A Glance at the History of Armenians in Adıyaman
Asst. Prof. Dr. Murat Gökhan Dalyan
Armenian existence in Adıyaman is observed to exist since the 4th century.
When it came to 19th century, most of the Armenians in Adıyaman lived in the Old Palace Neighbourhood and the feet of the castle. They made their living generally through shop keeping and trading. They also held some offices such as Police Commissary and Assembly membership. They were occupied with agriculture and husbandry in the villages.
Before the missionaries came to the villages, Gregorian Armenians in Adıyaman region were administered by Malatya Delegacy of Sis Catholicos. In Armenian source of 1876, it is stated that Armenians lived in Samsat, Kavrak, Dardığan, Kantar, Göl-Pınar, Karkuşen, Kızılcapınar, Vartanakeğ, Parpato, Kolik, Büyükbağ, Narlıca, Kan, Huni, Kavardiş, Garbiş, Henic, Gargar, Pertoso, Temsias, and Kahta towns and villages apart from Adıyaman and Besni (Sırvantsdyants, 1879: 329-334).
With the activities of American missionaries in the southeastern Anatolia region, Adıyaman started to be visited in 1851 onwards by missionaries of the center called “Southeast Armenian Station” and later on changed to be “Central Turkey Station.. Armenians accepted the missionaries as clergy and preachers in the beginning, but they reacted the moment when they learned the real purposes of these. They went to any lengths to prevent the activities of missionaries and tried to convince their brothers separated from them to convert back to their former sects. Although they used the methods such as beating, blackmailing, complaint to authorities, not accepting the dead to their graves, harassment, and economic pressure to prevent conversion, they could not eliminate the influence of the missionaries. Armenians accepting Protestantism, on the other hand, embraced their new sect more tightly due to the troubles caused by the pressure of Gregorians. Consequently, missionaries applying to all methods to be able to win supporters broke the unity of the Adıyaman Armenians, brought about conflicts, caused families to fall apart, and even the graveyards were separated due to these conflicts (Dalyan, 2010: 81-98). On the other hand, the conflicts cut the relations between some parties reacting to the Protestants and opened the way for them to become Catholics, and so a new division happened among Armenians (Dalyan and Yıldız, 2010: 74-85). Apart from that, separatist ideas and activities started to spread among the Adıyaman Armenians because of the Protestants. In 1887, harmful publications sent from Malatya Protestant School to the school in Adıyaman were captured by authorities (DH.MKT., 1517/ 96). The number of those inclining towards the idea of independent Armenia gradually increased. Revolutionist ideas and separatist movements brought about conflicts between the two peoples in 1895. However, these did not go beyond being street fights and they were calmed down thanks to the constructive precautions of the authorities. Those who wanted to cause conflicts to break out between the Armenians and Muslims in these times could not achieve their goals when they could not find addressees due to the warnings and advice of Muslim leaders.
Armenians who became Catholics started to complain that they were exposed to pressures by Kurds and state officers in the region. As it is seen in the example of complaint letter of Haçatoryan in 1891, such complaints were revealed to be generally fake complaints as a result of the investigations (DH. MKT. 67/38; DH.MKT. 1699 / 59). Catholic Armenians were especially in Samsat apart from Adıyaman and Besni. Religious activities in these regions were administered by the Armenian Community in Malatya and even the maintenance of churches and the salaries of the priests were given from there (Tuğlacı, 1985: 8).
In conclusion, peace and serenity between the communities in Adıyaman before the activities of missionaries were destroyed after the beginning of these activities. While Armenians in the region would speak mostly –and even only- Turkish before, Armenians firstly realized their national identities with the influence of missionaries and started to revolt. The schools of Protestants in surrounding cities and especially in Malatya created the base of idea for separatist activities of the Armenians in Adıyaman and this situation caused the intensification of the differences between peoples and the separation of both Armenians and Muslim people in the region from each other. Missionary activities in Adıyaman continued until World War I.
During the Frist World War, the Adıyaman Armenians were also subjected to deportation and placement. Some of Armenians who were sent to Syria and especially Aleppo and stayed alive returned to Adıyaman after the Mundros Armistice and these people migrated to big cities due to economic reasons. The fact that there were around six thousand Muslim Armenians who became Muslim not to migrate and who were not deported due to marriages in the region was expressed by Patriarch Mesropyan (Mutafyan, 2009: 24). It is known that a significant number of Armenians live in the Kahta region today.
DH.MKT., 1517/ 96.
DH.MKT. 1699 / 59.
Books and Articles
Ağırakça, Ahmet (1996), “İslam Fetihlerinden Günümüze Kadar Şanlı Urfa Tarihine Genel Bakış”, Hz.İbrahimi Anma Şanlı Urfa I.Kültür ve Sanat Haftası, Prep. Sabri Kürkçüoğlu, Urfa.
Bulduk, Abdulgani (2004), El-Cezîre’nin Muhtasar Tarihi, prep. Mustafa Öztürk- İbrahim Yılmazçelik, Elazığ.
Dalyan, Murat Gökhan- Yıldız, Mehmet (2010), “XIX. Yüzyılda Adıyaman Süryani Ve Ermenileri Arasında Katolik Misyonerlik Faaliyetleri”, Adıyaman Üniversitesi, Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, Vol. 5, December 2010, p.74-85.
Dalyan, Murat Gökhan, “Amerikan Misyonerlerinin Ermeni Toplumunda Meydana Getirdiği Bölünme ve Çatışmalar: George b. Nutting – George h. White ve Adıyaman Ermenileri Örneği”, Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi, May 2010 Vol: 21, p. 81-97.
Demirkent, Işın (1994), Urfa Haçlı Kontluğu Tarihi (1118-1146) II., Ankara.
Demirkent, Işın (1997), Haçlı Seferleri Tarihi, Dünya Yayıncılık, Istanbul.
El-Belazuri, Fütuhu’l–Buldan (1955), Trans. Zakir Kadiri Ugan, Ankara.
Ersan, Mehmet (1995), Türkiye Selçukluları Zamanında Anadolu’da Ermeniler ,(Ege University, Institute of Social Science, Non-pressed doctorate dissertation), Izmir.
Genceli Kiragos (1942), Moğol İstilası Tarihi (1220–1265), (Trans. H.D.Andreasyan, Non-pressed copy in Turkish History Institution), Istanbul.
Gregory Abu’l Farac (1988), Abul Farac (Barhebracus) Tarihi, I-II., (Trans. Ömer Rıza Doğrul), Ankara.
Honigmann, Ernest (1970), Bizans Devletinin Doğu Sınırı, (Trans. Fikret Işıltan), Istanbul.
İbnü’l Erzak (1992), Meyyâfarikin ve Amid Tarihi ( Artuklular Kısmı), Trans. Ahmet Savran, Erzurum.
Kafesoğlu, İbrahim (1985), Türk İslam Sentezi, Istanbul.
Mutafyan, Mesrop, “Sözlü Kaynaklar”, Ninelerimizin Komşuları, Türk –Ermeni İlişkilerinin Barışçı Yönleri, Liberte Yayınları, Ankara 2009.
Müverih Vardan “Türk Fütuhat Tarihi (889–1269)”, Tarih Semineri Dergisi 1/2, Istanbul 1937.
Runcımann, Steven, Haçlı Seferleri Tarihi I.,(Trans. Fikret Işıltan) , TTK, Ankara 1992.
Sırvantsdyants, Karekin Varetebed (Priest), “ Toros Ahpar Ermenistan Yolcusu, M. Dındesyan Matbaası, Istanbul 1879, (Republisher Arsen Yarman, Palu-Harput 1878 Çarşancak, Çemişgezek, Çapakçur, Erzincan, Hizan ve Civar Bölgeler II Cilt/Raporlar, Derlem Yayınları, Istanbul.
Süryanî Mihael, , I,II.,(Trans.H.D.Andreasyan),Non-pressed copy in TTK.
Sykes, Mark, Dârü’l-İslâm, Trans. Yılmaz Tezkan, 21 Yüzyıl Yayınları, Ankara 2000.
Tuğlacı, Pars, Osmanlı Şehirleri, Milliyet Gazetesi Yayınları, Istanbul 1985.
Turan, Osman, Selçuklular Tarihi ve Türk İslam Medeniyeti, 7. Press, Turan Neşriyat, Istanbul 1998.
Urfalı Mateos, Vekayiname ve Papaz Grigor’un Zeyli, (Trans.: H.Andreasyan), TTK, Ankara 1989.
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