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thehandsom 10 Jun 2010

Armenian Question -III- Medz Yeghern-Büyük Facia

´Murderers. You are all murderers who kill Armenians behind the front line. None of you can come and fight at the front line´ Ataturk..1915..Halep/Aleppo

Medz Yeghern-Büyük Facia´

I am going to copy some lines from one of my earlier posts (I think it is very important how and when the things happened.. The time period is one of the most important parts for our history but somehow it is missing in our history lessons :( )

-August 1914.. Young Turks attempt to persuade Armenian Revolutionary Federation to fight for Ottomans against the Russians in the east..It  was not welcomed by the Armenians. End of cooperation between young Turks and Armenian Revolutionary Federation .

-October 1914.. Starting to process of getting non Muslims into the army  ´amele taburlari´. Armenians are taken into different sections of the army to be used for non combatant works.

-December 1914.. Enver takes the command of the 3rd army. The army marches against Russians only about 3200 soldiers manages to complete the march -the rest got frozen to death without a fight- and they were taken as prisoners by the Russians. according to the first report from  the army, the loss was 109.000 , later it becomes 90.0000 and then reduced to 75.000. in 2007 the army said that 60.000 people died without firing up a single bullet..According to the memories of some, the army was 173.000..This is called Sarikamis incident..

-19 February 1915.. Allied forces start to attack Dardanelles..
-25 February 1915.. They send telegrams to the army from Istanbul and tell them the weapons should be taken from Armenian soldiers. Later on, almost all of them were killed!!**)
-25 march 1915..Zeytun incident (Kahramanmaras today)..500 deserters of Armenians rebelled..
-19 April 1915..Van rebellion...Armenian mobs slaughter Turks around Van and some army units do the same to Armenians. (btw..**Because Armenians learnt what happened to Armenian recruits and they refused the army´s demand to have 5000 soldiers from them. And also almost everybody agrees  the cruel Cevdet Bey, nicknamed "Nalband Bey" (Lord Blacksmith) -  he had nailed horseshoes onto his victims´ feet- grossly mismanaged the situation) had a lot to do with this incident..
-24 April 1915..1st 235 Armenians from Istanbul is sent to Anatolia as exile..most of them not seen again.. (Since then April 24 is commemorated by Armenians all over the world as the day of remembrance of their victims)
-18 may 1915. Van is taken by Russia with the help of Armenians. Armenian mobs slaughter and sacks the villages around..
-27 may 1915.. The Temporary Law of Deportation (the "Tehcir" law) is announced
-31 August 1915.. Talat tells the German ambassador ´Armenian problem is solved´
-14 march 1919..The commission which was set up to investigate the war crimes by the Ottoman government says that during WW1 800.000 Armenians lost their lives.


I think what I will try to do is that I will try to go through that year from 1914 august to 1915 August in detail as much as I can..


August 1914 was the time the secret special forces unit called Teskilati Mahsusa  was reorganized by Ittihat ve Terakki .

The main task of the committee was to organize the paramilitary units that would carry out activities in the Eastern Anatolia -specially against the Russians-.."activities to serve to unite the Turks inside and outside Turkey....implemented inside and outside of the country.."

Bahattin Sakir  was appointed as the head of this spacial unit..

Three sources were mainly recruited:

1-Kurdish tribes 2-convicted prisoners 3-Immigrants from Caucasia and Balkans..


Though, in the beginning, the operations of Teskilati Mahsusa were considered as successful but at  the end of the year they turned out into serious of defeats -the help of Armenians to Russians played a huge role of course-.

The operations most of the times aimed at Armenian civilians and sometimes even at Muslim population-that was the reason the army´s relation with the Units became sour..

When you consider one of the Ittihat ve Terakki leaders, Enver,  lost the entire 3rd army against the winter conditions, the panic started to set into Ittihat ve Terakki hearts!

They began to lose their judgments about the situations!

There was a rebellion -actually ..it is debatable if it was a rebellion or not--.Zeytun rebellion in March 1915. 20 days later, Van rebellion..

And a few days after that in Istanbul 24 of April, influential and intellectual Armenians were sent to Ankara as exile..-most of them never came back-

Actually, the actual decision for deportation was taken the most probably at the end of March and it was decided that Bahattin Sakir would be dealing with the internal problems only´. 

Teskilati Mahsusa was used for implementation of the deportation!!!


So what happened during the deportations?


The testimonies in the trials after the war and the documentations managed to remain  to tell us that the central committee of Ittihat ve terakki discussed the issue and taken the decision after  many broad and deep discussions and they thought they are solving the Eastern Question!!

The next thing  of course was the implementation of these decisions..There are serious arguments and documentations about the idea that "the deportation was meant liquidation"!!!

-According to trials after the war, they presented many telegrams which made clear that the deportations meant liquidation and massacre.


-The department of Interior -Talaat Pasha- sent telegrams about the deportations of Armenians but at the same time sent the orders of liquidation to the regions with the party (party of Ittihat ve terakki) secretaries.. 


-The entire departments of Interior ministry were utilised..and Talat pasha was the coordinator of all these units..


-How party secretaries took these orders to the regions were again and again mentioned in the main trail and also governors who disobeyed these orders removed from their positions by these secretaries..

Some examples: Governor of Ankara Mahzar bey ´I received the orders of deportation from the interior and pretended not to understood..while the other governors started, I did not. Atif bey came..and gave the verbal order of liquidation of the armenians..I said No, Atif bey..I am a governor not a criminal; I can not do it´.

The governor of Kastamonu, Resit bey´ I wont have blood on my hands´ they both were dismissed..

Mutassir of Yozgat, Cemal bey, ´Necati bey showed him an official document about the liquidation of the Armenians, but when he was asked for the letter, it was not given. Then he said he would not implement it and he was dismissed a few days later..

Kaymakam of Lice, Abidin Nesimi, refused to carry out the orders and was called into Diyarbakir but during the journey, he got killed!!

The governor of Basra and some more were amongst the people who got killed because they refused to take part in these incidents.. (btw..when you look at the historical events and if a Turk was asked about who we should consider as our ancestors, who we should consider as our heroes, my personal choice would be these people who were murdered by Ittihat ve terakki because they refused the be part of these crimes against humanity.  But if you are still considering Talat Pasha as your hero, then no words from me )

-During that summer the government specially interior ministry prepared many temporary laws regarding how the goods remained from Armenians would be used..There were almost none about how these goods will be compensated back to the Armenians..:(


-Talaat knew what was happening and what was going on as he was informed during the entire techir/deportation with the telegrams. He asked constantly how many Armenians left; how many of them arrived to the destinations..In some cases even the fate of some individuals were traced and followed by Talat..

-Germans  and Americans constantly told Ittihat ve Terakki for their intention to help with the deportation but they were constantly refused...


-They constantly monitored the numbers..One of the ampric considration was 10% which meant that non muslims should be /would be distributed amongst the muslim populations with the maximum of 10%.. When there were 480.000 managed to arrive Syria at the begining of 1916 and the muslim population was about 2.000.000 at that area  at the most, but later on the armenian population was reduced to 200.000 :( (I think Robert Fisk mentioned this in his book as well-I am not sure, I will check at some stage)....


Well I dont want to continue. Whenever I try to think to write of something about this subject and talk about the incidents, somehow I can not..


Anyway, the result of this ´deportation´ was Almost all armenians were curetted from Anatolia.


Even the Armenians who were residing in Istanbul, Tekirdag etc (the cities they  were not in the military zone whatsoever) were  subjected to this deportation. 


As I meantioned before, In anatolia there was no tradition of moving a people, a millet/nation who was not very friendly with you because of the war.


Turks or Ottomans did not even consider to deport the Bulgarians when they were fighting between them and the Russians and they well knew they would lose the war but the idea of deporting Bulgarians was never thought of.


Ataturk never ever considered moving part of population because of rebellions during the independence war....


And there is still no logical explanation why you would move the women and childeren and the sick if your aim is really to protect them or your army..why not the men only? And what were the armenians in Istanbul got to do with the incidents in the east?



I dont think the numbers are that important..But almost 1.000.000 people were forced to leave according to the documentations..

Some says 100.000, 300.000, 600.000, some says 800.000 lost their lives..

I dont think we will ever learn the correct figure...


Lets finish this with a part of a poem from Nazim Hikmet (aksam gezintisi)


Bakkal Karabet’in isiklari yanmis.

Affetmedi bu Ermeni vatandas

Kürt daglarinda babasinin kesilmesini.

Fakat seviyor seni,çünkü sen de affetmedin

bu karayi sürenleri Türk halkinin alnina



The lights in the Shop of Karabet are on..

That Armanian citizen never forgave

His father´s slaughter in Kurdish mountains

But he loves you

Because neither you did  forgive those people, 

Who blackened the foreheads of Turkish people



Next : Where do we go from here? since our theories -ranging and started with  ´nothing happened; if something happened Armenians did it; They did /we did it too; They were so cruel we could not stop responding- did not  persuade anybody in the world, what is next?


ps..I remember si++ was saying that no Ottoman officials were found  guilty in the trials..

But according to the Official Gazette (Takvim-i-Vekayi),No. 3604.

 "Their guilt has been determined by a unanimous vote ..... Talaat, Enver, Djemal and Dr. Nazim are sentenced to death" at July 5, 1919..

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