these goals are attained, there will be no further interest either in an Armenian cause or in the Armenians. An even more important mistake on their part is their seeing a parallel between the issues concerning the Armenians and the national goals of those states actively encouraging and supporting terrorism. In general during the 1960’s, all Armenian writers and leaders maintained that European and American protection against the Soviet Union could be secured on condition that an Armenian state comprising time eastern and south-eastern regions of Anatolia were established. During the 1973-1985 phase of Armenian terrorism, one group of ideologists was stipulating this same condition for the security of the Soviet Union, while another group was doing the same for the future of the Middle East at the same time, yet another group of writers was repeating the old claims. The situation today does not appear to have changed much, Approaches such as the above only serve to obscure the Armenian question in the eyes of the world.

Models

One of the factors causing difficulty in defining the Armenian problem and one of the sources of the contradictions among the various public opinions on the question is the view that Armenian terrorism has used Zionist methods, with Zionism and the establishment of the state of Israel as its model. The link between Zionism and the Armenian cause began in the period of opposition against Abdül Hamid. Some time later the theoreticians and practitioners of Zionism offered their assistance to Abdül Hamid in the face of the Armenian rebellions and acts of terrorism. In exchange, they sought the Sultan’s help on the question of ”the establishment of a Jewish homeland”. The contacts and links which Zionism has forged for its own ends with the Armenian terrorist organizations figure among the major events of history.

What are the real reasons for the efforts to take historical events as the reference point in the search for new systems and models for Armenian terrorism and for the attempts to identify it with Zionism and the establishment of the state of Israel? The primary alum of the supporters of terrorism who suggest such views is to keep the theme of “genocide” constantly alive by associating it with “the genocide of the Jews”, which aroused revulsion throughout the whole world. They hope, secondly, to win Zionism over to the side of Armenian terrorism by taking the memories of historical events and distorting them to secure the support of Israel against the so-called common foe.

Within the framework of the search for this same new model and system, Armenian terrorism has united itself with the Palestinian liberation struggle, for which it has won support, and with the liberation struggles in the entire area, with which it has also established close links. Such views are evident from the declarations of the terrorist organizations and from the works of a number of writers. The theme of “Armenian-Greek-Bulgarian cooperation” has also been exploited as propaganda, depending on the state of Armenian-Greek and Turkish-Bulgarian relations as well as developments in Turkish-Greek relations. All these approaches to the issue, public statements and propaganda activities only serve to obscure the Armenian question even further and to increase the uncertainties surrounding it.

Geopolitics and Geopolitical Aspirations

Yet another reason for the increasing number of contradictions and unrealistic claims with regard to the Armenian question is the continually one-sided exploitation of the geopolitical aspects of the problem. Many Armenian writers touch on these aspects not only in their own writings which actively encourage and support terrorism, but also in reports and petitions prepared at various national and international levels.

The importance of such efforts, in terms of the Armenian question, lies in their attempt to balance the Armenian demands against the geopolitical aspirations of certain states by using geographical concepts and terms as propaganda material and a means of exerting psychological pressure. It is with the aim of linking the Armenians with a specific geographical area that efforts have been made to define as “the homeland of the Armenians” the area which comprises a large part of the eastern and south-eastern regions of Anatolia, sometimes referred to in the oldest historical documents as “the Highlands” and called “Armenia” by the Romans. These efforts, by adding a geographical dimension to the attempts to create an Armenian historical identity aimed first at convincing the Armenians themselves that they had always lived in the afore-mentioned areas, and, secondly, at persuading world opinion that the Armenians had been forced to abandon their homeland and the regions they inhabited. In the nineteen century, however, the term “Armenia” began to lose its geographical significance, becoming rather a political idea and expression. It was when it became clear that an Armenian majority had never lived as the sole Inhabitants of that particular region, that the efforts of Armenian writers came to serve the geopolitical aspirations of Russia and the European nations with regard to the region, rather than the interests of the Armenians, Years later, during the planning period of the 1973 - 1985 phase of Armenian terrorism, the subject of “Armenia” began to be repeated frequently. Even though many writers and historians may have wished to return to the same theme, they were no longer able to use term as propaganda, nor could they, under changing circumstances, infuse it with a new geopolitical significance that would serve their ends.

Notwithstanding, the “Armenian question” has never been adequately researched and assessed as a geopolitical one, independent of the problems of the Armenian people themselves, The reason is that the writers and organizations referred to, who have attempted to treat the problem in this way, have deliberately concealed the fact that the Armenians have been regarded at certain times in history as a threat in the region.

The Armenians as a Geopolitical Problem

An approach which takes into consideration, albeit superficially the geopolitical aspects of the Armenian question from the sixteenth century to the present day cannot pretend not to see these realities. Let us state at the outset that in the views expressed below the concept of “geopolitics” has been taken in its broadest sense, not just in relation to a piece of land or a geographical area, but as a whole, together with the concepts of “power” and “aggression”. It is thus hoped to present the Armenian problem in its true perspective.

1. By the conquest of Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire had already extended its domain into two continents, with aspirations of becoming a world power. One of the Christian minority groups within the Empire was the Armenians, who differed from the others in their religious beliefs and rituals, as well as customs. They did not recognize the authority of the Church of Rome, which was generally accepted by the Christians in Europe; they did not accept its decisions as valid, nor did they share the ideas and beliefs about Christ held by other Christian sects (Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox). They had no interest in the Papacy and the Papal authorities, preserving as they did, their own religious faith, rituals and customs. The Armenians were also distinguishable from the other minority groups by their language and music, and other cultural activities. A large majority spoke Turkish, wrote it in their own script, appreciated and performed Turkish music, and shared with the Turks common customs and traditions.

The Armenians with their distinctive characteristics and faith referred to as Gregorian constituted a separate and powerful element within the Christian world. Under the protection of time Ottoman Empire, they enjoyed all kinds of social, cultural and economic rights and amenities. Within the Empire too, they were treated as being different from and superior to the other minorities. The highest positions of state in areas such as the civil service, the palace and state treasuries, the arts and commerce were open to them. They could aspire to positions in the Sultan’s Inner Service and even become his confidants, in the provinces too, the situation was no different. Finally, as the loyal and devoted citizens of the Empire, they were considered “the loyal nation”.

The position of the Armenians was attracting the attention of the Papacy and the other Christian states. This “loyal nation”, which within the predominantly Muslim Empire held the status of a Christian community, stood apart from the rest of the Christian world in their religious beliefs, ideas and practices. The system of justice on which the power of the Empire rested, its social order its laws and traditions which were conducive to peace and prosperity and precluded strife-none of these could be achieved by the Christian world, torn as it was by sectarian conflicts, as well as conflicts between church and state. To it, the Armenians presented a danger and a threat: a threat which became aft the more real with the Empire’s aspirations of becoming a world state and with the arrival of the Imperial forces at the gates of Vienna. The existence within such a powerful Empire of Christian communities of different sects and faiths could pose a great danger for the future, even though they were minority groups. The Ottoman Empire could use these sects, in addition to its own renowned power, to plunge the Christian world in the long run into a state of turmoil, perhaps without even having recourse to arms. It could bring about the collapse of the Papacy, ending its sovereignty over the Roman Catholic communities. This was the light in which the Papacy viewed the Ottoman Empire in the second half the sixteenth century. A second view focused on how Islam was perceived within the Empire. It was recognized that Europe had insufficient knowledge and understanding of Islam, its thought system and the power of the Islamic faith. It was therefore decided that a thorough understanding of these matters should be gained in order to undermine the structure of Ottoman society from within. The most important of the Papacy’s initial tasks was the establishment of a propaganda network. By this means, it was planned not only to undermine the faith and beliefs of the Muslim Turks, but to bring about the collapse of the Armenian Gregorian Church and the conversion of the Armenian communities to Catholicism. These plans began to be implemented during the sixteenth century.

France and the Armenians

In the same century, a new dimension was added to relations between France and the Ottoman Empire. While the Papacy hoped, through the conversion of the Armenians to Catholicism, to avert a potential danger from them, the main objective of France, on the other hand, was the formation of a minority group which would serve the interests of the Christian states within the Ottoman Empire and which at the same time would be constantly torn by internal Strife. With this in mind, France therefore started actively to encourage and support the conversion of the Armenians to the Catholic Church and, when necessary, to apply political pressure and give political aid. As a result of France’s attitudes and actions, the Gregorian Armenians, following the precedent of some of their priests, began for the first time in history to accept conversion to Catholicism. In actual fact, the power struggles among the Armenian clergy, as well as the antogonism felt towards certain Armenian families, expedited the campaign of propaganda and psychological pressure initiated by France. Even though the conversions were on a small scale at first, they soon began to spread to the provinces. In view of this situation, the Armenian community split into two groups, and violent conflicts and struggles became increasingly prolonged. The peace and tranquility which the Armenian community had formerly enjoyed was shattered by this division into two enemy camps, which led inevitably to state intervention.

England - Russia and the Armenians

Towards the end of the seventeenth century, England began actively to encourage and support the conversion of the Gregorian and even the Catholic Armenians to Protestantism. The Gregorian-Catholic conflict now turned into a conflict between Catholics and Protestants. The Armenian community was once more split, this time into three groups: the Gregorians, Catholics and Protestants. Tsarist Russia using pan-Slavism, which it had initiated in the Balkans, as a religious pretext to act as protector of the Orthodox, was gaining control over the Armenian community. The effect of this was first felt by the Armenians who had settled in the eastern, north-eastern and Caucasian regions of the Empire. Intensive Russian propaganda and oppression left the Armenians no choice but to join the Protestant church. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, no vestige of unity remained within the Armenian Church or community. Their internal disputes created considerable problems for the Ottoman. Empire; indeed, the sectarian strife and divisions profoundly affected the Empire’s foreign policies and relations.

Organized Propaganda and the Armenians

Throughout the period from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, the Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire formed the target of an organized, long-term propaganda campaign conducted from many centres outside the Empire and having, though very diversified, a clear plan and programme. The situation presented above was the direct outcome of this propaganda, initiated by the Papacy and continued by the European states and Russia. During this period, these states not only created factions among the Armenian minority groups who had been granted significant privileges within the Ottoman Empire, but attempted to use each faction for their own geopolitical ends. It was not just through their policies of placing the Gregorian Armenians, seen as a threat to the Christian world, under the protection of France as Catholics, under the protection of England as Protestants and under the protection of Russia as converts to the Orthodox church and through their campaign of psychological pressure aimed directly at the minorities that they sought to prepare the ground for the realization of their aspirations and hopes; they also extended their activities to those geographical areas where the churches and the religious centres of the various sects were situated. One of the most noteworthy features of this same period is the use of entirely “religious themes” in the campaign of propaganda and psychological pressure. Indeed, a definition of the Armenian question at this time could be approached through an examination of the sectarian divisions and conflicts from the standpoint of both the Armenian community and the effect on the established system of law and order.

In terms of the Armenian question, the nineteenth century has gone down in history as a century marked by political conflicts and interests rather than sectarian divisions, when political themes superseded religious themes, now used rarely or not at all. It was, furthermore, a century which witnessed not only the rebellion of the Armenian minority groups against the states under whose protection they had lived in peace, security and prosperity, but also the beginnings of organized terrorism during its closing years.

In the nineteenth century, the Armenian question, as far as the Ottoman Empire was concerned, had always been considered in two ways and solutions had been sought accordingly.

In the eyes of the Ottoman state, the vast majority of Armenian minority groups were not to blame either for the sectarian strife and conflicts of interest among themselves or for the rebellions and acts of terrorism. These events were seen as the work of a small minority, stemming from church rivalries, of church leaders eager to gain advantage for themselves, a large number also acting as if they were the secret agents of foreign powers, and finally of insurrectionists and terrorists who had infiltrated Ottoman territory. Perhaps too, a number of ignorant and helpless Armenian subjects unable to withstand the pressures put on them became involved in the rebellions and joined the terrorist organizations. In any case, this was not a sufficient reason for blaming all those Armenians who continued to show their loyalty to the Ottoman state. They too suffered as a result of these events; they too desired an immediate end to the state of unrest. The most urgent measure to be taken in this situation was the reform of the laws governing minorities. It was, therefore, decided that Catholic and Protestant Armenians should enjoy the rights of the Armenian community, or to put it another way, that they should henceforth be considered as belonging to it. In 1830 time “Regulation concerning the Armenian community” was put into effect. It dealt with the-religious, social and cultural rights of the Armenians, extending even to autonomy in certain areas. The granting of minority rights and representative powers was an important factor in the renewal in 1861 of discussions on the Ottoman state system and in the eventual changeover to a constitutional regime. Though many of the legal reforms, such as the constitution proclaimed in 1876, were carried out for the benefit of Ottoman society as a whole, they were based on the view that the minorities formed an integral part of the society.

The Ottoman Empire was well aware that the conflicts among the Armenians, as well as the uprisings and acts of terrorism against the state, were in reality the outcome of the geopolitical goals and aspirations of Russia and the other European states with regard to the Empire. Sufficient information and documentation exist, conforming that Armenian secret agents actively encouraged and supported by the above mentioned states and mostly trained outside the Empire, were responsible for the work of the terrorist organizations they had created.

The Armenian question began to acquire a political character bringing the Ottoman Empire into direct confrontation with Russia, as a result of the following factors:

a. The intensive propaganda campaign conducted among the Armenian minority living in the eastern and southern regions of Anatolia immediately after the Russian occupation of the lands to the east of Anatolia at the beginning of the nineteenth century;

b. the attitudes and actions of the Armenian Patriarchate, church leaders and a group of Armenian intellectuals in the vanguard of a movement which advocated joining Russia

c. new developments aimed at the secession or preparations for secession of the European lands still under Ottoman rule, and finally,

d. the hostile policies of the European states during the 1877- 1878 war, the occupation of important strategic positions in eastern Anatolia by Russian forces, as well as the psychological pressures on the minorities.

This situation naturally affected the way the Ottoman Empire viewed the Armenian question. The finding of a solution in keeping with its political character now made consideration at the political level imperative.

Transition From Religious To Political Themes

In the new period following the Treaty of San Stefano, all the themes relating to the Armenian question were of a political nature. These “political themes” now formed the basis of the propaganda and psychological warfare which up to then had generally made use of religious themes to exploit the internal problems of the Armenian minority groups.

By the Treaty of Paris in 1856, the Ottoman Empire was granted the status of a European power, its sovereignty completely protected by the European states, but it did not possess the strength necessary to solve the Armenian problem through direct confrontation with Russia. It had therefore up to that point attempted to find solutions, or rather to postpone them, by active encouragement and support from behind the scenes, as well as by the involvement of the European powers. Thus, the question of the Armenian minorities became in one respect the subject of international disagreements and conflicting geopolitical expectations among states with regard to Ottoman territory and those areas under Ottoman suzerainty; in another respect, it became direcly tied up with the question of the Empire’s very existence.

Along with the political events arising from this situation and policies aimed at even further weakening of the Ottoman Empire, the end of the nineteenth century saw the founding of the first Armenian terrorist organizations.

The Armenakan Party was founded in Van in 1885, the Hunchak Party in Switzerland in 1887, and the Dashnaktsutiun (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) in Tiflis in 1890. The first-mentioned party had at the very most five founding members, and the last two had three. An examination of the official documents and declarations related to the founding of these three parties and of their initial activities reveals their common characteristics; to put It more precisely, it is possible to see their points of agreement in the “Political Programme Section IV” of the Hunchak terrorist organization, and to trace them in the main programmes of action of the Dashnak organization.

The fourth section of the political programme of the Hunchak terrorist organization contains the following passage:

The way for Armenians to achieve the immediate goal-revolution-is by subversion, in other words, by destroying and changing by force the general structure of the Armenian regions in Turkey, by causing a widespread insurrection and by declaring war on the Turkish government The struggle will be continued through the punishment of Turkish intelligence agents, secret agents, informants and traitors and through the use of terrorism in defence of the revolutionary organizations and as a means of protecting the people against oppressors and traitors.

In his work, The History of the Dashnaktsutiun, the Armenian writer M. Varandian summarized the main characteristics of the Dashnak Armenian terrorist organization as follows:

The watchword of the Dashnaktsutiun committee is to shoot and Mil the Turk, no matter where, no matter what the circumstance; to take revenge on and annihilate reactionaries, renegades and Armenian informants.

In one of the first declarations of the Dashnak terrorist organization, it is stated that
Europe today sees the Armenians as defending human rights. At times like this, selfish interests should be set aside; there should be unity. For this reason, the Armenian revolutionary associations call upon all Armenians to unite under one flag and take up the cause of political and economic independence for the Armenians in Turkey. They have promised that the Armenians would wage war against the Ottoman government and shed their last drop of blood for freedom. Therefore, we call upon the young, the rich, the Armenian women and the clergy to unite.

The Dashnak terrorist organization, taking its programme from the Russian revolutionary group, Narodnaya Volya, announced in its Tiflis manifesto that “it had declared war on the Turkish authorities.” At the first general council meeting held in 1892, it agreed on a strategy proposing “the training and indoctrination of combatant units, the arming of the people, the formation of revolutionary committees and the use of terrorism against government officials, spies, traitors, deserters, pressure groups, in short, against every one.”

The “Fedayeen” Movement

At the general council meeting of the Dashnaks held in Tiflis in 1982, the first “Fedayeen Movement” recorded in recent history was formed. Considered by many writers as the forerunners of the terrorists in the Arab world in the twentieth century, this terrorist organization was made up of teams engaging in various terrorist activities. They Infiltrated the Ottoman Empire from its borders, carrying out raids, murders and massacres. The ringleaders of many rebellions were members of these teams or trained in them. It was also terrorists trained in the “Fedayeen” organization who carried on the struggle against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

The “NEMSES” Group

At the Ninth Dashnak World Congress held at Erevan in 1919, the same terrorist organization was given the task of tracking down and killing those Ottomans, now in exile, who had formerly held positions of power. To this end, a “reprisal campaign” was organized under the code name of “Nemses” and directed by an Armenian-born American called Sahan Natali. As a result of this campaign, Talat Pasha was murdered in Berlin on March 15th, 1921, as was Said Halim Pasha in Rome on December 5th, 1921; Bahaddin ?akir and Cemal Azmi met their fate in Berlin on April 17th, 1922, along with Cemal Pasha in Tiflis on July 25th, 1922. Many Armenian secret agents took part in the “Nemses” campaign. Hrant Papazian, who was living abroad with the Turks in Berlin, was also a member of the Dashnak organization.

Hostility Against Turkey and The Turks-Awakening of an Armenian Consciousness

The Armenian terrorist organizations founded during this period were united in their hostility against Turkey and had the common goal of weakening, undermining, eroding and completely destroying the power of the Muslim Turk, the cornerstone and sustaining force of the Ottoman Empire.

The hostility against Turkey and the Turks was the outcome of centuries of organized propaganda. It can also be attributed to the geopolitically oriented psychological warfare waged by Russia and the European states, which led to an increase in violence reflecting political developments at the time. The church played a leading role in fostering this hostility in the minds of succeeding generations, using it as a basis for instilling in them through every level of education a “consciousness of being Armenian.”

“Hostility against Turks - hostility against Moslems”: these were the two themes which ran unchanged from the seventeenth century through all the teaching given in the Armenian schools, in the churches linked with the various sects and in Etchmiadzin, Antilias, Istanbul and other religious centres. The same themes were also exploited by organs of propaganda such as environmental protection agencies and voluntary organizations operating under various names.

The minorities inhabiting the European territories of the Ottoman Empire also tried to create and develop their own national identity. However, the great majority of them, united under the Orthodox Church, had already come under the influence of Slavism and the new ideas spreading in Europe.

The Armenians, on the other hand, could not display any such unity in the Balkans, divided as they were into four sects. Moreover, the attitudes and policies discussed above, which the Ottoman Empire adopted regarding the Armenians, hindered the growth of a national consciousness to the extent they desired. The outcome was that the accumulation of hatred for the Turk and Muslim erupted into violence and bloodshed for the Armenian cause, which continued on a scale much more bitter more cruel and more intense than that among the peoples in the Balkans and other regions of the Ottoman Empire. Another important point is that in no area of Anatolia, in no community, did the Armenian minority groups form a majority.

Moreover, the fact that a large section of this minority was made up of villagers, artisans, in short, provincial people with no interest in the above-mentioned struggles, affected the situation in many other ways. The question of an “Armenian consciousness” would continue to have particular features right up to the present.

States and Terrorist Organizations

The weakening, undermining, erosion and destruction of Ottoman and especially Turkish Moslem power continued as conditions and opportunities permitted the various states to fulfill their geopolitical aspirations with regard to Ottoman territories, sovereignty rights and resources. It was carried out sometimes violently and intensely, using every international means, sometimes very gradually, using only limited means. Every minority group within the Ottoman Empire afforded an opportunity and means for these states to achieve their goals. The important thing was to win these groups over against the Ottoman state by offering them certain opportunities and hopes for the future; to ensure that they engaged in terrorist activities and to instigate rebellions and revolutions. As a result, the Ottoman state would be preoccupied with internal crises; its power would gradually be eroded; and the geopolitical aspirations of various states would be realized. The provisions of Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin were to be exploited to this end. The reform bills were to serve this purpose. The political expedients mentioned above were to be used to provide opportunities for intervention. Insofar as Ottoman power was weakened and the state was occupied with internal problems, the appropriate conditions could have come about The Armenian terrorist organizations were used as a weapon serving these ends. However, just as sectarian divisions were seen above as an obstacle to the creation of an Armenian consciousness, now, in another form, the divisions, indeed the conflicts, in international relations and in the geopolitical aspirations of each state were the inevitable outcome. The geopolitical aspirations of Russia rested, on the one hand, on the realization of its ambition to occupy the land to the south of the region in Eastern Anatolia touching its borders, and thus to reach the Mediterranean Sea from the south; on the other hand, they depended on the possibility of the European states, England in particular, gaining control and possession of the routes to India, as well as to the Middle and Far East. However, the geopolitical aspirations of the European states, especially England and France, conflicted with those of Russia. They saw Russia’s penetration to the south as a great danger in terms of their own interests. They sought to establish their supremacy and sovereignty from the centre outwards, directly or indirectly, over the nearest geographical areas. The geopolitical aims of this “new colonization” centred not only upon those strategic geographical areas of the Ottoman Empire from which constant surveillance of the Mediterranean could be maintained, but also on Anatolia as a market for goods mass-produced by their developing industry and as a source of raw material for the production of these goods. Thus, the North African coast, in the eastern Mediterranean Cyprus and Syria, the Basra Gulf, and Anatolia the areas to the south of the Izmir-Iskenderun line and to the south and east of the Iskenderun-Erzurum line-all came within the compass of the geopolitical goals of England, France and later Germany and Italy.

The expectations and goals of Russia and the European states had a great effect upon the Armenian terrorist organizations. Since they had received active encouragement, direction and support in accordance with these expectations, they created, or were seen as the implementers of propaganda themes on behalf of the side which at the time seemed to carry the greatest weight. One such theme was the “annexation theme”, according to which all those geographical areas generally inhabited by the Armenian minority groups within the Ottoman Empire would be incorporated into Russia. Another was the “reform theme”, which talked of making improvements and reforms in these areas and granting greater privileges to these groups. From these two themes the “autonomy theme” developed autonomy within the Ottoman state or Russia, or one or more than one European state.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Armenian question’, which was lending Armenian affairs a stronger political character, came to be synonynous with:

a)The implementation of political, economic, social and cultural reforms in those southern and eastern areas of Anatolia inhabited by the Armenian minorities and the granting to them of new privileges, in some respects greater than those enjoyed by the Turks.

b) The annexation of these areas by Russia and the establishment by revolution of a socialist state of Armenia, comprising the Armenians of Iran, Russia and Turkey.

Terrorism and Public Opinion

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Armenian terrorist organizations adopted new methods, with the aim of influencing public opinion, especially in Europe. These new modes were to be used almost a century later during the 1973-1985 phase of terrorism, when murders and massacres were carried out in similar fashion, this time to influence world public opinion.
Important targets with European links were selected for bombings and attacks by terrorist groups and for the taking of hostages. The attack carried out on the Ottoman Bank in 1896, the plans for massacres, murders and bombings, as well as the declarations made by the Armenian terrorist organizations in the same year, were all aimed at giving publicity, especially to the overall weakness of the Ottoman state, and its inability to protect either the minorities or European capital-hence, the announcement of plans by these organizations to attack Babiali, the Armenian Patriarchate, the Credit Lyonais Bank and the Greek church of Agia Triada. Further developments during the closing years of the nineteenth century were the arming of the Armenian people, the beginning of guerrilla activities, which were to become of great importance in this century, and clashes with the government forces.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the ‘Armenian question’, a part from creating a problem of public security, constituted an intrinsic threat to the territorial integration of the Empire. This was a matter of great importance from the point of view of the state, international relations and finally the expectations and goals of the European states and Russia.

American interest in the ‘Armenian question’ also dates from the end of the nineteenth century. Information about the relations which had been established with the Armenians through American consulates, educational institutions and, in particular, Protestant missionaries was being communicated primarily to the American official authorities and the public through the press. The Armenians came to be identified in their minds with the old slave system. As American public sympathy was aroused, efforts were continued to obtain financial and military aid.

Armenians Terrorism in The Twentieth Century

In the twentieth century, the ‘Armenian question’ has passed through various phases and taken on different meanings. The changing conditions in international relations through out the first quarter of the century led to the most cruel phase of Armenian terrorist activity in history, culminating in war. Attacks, murders and massacres were carried out against Turkish society and Turkish armies; Turkish soldiers, defending the homeland and fighting for its very existence, were murdered in cold blood by terrorists working hand in hand with the enemy powers; supply routes were cut, and, finally, vast areas of Anatolia were taken over as if by an occupation force. At peace conferences and treaty discussions, the activists unsuccessfully sought in return the fulfillment of their expectations.

During the second quarter of the century following the Lausanne Conference and Peace Treaty, the activists sought to build up the strength of the Armenian terrorist organizations, which had been rendered ineffectual and, at the same time, to keep the ‘Armenian question’ alive in Europe and especially in the U.S.A. They supported, regardless of their point of origin, any anti-Turkish activities which would place the Republic in a compromising situation in the future. Finally, the outbreak of the Second World War presented the opportunity to intensify pressure on the warring sides to realize their geopolitical aspirations with regard to Turkey and Turkish territory. Later, siding with the victorious powers engaged in the reorganization of the post-war world, the activists put pressure on them to grant their old demands. They pinned their hopes on the unfounded imperialistic claims of the Soviet Union with regard to the Turkish Republic. When these came to naught, the activists this time approached various international institutions in the hope of influencing world opinion and proving that the ‘Armenian question’ was still very much alive. New propaganda themes began to be created. Thus, the end of the second quarter of the twentieth century was marked by increasing demands upon Turkey and the unchanging hostility towards Turks.

In the third quarter of the twentieth century, Armenian terrorism manifested itself again following a long period of active encouragement, support and preparation. Between 1973 and 1985, countless examples were recorded of cruelty and inhumanity both in terms of the methods used and the innocent people selected as targets. What were the main features of each of the three periods mentioned? What significance did the ‘Armenian question’ have? What problems was it concerned with? What themes were used in the campaign of propaganda and psychological pressure?

The First Period 1900- 1923

The first quarter of the century, which marks the first stage of the ‘Armenian question’, may be treated in three phases corresponding to developments at the time. The first phase is from the beginning of the century up to the end of the Balkan Wars; the second, from the outbreak of the First World War to the signing of the Mudros Armistice; and the third, from the Turkish national struggle and War of Independence following the Mudros Armistice up to the Lausanne Treaty.

Phase l: 1903-1913

The first phase of the ‘Armenian question’ revolved around three main developments. From 1900 to 1913, the Armenian terrorist organizations continued to commit acts of terrorism without swerving from their basic goals. As these intensified, importance was given to the arming of the Armenian minorities on an individual basis house by house and to make preparations for an armed rebellion and revolution. Most of the weapons were procured from Russia and other nations, smuggled into the Ottoman state by various means, stocked and distributed. These activities maybe considered as the first main development. The second concerns the central government of the Ottoman Empire with Abdül Hamid II at its head. The terrorist leaders saw him as their archenemy. As long as he was alive, Armenian expectations and the goals of Armenian terrorism would remain unfulfilled. Thus, the activists allied themselves with political organizations, Turkish revolutionaries and aft Turks opposed to the Ottoman state system, and especially to the oppressive measures adopted by the Sultan. The Y?ld?z assassination attempt in 1905 was the work of Armenian terrorists. Especially in the provinces and country districts, the terrorist organizations increased’ their strength and effectiveness. The third main development centred on the proclamation of the Second Constitution. The deposition of Abdül Hamid II the restoration of the constitution and the election of Armenian deputies to Parliament were the most important events of this period. There was a reduction in the number of acts of terrorism. Nevertheless, parallel to the events of March 31st, the effects of terrorism were still felt in Anatolia and the arming of the people continued. Since they had played a role in the establishing of the new regime, the leaders of the Armenian terrorist organizations chose silence, putting pressure instead on the Armenian deputies. A start was made on a new reform programme related to the Armenians. The debates and conflicts continued on the question of whether surveillance of the reforms in six provinces should be carried out by the European states or by Russia. Meanwhile, the Ottoman government was, on the one hand, hopeful of success in its efforts to establish and stabilize the new regime, using the army solely for political ends; on the other hand, it was striving along with the European states and Russia to solve the reform question. The Balkan War exposed the degree of strength of the once mighty Ottoman Empire. It suffered a crushing defeat, showing that the time had come for the realization of the geopolitical aspirations of Russia and the European states.

It was under these conditions that Etchmiadzin started to come into the picture after the meeting of the Armenian terrorist organizations which was convened in Tiflis in 1912. At the conclusion of the meeting held at Etchmiadzin, Boghos Nubar Pasha and Patriarch Ormanian were appointed by the Catholicos as representatives of Etchmiadzin and the Armenian demands. In 1913, they were sent to Europe to attend the London Conference, which had been summoned to establish peace in the Balkans. This was the first instance of the Armenians’ desire to participate in a conference in no way related to their own problems. Though they were refused permission to attend the London Conference, they were able to lay the groundwork for intensive propaganda in an attempt to influence European public opinion. At the same time, they held discussions on the ‘Armenian question’ with the Russian, English and French, as well as the Turkish, authorities. At these discussions they once again put forward demands ranging from annexation to Russia to autonomy and from autonomy to the enactment of a reform programme under the Ottoman state. The Armenians desired to have a share in the partitioning of the Empire. The nature and extent of this whether complete or partial autonomy, was not of great importance. With regard to the reform programme, supervision by Europe or Russia or by both powers was considered adequate.

Propaganda Themes

Between 1900 and 1913, during the campaign of propaganda and psyhologiacal pressure which was aimed at influencing European public opinion on the ‘Armenian question’, the “themes” used were still political in nature, concerned predominantly with the Ottoman regime and its central government. Such were the ‘Reform’ themes, which had become the subject of intensive propaganda in the 1880’s, and the themes of ‘Freedom’, ‘Justice” and ‘Brotherhood’. Another was the theme of the ‘Red Sultan’, introduced by Armenian terrorist propaganda against the Sultan personally. This theme came to influnce public opinion in the entire Ottoman state, as much as in Europe. It is still used even today with reference to Abdül Hamid II. All the above propaganda themes were continually directed at the European states in the hope of intensifying their activities as well as the rivalries among them. Moreover they were exploited by opponents of Abdül Hamid II and the Ottoman regime by revolutionaries and by political parties, sometimes together, sometimes separately.

Another point worth noting is that during this period the Ottoman state was the one most discussed and written about abroad. These writings and publications all dealt with the above mentioned themes, stressing the need for the Empire, which still had territories in Europe, to base its regime on concepts such as ‘Freedom-Justice-Brotherhood’. Otherwise, its relations with Europe would have to be broken off; in fact, the Ottoman state would have to be expelled from Europe.

A new factor during this period was to raise the expectations of the various powers with regard to Ottoman territory and natural resources, at the same time increasing the rivalry among them. This was oil. The discovery of oil in the Kerkuk-Basra regions, its partial production in Iran, together with its exploitation now as a source of power quite a part from its industrial applications-these developments broadened the scope of geopolitical aspirations, most of all on the part of England and brought a greater sense of urgency to their realization.

The disintegration and continuing decline of the Ottoman Empire, especially after the Balkan Wars, presented the opportunity for the European states and Russia to realize their aspirations without delay. As a result, it was decided that the time had come to discuss the partitioning of the Empire.

Phase II: 1914 - 1918

During World War I, important developments took place with regard to the ‘Armenian question’, which were to have long reaching effects even up to the present day. In the four years from the beginning of preparations for war and the mobilization of Ottoman forces to the signing of the Mudros Armistice, the war spread to all the frontiers and domains of the Empire. As a result of the continual exploitation, under various pretexts, of the events which occured during the war years, the Armenians had recourse to terrorism once again, hundreds of innocent people becoming the victims of its brutality during the 1973-1985 period.

From Terrorism To War

During the First World War, the ‘Armenian question’ transcended the bounds of terrorism, taking on the dimensions of open warfare. For years, the geopolitical aspirations and expectations of various states had been directed towards Ottoman territories and domains and above all the lands belonging to the churches and the Catholicosates. These states, together with missionaries and missionary organizations, had both openly and in secret encouraged and supported the Armenian terrorist organizations in the propaganda and psychological pressure which they used to incite the Armenian minority groups. Such activities were now yielding results. These groups and the Armenians who created them had now formed gangs armed with guns, bombs and daggers and sworn to hatred, revenge and murder. They were spewing terror and death upon the Turks and Moslems with whom they had lived for centuries, sharing their joys and sorrows. They considered it their right to instigate rebellions within the states under whose protection they had enjoyed peace, security and prosperity for, centuries. They believed that the more Turks they raped and murdered and the more Moslem towns and villages they burned and reduced to ruins, the greater the likelihood of their hopes being realized and the promises of abstract slogans which they did not even understand being fulfilled. This situation would confirm yet again that historically the basic principle in Armenian terrorism was hostility against the Turks; the same attitude was to continue up to the present period.

Terrorism and Warfare On Two Different Fronts

Between 1914 and 1918, the Armenian terrorist organizations and, under pressure from them, the Armenian minority groups continued their activities, which were generally systematic, well-planned and directed from centres abroad. These activities were carried out in two different areas and in two different ways. The first area of prolonged activity was on Turkish soil, concentrated especially in South and East Anatolia and the neighbouring regions. Demarcation lines may be drawn through the following points: Adapazar?-Bursa-Izmir; Izmir-Adana; Adana-Bitlis-Siirt-Van; Van-Erzurum; Erzurum-Trabzon; and a line running south from a point north of the Tokat-Sivas region, which extends to the Black Seacoast west of Trabzon.

With the mobilization of the Ottoman forces in 1914, operations commenced along the above lines continuing into the heart of Anatolia and outwards towards the frontiers of the Empire. They were carried out by groups of Armenian soldiers and staff enlisted in the Turkish armed forces or drafted as a result of mobilization, and by deserters who had obtained supplies of weapons and military equipment. Their activities may be summarized as follows. Operating in gangs, they intercepted the supply routes of the Turkish armies, cut their communications and instigated rebellions starting at Zeitun and moving southwards towards the points listed above; they set up road blocks, massacred the Moslem inhabitants and carried out surprise attacks on Turkish villages and towns, committing mass murder and rape, and looting, burning and completely destroying them; furthermore, they engaged in spying and aft kinds of provocative activity.

The second area of activity was the battle zone. The Armenian battalions which volunteered for services in the Tsar’s army were formed by Armenians fleeing from Turkey. To give an example, Karakin Pastirmadjian, the Erzurum deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, gathered around him various members of the Armenian gangs, escaped from Turkey to join the Tsar’s army and engaged in vanguard operations to prepare the way for the main Russian offensive.

The hideous massacres of the Moslem people, perpetrated by murderous gangs, were personally witnessed by horrified Russian captains and generals and recorded in their memoirs, as well as in the orders of the day issued in the operation zone.

These volunteer Armenian battalions offered their services to the Tsar’s forces, reconnoitring, leading the way and gathering intelligence; they worked hand in hand with the advance assault forces, burning and destroying Turkish and Moslem villages and settlements, especially those situated in the operation zone of the Russian forces. They carried out massacres on a scale several times greater than those in central Anatolia.

Terrorism and States

Russia was responsible for the coordination of all these activities, with the fundamental aim of undermining the Ottoman Empire in the areas mentioned and of bringing about its disintegration and collapse through pressure applied internally and externally. The Armenian activities in the central areas of Anatolia took place at the same tine as the Tsar’s military operations in the Caucasus and Iran. Besides aid from the Russians, the Armenian terrorist organizations also received support from the Allied Powers in the form of weapons and military equipment. Most important, by winning over public sympathy in Europe through their propaganda efforts and by continually providing aid, the Aimed Powers kept Armenian terrorism alive. It was only with the help of the terrorists that in the battles to come against the Russians, they would be able to secure the necessary bridgeheads in the areas mentioned. Meanwhile, throughout these struggles within the Ottoman State, the United States did not stand on the sidelines as a mere spectator. Not only were the Armenian churches in America and the Armenians living there active in their propaganda efforts, but the American foreign missions were also taking a close interest in the Armenian minorities, providing them with every kind of assistance and support. Another point worth noting, yet always neglected, is that Britain, France, Russia and Germany all had geopolitical aspirations and expectations with regard to the territories and domains of the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, the conditions for realizing these ambitions already existed, namely, the necessary connections, economic investments and the presence of various minority groups who had been propagandized for years to this end. Furthermore, these European powers took advantage of every sign of vulnerability on the part of the Ottoman Empire, which they regarded as a European state. Through political treaties with the Empire, they enjoyed various privileges under the capitulations. The United States, on the other hand, had no such relations in this geographical area. The limited trade relations into which she entered in the 1820’s did not give her the power to cherish geopolitical ambitions with regard to Ottoman territory and domains. It was only through the minority groups, who felt a special affinity towards the United States that she was able to forge links in the areas mentioned. The fact that this need was felt by the Armenian churches along with the Armenians living in America, and those who had just recently emigrated there helped to make a solution to the problem somewhat easier. The Armenian minorities began to be used not only as a valuable asset in securing political votes and advantages within the United States, but also as a jumping-off board in this country’s own struggles against Europe and Russia in Anatolia and the areas near the oil-fields. Thus, the American foreign missions, both private and official, and their educational and charitable associations considered it necessary to maintain close contact with the Armenian minority groups, as well as with the Greeks of Byzantine origin who cherished ambitions, regarding the Pontus region in the Black Sea area. However, the Greeks were only using the American missions and organizations, who found it difficult to understand Greek aims. They could, on the other hand, easily understand the demands of the Armenians, who appeared cultured in comparison with the Greeks and had ties with America. Thus, America began to establish close relations with the Armenian minorities within the Ottoman state and to express an interest in their claims and demands. Furthermore, as a result of propaganda in the United States, active public opinion there began to identify “what was being done to the Armenians”, as reported by eye-witness and in the daily news, with what was once done to the blacks. In this country, which was condidered to be the defender of human rights and the protector of democracy, they were beginning by means of this identification to live their own lives and campaign for an end to the injustices. The primary duty of every American foreign mission in Anatolia was at the earliest opportunity to send Armenian children and young people to the United States, where they would receive an education. After being trained there as American citizens, they would then be sent back to Turkey. The scale of these activities began to increase dramatically during the war years. The Armenian movements thus indirectly received moral support from the United States. Furthermore, in their relations with the area, the terms “official America” and “unofficial America” appeared for the first time. The former referred to the American administration, the latter to American public opinion. Congress fell into this second category. In the future, support for pro-American policies within the Ottoman state would be sought from the unofficial representatives of America. Alternatively, if the expectations of those who had connections with the official representatives of the United States in Turkey were not met, it would be claimed that ‘unofficial America’ was again acting perversely. With regard to the ‘Armenian question’, both these situations were to continue to arise both during and after the First World War.

April, 1915: The Situation

It is generally known that April 15 and sometimes April 24, 1915 are commemorated as the days when the Armenian “genocide” took place. The nature of this ‘theme’ of widespread propaganda and psychological warfare was discussed briefly above. Further examination of the situation is required, this time from the standpoint of events during the period under discussion.

Up to the present day, the events in April, 1915 have been exploited by the Armenian churches, Armenian terrorist organizations, Mends of the Armenian churches, Armenian terrorist organizations, friends of the Armenians and various other groups. They have been used constantly as a theme in the campaign of propaganda and psychological warfare. Activists have also sought to make these events the basis for the new phase of Armenian terrorism from 1973 in 1985. What was the reality of the events in April, 1915? In matters like this, world public opinion is being constantly pressurized. How can this pressure be lifted? How can world public opinion be enlightened? At a meeting of the United Nations Commission, Uruguay took the side of the Armenians, demanding that the ‘Armenian genocide’ be commemorated internationally. What arc the reasons lying behind this? Uruguay has never had geographical or historical finks with Turkey; moreover, very few of its people in all probability could even point Turkey out on a map. How can the above-mentioned propaganda themes further the political aspirations and expectations of various states in relation to Turkey and its territory? Questions such as these have not been adequately or frankly discussed, nor has world public opinion been adequately informed.

Before the truth can be presented regarding the historical misconceptions related to the ‘Armenian question’ and the events which are still being exploited, It is imperative that an outline be given firstly of “the situation within the Ottoman state in April, 1915”, and secondly of the development, within the context of this situation, of Armenian activities. These activities, It was pointed out above, had already begun during the months of war preparations. Finally, in searching for the truth, it would be worthwhile examining why those Armenians who resettled after the massacres that are said to have taken place returned to their lands three or four years later and what they did and encountered on their return.

1915 was a year of great significance for the Ottoman Empire. The events throughout that year were to have a profound effect on the future history of the Ottoman state and perhaps to mark the beginning of the end of the Empire.

The Western Front

A show of strength in manoeuvres carried out by the British fleet at the entrance to the Dardanelles in January, 1915 was followed in March by the most important and the heaviest attack in history one the Straits by the Allied naval forces. This attack had several aims. One of the most important was to enable the Tsar’s army, which was in retreat against the Germans on the eastern front, to reinforce its supplies of ammunition and equipment and in return to ship supplies of grain to England and France via the Straits. Another goal, which could only be achieved by seizing the Straits, was the occupation of Istanbul and the exclusion of the Empire from the war. Yet another reason for the attack on the Straits was to induce the Balkan states to enter tine war on tine side of the Allies. Perhaps the most important reason was the scheme to hand the area around Istanbul and the Straits over to Russia; this decision was the outcome of secret discussions, which had started in 1913, on the partitioning of the Empire and Turkey in particular.

It should be pointed out that during the allied naval battle for tine Straits, Russia did not engage in any naval attack Taking advantage of the fact that the battleship Yavuz had been crippled, she instead made a vain attempt to bombard the Bosphorus.

At the beginning of 1915, the Russians had three main targets in the Black Sea region. The first was the Batum-Artvin-Trabzon line; the second was the coal-mining area around Zonguldak the third was Istanbul. Taking advantage of the Allied battles for Çanakkale and Gelibolu (Gallipoli), they were planning to capture the capital. However, The Russian naval strength was inadequate for a naval assault on the Straits, nor did the Russians have the capabilities or facilities to capture the other targets in- battle against the Turkish fleet. On the other hand, behind the Aimed troop landings at Çanakkale and Gelibolu (Gallipoli) lay a very important goal, which the British and French were keeping secret. If tine Gelibolu landings were successful and the Dardanalles fell into their hands, the de facto occupation of Istanbul could be carried out. They would thus have been able to re-examine the pact to hand over Istanbul and the surrounding region to Russia as part of the agreement, initiated in 1913, to partition the Empire. The de facto situation was more important than solem agreements which remained only on paper. Just as they would protect their bargaining powers in this area, so they would gain a new advantage over the Russians, whose activities continued in the southern and south-eastern regions of Anatolia. In fact, the aid which they had given to the Armenian terrorist organizations was directed towards this goal.

However, the Allied fleets unexpectedly suffered a crushing defeat off Çanakkale on March 18, 1915 and were forced to retreat. Although this gave rise to important arguments over the above-mentioned goals, the decision was taken to land troops on the Gelibolu peninsula and continue the battle using the Allied land forces. In this way, it was planned to capture the Straits and Istanbul. As a result of preparations made during the first two weeks of April, first the harbour and fortifications of Izmir were bombed on April 19th; this was followed on April 25th by the successful landing of British, French and Anzac troops on the Gelibolu peninsula with the help of their fleets. This led to very bloody fighting during the following months. Thus, the strongest units of the Ottoman army were engaged on the western front at Gelibolu.

The Eastern Front

On the eastern front, 1915 was the year which witnessed all the development resulting from the defeat of the Turkish army at Sar?kam??. Armenian rebellions broke out along the fines mentioned above, as well as in the southern and south-eastern regions. The rebels intensified their activities especially in the Bitlis-Van area. Meanwhile, the Russian forces were concentrated along a fine extending through Arhavi, Oltu, Horasan, Karaköse, Diyadin, Kotar, Dilman and Tabriz. The strength of the Russian army in terms of soldiers, weapons and equipment had doubled since the Sar?kam?? operation. The Turkish forces, on the other hand, had suffered tremendous losses; moreover, they did not have time to recoup these losses. The Russian aim was to surround the Ottoman forces from the south and south-east, and thus annihilate them. Their greatest support in accomplishing this came from Armenian uprisings and activities along the ‘Inner lines’.

In the meantime, the Ottoman armies were completely occupied on the Iraqi-Palestinian fronts. Their operations against the British were not producing the desired results. With their defeat of the Ottoman forces at Schwayyibe on the Iraqi front, their fortunes began to change.

To sum up the situation, the Empire was fighting for its very survival, enveloped as it was by two major threats; in the west from the Allied Gelibolu campaign and naval blockade, in the east and south-east from the Russian operations aimed at encircling the Ottoman forces. From within, it was faced with the Armenian rebellions, in particular along the “inner lines” already indicated.

The uprisings and local revolts which broke out in the Van-Bitlis-Mu? regions at the beginning of April 1915 escalated into a full-scale rebellion in the ?atak district of the province of Van during the night of April 3rd. It began to spread throughout the entire province, reaching the city of Van on April 15th. Van, it could be said, was occupied by the Armenians. Thousands of Turks were killed in the fighting. Almost thirty thousand Turks began to flee from the city and the region to other places. On April 18th, the rebellion spread to Bitlis, encompassing the entire region.

Following the rebellion and take-over of Van, as if it were enemy territory, the Armenians continued their occupation of the area, carrying out massacres and causing tremendous destruction. The Russian forces immediately took advantage of this situation. Within a month, they themselves occupied first Van, then Malazgirt and later Bitlis. As a result of the Armenian rebellions and the support of the Armenian gangs, every Russian military operation achieved its goal. In short, the regions mentioned came under Russian occupation as a result of Armenian cooperation. The Russians now turned their attention to Azerbaijan.

These are the events which have been referred to as ‘the Armenian genocide’ and used as propaganda. In such a situation, what action could a state have taken against those who had instigated uprisings and rebellions, had carried out massacres and finally, in collaboration with the enemy forces, had occupied the country of their fellow-citizens? Surrounded as it was by enemies, its territories having become a veritable battlefield, what action could astute in this position have taken against its minority groups who were engaged in rebellions and massacres and were intercepting the army’s rear auxiliary forces, thus impeding its defence system? These minorities were not even aware of “whose benefit they were working for”. What state could have surrendered itself to these treacherous and murderous gangs?

Countermeasures

The Armenian rebellions in the regions of Bitlis, Van, Mu?, Erzurum, Beyaz?t, Zeitun and Sivas, and their collaboration with the Russian forces compelled the Ottoman government to take certain countermeasures. The basic idea underlying these measures was related entirely to the “self-defence” and “survival” of a state. Taking into consideration reports and information received from various sources, the plight of the military detachments, and, finally, events such as the rebellions, massacres and collaboration with the enemy, the government issued a decree which went into effect on April 24, 1915. The following measures were taken

a) Armenians between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five were forbidden to enter or leave the country.
b) Armenians would henceforth conduct all correspondence in Turkish
e) Armenian children would attend state schools; no new Armenian schools could be opened.
D) Local newspapers printed in the Armenian language would be closed down.

Taking note of the developing situation, the threat to the security of the armed forces, as well as the integrity of the country, the supreme military command issued a proposal to the Ministry of the Interior on May 26, 1915. It stated that “Armenians should be moved from the districts they inhabited in eastern Anatolia, from Zeitun and the other places in which they were grouped and should be resttled to the south of Diyarbak?r, in the Euphrates valley and in areas around Urfa and Süleymaniye.” This compulsory resettlement was implemented out of necessity. Had it not taken place, the uprisings, rebellions and massacres which were spreading into central Anatolia would have severely taxed the resources of the armies on the front, involving them in the country’s internal problems and would have allowed the enemy almost complete freedom of movement.

Resettlement was not a new occurrence in Ottoman history. Indeed, all nations may for various reasons enforce resttlement upon their own subjects as weft as on others living within their borders, and they may at any time take the necessary legal action. Resettlement was a practice introduced in the Byzantine period. In 1828 during the war with Russia, the Ottoman Empire also had recourse to such a measure to prevent Catholic and Orthodox Armenians in the border areas from continually crossing to Russia and assisting the Russians by spying and other activities. One group of these Armenians was resettled in the central areas of Anatolia; another group was deported when the Armenian Patriarch refused to act as guarantor On their behalf. Deportation was not out of the question at that time. Some time later, the Sultan issued a pardon, allowing the deportees to return to their former homes.

The proposal issued by the commander-in-chief of the armed forces passed into law. (The text of this law and other changes may be found in the relevant sections of this book.) It should be pointed out that this legislative measure, both in its scope and implementation, bears no relation to what even today is referred to as the ‘deportation law’. Not a single Armenian was deported. Deportation means the expulsion for various reasons from within the borders of a country of a person who has resided there for a length of time, whether he be a citizen of that country or not. It was not the Armenians who introduced the term ‘deportation’. It first appeared in 1918 in the course of an extraordinary parliamentary investigation and in a special court of justice set up at the end of the occupation of Istanbul with the purpose of humiliating the Union and Progress Party (Ittihat ve Terrakki Party) in the eyes of the world and the Turkish people, denouncing its members as traitors and throwing the blame on them for dragging Turkey into the war. In short, the term ‘deportation’ was introduced and applied by the enemies of the Union and Progress Party and by government sunder British influence after the occupation of Istanbul. For the Armenians, the term became a propaganda theme; unfortunatley even today it is still used by almost everyone in reference to the Armenians.

The propaganda related to the ‘Armenian question’ followed a new track on account of the compulsory resettlement of the Armenians and the subsequent claims of killings or deaths from various causes. Taking these in conjunction with the ‘genocide’ theme in particular, the propagandists initially quoted a death toil of 500,000. Today this figure has risen to two million. Who knows what the figure will be in the future?

Armenian Propaganda Through Statistics

In the propaganda related to the ‘Armenian question’ and especially during the years 1955 to 1985, when the theme of ‘Armenian genocide’, was constantly being-bandied about everywhere in a campaign of psychological pressure, a second theme appeared, which was aimed at making the claims of ‘genocide’ more realistic and acceptable. This was the theme of ‘the number of Armenians killed as a result of genocide’. Both themes complement each other, one constituting a source of evidence for the other. For years, they have been exploited in this way, and today they are still being exploited.

Actually, it was only after world public opinion showed strong reaction and aversion towards the genocide of the Jews after the Second World War that the ‘genocide’ theme was suggested in relation to the ‘Armenian question’. Prior to that, it had been used only in isolation under various pretexts; gradually the propagandists tried to make the terms ‘racialism’ and ‘genocide’ synonymous. The reason for the increase in the figures quoted every year up to the present stems from the view that propaganda supported by statistics is more convincing.

One of our leading statesman, Kâmuran Gürün, makes the point adequately clear in the section quoted below from his important, well-researched book, The Armenian File which was published in 1983. On pages 223 to 227, Gürün discusses the subject, giving evidence. It should be pointed out that the expression ‘moving of population’ (‘göç ettirme’), which Gürün uses in his discussion, must be taken as meaning ‘resettlement’ (‘iskân ettirme’), as explained above. This is essential in the light of the legal significance, the Ottoman state system, and the boundaries of the state at that date. There was no question of deporting people. Gürün takes basically the same approach; he used the expression ‘moving of population’, we believe, in order to make comprehensible the linguistic and conceptual changes which the Turkish language has undergone. Gürün also uses the expression ‘resettlement’ (‘yer de?i?tirme’), but he never uses the term ‘deportation’ (‘tehcir’). Gürün states that a subject constantly exploited as anti-Turkish propaganda is the massacre of as many as 2,000,000 Armenians during the resettlement. The death toll was initially given in 1915 as 300,000; with each passing year, this figure increased until in the 1980’s it had reached two million. With the passing years it may be normal for the population of a society to increase; however, but for people who died at a particular date to multiply with the passing years is a phenomenon unique to this situation.

We are not going to dwell on who said what or gave what figure on which date. During the resettlement, people died of various causes. Some died as a result of epidemics, some as a result of the climatic conditions and some as a result of the hardships suffered during the journey. Others died because of attacks, inadequate protection by the guards or the illegal actions of certain officials. Furthermore, large numbers died while fighting against the Turks as volunteers in the Russian army. Many also died during the gang attacks and uprisings which began in 1914 even before the war and continued after the resettlement decision throughout 1916.

Who among those who died can be pointed to as “having been murdered”? Certainly not the ones who were killed while fighting nor those who died of malnutrition, or of typhus, typhoid fever, cholera and smallpox, which were widespread at the time in Turkey. It cannot be claimed that they would not have died if they had stayed in their homes, because the epidemics had spread to the areas they lived in, taking hundreds and thousands of lives. The number of people who died in Turkey at the fronts during the First World War is 550-600,000. The rest, more than 2,000,000 people, died of epidemics and malnutrition, or in the attacks of Armenian and Greek gangs, even though they were not soldiers. Therefore, this group must also be excluded.

Should we include in this group those who died because of the climatic conditions and the hardships of the journey during the resettlement? We do not think so. Again, it will be claimed that they would not have died if they had stayed in their homes. That is true, but there is a point which should be remembered. Among the nations Turkey fought during the First World War were Armenians. And these were Armenians living in Turkey, Armenians who were Turkish citizens, as were the Arabs after May, l9l6. Certainly it cannot be denied that Turkey was at war with the Armenians of Turkey.

The meaning of the telegram sent after the fall of Van on May 18, 1915 by the Russian Tsar to the Russian Army Command of the region of Beyazit is quite clear. It reads: “I would like to thank the inhabitants of Van for the sacrifices they have made.” The article published on August 13, 1915 in the newspaper Le Temps in Paris about Aram Manukian is in similar vein: “At the beginning of this war, Aram left behind a comfortable life and business and once again took up arms as leader of the rebels in Van. Russia, who now controls this province, appointed Aram as governor to please the Armenians p who had played their part so brilliantly in the war against Turkey.”

An article published on February 9, 1916 in the Soleil du Midi stated: “According to detailed information we are receiving, especially the declarations issued by M.Sazanoff at the Duma, around 10,000 Armenians, under the leadership of Aram Manukian have resisted the Turkish troops in Van for a month and have succeeded in putting them to flight before the arrival of the Russian armies.... In the mountains of Sassun, 30,000 Armenian revolutionaries have been fighting hopelessly for nine months, while waiting for the arrival of the Russian armies as well as of the troops of Armenian volunteers... In Cilicia, in the mountains of Kessab, thousands Of Armenians are also awaiting the arrival of the French and the British...” Sazanoff had made the following statement in the Duma: “In this war the Armenians are fighting with the Russians against the Ottoman Empire.”

The details we have given in this chapter leave no doubt that during the war the Armenians of Turkey joined the enemy in lighting against their own country. As a matter of fact, they themselves stated as much during the Sévres talks.

General Bronsart, who was Chief of Staff to the Ottoman Commander-in-Chief, wrote as follows in an article in the July 24,1921 issue of the newspaper Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung:

As demonstrated by the innumerable declarations, provocative pamphlets, weapons, ammunition, explosives, etc., found in areas inhabited by the Armenians, the rebellion had been prepared over a longtime, organized, strengthened and financed by Russia. Information was received on time in Istanbul about an high-ranking state officials and officers.

Since all the Moslems capable of bearing arms were in the Turkish Army, it was easy to organize a terrible massacre by the Armenians against defenceless people, because the Armenians were not only attacking the sides and rear of the Eastern Army paralyzed at the front by the Russians, but were attacking the Moslem folk in the region as well. The Armenian atrocities which I have witnessed were far worse than the so-called Turkish brutality.

Let us quote now a few statements from an anti-Turkish book Hassan Arfa writes:
When the Russian armies invaded Turkey after the Sar?kam?? disaster of 1914, their columns were preceded by battalions of irregular Armenian volunteers, both from the Caucasus and from Turkey. One of these was commanded by a certain Antranik, a blood thirsty adventurer... These Armenian volunteers, in order to avenge their compatriots who had been massacred by the Kurds, committed all kinds of excesses, killing more than 600,000 Kurds between 1915 and 1918 in the eastern provinces of Turkey.

The Armenians were resettled because they had joined the ranks of the enemy. The fact that they were civilians does not change the situation. Those who were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War were civilians. Those who were killed during the First World War in France, Belgium and Holland were also civilians, as were those who died in London during the raids over London. We have cited above some examples of how the civilians were killed. Turkey did not kill them, but relocated them. As it was impossible to provide them with better conditions under the circumstances, it cannot be accepted that those who died because they were unable to withstand the hardships of the journey were killed by the Turks.

Let us give a similar example. During the struggle for independence, the French evacuated Mara?, and 5,000 Armenians left Mara? with the French. The date was February 10,1920. The journey lasted until February 14. “The result: 200 dead, among whom were seven officers including Major Marty, 200 wounded and eleven seriously wounded were abandoned in Mara?; 150 people had their legs frozen; 2-3000 Armenians died during the retreat.”

Did the French massacre those Armenians?
There remain only those who were killed en route, defenceless. The responsibility lies here with the government because it was unable to protect these individuals or because officials condoned the killings. The government arrested those who were responsible for this, as far as it was able to determine the culprits and sent them to the martial law court. Quite a few of them were executed.

How many defenceless individuals were killed? At that time it was extremely difficult to establish the numbers; today it is completely impossible.

The statistics given as the death toil today are invariably the total of individuals who died for all the reasons stated above, from the declaration of war until the armistice. Today’s figure, which has been increased to 2,000,000 is this total. In his blue book, Toynbee writes that the number of Armenians who died might be 600,000. He calculated this number by subtracting the number of Armenians who were alive after the resettlement from the Armenian population before the war. Today we are able to do this calculation more easily, by a comparison with the documents existing then.

Dr. F.Nansen’s report states that according to the League of Nations Emigrants’ Committee, the number of Armenians who emigrated during the First World War from Turkey to Russia was between 400,000 and 420,000. This figure is the number of Armenians who emigrated from Turkey and who were living in Russia at the end of the war. It is apparent that these emigrants went to Russia before March 16, 1921, when the Moscow Treaty with Russia was signed and the Eastern Front was closed.

In 1921, the Istanbul Patriarch, in the statistics gave to the British, showed the number of Armenians living within the Ottoman borders before the Treaty of Sévres, including those who returned after they had been resettled, as 625,000. If those who emigrated to Russia are included, the figure totals 1,045,000. As the Armenian population in Turkey in 1914 was approximately 1,300,000, the total number of Armenians who died during the war cannot be more than 300,000.

Another method of calculation is possible. In Toynbee’s calculation in the document mentioned above, it is stated that on April 5, 1916 the number of settlers who had survived and were clustered in the regions of Zor, Damascus and Aleppo was 500,000. It is natural that this figure should have increased considerably by the end of 1916, because the resettlement process continued until October, 1916 and because not all those who had been resettled were sent to these three regions.

We stated that the number of those who were resettled was 702,900. Even the settlers still alive on April 5, 1916 were from these three regions, and even if all those who were resettled after this date died, the number of those who died during resettlement would be 20,000. As verification of this hypothesis, since it is not possible that all the people resettle in places other than the Damascus, Aleppo and Zor areas o April 5, 1916 and all those that were to be resettled after that date could have died, it is apparent that, based on this calculation, the number of deaths during resettlement was well below 100,000. This would also indicate that most of the casualties occurred during armed confrontations unconnected with resettlement process.

A third method of calculation could be based on the Armenian population within the Republic of Turkey, which, according to the first census held in 1927 was 123,602.

In the 1931 census in France, it was established that there were 29,227 Armenians who were foreign nationals and 5,114 born in Turkey, but French citizens. In other words, there were in aft approximately 35,000 Armenians. It is obvious that aft of them had come from Turkey.

The Canadian records show that 1,244 Armenians had come from Turkey between 1912 and 1914 (Imre Ferenczi, International Migration, Vol. I, New York, 1929, p. 891).

In the same period 34,136 Armenians emigrated to the United States, all of them from Turkey (Robert Mirak, Armenian Emigration, to the U.S. to 1915).

In 1928 the number of Armenians who emigrated to Greece was 42,000 (League of Nations, A. 33.1927).

The Bulgarian statistics record that in 1920 there were 10,848 Gregorian Armenians, and that in 1926 the figure was 25,402 (Annuaire Statistique du Royaume de Bulgarie, 1931, p. 35.)It would appear that the increase of 15,000 Armenians was caused by those who had come from Turkey.

Again according to the statistics of the League of Nations, 2,500 Armenians went to Cyprus.
Hovannisian gives the number of Armenians who emigrated to the Arab countries and Iran in the following list in ‘The Ebb and Flow of the Armenian Minority in the Arab Middle East’, Middle East Journal, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Winter 1974), p. 20).

Armenian Minorities in the Arab Middle East
Country Population
Syria 100,000
Lebanon 50,000
Jordan 10,000
Egypt 40,000
Iraq 25,000
Iran 50,000

When we add to these figures the 420,000 Armenians who emigrated to Russia, we arrive at 824,560 or 825,000 if we round it off. If we count those who went to other European countries, together with the missing and the forgotten as 50,000, the figure comes to 875,000. If we add to this the Armenian population in Turkey in 1927 of 123,000, the figure becomes 998,000. When we subtract this number from 1,300,000 which was the Armenian population in 1914, we obtain the figure of 302,000.

Therefore, no matter which method of calculation is used, the number of casualties (we use this term because this is a society at war) among the Armenians of Turkey, for whatever reason, does not exceed 300,000. It is obvious that among these casualties, the number of deaths which, for all the reasons discussed, occurred during the resettlement will be less than this figure, and the number of people who can be considered as having been murdered will be much less.

A murderer is a murderer, no excuse can be given. Just as we do not condone the fact that Armenians massacred Turks, we do not condone the fact that Turks massacred Armenians. However, it was not on the orders of the government that these Armenian were massacred. As stated above, the culprits who could be arrested were sent to court, were given sentences, including the death sentence, and these sentences were carried out.

We would have wished that the Armenians who massacred the Turks had also been punished, but, they are portrayed in Armenian books as national heroes. Tehlirian, who assassinated Talat Pasha, has been described in some books as great a man as Hachaturian the world-famous composer. We regret this, at least on Hachaturian’s account What he thinks, of course, we have no way of knowing.

One more point deserves mention before this subject is concluded. The British led the way in spreading rumours of Armenian massacres throughout the world in shaping public opinion during the First World Later, Toynbee made great efforts to substantiate the information sent to him, but was unable to do so.

Another person who dealt extensively with this subject is Dr. Johannes Lepsius. Today the Armenians attach even more importance to Lepsius’ work, since they are aware that the account in the Blue Book could be distrusted on account of its propagandist aims.

We think it important to examine Lepsius’ background and aims. For this reason, we shaft refer to Frank O. Weber:

Lest other Armenians of the Ottoman Empire attempt to imitate the insurrectionaries of Van, Enver decided to suppress all Armenian schools and newspapers. Wangenheim regretted these orders as both morally and materially deleterious to Germany’s cause ... Nevertheless, the Ambassador instructed his consuls to collect any kind of information that would show that the Germans had tried to alleviate the lot of the Armenians. These notices were to be published in a White Book in the hope of impressing Entente and German public opinion (German Archives Band 37, No. A 20525).

The last found a powerful voice in Dr. Johannes Lepsius. The son of a famous archaelogist and himself a noted traveller and writer on the Near East, Lepsius was delegated by various Protestant Evangelical societies to enter Armenia and verify the atrocity stories at first hand. Wangenheim did not want the professor to come. He was as certain that the Turks would charge the Germans some sort of retribution for causing them this embarrassment as that not a single Armenian life would be spared because of Lepsius’ endeavours. But Lepsius convinced the Wilhelmstrasse that his intention was not to put pressure on the Turks but instead to argue the patriarchal entourage into greater loyalty toward the Ottoman regime. Alleging this as his reason, he got as far as Constantinople, where the Armenian Patriarch acclaimed him, but Talat refused him permission to travel into the interior lie had badgered Wangenheim unmercifully with letters, and the Ambassador described his reaction to Lepsius’ proposals as something between amusement and contempt. Yet Lepsius emphasized an argument to which the Ambassador was always open: the liquidation of the Armenians would seriously and perhaps irreparably diminish the prospects of ascendancy in Turkey after the war.

When Lepsius returned to Germany, he devoted himself to keeping the German public unsparingly informed about the Armenian massacres. Though the German newspapers were not as chary of this news as might have seemed desirable in the interest of the Turkish alliance, the professor still preferred to make his disclosures in the journals of Basel and Zürich. What he wrote was not always up to date or unbiased. Much of it came from Armenian informants in the Turkish capital and a large source, reworked with many variations, was given him by Ambassador Morgenthau at the time of his visit to Constantinople in July, 1915. Morgenthau showed him a collection of American consular reports detailing the atrocities and suggested that the Armenians be removed from the Ottoman Empire and resettled in the American West Lepsius took up that idea enthusiastically...

Lepsius pointed out to the Chancellor that if Germany made herself popular in Turkish Armenia, the Russian Armenians would be more likely to put themselves under German protection after the war.

Lepsius had not set foot in Anatolia, nor had he talked to one single Armenian there. All the information he gathered consisted of what the learned from the Patriarchate and to some extent the reports which the American Ambassador Morgenthau showed him. It is necessary to put Dr. Lepsius in the same category as the Protestant missionaries and to evaluate his writings in this light.

Russian Occupation and The Armenians

In 1915 Russia, with the eastern and south-eastern regions of Anatolia as. Its first goal, occupied the area encompassing Kars, Sar?kam??, Van, Bitlis and Mu?. In September of the same year, the Tsar became Commander in Chief of the Russian forces and appointed Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaievich as regent in the Caucasus as well as commander of the Caucasian front The Grand Duke was charged with the task of carrying through the Russian occupation of the Caucasus, Iran and Anatolia, thus fulfilling Russian geopolitical aspirations in these areas. The 300,000 troops under the command of the Grand-Duke brought the total Russian strength towards the end of 1915 up to 800,000. In contrast, the Turkish Armed Forces fighting to defend Anatolia were only 60,000 strong. Following the victory of Gelibolu, only one of the three Ottoman armies available could be deployed in the East, but it failed to arrive in time to prevent the almost entire occupation of the area.

Between January and the end of July, 1916, the Russians succeeded in occupying first Köprüköy, Hasankale and Erzurum, then Rize, Sürmene and Trabzon, and, finally, Mamahatun, Bayburt, Gümü?hane and Erzincan, thus realizing for the most part their geopolitical goals in these regions. They also gained control over the other strategic areas of Iskenderun and Adana. Furthermore, they were making preparations to extend their control at the earliest opportunity farther south to the Baghdat-Basra-Mosul fine. The Russians had also occupied important areas in Iran and had established complete ascendancy in the Caucasus.

In an assessment of the situation from the standpoint of the Armenian question, one important historical fact cannot be ignored: It is no coincidence that the lives along which the Armenian terrorist organizations embarked even at the beginning of the war on mutiny, rebellion and terror ran parallel to or were even identical with the Russian fines of expansion.

What the Armenians for years had wished for, hoped for, struggled and fought for had at last been accomplished the moment of liberation had come. Russia had occupied ‘Armenia’, as She called it and had established her sovereignty over it The areas within both Russian and Iranian territory, which were referred to as ‘Armenia’, were not under the sovereignty of a single state. Tsarist Russia would now open up to the Armenians all those areas which she had struggled for and occupied; she would bestow upon them ‘freedom’ which they had not previously experienced under the Ottoman Empire, and she would grant them ‘independence’. Two documents, the text of which we will present in full, show very clearly what significance these hopes and expectations had for Russia and also how Russia viewed the ‘Armenian question’ in general.

Document 1
No. 450 27 June, 1916

From: Sazanoff, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs
To: Nicholas Nicholaievich, the Tsar’s regent in the Caucasus.

The almost entire occupation of Armenia Major by our military forces and the imminent annexation of the region by the Russian Empire raise the question of its administration. Granted, it may be considered premature for the actual direction of our future domestic policies in the conquered areas to be determined before the war has ended. However, it seems to me important that even at this juncture we should outline in broad terms certain basic principles with regard to this matter, since “Interim Regulations Regarding the Administration of the Occupied Ottoman Regions in Accordance with Military Law” will be drawn up and shortly put into effect.

The most difficult and complex part of our task in time near future lies in bringing about a solution to the Armenian question. The reason is that while previously, during the period of Ottoman administration, Russia had the most important part to play in international efforts to the Armenian reforms; how, at the present time, part of Armenia (mainly these parts included in Armenia minor) have come under the protection of other states, with the result that this problem, transcends the bounds of Russian domestic politics. When establishing in the near future the administrative systems for the Armenian provinces which are now within our borders, we must constantly bear in mind these two important points I therefore venture to present to Your Excellence the following matters:

As you know, there are two trends of thought in Russia with regard to the solution of the Armenian problem. The first is to grant the Armenians complete autonomy under Russian protection, in the manner proposed to us in 1913. The second, in opposition to this is to reduce to zero the political importance of the Armenians and to replace them by Moslems.

It seems to me that neither of these solutions would serve Russian interests as regards either our domestic or foreign policies.

When considering the view that broad autonomy be granted to the Armenians, it must be borne in mind that the Armenians in Armenia Major, now in Russian hands, have never been in the majority. Previously they formed one quarter of the total population in the region; based on evidence given by the Armenians themselves, I can personally say that this ratio has become even smaller, following their harsh treatment at the hands of the Turks during the war. Under these conditions, the establishment of an autonomous Armenia would lead to injustice in the form of minority rule.

On the other hand, it would also be unacceptable for the Armenians to be sacrificed to the Moslem inhabitants of the region and for government forces to take the side of the Moslems in the clashes which would certainly break out between the two communities. Such a policy would place the Armenians in a much worse plight than when under Ottoman rule; and would result in then looking with envy at their fellow-Armenians beyond their borders. Such a solution, furthermore, would put Russia in a weak and awkward situation, for previously of all the countries that had demanded reforms in Armenia, it was Russia that made the greatest and most determined effort.

Consequently, it is my belief that the surest and most advantageous policy for us is, above all, the strict enforcement of law and justice during the reorganization of the territory seized from the Ottoman state and equal treatment of aft the people in the region, irrespective of race or creed; we should do nothing to incite one group against the other, nor should we show discrimination in giving one group benefits to the detriment of the other. Thus, within a definite framework, the Armenians can be granted freedom of worship and education, the right to use their own language and to have proportional representation in local government.

The same principles should also be applied to the non-Christian communities, as far as local conditions and their level of culture and civilization permit. As a matter offset, the interim regulations referred to above corroborate and support this view by allotting non-Christians a quota of seats on the village councils and administrative committees to represent their communities.

In matters concerning local land, property and colonization, the legal and judicial codes should be applied and enforced in similar manner.

It is my profound belief that the implementation of these principles will create among the people of the region love and respect for local government, will free them from the plague of domestic or foreign provocation, and will bring about new living conditions that will remove all painful memories of the former Ottoman administration.

Document 2
No. 2083 – Letter 16 July, 1916

From: Nicholas Nicholaievich, the Tsar’s regent in the Caucasus.
To: Sazanoff, Minister of foreign Affairs.

Sergey Dimitrievich;
I write in reply to your letter, no. 450, dated 27 June, 1916.1 share your view that it is most desirable that we determine at this point the principles which will serve as a basis for solving the problem of annexation of the Ottoman territories which we have occupied in accordance with military law. I also fully support your statement regarding the difficulties and complexities inherent in solving the Armenian question.

It is my profound belief that within the borders of present day Russia, no Armenian question exists. It is inappropriate even to think of such a thing, because the Armenians who are under Russian rule are regarded, exactly like the Muslims or Gregorians as having the same rights as Russian citizens.

The government in the Caucasus, which has been placed under my authority, is of the belief that the freedom of local communities to enjoy equal rights must be vigorously defended. I also will not conceal the fact that the increasingly uncompromising nature of the conflicting claims put forward by the people of this region is largely attributable to the way local government officials have acted up to now, albeit unwittingly, I do, on the other hand, believe that the violence which has been kindled by the intercommunal friction and clashes that have continued for centuries will completely die down and such conflicts cease if local governments can ensure that the Caucasian people enjoy the same equal rights as the Russian nation and that like it, they have close relations with the Tsar.

Therefore, if you definetely want to find an Armenian problem, you must look for it beyond the pre-World War borders of the Russian Empire in the regions seized from the Ottoman state.

Coming now to the opinions you have expressed regarding these matters, I am happy to observe that my views and ideas are entirelly in accord with yours.

In the establishment of order in the regions captured in Anatolia there can be no doubt the need to act in accordance with the law, sternly and decisively, and to remain absolutely impartial towards the ethnic groups inhabiting the regions.

Of course, discussion of the question of the establishment of an autonomous Armenia would be injudicious at present It would, in my opinion, interfere with the peaceful solution of other problems that have been created by the World War. However, I am in agreement with you on the following points: the need to grant the Armenians independence in matters of religion and education, freedom to manage church property, together with freedom to use their own language, with the proviso that Russian be used in aft official institutions.

I am also in favour of granting freedom to elect a certain percentage of representatives to town, village and city councils. The same principles should apply also to the non-Christian communities, in accordance with local conditions and their cultural level.

The legal and impartial procedures that you propose for dealing with the question of land, property and colonization are also, in my opinion, appropriate. As proof that I share your views on this matter, I am enclosing a copy of decree no. 131, issued by me on 19 March, 1916, forbidding every kind of illegal action, such as the independent seizure of land or dwellings in the regions taken over from the Ottoman state.

In conclusion, I must tell you the necessity of taking preventive measures from now on against the serious threat of food scarcities both in the army and the Caucasus region and against the dangers these will create in the future obliges me to consider sending back all Armenian deserters and refugees. These deserters and refugees will thus, by settling in their former home areas, be given the opportunity of becoming productive, while at the same time the Caucasus will be relieved of the burden of feeding them. Moreover, the problem of feeding the army here will also by alleviated by their returning to Turkish Armenia and starting a productive life there.

I remain, Yours very respectfully, Nicholas

Related to Russia’s geopolitical goals and expectations in Anatolia, another of her great aims was to produce and develop a “Slav race” in that area. This clearly meant the settling of Russians in the occupied regions. Some of the land had been allocated to the Cossacks. “The annexation of new territories, new countries where Russians could be settled” was one of the Russian Empire’s basic aims. For this reason, it was basically impossible for the cherished hopes of the Armenians to be realized. Immediately after their armies had occupied Erzurum, the Russians, in a decree issued by the Supreme Military Command, declared that “the Armenians had no right to settle in Erzurum.”

The following excerpt is taken from the August, 1916 issue of the newspaper Rec, published in Petrograd.

“In the occupied areas (to the south and southeast) of Turkey, which were recently discusses at the Duma, the settlement of Russian immigrants is being vigorously carried out. This problem has been the cause of heated arguments between the directorate of immigration and the military authorities. Investigations are being conducted with regard to the settling of Russians, not just in the border areas but in more distant plains, in particular the fertile plain of Mu?... There was also another project for settlement of the Cossacks, since good results had been achieved in the north of the Causasus. Those proposing this project wished to establish a rather broad and fertile area, which would be settled by Russians and by Russian and Turkish Armenians.

The Armenian refugees were slowly returning and beginning to cultivate their fields. Since their own towns had been completely destroyed, they are generally settled in towns which had been less badly damaged. To prevent trouble, Archduke Nicholas issued a strong, categorical statement demanding that the Armenians who had returned, should leave area as soon as Russian administration was established.”

This is just one of thousands of documents that reveal the real contradictions with regard to geopolitical expectations and the Armenian question, and making it quite clear for whose purposes the Armenians had been made an instrument.

Bolsheviks and Armenians

In 1917 the Bolshevik revolution succeeded in overthrowing the Tsar. A new regime and a new order were in the process of being established. The Bolsheviks were promising the Russian people and the world “First peace, then bread and freedom.” Immediately after seizing power, they started armistice talks to arrange for peace with Germany and the Ottoman Empire and a ceasefire. As the Brest-Litovsk peace negotiations continued, the Russians began to withdraw from the occupied areas in Anatolia. On 13 January, 1917, the famous declaration known as “Decree No. 13 and bearing the signatures of Lenin and Stalin was published. This declaration was to form the basis of Bolshevik policies from 1917 until the Turco-Soviet agreement and other agreements defining the eastern borders. In addition, it gave proof that Soviet geopolitical expectations had not changed. The main points of “Decree No. 13” were:

“The Government of the Workers and the Peasants supports the right of the Armenians in Turkey and Russia to determine their destiny as they wish until independence. The Council of Commissars is convinced that this right can be fulfilled only by ensuring first of all the conditions necessary for a referendum. These conditions are as follows:

(1) The withdrawal of armed forces from the borders of Turkish Armenia and the formation of an Armenian militia to protect life and property there.
(2) The return of Armenian emigrants who have taken refuge in nearby areas.
(3) The return of Armenians who have been exiled by the Turkish government since the begining of the war.
(4) The establishment of a temporary National Armenian Government formed by deputies elected in accordance with democratic principles (the conditions of this government will be put forward during the peace talks with Turkey.)
(5) The assistance of the Armenians in the realization of these goals by Shahumian, Commissar for Caucasian Affairs.
(6) The formation of a joint committee in order that Armenian lands can be evacuated by foreign troops.”

The Bolshevik revolution had a great effect on the Russian armies at the fronts. A great majority of the Russian troops fled or dispersed. In some units, the system of rank was turned upside down, corporals and sergeants leading some of the units. These armies were speedily withdrawing from the front and were evacuating the occupied areas. At the same time they were abandoning their positions in the occupied territories to Armenian gangs, fully armed and equipped, and to the Armenian battalions that still remained. A sizeable number of the leaders of these gangs were Russians, or Russian officers were acting as chief-of-staff and unit commanders of the militia forces. It was in these circumtanstances that the declaration was published. Its alms were clear: to handle the situation using the Armenian militia until such time as the dispersed Russian armies could be replaced by new Bolshevik forces, to fill the evacuated areas in the Caucasus region and to win over the Armenians again.

Up to the armistice period, the eastern borders of Turkey were not clearly defined. Two Armenian army corps were holding Kars and Sar?kam?? under military occupation and were continually perpetrating massacres of the Turks, both in the central regions of Anatolia with the help of the terrorist organizations and in the Caucasus and regions where Turks were in the majority with the help of the Armenian gangs.

The situation in the East, where Armenian acts of terrorism, large-scale fighting, massacres and atrocities were being perpetrated, was one of the most important factors leading to the start of the National Struggle movement.

The Dashnaks, who had established an Armenian government in the land known today as the Soviet Armenian Republic, were in conflict with the Bolsheviks. Some of the other Armenian terrorist organizations were working hand in hand with the Bolsheviks for the establishment of a new regime in Russia; some were continuing their acts of terrorism in Anatolia. As was apparent from the declaration of January 13, 1918, from Soviet demands years later and from the schemes devised at every opportunity against the Turkish Republic, the geopolitical expectations of Russia, whether Tsarist or Bolshevik, had in no way changed as far as Anatolia was concerned. As regards the subject under discussion perhaps one of the most important facts was that there could be no question of a change with regard to the Armenians. The Russians could never see the ‘Armenian question’ in terms of anything other than a war. This is what the Armenians did not grasp.

Change in British Attitude

The British attitude towards the Ottoman Empire underwent an important change in the face of a number of developments of great importance for the future of the world. The regime in Russia had changed. The Bolsheviks had repudiated all agreements made; in short, one of the partners in the scheme for the partitioning of Turkey had withdrawn. The United States had joined the War and played a significant part in developments in Europe. Despite the dismal situation, Turkish power had not collapsed; in fact, the Turks had not suffered a decisive defeat in any area. Germany was largely resigned to defeat.

On January 5, 1918, Lloyd George expressed the following views regarding Turkey:
We are not fighting to deprive Turkey of its richest lands in Thrace, or in Anatolia, where the Turks predominate numerically and where they have governmental control. We are not opposed to internationalizing or neutralizing the transit routes between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, nor are we against measures to protect Istanbul, the seat of Ottoman government, and to protect the heartland of the Empire, the land the Turks regard as their home. We support the Arabs, the Armenians, the Iraqis, the Syrians and the Palestinians in their demands for recognition of their independent national status.”

Taking the view that debate about the method of establishing national sovereignty in their own territories was unnecessary, he went on to say that “no obstacle now remained to Aimed discussions on the agreements previously reached, since Russia’s collapse has changed the whole situation.”

It was evident that the British wanted to fill the gap caused by Russia’s withdrawal. The ‘Armenian question’ was now likely topic of discussion among the allies, as was the question of a Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Naturally, it was a legitimate subject in terms of British aspirations.

In general, these views determined Britain’s approach hand policies in the areas where British interests conflicted with those of France and Italy. This situation was to continue until the Treaty of Lausanne. Meanwhile, the Armenians, realizing that they could achieve nothing by seeking Bolshevik support, turned once again to the West and to Britain for assistance.

The Mudros Armistice

The truce marked the end of the First World War; never again would the Ottoman state resort to force of arms. The Allied Powers immediately adopted a course of action which would violate all Ottoman rights of sovereignty. Istanbul was under de facto occupation. The Turkish armed forced had been demobilized, and the Turkish fleet was held under close surveillance. Communication systems and transit routes were in the hands of the Allies; they were also trying to gain complete control of Turkey’s financial and economic resources. The lifting of the blockade, which had continued since the beginning of time War, could be implemented only at the discretion of the allies. Greek demands during the War were also beginning to be met Apart from these developments, the Allies also seized the opportunity to occupy strategic points in those areas of Turkey which were of importance in terms of the geopolitical aspirations of the Allies, and which they had been granted in accordance with the terms of the secret partition agreements made earlier.

During the period immediately following the truce, there were three main lines of development with regard to the ‘Armenian question’. First of all, in east and northeast Anatolia and the southern part of the Caucasus, the Armenian armed forces were at war with the Turkish forces, as evidenced by the massacres of Turks and Moslems, by their forced resttlement and by the destruction of the villages and towns in which they had resettled. The outcome of the war was a victory for the Turks, the defining of Turkey’s eastern borders and the founding of the Republic of Armenia within the U.S.S.R. During this period, the atrocities and murders perpetrated in the above mentioned regions by the Armenian guerrilla bands constituted a full scale ‘massacre” and ‘genocide’ of the Turks and Moslems.

The second development was the intensifying of Armenian propaganda directed at Europe in general, and at British and French politicians and publich opinion, in particular. No politician in Europe went uncontacted by the representatives of the Armenian terrorist organizations, posing as representatives of the Armenian Republic as if they were state representatives. During this period, all the European states had adopted a stance of aloofness towards the Armenian terrorist organizations. The United States, on the other hand, was in every way warmly supportive of the Armenian cause; they wanted independent relations to be established under their personal supervision, along the fines of the general policies outlined above. This policy was to continue unchanged to our own day.

The third development was taking place in south and southeast Anatolia. During the movement of French forces from Syria to the south of Anatolia, the Armenians who lived there, or who had been settled in these parts while they were still within the borders of the Ottoman Empire, were advancing ahead of the French towards Adana, Mara? and Urfa. Taking advantage of the support of the forces following them, they continued their acts of terrorism in these areas, this time with the help of the French. Moreover, the circumstances in which these events occured are worthy of note and will serve as an example in world history. Some time before the Armenians who left Mara? and Adana to be resettled moved into their new areas of settlement with the French forces behind them. By applying to the courts, they were able to reclaim the lands and property they had sold on departure. Every Armenian application was examined; if their title deeds, existed, were returned to them; if they had proprietary rights over a property on which they had lived, the bill of sale was declared null and void and their rights of ownership were restored. Despite these measures, time Armenians tried to punish the Moslem people in the most violent manner, attacking, raping and killing them.

In the Mudros Armistice, the Alfred Powers failed to take into account one important factor: the strength of Turkish nationalism. Before long, this had developed into the National Struggle and the Turkish War of Independence. Prime factors giving rise to this movement were the massacres and other atrocities carried out by the Armenians in the east and southeast of Anatolia. The enemies were driven out of the country at the end of the War of Independence. Following the victories in the east, the borders of Turkey were redefined, and the Treaty of Lausanne was signed. During this period the Armenian activists made great efforts to win public sympathy in Europe and the United States, but they were unsuccessful in the face of the newly asserted strength of the Turkish nation. In time, the Americans came to understand that their geopolitical aspirations with regard to Anatolia could not be realized by occupation of the area, in accordance with the desires of the Armenians and those who wanted to use them to secure various advantages for themselves. Aware that the cost of any operation in Anatolia would be extremely high, they proposed to try to realize their ambitions in other ways.

The developments during the first twenty-three years of the century were by no means gratifying to the Armenian terrorist organizations. They still regarded as valid the Treaty of Sévres and with it the complete disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, for throughout history time exploitation of the opportunities secured for them by other people had in a way become a constant feature of time policies of the Armenian terrorist organizations. They were never able to accept the abrogation of the Treaty of Sèvres, which followed the Turkish National Struggle and War of Independence. However, as always, one point escaped their notice. As can be observed by anyone studying the history of Anatolia, it has never been possible for any power to gain possession of Anatolia by treaties and agreement. Nor has it ever been possible, to seize Anatolia by thrusting aside those who had shed their blood and sweat for these lands, in order to serve the ambitions of other powers.

The most striking characteristic of this period was the extensiveness and intensity of the propaganda activities, the variety and elasticity of the psychological pressure applied by states, and the fundamental part this played in almost all the means employed ranging from diplomacy to war. The ‘war’ theme has not changed. The Armenian representatives announced that they had always fought on the side of the Allies against the Ottoman Empire. That is why they wanted to benefit from the treaty at the end of the War. At Lausanne, the theme of an ‘Armenian homeland’ began to be examined. The British were again the main architects and propagators of this theme. The documents appearing in the first section of this Introduction are an attempt to appraise and to present the situation in this period and in the years up to 1973.

The basic characteristic and role of geopolitics in the ‘Armenian question’ become evident in a study of the treatment of the ‘question’ throughout the whole of the period that stretches from 1923 to 1973. During the 1973-1985 period too, one of the most powerful realities was also the expectations of various states with regard to Turkey. Those who presented and exploited these as a ‘threat’ were just as prevalent as the states that tried to control the situation.

THE MEANING OF THE ‘ARMENIAN QUESTION’

There have been many attempts at defining the ‘Armenian question’. A great proportion of these definitions repeat the stock themes used in propaganda campaigns and psychological warfare. Some others are the results of the efforts of terrorist organizations to impress the view points to the public at large, and as such their primary function is to reflect the political ideologies of those organizations. Religious organizations approach the question from the point of view of their own aspirations and beliefs. The various states handle the issue with an interest which varies in proportion to the advantages they hope to gain from its exploitation in the pursuit of their geopolitical objectives. In accordance with this policy they produce definitions that can be used to further their international contacts. With the same aim, whenever expedient, they bring these definitions up for discussion at international forums.

Whatever the accepted definition maybe, there is no doubt that political implications carry great weight The target is always Turkey and the Turkish nation, and, even though it may not be openly expressed on every occasion, the Turks are denigrated as people and subjected to calumny and hostile attacks. Any attempts at defining the ‘Armenian question’ are bound to face three important problems which make it excessively difficult, if not impossible, to come to an agreement over its meaning. The principle problem is created by the fact that the Armenians themselves, whose common aspirations and needs are believed to lie at the root of the ‘question’, are far from constituting a homogeneous and identifiable group. The Armenians of our day are people who were born and settled in different countries, entitled to all the rights and benefits of citizenship and with occupations in both the private and the public sectors. Hence, they all have different points of view, different attitudes and reactions. An English Armenian cannot be expected to see eye to eye with a French, Lebanese, Syrian or American Armenian. His expectations, hopes and aims would be unlike those of the others. Even if the Armenians of these countries could share similar views and emotions with, for example, a citizen of Soviet Armenia, this similarity would be limited. The second problem is that, most of the definitions proposed have been the consequences of political agitations and therefore their political significance outweighs their objective value. And, finally, as a third difficulty, we must mention the identification of the Armenian issue with Armenian terrorism. While this identification has provided terrorism with a powerful weapon of propaganda, it has deprived the concept of credibility and has reduced it to a formula for concealing reality. Definitions made to interpret the ‘Armenian question’ in terms of the historical developments related to the issue also face this obstacle.

Below are the main definitions that have been proposed up to the present time.

1. According to the definition given in the Constitutional Regulation of the World Armenian Congress, the ‘Armenian Question’, or the Armenian issue, is the outcome of a movement of national liberation, and as such it cannot be viewed in isolation from other nationalist movements pursued by the peoples of the same region. As has been noted above this definition reflects the search of Armenian terrorism for a formula that can supply it with a coherent meaning or structure. Its aim is to legitimize terrorism through the use fallacious analogies. This definition fails to reflect the truth and serves no practical purpose, since the states, the support of which the activists wish to enlist by defining their operations as a movement of liberation, become involved in the Armenian issue only when it serves their own interests and in so far as it can be exploited for their own advantages. Hence, this definition can only be used as a theme of propaganda promoted in cooperation with these states.

2. The ‘Armenian question’ has also been interpreted as being part of a large scale plan to weaken and undermine Turkey by powers with vested interests in the region and who do not want Turkey to become too strong, in case their future interests are imperilled. Consequently, they aim at keeping the issue constantly on the agenda. Although this definition has historical
foundations and is not at variance with reality, yet it is not adequate as an interpretation of the problem since it avoids the Armenian dimension.

3. The ‘Armenian question’ is merely Armenian terorism, which, in turn, is a small scale manifestation of the general phenomenon of terrorism that prevails in the world. While this definition fits in with the explanation of the behaviour and attitudes of the Armenian terrorist organizations and of their relations with one another, yet it too is incomplete because it attributes the problem solely to terrorism.

4. The ‘Armenian question’ is a façade used by international crime organizations, such as those dealing in narcotics. These organizations which engage in activities that threaten to destroy humanity for the sake of gain, aim at concealing their true objectives by diverting the attention of the public to Armenian terrorism. This definition may throw some light on the contacts of Armenian terrorist groups, however, it can neither explain the question nor provide a historical perspective for understanding the events and situations related to the issue. Moreover, it confuses the meaning of the question further by narrowing the scope of the problem and confining it within the limits of a very special situation and a short time span.

5. The ‘Armenian question’ is used as an excuse for perpetuating blood feuds and revenge. According to this definition Armenian terrorism is a means of exacting retribution and revenge for the so-called atrocities to which the Armenians were subjected in the past. This definition is also untenable, because it fails to reflect the views of the majority of the Armenian people, in whose names those acts are committed though they themselves are uninvolved in terrorism. On the contrary, these people also suffer from the pressure exerted on them by such organizations.

6. The ‘Armenian question’ is the expression of the Armenian aspirations and claims for land from Turkey in order to set up a national home. This definition has some validity in that it gives expression to a psychological and emotional reality that lies behind the problem. However, it is impratical, for the Armenians today possess neither the national unity nor the power to realize this aspiration which many Armenians even today would find difficult to reject. At the same time, it cannot be supposed that a great number of the Armenians who now live as the citizens of the countries where they have settled would give up their homes to seek a new place of settlement. Despite being infeasible, this interpretation of the Armenian question’ may serve to explain some of the motives that lie behind Armenian terrorism. But, even then, it cannot explain how terroristic activities might be expected to achieve such an end. For, states are not known to capitulate with terrorism on issues that relate to their sovereignty. It is even more unrealistic to assume that a country of the stature of Turkey, the strength of whose national forces comes top among a number of states likewise renowned for their military power, would bow down before terrorism. If this were to happen we would have to look for other causes.

7. The ‘Armenian question’ can also be defined in historical perspective, according to its manifestation in different periods. We have attempted earlier to give a historical outline of the different attitudes to this question from the sixteenth through the twentieth century. However, the historical approach is not adequate for an understanding of the meaning of Armenian terrorism in the period between 1973 and 1985. The reason for this clearly lies in the drastic changes of our time, from political circumstances to everyday conditions. The Armenian terror organizations fail to comprehend the dynamics of these changes. This is also the mistake of those who expect to reap advantages from terrorist activities.

8. Finally, the ‘Armenian question’ is best understood by seeing it from another angle as the question of the Armenian people themselves, whose sense of national identity, which arose in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as an awareness sharpened by the promotion of hostility against Turkey, is fast disappearing today. Armenians as individuals living in different societies, inhabiting different geographical regions, belonging to different churches, speaking different languages, sharing the same aspirations and anxieties with different people, are no longer united by the consciousness of being ‘Armenian’. Moreover, many of them disapprove of the only legitimate Armenian state, that is, Soviet Armenia and refuse to recognize it as the representative of the Armenian nation. For this reason, the primary question faced by the minority organization which began their activities in the sixties was how to revitalize the concept of the Armenian national identity. It was with this end in view that in the period 1973-1985 the theme of hostility against Turkey and the Turks was resumed. Consequently, Armenian terrorism was reactivated with the help of a number of states, organizations and interest groups. In fact, the question for time Armenians today is how to revive and keep their sense of identity, how to prevent themselves from becoming second class citizens and, how to assert, instead, their unity as people having a language and religion of their own. It has become manifest that terrorism was unable to resolve this question. In short, the ‘Armenian question’ or the Armenian issue may be defined as the question of keeping the Armenians’ sense of identity alive. The necessity for the Armenians to unite around a single aim or ideal constitutes another aspect of the question. It is to meet this need that the most recent ‘Constitution’ of the Armenian people has been prepared.

B. ARMENIAN TERROR ORGANIZATIONS
Common Features:

I. The survey of the aims and strategies of the Armenian minority organizations from a historical perspective during the phase of New Armenian Terrorism (1973-85) shows that they had all assumed the character, aims and functions of terrorist organization. Their activities were directed towards the objectives of inciting and perpetrating revolts, revolutions ad acts of terrorism.

It has already been noted above that the Dashnaks who had become organized in time 1890’s, had adopted a programme based on terroristic strategies, such as forming gangs, demoralizing the target Ottoman population, killing the Turks and undermining their sovereignty, arming the Armenian minority groups in preparation for uprisings, revolts and terrorism, forming revolutionary committees and murder squads, and destroying governmental institutions. After seizing power and establishing an Armenian Republic (1918-1920) within a year of the Russian Revolution, in the region where Soviet Armenians situated today, the Dashnaks engaged in diplomatic activities and tried to assert themselves as a legitimate power, nevertheless, the fundamental terroristic philosophy never disappeared and resurfaced years later in 1972 with the formation of an subsidiary group named the Justice Commandos for Armenian Genocide. The operations of this group are well-known to everyone, not least to the non-involved Armenians on whom they exert constant pressure.

Similarly, the Marxist Hunchak organization has shown that it too endorses terrorism by the protection and support it gives to ASALA, the principal terrorist organization of the period 1973-1985. It is noteworthy that the Hunchaks provided the inspiration and intellectual impetus for the creation of this group.

For terrorist organizations, the Armenian cause, or the Armenian issue no matter what interpretations may be placed upon it has been identified with terrorism whilst the ideals or aspirations of the Armenian people have been reduced to hostility against the Turks and Turkey, to be pursued through vindictive acts and bloodshed.

II. The Armenian terrorist organizations are, as a rule, formed by a small number of activists, who control the central administration. The operations agreed upon by the central administration are carried out by a number of teams, each entrusted with specific duties. When required for propagandist purposes, these teams are made public under a variety of names, which serves the purpose of creating an impression of large numbers and wide-spread activity.

III. Terrorist organizations need not be situated in one specific physical or geographical location. They could be dispersed in several countries, or scattered over the same country. Although this situation on the surface gives an impression of a more democratic and open structure, yet, in reality, such organizations observe a strict discipline imposed by a central organization.

IV. Another characteristic of the terrorist organization is their tendency to split into a number of smaller groups both because of their differing functions and also as a result of rivalries between their members and their leaders. One outcome of this phenomenon is that each group that breaks away forms its own affiliate organization. Hence, there is an apparent mushrooming which once again produces the impression of proliferation.

V. Secrecy forms one of the basic tenets of these organizations. However, at times, particularly through the instrumentality of the subsidiary team, disclosures are made in order to publicize the activities performed as an occasion for propaganda. This policy also serves the aim of concealing the main centre from detection, which can thus continue its activities in security. For the same reasons, the teams make announcements both before and after committing crimes and take responsibility for them.

VI. In all Armenian terrorist activities, terrorism goes hand in hand with psychological coercion. In fact, the former is a phase in the process of applying the latter. Terrorism can be used as a means of propaganda, as well as an instrument of oppression, intimidation and retribution. The second use of terrorism is reserved for those who oppose the activist organizations or disobey its commands. The majority of non-involved Armenians are subjected to such pressures.

VII. These organizations possess an immense store of expertise and experience in the fields of public relations, communications and the media. Moreover, they have close contacts with the institutions and the people who disseminate information and influence public opinion. Such expertise and contacts provide the organizations with opportunities for survival and gradual expansion.

VIII. The terrorist organizations enjoy the open or secret support of one or more states. These may use them either as an instrument to further their own interests, or as a means of covering up their secret organizations or propaganda units.

IX. Hostility against Turkey and the Turks provides the terrorist organizations with a motive for their existence and survival, as well as serving to rationalize their claims and demands. However, in countries which have close relations with Turkey, the hostile reactions apparently provoked by these organizations tend to be short-lived. Indeed, in such cases, particularly when terrorism takes as its target not only Turkey but also the country where it operates and its citizens, it has to be assumed that the activists are aiming at intimidating their opponents, rather than carrying out hostile operations against the host country.

X. In retrospect, Armenian terrorism appears to have three main objectives: 1) to compel the Armenians to join the ranks of the activists by exerting pressure on them, thus securing their support, 2) to influence world public opinion by convincing it of the might and scope of Armenian terrorism, and 3) to prepare the ground for hostility against Turkey in case of future conflicts of interests and political confrontations on the international scene.

The nineteenth century myth of an enslaved and impoverished minority deprived of its rights, and the twentieth century theme of a nation subjected to massacres and genocide have both been used in order to have access to sources of power in international relations. These sources will probably be enlisted in the service of nations who are Turkey’s rivals or even by international institutions for specific ends. What, in fact, is not known among the aims of the terrorist organizations is the to which the opportunities, that arise by instigating international conflicts, will ultimately be put. This is no other than the attainment of the goal or ideal, which they expect to be realized through its own momentum in the course of a historical process outside their immediate sphere of influence.

Terrorist Organizations (1973-1985)

In the era of New Armenian Terrorism, Dashnak and Hunchak organizations function as the main centres which encourage, promote and train terrorist groups so that they can develop and expand over new areas and increase the scope of their targets. Their leadership extends to the formation of new terrorist groups and teams, providing man-power, intellectual and moral support for the newly founded organizations, and the preparation of the ground for their activities through the establishment of contacts and relations. Apart from these, ASALA, short for the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia constitutes another major terrorist organization. It has succeeded in having its name mentioned more than that of any other group, and as such has become almost synonymous with Armenian terrorism. Together with the traditional organization and their offshoots, ASALA, too, is the initiator of the new era of terrorism. As has been noted above, despite its seemingly independent status, ASALA is affiliated to the Hunchaks, deriving its moral and Intellectual strength from them, as well as making use of their established contacts and relations.

Seen from this angle, it may indeed be claimed that terrorism as we see it in our day is a continuation of the earlier tradition of terroristic activities, which was revived under the favourable circumstances of the sixties, and, making use of the opportunities that were created anew, once again embarked upon its mission of hostility against the Turks, engaging in criminal acts of the greatest inhumanity and cruelty.

One of the attempts at rationalizing terrorism is provided by Michael M. Gunter in his study on “Armenian National Liberation”, where he claims that the peoples of many different countries in our day support the struggles of the terrorists and believe in the validity of the reasons for which they take action. Similarly, Gerard J. Libaridjian, the editior of the Armenian Review and director of the Zorian Institute for Contemporary Armenian Studies situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, explains the reasons that lie behind Armenian terrorism as follows: “The reluctance of Turkey and the major world powers to recognize the exasperation of the Armenians, even after sixty years spent in attempts at establishing peace, has resulted in bringing about a new era of terrorism.” Agop Agopian, the ASALA leader, on the other hand, argues that Armenian terrorist activities emerged “after it became evident that the policies pursued by the traditional parties had failed.”

In the light of these statements it becomes clear that those who share such views present the situation as if it were one that entails a choice between peaceful or violent methods of pursuing the Armenian cause; they ignore the phenomenon of Armenian terrorism as a continuing historical process. Moreover, they fail to explain from what source they derive the right to launch such violent attacks against Turkey and to instigate revolutions, revolts and warfare with the aim of destroying its unity, nor do they tell us who invests them with this right or authorizes the exercise of such acts. The terrorists claim a right to perform acts of violence-the right to cherish animosity, seek revenge and commit assasinations-and to execise this right freely. They pretend not to be aware of the fact that the Armenian activist organizations were engaged in terroristic operations right from the start. For the new era of terrorism is clearly a revival of the older and traditional phase of terrorism, reactivated as a result of preparations made in the sixties through propaganda campaigns and demonstrations, as a means of manipulating the aspirations of certain countries and peoples over Turkey and taking advantage of the attitudes of rivals exploiting her political and economic difficulties. One need not doubt, however, that the era of New Armenian Terrorism will come to the same end as the former. Yet, in the meantime, the Armenian people themselves are undergoing the humiliation and anguish of being branded as terrorists in the eyes of the world and observe with anxiety the course taken by the events. This is an aspect of the situation which the terrorist organizations do not wish to see, or perhaps, one which their mentors refuse to see. In this way, regardless of the harm caused, propaganda and psyhological coercion campaigns continue to be waged on a large scale.

The Dashnak Terrorist Organization

The ‘Armenian Revolutionary Federation’ or “Dashnak Organization” is also known as the “Dashnak Party.” In fact, after the communist take over of the Armenian Republic, the Dashnak organization continued its existence as a party in exile, mainly in Lebanon, Iran, France, Greece and the United States. This organization has remained active up to the present day and has performed a significant role in planning and promoting the new era of Armenian terrorism, as well as forming teams and groups for carrying out terroristic operations. A move was made, later in its career, to have its name changed from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation to the Armenian National Committee. The intention behind this was to achieve greater effectiveness in its propagandist activities by the removal of a name that could offend Western sensibility.

1. The Structure of The Organization

a. ‘Bureau’: This is the most important organ of the organization and takes the decisions that determine its administrative policies. In appearance the bureau represents collective leadership. It consists of eight members, one each from California, France and Iran and five from Lebanon the members elect a chairman. The bureau, which was based in Lebanon until the outbreak of the Civil War, was moved from there to the United States and then to Greece and France. The regulations of the bureau and its decisions are kept secret it is known that a person named Hrair Marukian, Persian by birth and domiciled in France, was its chairman until 1985.

b. “The Central Committee”: It is the highest-level executive organ. It establishes the link between the bureau and the local groups and organizations. It is instituted in places where there is a sizable Armenian population. Lebanon and France have one central committee each, whilst the United States has two, one on the eastern and the other one on western coasts. Under the pyramid-shaped structure the local organizations and their organs take place. These are known by the names of a variety of Armenian associations and clubs, such as the Federation of Armenian Youth, the Youth Organization, the Armenian Boy and Girl Scouts Club, organizations for sport and cultural activities.

c. There are also various offices operating under the central committees, such as those in charge of propagandist activities and publicity, as well as legal, financial, military and educational matters. These offices offer purely technical service or advice. As an example of an office rendering a specific service, we can mention the Committee for Supervising Armenian Immigration.

2. Aims

The Dashnak terrorists organization defines the meaning of the Armenian cause or the Hay Taht as the establishment of an independent and non-communist Armenia within the boundaries designated by the abrogated Sèvres Treaty and the enforcement of the payment of compensation by Turkey in return for the crimes said to have been committed against the Armenians. Dashnak publications give expression to this objective in the words, “We will continue to insist on the implementation of the Sévres Treaty, as being one of the milestones in the pursuit of our cause.” In another publication, the aims of the Dashnaks are summarized as the recognition of the right of the Armenians to live in their own lands and to govern themselves. More commonly, the aims of the Dashnaks are presented as centering around three specific demands:

a) the recognition of the Armenian claim that genocide was committed,
b) the payment of a compensation by Turkey,
c) resetllement in the Armenian homelands.

3. Strategies and Policies

Although the Dashnaks have publicly declared that their strategies are directed towards the realization of their aims through peaceful means, neither the events of the past nor their activities in the new era of Armenian terrorism have proved this to be true. This ‘party’ which has all the characteristics of a terrorist organization, can assume, when needed, a peaceful guise and mislead the public by using propagandist tactics perfected through long years of experience. In fact, as has been said above, it was the Dashnaks who were responsible for the establishment of the Justice Commandos for Armenian Genocide whose name was later changed to the Armenian Revolutionary Army. It is, indeed, the Dashnaks who decided upon and planned the assassinations and bomb assaults carried out by this group. These activities suffice to show that the Dashnak organization never abandoned the terroristic tendencies it possessed at its inception. Nonetheless, there is a significant difference between the strategies employed by the Dashnaks and those by ASALA. ASALA makes no distinction between the Turks and other nationalities, all of who can figure indiscriminately as their targets, whereas the Dashnak organization and its affiliates take Turkish citizens or official representatives of Turkey as the sole targets of their deadly operations.

After the killing of the Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles in 1972, the Justice Commandos announced that their targets were “only Turkish diplomats and Turkish institutions.” The same declaration of intention was made in connection with the assault carried out by the Armenian Revolutionary Army against the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon in 1983. The difference that exists between the strategies of the Dashnaks and ASALA may be explained by observing the historical development of the two organizations. As we have seen, the Dashnaks took a pro-Western stance in the nineteenth and the first two decades of the twentieth century and aimed at influencing public opinion in the West, whereas the Hunchaks turned towards Russia for protection and support it is significant that, during the years 1973-1985, terrorism made use of both camps.

The strategy adopted by the Dashnaks finds its clearest expression in the announcement made in the wake of the Lisbon attack According to this, “a national liberation movement has to go through two phases in order to attain its end: firstly, the phase of internal propaganda, when bases of support are secured; secondly, the phase of external publicity directed towards gaining the sympathy of the world and attracting attention for the cause: hence the necessity for organizing activities that serve as demonstrations.” For the Dashnaks, Armenian terrorism was but a form of demonstration conducted as part of their strategy. In other words, the assaults bombings and raids that were carried out and the people who were injured, killed or trampled to death in the course of these incidents, were all considered to be the necessary elements of a scenario that made up the ‘demonstration’.

The Dashnak historian Varandjian described the characteristics of the Dashnak terrorist organization in the words: “Perhaps no other revolutionary party, not even the Russian Narodovoletz (Narodnaya Volya) or the Charbonari of the Italians, adepts though they were at terrorism and undaunted by anything that came in their way, could breed terrorists as reckless and impassioned as the Dashnaks. Hundreds of men carrying guns, daggers and bombs are up in arms.” It is sobering to reflect that during the period we have studied the mission of these “reckless and impassioned” terrorists was to attack Turkish Institutions and the Turks.

4. The Congresses of Vienna and Munich

1. On December 27, 1981 the following resolutions were taken in the twenty-second Dashnak Congress held in Vienna:

a) The Party’s goal is to secure the establishment of a united and independent Armenia.
b) Pressure should be exerted on other Armenian organizations by the political committees to induce them to join the ranks of the Dashnaks.
e) Complete agreement with the West must be secured.
d) Close relations have to be established with the Soviet Union, and Armenian Immigration must be stopped.

2. In the Munich Congress held at the end of 1984 with the participation of representatives from fifteen countries, the following resolutions were passed:

a) New campaigns must be launched to publicize the Armenian cause.
b) An attempt must be made to resolve the ‘Armenian question’ through legal and other peaceful measures, for example, a campaign must be conducted to bring the issue of genocide before the United States Congress and the United Nations Committee for Human Rights so as to secure its recognition.

In the declaration made at the end of the Congress, the delegates made the following announcement: “We are to continue our struggle for the recognition of the legal rights of the Armenian people and of the genocide committed by the Turks; as well as the payment of a compensation for the human, cultural and economic losses endured by our nation and the restitution of the Armenian national home which has belonged to us for thousands of years.”

The resolutions taken at both the Congresses are of interest in facilitating the identification of the themes that were to be used as means of propaganda by the Dashnak terrorist organization.

5. Support and Connections

The Dashnak terrorist organization derived its support largely from the United States and Europe. It operated on the bask principle of avoiding, as far as possible, contact with the other terrorist organizations. Instead it had links with various organizations in the states mentioned, its primary source of support being the Church and the Union of Churches, as well as the Armenian lobbies and research centres.

6. Political Developments

1) Up to the 1970’s the “liberation and independence of Soviet Armenia” formed the basis of the policies determined and Implemented by the Dashnak terrorist organization. For this reason, the Dashnaks gave priority to hostilities against the U.S.S.R. and engaged in a merciless struggle against those who supported and controlled Soviet Armenia. During Christmas worship, the Archbishop of the Holy Cross Armenian Church in New York was assassinated by a Dashnak suicide-killer. The reason given was the Archbishop’s approval of the situation in Soviet Armenia.

2) After the 1970’s, the breakup, due to death and other factors, of the ruling party in the Armenian Republic and the comparisons being drawn between the Third World liberation movements and the Dashnak terrorist movements led to significant changes in the Dashnak policies. Their hostility was now directed against Turkey and the Turks. “Fascist Turkey” had become the real enemy; Turkey’s ally, the United States, was also counted among their enemies. The “Justice Commandos for Armenian Genocide” (JCAG), a terrorist group established in 1972 and organized by the Dashnaks, were put into action as a result of the policy changes mentioned above. The Aztag Shapatoriag, the propaganda organ of the Dashnaks and especially of the JCAG, issued a warning of ”terror” when they announced that “terrorism is the last hope and the only path to follow in the liberation struggles of today.”

3) Despite all the propaganda efforts by the Dashnak terrorist organization, the Lisbon operation was seen as a complete failure. The attempts to represent the attack on the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon, as a turning point in terror did not win general acceptance. Following this, they were obliged to change the name of the JCAG to “Armenian Revolutionary Army”; even so, this did not produce the desired results. In particular, the arrest and conviction in 1984 of Sasunian, one of the Dashnak murderers, proved a great setback to Dashnak policies. The Dashnaks lost the support of American-born Armenians. According to the Armenian Reporter, the Dashnak Party had been taken over by Lebanese Armenians from abroad, and was powerless hi the face of a lagre majority who did not support terrorism. The weakening of the terrorist wing of the party led to increasing clashes of opinion at the highest level of the Executive Council and Central Committees. The highest officials in the party were split into two groups. Powerful members of the Executive Council, representatives of the Lebanese Central Committee and leading members of the party administration were murdered in Beirut or disappeared without trace. By the end of 1985, it was impossible to speak of a united Dashnak Party. Two important external factors helped to create this situation within the Dashnak terrorist organization. The first was the revelation that the Dashnak leaders had had connections with secret service organizations in certain countries and that these were trying to establish control over the Armenian churches. The second was the struggle between ASALA and the Dashnaks. ASALA described the Dashnak leaders ad “parasites who were sucking the blood of Armenians dry.” As a matter of fact, these developments within the Dashnak terrorist organization were not new. Whenever such conflicts and divisions arose in the past, the Dashnaks always re-emerged sometime later. In the World Armenian Congresses, the Dashnaks have always been, and will continue to be, a force to reckon with. As for the policy changes, they may be construed as being due to temporary conflicts in leadership.

7. The Media

Within the Armenian terrorist organizations, the Dashnak terrorist organization was experimenting in the field of propaganda and was giving support to that extent. They had acquired the means of constantly informing world opinion of their goals, their activities and their policies thorugh the press and broadcasting media; for example, through various serials and feature films, through radio programmes which they had purchased, thorough private radios, television and video films. Quite a few countries showed interest and provided the Dashnaks with special support in this area. Among the most important Dashnak publications were Hayrenik and Asbarez, both published in Armenian in the United States, together with the Armenian Weekly, which was published in English.

The Dashnaks also organized twenty-two world conferences in places such as Paris, Bucharest, Erevan and Munich, although the number of participants was limited. This was a tremendous propaganda and publicity effort on their part.

The Asala Terrorist Organization

During the new phase of Armenian terrorism from 1973 to 1985, the terrorist organization most frequently mentioned was ASALA (the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia). No information has yet been published on its establishment, structure and activities. With regard to ASALA, various Armenian sources and publications provide information about certain individuals, and the results of terrorist activity, mostly obtained from publications issued by the organization or terrorist group. This is Information which the terrorist group wishes to publish or does not object to having published. With regard to the founding of ASALA, some publications link it with the events in Lebanon; they take the view that it was established under the inspiration of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, within which it had been active. Others claim that it was founded by a small group of Armenians, who, within a short time, carried out the most sensational and effective acts of terrorism of the period. All this is very far from providing a complete explanation of how ASALA was founded. Until the conditions under which ASALA first appeared as an organization are better known and the gap it filled is more satisfactorily elucidated, present doubts will continue for a long time to come.

It is generally known that the first Armenian terrorist activities of the new period were in accordance with the policies and targets of the Dashnak terrorist organization. Throughout the course of history as well as in the period under discussion, the Dashnaks were completely pro-Western. They adopted a policy of limited terrorist activity which was directed basically against Turkish targets, and, as revealed by various sources of evidence, they obtained help and support from the Western states; in fact, they collaborated with them. Basically, their principles and historical development did not allow them to adopt a different approach. In this situation, one sphere of activity still remained. Namely that relating to the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, which appealed to the younger Marxist Revolutionary generations and, particularly, to the “New Armenian Resistance Organizations”, in France. In fact, this area had long since been filled by the Hunchaks. Since 1960, they, with their various points of view, had also been preparing for a new period of terror. However, the Hunchaks were not in evidence, and a terrorist organization, wishing to be regarded as completely new, appeared on the scene in the guise of ASALA. When the factors leading to the new period of Armenian terrorism are taken into consideration and their aims and policies, especially as a Hunchak terrorist organization, are examined, the conclusion can be reached that ASALA is a terrorist offshoot of the Hunchaks. It was, above all the conditions and new developments in Lebanon that lay behind the emergence of this group, as a new terrorist organization which because known for the various acts of terrorism for which it claimed responsibility. In fact, no significant change has taken place. The two Armenian terrorist organizations once again occupy the centre of the stage against the backdrop of history. The first is more in evidence, operating through its terrorist offshoots, whilst the second operates under cover, in the guise of a terrorist group to which it has given manpower and expertise, as well as moral support. This group in turn carries out terrorist activities through subsidiary groups and teams.

1. Foundation and Organizational Structure

ASALA was founded in 1975. The leader of this terror organization is known to have been Agop Agopian, one of the two most active members of the six or seven founding members. The second was Agop Tarakdjian, who was personally involved in terrorism and other criminal activity and who ensured the continued existence of the organization in the absence of Agop Agopian. The second of these two men died in 1981, whilst the first continued as leader throughout the whole of this period, apart from the time spent under treatment for wounds received. He was well known as a mujahid and a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The organization was structured in accordance with the general practice of the Armenian terrorist groups. The Lebanon Central Committee was the supreme executive body. In 1980 this committee took on a very important form in the Lebanon and assumed the nature of a “bureau”. Subordinate to the Central Committee were bodies such as the Political Committee, the Finance Committee, the Propaganda and Information Committee, the intelligence Committee and the Military Committee. Subordinate to the Military Committee were a number of operational teams.

2. Aims and Objectives

ASALA revealed to the world its aims and objectives in a “political programme” published at the end of 1981. According to this, the aim of ASALA was “the foundation of a united Armenia under the leadership of a democratic, socialist, revolutionary government”. The identity of the government in question is quite clear from the definition. All aid was welcome from the USSR and other socialist countries, while at the same time Soviet Armenia was accepted as a base in “the long struggle of the Armenian people”.

In this political programme their enemies were divided into two groups. The first of these was the Dashnak Armenian terrorist group, and all the “regional reactionaries” who opposed, or at least failed to support ASALA. The second was “Turkish imperialism, aided and abetted by international imperialism”.

ASALA believed that ”the only way of liberating Armenian territory was through the use of violence”, and issued public announcements to this effect. According to their programme, ASALA was to support all those who rejected the domination of the ruling classes and who were willing to work towards the foundation and strengthening of coalitions within the international revolutionary movement. Violence and terror formed an essential element in this programme.

In order to realize ASALA’s aims and objectives it was not essential that terrorist activities should be directed solely against Turks and the Mends of Turkey, or against people in positions of power or authority. “Terror is a phenomenon” and the important point is its scope and dimension. The actual targets maybe of secondary importance. Greatest stress it to be laid on murders and massacres that will arouse violent public reaction. Whether the targets are men, women or children, Turks or non Turks, is of little significance. Nevertheless, first importance was to be given to attacks on Turkey and the Turks. The importance of the attacks and massacres carried out in the airports of Paris and Istanbul, In the Istanbul Covered Market and the airport of Orly, lay entirely in the nature and violence of the reaction these were aimed at arousing.

3. Strategy, Attitudes and Behaviour

The essential aim of ASALA was to make the Lebanon the centre for all progressive Armenian movements through out the world and the point from which all operations would be directed. In short, all progressive Armenian groups were to unite in the Lebanon and for the basis for an “ASALA Popular Movement”. In this way, all progressive Armenians could enter into an official organization in which their individual strengths could be united.

An attempt was made in the summer of 1981 to put this section of ASALA strategy into effect by calling all progressive Armenians to a meeting in the Lebanon. By “progressive” was meant “Marxist Leninist”.

The second stage of this strategy began with the terrorist activities and open war undertaken by the organization thus founded with the help of certain socialist states. Armenian terror formed an integral part of the struggle for independence in the Middle East, uniting with other movements directed against the integrity of Turkish territory. This led inevitably to the union of ASALA and PKK.

ASALA was clearly terrorist in attitude and behaviour. In all ranks of the administration terror and the implementation of terror was regarded as an essential feature of the organization. The leaders murdered one another, liquidated those of whom they disapproved or had them done away with. Apart from this, each terrorist team was presented to world opinion as if it were a separate Armenian organization and all types of propaganda were carried on by this means. Responsibility for the crimes committed was assumed by various organizations whose names had never before been heard of. A list is to be found in an appendix at the end of this introduction showing how in 1981 and 1982 the murders, crimes, bombings and raids were carried out by a single organization but attributed to groups with a variety of different names. By examining this list the reader will find a number of operations claimed to have been carried out by a great many different Armenian groups but which actually all bear the mark of a single team and a single organization. All these so-called independent groups remained subordinate to and directed by ASALA itself.

4. Political developments

The first stage in the political development of ASALA, which is generally agreed to have been founded in 1975, was highly effective, and the organization was strengthened by new forces recruited during the Armenian Congress in Paris in 1979. It gained further strength in 1981. In 1983 it split in to two factions.

The first operation carried out by ASALA was the assassination by Agop Tarakdjian, one of the founders of the organization, of Oktay Cerit, First Secretary in the Turkish Embassy in Beyrut, on 16 February 1976. The period up to 1979 was marked by ASALA’s involvement in the conflicts between the various Palestinian groups, in the course of which Agopian, one of the leaders, was wounded. Links with the Armenian terrorists in France were established during the Armenian Congress meeting in Paris in 1979, which saw the organization strengthened by the addition of new elements and fresh blood. The most famous of the new members were Alex Yenikomshian and Monte Melkian. In 1981 a number of terrorist attacks carried out by ASALA on innocent groups or individuals having severely shaken its standing in world public opinion. Following the Israeli occupation of the Lebanon the ASALA leaders were forced to leave the Lebanon along with the Palestinians. A split in the organization took place in 1983.

• The Agop Agopian Group - This was centred in Greece and the Middle East. Its terror was directed indiscriminately against Turks and non-Turks, as well as against innocent women and children. It was this group that was responsible for the attack at Orly.
• In Western Europe the movement operated under the name of the “Asala Revolutionary Movement”. This followed a more moderate course of action and directed its terror solely against Turks. The leaders of this group were Monte Melkonian and Ara Toranian. Toranian was the leader of a group centred in Paris known as the “Armenian National Movement” which described the Orly attack as a purely Fascist operation.

Melkonian, who had been born in Iran, declared his intention of setting the Armenian struggle on a sound political footing. According to this the movement had two aims; to rouse the Armenians to action, and to make common cause with other groups in their struggle against Turkey. In this second stage, Melkonian was involved in establishing alliances with other groups while Agopian continued with his own type of activity.

5. Support and Alliances

ASALA received support from three main sources:

1. The Soviet Union, the Eastern block and other socialist countries.
2. Countries such as Greece and Syria whose geopolitical expectations depended on the destablization of Turkey from within and without.
3. Various communist parties, indirectly from the Hunchak Armenian terrorist organization and its sympathisers, and also from the Armenian church, in spite of its difference in outlook.

In ASALA’s links with other groups first priority was given to relations with non-Armenian terror groups which threatened Turkey directly or indirectly, and whose activities ran parallel to the strategy implemented by ASALA itself. In the period between 1976 and 1980 these consisted of groups such as the Palestine Liberation Organization, activist members of the various communist parties and the secret services belonging to certain states. In 1980 ASALA widened the scope of its activities following the agreement reached with PKK at a meeting in Sidon in the Lebanon, thus establishing unity of outlook and action between ASALA and PKK. As a matter of fact, these two organizations had already displayed a marked affinity in aims, structure and beliefs. From 1983 onwards ASALA relations began to develop along the lines of the strategy laid down by Monte Melkonian. First priority was given to terrorist activity within Turkey, and links were established with any group capable of furthering this strategy by either direct or indirect means. These groups were headed by PKK, the Turkish Communist Party and other communist organizations.

6. Publications and information media

• ASALA’s most important, official organ is Haiastan
• Other important publications include the periodicals Hai-Baikar, Armenia and Kaytzer, published in London.
• ASALA’s first radio broadcasts began in 1981 in Beyrut with a daily one-hour programme “The Voice of the Armenians in the Lebanon”. Apart from these facilities are provided by the public radio corporations and mass communication media belonging to countries with which it has established contacts.

C. ARMENIAN CONGRESSES

Throughout the period covered by the “Armenian Question” or “Armenian Problem” the Armenian terror groups have been given indirect encouragement by certain churches and states, while at the same time a number of Armenian congresses have been held at their request and invitation. Most of these congresses have been organized by the Dashnak or Hunchak terror groups and attended by their own members, together with other Armenians interested in the topic and representatives of the churches. Such congresses have normally been in the nature of forums at which topics such as the actual situation and conditions together with the activities and potential capabilities of the organization were discussed, and at which a number of decisions were taken. These decisions were, however, very rarely actually applied and most often served merely to foment faction and conflict.

In the period 1973-1985, during the New Armenian Terror, congresses under such titles as “The International Armenian Groups” were held in Paris in 1979, Lausanne in 1983 and Sevres in 1985. At these congresses attempts were made to address world public opinion, as well as the various Armenian communities and members of the Armenian terror groups. At the congress held in 1985 under the chairmanship of a priest, James Karnuzian, the text of an “Armenian Constitution” was accepted. The declared aims of the congresses held during this period were “to foster unity and co-operation among Armenians”, “to form a centre for the formulation of political demands and aspirations”, and “to combine the various Armenian terror groups in a single organization”. Priority was given to a massive propaganda and psychological campaign to inform international public opinion of their activities. Attempts were also made to interest Armenians in the work of the various groups and to involve them in terror or other operations. Another aim of these congresses was to ensure harmony and co-operation between the various separate Armenian terror groups. Thus all terror and other activities could be presented as the common policy of the international Armenian community, and the various elements brought together in a united front.

These congresses had a number of characteristics in common:
a) In all of them priority was given to discussions concerning armed struggle. Disagreements between those who supported armed struggle and those who opposed this strategy finally led to splits in the Armenian terror groups. ASALA refused, or was not allowed, to participate in any of the congresses held after the Paris Congress of 1979.

b) It was decided that the texts of all decisions taken at these congresses should be forwarded to the various international bodies and that these decisions should be considered and discussed at various levels in the international forums. Means were also discussed by which this decision could be put into effect.

c) One of the most important topics of discussion was the union of all Armenians in a single organization, but no agreement could ever be reached on how this aim was to be achieved. The text known as the “Constitution” accepted the idea of a preparatory period.

d) The number of participants at these congresses steadily diminished.

e) No effective measures were taken to remove the differences of opinion that were very clearly revealed at these congresses.

The Paris Congress of 1979

The “First international Congress of Armenian Groups” was held in Paris on 3-6 September 1979. ASALA was very strongly represented at this congress and played a very influential role. The congress exerted a very considerable influence on the progressive Armenian groups in France, particularly in persuading them to become involved in terrorist activity. The main aim of this congress was to gather the Armenians of the world around a single idea and a single flag, and to make territorial demands on the basis of a careful evaluation of the political environment.

The most important proposals put forward at this congress were the following:

a. An end should be put to party and sectarian squabbles and a “Central Committee” established.
b. Measures should be taken to prevent the assimilation of Armenians in the diaspora.
e. Military theoreticians and tacticians should be employed in their operations.

The decisions taken were as follows:

a. Extra impetus should be given to the Pan-Armenian movement. In the diaspora the concept of Armenianism should be politicized and importance given to the organization of an international “Armenian Front”.
b. An investigation should be made into the possibility of help for the Armenian cause by Armenians living in the USSR and measures should be taken to facilitate such assistance.
e. Territorial claims should be made directly to Turkey.
d. The Armenian Church should be given a national character.
e. Work should be begun on the foundation of an Armenian bank.
f. Central Bureaus should be established and publication and communication facilities developed.

The Paris Congress resulted in an increase in violence and terror. ASALA was strengthened by the introduction of fresh blood. Military training was increased in a number of centres.

The Lausanne Congress of 1983

The Lausanne Congress had been preceded by a number of very important developments. Terrorist activities had attained very serious dimensions, and world public opinion was becoming aroused in condemnation of Armenian terrorism. Some of thees terrorist activities, which were now taking the form of massacres, were beginning to constitute a matter of deep concern and anxiety, not only for impartial observers but even for Mends and allies of the Armenians and, above all, for the Armenians themselves. The Lausanne Congress met against this background with the aim of uniting Armenian political views and of directing all action towards a common goal. ASALA did not participate in this congress and those in favour of violence found themselves in a minority. The Congress ended with splits and factions appearing in both ASALA and: the Dashnak groups, and with vain attempts by the terrorist teams and groups to form new organizations. Most of them were expelled from the organization, arrested and condemned.

The following were the most important of the proposal put forward and the topics discussed:

a. A constitutional council should be established to decide upon basic politics, to determine and formulate views with regard to territorial claims, and to establish such claims on a sound basis.
b. A national liberation movement should be established on the basis of nationalism and democracy.
e. These congresses should be similar to the International Jewish Congresses and display a strongly democratic, parliamentarian character.

The following decisions were taken:

a. Measures should be taken to ensure that the congresses should possess a democratic, parliamentarian character, and that a “Constitution” should be drawn up.
b. The Constitution should be drawn up by a constitutional council, which should also be responsible for the preparation of a text presenting a synthesis of the various political views held.
c. The work of the council should be published and distributed to the international public.

This congress ended in disagreement and great confusion. The moderates proved dominant but were unable to achieve any notable proved dominant but were unable to achieve any notable results. The conflict continued after the close of the congress, and the factions and splits referred to above began to make their appearance.

The Sèvres Congress of 1985 and the Armenian Constitution

This congress met at Sèvres on 7-13 July 1985 under the title “The III. International Congress of Armenian groups”. Its aim was the discussion and acceptance of the “Armenian Constitution”. This waste lead to work on the establishment of a “Union” representing Armenians throughout the world.

The Armenian terrorist groups did not participate in this congress. The question of Dashnak representation gave rise to protracted disputes. ASALA was not represented at this congress and was exposed to violent criticism.

The following proposals were put forward:

a. The slogan “One Armenianism, one goal, one struggle and one voice” was proposed and accepted.
b. It was proposed that the Congress of Sèvres was to be accepted as valid and the Congress of Lausanne as invalid.
c. The proposal that no support should be given to ASALA was accepted.
d. It was proposed and accepted that the struggle against Turkey should be continued.
e. It was proposed and accepted that support should be given to the struggle being conducted by Greece and the Greek Cypriots against Turkish expansionist policy.
f. It was proposed that the Congress should bear a character similar to that of the “Palestine National Congress in Exile”, and this was accepted on the basis of observation of the required developments.

The Congress decisions

a. The Congress accepted the text of an “Armenian Constitution”.
b. The Congress accepted the application of a many-sided strategy for the achievement of their aims.
aa. It was decided that collaboration should be established between progressive and revolutionary movements in Turkey and the Armenian nationalist movement, as well as between the Armenians and the various other peoples engaged in the struggle against Turkish oppression and exploitation, and that recognition should be given to the inevitably close links between the struggle of the Armenian people and that of other oppressed peoples.
bb. The International Armenian Congress decided that although it was in no way connected with any state or power, it would accept aid and assistance from any country that respected and supported the Armenian cause.
e. It was decided to send a note to the United Nations, the USA, the USSR, the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia, the Council of Europe, the unaligned states and all signatories of the Lausanne Agreement bringing to their attention the fact that the Armenians were the only people who had failed to profit from the abolition of colonialism.
d. The Congress, convinced that Turkey should be compelled to admit its involvement in the genocide of 1915 and that such an admission would open the way to the liberation of Armenian territory, decided to disseminate information on this question and to have recourse to the necessary quarters.

The USSR was praised for its recognition of the genocide of 1915 and for the publication of an article on this subject in Pravda in April 1985, while at the same time criticism was leveled at the American administration for having failed to ensure the passage through the US Congress of a genocide bill.

The Armenian Constitution

In his speech introducing the Armenian Constitution, accepted by Third International Armenian Congress, Mr. James Karnuzian declared that “the Armenians had been greatly handicapped by their lack of unity” and that the only means of removing this handicap and ensuring unity was to form “a unified group”. He went on to say that the text known as the “Constitution” conprised all the various views consonant with this aim.

Impartial observers announced that, in the event of this Constitution’s being put into effect, “all groups and organizations engaged in the struggle for the victory of the Armenian cause would be gathered together under the aegis of the Armenian Congress”.

The main alms of the Armenian Congress as reflected in the Armenian Constitution were as follows:

a. To unite the Armenians scattered throughout the world into a single body.
b. To disseminate information throughout the world concerning the work of the Congress.
c. To make use of all political and diplomatic means at their disposal to liberate Armenian territory now under Turkish occupation.
d. To organize the return of the Armenians to their homeland and to make the necessary preparations for this.

In order to realize these aims, the Congress would seek ways of ensuring the participation of other groups, without, however, sacrificing anything of their independence and autonomy. Every group of ethnic Armenians composed of over twenty members should have the right to representation in the Congress in accordance with democratic principles, thus accepting the principle of a wide popular base.

According to the Constitution the work of the Congress centre should be based in Switzerland.

Traditional bodies such as the “Armenian National Council” should be divided into organizations such as the “General Council” and “Executive Council”.

CONCLUSIONS

What is the truth concerning the “Armenian Problem” and the “Armenian Question” that lies behind the renewal of terrorist activity in the years between 1973 and 1985?

What are the lessons to be learned from this terrorist activity, which far surpasses in ruthlessness the work of any of the Armenian terrorist groups of the past?

What light can be shed on future developments by an evaluation of the events of that period?
As a conclusion to this comprehensive study, almost entirely based as it is on Armenian publications or on works deriving from sources sympathetic to the Armenian cause, we believe a satisfactory reply can be given to aft these questions.

1. The propaganda formerly used to exploit the various interests, aims and expectations of the Armenians living within the Ottoman Empire, and at converting these minority groups into a problem for the Ottoman State, is still being propagated under the guise of an “Armenian Cause” in various countries in the world, including the Armenian Republic, which now forms part of the USSR. It is now no longer a question of an “Armenian Problem” but of an “Armenian Cause”, a concept that is now being thrust upon world public opinion, international organizations, and various parliaments and senates. The new Armenian terrorism of 1973-1985 employs weapons, crimes, massacres and attacks as propaganda aimed at enforcing acceptance of the justice of this ”cause”. In other words, all these massacres, crimes and attacks have a single aim-to publicize the “Armenian Cause”, to emphasise its scope and dimensions, and so arouse fear and apprehension regarding the lengths to which this terror could well be taken.

2. There are certain lessons to be learned by humanity as a whole, as well as by the Armenians themselves, whose names have become associated with a terrorist activity in which they have been in no way involved, from the new wave of Armenian terrorism of 1973-1985. The use of terror as a means of propaganda and psychological pressure is a question of concern to all states, and it from this point of view that the 1973-1985 era must be evaluated. States founded on principles of law and order find their field of activity restricted or even rendered utterly powerless in the face of a terror that acknowledges no law and regards all means as legitimate. Even more important, some states sympathise with this terrorism and even support it on geopolitical grounds, failing to realize that one day the same weapon may be turned against themselves. From this point of view, the new wave of Armenian terrorism contains a number of very valuable lessons.

From another angle, the apparent differences, conflicts and even divisions betwen the various Armenian terrorist groups are purely superficial. As a means of propaganda for the propagation of the “Armenian cause”, whatever time method of application, range or scope, all these apparently discrete elements complement each other in their work towards the achievement of a common aim. And the expert in the use of psychology in political struggle is presented with clear evidence of terror as one aspect of psychological warfare.

3. Future developments will be determined by the attitudes adopted by states who see in the aceptance or rejection of the “Armenian Cause” the realization of the geopolitical expectations of international organizations, states, parliaments and senates in the field of international relations, and they will increase commensurately in importance.

The acceptance of the “Armenian Cause” in the form in which it is now presented, means the advance acceptance of an attitude that will not be content with sporadic massacres, crimes and attacks, but which will inevitably turn towards the waging of a regular war.

If the “Armenian Cause” is interpreted as being the preservation and development of the Armenian language, religion and culture, this will result in the complete rejection of terrorism, and will liberate the Armenian people from a situation which is causing them great anxiety and apprehension. Otherwise, they will finally become the victims of a steadily increasing anarchy and the incriminations of others.


3) 19. and 20. Century Armenian Terrorism, Heath W. LOWRY*
The historian of the Ottoman Empire who ventures into reality long enough to examine the activities of Armenian terrorist organizations in the past decade, is immediately struck by the high degree of similarity between the stated aims, the choke of targets, the tactics utilized, and the rhetoric employed by today’s Armenian terrorist groups, and those of their nineteenth and early twentieth century counterparts. On the assumption that the study of the past does at times provide some insight into the present, and even the future, I ning throughout the history of armed Armenian political violence. Having done so, and fully cognizant of the risk I. run in front of an audience among whom are so many distinguished psychologists, I will then venture into an analysis of some of the factors in Armenian society which serve to ensure that each succeeding generation seems to produce and nurture a new group of terrorists. Specifically, I will examine the treatment accorded each generation of Armenian terrorists by their contemporaries, in an attempt to illustrate the manner in which such individuals are traditionally held up to the next generation’s youth as ‘Armenian National Heroes’. Stated differently, they are eulogized in such terms, that they cannot help but be perceived by the young as ‘role models’.

In a recent paper, Dr. Gerard Libaridian, the Director of the Zoryan Institute in Cambridge, Massachusettes, attempted to come to grasp with what he termed: “The Roots of Political Violence In Recent Armenian History” (Libaridian, 1983). Under the heading of ‘Root Causes’ he wrote:

“In general it seems that political violence and more specifically political assassinations, have come to life in Armenian society as a reaction against the repressive regimes of the Ottoman and Russian Empires before the First World War. Empires which seem to have left no way, no more peaceful way anyway, for the Armenians to achieve any kind of progress. In the case of the Armenians particularly, as opposed to larger entities, such as the Turks themselves, or the Russians themselves, their inability because of the smaller size of the Armenians, their inability to effect the larger events within the Empires of which they were apart, seems to have directed them to a more individual type of action which political assassination is.”

Compare this view with that expressed in a 1977 letter to the New York Times, written by the Armenian National Committee in Boston, where we read:

“Some Armenians have apparently lost faith in the willingness or capacity of the world’s governments to listen to, or act on, peaceful appeals, “(Times, May 30, 1977).

One fact is immediately apparent. If Libaridian is correct in ascribing nineteenth century Armenian political assassination as resulting from the frustration felt by Armenians who were unable to effect change in the Russian and Ottoman Empires from ‘within’, and the ANC letter is correct in viewing today’s assassinations as stemming from the frustration felt by Armenians unable to influence the world’s governments from ‘without’, it becomes relatively easy to understand why the level of today’s violence is so great Viewed differently, whereas the goal of creating an independent Armenian State in Eastern Anatolia, is certainly shared by both past and present Armenian terrorists, the fact that today’s terrorists are forced to try to do from ‘outside’ what their nineteenth century counterparts were unable to accomplish from ‘inside’, points to a higher frustration level’ among the current crop of terrorists. For, after more than a century of violence, the goal their ‘terrorism’ ostensibly addresses, the creation of an independent Armenian state, is further from reality today than it was a hundred years ago. This does not imply, however, that we should complacently view today’s acts of terrorism as a ‘last gasp effort’. To the contrary, yet another ‘thread of continuity’ linking the nineteenth and twentieth century Armenian terrorists, is their shared inability to comprehend the realities of the world around them. In the same manner that the nineteenth century Armenian revolutionaries failed to see that the geographically dispersed nature of the Armenian minority of the Ottoman population, preordained that their ‘nationalism’ would not share the success of other Ottoman ethnic minorities and result in the creation of an independent Armenia carved out of a portion of the Ottoman Empire; so too, are their twentieth century descendents incapable of grasping the fact that a strong Turkey will never accede to the demands of a handful of terrorists. In other words, one factor totally lacking in the makeup of past and present Armenian terrorists, is logic!

Understanding this aspect of the terrorist’s character makes it much easier to comprehend why they continue to utilize the same methods and tactics today that failed to gain them their objectives in the nineteenth century. Political assassinations in the period between 1860 and the outbreak of World War I, took time lives of scores of Ottoman and Russian officials. However, this fact did not influence Russian or Ottoman policy vis-â vis Armenian separatist aspirations one iota. Nor will the wanton murder of Turkish diplomats today ever effect the decision-making process of the government of the Republic of Turkey.

Likewise, the tactic of occupying public buildings, planting them with explosives, and threatening to blow them up if specific demands were not met, did not begin in 1981 Paris, or in 1983 Lisbon. This tactic was first employed by Armenian terrorists in August of 1896, with the takeover of the Ottoman Bank in Beyo?lu, Istanbul. Under the threat of blowing up their hostages, they issued a series of demands, just as eighty-five years later their twentieth century counterparts did, following the September 1981 occupation of the Turkish consulate in Paris, France. In the end the 1896 terrorists surrendered without having seen the fulfillment of their demands, just as their 1981 counterparts did in Paris. Indeed, the only real difference between these operation, stemmed from the subsequent treatment accorded to the terrorists. The 1896 occupiers of the Ottoman Bank were shipped out of Istanbul in style on the yacht of the British a ambassador, whereas, the terrorists who took over the Paris consulate, were given a French trial and inappropriately light prison sentences. In both Instances the only tangible result, was a brief flurry of attention by the press.

Given the total failure of one hundred years of senseless violence to achieve its avowed aim of the creation of an independent Armenia, what if any are its successes? To answer this query we must broaden our examination to include the topic of Armenian terrorism, when its objects are terrorist actions against Armenians. A recent study focusing on the years between 1904 and 1906 provides the following statistics on the victims of Armenian political assassination in that era:

“In this three-year period there were 105 political assassinations: of which 56 were against Armenian informers; 32 were for political reasons against both Russian and Turkish officials and officers; 7 or 8 were against blackmailers; 5 against usurors; and, 2 or 3 were incidental with unspecified causes. These figures were for the Eastern Armenian regions of Tiflis and Baku, as well as or Van and its vicinity in the Ottoman Empire. “(Libaridian 1983)

In other words, during this brief three-year period, there were two Armenian victims assassinated by Armenian terrorists, for every one non-Armenian. This hitherto almost totally neglected fact deserves our attention, for it was not a phenomenon limited to 1904 1906, but rather one which still exists today. Its purpose, then as now, was nothing more or less than intimidation. The conscious attempt to frighten the overwhelming majority of peaceful Armenians into silence as regards the activities of the terrorists.

On September 24, 1933, the then primate of the Armenian Church of America, Archbishop Leon Tourian was assassinated by Armenian terrorists as he prepared to celebrate mass in the Armenian Cathedral of New York City. As he walked up the aisle in plain sight of several hundred waiting parishioners, a group of men blocked his path, knives flashed, and he fell dead on the floor. Not one individual in the crowd was able to identify a single one of the assailants; The New York district attorney who prosecuted the subsequent trial of the nine man Dashnak cell responsible for the assassination, had the following to say in regard to the failure of a single Armenian present in tine Church to testify against the assailants:

“The detectives faced a wall of reticence which did not auger well for a solution of the mysterious killing. Either these Armenians wished to settle the feuds in their own way by murderous counterplots; or they were too much in fear for their own safety to disclose what they knew. (Spectator, December 7, 1983)

While those Armenians in attendance may have been unaware of the statistic quoted above, that 56 of the 105 individuals assassinated by Armenian terrorists between 1904-1906 were murdered as “informers”, the message which the terrorists intended to convey had clearly gotten through to them. Anyone who speaks up against one of their members will die.

Nor has this message changed today. Only six months ago, ASALA executed two Armenians (one of them an American) in Lebanon who were charged with having served as C.I.A. “informants” in regard to the planned atack on the Istanbul Kapal? Çar?? some months earlier. (Spectator, January 7, 1 984: p. 16).

The result is a ‘curtain of fear’ which makes it extremely difficult for law enforcement authorities of all nations to permeate the ranks of Armenian terrorists. For Armenians know full weft what their fate will be if they are labeled as “informers” by the terrorists.

The irony of this situation is, that while Armenian terrorists have throughout the past one hundred years consistently failed to obtain their goals vis-â-vis their enemies, be they the Russian or Ottoman empires or the government of the Republic of Turkey, they have succeeded in creating the desired climate of terror among their fellow Armenians, the very community they claim to be working on behalf of. This is the sole success of a century of Armenian terrorism.

While this ‘curtain of fear’ may well account for the almost total silence of any voices within the Armenian communities of the world (with the exception of the Turkish Armenians) to openly speak out against the activities of Armenian terrorists, it does not account for the fact that many prominent Armenians in Western Europe and the United States of America have frequently used the flurry of press interest occasioned by the latest terrorist attack to make statements which at least tacitly support such activities. As an example of this attitude we may cite the statement of Mr. Kevork Donabedian, the editor of the Armenian Weekly, an ethnic newspaper published in the United States, which was reported in an article in the Christian Science Monitor:

“As an Armenian, I never condone terrorism, but there must be a reason behind this. Maybe the terrorism will work. It worked for the Jews. They have Israel.” (Monitor, November 18, 1980)

This attitude which may be typified as the “of course we don’t condone terrorism, but we must understand the deep sense of frustration experienced by these young men as a result of the great historical injustice done to the Armenians by the Turks etc. etc.”, is repeated in the wake of every assassination, by a variety of Armenian academicians, spokesmen, and religious leaders. What it amounts to, is nothing more than a token distancing of oneself from the actual event with the almost ritual “of course we don’t condone terrorism”, followed by a repetion of the same catalogue of charges concerning allegations of “massacres” and “genocide” against the Ottoman Empire of 1914-1915. Be the spokesman an Armenian American, or a French-Armenian, the littany seldom varies. As for the intent, it never varies. It is the justification of the actions of the terrorists, on the grounds that their ancestors were the victims of an historical injustice. Albeit de facto, this represents nothing less than an acceptance of the actions of the terrorists. What such individuals are really saying is: “while I wouldn’t want to hold the gun myself, those who do are performing a useful service on behalf of the ‘Armenian Cause’.”

Lest this indictment sound too harsh, I should now like to turn to a rather detailed ‘case study’ of the manner in which those few terrorists who have been apprehended, have been treated, and are being treated by the Armenian community as a whole.

This dissussion will focus on an examination of two periods of terrorism that which l will term the ‘Post World War I Round’ and, the ‘Current Round’, which began in 1973 and continues until the present.

Following the end of World War I, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, or the Dashnaks as they are more commonly known, formed, a network, known as ‘Nemisis’ designed to track down and assassinate former members of the Young Turk Government. Their first victim was the former Minister of the Interior, Talat Pa?a, who was gunned down on March 15, 1921, while walking on the street in Berlin. His assassin was an Armenian named Soghomon Tehlirian. Nine months later the former Ottoman Minister of Foreign Affairs, Said Halim Pa?a was assassinated by an Armenian named Arshavir Shiraldan in Rome. Barely four months later, this tine working with an accomplice named Aram Yerganian, Shirakian struck again. This time his victims were two former Young Turk officials, Bahaeddin ?akir Bey and Cemal Azmi Bey, who were shot in Berlin on April 17, 1922. A few months later Cemal Pa?a was gunned down in Tiflis by two Armenians (Walker, 1980: p. 344.) And the killing continued.

Of more import to us here than the assassinations themselves, was the response then and now of the Armenian community at large to these events. Tehlirian, the assassin of Talat Pa?a was arrested in Berlin and charged with murder. Within days of his arrest a ”Soghomon Tehlirian Defense Fund” was established in Berlin, which rapidly grew as Armenians worldwide, and in particular the United States, sent their contributions to Berlin. Aided by the legal advice thus purchased, Tehlirian was acquitted after a cursory two-day trial. For the next forty years, until his death in San Francisco (1960) Tehlirian was accorded the status of an ‘Armenian National Hero’ indeed, the 1968 book by James Nazer entitled: “The First Genocide of the Twentieth Century” places this ‘title’ beneath his photograph (Nazer, 1968). The author likewise granted the epitaph of Armenian National Hero’, to Shiragian and Yerganian, two of Tehlirian’s fellow ‘Nemisis’ members.

Skipping forward in time to the ‘Current Round’ of Armenian terrorism, let us compare the treatment accorded the assassin of Kemal Ar?kan, the Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles, and that given to the five terrorists who occupied the residence of the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon, with that accorded to their ‘Nemisis’ forefathers.

Hampig Sassounian was a twenty year-old Armenian immigrant, who had recently moved to Los Angeles, California from his birthplace in Lebanon, when on January 28,1982 he assassinated the Turkish Consul General to Los Angeles, Kemal Ar?kan. Following a drawn-out trial, he was convicted of this crime in February of 1984. No sooner was Sassounian arrested than Armenian groups throughout the world, but primarily in North America, announced the opening of a variety of ‘Sassounian Defense Funds’. A recent article in the Armenian press summarized their results in this regard as follows:

“During the past twenty-two months, literally tens of thousands of Armenians have shown their interest and concern. Armenians in Los Angeles and in other cities throughout this country, Canada, France, Lebanon, England, Greece, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Egypt have rallied to support Sassonian’s defense.

This outpouring of monies and personal and collective messages of support is indeed the best measure of a people involved in a political process which ultimately could determine their destiny. “(Asbaraz, October 15, 1983).

A survey of the activities carried out by these ‘Sassounian Defense Committees’ is even more revealing as to the nature and scope of the efforts on his behalf. The following example, typical of numerous similar activities, will serve to illustrate this point. On the evening of Friday, October 21, 1983, at the HOLY CROSS ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH in Montebello, California, an “Evening for Hampig ”was organized by the Sassounian Defense Committee”. Opening, and indeed we might say, ‘Headlining’ the evening’s activities, was a ‘Special Church Service’ presided over by HIS GRACE BISHOP YEPREM TABAKIAN, PRELATE, WESTERN PRELACY OF TILE ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH. In addition, a variety of well known Armenian artists and singers performed for the benefit of the audience of several hundred Armenians who turned out in a show ‘Moral Support’ for the terrorist assassin, Hampig Sassounian (Observer, October 12, 1983: p.3.).

The most disturbing aspect of this gathering is clearly the fact that it occurred in a religious sanctuary and that it was presided over by the leading Armenian religious authority in the western United States of America. Before proceeding with an analysis of some of the implications of this and similar events, we must examine the treatment accorded the five Armenian terrorists, who in July of 1983 occupied, and subsequently blew up, the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal. As their action resulted in their own deaths, as well as that of their innocent victims, they were accorded the status of “Instant Martyrdom” in the Armenian communities across the world. The following partial list of the numerous ‘memorial’ services held in Armenian Churches and Community Centers across America, in ‘commemoration’ of their ‘sacrifice’ will illustrate this point:

a) On Sunday, October 16, 1983 at the A.C.E.C. in Watertown. Massachusetts, a gathering billed as a “Political Rally in memory of the Lisbon Five Martyrs” (Weekly, October 15, 1983);
b) On January 21, 1984 in the Armenian All Saints Apostolic Church in Glenview, Illinois, a commemorative service for the ‘Lisbon Five’ (Weekly, January 14, 1984);
c) On January 22,1984 in the Saints Vartanantz Church in Providence, Rhode Island, a commemorative service for the ‘Lisbon Five’ (Weekly, January 14, 1984);
d) On January 28, 1984 in the Armenian Community Center in Dearborn, Michigan, a commemorative service for the ‘Lisbon Five’ (Weekly, January 14, 1984);
e) On January 29,1984 in the Saints Vartanantz Church of Ridgefield, New Jersey, a commemorative service for the ‘Lisbon Five’ (Weekly, January 14, 1984);
f) On February 12, 1984 in the Soorp Khatch Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., a commemorative service for the ‘Lisbon Five’ (Weekly, January 14, 1984);

The Armenian Weekly of Saturday, February 11, 1984 provides a lengthy description of one such ‘memorial gathering’ which was held in the Saints Vantanantz Church before an audience of “Over 400 people”. It consisted of the following segments:

1. A brief ‘memorial service’ for the souls of the “five heroes” was held in the Saints Vartananiz Church;
2. A presentation of the flag and candle lighting ceremony performed by the local Armenian ‘Boy Scout’ troop. These children carried in pictures of each of the “heroes”, lit a candle in front of them, and placed the Armenian Tri-color flag before each:
3. The next stage was a series of ‘speeches emceed by Urger Harout Misserlian, who began this part of the program by saying: “Since 1975, Armenian youth have resorted to armed struggle having determined the futility of diplomatic efforts. We should not be grieved by the martyrdom of these boys. Passed are the times of lamentation. Now is the time for sustained struggle.”
4. Following the speeches there were ‘recitations’ of Armenian revolutionary poetry and nationalistic songs were sung;
5. Unger Arpie Balian, the representative of the Armenian Relief Society of North America then spoke. His comments included the following statement “We are gathered here to mark act of our five heroic youths, who, during July of last year with their conscious martyrdom, joined the pantheon of our ancient braves.”
6. Balian’s keynote address was followed by a slide show which outlined the development of the Armenian Liberation Movement from the turn of the century to the present;
7. The evening ended with the following scene: “Five young men, identically dressed and wearing black hoods, marched onto the stage, and after saluting the portraits of the five heroes, unfurled a red banner upon which the following was written in large black letters in Armenian: ‘My name is struggle and my end is victory’ (Weekly, February 11, 1984: pp. 6-7 & 9).

Clearly, today’s Armenian terrorists are being embraced by this generation’s Armenians in exactly the same manner as the terrorists of the 1920’s (Tehlirian, Shirakian et. al.), were embraced and accorded hero status by their contemporaries.

In closing, I should like to shift my focus from that of a historian, who by comparing the past and the present, has sought to demonstrate several various “threads of continuity” which tie together the acts of Armenian terrorists throughout the past century, to that of ‘prophet’, and attempt to project the reasons why I believe all signs point to the fact that Armenian terrorist acts will continue well into next century. These observations may be summarized as follows:

1) The Sanction of The Church: In any minority community, it is the representatives of organized religion who supply the ‘locus’ around which the group revolves. Among the Armenians, this fact is also true. It was the Church leaders throughout history who have kept the Armenian language, literature, and traditions alive in the memory of their parishoners. Thus, when Armenian Church leaders participate in ‘commemorative memorials’ for slain or imprisoned terrorists, and allow their sanctuaries to be used for the holding of such commemoratives, they are providing de facto recognition of and approval for the acts which the Armenian terrorists commit;

2) The Sanction of the Press: Both the Armenian and English language ethnic Armenian press in the United States, gives wide coverage to the activities of Armenian terrorists. As we have seen, through the examples I have presented, this expresses at least tacit approval of the terrorists’ actions, and thereby gives its ‘stamp of approval’ to their efforts.

It is no exaggeration to state that the Armenian Press and the Armenian Church are the two organizations which most effect the shaping of public opinion among the Armenians of the diaspora. As I have repeatedly shown, the attitude of both vis-â-vis terrorism is, at best, questionable. Unfortunately, terrorism is not a topic towards which one may adopt a ‘luke-warm’ response. You cannot say: “My form of terrorism is justified, but I don’t approve of terrorism.” It is clearly ya hep ya hiç (‘all or nothing’) proposition. By failing to openly CONDEMN the senseless killings perpetrated by ARMENIAN TERRORISTS, both the Armenian Church and the Armenian press are giving their ‘stamp of approval’ to these activities. Bearing in mind that the overwhelming majority of Armenians, fail to make their voices heard on this issue, out of fear, we are faced with a situation where almost the entire Armenian community of the Diaspora, in one form or another, tacitly support the activities of Armenian terrorists.

What are the effects of this attitude on the minds of impressionable children? What does it mean when an Armenian ‘Boy Scout Troop’ goes to church and participates in a ‘memorial commemorative service’ for the ‘Lisbon Five Martyrs’? When they listen to their elders speak of dead terrorists as “martyrs”, who have “joined the pantheon of our ancient braves?” The answer to these queries is all too obvious: It means nothing less than that ‘terrorists’ are being portrayed for today’s Armenian youth as fitting ‘role models’, as ‘heroes’ whose actions are worthy of emulation. It further means that for every Armenian terrorist who is captured or killed there will be another impressionable youth waiting to take his place. It means in fact, the continuation of ‘round after round’, of ‘generation after generation’ of Armenian Terrorism.

History does in fact contain lessons for today. It explains how the failure of the Armenian community to openly condemn the Armenian terrorism of the 1920’s has contributed to the ‘current round’ of terrorist activities, and, it suggests that the Armenian failure to condemn today’s terrorism, will guarantee yet another ‘round’ in the coming generation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Asbarez: Publication of the A.R.F. Central Committee of the Western U.S.A. Armenian Newspaper with Weekly English Editio;
Libaridian: Transcript of a paper presented by Gerard Libaridian at the 18th. Annual Middle East Studies Association Meeting; held in Chicago, Illinois on November 3-6, 1983. Paper was entitled: “The Roots Of Political Violence In Recent Armenian History.”;
Monitor-Christian Science Monitor;
Nazer: James Nazer: The First Genocide of the 20th Century. New York. 1968;
Observer: The Armenian Observer. Weekly Armenian newspaper published in Hollywood, California. Osheen Keshishian is its Editor;
Spectator: The Armenian Mirror-Spectator. Weekly Armenian newspaper published by the Baikar Association, Inc. in Watertown, Massachusetts. Barbara Marguerian is Editor,
Walker: Christopher J. Walker: Armenia, The Survival of a Nation. New York, 1980.
Weekly: The Armenian Weekly. Armenian newspaper published by the Harenik Association of Boston, Massachusetts. Managing Editor is Kevork Donabedian.


4) Armenian Terrorism History as Posion and Antidode, Justin MCCARTHY*
Historians do not usually contribute to discussions of present-day terrorism. Middle East historians have especially avoided comment on Armenian terrorism, preferring topics more remote and less likely to shoot back. However, in considering Armenian violence, history cannot be ignored, for history is both the cause of Armenian terrorism and its only cure. Armenian terrorism is rooted in a false view of history and only by correcting that view will Armenian terrorism be defeated. I therefore wish to suggest a method not usually used to combat terrorism-the study of history.

There are many reasons that someone becomes a terrorist; perhaps few of them have to do with the cause in which the terrorist believes. Many here know the real psychological and economic motivations of terrorists better than I.

Nevertheless, each terrorist needs a raison d’être-a philosophy and a cause for which he can kill and die. History usually plays a part in this, both because terrorists often look back to an idyllic past in which all was well with their people and because terrorists harbor historical grudges and hatreds. Whether they be the Viet Minim, the Mau Man, the I.R.A. or others, terrorists who attack imperial powers usually remember real or imagined historical injuries and vow vengeance. But with most terrorists history is the smaller part of their justification. The greater part is their desire to free their people from bondage, so that their people can rule themselves and their land. Today’s Armenian terrorists are unique in that history is their only real justification. There are no people to liberate. The aim of Armenian terrorists is vengeance for what they believe are pas wrongs.

There cannot be said to be a practical justification for Armenian terrorism. Some who provide assistance to Armenian terror, such as the Soviet Union, wish to disrupt Turkey and NATO and they gain from Armenian violence, but the Armenians themselves do not, and cannot gain. They can never reasonably claim the area that once was their homeland. Today, less than three million Armenians live outside the Soviet Union, and of these only a small percentage would ever migrate to a newly-created Armenia. More than eleven million Moslems, Turkish citizens, now live in the same area. Armenians could at best hope to be 10% of the population. Short of a major war that would kill the eleven million Moslems, an Armenian state in Anatolia is impossible.

Armenian terrorists also cannot be said to be fighting for a better life or freedom from oppression for their people or even to free their brothers from an oppressive political yoke. No one seriously believes that the Armenians in Turkey are politically persecuted and any case, the terrorists write of the Armenian citizens of Turkey as “not real Armenians,” because they are willingly part of the Turkish Republic. If Armenian terrorists really wished to free their brothers from political bondage, they would be directing their attacks toward Russia, not Turkey.

Thus it is obvious that Armenian terrorism does not have a realizeable political goal. Stripped of abstract political rhetoric and ingenious clamorings for a “return” to Erzurum or Harput., Armenian terrorism is purely a product of the desire for revenge.

The crimes for which the Armenians blame the Turks are numerous and varied, including all the villanies attributable to man, but two claims are of paramount importance-Turkish refusal to accept an Armenian state in Eastern Anatolia and the supposed Turkish genocide of 1.5 million or more Armenians during and after World War I.

These are historical claims. They are unquestioningly accepted as true not only by Armenians, but by time majority of citizens of Western Europe and America. They are also the reason that Armenian terrorism, including the murder of absolutely innocent diplomats and others, has caused so little moral outrage non-Armenians. Because of these historical claims, Armenian terrorism is viewed as justifiable vengeance, not murder.

Treating Armenian terrorism by hunting down terrorists and checking for bombs at embassy doors is necessary, but it is also treating the symptoms while the disease remains. As long as children are taught to hate their ancestors’ enemies, the seeds of terrorism will live on. The foundation of Armenian terrorism is bed history. In the end, only good history will cure the disease.

There is no time here to consider in detail the history of the Ottoman Armenians. Much of the history of the Armenians is in any case, not known. One of the tragedies of scholarship on the Middle East is that independent historians hava long avoided the Armenian Question. Studying the Armenians potentially brought with it little praise and much loss. I must admit that my own intention was not to study Armenians. As a demographer I was fascinated by the fact that histories of the Ottoman Empire had been written for 300 years, but no one had an accurate idea of who actually had lived in the Empire. I began studying the population of Ottoman Anatolia to find how many Anatolians were in each of the millets and what had actually happened to the Anatolians in the course of the wars that ended the Ottoman Empire. I first discovered that something was wrong with the accepted wistom on the Armenians when I found that many more Anatolian Moslems had died than Armenians. That did not seem to be genocide.

My researches have since demonstrated a number of facts that disprove the usual contentions concernings Turks and Armenians. The facts were drawn from statistics on Armenian population which were compiled by the Ottomans as part of their population registration program. They were demographically consistent, accurate data, collected by a government that needed to know. Armenian numbers for its own intelligence. In no way were they politically or propagandistically motivated, and when they were collected, before the war, the Ottoman government did not expect that they would ever be used in arguments over an Armenian problem. They were, in short, the type of population statistics gathered by every government in the world. However, although the statistics have been available for 70 years, they have remained unused. Politicians, terrorists, and Armenian sholars have preferred their own guesses to accurate figures. Their guesses, of course, have supported their contentions that millions of Armenians had been killed or driven from Armenia. Real statistics show a far different picture.

First, despite the presence of “Armenia” on nineteenth century maps and the assertions of European politicians who had no way to know the truth, there was no Armenia in the Ottoman Empire.

The area claimed as “Turkish Armenia” was commonly known as the Six Vilayets-Van, Bitlis, Mamuretulaziz, Diyarbak?r, Sivas, and Erzurum. In 1912, there were only 870,000 Armenians in the Six Vilayets as a whole. In some provinces of the Six Vilayets, Moslems outnumbered Armenians six to one. Moreover, Armenians were settled all over the Ottoman Empire, not simply in the East. As many Armenians lived in the rest of the Ottoman Empire as in the Six Vilayets. However, even if all the Armenians of the Empire had come together to live in Eastern Anatolia, the Moslems would still have outnumbered them by more than two to one. The impossibility of building a modern state with such numbers is obvious.

Second, the alleged Genocide of the Armenians: Barring the latter-day discovery of a personal diary, no one will ever be able to prove what Talat Pa?a really intended for the Ottoman Armenians. We now know that, like the infamous Hitler quote, the so called extermination orders of Talat Pa?a were forgeries. The only relevant Ottoman documents that have come to light indicate a generally solicitous attitude toward deported Armenians. Yet Moslems surely did kill Armenians during World War I, and Armenians surely died during the deportations. No matter how many Ottoman documents surface showing benign Ottoman intentions toward Armenians, it is doubtful if Armenian apologists will ever accept such documents as accurate. Numbers present more indisputable evidence. They allow one to view the situation in Eastern Anatolia during World War I without the blinders of ethnic identity. Statistics have no millet.

The history of the events in Eastern Anatolia is no one-sided tale of massacre and deportation. In April of 1915, the last act of the long Ottoman-Russian wars began. Armenian leaders in the Ottoman Empire adopted two stances toward the wart The Armenian “establishment”-businessmen, churchmen, and educators-professed their neutrality, although they accepted conscription and other unavoidable duties as citizens. Armenian revolutionary groups stepped up their anti-Ottoman activities, including the stock-piling of arms in Eastern Anatolian cities. On the other side, far from professing neutrality, Armenians in the Russian Empire supported the Czar and Armenians joined Russian forces with the intention of taking Ottoman Armenian and uniting with their brothers.

Both the Ottomans and the Russians cleared border areas of part of their population in preparation for war. The Ottoman government, remembering Armenian support for Russia in past wars, decided to remove Armenians from potential war zones and communications centers. Whether or not hindsight and modern morality tell us that the deportations were a mistake, no one can seriously doubt that the Ottoman government had reason to distrust many of the Armenians of Anatolia. Because of the assistance given by the Armenians to invading Russian armies in 1828, 1854, and 1877, the Ottomans decided they could not trust the Armenians, much as time United States, with much less justification, decided they could not trust Americans of Japanese ancestry in World War II. A forced deportation of Armenians was begun. In areas in which Ottoman authority was weak and in war zones, Armenians suffered terribly. They were set upon by Kurdish bandits and even by some Ottoman government officials. Interestingly, the latter were often Moslems who themselves had been exiled from the Russian Empire, their places taken by Armenians in the Caucasus. In areas to time south where Ottoman authority was strong, such incidents were few and the refugees arrived in Syria in relative safety (as attested by the Armenians themselves).

Before the deportations had begun, the first Ottoman thrust into Russian territory had failed and the Russians had begun a strong counter-attack At the back of the Ottoman army, Armenian revolutionaries seized and held the city of Van, displacing thousands of Moslems, who became refugees. These were soon joined by 800.000 fellow Moslems, refugees from areas taken by the Russian army. By the time war fare ceased more than 400.000 Turks evicted from the Caucasus had been added to the refugee numbers. The Moslem refugees were persecuted by the same Kurdish bandits who attacked the Armenian refugees, and they were killed by Armenian revolutionaries and Armenian volunteers from the Caucasus. The fate of the Moslem and Armenian refugees war remarkably similar. War, bandits, starvation, and disease killed Turks and Armenians indiseriminately.

By the end of the Eastern Anatolian wars, 1.2 million Moslems from Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus had become refugees. More than one million of the Moslems of Eastern Anatolia had died, as had at least 130,000 Caucasian refugee Moslems. 870,000 of the Armenians of the Six Vilayets had become refugee or had died. In Anatolia as a whole, 600,000 Armenians and 2.5 million Moslems had died. If this was genocide, it was a strange genocide indeed, one in which many more killers than victims perished.

If the case against a genocide of Armenians needed any further proof, one would only have to look to Istanbul, the capital of the Empire and the area most under government control. In Istanbul, to the shame and guilt of the Ottoman government, perhaps 200 Armenian politicians were executed without trial. But all the rest of the Istanbul Armenians, who presented no threat to the Ottomans, lived through the wars. Their sons and daughters live in Istanbul today. Considering actual genocide in its worst manifestation, Nazi Germany, can one imagine Hitler sparing the lives of all the Jews in Berlin?

Any comparison between the Ottomans and the Nazis is ludicrous, as is the use of the word genocide to describe the actions of the Turks. What passed between the Armenians and the Turks was not genocide; it was war.

The war that engulfed the Turks and Armenians in 1915 was the last in the series of nineteenth century Turco-Russion Wars. It was those wars that destroyed the place of the Armenians in Anatolia. In the 1700s, the Russians began their conquest of the lands of the Crimean Tatars, expanding their conquests in the 1800s to include the Caucasus. The overwhelming majority of the population of both areas was Moslem. As part of their colonial policy, the Russians set out to change the demographic makeup of the area.

The Russian policy had two facets-the deportation of Moslems and the importation of Christians. Deportation was advanced vigorously during both peace and wartimes. Between 1828 and 1920, more than two million Moslems were forcibly evacuated and an unknown number killed. Those who fled found refuge in the Ottoman Empire. In the process, whole nations-the Crimean Tatars, The Abkhazians, the Circassians-ceased to exist in their ancestral homes.

The other mainstay of the Russian colonial policy was the importation of Christians to the Crimea, the Steppes, and the Caucasus. Slavic Christians were brought to the Crimea and North Caucasus. Armenians were welcomed to the South Caucasus. Beginning with the war of 1828-29, the Russians promised privileges and autonomy (a promise still undelivered) to the Armenians, in return for Armenian support against the Turk. Twice, in 1828 and 1854, the Russians invaded Eastern Anatolia, each time favoring local Armenians, and twice they left, taking 100,000 Armenian sympathizers with them to the Caucasus, where the Armenians took the place of emigrant and deceased Turks. (The province of Erivan, the present day Soviet Republic of Armenia, was 80% Moslem before 1818.) In the 1877-78 war, the Russians took and held the Kars-Ardahan region, driving out Moslems and providing a home for 70,000 Armenians in the region, many of whom came from other areas of Anatolia. Perhaps 60,000 Armenians went to the Russian Caucasus in the troubles of 1895-6. Finally, the migrations of the World War I era resulted Lu an almost even exchange of 400,000 Armenians from Eastern Anatolia for 400,000 Moslems from the Caucasus.

Figures on refugee numbers are somewhat imprecise and are the subject of on-going research. However, we know that from the 1820s to the 1920s almost 600,000 Armenians went from the Ottoman Empire to Russia. Two million Moslems came from Russia to Turkey. Once again, the suffering was far from one-sided.

The historical truth is that Russian Imperial expansion upset the traditional balance of the peoples of the Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia. All the peoples suffered. In terms of number, dead and deportations, those who suffered most were the Crimean and Caucasian Moslems. If any people were the victims of genocide, it was the Crimean Tatars, victims in their own homeland of a planned extermination begun by Catherine the Great and ended by Joseph Stalin. Yet those who are all too willing to consider Moslems as the agents of genocide seem strangely unwilling to consider Moslems as its victims.

What I have related is, I submit, the truth, albeit in an abbreviated form. It is story of human suffering that, like most such stories, has no hero and no villain, only victims-human victims, whether Turkish or Armenian. But that is not the way the story has been told. Instead of the truth of a human disaster, a great myth has arisen, the myth of the Evil Turk and the Good Armenian. The myth has been perpetuated by stories of the sufferings of the Armenians. The stories are often true, but they never mention the equal or greater sufferings of the Turks. The myth has been generally believed by non-Armenians because it fits well into a larger centuries-old myth-the Terrible Turk To Europeans, who had feared Turks for more than five centuries, the myth of the Armenian genocide seemed just one more example of what they had been taught was the savagery of the Turk it spoke to a prejudice that had been nurtured by textbooks, sermons, folk tales, and ancestral fears of the horsemen riding out of the East The false image of the Turks was too strong to be affected by facts.

When Turks protested that their side should be heard and that their should be mourned just as Armenian dead were mourned, they found no sympathy and no understanding. No matter the evidence they presented, nothing they said was believed, and soon the Turks ceased their protests against the injustice. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, they busied themselves with the creation of a new Republic, assuming that their success as a modern nation would be the best weapon against the image of the Terrible Turk.

To a great degree, the Turks have succeeded. Politicians and statesmen in Europe and America have welcomed the Turks as Mends and allies. However, Turkish silence has done nothing to Mil the myth of the Armenian genocide. A vocal, well-educated, and media-conscious group of Armenians, believing in their cause and anxious that their children learn to believe as they do, have kept alive the false picture of the genocide. They have succeeded in perpetuating the myth and strengthening its grip. The false picture of Armenian genocide has become the only picture seen.

While I was writing this paper a book apperared in my mailbox. As they do to all professors, publishers send me copies of textbooks in the hope that I will adopt them for my classes. The book, The Modern Middle East and North Africa, by Lois Aroian and Richard Mitchell, is published by Macmillan, one of the largest publishers in the United States. It is obviously being marketed extensively with, I expect, a free copy being sent to every professor who teaches Middle Eastern history. Thousands of American college students will probably read the book
The Modern Middle East and North Africa contains a section titled “The Armenian Demise.” I will quote only a few sentences from it:

Armenians throughout Anatolia began marching southward or eastward into the Syrian desert wastes. Turkish and Kurdish forces denied them rest, food, and water. Thousands died on the way. Those who did not were often killed when they reached Dayr al-Zor on the Euphrates. Most Armenians caught in the east were killed outright.

The book goes onto state “Historians have not determined how many Armenians died” (a statement that particularly bothered me, since I thought I had done so). The lack of information on the Armenian dead is explained by the assertion that “the Ottoman government imprisoned and later killed most of the Armenian educated elite-writers, teachers, businessmen, and prominent clergy who might have written about the event” In the end despite the avowed lack of evidence, the authors found a number after all-“Including perhaps 200,000 executed by the government, historians generally accept that as many as 1.5 million Armenians may have died.” Some of what is written on the Armenians in the book is half true. Some is completely false. None of it is completely true.

Of course, one of the great benefits in writing a text book is that you do not have to prove your assertions. An occasional reference such as “historians generally accept” is considered to be proof enough Reading the text, one could be pardoned for thinking that only Armenians suffered, since only one part of one sentence is devoted to all of the Moslem dead of the time-Greek, Kurdish, and Turkish noncombatants in Anatolia died during the war of hunger and disease, but they were not singled out for death in an organized campaign.” No mention is made of Armenian or Greek attacks on Moslems, both of which were organized campaigns. Only two paragraphs are given to the entire Turkish War of Independence.

Unlike many books written by Armenian and other scholars, this book is not intended to be an Armenian polemic against Turks. It is a textbook, well-written and attractive. It will appeal to many professors and their students. Thus the myth lives on.

The examples of this type of historical distorion of the history of the Armenians and the Turks are many. The Armenian Question is seldom mentioned in print without half-truths and falsifications. In fact, in the United States and Western Europe we have seen a new wave of false history. Armenian apologists have succeeded in tying themselves to those who wish never to forget the suffering of the Jewish Holocaust, and the Armenian experience has been portrayed as a “proto-Holocaust” Television shows and newspaper articles have repeated and reinforced the old myth, accepted because Europeans and Americans have never been told the truth. A new generation of Armenians is learning the stories that will produce future terrorists.

The lesson is obvious-silence does not work Historical lies, unless they are countered, will perpetuate themselves. As long as Armenian children believe that their great-grandfathers were murdered by Turks, some Armenian children will kill in what they believe is revenge. And as long as the world believes in Turkish guilt, little will be done to stop the killers.

The solution is a dufficult one-the truth must be fearlessly proclaimed. I say fearlessly, because one American professor, Stanford Shaw, and his family have already been physically attacked for his statements on the fate of the Armenians. Given the intensity of belief in the myth of the Terrible Turk, it may be that the truth will not be heard. Nevertheless, the truth must be spoken. Scholars, especially European and American scholars, must call for the independent and unbiased study of history. As they have begun to do, Turks must continue to open all archives and records so that this study can be made, demanding that Russians and Armenians do the same. There will be no quick solution and many years will pass before young Armenians realize that their cause is not just But I believe that, bad the true history of the Ottoman Armenians been widely known thirty years ago, there would be no Armenian terrorism today. As historians it is our duty to insure that thirty years from now the same statement cannot be made.

I began by saying that the best weapon against Armenian terrorism is the study of history. It might be better said that the best weapon is truth.



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5) Ottoman Archives Yildiz Collection The Armenian Question I -Talori Incidents


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 1)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded telegram

19th May 1894
From-Office of the General Stall
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Prevention of terrorist activities in Mush

In the message received from the Ministry of interior the following comments were made:
“According to the information furnished by the message received from the governorship of Bitlis, it is deemed necessary that military detachments be sent to support the security forces accompanying the district governors in order to prevent, with the advent of spring, attacks and incidents which would not be met with imperial assent, perpetuated by the rebels who had also been involved in terrorist activities in the sanjak of Mush last year.”

With respect to the above comments your High Command is requested to give its own views.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14. Document No. 2)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded Telegram

27th May 1894
From-Fourth Army Command at Erzincan
To-Office of the General Staff
Subject-Terrorist activities in Mush territory.

Re.-Your telegram dated 19th May 1894.

Through an exchange with the Eighth Division deputy command we have been notified that “although the emergence of a rebellious activity is likely in the Mush region, the security forces would be able to out power the rebels and render them non-detrimental to peace and order.

In case of an in effective performance on the part of the security forces servicemen in the vicinity would immediately be deployed to the trouble spot.”

Under these circumstances it is evident that, the military support demanded by the governorship of Bitlis, and referred to in your telegram, will not be necessary. Nevertheless the final decision rests with the Supreme Command.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 3)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Telegram

27th May 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Office of the General Staff
Subject-Dispatching two military companies to the sanjak of Gench.

The request of the governorship of Bitlis that “due to the remote location of the sanjak of Gench in the vilayet of Bitlis from a strategic point of view, and the insufficient nature of the present security forces, and since the time is ripe for a safe passage of tribes through there and the Talori region, two military companies ought to be sent with the purpose of giving support to the maintenance of security and preventing for incidents occurring against the imperial assent”, has been reiterated by the Territorial Command.

The request has our support and Imperial consent ought to be sought for its materialisation.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 4)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Telegram

28th May 1894
From-Office of the General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Dispatching military troops to the sanjak of Gench.

Re.-Your telegram dated 27th May 1894.

Concerning the two military companies required to be dispatched to the sanjak of Gench, as notified in the above-mentioned telegram, it is requested that you first specify the locality and the number of the military units to be dispatched, with the understanding that the implementation of the orders will occur later.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14. Document No. 5)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Letter

2nd June 1894
From-Office of the General Staff
To-Ministry of Interior
Subject-No military units are necessary to accompany the security forces under the command of the district governors.

Re.-Your letter bearing the date 13th May, 1894 and No. 69.

In response to the following letter from the governorship of Bitlis which stating that “it is necessary to have the military detachments support the security forces accompanying the district governors, in order to prevent, with the advent of spring, attacks perpetuated by the rebels who are involved in terrorist activities in the sanjak of Mush”, and the enclosed letter already mentioned above, further information was sought from the Fourth Army Command.

In the reply received from the aforesaid Command these comments were made:
“Through an exchange with the Eighth Division Deputy Command we have been notified that although the emergence of rebellious activity is likely in the Mush region, the security forces will be able to overpower the rebels and render them non-detrimental to peace and order. In case of an ineffective performance on the part of the security forces, other forces in the vicinity could immediately be deployed to the trouble spot.”

As for the views of the office of the General Staff, it is evident, according to the aforementioned comments, that no military forces to accompany the district governors are necessary.

Enclosed are all the documents referred to.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 6)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded Telegram

4th June 1894
From-His Highness Zeki Pasha Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army at Erzincan
To-Office of the General Staff
Subject-Dispatching military detachments to the Talori Zone.

Re.-Your telegram of 28th May 1894.

It has been deemed suitable to form the two companies which are to be dispatched to the Talori Zone from the battalion of the Thirty-second Regiment stationed at Mush.

The matter is now at your discretion, awaitings. His Majesty’s, Imperial consideration and consent.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 7)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded Telegram

12th June 1894
From-Fourth Army Command in Erzurum
To-Office of the General Staff
Subject-Dispatching military detachments to the Talori Zone.

Re.-a) Your telegram of 4th June 1894
b) Your telegram of 11th June 1894

With the aim of preventing provocative operations by the Armenians around the Talori Zone, it has been deemed suitable that two companies from the fourth battalion of the thirty second regiment stationed at Mush, ought to be dispatched to the trouble spot. The case was submitted for approval through our telegram (re.-a). Imperial assent has not yet emerged.

As indicated in your telegram (re.-b), and in compliance with the Imperial orders of His Majesty, the creation of the two companies and the preparations for their deployment were considered to be supremely important. We would like to inform you that the Deputy Commandership of the Eighth Division Corps has been notified, concerning the dispatching of the said companies to the aforementioned zone and the realisation of His Majesty’s Imperial orders.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 8)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded telegram

13th June 1894
From-Office of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Dispatching military detachments to the Talori Zone.

Re.-Your telegram of 4th June 1894.

His Majesty’s Imperial Orders concerning the setting up and deployment of two companies from the Fourth battalion of the thirty second Regiment stationed at Mush for the preservation of peace and order during the safe passage of the tribes through the Talori Zone have been issued.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 9)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded telegram

2nd July 1894
From-Office of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Armenian separatists in the regions of Sassoon, Kulp and Talori.

Re.-Our telegram of 11th June, 1894.

Your Supreme Command was notified through our aforementioned telegram, about His Majesty’s Imperial orders concerning the pacification of the Armenian separatists, who carry guns and frequent the townships of Sassoon and Kulp and the Talori region, by dispatching an armed detachment.

The said Imperial order had also reached the governorship of Bitlis via the Ministry of Interior and the following reply came:

“Certain persons wearing black headgear and carrying rifles (of the make Martini) frequented the said regions, and provoked the local Armenians to practise tax evasion. They kidnapped one young Muslim boy and his father and took them to the mountains. Since we have been informed that they would resort to similar trouble-making, the regional authority has been given orders to find out their true identity and to arrest them immediately.”

After these disclosures by the Ministry of Interior, the Prime Ministry also followed suit.
Both these disclosures are pointers to the fact that His Imperial Majesty’s orders soon be carried out.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 10)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Telegram

5th July 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Office of the General Staff
Subject-Two military companies dispatched to Talori.

Re.-Your telegram of 2nd July 1894.

The two companies created for the Talori region have already been dispatched on 23 rd June 1894. Furthermore the local command was also notified of the urgency to carry out His Majesty’s Imperial orders concerning the persons who are engaged in terrorist activities.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 11)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office .

Coded telegram

25th July 1894
From-His Highness Zeki Pasha Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army at Erzincan
To-Office of General Staff
Subject-Measures taken against Armenian terrorism in the Talori Region.

Re.-a) Our telegram of 5th July 1894.
b) Your telegram of 22nd July 1894.

Last year, in compliance with the Imperial orders of His Majesty, a battalion of the military force stationed at Erzurum was dispatched to the Talori region with the aim of preventing likely clashes and fights between the Armenians of the said region and the regional tribes. However, upon realising that the likelihood of any confrontation had been based on an unreliable source, the aforementioned battalion was withdrawn, also during the course of last year. As disclosed by the governorship of Bitlis, it is this very battalion which had been withdrawn from Gench.

This year, after having felt that Armenians of the said region might resort to hostile activities such as armed patrolling of the vicinity, as noted in our telegram (re.-a), two companies of the battalion at Mush were dispatched to the Talori zone and were not withdrawn.

Nevertheless, a battalion created for Mush was barely adequate for the maintenance of public order and security of the locality. Since it is in the neighbourhood of Talori, and it is deemed unsuitable to dispatch forces created from other military units, the deployment of two companies from here was quite sufficient for the aforementioned zone.

Furthermore since it is surmised that the Armenian separatists of Mush, taking advantage of the situation, might resort to activities with ill-intentions, the two companies already deployed could not be dispatched to Gench. Under these circumstances their proximity to Mush was obviously more desirable. In fact, the aforementioned companies, at present, are stationed around the Talorian neighborhood of Mush.

The reason why such dispatches of military forces were necessary to check ill-intentions and separatist activities of Armenians of the Talori region is as follows:

The annual safe passage of the Bekran tribe through Talori via ?IK and ?MAYH (undeciphered, coded place names) was blocked by the governorship of Bitlis for the past couple of years due to groundless and misleading complaints of the said separatists. In fact the said tribe’s safe passage to the aforementioned plains (re.-undeciphered codes) via Talori used to obstruct all the if-intentioned activities of the local Armenians.

This useful point if considered by the governorship of Bitlis, and the aforementioned tribe is again granted the right of safe passage through Talori to travel to and from the plains, it is certain, and verifiiable through past evidence, that the Armenians would not be able to indulge in treacherous activities of such ill intentions at a territory under the patronage of his Imperial Majesty.

It is naturally the Supreme Command’s orders through which whatever is necessary will be executed under the light of the above report.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 12)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded telegram 5th August 1894
From-His Highness Zeki Pasha Commander-in Chief of the Fourth Army at Erzincan
To-Office of the General Staff
Subject-Armenian terrorist activities and brigandry in the Talori Zone.

In order to prevent any terrorist activities and brigandry of the Armenians at the township of Talori situated between the administrative districts of the Sassoon and Kulp, and since the Thirty-first Regiment which is originally the military unit of Bitlis and Siirt had been dispatched to Mousul, of the two remaining regiments at Mush and Bitlis, as demanded by the Imperial orders of His Majesty, only two companies were deployed to the Northern village of Shinik, about six hours away from Mush and southerly located behind the Mush Mountains.

In a letter received from the territorial command, it is noted that due to the absence of the said regiment, and the inadequate service rendered by the considerably small military force comprising only two companies, and due to the disorganized employment of the gendarmerie in the vilayet of Bitlis and in its sanjaks, Gench and Mush, the Armenian separatists would likely gather together at Talori as a small force with the intention of attacking the local Muslims and the aforementioned companies.

Since there exists His Majesty’s Imperial order concerning the pacification of such seditious operations of the Armenians, it is absolutely imperative that an adequate force be dispatched to overpower them.

It is within the knowledge of your. High Command that the major units of the army are stationed at certain critical spots. In case of any of these units leave their stations, a sedition might well arise. Therefore under these circumstances it is deemed suitable that the constitution of a possible force should include: two companies at the northern village of Shinik, two other companies of the fourth battalion stationed at Mush which is a part of the thirty-second Regiment, two more companies of the second battalion stationed at Bitlis which is also a part of the same regiment The constituted force ought to be aided by a gendarmerie unit created in the vilayet of Bitlis and by two mountain guns from Mush and finally dispatched to Talori under the command of Salih Bey a lieutenant colonel from the aforementioned regiment. The seditionaries mission, the Twenty-third Cavalry Regiment, already stationed at Mush, ought to remain there in order to maintain peace and order at the locality, while the third battalion of the Twenty-ninth Infantry Regiment, currently en route to Van from Siirt, ought to be provisionally kept alert at Bitlis.

If the above mentioned scheme approved by His Imperial Majesty it is most desirable that the Imperial orders reach us promptly.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 13)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Covering letter

6th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-His Imperial Majesty the Sultan
Subject-Armenian separatists in the Talori Zone.

Re.- a) Fourth Army Commandership’s telegram of 5th August 1894.
b) Letter of the Office of the General Staff.

His Imperial Majesty the Sultan,
The telegram received from the Fourth Army Command is presented for His Majesty’s Imperial consideration:

In order to prevent terrorist activities and brigandry of the Armenians at the township of Talori, situated between the administrative districts of Sassoon and Kulp, as demanded by the Imperial orders of His Majesty, from the two regiments at Mush and Bitlis, two companies were dispatched to the Northern village of Shinik, about six hours away from Mush and southerly located behind the Mush mountains.

In a letter received from the territorial command, it is noted that since the Thirty-first Regiment, which is originally the military unit of Siirt and its vicinity, had been dispatched to Mousul, due to the absence of this regiment and the inadequate service rendered by the considerably small military force, comprising only two companies, and due to the disorganized employment of the gendarmerie in the vilayet of Bitlis, and in its sanjaks Gench and Mush, the Armenian separatists would very likely gather together at Talori, as a small force, with the intention of attacking the local Muslims and the aforementioned companies.

Since there exists His Majesty’s Imperial order concerning the pacification of such seditious operations of the Armenians, it is absolutely imperative that an adequate force be dispatched to overpower them.

However the major units of the army are stationed at certain critical spots in case of any of these units leave their stations a sedition might well arise. Therefore under these circumstances it is deemed suitable that the constitution of a possible force should include: two companies at the northern village of Shinik, two other companies of the fourth battalion stationed at Mush which is a part of the Thirty-second regiment, two more companies of the second battalion stationed at Bitlis which is also a part of they same regiment. The thus constituted force, amounting to a total of one-and-a-half battalions ought to be aided by a gen. darmerie unit created in the vilayet of Bitlis and by two mountain guns to be found at Mush, and finally dispatched to Talori under the command of Salih Bey, a lieutenant colonel from the aforementioned regiment. The seditionaries will thus be pacified. Furthermore until this unit accomplishes its mission, the Twenty. third Cavalry Regiment already stationed at Mush, ought to remain there in order to maintain peace and order at that locality, while the third battalion of the Twenty-ninth infantry Regiment, currently en route to Van from Siirt ought to be provisionally kept alert at Bitlis, as a reserve force.

Under the light of these disclosures enclosed is a report drafted by the Office of the General Staff concerning the authorization of the Fourth Army Command.

Whatever is necessary will be executed in compliance with the Imperial command of His Majesty, who is also concurrently the Caliph.

Chief of General Staff RIZA
His Imperial Majesty the Sultan’s Humble Servant

7th August 1894

His Imperial Majesty the Sultan’s Orders

From-His Majesty’s Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Authorization of the Fourth Army Command concerning the measures to be taken against the Armenian separatists.

Re-Your letter of 6th August 1894.

Your Highness,
His Majesty has had access to your letter and its enclosure.
His Majesty grants Imperial authorization to the Fourth Army Command to mobilize a reserve force, if there need be with the maximum capacity of a cavalry or an infantry regiment, not subject to further dispensation, in order to immediately pacify even the seemingly minor aggressive attempts of the Armenian insurgents.
The matter is now under the com-


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 14)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Telegram

7th August 1894
From-Office of the General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Authority granted to the Fourth Army Commandership

Re.-Your telegram of 5th August 1894.

Due to the assaults of the Armenian separatists gathered together at Talori your telegram (re-above), in which Imperial authorisation was sought, is submitted for His Imperial Majesty’s consideration, in this telegram it was deemed suitable that the two companies at the northern village of Shinik, two other companies of the fourth battalion stationed at Mush which was apart of the Thirty-second Regiment, two more companies of the fourth battalion stationed at Bitlis which was also a part of the same regiment were to unite to constitute a force amounting to a total of one-and-a-half battalions, furthermore this force was to be aided by a gendarmerie unit created in the Vilayet of Bitlis, and by two mountain guns from Mush, and was to be finally dispatched to Talori under the command of Salih Bey, a lieutenant colonel from the aforementioned regiment. The seditionaries would thus be pacified. Furthermore until this force would accomplish its mission, the Twenty-third Cavalry Regiment, already stationed at Mush was to remain there in order to maintain peace and order at that locality, while the third battalion of the Twenty-ninth Infantry Regiment currently en route to Van from Siirt was to be provisionally kept alert at Bitlis.

Under these circumstances I have the honour to notify you that you have been granted an authorization to mobilize a reserve force, if there need be, with a maximum capacity of a cavalry or an infantry regiment to immediately pacify even the seemingly minor aggressive attempts of the Armenian insurgents.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 15)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded telegram

11th August 1894
From-His Highness Zeki Pasha Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army
To-Office of the General Staff
Subject-Operations of the armed Armenian separatists at Talori and Van.

Re.-Your telegram of 5th August 1894

Through our earlier telegram, you were already notified about the availability of a battalion and two guns, to join the two companies, already stationed at Talori and Van, in order to pacify the armed Armenian separatists.

Now we have been notified, through a telegram received from the Cavalry Divisional Command that a considerable number of separatists attempted to assault the two companies, which were previously stationed at the village of Shinik. Although you have been notified and consulted on the likelihood, if there need be, of the mobilization of one of the regiments of the reserve militia of Harput to overpower and pacify the aforementioned separatists, it is obvious that such an operation is most time-consuming and we cannot possibly afford to lose time under the pressing circumstances.

Until the arrival of the aforementioned emergency forces, and under the light of the above disclosures, and as an urgent cautionary measure against all contingencies, the Command has been notified to have the third battalion of the Twenty-ninth Regiment, initially halted at Bitlis en route to Van, dispatched to Mush.

Under these circumstances it is deemed suitable that, in order to prevent any insurgent activity of the Armenians, and to ait the maintenance of peace and order of that locality, and to support the unit created for Talori, the first battalion of the Twenty-fifth Regiment, initially of Erzurum, is to be immediately dispatched to Mush, and upon the completion of its mission is to return to home base.

It is your High Office’s prerogative that we soon receive His Majesty’s Imperial command on this issue.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question. Vol. 14, Document No. 16)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office 1282

Special Statement

13th August 1894
From-His Imperial Majesty’s First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Granting of Authority to the Fourth Army Commandership

Re-Your letter dated 13th August, 1894

His Imperial Majesty has had access to your letter (re.-above) which had the following purport in the form of two separate telegraphic replies that came from the Fourth Army Command. The first one was about the mobilization of one of the regiments of the reserve militia of Erzurum and Harput, due to the reception of the news that the Armenians of Talori and its vicinity were gathering at Talori, with the intention of assaulting the local Muslims and the military force of two companies stationed there. The second one was on the adoption of the following urgent cautionary measure against all contingencies, since the aforementioned mobilization was most time-consuming and any loss of time under the pressing circumstances could not be afforded. Therefore the first battalion of the Twenty-fifth Regiment, initially of Erzurum, was to be immediately dispatched to Mush and upon the completion of its mission was to return to home base.

It is his Majesty’s Imperial Command that since the mobilization of the reserve militia is solely a wartime practice, the prospect of mobilizing one of the reserve militia regiments of Erzurum or Harput, for the pacification of the aforementioned separatists, is to be given up, and in order to aid the aforementioned forces, and in compliance with the above disclosures, and with the authorization which is sought, the Fourth Army Command is to be requested to have solely the first battalion of the Twenty-fifth Regiment dispatched to Mush. Furthermore the Fourth Army Command is to be renotified that they have been granted an authorization to mobilize a reserve force, if there need be, with a maximum capacity of a cavalry or an infantry regiment, not subject to further dispensation, in order to immediately pacify even the seemingly minor aggressive attempts of the Armenian insurgents.

In line with His Majesty’s Imperial orders, the aforementioned statements of the High Office of your ministry are returned.

It is the prerogative of your High Office to issue authorization on this matter.

Imperial First Secretary Süreyya


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 17)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded telegram

14th August 1894
From-Office of the General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Imperial Decree on the mobilization of the military units.

The telegrams received from your command have both been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration. The first was on the mobilization of one of the reserve militia regiments, concerning the likely attempt of the Armenians of the township of Talori and its vicinity, gathering at Talori and attacking the local Muslims and the two companies stationed there. The second one was on the immediate dispatching of the first battalion of the Twenty-fifth regiment, originally of Erzurum, to Mush, and upon the completion of its mission, having it return to home base, since the above mentioned operation was most time-consuming and under the pressing circumstances it could not be afforded.

On this matter it is His Majesty’s Imperial command that, since the mobilization of the reserve militia is solely a wartime practice, the prospect of mobilizing one of the reserve militia regiments of Erzurum or Harput, for the pacification of the aforementioned separatists, is to be given up, and in order to aid the aforementioned forces, and in compliance with the above disclosures and with the authorization which is sought, the Fourth Army Command is to be requested to have solely the first battalion of the Twenty-fifth regiment dispatched to Mush. Furthermore the Fourth Army Command is to be renotified that they have been granted an authorization to mobilize a reserve force, if there need be, with a maxi-mum capacity of a cavalry or an infantry regiment, not subject to further dispensation, in order to immediately pacify even the seemingly minor aggressive attempts of the Armenian insurgents.
You are requested to comply with His Majesty’s Imperial orders.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question. Vol. 14, Document No. 18)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office 1325

Special Statement

16th August 1894
From-Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Increasing the number of soldiers in the battalions.

As we have been informed by the High Command of the Fourth Army, the battalions, each constituting five hundred soldiers, which were to be dispatched to Mush to overpower the insurgents at the township of Talori and its vicinity, are being created from the reserve force of the territories of Erzurum, Van, Bitlis and Mush. However since five hundred is considered to be an inadequate number, it is His Majesty’s Imperial orders that the aforementioned High Command is requested to have these battalions, constituting eight hundred soldiers, with the understanding that the number is to be reduced to its present state after the completion of their mission.

It is the prerogative of Your High Office to issue an authorization on this matter.

Imperial First Secretary Süreyya

For the implementation the aforementioned High Command has been notified.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 19)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded telegram

16th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Increasing the number of soldiers in the battalions to eight hundred.

Re.-Imperial First Secretary’s statement dated 16th August 1894 and No. 1325.

In compliance with His Majesty’s Imperial orders, Your High Command has informed us that the battalions, each constituting five hundred soldiers, to be dispatched to Mush, were being created from the reserve force of the territories of Erzurum, Van, Bitlis, and Mush.

In a further note from the Imperial First Secretary, we have been in. formed that since five hundred was considered to be an inadequate number, it was His Majesty’s Imperial orders that your High Command had been requested to have these battalions constituting eight hundred soldiers with the understanding that the number was to be reduced to its present state after the completion of their mission.

It is your prerogative to have the orders implemented.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 20)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Telegram

21st August 1894
From-Office of the General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Overpowering the insurgents at Talori.

In a statement received from the Prime Ministry, it was noted that the armed separatists around Talori attacked the Farikar, Dikranl? and Badiganl? tribes, and that in the ensuing clashes both sides suffered caluasties often dead and ten wounded, and that certain local pregnant Muslim women suffered miscarriages. Furthermore, it was noted that the governorship of Bitlis had written to you, concerning the overpowering of these separatists, so that their chances of perpetuating evil would be halted. Through this statement, we have also been instructed to authorize your High Command about the measures to be taken.

Under these circumstances it is suggested that the aforementioned insurgents ought to be overpowered so that they would not be given a chance to perpetuate further evil. In fact, there are several earlier Imperial orders of His Majesty on this issue that you have been notified of. Therefore we await the news of the immediate overpowering of these insurgents by adopting military measures.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document 21)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Special Statement

24th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Rumours that four thousand Armenian insurgents gathered around the Talon zone, the situation of the military forces and mobilising new units.

Due to His Majesty’s Imperial orders that the Fourth Army Command is to be instantly notified about the immediate dispatch of the requisite force to immediately pacify the Armenian insurgents who have gathered around the Talori Mountains in the Vilayet of Bitlis, as indicated in your special statement dated 21st August 1894, the said High Command was at once notified.

It is further noted in two more telegrams (the first received as a reply from the Fourth Army Command, the second one presently came direct) that according to the news originating from the Cavalry major-general Ethem Pasha, the Armenian separatists of the Talori zone and its vicinity, were apparently armed with rifles (of the make Martini and Berdan), and hiding themselves at the Anduk mountains, and according to the rumours their number was around four thousand.

Though the number may have been exaggerated, against all rumours and all contingencies, the vilayets of Van, Bitlis, Erzurum have been effectively notified that the initially set up force of army regulars amounting to three-and-a-half battalions ought to be increased to eight hundred soldiers each, in line with His Majesty’s Imperial orders, and that in order to materialize such a scheme, the new and reserve soldiers ought to be mobilized and dispatched to Mush, as promptly as possible. However, from the vilayet of Erzurum, seventy or eighty soldiers were summoned, and from Van and Bitlis not a single soldier turned up yet. Since local authorities are responsible for such operations, it is deemed suitable that the said vilayets be appropriately advised.

Moreover since the summoning e and dispatching the said number of soldiers would be most time-consuming, and due to the gravity of the situation, such a thing could not be afforded, and since winter is also drawing near, in compliance with His Majesty’s imperial orders, it is deemed suitable that, for the pacification and overpowering of the aforementioned insurgents, in case the readily available regular forces were to be dispatched to Mush, as an emergency measure, totally two hundred able fusiliers from the third and fourth battalions of the twenty-fifth regiment at Erzurum, be dispatched to Mush with the understanding that the missing number of soldiers will later be replaced with new ones.

For the forces thus constituted (through upgrading the aforementioned battalions), it is also deemed suitable that two more mountain guns (to add to the already provided e two) be immediately dispatched to Mush from Erzurum.

Furthermore in compliance with His Majesty’s Imperial orders, to increase the number of soldiers in the aforementioned battalions to eight hundred each, the Sublime Porte is informed by us through writing that it has to authorize the said vilayets to summon and dispatch new and reserve soldiers as quickly as possible.

Due to the earlier disclosures by the Fourth Army Command, since we have already officially asked, in writing, for a grant of authorisation concerning the supply of two mountain guns for the aforementioned forces, with the blessing of His Imperial Majesty, two hundred soldiers ought to be immediately dispatched to Mush with the understanding that they would be replaced with new ones, in order to instantly pacify the said insurgents.

Finally, it is requested that the Imperial grant of authorisation would soon be issued for the said High Command to have the two mountain guns immediately dispatched to Mush, since through the disclosure it is obvious that they were readily available.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 22)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded telegram

25th August 1894
From-His Highness Zeki Pasha, Commander-in Chief of the Fourth Army in Erzincan
To-Office of the General Staff
Subject-Military preparations, and notifying the Vilayets on mobilising new forces.

Re.- a) Your telegram of 21st August, 1894.
b) Our telegram of 23rd August 1894.

It was within your knowledge that the pertinent Command had been notified to have the military force dispatched from Mush for the pacification of the Talori insurgents. In a reply received presently from the said Command, we are informed that the forces have been dispatched this morning.

Since it is supremely important that replacements in the battalions ought to be completed promptly, the Imperial authorisation of His Majesty concerning the battalions chain dispatch from Erzurum, and the dispatch of the two mountain guns and two hundred able soldiers, as requested by our telegram (re.-b), should urgently reach us. Furthermore, we seek your helping hand to have the pertinent Vilayets renotified so that they would immediately summon and dispatch the new and reserve forces.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 23)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office 1625

Special Statement

25th August 1894
From-Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Imperial Decree

Re.-Your special statement of 24th August 1894.

His Imperial Majesty has had access to the following documents and the special statements by the pertinent ministries:

a) A detailed report of the exchange with the Fourth Army Command concerning the pacification of the Armenian insurgents at the Talori mountains.

b) A statement written, to the Sublime Porte so that e an authorisation is issued, concerning the immediate summoning of a new and reserve force, which will increase the number of soldiers to eight hundred, in a force set up with this aim, and comprising army regulars totally of three-and-a-half battalions.

c) Official request, in writing, of an Imperial authorisation so that two mountain guns from Erzurum would be added to the aforementioned force.

d) Ministerial request for an authorisation to the Fourth Army Command to dispatch to Mush, as an emergency measure, totally two hundred able fusiliers from the third and fourth battalions of the twenty-fifth regiment at Erzurum, with the understanding that the missing number of soldiers would later be replaced with new ones.

e)For the forces thus constituted, another ministerial request for an authorisation, to the Fourth Army Command, to have two more mountain guns (to add to the already provided two) immediately dispatched to Mush from Erzurum.

As was the case with all previous Imperial orders of His Majesty, since the ultimate aim had always been the pacification of the said Armenian insurgents, wasting time through such exchanges cannot be forborne.

For, in case of an inadequacy on the part of the dispatched force, and the consequent failure to overpower the insurgents the outcome would indeed have unbearable, and harmful results. There fore the force ought to be set up and dispatched with a sufficient capacity to face all contingencies. For the two hundred able fusiliers, and the two mountain guns (to add to the already provided two), readily available at Erzurum, and awaiting an authorisation by the ministerial official letter, of 22nd August 1894 to be dispatched to Mush, and if there need be for all other requisite dispatches of guns and soldiers, the Fourth Army Command has just been granted full authority by His Majesty’s Imperial orders.

Furthermore, it is also His Majesty’s Imperial orders that the pertinent Vilayets are to be renotified that new and reserve forces are to be summoned, and dispatched in order to increase the number of soldiers, in the aforementioned regiments, of army regulars to eight hundred. The Sublime Porte is informed, on this issue, in writing. It is your High Office’s prerogative to issue orders.

Imperial First Secretary Süreyya
(Fourth Army Command is also notified.)

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 24)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Telegram

25th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Conveying the Imperial Decree

Re.- a) Our special statement to the Imperial First Secretary dated 24th August, 1894.
b) Imperial First Secretary’s statement of 25th August, 1894, no. 1625.

The following items have been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration, and an authorisation was sought for the Forth Army Command through our special note (re.-a).

a) A detailed report of the exchange with your High Office concerning the pacification of the Armenian insurgents at the Talori mountains.

b) A statement written to the Sublime Porte so that an authorisation is issued, concerning the immediate summoning of a new and reserve force, which will increase the number of soldiers to eight hundred, in a force set up with this aim, and comprising army regulars totally of three-and-a-half battalions.

c) Earlier official request, in writing, of an Imperial authorisation so that two mountain guns from Erzurum would be added to the aforementioned force.

d) Dispatching, as emergency measure, to Mush two hundred able fusiliers, from the third and fourth battalions of the Twenty-fifth regiment at Erzurum, with the understanding that the missing number of soldiers would later be replaced with new ones.

e) For the forces thus constituted, dispatching two more mountain guns, (to add to the already provided two), immediately to Mush from Erzurum.

The statement, received from the Imperial First Secretary (re.-b), concerning His Majesty’s Imperial orders, about the above mentioned items, are as follows:

“As was the case with all previous Imperial orders of His Majesty, since the ultimate aim had always been the pacification of the said Armenian insurgents, wasting time through such exchanges cannot be forborne.

For, in case of an inadequacy on the part of the dispatched force, and the consequent failure to overpower the insurgents, the outcome would indeed have unbearable and harmful results. There fore the force ought to be set up and dispatched with a sufficient capacity to face all contingencies. For the two hundred able fusiliers and the two mountain guns (to add to the already provided two), readily available at Erzurum, and awaiting an authorisation to be dispatched to Mush, amid if there need be, for all other requisite dispatches of guns and soldiers, Your High Command has just been granted full authority by His Majesty’s Imperial orders.

Furthermore, it is also His Majesty’s Imperial orders that the pertinent Vilayets are to be renotified that new and reserve forces be summoned, and dispatched in order to increase the number of soldiers, in the aforementioned regiments, of army regulars to eight hundred. The Sublime Porte is informed on this issue, in writing.”

As disclosed, in the above quoted note of the Imperial First Secretary, it is advisable that His Majesty’s Imperial orders soon be implemented.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 25).

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office 1658

26th August 1894
From-Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-ills Imperial Majesty the Sultan’s Orders concerning the military operations

Re.-Fourth Army Command’s telegram of 25th August, 1894.

The following disclosures are to be found in the telegram (re. above) received from the Fourth Army Command:

“The battalion dispacthed from Erzurum yesterday arrived at Mush. The forces set up at Mush left for Talori this morning at dawn.

The source of information received so far from the vilayet of Bitlis is the security forces. This information is not at aft reliable. However according to the latest news received from the commander of the military reconnaissance unit, earlier sent to the area, the insurgents around the Anduk mountains amount to about three thousand and they carry rifles some of which are the make (Martini), some are of foreign make bolted types, and the remaining are of bashibazouk type.

The exact number of the separatists around the Talori zone which is six hours away from the Anduk mountains is still not clear. The forces set out from Mush expect to reach there tomorrow.

The detailed information ordinarily received henceforward, and the deployment locations of our military forces, together with opera tons to be undertaken according to the movements of the insurgents, would immediately be rendered accessible to His Imperial Majesty the Sultan.”

After considering these disclosures of the said High Command His Majesty who is also concurrently the Caliph gave the following Imperial orders:

“Allowing grounds for the insurgents to reach the number three thousand, and the fact that such a figure was discovered at such a late stage could only be a pointer to inadvertency and carelessness. This is a case which could solely emerge on a desert outside the jurisdiction and administration of a state. Yet this issue is of a vitally important nature. Under these circumstances. May God forbid, it could well happen that an incident similar to the one before the war at Rumeli, with the consequent events at Otlukköy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, well-known by the High Office of your ministry, might emerge, and as a result of such an inadvertency and heedlessness foreign states might interfere and separatists would easily find opportunities to practise their insurgent activities.

The dispatched force is obviously inadequate in relation to the number of the insurgents. May God forbid, in case during the clash there emerges a certain minor instance of deterioration on the part of our own forces, the insurgents and the separatists would take advantage of the situation, and assume an arrogant posture. Moreover other insurgent parties might take heart and join the band to broaden their sphere of influence.

Due to the above mentioned reasons, His Highness Zeki Pasha, commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army, has been granted full authority on the following issues:

1) His Highness ought to have sufficient number of Hamidiye regiments immediately armed with sufficient number of rifles from the arsenals of the reserve militia, and deploy them under full military order and command.

2) To ward off any possibility of an instance giving cause for complaint, His Highness ought to appoint commanders to these regiments having real stamina and capacity, furthermore the commander sought to have been appropriately warned against any malpractice of authority which would give cause for complaint.

3) Alternatively His Highness ought to assume personally the commander ship of the said regiments after having his current office deputized by a reliable and trustworthy army commander.

4) In case His Highness renders it indispensable, sufficient number of reserve militia could be summoned, and mobilized, together with a battery of mountain guns, to be added to the aforementioned forces.

5) His Highness ought to have the commander of the already dispatched forces immediately notified that until the newly setup forces join them, clashes with the insurgents are to be avoided and that they are to refrain from taking any heedless steps outside their current stations.

6) His Highness, in command of the newly setup forces, ought to immediately join in the previously mobilized ones, and entirely overpower and pacify the insurgents, in such a mamer that they would ever hardly make another attempt at insurgency. Moreover, His Highness ought to have the anus of the insurgents reinstalled, and at the same time have this problem solved decisively, within a matter of a fortnight.

It is your High Office’s prerogative to have these implemented.

Imperial First Secretary His Humble Servant Süreyya

(For the implemantation the said High Command has been notified.)

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 26)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Telegram

26th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Conveying His Imperial Majesty the Sultan’s orders concerning the military operations

Re.-a) Your telegram of 25th August, 1894 sent to the Imperial First Secretary
b) Special Statement of the Imperial First Secretary dated 26th August, 1894, No. 1658.

Your telegram (re.-a) including the following items has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration:

“The battalion dispatched from Erzurum yesterday arrived at Mush. The forces set up at Mush left for Talori this morning at dawn.

The source of this information received so far from the vilayet of Bitlis is the security forces. This information is not at all reliable. However according to the latest news received from the commander of the military reconnasiance unit, earlier set to the area, the insurgents around the Anduk mountains amount to about three thousand and they carry rifles some of which are of the make ‘Martini’ some are of foreign make bolted types, and the remaining are of bashibazouk type.

The exact number of the separatists around the Talon zone, which is six hours away from the Anduk mountains, is still not clear. The forces set out from Mush expect to reach there tomorrow.

The detailed information ordinarily received hence forward, and the deployment locations of our military forces, together with operations to be undertaken according to the movements of the insurgents, would immediately be rendered accesible to His Imperial Majesty the Sultan.”

On the above mentioned items His Majesty’s Imperial orders have been disclosed, through the special statement (re.-b) of the Imperial First Secretary. The contents of which are as follows:

“Allowing grounds for the insurgents to reach the number three thousand, and the fact that such a figure was discovered at such a late stage could only be a pointer to inadvertency and carelessness. This is a case which could solely emerge on a desert outside the juristiction and administration of a state. Yet this issue is of a vitally important nature. Under these circumstances, May God forbid, it could well happen that an incident similar to the one before the war at Rumeli, with the consequent events at Otlukköy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, might emerge, and as a result of such an inadvertency and heedlessness foreign states might interfere, and separatists would easily find opportunities to practise their insurgent activities.

The dispatched force is obviously inadequate in relation to the number of the insurgents. May God forbid, in case during the clash the number of the insurgents May God forbid, in case during the clash there emerges a ceration minor instance of deterioration on the part of our own forces, the insurgents and the separatists would take advantage of the situation, and assume an arrogant posture. Moreover other insurgent parties might take heart and join the band to broaden their broaden their sphere of influence.”

Due to the above mentioned reasons, Your High Command has been granted full authority by His Majesty’s Imperial orders for the implementation of the following issues:

1) Sufficient number of Hamidiye regiments have to be armed with sufficient number of riffles from the arsenals of the reserve, militia, and have to be deployed under fun military order and command.

2) To ward off any possibility of an instance giving cause for complaint, commanders have to be appointed to these regiments who have got real stamina and capacity. Furthermore they have to be appropriately warned against any malpractice of authority which would give cause for complaint.

3) The commandership of the said regiments have to be assumed personally after having the current office deputized by a reliable and trustworthy army commander.

4) In case it is rendered indispensable, sufficient number of reserve soldiers have to be summoned and mobilized together with a battery of mountain guns, to be added to the said forces.

5) The commanders of the already dispatched forces have to be immediately notified that until the newly set up forces join them, clashes with the insurgents are to be avoided, and that they are to refrain from taking any heedless steps outside their current stations.

6) In command of the newly set up forces, the previously mobilized ones hove to be immediately joined in, and the insurgents have to be entirely overpowered and pacified, in such a manner that they would hardly make another attempt at insurgency. Moreover the arms of the insurgents have to be reinstalled and at the same time this problem has to be solved decisively within a matter of a fortnight.”

It is requested that these Imperial orders of His Majesty ought to be implemented with the utmost swiftness, information on the operations undertaken, and on the territorial security ought to be continously conveyed, and the name of the deputy ought to be disclosed.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 27)

Department of General Staff

Correspondence Office 1670

Special Statement

27th August 1894
From-Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-His Imperial Majesty’s Orders in the face of recent intelligence

Re.- a) Fourth Army Command’s telegram of 25th August, 1894.
b) Our special statement dated 26th August, 1894.
c) Telegram of 26th August 1894 by the Governorship of Mousul.

It has been disclosed through the telegram received from His Highness Zeki Pasha, commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army, (re.-a) that the number of insurgents around the Andok mountains was about three thousand.

Under these circumstances, since the number of soldiers in the dispatched force was far from being adequate, according to the Imperial orders of His Majesty, the said commander-in-Chief, through our special statement yesterday (re.-b) was asked:

To have sufficient number of Hamidiye regiments immediately armed with sufficient number of rifles from the arsenals of the reserve militia, To assume personally the command ship of the said regiments after having his current office deputized by a reliable and trustworthy army commander.

To set out immediately in command of the newly mobilized forces after adding to this sufficent number of armed reserve soldiers.

Now in a telegram received from the vilayet of Mousul (re.-c) and submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration, it has been noted that:

According to the information received from the governorship of the sanjak of Mush, the number of insurgents is not all that numerous, as was earlier disclosed; and that the military force (totally of about one thousand two hundred soldiers) advancing in the direction of Talori for the last couple of days, has not been heard of facing any resistance; and that, as was earlier pointed out, neither from the governorship of the sanjak of Mush, nor from the vilayet centre, any indication of the figure three thousand is reconfirmed.

It is His Majesty’s Imperial orders that under the present circumstances the Said Pasha ought not necessarily personally assume the commandership of the forces; the aforementioned newly set up forces ought to be dispatched under the direction of the previously appointed commander: dispatching, if he deemed it suitable, the Hamidiye regiments which he himself reorganized and had them armed is his prerogative; furthermore, he is to be notified not to depart.

It is your High Office’s prerogative to have these orders implemented.

Imperial First Secretary His Humble Servant Süreyya

(Orders for implementation have been issued)


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 28)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Office

Coded telegram

27th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Conveying His Imperial Majesty’s

Re.-a) Our telegram of 26 August 1894
b) Special statement of the Imperial First Secretary dated 26 August 1894
e) Telegram of the governorship of the sanjak of Mush
d) Telegram of the governorship of Mousul dated 26 August 1894

After the receipt of your telegram that the number of insurgents around the Anduk mountains reached about three thousand, through our following telegram, His Majesty’s Imperial orders (re.-a) were disclosed to the attention of your High Command:

“Since the number of soldiers in the dispatched force was deemed inadequate, you are asked to have sufficient number of Hamidiye regiments immediately armed with sufficient number of rifles from the arsenals of the reserve militia; and to assume personally the commander ship of the said regiments after having your current office deputized by a commander at the army centre; and to set out immediately in command of the newly mobilized forces, to which, if you deem necessary, sufficient number of additional armed soldiers is to be included.”

Now in a special statement received from the Imperial First Secretary (re.-b), there is mention of a telegram from the governorship of the sanjak of Mush (re.-c) in which it is noted that the military force (totally of about one thousand two hundred soldiers) advancing in the direction of Talori for the last couple of days, has not been heard of facing any resistance; furthermore, there is mention of another telegram from the Vilayet of Mousul (re.-d) in which it is pointed out that neither from the governorship of the sanjak of Mush, nor from the vilayet centre, any indication of the figure three thousand is reconfirmed.

Under the present circumstances it is His Majesty’s Imperial orders that you ought not necessarly personally assume the commandership of the forces; the aforementioned newly set up force ought to be dispatched under the direction of the previously appointed commander, dispatching, if you deem it suitable, the Hamidiye regiments, which you yourself reorganized and had them armed, is your prerogative; furthermore, you are to be notified not to depart.
It is requested that the Imperial orders of His Majesty are to be implemented.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 29)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

27th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Request for information concerning operations

Due to the Imperial orders of His Majesty received earlier and to night, you are expected to immediately convey to us the nature of the operation and ventures undertaken by the army. Furthermore, a reply to our request on the exact location of Talori is urgently awaited.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 30)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special statement

27th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Notification of the Commander-in-chief of the Fourth Army about the Imperial orders on not departing

Re.-Your special statement of 27 August 1894

Your special statement (re. above) concerning the notification of His Highness Zeki Pasha, commander-in-chief of the Fourth Army, through the Imperial orders of His Majesty the Sultan who is also currently the Caliph, not to depart to Talori, has been presently received, although His Highness was earlier asked to personally assume the commandership of the forces dispatched to the said zone.

The Imperial orders were immediately conveyed to His Highness by cable.
However, just before cabling the message, we are now informed by cable that the Pasha has already departed in the direction of Mush.

In order to have His Majesty’s Imperial orders fully implemented another cable is sent to the Pasha to ask him to return to headquarters.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question. Vol. 14, Document No. 31)
Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

27th August 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Departure to Mush of the Commander-in-chief of the Fourth Army

It is to your attention that, in compliance with His Majesty’s Imperial orders, I have departed to Mush.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 32)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

27th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Commander-in-chief of the Fourth Army to return to Headquarters

Since leaving headquarters is deemed unsuitable in the Imperial orders of His Majesty, presently received in a coded telegram you are to return to headquarters.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 33)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept. 1712

Special Statement

28th August 1894
From-Office of the Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Whether or not the Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army ought to go to the operations area

Re.-Your letter of 27th August, 1894

Your letter (re.-above) concerning the second telegram you sent to His Highness Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army that he is to return to the Army Headquarters, has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration. In compliance with an earlier Imperial order, His Highness had left for Mush, although he has been ordered to postpone his departure to go to Talori.

According to His Majesty’s Imperial orders concerning this issue, His Highness, assuming personal responsibility, has been granted the license of acting through the dictates of his own better judgement.

It is your High Office’s prerogative to have these orders implemented.

Imperial Undersecretary Faik

(For the implementation, the above-mentioned person has been notified).


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question Vol. 14, Document No. 34)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

27th August 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Report concerning military operations

Re.-a) Your telegram of 13th August 1894
b) Your telegram of 14th August 1894

The military force comprising three-and-a-half battalions has entirely been dispatched to Talori. Just as we received your telegrams (re.-a and -b) granting us full authorization, two hundred able soldiers and the four mountain guns from the infantry battalions of Erzurum had been expedited yesterday morning to support the said force.

Furthermore, due to the urgency of the case, in reserve for the said forces, the numbers of the eighth Marksmen’s battalion of the Headquarters and the second battalion of the twenty sixth regiment of Harput have been increased to five hundred each by the soldiers of the battalions of the Harput centre. After fully equipping them, yesterday the Marksmen’s battalion, and today the second battalion have been dispatched to Mush, and they are expected to arrive there within seven days. Likewise half a Hamidiye cavalry regiment, in charge of securing peace and order in Mush and its vicinity, through. His Majesty’s Imperial orders, is expected to reach there in a couple of days.

The missing number in the battalions of regulars in Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput is being completed by newly mobilized soldiers and reserves.

In the telegram received from the commandership of the said military unit, set out from Mush, and advancing in the direction of Talori, it has been pointed out that:

“The units had reached the outskirts of Mount VEMV (undeciphered, coded name), the hide-out of the insurgents; they escaped to Talori upon being informed that the forces had set out from Mush; the units were in pursuit of the insurgents.”

As a reply it has been cabled that “Thinking there ought to be a reason as to why the insurgents left Mount Anduk, the matter was to be taken up seriously and carefully investigated.”

Information concerning the geographical situation of Talori has been presented in another telegram. Other points are also being looked to. Information is to be furnished gradually.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 35)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded-Telegram

28th August 1894.
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Communication of orders concerning departure of the Army Commander

Re.-Your two telegrams both dated 27th August 1894

His Majesty’s Imperial Orders that you are to postpone your departure to go to Talori have been conveyed to you by our telegrams (re.-above).

Now in a special statement received from the High Office of the Imperial First Secretary it has been noted that:

“According to His Majesty’s Imperial Orders, assuming personal responsibility, you have been granted the license of acting through the dictates of your better judgement.

You are requested to have His Imperial Majesty’s orders implemented and inform us about the outcome accordingly.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question Vol. 14. Document No. 36)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept. 1719

Special Statement

28th August 1894
From-Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-New activities by Armenian insurgents and measures needing to be taken

Your Ministerial High Office yesterday had been informed that it was deemed unsuitable for the Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army, His Highness Zeki Pasha to personally assume commandership of the organized forces, since it has been conveyed by the governorships of the Sanjak of Mush and the Vilayet of Bitlis that the number of the insurgents around Talori was not around three thousand.

Furthermore, today, your Ministerial High Office was also informed that according to his Majesty’s Imperial Orders, assuming personal responsibility, His Highness has been granted the license of acting through the dictates of his better judgement.

Now in a letter received from the Prime Ministry it is pointed out that according to the disclosures made in a statement sent by the Vilayet of Bitlis, Armenians assaulted and harassed the Kurds of the Mush area. Since the armed Armenians were quite numerous the Kurds could not put forth any effective resistance. A village was burnt down and, as the number of Armenians gradually multiply, and since the insurgents have a small size gun and fire-arms, and since the military units mobilized and to be deployed against them, have not yet reached the Talori region, emotions and excitement have risen high amongst the Kurds.

Under the present circumstances, in compliance with the Imperial Orders of His Majesty’s, it is conveyed to you that His Highness Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army ought to set out immediately by assuming the commandership of the available organized forces, and having the license of arming sufficient number of regiments from the Hamidiye cavalry regiments together with sufficient number of reserve militia, and the license of taking a battery of guns according to the dictates of his better judgement.

It is your High Office’s prerogative to have the orders implemented.

Imperial First Secretary Süreyya

(The aforementioned has been notified.)


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question. Vol. 14, Document No. 37)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Coded-telegram

28th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-A new command by the Sultan following attacks by Armenian insurgents on tribal
groups

Re.-a) Our telegram of 27th August, 1894
b) Our telegram of 28th August, 1894
c) Special Statement by the Imperial First Secretary bearing the date 28th August, 1894 and no. 1719

Your High Command, yesterday, had been informed through our telegram (re.-a) that it was deemed unsuitable for your eminent presence to personally assume commandership of the organized forces, since it has been conveyed by the governorships of the Sanjak of Mush and the Vilayet of Bitlis that the number of the insurgents around Talori was not around three thousand.

Furthermore, today, you have also been notified through our telegram (re.-b) that, according to ills Majesty’s Imperial Orders, assuming personal responsibility, you are granted the license of acting through the dictates of your better judgement.

Now in a special statement received from the High Office of the Imperial First Secretary (re.-c) the following disclosures were made:

“As it was pointed out in the letter sent by the Prime Ministry, written after the receipt of the telegram of the Vilayet of Bitlis, Armenians assaulted and harassed the Kurds of the Mush area. Since the armed Armenians were quite numerous the Kurds could not put forth any effective resistance. A village was burat down, and as the number of Armenians gradually multiply, and since the insurgents have a small size gun and fire-arms, and since the military units mobilized and to be deployed against them, have not yet reached the Talori region, emetions and excitement have risen high amongst the Kurds.”

Under the light of the above disclosures:
There has emerged His Majesty’s Imperial orders that you ought to set out immediately by assuming the commandership of the organized forces, and that you are granted to have the license of arming sufficient number of regiments from the Hamidiye cavalry regiments together with sufficient number of reserve militia, and taking a battery of guns according to the dictates of your better judgement.

It is conveyed to you that His Majesty’s Imperial orders are to be immediately implemented.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question Vol. 14, Document No. 38)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Coded-telegram

28th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Elimination of inconsistencies in incoming news

Re.-a) Your telegram of 27th August 1894
b) The telegram cabled to the sublime Porte by the Governorship of Bitlis, bearing the date 26th August, 1894

Your High Command’s telegram (re.-a), pertaining to the dispatching of three-and-a-half battalions of Mush to Talori; in compliance with His Imperial Majesty’s orders, in order to increase the number of soldiers in the battalions, the expediting of able soldiers and four guns and, as a reserve force, two more battalions to Mush; and other topics have aft been discussed.

Your eminent personality is highly appreciated and is to be thanked for its remarkably swift and prompt performance in organization and implementation. Furthermore we wish you every success in the best handling and solving of the case presented below:

In the last paragraph of the telegram of Your High Command (re.-a) it is pointed out that:
“The insurgents using Mount Anduk as a hide-out, escaped to Talori upon being informed that the forces had set out from Mush.”

Those facts affirm the information furnished by the governorships of the Sanjak of Mush and the Vilayet of Musul and submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration yesterday. However in the telegram cabled to the Sublime Porte by the Governorship of Bitlis (re.-b) the following disclosures were made:

In a telegram they received from the Governorship of the Sanjak of Mush, it is stated that due to the presence of armed separatists around Talori and Kulp regions, and the delay in the pacification and out powering of the Armenian insurgents, result in a big boost in their numbers and the assaults they make on the local tribes. The Governorship was several times notified about these incident, yet the insurgents alternatively attacked and harassed the Kurds this time. Since the armed Armenians were quite numerous, the Kurds could not put forth any effective resistance and thus a village was burat down.

In a telegram received by the devision, cabled from the Central Major’s office in Mush, it is pointed out that the number of the insurgents multiply continuously. Furthermore They spread rumours among the local Muslim folk with the aim of raising tension by announcing publicly that they would die for their own cause. As a result, a certain Sheik Omar of the region of the Sanjak of result, a certain Sheik Omar of the region of the Sanjak of Gench, by organizing the Kurdish tribes, seems apparently ready to attack the insurgents. Under these circumstances it is requisite that a force ought to be dispatched to the regions of Sassoon, Kulp and Hayan.

Moreover, in another telegram of the Governorship of the Sanjak of Mush, attention is drawn to the fact that the insurgents have a small size gun and firearms somewhere, as it is disclosed by an Armenian. Nevertheless the exact location of these arms could not be ascertained.

Under the light of the above disclosures, a discrepancy is observed between informations furnished by governorships of the Sanjak of Mush and the Vilayet of Bitlis.

The views of your eminent personality is urgently requested concerning the true state of affairs, and correct information obtained by the Army on this issue.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question Vol. 14, Document No. 39)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Special Letter

28th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Presentation of military operations report to his Majesty the Sultan

Re.-Imperial orders of His Majesty dated 27th August 1894

The latest situation of all the operations undertaken after the honourable emergence of the Imperial orders of His Majesty the Sultan who is also concurrently the Caliph has been inquired from the High Command of the Fourth Army, through successively sent telegrams.

The following disclosures are made in the cabled reply received from the said High Command:

“The military force comprising three-and-a-half battalions has entirely been dispatched to Talori. After the granting of full authorization by the Imperial orders of His Majesty, two hundred able soldiers, and the four mountain guns from the infantry battalions of Erzurum, had been expedited, in the morning of 26th August, to support the said force. Likewise, in reserve for the said force, the numbers of the eighth Marksmen’s Battalion of the headquarters and the second battalion of the twenty-sixth regiment of Harput, due to the urgency of the case, have been increased to five hundred each, by the soldiers of the battalions of the Harput centre.

Thanks to the existence of His Imperial Majesty the Sultan who is also concurrently the Caliph, after fully equipping them, the day before yesterday the Marksmen’s battalion and today the second battalion, have been dispatched to Mush. God permitting, they are expected to reach there within seven days.

Through His Majesty’s Imperial Orders, half a Hamidiye cavalry regiment, in charge of securing peace and order in Mush and its vicinity, is expected to reach there within a couple of days.

According to the information received from the commandership of the unit dispatched to Talori, the units reached the outskirts of the mountain which the insurgents used as a hide-out. However, since the insurgents escaped to Talori upon learning that the military forces set out from Mush, the units are in pursuit of them.

We think that there ought to be a reason as to why the insurgents left Mount Anduk the pertinent commandership has been notified in a reply note that the matter is to be taken up seriously and carefully investigated.”

A copy of the above-mentioned telegram is enclosed to be submitted for the Imperial consideration of His Majesty.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 14, Document No. 40)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded Telegram
29th August 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Military operations report

Re.-Your telegram of 28th August 1894

I should like to express my thanks for the praise Your High Office accorded me.
The information, furnished by the governorships of the Vilayet of Bitlis and Sanjaks of Mush and Gench which Your High Office already had access to, concerning the number and condition of the Armenian insurgents around the Talori region and its vicinity, is bound to be inconsistent since their locality is far from the zone of insurgency and separatism and their source constitutes simply hearsay and rumours. At this stage, it can be said that this inconsistency has no direct bearing on the real core of the matter.

Today the truth of the matter is determined by the continuous information cabled to us, based on eye witness accounts of our military units in charge of out powering the insurgents who use Mount Anduk as a shelter and a source of sedition.

Our units have not yet met any separatist group as disclosed by the governorships of the Vilayet of Bitlis and the Sanjak of Mush, having a gun and a defence line and particularly a capacity to enter into a bloody clash with the Hayan tribe, lasting about nine hours. It was only on the twenty sixth day of this month, some twenty or thirty insurgents were seen running away in the direction of the creek called Achini, flowing towards Talori and situated at the southerly direction of Mount Anduk and in the periphery of the Gülgüzan village. The reconnaissance columns opened fire and two separatists were captured dead with their old style muskets. The reconnaissance columns opened hot pursuit.

The military units would set out for Talori after completing their missions of pursuit and investigation at Mount Anduk It is expected that they would reach Talori tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and God permitting they would achieve a decisive solution.

In all the military operations undertaken no case has been encountered as serious as it has been exaggerated. Moreover, the organized military forces continue their operations of out powering and suppressing the seditionaries with God’s help, wherever they encounter them.

All the possible contingencies would continuously be made accessible to you.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question Vol. 15, Document No. 1)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

28th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Secretary
Subject-Preparation of a map of the Talori region

Re.-Your special statement of 28th August 1894

We have received His Majesty’s Imperial orders concerning the immediate forwarding of the map which was drawn after the exchanges with the Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army, and indicating the exact location of the area around which the Armenian insurgents of the Talori region gathered.

The map of the Talori region, prepared in compliance with His Majesty’s Imperial orders, and through exchanges with the Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army, ‘was going to be presented tomorrow; but in accordance: with His Imperial Majesty’s orders, it is enclosed here with this letter. Furthermore, the said High Command informed us that a detailed sketch of the aforementioned area is to be forwarded soon. Upon its receipt, it is to be immediately submitted for the Imperial consideration.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question Vol. 15, Document No. 2)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

29th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Verbal orders by his Majesty the Sultan

In compliance with His Majesty’s Imperial Orders, honourably conveyed to me by word of mouth, it is highly desirable that the Talori incidents be terminated effectively within a couple of days through God’s help.

It is our sole expectation that your High Command would be able to decisively put an end to this issue through its interminable efforts, expertise and skill.

Furthermore it is also our desire that you would spare no efforts possible to have information on the following points, rendered accessible to His Imperial Majesty’s consideration:

a) Correct assessment on the movements and exact location of the insurgents
b) counter operations by. the military units.
c) the state of the already dispatched reinforcements and auxiliaries and their exact location
d) efforts to increase the number of soldiers in other battalions.

Even on the days without any incidents, the very state of affairs ought to be conveyed to us by four o’clock so that His Majesty is accordingly advised.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 3)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

30th August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Correction of conflicting reports concerning Armenian insurgent activities

Re.-Our special statement of 28th August 1894

Due to the discrepancy between the information made accessible to His Imperial Majesty the Sultan by the governorship of the Sanjak of Mush about the Armenian insurgents and telegram received by the Sublime Porte from the governorship of the Vilayet of Bitlis, the current situation was ascertained through consulting the Fourth Army Command. The furnished information had already been submitted to His Imperial Majesty’s supreme Office through our special statement (re.-above).

According to the telegram now received from the Fourth Army Command it is expressly stated that due to the experience undergone by the military units dispatched through His Majesty’s Imperial orders for the pacification of the said insurgents and due to the military operations undertaken so far, the problem was not as severe as it was first surmised to be.

A copy of the aforementioned telegram is enclosed, to be submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 4)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded telegram

31st August 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Armenian insurgency situation and the Sultan’s orders concerning the taking of new measures

Re.-Your telegram of 30th August 1894

Your telegram (re.-above) concerning the Armenian insurgents who had escaped to Mount Anduk that (a part of them refuge at Sassoon, about a thousand using the creek of Gülgüzan as a hideout, and another two hundred and forty of them adopting the creek of Achini with a similar purpose) has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

The special statement of the Imperial First Secretary, which includes His Majesty’s Imperial orders is as follows:

“Although there were several Imperial orders of His Majesty concerning an effective overpowering of the insurgents, without letting any single one flee and in a manner that would set a deterrent example to others, your High Command has made it known that the insurgents managed to escape. Under these circumstances, it is evident that there is insufficient amount of zeal put into the handling of the issue of the over powering the insurgents.

As to the presence of foreigners amongst the insurgents; their alienage is no extenuating cause, and since they are found together with the armed Armenian separatists they will be accorded with the treatment the insurgents receive: that is fire will be opened on them. From this point of view the High Command is to be notified that after an extremely swift tracking a complete over powering of the said insurgents is deemed absolutely requisite. It is also deemed necessary that watch towers and sentry stations ought to be established and a military force ought to be deployed to appropriate areas of the region where insurgency is desired not to reappear and sedition and separatism are decisively terminated. It is also His Majesty’s Imperial orders that after consulting the fourth Army Command the measures to be adopted are to be made accessible to Him?

According to the disclosures made above and in compliance with the Imperial orders of His Majesty it is urgently requested that:

a) the said insurgents are completely overpowered after an extremely swift tracking,
b) sketches, plans and photographs of the spots which are deemed appropriate for establishing watch towers and sentry stations and deploying military forces are urgently sent to us to be submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 5)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Telegram

1st September 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Military operations report

In the telegram just received from the commander of the military units dispatched to Talori, the following disclosures were made:

1) Reconnaissance columns are dispatched to the Gülgüzan and Achini regions and to the undiscovered parts of Mount Anduk which are the sole areas the insurgents take shelter in. Furthermore, in order to determine the withdrawal line of the military units, a complete reconnoitering of the Mount Anduk is of supreme importance.

2) Due to the thorough searches made at Mount Anduk, it is entirely obvious that practically no insurgents exist at the said mountain since they escaped immediately after being informed of the departure of the military units from Mush.

3) A relatively small band of armed insurgents encountered by the reconaissance columns around the southerly direction of Gülgüzan and another group using the creek of Achini as a hideout have both been effectively overpowered.

4) Upon the receipt of information that a new group of insurgents gathered around the so-called locality of Sassoon, explorations are made to determine the exact nature of their position.

In reply the following points are conveyed to the aforementioned Command:
1) The reason as to why the military units were not permitted to advance originated from the needs to determine the presence or the absence of the insurgents at Mt. Anduk and to restore peace and order of the locality. Since it is absolutely clear that the area is cleansed of all the insurgents, the reserve forces, dispatched from Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput, having been drawn closer to Mush, ought to be immediately given permission to advance.

2) With a swift effectuation of the military operations in a manner that becomes the high honour of the Command, the insurgents around the regions of Gülgüzan, Sassoon and Talori ought to be effectively over powered within a couple of days, bearing the Achini case in mind where all the seditionaries were entirely subdued.
Submitted to your attention with due respect.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 6)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

1st September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Submission of the military operations report

According to the disclosures made in the telegram, just received from the Fourth Army Command the following points were raised in the telegram sent to the said Command by the commander of the military units dispatched to Talori:

1. Reconnaissance columns are dispatched to the Gülgüzan and Achini regions and to the undiscovered parts of Mount Anduk which are the sole areas the insurgents take shelter in. Furthermore, in order to determine the withdrawal line of the military units, a complete reconnoitering of the Mount Anduk is of supreme importance.

2. Due to the thorough searches made at Mt. Anduk, it is entirely obvious that practically no insurgents exist at the said mountain since they escaped immediately after being informed of the departure of the military units from Mush.

3.A relatively small band of armed insurgents encountered by the reconnaissance columns around the southerly direction of GüIgüzan and another group using the creek of Achini as a hideout have both been effectively overpowered.

4. Upon the receipt of information that a new group of insurgents gathered around the so-called locality of Sassoon, explorations are made to determine the exact nature of their position.”

It is pointed out that the following reply was sent to the said commandership by the Fourth Army Command:

“The reason as to why the military units were not permitted to advance originated from the needs to determine the presence or the absence of the insurgents at Mt. Anduk and to restore peace and order of the locality. Since it is absolutely clear that the area is cleansed of all the insurgents, the reserve forces, dispatched from Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput, having been drawn closer to Mush, ought to be immediately given permission to advance.

2. With a swift effectuation of the military coperations, in a manner that becomes the high honour of the Command, the insurgents around the regions of Gülgüzan, Sassoon and Talori ought to be effectively over powered within a couple of days, bearing the Achini case in mind where all the seditionaries were entirely subdued.”

All information received from the Fourth Army Command will in due course be submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15. Document No. 7)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

1st September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-His Highness Zeki Pasha Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army
Subject-Query concerning departure to the operations area

Re.-Our telegram of 28th August 1894

Due to the Talori incidents His Majesty’s Imperial orders concerning your personal assumption of the commandership of the forces you would organize with the proviso of taking sufficient number of soldiers from the Hamidiye Cavalry regiment, and the reserve forces, and a battery of guns according to the dictates of your better judgement, have been conveyed to you by our telegram (re.-above).

Although it is believed that His Majesty’s Imperial orders would immediately be implemented since we have not received any information on your departure and since your telegrams have all been cabled from the army head quarters, the situation remains unclear. If you have not yet departed, it is expected of you to notify us of your reasons.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 8)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

2nd September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Departure of the 4th Army Commander-in-Chief

Re.-Your special statement of 28th August and bearing No. 1719

In compliance with the Imperial orders of His Majesty, conveyed to us by your special statement (re.-above), the Fourth Army Command had been immediately notified that His Highness Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army ought to set out by assuming the commandership of the organized forces with the aim of overpowering the Talori insurgents. However since no reply has been received concerning his departure, the said command yesterday was renotified.

In a telegram received from the aforementioned Command the following disclosures were made:

Through a cable by the special Imperial aide-de-camp, His Highness Dervish Pasha, in compliance with the orders of His Imperial Majesty they had been notified that it is demanded of them to find out the exact number of the insurgents to divulge the exact situation of the military forces and to communicate whether or not his personal departure was requisite.

After having met all what is demanded as a reply he cabled that he was ready to depart immediately in compliance with His Imperial Majesty’s orders. He apparently postponed his departure in exectation of His imperial Majesty’s orders concerning this issue.

Through a telegram he received last night, after being notified that he ought to depart for Mush to inspect the area, he indeed set out, to be deputised by Halit Pasha, inspector of gunners in his absence.

The situation as such is presented for your attention to be later submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 9)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded telegram

2nd September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Reguest for information concerning neutralized Armenian bands

Re.-Your telegram of 1st September 1894

Your telegram concerning the disclosures made by the commander of the military units (re.-above) has been given due attention. It was pointed out that a relatively small band of armed insurgents encountered by the reconaissance columns around the southerly direction of Gülgüzan and another group using the creek of Achini as a hideout had both been effectively overpowered.

You are to be thanked for the successes you scored concerning this issue.
Since the number of overpowered insurgents ought to have been determined by now, we wonder how many of them constituted the small band and the other group respectively? We also wonder whether or not all their arms have been seized? What make were these arms? It is expected of your High Office complementary information on these issue after a thorough investigation.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 10)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

2nd September, 1894

From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Arrival of the Hamidiye Regiment at Mush.

In the telegram of 1st September, received from the Fourth Army Command and following message was conveyed to us:
"In compliance with His Majesty!s Imperial orders, the half cavalry regiment, constituting three hundred cavalry men of Hamidiye Cavalry Regiments and initially originating from Haydaranl? Tribe, which was to replace the cavalry regiment dispatched to Talori and secure peace and order in the locality by being stationed at Mush, has, in fact, reached the said town on 31st August, 1894."

Gracefully submitted to His Majesty's Imperial consideration.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 11)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept. 1909

Special Statement

2nd September 1894
From-Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Hamidiye Cavalry Regiments

In a special note conveyed to us by the Prime Ministry and submitted to His Imperial Majesty it was pointed out that, three companies of the Hamidiye Cavalry force, organized by the Fourth Army High Command, and was to replace the military force dispatched to Talon with the aim of suppressing the Armenian insurgents gathered around there and thus securing peace and order in the locality had in fact reached Mush.

The said force, as disclosed, had been dispatched with the sole aim of securing public order. According to information received from the area, certain insurgents were completely overpowered and subsequently all of them were dispersed. It transpires that dispatching Hamidiye Cavalry forces against the insurgents is not at all necessary. Under these circumstances, it is requested that the Fourth Army Command be appropriately notified to give orders to have the aforementioned forces assume responsibility in safeguarding peace and order in the locality, just as before.

The organization of the said regiments was realized in compliance with the Military Law and they were granted permission to hoist up their own banners. Furthermore a better means for such military organizations will sooner or later be found. Therefore, it is His Majesty’s Imperial orders that objections raised against the said regiment ought to be refuted by drawing attention to the above-mentioned points.

It is the prerogative of your High Office to have the orders implemented.

Imperial First Secretary Süreyya


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question Vol. 15, Document No. 12)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

2nd September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Deployment and status of the Hamidiye Cavalry Regiments

Re.-Special statement of the Imperial First Secretary dated 1st September, 1894

In a special statement received from the Imperial First Secretary (re.-above) the following disclosures were made:

“In a special note conveyed to us by the Prime Ministry and submitted to His Imperial Majesty, it was pointed out that, three companies of the Hamidiye Cavalry force, organized by the Fourth Army High Command, and was to replace the military force dispatched to Talori with the aim of suppressing the Armenian insurgents gathered around there, and thus securing peace and order in the locality, had in fact, reached Mush.

The said force had been initially dispatched with the sole aim of securing public order. According to information received from the area, certain insurgents were completely overpowered and subsequently the remaining ones were dispersed. It transpires that dispatching Hamidiye Cavalry forces against the insurgents is not at all necessary. Under these circumstances, it is requested that Your High Command give orders to have the aforementioned forces assume responsibility in safeguarding peace and order in the locality, just as before.

The organization of the Hamidiye regiments was realized in compliance with the Military Law and they were granted permission to hoist up their own banners. Furthermore a better means for such military organizations will sooner or later be found. Therefore, it is His Majesty’s Imperial orders that objections raised against these regiments ought to be refuted by drawing attention to the above-mentioned points.”

It is requested from your High Command that all what is necessary is done in compliance with the above disclosures made by the Imperial First Secretary.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 131)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

3rd September 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Numbers and weapons of Armenian insurgents

Re.-Your telegram of 1st September 1894

Since in the telegram received from Ethem Pasha, General of the Division stationed at Mush, no disclosures were made concerning the constitution of the small gang of brigands and the number of the Armenians in the area, type of resistance manifesting itself on the point of complete suppression, and the make of the arms possessed by the brigands; further information was sought.

Yesterday an attempt was made in this direction. According to the reply received, detailed disclosures will be made. Gracefully submitted to your High Office’s attention.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 14)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Special Statement

3rd September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Departure of Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army

According to the telegram received from Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army who set out for Mush, has in fact, reached Pülümür. It was further communicated that he would depart this morning via Kigi.

Gracefully submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question Vol. 15, Document No. 15)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

3rd September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary and the attention of the Fourth Army Command
Subject-Armenian activities in the Bitlis region

In the telegram received from the Eighth Division Deputy Commandership stationed at Bitlis, it was reported there was news to the effect that certain Armenians namely Mencikov, son of Tomo, from the village of Genzo in the administrative division of Mutki; Abdo, son of Madik who is a member of the administrative council of the village of Mis; and Nasnasi, son of Hacho, from the village of Kazak, spread unfounded rumours with the aim of perpetuating chaos and havoc by actually claiming that they had certain expectations and though last year they were fleeing in different directions, it was evident that was no need to flee any longer with the advent of autumn, and that they would themselves exact tributes from the Kurds.

Furthermore, in a note, marked confidential, received from the local district governor, it was pointed out that since a change could be observed in the general conduct and the attitute of the Armenians, the most suspected ones would be transferred to the Vilayet centre in some way or other.

Moreover, the claim of the Armenian spy who is caught and under arrest by the governorship that the other Armenians would join the armed insurgents at Talori affirm the verity of the disclosures above.

As a reply to the aforementioned commandership it was conveyed Armenians were to be transferred to Bitlis and that they ought to be always on alert and report immediately all eventualities.

In fact, it was conveyed tons that, upon the disclosures made by the governorship of Bitlis and their request that the commander of the military unit stationed there be given orders accordingly, the sixteenth Brigade Deputy Commandership was notified to issue orders to have the said unit commander take all the precautions against possible emergencies and eventualities.

Both the Fourth Army Command and the governorship of the sanjak of Mush have been appropriately advised.

Gracefully submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 16)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded telegram

7th September 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment no longer needed

It was already communicated to you that, in compliance with the Imperial orders of His Majesty, the half Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment, which was to be dispatched to Mush with the aim of safeguarding local peace and order, had, in fact, reached Mush, after setting out from here with extraordinary promptness upon being accordingly ordered.

The said regiment, for the past fortnight had been staying under tents and receiving the treatment of regular cavalry.

The regular forces stationed here and at Talori are both regarded sufficient in safeguarding peace and order. There fore the aforementioned Hamidiye Cavalry regiment need no longer be stationed here. Since sending them back would facilitate the situation there, it is humbly submitted to your attention that the Imperial Decree regarding this very topic ought soon to be issued.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 17)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Coded-telegram

8th September 1894
From-Brigadier-General Salih Pasha Deputy Commander of Eighth Division Stationed at Bitlis
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Pursuit and neutralization of insurgents in the Talori region. Capture of their leaders at Marah

In a telegram received today from the governor of Bitlis who is at the moment in Gench, it was communicated that the insurgents of Talori were entirely suppressed after hot pursuit everywhere, thanks to all mighty power of His Imperial Majesty. Furthermore two gangs which fired at the military forces from their hideout in the caves and the notorious seditionary leader, Marah and his followers were captured alive Moreover the authorities concerned were warned to take necessary measures against a certain group of insurgents that might have fled in the mean time.

It is gracefully submitted to your attention that the situation is made known to the relevant bodies.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 18)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special statement

8th September 1894
From-Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Order by the Sultan

In the telegram of the Governorship of Bitlis submitted to His Imperial Majesty, which was, in fact, a supplement to the note received from the Prime Ministry, it was communicated that information was received to the effect that armed separatists around the regions of Talori and Kulp, having been divided into groups, would resort to seditious operations at such areas in the Vilayet of Bitlis where no military forces were to be found, i.e. particularly on the plain of Mush.

Concerning this very issue, His Majesty’s Imperial orders are as follows:
“It is understood that necessary measures have been taken against all the insurgent activities of the said separatists. Nevertheless it is evident, to appropriate spots military units ought to be deployed and at important points patrol stations ought to be established so that similar seditious activities do not recur in the following spring. For the actual realization of such measures to be taken the Fourth Army Command ought to be renotified.

It is your High Office’s prerogative to have the orders implemented.
Imperial First Secretary Süreyya

(This Imperial order has been conveyed to the aforementioned Command in order to have it implemented under the light of similar earlier orders.)

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50. Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 19)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

9th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Sending back and rewarding the Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment stationed at Mush

Re.-Your telegram of 7th September 1894

Your telegram concerning sending back the half Hamidiye Cavalry regiment (re.-above) has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration and an Imperial Decree on this issue was sought.

In fact His Imperial Majesty’s orders have thus emerged:
“In the event of sending back the said half Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment without replacing it by a military force. Armenians would again resort to their activities of separatism and insurgency. To forestall such an eventuality, until a military force of regulars replaces it, the aforementioned half Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment ought not be sent back. It is deemed more appropriate to have the said regiment sent back to its headquarters according to the stipulations of the Military Law, only after replacing it with a military force of regulars adequate enough to safeguard peace and order there, and with the proviso that it would be remobilised in the case of an emergency.”

Furthermore it is an evidence of the half regiment’s high organization capacity that it so swiftly assembled together and departed. The fact that its members displayed an exemplary prowess and determination in the realization of their mission, pleased His Imperial Majesty immensely. The good luck wishes of His Majesty ought to be conveyed to both the officers and soldiers of the said half regiment as a sign of Imperial appreciation and trust that they would carry out their assigned mission with the same valour and firmness.

Since there is a resolution on the payment of salaries to the officers and soldiers of the Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment in case of their mobilisation, it is the Imperial orders of His Majesty who is also concurrently the Caliph that both the officers and. soldiers of this regiment are paid two months’ salary-they have been al-ready assembled and armed for more than a month-and sent back to their headquarters, and accorded a warm reception.

It is recommended that all what is requisite ought to be done in order to have the Imperial orders executed.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 20)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

9th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Capture of the anarchist Marah leader of the Armenian insurgents

In the telegram received from the Fourth Army Command, it was communicated that Marah the leader of the insurgent brigands at Talori and his ten followers had opened fire at the military forces from their hideout which is a cave in the middle of the rocky zone of the village of Harinik belonging to Talori; and that after an exchange of fire, all the brigands were captured alive; and that as conveyed by the Platoon Command the brigands were carrying fire Russian make bolted rifles, two flint guns and their cartridges, a local make hand grenade of bronze with thirty-one capsules, a sabre, a bag containing manuscripts and a printed book; and that the Command was notified to have Marah and his followers transferred immediately to Mush to stand trial there.

Gracefully conveyed to be submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 21)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

9th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Departure of the Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army Zeki Pasha

In the telegram received from His Highness Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army it was communicated that he has departed to Talon from Mush this morning at dawn.

Gracefully conveyed to be submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 22)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept. 2201

Special Statement

10th September 1894
From-Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Order by the Sultan

Re.-Your Special Statement of 9th September, 1894

Your special statement (re.-above) concerning Marah, the leader of the insurgent brigands at Talori, and his ten followers, as communicated by the Platoon Command, that they had opened fire at the military forces from their hide-out around the village of Harinik, and that after an exchange of fire, all the brigands had been captured alive and their be longings and anus had been confiscated; and that upon receiving this information the Fourth Army Command had notified the said Command to have all the captured insurgent brigands transferred to Mush to face interrogation there, has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

His Majesty’s Imperial views and orders concerning this very issue are as follows:
“It is evident that during the operation of capturing alive the said insurgents, the military forces had resorted to using firearms in defence, and as a result numerous casualties must have been recorded.

It is your High Office’s prerogative to have all what is requisite executed immediately.

Imperial First Secretary Süreyya
(Communicated to the appropriate body on 11th September, 1894)


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 23)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

11th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Communication of the Sultan’s order

Re.-Your telegram of 8th September, 1894

Your telegram (re.-above) concerning the capturing alive of Marah, the leader of the insurgent brigands at Talori, and his followers and also including other information, has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

Furthermore, in a special statement of the Imperial First Secretary, the Imperial Views and orders of His Majesty were communicated tons to the effect that it was evident during the operation of capturing alive the said insurgents, the military forces had resorted to using firearms in defence, and as a result numerous casualties must have been recorded.

Herewith gracefully conveyed to your attention.

Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 24)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

12th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Submission of information received from Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the
Fourth Army

In a telegram dated 10th September 1894 received last night from Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army it was communicated that he was about to depart to Talon after having inspected the two villages and Mount Anduk which were the spots that sparked off the uprising; and since the leaden of the insurgents was captured alive and certain documents were confiscated, after the appropriate investigations all the evaluations would be presented; and moreover the detailed results of any further investigations pertaining to the issue would also be disclosed.

Herewith enclosed to be submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration. Furthermore all future information originating from the aforementioned Command would also immediately be conveyed.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 25)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

12th September 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Measures being considered concerning the prevention of Armenian rebellion and anarchy

Re.-Your telegram of 9th September 1894

The degree of effectiveness and swiftness displayed in the operations pertaining to the complete suppression of Armenian insurgents was communicated to you in our telegram yesterday. Under these circumstances the possibility of further attempts at separatism and insurgency has been entirely relieved. In this context the disclosures made by the governorship of Bitlis, based on the information they received, to the effect that an uprising would occur around the plain of Mush and the region of Kulp are not true.

As it is communicated to us by the governorship of the Sanjak of Mush, the local Armenians have not adopted such a remonstrative stance and peace and order prevails on the plain of Mush. Furthermore as it is understood through the information furnished by the leader of the reconnaissance column dispatched to the area three days ago on a mission of the Platoon Command there a similar atmosphere of peace and order also prevails in the administrative division of Kulp.

As for the establishment of patrol stations it is known that the Talori basin is distinct from the chain of mountains called Kopik, stretching in a westerly direction of Mush. These mountains are always covered with snow throughout the period extending from October till April.

Naturally within this span of time the Talon is cut off from Mush. Under these circumstances, even if military forces were stationed at Talori and around its vicinity they would be stranded in the area throughout winter.

As it is known the suppressive operation undertaken presently minder the sustenance and support of His Imperial Majesty was so effectively realised and with such swiftness that it would serve as a deferent for the other potential insurgents. An uprising in this region would hardly ever occur.

Nevertheless, if as a reinforcement a battalion is added to the infantry battalion and the cavalry regiment designed for Mush, and if two more mountain guns are provided and if the Hamidiye regiments stationed around the Mush area are granted permission to join in, in case of an emergency, God willing, against all eventualities, the peace and order at both the plain of Mush and the Talori region would be maintained.

At the moment, it is only requisite that two separate barracks ought to be built in Mush one for two infantry battalions and the other for a cavalry regiment. Due to the importance of the Mush area, an allocation of money which would meet the building expenses of these barracks, was always included in the budget every year. Yet, since there is heavy snow fall in the area towards the end of September, building the aforementioned barracks during the course of this year could not be completed. God willing, let us hope that building them would be realised in the following year under the guidance and support of His Imperial Majesty.

Humbly submitted to your High Office’s attention.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 26)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

13th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Opinions of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army concerning events

Re.-Your special statement bearing the date, 8th September 1894 and the number 2132.

As pointed out in your special statement (re.-bove), “in the telegram of the Governorship of Bitlis, submitted to His Imperial Majesty, which was, in fact, a supplement to the note received from the Prime Ministry, it was communicated that information was received to the effect that armed separatists around the regions of Talori and Kulp, having been divided into groups, would resort to seditious operations at such areas in the Vilayet of Bitlis where no military forces were to be found, i.e. particularly on the plain of Mush.

Subsequent to this disclosure, it was also communicated that there emerged His Majesty’s Imperial orders to the effect that, although necessary measures have been taken against all the insurgent activities of the said separatists, it was nevertheless evident, to appropriate spots military units ought to be deployed so that similar seditious activities would not recur in the following spring; and furthermore, for the actual realization of such measures to be taken the Fourth Army Command ought to be renotified.”

Upon notifying the said Command of His Majesty’s Imperial orders the following reply was received:

“The suppressive operation undertaken against the Armenians, under the sustenance and support of His Imperial Majesty was so effectively realised and with such swiftness that an uprising in this region would hardly ever occur. In this respect, the disclosures made by the governorship of Bitlis do not reflect the true state of affairs in the region. Peace and order prevail in the plain of mush and no single act of insurgency is to be found at the administrative division of Kulp.”

The copy of the telegram, received from the said Command concerning the measures which are deemed appropriate to be taken so as to halt all attempts at insurgency, is enclosed to be submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

In the aforementioned telegram, your views are sought on the project to be devised by the Office of the General Staff, in line with the disclosure made about increasing the forces at the region of Mush, and on providing all the prerequisite material for the buildings which are deemed necessary to be built.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 27)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Special Statement

13th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Return of the Hamidiye Military Regiment located in Mush to their headquarters

Re.-a) Telegram of the Fourth Army Command dated 7th September 1894
b) Our telegram to the Fourth Army Command dated 9th September 1894

As it is known, through the telegram of the Fourth Army Command (re.-a) it was communicated that the half Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment which was dispatched to Mush, with the aim of safeguarding local peace and order, had swiftly reached its destination upon being accordingly ordered: and yet since it need no longer be stationed there, sending it back to headquarters would ease the tension in the area. This case had been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration in order to have His Imperial views and orders.

Pertaining to the case, your High Office, in reply, communicated to us that:
“In the event of sending back the half Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment without replacing it by a military force, Armenians would again resort to activities of separatism and insurgency. To forestall such an eventuality, until a military force replaces it, the aforementioned half Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment ought not be sent back.

It is deemed more appropriate to have the said regiment sent back to its headquarters according to the stipulations of the Military Law, only after replacing it with a military force adequate enough to safeguard peace and order there, and with the proviso that it would be remobilised in the case of an emergency.

Furthermore it is an evidence of the said half regiment’s high organization capacity that it so swiftly assembled together and departed. The fact that its members has played an exemplary prowess and determination in the realisation of their mission, pleased His Imperial Majesty immensely. The good luck wishes of His Majesty ought to be conveyed to both the officers and soldiers of the said half regiment as a sign of Imperial appreciation and trust that they would carry out their assigned mission with the same valour and firmness.

Since there is a resolution on the payment of salaries to the officers and soldiers of the Hamidiye Cavalry regiment in case of their mobilisation, it is the Imperial orders of His Majesty that both officers and soldiers of this regiment are immediately paid two months salary-they have been already assembled and armed for more a month-and sent back to their headquarters and accorded a warm reception.”

It is one of the remarkable achievements of His Imperial Majesty, who has had numerous holy triumphs and superior successes, and who shows close concern for all kinds of different cases and gives illuminating, praiseworthy and protective orders that the officers and soldiers of the aforementioned regiment displayed an exemplary commitment to their work and spent extraordinary efforts for the realisation of their mission. In fact His Imperial orders concerning the payment of salaries, and the good luck wishes to the aforementioned regiment are actually commendations that acclaim time honour of all the Hamidiye Regiments. Furthermore these would motivate aft of them to operate joyfully and in a gratifying manner under the happy rays of His Imperial Majesty’s exquisite desires. In this context His Majesty’s Imperial orders have been communicated to the aforementioned Command(re.-b) with the wishes for the longevity of his powerful life and with the dedication of our loyalty and affection.

According to the telegram received on this occasion from the Fourth Army Command, upon being told the good tidings of His Majesty’s Imperial orders, the officers and the soldiers of the said half Hamidiye Regiment all prayed for the longevity of His Imperial Majesty’s life with sincere loyalty and esteem. As was ordered their salaries were also paid.

In the meantime, although the military units at Mush are adequate to check all threats to peace and since the Twenty-third cavalry regiment would replace the aforementioned regiment, it could well be sent back to headquarters and permission was sought in this direction, nevertheless with the provise that it would be remobilised in case of an emergency as demanded by the Imperial orders.

According to the disclosures made, although the military units at Mush are adequate to maintain peace and order against all eventualities, since it is made known that the said half Hamidiye Regiment would be replaced by the Twenty third cavalry regiment, the Fourth Army Command was notified to have the Hamidiye Regiment sent back to headguarters, as demanded by the Imperial orders, after paying them two months salaries.

Gracefully submitted to your consideration.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 28)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Coded telegram

15th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Sending back the half Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment stationed at Mush

Re.-Your telegram of 11th September 1894

It was earlier communicated to your High Office in a detailed manner, the Imperial orders of His Majesty, concerning sending back the half Hamidiye Cavalry Regiment assembled in Mush, after having it replaced by a military force adequate enough to safeguard local peace and order.

As disclosed in your telegram (re.-above) since the military units in Mush are considered sufficient enough to check all Armenian attempts at insurgency and separatism and all other seditious operations, and since it is deemed appropriate to have the said Hamidiye Regiment replaced by the Twenty third Cavalry Regiment, you are hereby notified that the aforementioned Hamidiye Regiment ought to be sent back in compliance with His Majesty’s Imperial orders.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 29)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Coded telegram

16th September 1894
From-Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army
To-Ministry of National Defence
Subject-Ongoing military operations to suppress the uprising at Talori and a report of the latest situation

After having inspected the region of Talori and its vicinity I returned to Mush. The ventures and operations of the Armenian insurgents and the detailed activities of the military forces deployed against them are as follows:

Talori and its surroundings are situated at the southwesterly direction of Mush and within a distance that would take some fourteen hours to cover. The zone between the administrative division of Sassoon belonging to the Sanjak of Mush and the administrative division of Kulp belonging to the Sanjak of Gench is a densely mountainous area. The people living here are entirely of an Armenian stock and that is the reason why they transformed the place into a centre of insurgency. In fact, due to the convenient nature of the locality a certain Armenian by the name Damadian came over here, three of four years ago, with the if intention of organising a rebellious party of insurgents. After the capture of this seditious leader another separatist. bearing the pseudonym Murat (whose real name is Hamparsun) took over and has been involved with separatist and insurgent activities for the past two years.

It is certain through his own declarations that this traitor is originally of the village of Hachin belonging to the Vilayet of Adana. He has received medical training at the Royal College of Medicine of Istanbul University for some eight years. Since he was amongst the insurgents who organised the notorious Kumkap? revolts, while the authorities were searching him everywhere in Istanbul he fled to Genova via Athens. Afterwards he came to Diyarbekir via Iskenderun, in disguise and bearing a pseudonym and them finally arrived at this area where he took to acts of insurgency with his five followers.

It is understood that Hamparsun also wrote pernicious articles in the Athens daily, Hacakian. To many naive folk he introduced himself as a European who had recently returned from Europe; and he told them that he would bring over a military force from England by a balloon after the emergence of an uprising since all the states have agreed upon protecting the Armenians; in fact through many misleading advices-for instance that they would establish an Armenian state if they carry on with their insurgent activities-he deceived naive Armenians at the villages of Shinik, Shimal, Güligüzan, Ahpi, Hotek, Sinan?n, ?eknih, Elifkard, Hozoz, Efek, Akchas?r and Talori constituting seven different districts. Armenians living in the other seventeen villages and in the seven that constitutes the township of Shadak have not yielded to the deceptive temptation and thus saved themselves of the stigmata of treason.

The rebels, towards the end of July, entirely vacated their villages and carried their personal belongings and families to safe dens and sources of water and subsequently joined the groups of insurgents coming from the plain of Mush and the administrative divisions of Kulp and. Silvan. Thus their number multiplied to over three thousand. Most of them carry flintguns and under the influence and provocations of Hamparsun (alias Murat) some armed themselves simply with daggers or axes. All of these insurgents assembled together at Mount Anduk overlooking the valley of Talori. Their primary aim is to exterminate Turks that appear on their way and subsequently attack Mush with the aim of extracting arms and equipmert from the arsenal of the reserve militia and thus broaden the scope and sphere of the uprising.

Some five or six hundred insurgents attacked the Vilikan tribe, living on the plain, two hours away from Mush and lying southerly on the Korlink, chain of mountains, and stole goods and cattle. They even killed a few tribesmen. Nevertheless they did not have sufficient courage to attack Mush for the fear of the invincible power of the military forces, then approaching the town. Consequently the Mount Anduk insurgents, by dividing themselves into groups, resorted to attacks in various directions at the Bekran and Barkan tribes which were them staying in the area, killed certain tribesmen and plundered goods and property. Not satisfied with their notorious achievement, they stuffed gunpowder into the belly of Hadji, the nephew of Ömer Agha, one of the tribe leaders of Bekran and burned him; they raped some three or four Murlim women in the village of Güligüzan and subsequently tore them virtually to pieces; furthermore they forced some Muslim men walk through the village bearing crosses, while other Muslims suffered more serious inflictions such as having their eyes plucked or ears cut. Finally they reached a climactic point in their malignancy when they blasphemeously denounced the Muslim religion and the state, and shouted altogether “Long live our king Murat”.

The military units which were so swiftly assembled together and deployed aganist them came just at the right moment and through an operation, details of which would be disclosed below, captured most most insurgents especially the leader Hamparsun and his followers, hiding themselves in a cave. In fact, through God’s help and His Imperial Majesty’s support, attempts at uprising and insurgency are eliminated in such a manner that ventures of similar nature could not even be conceived.

The captured insurgents, after having their first interrogation recorded, all transferred to Mush and fere handed over to the government officials there.

Through interrogations it is understood that priests from Mush, Diyarbekir and Van provoked the insurgent brigands; since particularly M?g?rd?ch, the priest of K?z?lkilise had influenced both Damadian and Hamparsun, he was brought and handed over to government authorities at Mush to stand trial there.

Coming to the details of the military operations: first of all the military units departed from Mush on 25th August 1894 and reached the villages of Shinik and Shimal on the skirts of Mount Anduk. When the insurgent brigands realized that they would not be able to withstand the invincible power of the military forces, they dispersed in different directions after forming groups of brigands with some two or three hundred members each and finally took refuge inside the dense woods of the mountain.

On the 14th August military units made advances towards Mount Anduk which was on their right hand side, and after inspecting every single nook and cranny they reached the village of Güligüzan. The insurgents who hide themselves here and there on the ridges lying above this village are not to be found in Mount Anduk, nevertheless it has learnt that they have gathered together around the banks of the creek called Ahpig. The insurgents, taking the route through the woods and the creek, stretched as far as the left wing of the military unit. This might have endangered its line of retreat, and in order to forestall such a possibility, a large part of the unit formed subdivisions at a spot called Oharki, two hours away from the village of Gülgüzan. Thus making advanes on the left hand side the ridges of the villages called Ahi and Yenk, where the insurgents had taken refuge, was surrounded. About six hundred insurgents opened fire at the military units from their scattered houses at the afore-mentioned villages upon being entirely encircled. As mentioned above, since the women and children in these villages have earlier been taken to the mountains and safer spots, gunfire was opened without any reservation and almost half of the insurgents were completely suppressed. The casualties suffered in this incident were a captain and four privates dead and ten privates wounded.

As a result, between 26th August and 3rd September, insurgents hiding themselves in the woods and creeks in the area surrounded by the villages of Güligüzan, Talori and the brook of Ahpig and covering a distance of some seven or eight hours, have been rendered out of action after brief skirmishes. The military forces subsequently set out for Talori on 4th September 1894.

Since the shelter spots of most insurgents had been damaged through earlier military operations, the remaining insurgents who took refuge in their own embrasured houses were in majority completely suppressed again after brief skirmishes.

During this campaign, according to the disclosures made by the Armenians who have surrendered to the military forces, claiming that they have been misled by Hamparsun and his followers were hiding themselves in a cave which is almost indescribable, situated in the middle of a steep and sharp rocky zone, lying southerly of Mehafitek, one of the districts of Talori.

In this incident, the casualties suffered by the military forces were two privates dead and six wounded.

The reasons why the military forces suffered a relatively low number of casualties despite the steep and inconvenient characteristics of the area are as follows: the military forces were able to effectuate a concentrated fire from commanding spots which were some six or seven hundred metres away, i.e. without entering into the sphere of influence or range of the intermittent fire of the insurgents realised through muskets that have a range, of some two or three hundred paces and from scattered spots. In fact this is a remarkable success on the part of the military forces.

Apart from the arms that had been lost or destroyed in the creeks flowing at steep areas, some three or four hundred rifles, swords and other weapons have been recovered from the insurgents who were captured dead or alive and were handed over to the arsenal of the reserve militia at Mush.

During the military operations no incident occurred contrary to the weshes of His Imperial Majesty. I have myself witnessed the fact that food and clothing and all kinds of help on humanitarian and Islamic principles have been provided (and still is being provided) to women, children and the needy who took refuge or joined in the military forces.

The insurgents burned the village of Gülgüzan and one or two more villages with the expectation that the military operation is protracted and the units are left without any shelter due to the advent of a heavy winter.

All the disclosures made in this report are based on the information provided by ?brahim Pasha, governor of the Sanjak of Gench, who was together with the military forces and the commandership of the patrolling platoon and on my own investigations during the inspections.

The military forces have taken temporary quarters around the village of Gülgüzan and other convenient spots.

According to the daily information funnished by the patrol troops inspecting the area from 5th September 1894 until today, no incidents of insurgency were recorded and it is communicated to us that the women, children and the elderly who have been hiding in the mountains and caves gradually returned to their villages and that they were under the protection of the military forces after having been accorded a warm welcome. Peace and order have been restored in this area which is recognised as one of the worst troublesome spots in the country where insurgent Armenians live with a notorious record of taxdoding for the past eight-teen years and several attempts at uprising, through God’s will and by the support and protection of His Imperial Majesty has been completely suppressed in such an effective manner that would set a deterrent example for the other Armenian attempts at separatism and insurgency.

Humbly submitted to your attention.
(A copy has been gracefully submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration on 18th September, 1894.)


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 30)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded telegram

17th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Detailed reporting of the results of the incidents at Talori

His Imperial Majesty’s successive orders concerning the complete elimination of the insurgent activities within a matter of a couple of days and the complete suppression of the insurgent brigands around the Talori region, so that similar incidents would never occur, have already been communicated to your victorious High Command.

It is known that every effort has been spared in order to realise the aforementioned Imperial orders. Nevertheless, in the telegram received there were no detailed reports on the results obtained pertaining to the measures taken. Evidently His Majesty’s Imperial orders were on the complete suppression of the said insurgents and on the measures adopted to halt the repetition of similar activities of insurgency. Specifically since the first emergence of the incident how many insurgents were captured dead or alive? How many brigands constituted the insurgent gangs, which are claimed to be have been competely suppressed? As for the brigands captured alive, what category do they fail in compared to the ones captured dead? How many more are likely to be captured alive? In short, detailed reports on such issues and on the measures taken by your Command and on their applicability ought to be prepared and immediately forwarded to us to be submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration. It is further requested that daily information on future incidents and the measures taken by your Command and their results ought to be forwarded to us.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 31)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded telegram

17th September 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Sending back the military units stationed at Mush

Re.-Our telegram of 12th September, 1894

As pointed out in our telegram, (re.-above) peace and order in the regions of Talori and Mush have been restored thanks to His Imperial Majesty.

The relevant commanderships have been appropriately advised on ‘the military measures to be taken in the future. To the military units in the Vilayet of Bitlis a battalion and two mountain guns have been added as a reinforcement In these areas not much is left to be done militarily. As is known, the military units here, due to the delicate nature of the issue, have been transferred here from the regions of Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput from which their long absence is not at all advisable. Most soldiers, stationed around the snowy slopes of Mush and its vicinity, have fallen ill with dysentry and similar serious diseases. Under these circumstances sending back the aforementioned units seems absolutely necessary.

It is expected that the Imperial decree to be issued concerning this very problem would be immediately forwarded.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 32)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Telegram

18th September 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Results of the Talori incidents

Re.-a) Our telegram of 16th September 1894
b) Your telegram of 17th September 1894

As elaborated in our telegram (re.a) concerning the Talori incidents, one third of the armed insurgents, usually found in groups constituting some five or six hundred brigands and firing at the military forces upon coming across them ever since the very inception of troubles till the end, has been completely suppressed.

Furthermore, a few gangs of some forty or fifty brigands each, and opening fire from embrasured houses in centrol districts of Talori, have also been completely eliminated. Thus the losses suffered by the insurgents add up to a thousand.

The leader of the insurgents and his followers captured alive in a cave are in all eleven. These have been handed over to the government authorities in Mush after their preliminary interrogation. In fact, amongst the three thousand insurgents, (this is the approximate total number) the ones who could carry guns have’ muskets, but the leader carries a rifle of the make “Bridan”. Furthermore, a port from the arms that had been lost or destroyed in the creeks, some three hundred anus, recovered from the insurgents, have been handed over to the arsenal of the reserve militia in Mush.

After a very careful inspection, since 4th September. 1894, of the Talori valley, having its four corners bounded by the tribes named Siyan an Sassoon and having an area that could be covered in fourteen hours, it is concluded that all insurgent elements have been rendered absolutely out of action. Nevertheless it should be added that no harm is done to the women, children and the unarmed elderly who have earlier went up the mountains but at the moment have returned to their villages after having experienced immense hardships.

It is quite clear that Armenian insurgency has been completely eradicated in Talori and it vicinity. From now on, the only military measure to be taken, as pointed out in an earlier telegram, is sending back to headquarters the military forces, who have been staying in tents under heavy snowfall in an area which was already covered with snow, and who have fallen ill with dysentery as certified through medical reports.

The case is humbly submitted to your authority that you have the Imperial decree to be issued concerning this problem sent to us immediately.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 33)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded-telegram

19th September 1894
From-Fourth Army Command stationed at Mush
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-End of all threats to peace and order and taking all the necessary measures against possible incidents.

Re-Our telegram of 18th September 1894

As pointed out in our telegram (re.-above) thanks to His Imperial Majesty, since 24th August till today no threats to peace and order have been recorded.

Furthermore, as it is understood through our investigations the tribes have no intentions of attacking non-Muslim folk or other groups. Nevertheless to forestall all eventualities, relevant bodies have been accordingly advised in compliance with His Majesty’s Imperial orders.

Humbly submitted to your attention.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 34)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept

Coded-telegram

20th September 1894
From-Ministry of National Defence
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Taking measures against the incidents at Talon and Mush.

Re.-Your telegram of 17th September 1894 Office of the General Staff

Your telegram (re.-above) concerning the restoration of peace and order at the regions of Talori and Mush in compliance with the wishes of His Imperial Majesty, and about sending back to headquarters the three battalions brought over from Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput due to the wintry season, has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

His Majesty’s Imperial orders concerning this very issue are as follows:
“It could be expected that the insurgents would again resort to seditious activities if the aforementioned battalions sent back without having been replaced by an adequate military force. Tahsin Pasha, Governor of Bitlis, in all his telegrams submitted to Imperial Office, emphasises the need to build fortresses there, and to take all kinds of military measures. Under these circumstances, in order both to halt all seditious attempts at insurgency and to save the aforementioned three battalions of a military force from the ill effects of wintry weather, a winter quarters ought to be built to accommodate them temporarily.

Subsequently it is within the responsibility of the High Commandership of the Fourth Army to determine the number and location of soldiers deployed, replacing the military units which are sent back to headquarters. It is deemed suitable that the Fourth Army Command is consulted with respect to this issue.”

It is particularly requested to have His Majesty’s Imperial orders carried out immediately.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 35)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept. 2460

Special Statement

21th September 1894
From-Imperial First Secretary
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Detailed reporting of the crimes committed by the insurgents at the Talori region.

Re.-Your special statement dated 20th September, 1894

Your special statement on the number of arms recovered and the insurgents eliminated in the Talori region, and the decoded version of the telegram, cabled by the Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army, which was actually enclosed within the special statement, on the complete eradication, of insurgents at Talori, have been submitted to His Majesty’s imperial consideration.

For a detailed reporting of the crimes committed by the insurgents such as confiscation of the property of the Muslim folk, plundering, rape and as recently communicated to the Imperial Office, burning certain local folk after stuffing their bellies with gunpowder, the Fourth Army Command ought to be consulted and it is His Majesty’s Imperial Orders that the information received ought to be conveyed to the Imperial Office.

(For the implementation, the Fourth Army Command was notified on 21st September, 1894)


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 36)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded-telegram

21st September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Detailed reporting of the crimes committed by the insurgents at the Talori region.

Re.-Your telegram of 18th September, 1894

Your telegram (re.-above) on the insurgents eliminated in the Talori region, and on the number of arms recovered has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

In a special statement received from the Imperial First secretary we were notified it is His Majesty’s Imperial orders that for a detailed reporting of the crimes committed by the insurgents such as confiscation of the property of the Muslim folk, plundering, rape and, as recently communicated to the Imperial Office, burning certain local folk after stuffing their bellies with gunpowder, the Fourth Army Command ought to be consulted and the result ought to be made known to the Imperial Office.

It is requested that Your Command furnishes detailed information on this issue.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 37)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded-telegram

21st September 1894
From-Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the fourth Army
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Commander-in-Chief, Zeki Pasha’s inspection tour.

As it is successively conveyed to you thanks to His Imperial Majesty, that peace and order have been restored at Mush and its vicinity. The state of affairs in these regions complies with His Imperial Majesty’s wishes.

I have departed for an inspection tour of the regions of Bulan?k, Varto and H?n?s, where a sizeable Armenian populace lives, with the aim of giving orders particularly to Hamidiye commanders and officers, stationed there, that they take measures against all eventualities.

It is humbly requested that your High Office has its orders communicated to us through the telegram office at H?n?s.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 38)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded telegram

25th September 1894
From-Zeki Pasha, Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army stationed at Erzurum
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Sending back to headquarters the military units stationed at the regions of Mush and Talori.

Re.-Telegram of 21st September 1894 cabled by the Office of the General Staff

As it is successively conveyed to you, thanks to the invincible power of His Imperial Majesty that peace and order have been restored at the regions of Mush and Talori through suppressing the local Armenians in such a manner that any insurgent activity would never emerge.

The military force at the Vilayet of Bitlis has been reinforced through the addition of an adequate number of soldiers. Furthermore means has been found to have a force promptly brought over, whenever deemed necessary, from the military units stationed around Mush.

As is known, it is deemed more appropriate that the three battalions of infantry from the units of Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput stationed at important regions ought to be made temporarily stay till the advent of winter at the spots named Halo, Tercan and H?n?s which have vast areas on the routes to Mush, before sending them back to headquarters to resume their training and education. In this way the aforementioned battalions would not face a difficult situation during winter and serve as a deterrent against all activities of insurgency.

It is your High Command’s prerogative to issue orders for all what is necessary to be carried out.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306 (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 39)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded-telegram

26th September 1894
From-Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army stationed at Erzurum
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Crimes committed by the Armenian insurgents in the region of Talori.

Re.-Our telegram of 21st September 1894

According to a joint report prepared by the unit commander Colonel Tevfik Bey and the Governor of the Sanjak of Gench, Ibrahim Pasha, after the investigations they made in the village of Güligüzan in the Talori region the Armenian separatists pitilessly killed Muslim woman folk of three or four households after raping them; certain men folk suffered the same fate after being forced to bear crosses around their necks; and according to further investigations, evidently the houses in this village have been pulled down and virtually wiped out and no visible evidence of the Muslim populace could ever be traced.

Furthermore, as it is pointed out in the same report, it has been confirmed through interviews and statements that before the military units departed from Mush, the Armenian insurgents indeed attacked the Bikran tribe and captured alive Hadji, the nephew of one of the leaders of the tribe, Ömer Agha and burned him after stuffing his belly with gunpowder.

As it is also communicated earlier, from the disclosures made during the interrogation of the Armenian separatist leader, Hamparsun, using the pseudonym Murat and bis followers, captured alive while they were hiding in a cave, it has become quite clear that the real objective of seditious insurgents is to annihilate the Turks living in the area and then establish an independent state through the support and backing of England and other foreign states.

Another documentary proof of the atrocities against the Muslim folk is a seditious letter sent to Murat by a Talorian named Ohannes. There is a paragraph in this letter that runs, “we were victorious for the past twelve days; but today we came under a siege and the swords of the soldiers who encircled us are unsheathed; our end cannot be predicted”, and the statement “we were victorious for the past twelve days” sheds light on the whole matter.

Moreover it is evident through the official information furnished by the government authorities in the area that the insurgent brigands have resorted to agitation by telling on the two companies of a military unit stationed in the villages of Shinik and Shimal facing Mount Anduk dispatched there in the preliminary stage of the uprising, “you are originally from Damascus. Go back there. These lands belong tons.” May God forbid, they debasingly blasphemed particularly against the Muslim religion and piety; practised tax evasion for the past eighteen years and did not permit any government official enter the area, if rarely a gendarmery officer or a civilian administrator managed to get there, they either drew them away or had them beaten; they insulted and harassed the Muslim folk commuting between Diyarbekir and Lice regions and the territory of Mush; they killed the those travelling alone and committed similar audacious and unlawful acts.

In conclusion; these insurgent separatists, in fine with their initial objectives have been involved with an ongoing process of an uprising and now they are manifestly in action. Nevertheless thanks to the all mighty power of His Imperial Majesty they have been completely suppressed in such a manner that they would never attempt at another uprising. Furthermore they have been accorded a lesson which would be an effective deterrent to such seditious insurgents.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 40)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded-telegram

30th September 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Giving back the personal belongings and the cattle of repentant Armenian villagers who have returned.

Office of the General Staff

The following disclosures were made in the Statement received from the Prime Ministry:
“The decision of the Council of Ministers has been conveyed to governorship of Bitlis that the personal belongings and the cattle ought to be handed over to the repentant Armenians who were initially amongst the insurgents living in the villages of Shinik, Shimal and Gülgüzan at the Sanjak of Mush and who had left their homes and joined in the tribes of Sassoon and Saiso but in the end came back; that the ones who have not yet returned ought to be accordingly advised and be granted a respite in order to reconsider the situation; and that they would be given permission to recover all their belongings and cattle if they decide to return within the period of respite.

In the reply received from the Governorship of Bitlis it is communicated that necessary steps were taken to realize the return of the fleers; that the cattle, initially owned by them, appropriated by the tribesmen of Bikranl? and Badkanl?, ought to be taken away and restored to the real owners and that it is deemed appropriate, since the security forces were not adequate to halt the migration, a unit from the military force stationed at the region of Kulp ought to be kept there. Furthermore it was requested that the orders ought to be immediately carried out.”

Within the context of the issues mentioned in the statement of the Prime Ministry and the implementation of the orders, the views of your Command are urgently requested.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 41)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded-telegram

1nd October 1894
From-Fourth Army Command
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Military units stationed at Mush.

Re.-Your coded-telegram of 19th September 1894

The half regiment assembled in Mush is of the twenty fifth Hamidiye Regiment. The said regiment is under the command of a newly appointed lieutenant-colonel from Nizamiye. Since it is anew unit, in order to render the organisation as best as possible, in the beginning, the chief of the Haydaranl? tribe and Hüseyin Pasha, the commander of the aforementioned Twenty-fifth Regiment were made to head the command jointly. Furthermore there are four captains, a secondary scribe and eight lieutenants.

Although three hundred cavalrymen were assembled, in compliance with His Majesty’s Imperial orders that the Hamidiye Regiments should be charged with the duty of completely suppressing the insurgent brigands, one hundred cavalrymen were sent back to headquarters. There are only two hundred cavalrymen in Mush.

Humbly submitted to Your attention.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 42)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Telegram

2nd October 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Sending back the two hundred cavalrymen stationed at Mush.

Re.-a) Our telegram of 15th September 1894
b) Your telegram of 1st October 1894

It was communicated to you through our telegram (re.-a) the Imperial orders of His Majesty that the half Hamidiye Cavalry Regiments assembled in Mush could be sent back without any reservations.

According to the disclosures the last paragraph of your telegram (re.-b) it is understood that from the said regiment there are still two hundred cavalrymen in Mush, It is requested that you let us know the reason why these cavalrymen are not yet sent back.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 43)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded-telegram

4th October 1894
From-Commander-in-Chief of the Fourth Army stationed at Erzur?un
To-Department of General Staff
Subject-Sending back to headquarters the battalions stationed at Mush.

Re.-Your telegram of 17th September 1894

It was communicated to you through our telegram (re.-above) that all threats to peace and order in Mush and its vicinity had come to an end; that a battalion and two mountain guns were added as reinforcements to the military force in the Vilayet of Bitlis; and because of this that three battalions of a military force, composed of the units from Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput, ought to be sent back to their initial location.

Nevertheless we have yet received your reply that has His Imperial Majesty’s orders concerning this very issue. Whereas, in a telegram, dated 3rd October 1894 and received from the Cavalry Division Command at Mush, it is pointed out that the administration of the aforementioned battalions proved to be difficult for Mush; and that the owners of the numerous riding horses on hire in the hands of the battalions, given to them with the aim of speeding up the military activities, were not paid anything through the funds of the Vilayet of Bitlis and that they displayed signs of dissatisfaction with this situation.

Due to the reasons disclosed above, before the difficulties multiply with the advent of winter, concerning the administration and the upkeep of the aforementioned battalions, we urgently await to be notified of the Imperial Decree issued on this very problem.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 44)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Coded-telegram

7th October 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Fourth Army Command
Subject-Taking measures against the insurgent incidents at the regions of Talori and Mush.

Re.-Your telegram of 25th September 1894

Your telegram (re.-above) concerning the sending back to headquarters of the three battalions, brought over earlier from the regions of Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput, after having them stationed temporarily at Ralo, Tercan and H?n?s, situated on the routes to Mush, until the advent of winter, has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

His Imperial Majesty’s orders concerning this issue are as follows: “The said three battalions ought to be sent back to headquarters in the manner disclosed; barracks which would hold two or three battalions ought to be built at a commanding and an appropriate spot. In order to have the area under control, so that the Armenians do not attempt another uprising until the construction of the barracks are completed and military units stationed therein, additional forces ought to be Sent in from the surrounding areas.”

It is requested that His Imperial Majesty’s orders to be carried out and information be furnished pertaining to the operations undertaken.


Carton 97, Section 35, Envelope 50, Document 306. (Armenian Question, Vol. 15, Document No. 45)

Department of General Staff Correspondence Dept.

Special Statement

6th October 1894
From-Department of General Staff
To-Imperial First Secretary
Subject-Return of battalions

Re.-a) His Majesty’s Imperial Orders dated 20th September 1894
b) Our special statement of 30th September 1894.

As is known, the Fourth Army Command has communicated that since peace and order have been restored in the regions of Talori and Mush in compliance with the wishes of His Imperial Majesty, the three battalions brought over earlier from Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput, are to be sent back to headquarters due to the winter season, and the case has been submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.

His Majesty’s Imperial orders concerning this issue were as follows (re.-a):
“It might be expected that the insurgents would again resort to seditious activities if the aforementioned battalions were sent back without having been replaced by an adequate military force. Tahsin Pasha, Governor of Bitlis, in all his telegrams submitted to the Imperial Office, emphasises the need to build fortifications there and to take all kinds of military measures. Under these circumstances, in order both to halt all seditious attempts at insurgency and to save the aforementioned three battalions of a military force from the ill effects of wintry weather, winter quarters ought to be built to accommodate them temporarily. Subsequently it is within the responsibility of the High Commandership of the Fourth Army to determine the number and the location of soldiers deployed, replacing the military units which are sent back to headquarters. The Fourth Army Command is to be consulted with respect to this issue and the outcome should be submitted for Imperial consideration.”

His Majesty’s Imperial orders were conveyed to the Fourth Army Command and the following reply was received:

“As it is successively conveyed to you, thanks to the invincible power of His Imperial Majesty, peace and order have been restored at the regions of Mush and Talori by suppressing the local Armenians in such a manner that no insurgent activity would ever again emerge. The military force at the Vilayet of Bitlis has been reinforced through the addition of an adequate number of soldiers. Furthermore means have been found to have a force promptly brought in whenever deemed necessary, from the military units stationed around Mush. Furthermore, it is deemed more appropriate that the three battalions of infantry from the units of Erzurum, Erzincan and Harput, stationed at important regions ought to be made temporarily stay, until the advent of winter and under Imperial Protection, at the spots named Ralo, Tercan, and H?n?s which are situated on the routes to Mush, before sending them back to headquarters to resume their training and education. In this way, the aforementioned battalions would serve as a deterrent aganist all activities of insurgency. The situation is humbly submitted to His Majesty’s Imperial consideration.”

The case, in the manner disclosed above is submitted to the Imperial Office with a record of proceedings prepared by the Office of the General Staff (re.-b.)

Now in a statement of the Prime Ministry received from the Sublime Porte, it is queried: “what measures are to be taken since there has emerged an epidemic of dysentery in the aforementioned three battalions.” Furthermore in a telegram, dated 4th October 1894 and received from the Fourth Army Command, it is pointed out that the administration of the aforementioned battalions has proved to be difficult for Mu?; that the owners of the numerous riding horses on hire in the hands of the battalions, given to them with the aim of speeding up the military activities, were not paid anything through the funds of the Vilayet of Bitlis; that the owners displayed signs of dissatisfaction with this situation; and that due to the reasons disclosed above, before the difficulties multiply with the advent of winter, concerning the administration and the upkeep of the aforementioned battalions, they urgently await to be notified of the Imperial Decree issued on this very problem.

Within the can text of the above disclosures, we hereby submit this present statement with the aim of having an Imperial Decree issued on the sending back of the aforementioned battalions.

It is your High Office’s prerogative to issue orders.
Minister of National Defence R?za

It is His Majesty’s Imperial Decree 6th October, 1894

To the High office of the Department of General Staff
Re.-Your special statement of 6th October 1894

Your High Ministerial Office’s special statement has been submitted for His Majesty’s Imperial consideration. The Imperial Decree concerning this issue is as follows:

“The said three battalions should be sent back to headquarters; barracks which would hold two or three battalions should be built at a commanding and an appropriate spot; in order to have the area under control, so that the Armenians do not attempt at another uprising until the construction of the barracks are completed and military units statiomed therein, additional forces should be sent in from the surrounding areas.”

It is your High Office’s prerogative to have His Imperial Majesty’s orders carried out.

Imperial First Secretary Süreyya


6) Documents Concerning The Incidents in Talori
The 1890’s were years in which the Ottoman Empire struggled with the separatism, anarchy, terror, and insurrection that had broken out in its Anatolian territories. Such separatism, anarchy, terror, and insurrection continued at regular intervals until the end of the eighteenth year of the 20th Century and from time to time turned into bloody conflict and played an important role in the collapse and disappearance of the Ottoman Empire.

The perpetrators of this separatism, anarchy, terror, and insurrection were communities of Armenians-a minority people which for centuries had lived in peace and affluence in the empire and to which the state referred as its “faithful subjects”. In no part of the empire did the Armenians constitute either a majority of the population nor did they possess cultural unity. They lived instead in units of habitation that were scattered and isolated from one another. Living under circumstances of mutual love, respect, and trust with the greater Turkish majority, the Armenians were indispensable elements of society’s economic life; in virtually every level of government administration they assumed duties and performed services.

By 1890, the formation of the secret Armenian committees was completed. Established outside the territories of the Ottoman Empire, these committees had the direct-or indirect- support of missionary and church organizations in Europe (principally Great Britain and Russia) and in the United States.

The common goal of these committees was to bring about the establishment of an independent Armenian state in the Anatolian territories of the Ottoman Empire and the principle methods they followed to achieved this involved the fostering of separatism, anarchy, terror, and insurrection.

The fourth section of the program of the Hunchak Committee, an organization founded in Switzerland in 1887 declares: The only way of achieving this short-term objective is by a revolutionary movement completely overthrowing the present form of administration in Turkish Armenia and encouraging the people to rebel against the Turkish government. The means of achieving such activities are cited as: 1. Propaganda; 2. Terror; 3. Organization of vigilante groups; 4. General revolutionary organization; 5. Organization of revolutionary squads. The sixth article declared: The outbreak of war between Turkey and any other country is the most opportune for the beginning of a general revolution.

The goals of the Dashnaksutiun Committee set up in 1890 were to gain political and economic freedoms for Turkish Armenia through insurrection and to achieve independence. Their first activities were to infiltrate marauding bands into Turkey; to arm southern and eastern Anatolia (the areas they referred to as “Turkish Armenia”); to instruct villagers in the use of arms; to establish bands of militia and train their leaders; to set up defense organizations; and after all these preliminaries, to bring the Kurds over the their side and cause a general insurrection.

The goal shared by the committees, by the Armenian church, and by many missionary organizations was the establishment of an Armenian state that would encompass the eastern and southeastern parts of the Ottoman Empire and that would possess commercial seaports, one on the gulf of Iskenderun in the south and the harbor of Trabzon in the north. The term “Armenia” however lacked any geographical or political meaning and was a name that was invented-beginning particularly with the beginning of the Crusades-by those who were in favor of driving the Turks from Anatolia and who made use of it as material for propaganda. The areas that it was declared to include extended from the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea. The term eventually entered the political literature after the war of 1877-78 and maintained an important place in the plans to partition the Anatolian territories of the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

The model and methods of action that the Armenian committees and their partisans took as their example in order to achieve their aims centered around the circumstances that the Ottoman Empire found itself in Europe-particularly in the Balkans-where the revolutions and rebellions of Christian and Slavic communities secured the great support of European countries and of Russia, thus enabling them to become free and independent states. The same method might be applicable in Anatolia: Armenian communities living in the eastern and southeastern regions of Anatolia could achieve “an Armenian cultural unity and an awareness of freedom and independence”; under the pretext of reforms they could be equipped with more freedoms as well as with a greater voice and authority in government, whereby political and administrative hegemony could be established over the local Turkish majority; ultimately, independence could be achieved. The means of achieving exactly this were set up under the system provided for by the Treaty of Berlin that stipulated the making of reforms in the region. The Ottoman Empire assumed responsibility for such reforms and even undertook them. European states-foremost among them Great Britain-and Russia became in a sense the overseers and inspectors of the reforms that were to be made. What remained now was to force the empire to undertake reform activities that would serve Armenian aims and if the empire failed to initiate such reforms or else achieve them in line with Armenian expectations, then-just as happened in the Balkans-the attention of the countries of Europe could be drawn by means of campaigns, revolutions and insurrection and their intervention thus achieved for the desired purpose. This then was the underlying goal in all the Armenian separatism, anarchy, terror, and insurrection that broke out in the 1890’s.

It was obvious that no innovation or improvement undertaken by the Ottoman Empire would have satisfied the goals and expectations of this campaign. None of the many measures, legal arrangements, and efforts aimed at determining regional requirements initiated by the Ottoman government after the treaty were satisfactory either to Great Britain or to the Armenian committees and their partisans; but the conflict of British and Russian interests in the area led to serious complications.

In point of fact the existence of an independent Armenian state in eastern and southeastern Anatolia (along the lines envisaged by the Armenians) served the interests and expectations neither of Russia nor of the rest of Europe. Russia imagined that an Armenian state set up in this region would ultimately block its hopes and aims of reaching the Mediterranean; furthermore its existence would create numerous problems inasmuch as it would incite the Armenians in its own territories to revolt for independence. France was: absolutely opposed to any form of Armenian independence that would be guided by Britain. Britain was concerned that Armenian problems would lead to a further weakening of the Ottoman Empire and it was making its calculations as to how conditions for intervention might be created without delay, particularly in the regions that were close to its sources of petroleum. The Armenians on the other hand were acting blithely unaware of all this: they accepted as a matter of principle that Russia and Europe supported them and would continue to support them. In the 1890’s, they anticipated their greatest support as coming from Britain-or rather, from those who governed Britain at the time.

It was just these conflicts of interests and expectations regarding the territories and resources of the Ottoman Empire that gave direction to Armenian incidents and Armenian activities. The Armenian committees and their partisans alike were all individual pawns in a bigger game that was under way. The activities and incidents that were the consequence of this situation appeared in the form of Armenian anarchy, terror, separatism, and insurrection that began in the 1890’s and lasted until the Ottoman Empire entered the first world war-a conflict in which Armenians were in the position of being forces at war with the Ottoman state. Armenian units served as vanguards for the czarist armies aimed at eastern and southeastern Anatolia and from time to time took their side. The rear and supply lines of the Turkish armies who were on the defensive against Russian forces were threatened by the Armenians and interrupted by them. Small units that were sent as reinforcements were annihilated. Armenian units based in Syria in 1919 after the war served as advance guards for French incursions into Anatolia. Armenian regiments and battalions that had accompanied Russian forces into Anatolia subsequently attempted to fill time vacuum created in eastern Anatolia with the withdrawal of czarist Russian forces from that region. Ultimately through the national struggle undertaken by the Turkish nation to preserve and protect its national existence managed to establish, as a result of its encounters with Armenian military forces, an eastern border that would ensure the integrity of its homeland and thus the chain of activities and incidents that began with the Armenian separatism, anarchy terror, and insurrection of the 1890’s and was filed with feelings of revenge, hatred, rancor, and enmity towards Turks came to an end with the struggle in the battlefield. Or so it was thought in the 1920’s; for beginning in 1973, these feelings of revenge, hatred, rancor, and enmity towards Turks were now directed against the Republic of Turkey and its representatives overseas and they persisted for twelve years during which time, nearly a hundred Turks were killed and nearly three hundred wounded. Organizations that supposed they could gain the support of world public opinion by distorting historical events and facts and that they could make themselves respectable through terror and anarchy succeed only in earning the world’s disgust Nevertheless, the enmity towards Turks and the attempts to distort historical events still continue and they appear now in the form of an alleged “Armenian genocide”. This is a theme that has been embroidered upon for years. Many publications have explained that there never was-could never have been- an Armenian “genocide” and they have proven so; whereas not one shred of evidence proving the existence of genocide has been adduced. This has not brought propaganda to a halt. Archives have been opened and documents published. That has not satisfied them. Then the assertion was made the Ottoman archives were closed and that all the sources concerning Armenian matters were laid out there. This is the point that we have reached today.

With the present volume, the Foundation for the Establishment and Development of Historical Research and Documentation Centers embarks upon a new service. It has decided to publish documents in its possession that are also in the Ottoman archives. This volume, Documents concerning the Incidents in Talori, is the first of the series which as a whole will encompass fifteen volumes and whose documents will endeavor to set out in the view of world public opinion the rebuttal to many a distortion of historical fact.

The Incidents in Talori or The First Sasun Rebellion

Neither the rebellion taking place in Erzurum on 20 June 1890, nor the demonstrations at Kumkap? in 1890, nor the incidents taking place in Merzifon, Kayseri, or Yozgat in 1892-93 were successful in putting into operation the system of intervention set up under the Treaty of Berlin. The Ottoman government did not give in to political sallies and demands concerning reforms in Anatolia made by Britain in the 1880’s on the basis of that treaty the attention that was desired of them. Armenian committees regarded the events taking place and the attempts at insurrection as being insufficient: the attention required of Europe had not been attracted and the incidents remained localized. Unless a real example of rebellion and fighting could be adduced, all the years of the effort of propaganda and agitation among Armenians would turn out to be for naught; similarly it would be impossible to activate the system of intervention by turning the reforms the Ottoman government had assumed responsibility for into a matter of international concern.

These considerations led to the necessity of a new outbreak of incidents; but this time, they had to occur in a place where Armenians were relatively numerous and could act in concert. The place also had to have such a geographical location that it would be considered vital by the Ottoman Empire and at the same time attract the interest of the countries of Europe. The place also needed to be suitable for mass armed action by Armenians, and it should cause a considerable loss of time for the Ottoman forces that would be dispatched. At the same time, violent acts committed against the local Muslim population should force them to resist in return and thus give the incidents the appearance of a massacre of Armenians by Muslims.

For this purpose, Talori and its vicinity, located in the county of Sasun in the province of Siirt was chosen.

The Talori region consists of Talori itself and of the villages attached to it. It is known as an extremely mountainous and inaccessible area southeast of Mu? between the counties of Sasun and Gençin Kulp. (See Document Number 15/29.)

This region, whose population was nearly entirely Armenian, was selected as a geographical base for acts of anarchy, terrorism, and separatism. Propaganda activity beginning in the 1890’s prepared the local populace for insurrection.

The “Incidents in Talori” have been referred to and published by authors studying the Armenian question and problems under the names of the “Sasun Rebellions” and the “First Sasun Rebellion”. The reason for this was the fact that from the standpoint of its administration the center of habitation and environs of Talori were part of Sasun; furthermore, from the standpoint of geography, it displayed and was a continuation of all the topographical features of the Sasun area. Armenian authors and experts on the subject in particular considered “Sasun” the center of Armenian insurrection and revolution and thus referred to all the incidents taking place here under that heading.

In actual fact the Armenian insurrection of 1894 took place in Talori, in the villages bound to it, and in the Talori region. “Mount Anduk” (Andok) in the vicinity became the mustering ground for Armenian insurrectionists, bands, and terrorists. This is an intractable, inaccessible region of great heights and meanly approaching it-much less undertaking military operations in it-was possible only with great difficulty. In the documents presented in this volume, all the Talori and Talori region rebellions are referred to by such names as “Armenian activities” and “Armenian separatism”.

As an examination of the documents will show, the Talori incidents bear all the characteristics of a planned, organized rebellion with its own chain of command. One could even say that the Talori incidents are one of the most important of the Armenian insurrections bearing these attributes. With the exception of a few of the villages in the region, virtually all of the inhabitants of the local Armenian villages participated in the insurrection as did bands coming from elsewhere and specially-trained terrorists and foreign propagandists clandestinely brought into the region from abroad. A band of insurrectionists amounting to three thousand in number annihilated all the Turkish villages in its path or that it came across. People were murdered by means of the most horrible tortures. The grossest assaults were made upon the beliefs and sacred values held by the Muslim populace. The state and its forces were totally disregarded. After a preparatory stage lasting about four years, the incidents that broke out in May 1894 turned into a state of utter terror and anarchy that persisted locally until August and after the beginning of that month, they began spreading in various directions from the Talori region. Skirmishes with the first military unit sent to the region finally broke out on 21 August 1894 and the rebels mobilized themselves on Mount Anduk. Military forces could be amassed but with difficulty and were unable to move set out for the region until 25 August. Operations began on 27 August and came to a close in a very short time. (Military operations ceased on 3 September.) The leader of the rebels and his cohorts where captured on 9 September and the region was purged of all rebels, bands, and terrorists by the seventeenth of that month. Activities after this concentrated on measures needing to be taken to prevent further outbreaks of Armenian separatism in the region, particularly in the triangle delimited by Mu?, Bitlis, and Van.

The Ottoman government-particularly Sultan Abdülhamid II- attached great importance to the incidents taking place at Talon. The orders of the sultan refer to it as an important insurrection threatening the existence of the state and as such reveal all the particulars of the period as well as its sense of centralized administration. One could say that the military action was directed by the sultan’s orders and that it was through this approach that it was possible to put down the rebellion in so short a time.

Abdülhamid II has the following to say regarding his appraisal of the “Incidents in Talori”: It is the decree of his majesty this sultan that for these insurgents to have reached three thousand in number, for their numbers not to have been previously investigated, and for them to have been discovered after they had reached three thousand are the consequence of great negligence and heedlessness; that situations similar to this could have taken place elsewhere only in deserts outside a state’s control; that this subject should have in fact been regarded as a matter of state concern; that with the outbreak of such incidents as these as a consequence of negligence and heedlessness great opportunity and occasion would have been given- God forbid-for intervention on the part of foreigners and for anarchistic and terrorist acts on the part of certain separatists, as happened in the case of the Otluköy and Bosna-Hersek incidents that took place before the war in Rumelia and whose consequences are known to the chief of general staff...

The details of the Talon incidents are given in a report dated 16 September 1894 (Volume 15/Document Number 29) by Field Marshall Zeki Pasha, commander of the Fourth Army.

The Talori insurrection was also important from the standpoint of its consequences. With the Talori incidents, efforts were begun to put into operation (particularly by Great Britain) the system of intervention set up by the Treaty of Berlin. Under the leadership-indeed pressure-of Britain, France and Russia also began taking action concerning these events. Representatives of all three countries engaged in inspections and investigations in the region and took part in committees of inquiry. Thus the “Anatolian reforms” gained currency and the door was opened for disagreements and disputes that were to last for years. The incidents in Talori were also of great importance in raising the question of the Armenians to an international level. The exaggerated and distorted information in the reports that the consuls of foreign countries submitted to their embassies and to their home offices as well as the news reports that the European press disseminated to its readership turned the Armenians into a subject that all of Europe concerned itself with.

Developments concerned with the end of the Talori incidents will be included in the later volumes of this series as well.

The events at Talori also revealed the problems that the Ottoman Empire had with matters such as government and local administration. The concordance-on lack of it-on the subject of the Armenians between the attitudes and views of the sultan on the one hand and on the other the opinions and behavior of his grand viziers and other officials became even more evident with the outbreak of these incidents and the appearance of their consequences. Documents concerned with this will also appear in later volumes.

To summarize, the Talori incidents assumed a place in history as the most important problem faced by the Ottoman state with regard to the Armenians and as a question threatening the existence of that state. Unless it is realized at the very least that the facts surrounding the Talori incidents are the beginning, there is no possibility at all of discovering the truth on the subject of the Armenians.

Documents concerning the Incidents in Talori

In the group of documents divided into forty separate volumes in the Foundation’s archives under the heading of “Y?ld?z Collection-the Armenian Question”, the documents concerning the “Incidents in Talori” makeup the fourteen and fifteenth volumes. These documents consist of bound photographs of the originals of official military correspondence in the office of chief of general staff R?za Pasha that was presented to Sultan Abdülhamid II in October 1894.

At the beginning of the documents is a table to which is appended the following statement (dated 28 October 1894):

Upon the verbal instructions received from his majesty the sultan, copies were made, for submission to the exalted presence, from military records of all the correspondence with the office of the field marshall from the beginning of the Talori incidents to their conclusion, of the information submitted to the exalted presence, and of the commands of his majesty the sultan directly concerned with the Talori incidents or issued in response to queries made for approval and being written down below are submitted together with their tables of contents.

The documents that the Foundation will be publishing under the title of “Y?ld?z Collection-The Armenian Question” on the subjects of Armenian incidents and activities and the measures taken and policies pursued in response to them in a sense are a private archive that Abdülhamid II had made entirely for himself out of copies taken from a variety of official sources. The originals of all these documents are to be found in the “Y?ld?z Collection” in the Ottoman archives and also in the classified documents of the officies with which they are concerned.

These documents will be published in order of date. There are forty documents in Volume 14 and forty-five in Volume 15. They have been prepared for publication together with their transcriptions into the modern alphabet, renderings into modern Turkish, and translations into English with all their features fully preserved.

A study of Documents concerning the Incidents in Talori will clarify for the reader many subjects on which there has been falsification, one of these being the matter of the Hamidiye regiments.

As a rule Abdülhamid did not want units of the militia or the so-called Hamidiye regiments deployed in the events in Talori. He permitted one cavalry unit of the Hamidiye regiment to serve in the region, this arising from an urgent, last-minute exigency. Nevertheless, heedful of a number of rumors concerning these regiments, he specified the regiment’s duties and the rules they must follow when performing those duties and he explicitly ordered that they were tube employed more to keep the peace than to engage in military action. (Documents Volume 15/19, 27, 28, 41, 42, etc.)

Another matter that will attract the reader’s interest is the nature of government in this period. Everything was dependent upon the sultan’s orders. The movement of two companies of soldiers, a cannon, and a military detachment from one place to another by the military commander required the orders of the sultan.

At the beginning, the Talori incidents were dealt with by the state as a simple matter of peace-keeping and the reason was that the information coming in from local authorities presented it within a very narrow framework; so narrow in fact that the written request made by the governor of Bitlis to the interior ministry asking that a military unit be placed at the orders of each of the district heads was turned down. Indeed Abdülhamid II himself decided to deploy military units only at the very last moment in the face of events and his principal reason in this was his concern that doing so would bring the populace-Armenian minority communities though they may have been-into direct confrontation with military forces.

To summarize, Documents concerning the Incidents in Talori reveals the dimensions of the threats and dangers faced by the Ottoman Empire in the 1890’s, the administrative order, the correct analyses of Abdülhamid II regarding these events, and his insistent opinions concerning the defense of the state.

These explicit and authentic documents concerning the Armenian incidents possess the conclusiveness and power to enlighten all public opinion.



Source: http://www.eraren.org

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