Armenian Atrocities Against Muslim Turks
is a November 10, 2007 article written by Michael van der Galiën, and published on his blog site.
There is fine information here, such as the details for the 1910 Armenian instructions to "Attack Villages."
In the debate - yes debate - about whether or not what happened to the Armenian population of Eastern Anatolia during World War I constitutes genocide, it’s often forgotten that Armenians organized themselves in militias which went out and killed many - according to some hundreds of thousands - (innocent) Muslim Turks. When this is pointed out by the side that disagree with the Armenian take on what happened in those dark years, they often respond aggressively (by arguing that these people were ‘independence warriors’ who fought the ‘oppressor’) or they simply pretend that the militias either didn’t exist or didn’t kill many innocent Muslims.
Sadly for them, and for the Turks who suffered on a massive scale back in the late years of the 19th and early years of the 20th century, the facts prove differently: Armenian militias didn’t ‘just’ fight against the Ottoman Empire, they also killed Muslim Turks who’s only sin was that they were just that… Muslim Turks.
In chapter 9D of “of “Arşiv Belgeleriyle Tehcir - Ermeni İddiaları ve Gerçekler” (Armenian Allegations and the Truth – With Archival Documents) auteur Necdet Sevinç uses documents to prove that the Turkish point of view: namely that the deportations of the Eastern Anatolian Armenians was an act of self defense of the Ottomans because Armenians turned against their Muslim fellow countrymen.
Some excerpts from this book (Provisional Translation):
Various Armenian Methods to Kill Muslims
The situation faced by the Turks as well as the Ottoman Empire during World War I can be understood upon reading the following information. The Hunchak Organization which believed that an Armenian Republic could be founded by terrorist methods published organized instructions on how to kill Muslims, and how to demolish cities. One of the articles from the “Hınçakyan İhtilal Komitesi Azası’nın Vezaifine (Vazifesine) Dair Talimat” [The Duties of Hunchak Revolutionary Committee Members] instructions booklet is as follows:
Article 8: Each Committee should have a chief executioner with a team of executioners around him who share his values. Duties of this team include getting rid of those who disobey within and around the committee with the orders of the Committee. There are three methods of punishment: (1) warning, (2) beating, (3) death. There are three methods of death: (1) dagger, (2) revolver, (3) choking or poisoning.”
Methods of blowing up buildings are described as: “…Methods to be used for blowing up homes and other buildings: (1) solid dynamite, (2) dynamite solution, salicylic chemical, (3) derivatives of explosives prepared with gunpowder!”
Of course, the above mentioned document is far from the only document of its kind (please pay special attention to the year of publication):
Another similar document titled “Müdafaa-i Şahsiyye İçin Talimat [Instructions of Self Protection]” and bearing the signature of Toman was printed in 1910 and was distributed by the thousands. Although it poses as self protection, this document actually prescribes various ways of wiping out Muslims. On page 4, after explaining which weapons should be used under each circumstance, it goes on to explain how to raid on villages and set them on fire as follows:
“There are three kinds of villages. (1) Armenian villages among other Armenian villages that are habited by Armenians, (2) Villages habited by Armenians but located among villages which are habited by others, (3) Villages where Armenians live altogether with others.
“In all three types of villages, organizations bear no difference. They all should join the “forces” with their ammunition and weapons. The forces are divided as (1) stationary and (2) mobile. Each force should be assigned a chief and an assistant to the chief. The mobile and stationary forces should each elect an experienced chieftain for their village. These chieftains will be the ultimate authority in the villages and all the forces in that village will be under his command. These chieftains will be the representatives of the government and of the armed forces in their villages. All village chieftains will get together to elect three persons in their district as temporary armed command commissions. These government representatives (Erkanı Harbiye Heyeti) and the commander will have the power to collect arms from disabled users and redistribute them to more experienced persons during skirmishes. Messengers should be formed to inform nearby village forces in case of a surprise attack on a village. If the Armenians living as minority among others find themselves under attack and if they are unable to get help in time, they should collect their valuables and move in to other Armenian villages.
“In villages where the enemy numbers are fewer than Armenians, the former should be asked to leave if they have not done so on their own. Those who do not leave could be taken as hostage depending on the situation and the decision of the government.
“During skirmishes, doors will be kept open and those who are escaping from the army or police forces will be allowed to enter. Civilians wandering around without weapons should be forbidden. The villagers have to pay for any weapons lost to the enemy. Weapons taken over from the enemy belong to whoever confiscates them.”
“In order to attack villages:
1) Fortification points of enemy villages must be known.
2) The escape routes must be decided beforehand and kept under control of the outpost.
3) Villages that may aid to enemy must be explored beforehand and must be prevented.
4) Only three sides of the village to be attacked must be kept under siege. One side must appear like an escape route for the residents. (If contained from all four sides, the enemy may counter attack and endanger our victory.) Only a small contingent should be hidden on the fourth side to press and to inflict casualties on them. Actually, the real reason to leave an open side is to assure speedy victory by dividing the enemy’s forces, more so than allowing an escape route to them.
5) Attacking at dawn would surprise the enemy. Attacking earlier would cause us losses while waiting for the light.
6) In order to create chaos and commotion, fires must be started in different places at the same time and expanded. Necessary equipment must be prepared beforehand.
7) If there are no cavalrymen among the attackers, spare horses must be brought along to carry the wounded and the dead bodies into the Armenian villages so that they cannot be identified.
“A few days before the attack, strong and reliable agents selected by our Chief Armed Forces (Erkanı Harbiye Heyeti) must be sent to the targeted village. They must stay there as long as it requires to collect the necessary information. Consequent attack preparations must be planned based on these agents’ reports.”
If the above paragraphs were too long for you to read here’s the summary:
While the Turkish Army was fighting on multiple fronts, thousands of kilometers away from their homes, Armenians were busy preparing brutal plans to eradicate their neighbors of 900 years. An Armed Chief Commander is going to be elected in each city, every Armenian will carry out the orders of this Chief of Armed Forces, agents will be sent to whichever village will be attacked, fire will be started in various places at dawn, and bullets will be raining on the Turks who flee their homes in panic. This was their plan.
The Armenian lobby, logically, never mentions these documents nor the criminal - yes criminal - behavior of their ancestors. It’s simply irrelevant to many of them that their ancestors were no angels.
Then, later, quite some Armenians did what their leaders had taught and told them to do:
The first Armenian rebellion following the order to enlist men for the army started on August 17, 1914 in Zeitun, which is now the Suleymanli borough of Kahraman Maraş. Armenians stopped paying their taxes to the government following their call to arms. They ran away from serving the Ottoman Military, and called the citizens to rebel against the government.
They held up young men on their way to enroll in the army, and robbed them. Those coming from mountain villages were ambushed on the road and killed. They raided a group of 100 Andınır Turks on their way through Ferens on August 17th while the latter were returning home after being discharged from the army. They killed most of these Turks and stole their money. They opened fire on the gendarmerie who were trying to collect vehicles from the village. At the Kaymakampınarı site on the road to Maraş, they killed some of the Turkish civilians of Beşanlı village.
If you read these paragraphs, it should become instantly clear to you why the comparison the Armenian side likes to make - that what happened to the Armenians is similar to what happened to the Jews during and before World War II - makes no sense whatsoever.
In the villages of Dönekli, Akçarlı, Kümperli, Fatmalı, Hartalp, and Önek alone, 27 barns, 3 estate homes, and 62 houses were set ablaze. They also took with them the farm animals belonging to these village folks.
Upon following the bandits’ activities, it was discovered that these uprisings were staged to aid the British invasion forces. Melkom, one of the ringleaders of Zeitun confessed that “the leaders had taken orders to aid the British forces landing on the Mediterranean Coast from shores of Iskenderun”. It was understood that the planner and leader of this operation were the Hinchak Committee Chief Çakıroğlu Panos, his brother Yenidünya, Ağyaoğlu with his 4 sons, Solakoğlu Mesrop and Emanuel. They all belonged to the wealthiest families in town and they had been bestowed high compliments by the Sultanate prior to this event. The 61 bandits apprehended included the bishop as well. Some of their weapons turned out to be stolen from the Turkish Army.
If you, therefore, want to equate what happened to the Armenians to what happened to the Jews, you’ve got to pretend that the Jews organized themselves in militias back in 1930, attacked and brutally tortured and killed innocent civilians and
entire villages, stole from the German army and helped the Polish army when the allied forces attacked Germany.
Since we all know that this didn’t happen, it’s fairly easy to conclude that especially Jews should be careful not to equate what happened to their people to what happened to the Armenians.
Below this post I will completely copy the paragraph about the rebelion of Van. For now let me just say that the Armenians rebeled, in agreement with the Russians, and took over the city. The German Ambassador Wangenheim explained the mayhem in his report to his Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 25, 1915: “Armenians have rebelled in Van, attacked the Muslim villages and the citadel. The Turkish forces stationed at the citadel lost 300 soldiers. As a result of street fights which lasted for days, the city is now under rebel hands. On May 17th, the city was invaded by Russians, Armenians have sided with the enemy and started slaughtering Muslims. Eighty thousand Muslims have started to run away towards Bitlis.”
The author of the book summarizes it thusly: “Immediately following the mobilization of young men into the army, Armenians started to set on fire Turks’ homes. The water works were clogged with animal corpses, water fountains and wells were polluted with the same. In an effort to provoke the majority of the population in the city, church bells were rang loudly during the call for the Muslim prayers. Oil lamps, which were lit on top of minarets to inform Moslems when it was time to break their fast during Ramadan, were shot and extinguished. Muslims were unable to go to the Mosque of Kızılcami because they were gunned on their way as the road passed through an Armenian district. Eventually, the call to prayer was no longer chanted, and the mosque became desolate, so its name was changed to Mosque under captive.”
The author also points out that Mustafa Gül has written that “2,500 Muslims were slaughtered by 10,000 Armenians after Van fell to the enemy. This estimate which does not show any reference is quite conservative even if it only reflects those killed in the city center. Hulki Sarol, and Ergünöz Akçora who published valuable documents on the subject, are both in agreement that well above 10,000 Muslims were killed.”
What’s more “[t]he Armenian newspaper Gochnak, published in the USA reports on May 14, 1915 while announcing that Van is no longer an Ottoman city, and stating that all government buildings and army barracks are set on fire that “only 1,500 Turkish women and children remain in the city” , and we know these remaining 1,500 were also wiped out later by Armenian militia.”
In order to understand better - if it’s not clear now - why the Ottomans decided to deport the Armenians of Eastern Anatolia, let me point out some atrocities committed by the Armenian forces in Van (again I’m quoting from before mentioned book):
Deputy of the Ottoman Government from Erzurum Karekin Pastirmacian and his bandits of 1200 men roamed around Muslim villages after the Russians violated their border with Turkey and assaulted women with rape, torture. Pregnant women’s bellies were cut open to remove their babies from their womb instantly killing both. Apart from killing the bride of Kaleş Ağa, from the Village of Kayak, his sons and other family members were killed by setting them on stake piles. In the Ağcaviran Village of Muş, Musa and Sadullah Beğ along with 10 of their friends were killed in the Kire District when their eyes were carved out. [note 33]
“Arşiv Belgelerine göre Kafkaslarda ve Anadoluda Ermeni Mezalimi - Cilt: 1 (1906-1918) [Armenian Atrocities in the Caucasus and Anatolia - Volume 1 (1906-1918)]”, (Ankara, 1995), p. 81.
That’s not all, of course. According to many sources and accounts the Armenians committed more grave crimes:
Armenian Militia threw away up in the air a new born baby and butchered him by holding a sword right under him in the Kalafa Village belonging to Yomra sub-district of Trabzon. A lot of Muslims were ferociously murdered and their bodies were burned in the İpsil, Haçavra and Solday Villages of Maçka. [note 34]
“Arşiv Belgelerine göre Kafkaslarda ve Anadoluda Ermeni Mezalimi - Cilt: 1 (1906-1918) [Armenian Atrocities in the Caucasus and Anatolia - Volume 1 (1906-1918)]”, (Ankara, 1995), p. 235.
Even though their chief named Molla Hasan had surrendered with a white flag, the 57 residents (27 males, 12 women, and 18 children) of the Mirgehi Village from the Mahmudin sub-district of Van were strangled to death by the Armenian Militia who took away the girls with them. [note 35]
“Ermeniler Tarafindan Yapılan Katliam Belgeleri - Cilt: 1 (1914- 1919) [Evidence of Armenian Atrocities - Volume 1 (1914- 1919)]”, (Ankara, 2001), p. 18.
More? Of course there’s more. According to Ottoman accounts, Armenians also impaled a child from the village of Çarıksız on a spit and broiled him like a (leg of a) lamb. Furthermore, “[i]n the village of Kavlit, a 7 year old girl named Fatma and a 9 year old Gülfaz were raped by their front and back numerous times.”
The son of a Muslim Turkish woman was, according to witnesses, thrown into the oven of his mother by Armenian men when she was baking bread. When the woman - Zeliha - resisted, “the bandits pushed one of her legs into the fire as well. (This woman survived and lived for years after this event.) Many children were also collected from the same village and burned on bon fires.”
According to other sources, other girls were raped by Armenians in front of their father(s). And they also “killed retired teacher Rasif Efendi’s 60 year old wife by inserting a wooden log inside her vagina.”
Besides these innocent people, Armenian militias also - according to Turkish sources and documents - “Şeyhane Village’s 300 residents who were on their way to Van were rerouted to Zive Village” were “killed en-masse” by armed gunmen.
There’s more: “In another document signed by Kaymakam Mehmet and dated March 15, 1915 , it is recorded that Hacı Molla Sait of Kavlit Village was forced to strangle his daughter and every time he refused one of his organs was cut off and he was thus killed.”
The events described above “were later mentioned in the book published by Government Archives in 2001.”
In this article at the NYT Halil Bey is quoted as saying: “The Mohammadan population of Armenia had become so enraged at the Russophile elements that they had finally resorted to violent acts. The Turkish Government, he added, despite its own wishes, had been powerless to check these outbursts because the land was without policemen, who had been turned into soldiers and transported to the front.”
Another book, written by Bruce Clark, published by Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts, 2006 states the following (which is of interest because it shows how the gangs of Armed Outlaws came into being):
On the central part of the Black Sea coast and in its hinterland, many Greek Orthodox Christians were deported from their homes by Turkish authorities who claimed that Christian armed bands were collaborating, or preparing to collaborate, with the Tsarist forces who had already occuDied northeastern Anatolia. After 1917, when Greece joined the anti-Ottoman Entente, it was the turn of Orthodox Christians on the west coast to be deported.
But even before these tragedies unfolded there was one fateful development that accelerated the disintegration of relations between Orthodox Christians and Muslims in Anatolia from 1908 onwards. This was the fact that for the first time, a serious effort was made to force Christians to serve in the Ottoman army, mostly in a menial capacity. The old division of labour between Muslim soldiers, and Christians who paid a disproportionate share of tax, was no longer considered acceptable by the would-be builders of a more unitary Ottoman state. Christians were not usually trusted to bear arms, so they were often assigned to backbreaking work in forced-labour gangs. Many Christian peasants left home rather than join up. Some emigrated to Russia; others joined the gangs of armed outlaws which roamed the Anatolian countryside
If all the above fails to make you understand that there’s more to the entire story than the Armenian side seems to believe there is this:
In the Eastern Anatolia, it had become usual to see dead Muslims from all ages whose bodies had been destroyed, and crowds of cut legs, arms, heads, noses (Twerdo Khlebof. Journal de Guerre du 2 Regiment d’Artillerie de forteresse Russe d’Erzeroum-Notes d’un officier Superieur Russe sur les atrocites d’Erzeroum, Traduit du manuscrit original russe,1919) (Ahmet Refik Altınay. İki Komite ve İki Kıtal. İstanbul, 1919;p.71-72). The bodies of women displayed overt signs of violation by force. Russian Lieutenant Colonel Griyaznof reported that gun rockets were installed into the vaginas of these violated women bodies (Twerdo Khlebof, the same reference).
The Armenians ejected sulphuric acid to the faces of the Turkish folk, fired their houses and killed them using knife and bullet, in Gaziantep (Report of English Ambassador Henry D. Barnham in Halep, dated 16 November 1895).
On August 16, 1905, the Armenians killed all the Turks and Muslims who lived in Shusha, a town in Azarbaijan and engaged in commerce in the Armenian section of the town (News that appeared in the issue of September 6, 1905 of the newspaper Novoye Obozrenye)
In Trabzon, the massacred Muslim folk had been filled into wells and the bodies of people whose arms and legs had been plucked were thrown into the gardens. The mosques were made dirty with feces and even the fruit trees were felled (Telegram of Captain Ahmet Refik, 1 May, 1918).
Papazian the Armenian historian declared that the real purpose of these revolts were to force the European countries to interefere with the Ottoman’s internal affairs.
Why did I write this post, some may ask. The reason is simple: it’s of vital importance for all of you to know, to realize, what caused the Ottomans to deport the Armenians of Eastern Anatolia (remember that the ones living in Istanbul, for instance, weren’t touched). If you’re interested in the debate about whether or not what happened to the Armenians constitutes genocide, and if you want to know what exactly happened in the dark years of World War I and why, you have to understand the (historical) context.
In this regard it’s also important to point out that the Turks at this point in their history felt like the whole world was coming down on them. This mighty people who -pounding on the gates of Vienna- had all of Europe trembling just a few centuries earlier were now no longer one of the “Big Guys.” Now the Christian Powers of Europe, were the “great powers” and the Turks felt themselves surrounded and besieged and were beside themselves trying to figure out how to handle the situation.
What’s more, the information above - and below - may also help you understand the Turks better. This is a highly sensitive issue to them for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is that the suffering of the Turks is completely ignored in the bigger debate. The world doesn’t care about what happened to their ancestors, to their relatives. They only talk about what happened to the Armenians and forget that Turks suffered tremendously as well.
My purpose, then, is to expose the fact that there are two sides to this story.
Thirdly, it might help you understand the nature and thoughts and ideology of the Ottoman rulers. Especially when you combine the information I just gave you with the following: Armen Garo (Dr. Pasdermadjian) - Armenian leader - wrote (in Why the Armenians should be Free: Armenia’s Role in the Present War) that the Ottoman government offered the Armenians the following (after Armenians had already formed militias): “If the Armenians,- the Turkish as well as the Russian Armenians - would give active co-operation to the Turkish armies, the Turkish government under a German guarantee would promise to create after the war an autonomous Armenia (made up of Russian Armenia and the three Turkish vilayets of Erzeroum, Van, and Bitlis) under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.”
Info: published by Hairenik Publishing Company, Boston, 1918 and not as difficult as some may assume to get your hands on.
If you hate a race and want to exterminate it, would you offer them practically a state of their own a few months before?
It’s time for people to start paying attention to the Turkish side of the story. Wouldn’t you say?
For more I also refer you to this website and this document.
Below follows the part about Van
At a time when Turkish Armed Forces were engaged in fierce battles in Chanakkale, Armenians volunteered to collaborate with their enemies French and British on the South and obeyed the Russian army commanders in the East. It is understood from the telegraph sent to the Russian Ambassador by Temren, the Russian Council in Van, that planning of the Russian invasion started in 1908. Temren asks how he should explain the existence of Russian nationals among the 12 Armenian rebels caught in the underground water systems. The reply he received is not yet known to us.
Shortly afterwards, many adventurous Armenians posing as educators, priests, deputies, inspectors, etc. gathered in the Tashnak headquarters of Van, which the entire world knows is administered and manipulated by Russians.
The ringleaders were İşhan and Aram. Both of these adventurers were Caucasus Armenians. Aram Manukian was born in Şusta town of Caucasus. Upon graduating from Armenian elementary and middle schools, he settled in the mountains and adopted terrorist means. Because he had masterminded the murdering of Van Mayor Ali Riza Pasha by Alev Başyan in Batum, he was condemned to death. However, at the last minute he benefited form the general amnesty declared to honor the declaration of First Meşrutiyet [Constitutional Government]. After being pardoned, he taught for a short while, but then retreated to the mountains.
İşhan on the other hand was condemned to death for crimes he committed in Russia. But, he saved his skin by escaping into Turkey.
After declaration of the constitutional government by the Ottoman Empire, Van’s fate was left to these two. Two others who were not much different from this duo were the Van deputies in the Ottoman Assembly: Vremian and Papazian.
These ringleaders organized the Van rebellion on behalf of the Russians and closed down the religious seminary school located in the Akhdamar island of Van. They seized the seminary’s assets and assigned the Tashnak committee members to the remote villages as religious clergy. A terrorist like themselves named Yeznik was dressed as minister and assigned to the post of Catogiggos’ assistant. A bloodthirsty a minister named Daniel who escaped form Istanbul since he had run into trouble with the security forces for organizing terrorist activities in Istanbul and various cities was assigned as advisor to him.
Others who joined the team of terrorist ringleaders were; a rebel named Rafael from Iran who posed as an inspector of Armenian schools, inspector of another school named Serkis, and Vartan and Osep, ill famed bandits of Van mountains from Karçıkan.
Even though these people were bandits, they found strong support. Their closest allies were the British, French, and Russian counselors. Even İşhan, who was condemned to death in Russia, achieved Russian protection once he entered into Turkey. Most important strategies were being discussed at the Russian Councilors office with these ringleaders whose level of human abuse we explained above.
Atrocities started to occur in Van, when these bandits became administrators of the Tashnak Committee.
Immediately following the mobilization of young men into the army, Armenians started to set on fire Turks’ homes. The water works were clogged with animal corpses, water fountains and wells were polluted with the same. In an effort to provoke the majority of the population in the city, church bells were rang loudly during the call for the Muslim prayers. Oil lamps, which were lit on top of minarets to inform Moslems when it was time to break their fast during Ramadan, were shot and extinguished. Muslims were unable to go to the Mosque of Kızılcami because they were gunned on their way as the road passed through an Armenian district. Eventually, the call to prayer was no longer chanted, and the mosque became desolate, so its name was changed to Mosque under captive. The situation in rural districts was more unbearable. A problem about the number of sheep turned into a riot in the Timar Township on February 14, 1915. The number of rebels exceeded one thousand at no time. Armenians armed with Russians pistols attacked the villages. They attacked the gendarmerie unit stationed at the Banat Village. The soldiers and their commander Captain Süleyman Efendi were killed.
Upon declaration of war, Russian soldiers along with Armenian volunteer battalions crossed the border into Turkish territory, and the local Armenians took up arms. They killed a few gendarmeries in the Havasor sub district, and Governor Kadı Ismail Efendi in the District of Gevaş. They attacked police stations and cut telegraph lines on the Gevaş – Bitlis road. They rained bullets for 8 hours on the house, where the ruler of the sub-district Akan of Mush was staying with the gendarmeries accompanying him on their way to Kümes Village. Commander of Bitlis gendarmerie regiment along with his detachment was ambushed on their way to Hizan at the Karkar Valley. Many fell, during the fight that lasted 7 hours between the Turkish armed forces and Armenian bandits. In some districts, the revered township governors’ homes were set on fire.
Rebellion spread out all over Van, when teacher Osep was captured in Şitak with a distribution list of weapons and caches enough to arm an army corps. Well organized and heavily armed Armenians who seemed to be applying a pre-determined plan started slaughtering Muslims.
They blocked roads to Van, in order to prevent aid from reaching there. General Mafolski summarizes how the Armenians devoured the small gendarmerie force stationed in Van, how the Turks formed the 5th Squadron under the leadership of Kazım Bey to send to Van, that this squadron blockaded the Armenians in the citadel and the city center and how they came to the aid of Armenians as: “Upon hearing about the Van incident, it was decided to send General Turihin’s forces, later followed by General Nikolayef’s forces to aid the Armenians”.
During the uprising, the Ottoman Bank, Management of Public Debts of the Ottoman Empire, Post Office, and the Government Center were all blown up. Hamit Ağa Kışlası (army barracks) and Muslim quarters were set on fire. Russian, French hats and Ottoman style fur caps with ‘Armenia is saved’ scribbled on them were found in trenches during the searches that followed. Armenians who massacred the Muslims of Mahmudiye, converted the mosques into stables.
The District Governor informed the Central Government of the Armenian atrocities with a report dated March 15, 1915. Van Mayor Cevdet Bey’s report which was written 10 days later was more worrisome. Mayor Cevdet Bey reported on March 25, 1915, that the Armenians had undergone huge preparations to allow the Russian invasion of Van with great ease.
During this time, in Çölemerik, the Nasturians rebelled with Russian support. The limited number of Van gendarmerie forces was not sufficient to engulf the rebellion. Mayor Cevdet Bey had to retreat the night of May 16-17 under Armenian and Russian pressure. Armenians started slaughtering Muslims in the city of Van which was now invaded by Russia.
The German Ambassador Wangenheim explained the mayhem in his report to his Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 25, 1915; “Armenians have rebelled in Van, attacked the Muslim villages and the citadel. The Turkish forces stationed at the citadel lost 300 soldiers. As a result of street fights which lasted for days, the city is now under rebel hands. On May 17th, the city was invaded by Russians, Armenians have sided with the enemy and started slaughtering Muslims. Eighty thousand Muslims have started to run away towards Bitlis.
Armenians who went on a killing spree of Muslims in Van, set on fire the house districts and shopping areas to eliminate those who took shelter in their homes and work places. We learn that the city has been burning for 4 days from a report dated May 21, 1915.
Note to readers: keep it civil - for once - in the comment sections. If you don’t, we’ll simply close the comment section once again, which is a bigger loss to you than it is to us.
Admin update: Unfortunately, the comments section had to be closed after several commenters began an intense spamming campaign immediately after this post was posted. If you cannot disagree without spamming or becoming abusive, you won’t be allowed to comment here at all.
UPDATE by MvdG: First let me say it’s a crying shame that we had to close the comment section once again. On the other hand, it’s definite proof of the strategy of the other side in the debate. Remember that Jason Steck got attacked by them for declaring that although what happened constitutes ethnic cleaning, in his opinion, it doesn’t constitute genocide. This wasn’t enough and he got attacked and bullied. Of course, I’ve been treated much more aggressively; certain Armenian groups are organizing against this blog and against me personally online, which is fine with me for I’ve dealt with more serious and worthy opponents than them. Besides, whenever they act like they do, all they do is hurt their own cause. Perhaps they will, finally, understand this and moderate their tone a bit.
Armenian Atrocities Against Muslim Turks Part II,
November 13, 2007, by Michael van der Galiën may be accessed here. There are comments, and Mr. van der Galiën did a phenomenal job in addressing the Armenians who have written, a most thankless job. Here's an excerpt that was attributed to this page from elsewhere, although this writing appears to have originated from another place:
An interesting debate ensued in the comments thread of my latest post on what some call the Armenian Genocide. One of the commenters (Paul), an Armenian-American, asked me why it is that I believe that Armenians rebelled well before 1915, killing Turks, in an attempt to get the Great Power (of Europe) to intervene in their behalf. The reason is simple: Western witnesses. In a comment I quoted the following individuals:
The Armenian Patriarch told the British Ambassador Elliot on December 6, 1876 that—“If it is required to start revolution or to rise up in order to secure the intervention of Europe in this matter or to draw its attention that can be done quite easily.”
The British Ambassador Currie at Istanbul expressed the following view in his report he sent to the Foreign Office on March 28, 1894: “The Armenian revolutionaries stir up disorders with the aim of forcing the Ottomans to retaliate and thus pave the way for the intervention of foreign countries.”
The British Consul Grave at Erzurum in a message sent to the British Embassy at Istanbul on January 28, 1895, reports that:
“The purpose of Armenian revolutionaries is to compel the Turkish government and Turkish nation to take action against themselves because of the general discontent they create themselves and so draw the attention of foreign powers to the imaginary sufferings of the Armenian people and convince them of the necessity to improve the situation.”
When New York Herald correspondent Sydney Whitman asked British Consul Graves whether clashes between Armenians and Turks would have occurred if the Armenians wouldn’t have rebelled, the latter answered: “of course not, I do not think that a single Armenian would have been killed.”
General Mayewski who served as Russia’s Consul General at Bitlis and at Van, reports as follows in a report of 1912:
“Armenian revolutionaries created such a suspicion between Armenians and the local people in 1895 and 1896 that it became impossible to carry out any reforms in this area. Armenian clergymen were not busy with religious education at all. They endeavoured instead to disseminate nationalistic ideas. Such ideas were developed within the walls of the mysterious monasteries and enmity of Christians towards Muslims replaced religious duties. The reason of the rebellions taking place in many provinces of Anatolia in the years 1895 and 1896 was neither the poverty of Armenian villagers nor the supposed oppression on them. For these villagers were richer and more prosperous than their neighbours. Three causes may be mentioned for the Armenians uprisings: 1) their increasing consciousness in political matters; 2) the spreading of the ideas of nationalism, liberations and independence in the Armenian public opinion and 3) support provided by Western governments to such ideas and the effort of clergymen to disseminate them.”
The British Vice-consul at Van, Mr. Williams, points out in his report dated March 4, 1896 that:
“Tashnaks and Hinchaks incited people in an excessive and wild manner and paralysed all the effort and activities undertaken to implement the reforms and that Armenian revolutionaries were responsible for whatever happened in Anatolia.”
The British Consul General at Adana, Mr. Doughty Wily, says in his report dated 1909 that: “Armenians have been striving to secure the intervention of foreign powers.”
General Mayewski states in another Report of his dated 1912 that: “The Tashnak militants have been trying to pave the way for Russian intervention by inciting troubles between Armenians and Muslims.”
The Armenian historian Papazian wrote: “The purpose of all the incidents and uprisings was to induce the European states to intervene in the domestic affairs of the Ottoman state.”
And there is more. Much more.
Whenever Armenians refer to the period of the mid 1890s it’s wise to keep the above quotes in mind. Armenians rebelled against the Ottoman government in the 19th century already and, according to Western sources, exaggerate the response of the Turkish Muslims in an attempt to get more Armenians to rebel and to get the Western powers to intervene on their behalf.
That’s, of course, information that’s not often shared with foreigners. Turks know it, Armenians should know it if they’re as informed as they say they are, but Westerners often don’t know it.
We often forget that the Ottoman Empire wasn’t just weak at that point in time, but that the European powers were incredibly strong (the US as well by the way). Since the mid 19th century Russia, France and Great Britain were talking amongst themselves how they could divide and conquer (parts of) the Ottoman Empire.
European countries were still highly imperialistic. They conquered and colonized large parts of the Ottoman Empire (Arab lands anyone?). They wanted to divide the Ottoman Empire between themselves. For this to happen, however, they needed the support of Christians living under Ottoman (read: Muslim) rule. These Christians needed to rebel. This would cause the Ottoman Empire to become even weaker and it would create goodwill in the West for a massive military offensive.
The above aren’t opinions. They’re facts. The Armenian lobby - I’ve already explained in the past who I mean by that - would like you never to see these facts, but they’re there and can be read / understood for all those who are interested.
Armenian nationalists are still carrying on the battle of their ancestors. The difference is that they don’t use force (well, save for in the late 21st century when Armenian terrorists killed/tried to kill those who disagreed with them), they use diplomacy and political pressure (and threats, lawsuits and other kinds of pressure of course). The goal remains the same: to create a Greater-Armenia. This Greater-Armenia consists of large parts of what is Turkey today.
To quite some of them, the ‘recognition’ of a ‘genocide’ isn’t the goal. It’s a means.
Next time lawmakers want to pretend they’re historians, they’d better keep that in mind and look at (all) the facts; not just the stories given to them by the Armenian pressure groups.
There are many polite, civil and honest Armenians out there, who truly believe that what happened to their great (great) grandparents constitutes genocide. These individuals, however, would be wise to take a look at the facts, and to distance themselves a bit from it all - so that they can be more objective.
When one says that what happened isn’t ‘genocide’ one is by no means saying that what happened was minuscule. It wasn’t. In the civil war, and during the relocations, many innocent Armenians sadly died. Turkish gangs (even some soldiers and officers acting on their own/ignoring the wishes of their own government) and Kurdish gangs attacked Armenian deportees, and made many innocent people suffer tremendously.
That’s also a fact.
But that doesn’t mean that what happened was genocide, nor does it mean that the numbers and sequel of events aren’t exaggerated and twisted by some Armenian pressure groups. They are. And a genocide it was not. The Ottoman government ordered its soldiers to take care of the Armenian deportees to the best of their abilities and warned them that those who attacked the Armenians would be punished.
Which many of them indeed were.
A government that wants to exterminate a people wouldn’t do that.
Anyway, what’s also important in this debate is that people talk about the Turkish casualties and Turkish suffering caused by Armenian nationalists. These individuals - who actually were the leaders of the Armenians at that time - went out and attacked Muslim villages, burned them down and killed many innocent Muslims. They did so because they hoped that the Turks would react, which would then give them great propaganda material (which the Western powers could also use as an excuse to help them).
Yes. Those are facts as well.
There are two sides to this story and lawmakers - no matter in what country - should not talk about matters they know nothing of. The sad reality is that the lawmakers who support genocide resolutions don’t know what they’re talking about. They didn’t do research. The only thing that’s important to them is whether or not voting in favor of such a resolution will help them politically.
Voting for distorting the truth, however, should never be the popular thing to do.
Lastly, here is an entire report from First Lieutenant Abgral, Commander of the Russian Forces at Erzurum. The report was written and sent in 1918 - yes, after the deportations - but that doesn’t make what happen any less horrific.
Warning: It’s a long, and a terrible read.
(This report has been reproduced at TAT and may be accessed here.)
- Turkish - Armenian Relations
- American Academicians' Declaration (May 19, 1985)
- Turkish diplomats killed by armenian terrorists
- Questions and Answers
- Western perception towards the issue
- How the armenian issue came about?
- Armenian Terror
- What is the Armenian Problem?
- Armenian-Azerbaijan Conflict
- So Called Armenian Genocide
- Karabakh Conflict
- Khojaly Massacre
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