Wednesday, 28 March 2007

The greatest lie of the 20th Century by Munir Seyhan


I. Excerpts from the Press and Political Leaders

II. My Objective

III. Armenian claims: Their side of the story

a) Who are the Armenians?
b) Ottoman Rule: 15th to mid 16th century.
c) Armenian Revolutionary Activities before World War I.
d) World War I
e) Statistical claims by the Armenians.

IV. Views held by neutral sources

a) Armenian character.
b) Armenians’ relations with other nations and Armenians’ internal struggle.
c) Deterioration of Turkish-Armenian relations in the 16th century.
d) Deportations.
e) Statistics.

V. Conclusions

a) Armenians’ historical rights.
b) Populations before World War I.
c) Is it Genocide?
VI. Why is the press pro-Armenian?

VII. Armenian atrocities of today

I. Excerpts from the Press and Political Leaders

Whereas, in 1915 Turkey’s Minister of the Interior, Talat Pasha, signed orders for the massacre of the Armenian people of that nation, and whereas systematic terror, brutality and horror led to the deaths of approximately 1,500,000 Armenians, and whereas Armenian churches, convents, monasteries, schools and libraries were destroyed and irreplaceable monuments of the ancient Armenian culture were forever lost and ………………. Now, therefore I, George Deukmejian, Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim April 24, 1983 as a State Day of Remembrance, and call upon all humane people to support people around the world who are struggling to achieve peace and freedom, and to remember all victims of genocide and especially the Armenian genocide of 1915 – George Deukmejian, American born Armenian Governor of California.

The Turkish authorities rounded up all able bodied men and bludgeoned them to death. Intellectuals and community leaders in Istanbul were herded aboard ships and then drowned at sea. Armenian babies were thrown live into pits and covered with stones. Women, children and old people were forced to march hundreds of miles, over mountains, presumably to a place of deportation in Syria, but actually to their death. (Time Magazine, p.58, August 23, 1982).

In rapid succession, the leaders of every Armenian community were seized, imprisoned, tortured and ultimately put to death on charges of sedition. Simultaneously, all Armenians serving in the Turkish Army on the contention that they could not be trusted to carry arms, were taken aside and killed. Once the leader and fighting men had been disposed of, the final phase began. It was euphemistically referred to as “deportation”. By 1915, the Turkish leadership had devised more efficient means for accelerating the victims’ demise in a day when the refinements for mass murder had not yet been devised and the job had to be done “by hand”. (The Smyrna Affair, Marjorie Housepian, an Armenian author).

“Kick the Turk, bag and baggage, out of Europe”.
Gladstone, 1912, British Prime Minister.

Sultan Hamid’s slaughter of more than a quarter of a million Armenians in the mid-nineties was the act of a crazed, paranoid autocrat. The later murders and deportations, though, were the deliberate, planned actions of the Young Turks who deposed the sultan in 1908. Although they feigned sympathy with Armenian aspirations, Armenian life grew progressively more difficult under the “reformers”. Finally, in September 1915, the Turkish Interior Minister announced that “the Government had decided to destroy completely all Armenians living in Turkey……An end must be put to their existence….and no regard must be paid to either age, sex or conscientious scruples”. (New Jersey Monthly, April 1981).
A memorial at the Home for the Armenian Aged in Emerson, New Jersey reads:

“In memory of the 2 million Christian Armenians massacred by the Turks 1915-1918”.

II. My Objective

I am not an historian and I am not a writer. I am a professional and my job has no bearing on the subject of this article. I consider myself an American of Turkish heritage. I was born in Turkey and immigrated to the United States.

Why have I spent so much time on an irrelevant subject? When I came to the US I was naturally befriended by many Americans. Whenever I introduced myself as a Turk, I received reactions which echoed in me. Some thought I couldn’t be a Turk; I was too nice to be a Turk or I did not look like a Turk. Others referred to Turkish scimitars, Turkish hashish, Turkish jails, Turkish brutality and the Armenian Genocide. The only flattering words I heard about the Turks was their bravery in Korea and the expression “Young Turks”.

That made me think: how come the gentlemen of the Middle East, the grandsons of the Ottoman Empire, who were the most civilized and powerful nation in the world for three centuries, could be so notorious. What Armenian Genocide were they talking about? Weren’t they the Armenians who massacred Turkish women and children while their husbands and fathers were fighting to defend the boundaries against the imperialists. How could the facts be so distorted? Weren’t they the same Turkish soldiers who would risk their lives to protect the lives of enemy civilians, women and children? What are those stories about Turkish soldiers raping Armenian women and killing Armenian children? All these years, have I been brainwashed to believe lies in Turkish schools?

These questions plagued me for many months. Then I decided to open the pages of history and search for my own identity.

Since one of the main sources of the defamation campaign against the Turks was the Armenians and the Armenian atrocities against the Turks were current events; I chose this subject. Had we massacred 1.5 million Armenians or was this the GREATEST LIE OF THE CENTURY? I was going to find out for myself.

I did have some knowledge of the Turkish side of the story, I decided not to waste any more time reading books by Turkish historians. My sources had to be Armenian and independents.

Over the past two years I have read numerous books and journals, and spent days and nights at home and in the libraries. AND I FOUND THE TRUTH!

III. Armenian Claims
This section is a summary of Armenian claims. The information is compiled mainly from the books of three Armenians:

1. “The Armenian Revolutionary Movement” written by Louise Nalbandian. This is the history of the Armenians from the beginning to the late nineteenth century. It is a detailed account of the political movements among the Armenians, both in Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

2. “Armenia – On the Road to Independence” written by Richard G. Hovannisian. He is an historian and one of the present leaders of the Armenian cause.

3. “The Smyrna Affair” written by Marjorie Housepian. She is a teacher and writer.

What is common to all three authors is that they are all champions of their cause. They are all convinced that there was a genocide and one to two million Armenians were massacred by the Turks.

The reason why I have devoted many pages of this article to Armenian claims is as follows;
We Turks are not the originators of this argument; Armenian relations during World War I are considered to be another page of the Turkish-Russian conflict in the history books. Human suffering on both sides was no different than human suffering in the Turkish-Arab, Turkish-Greek or Turkish-Bulgarian conflicts and certainly not as heavy as in France, Austria or Germany during World War I. So, when 60 million lost their lives in the four years during the war, couple of million deaths would not interest others. But the Armenians have an argument; they claim the Turks have done something to them that has not happened to any other nation. Therefore, I decided to listen to the arguments of three Armenians who were the champions of the claims

A, Who Are the Armenians?

There are several theories explaining the origins of the Armenians: Some Armenians claim that they are descendants of Hayk, who was the great-great grandson of Noah. Since Noah’s Arc is supposed to have come to rest on Mount Ararat, the advocates of this idea conclude that eastern Anatolia must have been the original Armenian homeland. However, this claim is based on fables, not on any scientific evidence.

Perhaps the most believable story by Armenian historians is the Uraltu Theory. The Uraltu Kingdom existed in Eastern Anatolia starting in 3,000 BC until it was defeated and destroyed by the Medes, with its territory being contested at one time by Lydia and the Medes until it finally fell under the influence of the latter. The Uraltu people spoke a non-Aryan language which has been deciphered. In the eighth and seventh centuries BC, a new people invaded Uraltu. These were from a Thracian-Phrygian group which originated in the Balkan Peninsula and with pressure from the Illyrians, migrated to Eastern Anatolia. They conquered Uraltu and imposed their Indo-European language on the Uraltians and the amalgamation of the two resulted in the formation of the Armenians. (Nalbandian page 4).

In the sixth century BC they fell victim to more powerful forces; they became part of the Median Empire. Their land was incorporated into Acheamenid, Persia under Cyrus the Great (558 – 529 BC). After the death of Cyrus, they rose again in a coalition with other subject people. However, the new Emperor Darius defeated them (521 BC). So for two centuries, until 330 BC, the Persians dominated them. Then, Alexander the Great conquered all these lands and ruled these lands until 215 BC; from 215 BC to 190 BC it was controlled by the Seleucids. In 190 BC the Romans defeated the Seleucids (Nalbandian pages 5 & 6). The Armenians seized the opportunity to revolt against the domination of the weakened Seleucid Empire. In 189 BC they declared themselves kings of their respective regions. Finally, after many centuries of foreign domination, Armenia became in independent nation under two separate kingdoms. At the time of Tigranes II (95-56 BC) the two regions unified under him. The territory was expanded more through the military might of Tigranes II, who extended his domains from the Kus River in the north to Egypt in the south. For the first and only time in history, the Armenians saw the whole geographical area of their country united under one ruler (Nalbandian page 7). However, this ended in the year 2 BC when they were defeated by the Romans in the west and the Parthians in the east. Under Parthian rule, which continued until 429 AD, they were converted to Christianity for Gregory the Parthian.

After that they were ruled by the Sassanid Persians. In AD 639 Armenia was conquered by the Arabs who dominated the country for over two centuries. The region was changing hands between the Byzantine Empire and Arabs and became a battle ground between the two powers. Between 886-1045, the Armenians enjoyed part independence when the Arabs appointed Ashot the Great as Governor General of Armenia and the Armenians regained some political independence, mainly in the province of Ararat under the rule of the Bagratid family. This came to an end in 1045 when the Byzantine Empire annexed the country. A few years later the Seljuk Turks invaded the area defeating the Byzantines at Malazgirt (1071).

In 1080, the weakening of Byzantine rule in Anatolia resulted in the Armenians in Cilicia winning independence. Good relations with the neighboring Turks and Mamluks of Syria, the Crusaders and the invading Monguls made it possible for the Armenians to continue independence until 1375, and then the Mamluks invaded the area (Nalbandian, page 15).

From the beginning of the 16th century, the Ottoman Turks dominated the area.

B. Ottoman Rule: 15th to mid 19th Century.

By 1520, most of the land inhabited by the Armenians had been included in the Ottoman Realm. In the following decades, thousands of Armenians left the plateau to settle in Istanbul and the western Anatolian peninsula, particularly along the coasts. There, as interpreters, merchants, artisans and traders, their importance exceeded their numerical strength. Some reached the highest levels of administration and enjoyed the company of the reigning Sultan. Most Ottoman Armenians, however, lived in the Empire’s eastern states, where, from generation to generation, they tilled their fields. Although usually at peace with their Moslem neighbors, the Armenians, as Christians, could not expect equality. Islamic Law included special provisions concerning them, the dhimmi– the protected non-believers. In return for the privilege of professing their religion openly, they were required to pay special taxes. (Hovannisian pages 24-25).

The ability of the Armenians to maintain their national identity throughout centuries of Turkish domination can be attributed in part to the administrative structure of the Empire. When Mehmet II made Istanbul the Ottoman capital in 1453, the Turkic-Moslem element formed a minority in many areas of his domains. The Sultan reduced his administrative problems by according internal autonomy to the non-Moslem communities. In return, the religious superior of each group was responsible for maintaining order among his people and for collecting the required community levies. The Armenian bishop of Bursa was invited to Istanbul in 1461 and elevated to the rank of Patriarch of all non-Orthodox Christians. His community, the Ermeni Millet, the Greek Orthodox and Jewish millets became the three official non-Moslem establishments within the framework of the Empire. The millet system proved workable and beneficial to the Armenians. Even when the church lacked its former luster and was weak in intellectual pursuits, it safeguarded the identity of the Armenians by preserving their loyalty to the national faith. (Hovannisian page 25).
Pronounced religious antagonisms in the Ottoman domains were of relatively late development. As long as Europe was considered culturally, politically, and militarily inferior and as long as the subject nationalities performed their special obligations, there was little purpose in upsetting the established balance. During the 17th century, however, rebellions by Moslem chieftains, corruption in the administrative system and the European threat to the security of the Empire fostered the growth of intolerance. The following century brought in its wake large Ottoman territorial losses and intensified unrest among the Balkan Christians, who were eventually to be assisted in their drive toward liberation by the diplomacy and arms of Europe. (Hovannisian page 25).

While other subjects of the Ottoman Empire were rising in revolt, the Armenians were absorbed in a religious conflict among themselves. The community was torn from within by bitter controversies between the Armenian Church and the Catholic and Protestant group. (Nalbandian page 41).

The activity of the Roman Catholic missionaries, which had begun centuries before, had its culmination in the early period of the 19th century. It was evident by 1820 that unity between the Armenian Church and that of Rome couldn’t be attained. In January 1831, the Ottoman Government, under pressure by the French, issued an imperial edict establishing a separate papal civil community known as the Catholic Millet in Turkey. Under this edict, Armenian Catholics in Turkey became politically separated from the centuries old Ermeni Millet, which was headed by the Patriarch. (Nalbandian page 4).

Religious difficulties continued with the coming of the Armenian Protestant mission to Turkey in 1831. Unsuccessful in converting Moslems to the Christian faith, these missionaries remained active among the Armenians. Protestant activity caused bitter counter-reaction by the Armenian Church and in 1846 the Patriarch issued a bill of perpetual excommunication and anathema against all Protestants. In the following year the Protestants of Turkey were recognized by the Istanbul government, their rights and privileges were permanently defined and they were allowed to elect a civil head. (Nalbandian page 42).

C. Armenian Revolutionary Activities

The centers of revolutionary activities in Turkish Armenia were Zeitun, Van and Erzurum.

The Zeitun Rebellion of 1862 was the beginning of extensive uprisings directed against the Ottoman Government. Zeitun was a town on the Taurus Mountains of Cilicia. The Armenian people of Zeitun gave a petition to Napoleon III in which they requested the French Emperor to pressure the Turkish Government into granting independence to Zeitun and appoint an Armenian prince as a ruler. The petition stated that Zeitun had 70,000 men who could bear arms. The French Emperor disregarded the request after investigations revealed that the population figures were greatly exaggerated and transmitted to the Turkish Government. In the summer of 1862 a dispute that flared up between an Armenian village and a Turkish village caused the Turkish Army to intervene. However, Armenian fighting forces in Zeitun stopped the Turks. The Turkish Government planned to send a larger army. However, with the pressure of Napoleon II the army was recalled. (Nalbandian pages 70-71).

In the city of Van in the early part of 1862, the Armenians allied with Kurdish peasants and rose against their Turkish rulers. The fighting resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. (Nalbandian page 78).

In 1872 the Armenians founded the Union of Salvation in Van which became the first organized Armenian revolutionary society in Turkey. They sent an appeal to the Russian Viceroy of the Caucasus and asked him, as a fellow Christian, to assist and protect the Armenians (Nalbandian page 80).

Another organization formed in 1878 was the secret revolutionary Black Cross Society whose members were sworn to secrecy and those who broke their oath were marked with a “Black Cross” and immediately put to death. (Nalbandian page 84).

But one of the biggest revolutionary organizations was formed by the Armenians in Erzurum in 1881. This organization was named Protectors of the Fatherland and they bought guns and ammunition and sold them at low cost to the members. Their organization was also approved of by the Patriarch himself. However, the Turkish authorities discovered the underground organization and arrested its members which, according to the London Times, were four hundred persons. A court in Erzurum sentenced forty members to five to fifteen years imprisonment. (Nalbandian pages 85-88).

Following that in 1885, the Armenakan Party was formed in Van as the first Armenian political party to engage in revolutionary activities. The party was formed to train Armenians in the use of arms and military discipline, supplying them with arms and money and organizing a guerilla force to prepare the people for a general movement, especially when the external circumstances seemed to favor the Armenian cause. Certain episodes indicated that the Armenakan did not stop at mere defensive action, but also incited trouble and committed terrorist acts including the murder of Nuri Efendi, a police chief in Van in 1892 by four Armenakans. (Nalbandian pages 90-101).

In 1887 the first socialist party was formed by Marxist Armenians from Russia. This was the Hunchakian party. The Hunchak program advocated revolution as the only means of reaching the immediate objective. The Hunchaks said that the existing social organization in Turkish Armenia could be changed by violence against the Turkish government and described the following methods: Propaganda, Agitation, Terror, Organization and Peasant and Worker Activities. The most opportune time to institute the general rebellion for carrying out the immediate object was when Turkey was engaged in a war. (Nalbandian page 104-111).

Two predominant objectives were revealed in the program. The immediate objective was Socialism. (Nalbandian page 112). To pursue their objectives, they organized the demonstration of Kumkapi in Istanbul in 1890. They marched to Yildiz Palace, the Emperor’s residence, but they were blocked by Turkish soldiers and a riot ensued in which a number of people were killed and wounded on both sides including two Turkish soldiers. (Nalbandian page 118).

The Hunchaks made the most of Turkish oppression by spreading various alarming reports through their publications, including exaggerations of Turkish atrocities. (Nalbandian page 119).

During the years 1874 – 1875 hundreds of books, pamphlets and articles relating to the Armenian atrocities were disseminated in Europe and in the USA. The pressure of European government induced Sultan Abdulhamit to sign the Armenian Reform Program in 1895. (Nalbandian page 125).

On October 12, 1895, the Zeitunlus rebelled once again, this time under the guidance of the Hunchakian party. Before the insurrection gained momentum Turkish forces attacked Akabash near Zeitun. After four months of fierce fighting the Zeitun Rebellion ended in February 1896 following the intervention of European Powers. (Nalbandian page 127).

The Dashnaktsuthiun, the most revolutionary Armenian Party, was formed in Tiflis, Russia in 1890. The objective of Dashnaks was declared as a “people’s war against the Turkish government” and they were now demanding freedom of Turkish Armenia. “Let us unite, Armenians, and carry on fearlessly the sacred task of securing national freedom.” (Nalbandian page 156).

To pursue their objectives, they were:

1. To organize fighting bands and to prepare them for activity.
2. To use every means to arm people.
3. To organize revolutionary committees and establish strong ties among them.
4. To stimulate fighting and to terrorize government officials. (Nalbandian page 168)

In 1892, the party had already formed in many cities in Turkish Armenia, Russian Armenia, Persia and in the Turkish capital. Persian soil became a Mecca for revolutionaries and was used as a launching ground for operation in nearby Turkish Armenia. In Tebriz a small arms factory called the Central Arms Factory was founded. Skilled men who had studied in the Tula arms factory in Russia worked in the plant. The guns and munitions were then stored in arsenals in different cities of the Transcaucas and were then transferred to different points on the Turco-Persian frontier. For years revolutionaries entered the Asiatic provinces of Turkey from adjacent regions in Persia and Russia. In Turkish Armenia, they secretly organized other small guerilla forces, formed party branches and disseminated propaganda. (Nalbandian page 173).

One year after the Hunchak’s demonstration in Istanbul, the Dashnaks engaged in a similar move in the Turkish capital. They captured the Imperial Ottoman Bank on August 24th, 1896. The threat to the Bank was aimed at arousing the attention of European Powers, which had national interests in the Turkish institution. Among their demands were:

1. The nomination for Armenia of a High Commission, of European origin.

2. The militia, gendarmerie and police to be drawn from the native population and to be under the command of European officers. (Nalbandian page 176).

The Dashnak revolutionists who had seized the Bank threatened to blow it up, with the sacrifice of both themselves and European employees of the Bank. Maximov, the dragoman of the Russian Embassy, who represented the European power, interfered by securing safe escort of the revolutionaries to the yacht of the British Director of the Bank. (Nalbandian page 177).

The Dashnak activities were not only directed toward Turkish authorities. In a bloody reign of violence which lasted two years, hundreds of Russian bureaucrats fell before the bullets, knives and bombs of Armenian terrorists. Prince Golitsyn, who was the Governor-General of Transcaucasia, was also critically wounded. (Hovannisian page 18).

In 1894 the Armenian villages in Sassun refused to pay “protection tax” to a Kurdish chief. The Kurds were unable to subdue the Armenians and appealed to the Ottoman government, accusing Sassun of sedition. Regular Turkish units joined the irregular Hamidiye cavalry corps and after weeks of combat forced the Armenians to submit. (Hovannisian page 27). Many Armenians were massacred. The press of Armenia and Europe once again bewailed the sufferings of the Armenians and clamored for action. A European commission of inquiry reported that the Armenians of Sassun had acted in self-defense, while Ottoman officials maintained they were rebels whom it was necessary to suppress. In the spring of 1895, as a result of the Sassun problem, representatives of Britain, France and Russia presented a plan of reforms to the Ottoman Government. The project provided that the “Armenian Provinces” of the Empire would be consolidated, nomination of governors confirmed by European powers and Armenian political prisoners be freed. The Ottoman Sultan succumbed to European pressure and signed the reform decree. However, even before the proclamation of the reform act, massacres had begun in Trabzon. Abdulhamit’s actual response to European meddling was the extirpation of between one and two hundred thousand Armenians during 1895-96. To avenge this, Dashnaks plotted to eliminate Sultan Abdulhamit; Kristapor Mikayelian, one of the party’s founders, directed a group of conspirators to carry out the verdict in 1905. By a quirk of fate the plans were foiled. Abdulhamit lived but Mikayelian died from the explosives intended for the Sultan. (Hovannisian page 28).
The Armenians were not alone in their opposition to the Sultan. In Geneva and Paris, the “Young Turks” formed societies and drafted programs for change. Patriotic Turkish leaders like Ahmet Riza believed that only the institution of efficient, just government could save the Ottoman Empire from dissolution. The anti-Hamidian currents were spurred on by army officers who revised the opposition within the Empire during the first years of the twentieth century. In 1908, the Macedonian army, where revolutionary strength was concentrated, marched on Istanbul and demanded that the constitution be restored. With little alternative, Abdulhamit yielded and agreed to play the role of a constitutional monarch. (Hovannisian page 29).

In 1913, Armenian leaders succeeded in reviving the Russian interest in Turkish Armenia. The Russians relayed a plan to the European Powers similar to that which was accepted by Abdulhamit. Discussions went on for a year and eventually a Russo-German compromise was attained which, with several modifications, was accepted under duress by the Turkish Government on February 8th, 1914. By April a Dutch and a Norwegian inspector-general were selected. On of them had arrived in Van and the other was on the way to Erzurum when World War I broke out. (Hovannisian page 38-39).

D. World War I

Although most Armenians maintained a correct attitude in line with the Ottoman government, it can be asserted with some substantiation the manifestations of loyalty were insincere for the sympathy of most Armenians throughout the world was with the Entente, not with the Central Powers. By autumn 1914, several prominent Ottoman Armenians, including a former member of parliament, had slipped away to the Caucasus to collaborate with Russian military officials. (Hovannisian page 42).

Cathalicos Gevorg, the religious leader of the Russian Armenians, appealed to Tsar Nicholas to take under his benevolent wings the suffering Turkish Armenians and to protect their lives and property. (Hovannisian page 43).

Soon after the German declaration of war, leading Dashnaks in Russia initiated the creation of volunteer corps. The Russian Viceroy of the Caucasus offered to provide the necessary weapons, material and money to outfit four separate groups, which would be commanded by popular revolutionary heroes. The enemies of the Tsar were to become his officers. The first group was led by Andranik who had participated in the Balkan wars as commander of an Armenian contingent in the Bulgarian Army. Dro, assisted by former Ottoman parliament members, Armen and Garo, directed the second group, moving over Igdir poised for an offensive against Van. The third and fourth unit took advance positions along the western border of Kars. (Hovannisian page 44).

War between Turkey and Russia sealed the rapprochement between the Dashnaks and Tsar Nicholas. Samson Haruturian, President of the Armenian National Bureau, declared:
“From all countries, Armenians are hurrying to enter the ranks of the glorious Russian Army, with their blood to serve the victory of Russian arms…… let the Russian flag wave freely over the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. Let, with your will, great Majesty, the peoples remaining under the Turkish yoke receive freedom. Let the Armenian people of Turkey who have suffered for the faith of Christ receive resurrection for a new free life under the protection of Russia.” (Hovannisian page 45)
Cathalicos Gevorg V told Tsar Nicholas that: “The salvation of the Turkish Armenians is possible only by delivering them definitely from Turkish domination and by creating an autonomous Armenia under the powerful protectorate of Great Russia.” (Hovannisian page 45).

In the first year of war, the Ottoman Army led by Enver retreated. The hundred thousand man force dwindled in two weeks to less than 15% of its original strength, mostly due to a cold winter and epidemics of typhus and cholera. (Hovannisian page 46).

The Russian victories of January 1915 had averted the immediate threat to Transcaucasia, but the crisis had left its scars; nearly seventy thousand Armenians uprooted from the battle zone had fled toward Erevan and Tiflis. (Hovannisian page 47).

The defeat prompted the Ottoman leaders to deport the Armenians in the eastern provinces. An estimated eight hundred thousand to over a million Armenians perished within a few months and several hundred thousand more succumbed in the following years to the ravages of disease, famine and refugee life. Unknown numbers of women and children were converted forcibly to Islam, possessed by Turkish men or adopted by Moslem families. (Hovannisian page 49).

Mosst Turkish sources claim that deportations were wartime measures necessary for the security of the state and they were adopted only after evidence of Armenian treachery was conclusive. Proof of malevolence included the formation of volunteer units in the Caucasus, the participation of Turkish subjects in these groups, threats and antagonism expressed in Armenian journals abroad and preparations for armed insurrection. (Hovannisian page 49)

On May 26, the Minister of the Interior, Talat Pasha, sent to the Grand Vezir a communiqué concerning Armenian deportations “……….because it is necessary that rebellious elements of this kind should be removed from the area of military activities and that the villages which are the bases and shelters for these rebels should be vacated, certain measures are being adopted, among which is deportation of the Armenians from the Van, Bitlis, Erzurum vilayets, the counties of Adana, Mersin, Kozan except for the cities of Adana, Sis and Mersin, Maras, Sancak except for Maras itself, and Iskenderun, Antakya districts of Halep vilayet except for the administrative city of each.

It is being announced that the Armenians are to be sent to the following places: Mosul vilayet except for the northern area bordering Van vilayet, Zor Sancak, southern Urfa except for the city of Urfa itself, eastern and south eastern Halep vilayet and the eastern part of the Syrian vilayet. (Hovannisian page 50).

Four days later the Ottoman Council of Ministers confirmed the necessity of deportations but gave to the law of fair play by approving provisions. (Hovannisian page 50).

1. To safeguard the person and possessions of the deportees until they had reached their destination and to forbid any form of persecution.

2. To compensate the deportees with new property, land and goods necessary for a comfortable life.

3. To sell or rent these fields, properties and goods not settled by Moslem refugees and to keep in the treasury, in the owner’s name, an account of the derived income.

The Germans have been accused by direct complicity in the deportations, for the Berlin government had both the influence and the force to restrain its Turkish partner. When a German economic project in southern Anatolia was threatened because of the deportations, Kaiser Wilhelm’s officials exerted sufficient pressure to spare the Armenian laborers until completion of work. The Ottoman Empire was economically and militarily dependent on Germany. The Kaiser’s threat to withdraw that aid would have moderated the Ottoman leaders. (Hovannisian page 54 & 55).

At about the same time as deportation, Cevdet Bey attempted to crush the rising at Van. Participating in the operation were the second, third, fourth and fifth Armenian volunteer battalions combined under the command of Vardon. Legion joined General Nikolaev’s regular forces which passed over the prewar borders on May 4. Two weeks later the Armenian units followed by the Russian troops were greeted joyously by the insurgents at Van, while Cevdet Bey retreated along the southern shore of Lake Van. Russian military authorities appointed Aram Manukian governor of the occupied region. (Hovannisian page 56).

At the end of June, the Armenian Legion was entrusted with the task of expelling Turks from the entire southern shore of the lake. However, when they advanced towards Bitlis, they met the vigorous counter offensive of the Turks. To avoid encirclement, Trukhin’s group was commanded to withdraw to Van, but upon arriving there, the general found the entire region already evacuated by the remainder of the army. Thus on July 31, 1915, the native inhabitants were ordered to abandon their homes and move toward the Russian border. The panic was indescribable, fleeing behind the retreating Russian forces, nearly two hundred thousand refugees swarmed into Transcaucasia. (Hovannisian page 56).

Wartime documents published by the Bolshevik Government cast a good deal of light upon the foreign policy fostered by Nicholas II. That the Armenians were dupes and pawns in the game of international politics is glaringly exposed in these recor5ds. (Hovannisian page 58).

A memorandum by Russian Minister Krivoshein in March 1915:…the other region is the basin of the upper currents of the Araxes and Euphrates which is generally called Armenia. This region is mostly high above sea level and is completely suitable for the Russian colonists. (Hovannisian page 58).

Discussing the future administration of Turkish Armenia, the Foreign Minister concluded that autonomy was impractical since Armenians had never constituted a majority in the area and as a result of the recent tragedy, constituted barely a fourth of the total population. (Hovannisian page 63).

The year 1916 was a black one for the Russian Armenians. With the Tsarist order to disband the volunteer units the Russian Armenians entered a period of shock, disillusionment and dismay. It was the plight of the refugees which jolted them into action. By the end of 1916, nearly three hundred thousand Ottoman Armenians had sought safety in Transcaucasia. (Hovannisian page 67).

On March 11, 1918, Turks launched a full scale assault in Erzurum. As Karabekir struck from the west, Kurdish units attacked from the north and south of the fortress. Unable to discipline his troops or quell the panic among the Armenians, Andranik, the Armenian General, issued the order for retreat. The pandemonium of Erzincan was repeated, only on a greater scale. Refugees poured through the Kars Gate onto the road eastward as Kurds lay in wait to pluck their prey. Unassisted armed bands of Turkish Armenians held the city until most of the Christians had fled. The intrepidity of such groups slightly mitigated the widespread impression of the distressing cowardice of the Armenian soldier. The frenzied troops and bands retreating from Erzurum killed any Moslem falling into their hands and burned the Turkish villages that lay in their path. (Hovannisian page 135).
The victorious Turkish 36th Division entered Erzurum, became master of the stock piles, of the four hundred large fortress guns, and more important, of the key to the entire Armenian plateau. With the fall of Erzurum, the battle for Turkish Armenia ended. In Van and northward at Khnus and in the Alashkert Valley, Armenian units resisted a little longer before the battle for Caucasian Armenia began (Hovannisian page 137).

E. Statistical Claims by the Armenians.

Before we review the statistical claims by the Armenians, let’s define the boundaries of land which they claim as Armenia.

What they call Greater Armenia encircles fifteen provinces east of the Euphrates. In addition to Russian Armenia this includes the Turkish provinces of Kars, Ardahan, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Erzurum, Harput and Urfa (Hovannisian page 2).

To the west of the Euphrates, three other provinces which are centered around Sivas formed Lesser Armenia. Together, Greater and Lesser Armenia encompassed an area of between 120,000 and 140,000 square miles.

Additionally, there was a Cilician Armenia which included Mersin, Adana, Maras and Iskenderun.

For simplicity we will call all these areas Turkish Armenia as claimed by the Armenians and later try to prove to you how superficial this term is, as are other Armenian claims.

Nalbandian claims, although there were no statistics available, that there were approximately three million Armenians in Turkey in 1878 (Nalbandian page 25). Obviously he did not do his homework well, because an American historian, Shaw, claims that a census system was started in 1831 in the Ottoman Empire, but we will get to that in later sections.

Hovannisian is much more cautious in his statements. He gives the figures claimed by the Armenian Patriarch and quite rightly adds that these figures were exaggerated.

Hovannisian had statement “Yet even if the maximal figures of the Patriarch are accepted as accurate, there is conclusive evidence that the Armenian population in the eastern province did not represent a majority in 1912. It was a contradictory statement since, at the time the Armenian leaders were trying to convince the Europeans that they held the majority. According to these exaggerated figures of the Armenian Patriarchate, the geographical distribution of the Armenian population within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire in 1912 was as follows:

Greater and Lesser Armenia 1,018,000

Peripheral Areas 145,000

Cilicia 407,000

Remainder of the Empire 530,000

Total 2,100,000

“Obviously, somewhere between these contrasting figures lies the true ethnic distribution. It can be deduced with relative certainty that there were more than one and a half million but fewer than two million Armenians in all Turkey” Hovannisian assessed. (Hovannisian page 37).

Other Armenian sources give figures somewhere between Nalbandian and Hovannisian:

Armenian author Leand 2,560,000

Armenian historian Basmajian 2,380,000

Armenian National Committee 2,250,000
at the Paris Conference

Armenian historian Kevork Aslan 1,800,000

So we can conclude that the Armenians themselves did not know their population since Nalbandian’s figures are twice as much as Hovannisian’s figures, a difference of one and a half million.

But even the exaggerated figures of the Armenian Patriarch show that in the six provinces where Armenians were highly populated, they made up 38.9% of the population. An Armenian advocate, Morgenthau, asserts that the city of Van was “the one large town in Asia Minor in which the Armenian population is larger than the Moslem”. (Morgenthau page 203).

But one can conclude that if Armenian estimates of their own population vary, from 1.5 to 3.0 million, their estimate of the Moslem population would even be less accurate, so the percentages which they lay claim too could not be accurate.

We observe the same variance of figures when they quote the number of Armenians massacred by the Turks in 1915. There is a memorial in Bergen County, New Jersey, which claims that 2 million were murdered. Deukmejian, the Governor of California, uses the figure of 1.5 million which seems to be a favorite number, whereas the hot debater of the Armenian cause, Hovannisian, puts the figure at “from eight hundred thousand to over a million”.

Let’s study these figures more in depth. Since the so called “genocide” took place in the east, from the Patriarch’s figures we can conclude that 530,000 Armenians were not affected. That leaves us with 1,570,000. According to Hovannisian, the Armenian Archives, File 107/6 and 100/1 indicate that in 1918 there were 350,000 Armenian refugees from Turkish Armenia in Russian Armenia. That leaves us with 1,220,000 maximum that could have been killed by the Turks. Housepian claims that Catholics, Protestants and doctors and certain craftsmen were not included in the killings. According to a map in Hovannisian’s book (page 64), almost the whole of Van, parts of Erzurum and Bitlis changed hands and were in Russian control by the summer of 1915. According to the Patriarchate’s figures, there were 215,000 Armenians in Erzurum, 185,000 in Van and 180,000 in Bitlis. Take into consideration cold and disease, which took 80,000 lives in Enver’s army, which had better provisions than the civilians, in a couple of months, four years of devastating war and famine and review Hovannisian’s assertion once again. “The fact remains that an estimated eight hundred thousand to over a million Armenians perished within a few months and several hundred thousand more succumbed in the following years to the ravages of disease, famine and refugee life”. Our basis was the Patriarchate’s figures which he says were exaggerated yet he claims that over a million within a few months and several hundred thousand (say 200,000) within the following years lost their lives. But if all his statements are true and then, of the 1,570,000 Armenians in 1912, 350,000 escaped to Russia and about 1,200,000 lost their lives. As a result there would have been no Armenians left in Turkish Armenia. But we know now that many of the 500,000 Armenians who now live in the Middle East, 400,000 Armenians who live in Europe and 700,000 Armenians who live in the USA claim that their ancestors came from Turkish Armenia. Add to this Hovannisian claims that the Patriarchate’s figures are exaggerated and many lost their lives through disease, famine and refugee life; is it possible, then, that the Turks massacred one to two million Armenians?

IV. Views Held by Neutral Sources.

A. Armenian Character.

In a popular encyclopedia, the Armenian character is defined as such: The Armenians are essentially an Oriental People, possessing a remarkable tenacity of race and faculty of adaptation to circumstances. They are frugal, sober, industrious and intelligent and their sturdiness of character has enabled them to preserve their nationality and religion under the sorest trials. They are strongly attached to old manners and customs, but have also a real desire for progress which is full of promise. On the other hand they are greedy of gain, quarrelsome in small matters, self seeking and wanting in stability; and they are gifted with a tendency to exaggeration and a love of intrigue which has had an unfortunate influence on their history. They are deeply separated by religious differences and their mutual jealousies, their inordinate vanity, their versatility and their cosmopolitan character must always be an obstacle to the realization of the dreams of nationalists.

An American historian (Powell page 58) describes their character as such: “Armenians are frequently rich and generally prosperous and all with a well established reputation, whether justified or not, for astuteness rather than strict honesty. But the mass of the people are peasants cringing and submissive when in the minority, arrogant and bitterly vindictive when the tables are turned. By no stretching of the truth could they be called popular, even by their most ardent champions. The hatred in which they are held by the Turks is not due, however, to the fact that they are Christians but to the persistent indulgence in political intrigue and sedition”.

Admiral Bristol, the American High Commissioner in Istanbul, thought of Armenians as a race that deserves small consideration. He writes that Armenians have little of no national spirit and had poor moral character (Housepian page 60-61).

B. Armenian Relations with other Nations and Armenians’ Internal Struggle.

Armenian relations with their other neighbors; the Kurds, Tartars and Russians were not good either. They had been in a bloody feud with the Kurds and Tartars for 1,000 years. The Kurds, who share many provinces with the Armenians in Asia Minor, repeatedly attacked and massacred their Armenian neighbors (Powell pg. 102).

With the Tartars, the scenario was the other way round. This time the Armenians were the villains and the Tartars were the victims. R. Dunn, an American naval official in Istanbul, was with the Armenian leader Dro when the Armenians attacked a Tartar village, barbarously murdering 800 people men, women and children all alike. The following conversation took place between Dro and Dunn:

The men on foot will not shoot, but use only their bayonets. That is for morale” Dro said “We must keep the Moslems in terror that our cruelty beats theirs”.

“Soldiers and civilians?” Dunn asked.

“There is no difference” said Dro, “All are armed, in uniform or not.”

“But the women and children”

“Will fly with the others as best they may”.

When escorted to one of the houses, he saw a man’s body lying face up, naked but for its grimy turban. “He was about fifty years old by what was left of his face: a rifle butt had bashed an eye. The one left slanted as with Tartars. The army uniform once on him was gone. I quickly went out gagging at the mess of his slashed genitals”. (Dunn pages 358-362).
According to Ohanus Appressian, an Armenian, who reported to Hartill; Armenians and Tartars engaged in a deadly feud in which many thousands on both sides lost their lives in horrible massacres in which neither the young nor the old of either sex was spared.

“One night Armenian men advanced on the Tartar section of our village. There were no lights in the houses and the doors were barred, for the Tartars suspected what was to happen and were in great fear. Our men hammered on the doors, but got no response, whereupon they smashed in the doors and began a carnage that continued until the last Tartar was slain. Throughout the hideous night, I cowered at home in terror, unable to shut my ears to the piercing screams of the helpless victims and the loud shouts of our men. By morning the work was finished”. (Hartill page 2).

“Terrible vengeance was taken upon the Tartars, Kurds and Turks. Their villages were destroyed and they themselves were slain or driven out of the country” (Hartill page 193).

“There in a corner of the yard I found a woman dead. Her throat had been cut. Lying on her breast was a small child, a girl about a year old”. (Hartill page 204)

“The village of Shusha, like my village of Khankendi, had a population half Armenian and half Tartar. During the time of the disturbance it was not possible for me to attend school: and so I remained at home. When peace was restored and I again saw Shusha, the Tartar section of the town no longer existed, except as a pile of ruins. It had been destroyed and its inhabitants slaughtered”. (Hartill pages 18, 19)

“Dashnaks instituted a campaign of terrorism and employed threats and force in securing funds from rich Armenians. A wealthy man would be assessed a stipulated sum. Refusal to pay brought upon him a sentence of death; if a man were to be assassinated, lots might be drawn to select an executioner”. (Hartill page 99)

“We closed the roads and mountain passes that might serve as ways of escape for the Tartars, and then proceeded in the work of extermination. Our troops surrounded village after village. Our artillery knocked the huts into heaps of stones and dust, and when the villages became untenable and the inhabitants fled from them into the fields, bullets and bayonets completed the work. The whole length of the border-land of Russian Armenia from Nakhitchevan to Akkalkalaki, from the hot plains of Ararat to the cold mountain plateaus of the north, is dotted with the mute mournful ruins of Tartar villages”. (Hartill page 202)
“The Armenians in Baku, supported by the English, seized that great oil city and massacred twenty-five thousand of the Tartar population. The Armenians paid dearly for this when, a short time later, the Turks captured the city and massacred an equal or greater number of Armenians”.

Another Armenian tells about atrocities against the Russians “in a bloody reign of violence which lasted two years, hundreds of Russian bureaucrats fell before the bullets, knives and bombs of Armenian terrorists.” (Hovannisian page 18)

Armenians were not any more merciful towards their own people: “In retaliation, the Armenian bolshevists proceeded to execute, with the greatest brutality, the officers of the old army and the officials of the old government who were prisoners in their hands.”

“Those whose names were called were formed in line and marched out. The windows of our room looked out on this court. As we watched and speculated there was a shout and then began a horrible killing. It was not a matter of slaying men with a rifle volley but butchery with knives and axes. With horror-distended eyes we, who numbered among them friends and relatives, saw them slaughtered. For several days, each morning witnessed a repetition of this massacre.” (Hartill page 255)

“When I reported to my colonel a tally of twenty Bolshevist prisoners, he ordered their immediate execution and cursed me for not having shot them. I had to witness their end. It was sickening to see these poor fellows sent into the Hereafter.” (Hartill page 268)
“In a moment the Bolshevists are seized and their hands are bound behind their backs. Having been secured, they are forced to their feet. Then commences a game in which they are shoved from one to another of their guards and toward the edge of the precipice. They struggle and beg for mercy. One by one they are toppled over the edge of the cliff and go hurtling through the air and on to the rocks far below until the last has taken the fatal plunge. There comes a high pitched laugh from those who enacted the tragedy.” (Hartill page 279)

“I’m finished with them” said the Chief of the American relief organization, the big and bumbling Yarrow to Dunn, of the Armenians. We’ll never lift a finger again to help any sort of Armenian government. Why, I had to ask the Turks to protect us from the very people whose lives we’ve been saving. Dashnak privates had shot their own officers; many of them had killed themselves”. (Dunn page 379)

Some of the killings among the Armenians were political. During disturbances in Tarsus in 1845, Armenians who did not espouse the national cause were murdered, the life of the Patriarch was threatened and a report was circulated that the British Ambassador wished some Armenians killed to give him an excuse for bringing the fleet to Istanbul. (Britannica page 568)

C. Deterioration of Turkish-Armenian Relations in the 19th Century.

The formation of an Armenian Community (Ermeni Millet) in 1461 secured the Armenians a recognized position before the law, the free enjoyment of their religion, the possession of their churches and monasteries and the right to educate their children and manage their municipal affairs. It also encouraged the growth of a community life which eventually gave birth to an intense longing for national life. The formation of a Catholic community (Katolik Millet) in 1831 and a Protestant community (Protestan Millet) in 1846 which, although divided the national unity among the Armenians, protected the right of the individuals to choose their religion without being persecuted by their community leaders.

It is important to emphasize here that whatever happened between the Ottoman Turks and the Armenians, the new forming Catholic and Protestant communities were not involved, a fact that is accepted both by Housepian and enhanced by the communiqués of the Ottoman rulers at the time of deportations.

It is also accepted by all parties that Armenians exercised wide freedom within their communities until the mid-nineteenth century when Ottoman Turkish-Armenian relations started deteriorating.
From the angle of political and national development the large Armenian colonies in Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir and other big cities in the west were much more important than the peasantry in the mountain fortresses of Eastern Anatolia. For hundreds of years the Armenians had shown a strong tendency to immigrate to the larger cities, where they engaged in industry, trade, banking and government work. Although the Patriarch of Istanbul was an important and influential official, he was, in actual practice, merely the agent of the wealthy Armenian officials and bankers of the capital, who formed a sort of aristocracy, cringing before their Turkish masters but taking a high hand in all questions concerning the Armenian people. (Langer page 148)

In the mid-nineteenth century the Armenians, like so many of the nations of the Balkans, were experiencing a cultural revival. In 1839, the first Armenian newspaper was published in Izmir. In the following twenty-five years, there were no less than fourteen Armenian newspapers published in the Empire. In 1866 there were thirty-two schools for boys and fourteen for girls in Istanbul alone. It was quite in keeping with this spirit that the upper classes began to send their sons abroad to be educated. Many of these young men became infested with the ideas of democracy so prevalent in the 1850s in France. (Langer page 149)

It was these young men who were largely responsible for the furtherance of the movement for reform within the government of the Armenian Church. In 1860, they forced through a constitution which provided for universal suffrage in the election for the Assembly. One might say that the Armenians, unmolested by the Ottoman government, succeeded in effecting a liberal or even democratic constitution. As a community, they not only governed themselves but governed themselves by a very advanced system. (Langer page 149)

But thus far there was no thought of breaking away from the Empire. It could still be said of the Armenians that the Turks had “almost unlimited confidence in them.” (Langer page 150)

When in 1857, Khrimian Hairig started the publication of a journal, it was the first time an Armenian began to preach resistance to the oppressor and talk about national freedom. But his efforts were by no means appreciated by the Armenians in the capital, some of whom hired a Kurd to assassinate the unwelcome agitator. But the idea of liberation gained momentum among the lower classes. In 1877, as the Russian armies, commanded chiefly by Russian-Armenian generals, approached Erzurum, the Armenian population was enthusiastic and prepared to join the invaders, but when the Russians were forced to fall back the Armenians hastily changed their minds. (Langer page 150-151)

In Istanbul, the Armenian leaders at first repudiated any connection with the Russians and protested loudly against all suggestions of revolt. But the insurrection in Bulgaria, followed by the active intervention of the western powers, brought a change of mind. Armenians abroad were exerting themselves to enlist the sympathy and aid of the English, while the Armenian leaders in Istanbul appealed to Lord Salisbury during the meeting of international conference. Henry C. Barkley, who traveled through eastern Anatolia in the latter part of 1878, says that in many places the inhabitants thought he was the forerunner of the British who were come to save the people. In each and every one of the Armenians there was but one fixed idea, hammered in, as it were, like a nail; Bulgaria was forced by the intervention of Russia, why not Armenia with the help of England. In 1879, the British Ambassador Layard in Istanbul warned the Sultan: “The same intrigues are now being carried on in Asia Minor to establish an Armenian nationality and to bring about a state of things which may give rise to a Christian outcry and European interference.” (Langer page 153)

One of the Armenian revolutionaries told Dr. Cyrus Hanlin, the founder of Robert College in Istanbul, that the “Hunchak bands would watch for their opportunity to kill Turks and Kurds, set fire to their villages and then make their escape into the mountains. The enraged Moslems will then rise and fall upon the defenseless Armenians and slaughter them with such barbarity that Russia will enter in the name of humanity and Christian civilization and take possession.”

When the horrified missionary denounced the scheme as atrocious and infernal beyond anything ever known, he received this reply: “It appears so to you, no doubt, but we Armenians are determined to be free. Europe listened to the Bulgarian horrors and made Bulgaria free. She will listen to our cry when it goes up in the shrieks and blood of millions of women and children………….. We are desperate. We shall do it.” (Langer page 158)

So the scenario was written in 1888, before a single Armenian was killed by the Turks. Armenians would start the killing and when the Turks took revenge they would cry for European help. The scenario was played well by the Armenians and it helped them too. Europeans, especially the English, responded to the fake outcries of the Armenians. Many writers have taken the stand that the English intervention only made matters worse.

“The Turks begin to repress because we sympathize” wrote David Hogarth, “and we sympathize the more because he represses, and so the vicious circle revolves.” D. G. Hogarth, (A Wandering Scholar in Levant, page 147-8).

“England is more responsible for the cold-blooded murders which have come near to exterminating the Armenians than all other nations put together” remarked an American traveler, George H. Hepworth. (Through Armenia on Horseback page 157).

Armenians also succeeded in giving the Sultan and his ministers ample fright. One of their proclamations read: “The times are most critical and pregnant with ominous events. The cup is full. Prepare for the inevitable. Organize, arm, arm with anything. If one place revolts or shows resistance, do the same in your locality. Spread the fight of liberation.” (Langer page 159)

It requires no vivid imagination to picture the reaction of the Turks to the agitation of the revolutionists. They had constantly in mind, if not the revolt of the Greeks, at least the insurrection in Bulgaria and the disastrous intervention of Russia and the powers. The Empire was breaking up and this had to be stopped.

In the summer of 1894 the Revolutionary Committee wrote a letter to the Grand Vezir warning him that there would be a general rising in the Empire if the “very just demands of the Armenian people were not met.” No one could blame the government for anticipating a tremendous upheaval and for taking precautions. Probably to counteract the efforts made to bring the Kurds into the movement the Sultan had, in 1891, organized the tribesmen in the famous Hamidiye regiment, which was modeled on the Russian Cossack brigades and were supposedly meant to act as a frontier force. Beginning in 1892, the Hamidiye regiments began to raid the Armenian settlements. (Langer page 160)

So, thirty years after the Zeitun rebellion of local Armenians, the Turks started hitting back, as was hoped by the Armenians.

When news of these happenings reached England, there was a repetition of the outcry that went up after the Bulgarian atrocities of 1876. Organizations like the Anglo-Armenian Committee and the Evangelical Alliance made the most of the religious aspect of the Armenian question and demanded immediate action by the government. (Langer page 161)

The French government, on the other hand, joined in the action in order not to be separated from its ally, and in order to keep the question international. In an article written some time afterwards, M. Hanotoux, who had ten years experience in Istanbul and probably knew a good deal more about conditions than the outraged humanitarians of the Evangelical Alliance, remarked that the matter could perhaps have been settled more easily if the Powers had not intervened. (Langer page 162)

The Armenian leaders were quite prepared to have thousands of their fellow countrymen massacred in order to force intervention by the European powers and in order to raise from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire a new Armenian socialist state. Had they had only England to deal with they might very well have succeeded, for the English people are easily aroused in a religious cause, and have never shown themselves very critical when once they were excited. But the continental governments were not so easily deluded. After all, if the Turks were massacring the Armenians, so were the Russians massacring the Jews and the Poles.

Much has been said by Armenian historians themselves in earlier sections how they provoked the Turks. Let’s now hear some of the comments by the western observers:

Mr. Williams, the English Vice-Consul in Van, reported to his government the contents of a manifesto issued by Armenian revolutionists in Van. Denouncing “the beast, the Sultan” the revolutionaries declared: “There can be no reconciliation; we will not put down our arms. We have a holy war and it will be continued with greater savageness.”
Williams reported further that revolutionaries had four hundred members in Van, hiding in the maze of narrow streets and blind alleys: “They terrorize over their countrymen” he wrote “and by their outrages and folly, excite the Moslem population and render nugatory all efforts to carry out reforms.” The Armenian population, he believed, disapproved of the agitation. The more I learn of past events and the present state of this province, the more clearly I see that the criminal actions of the revolutionists have been largely responsible for the terrible scenes enacted here and all over Anatolia.” (British archives Accounts and Papers, 1896, Volume XCVI Turkey No. 8 No. 117).

Very similar was the impression of Lord Workworth after paying a visit to Van. “Those who in England are loudest in their sympathy with the aspirations of a people “rightly struggling to be free” can hardly have realized the atrocious methods of terrorism and blackmail by which a handful of desperadoes, as careful of their own safety as they are reckless of the lives of others, have too successfully coerced their unwilling compatriots into complicity with an utterly hopeless conspiracy.” (Lord Workworth; Notes from a Diary in Asiatic Turkey, 1898 page 122).

F.A. Barker, one of the British officials who spoke to Armenian revolutionists after the raiding of the Ottoman Bank, reported that “Their hatred of the Turks was beyond all description, and the gloating of the rank and file over the Turks they had killed was truly horrible and savage……..They also told me that it had been their intention to kill all the Turks in the employ of the Bank before blowing up the latter, but they had not had time, as things finished sooner than they had expected” (Langer page 324).
Mr. Herbert, the British charge d’affaires, described them as “criminals, who cannot be condemned too strongly.” “It cannot be denied”, he reported “that this repeated bomb throwing in Istanbul on the part of the Armenians is a cause of great provocation to the Turks.” (British Archives, Accounts and Papers Volume CI. Turkey No. 1. Correspondence respecting the Disturbances at Constantinople in August 1896).

Mr. Hume-Breaman, an expert on oriental affairs, roundly declared that every member of the Armenian committees should be hanged and that responsibilities for the massacres rested divided between these cowardly committees and “The braggart and ineffectual intervention of Europe.” Speaking of the Sultan, he continued: “It is all very well to call him the “Great Assassin” but from the Moslem point of view, he was very fairly justified in killing any number of rebellious infidels who were being supported by combined Europe in what he and every Turk considered as a plot against the realm. The Turks retorted on England especially, that we used to blow Moslems from the muzzles of our guns and burn whole villages and mosques in India for an insult offered to one of our officials, and were they not to make an example of these Armenian dogs” (Ardein C. Hume-Breaman - Twenty Years in the Near East, London, 1898, page 304-5).

While bombings took place periodically in Istanbul, the Turkish police uncovered large cashes of explosives in Armenian churches and schools. In the cupboard of a mistress of the girls’ school in the Samatya district, the police found thirty-six bombs, boxes of revolver cartridges and a parcel of dynamite capsules. (Langer page 325).
Mr. Elliot, one of the British Consuls who visited the Persian camp in May 1897, found that there were about fifteen hundred of the Armenians living on the inhabitants. “It is clear”, he reported, “that the leaders of these men, at any rate, are no patriots, but reckless and dissolute ruffians.” In August two large parties crossed the frontier, surprised a Kurdish camp and killed or barbarously mutilated men, women and children” (Langer page 349).

A majority of the other historians who studied Turkish-Armenian confrontation in the Ottoman Empire also put most of the blame on the Armenians and the Europeans. Let us now read excerpts from some of the well-known historians.

Arnold Toynbee – British Historian:
- “Germany dreamed of swallowing Turkey gradually but whole, the Allied Powers of dividing her piecemeal” (page 47).

- “An agreement was signed between the French and British governments (Sykes-Picot Agreement) in which the Turkish territories were divided up among themselves and the Russians.” (Page 47).

- “General Yuderich began to plant Cossack colonies on lands belonging to local Ottoman Armenians who had previously been deported. The colonies were meant to be permanent and natives of Transcaucasia (practically all Russian Armenians) were declared ineligible. The intention was clear, and the terms of the agreement debarred out government from protesting against it. Yet at the very time when the agreement was being made, I was being employed by His Majesty’s Government to compile all available documents on the recent treatment of the Armenians by the Turkish Government in a “Blue Book” which was duly published and distributed as war propaganda!
The French made use of the Armenians in a different way. They promised to erect an autonomous Armenian State, under their aegis, in the Cilician part of their Anatolian zone and the promise brought them several thousand Armenian volunteers, most of whom were enrolled in the “Legion d’Orient’ and served for the rest of the war” (page 50).

So, in brief, all the Allied Powers were trying to expand their territory and had to exploit the Turkish-Armenian conflict for their own cause.

Chester M. Tobin, an American historian comments:

“These Armenians were never a political, religious or military issue until about three quarters of a century ago. For previous centuries they lived under the rule of the Ottoman Sultans in remarkable freedom and security under their own millet, led by their own Gregorian patriarch. Their Christian faith had been no cause for friction with their Moslem rulers. They held high posts in government and in places of trust due to their talent. They had not been singled out by the French or by the Russians as a group of Christians requiring their ‘special protection’. The Armenian Christianity bore a slightly different label.

But in the latter half of the nineteenth century, as the British and Russians played their diplomatic game of cross and double cross, the Armenian Christians were ‘discovered’ as a potential tool. The Russians had taken a section of the land between the Caspian and Black Seas inhabited chiefly by Armenians. This furnished a basis for operation. The Czar’s representatives were charged with sowing dissention in the realms of the Sultan.

Then the British decided to become interested in the Armenians. They professed also to find it necessary to ‘protect’ their fellow Christians. The Russians took the lead in requiring the Ottoman government to give guarantees for the security of the Armenians. The British followed suit. The official solicitude on the part of the Russians and British for the Armenians with the Ottoman government created the ‘Armenian Problem”.

Having created the ‘Armenian Problem’ in the minds of the Turks, the repercussions started to have their effect on the distraught Armenians. They were in turn bewildered, perplexed, vexed and finally made super-sensitive to their position. They were driven into sullen isolation from their former friendly rulers. They started to seek furtively for the aid of Christians of foreign lands. They trusted the promises of the western nations” (Page 71).

Robert Dunn, naval attaché in Istanbul during the Turkish-Armenian crisis claims that “The fact is, as I learned on this first trip and later confirmed, both Ottoman, Greek and Armenian, uninspired from outside, will live at peace side by side with the Moslem. The trouble starts when religious differences are used as a cloak for politics, in order to wreak political vengeance or gain advantage. Then, although small difference exists between the methods and mentalities, morals, honor and human instincts of any Near Eastern races, the world hears only the Christian side. But a typical massacre, no matter on what scale, is invariably prepared for by either side. Most important is the provision of a “justification” to offset condemnation by watching foreign powers. Charge is made of a previous offense committed by the intended victim, against which the projected attack is a ‘reprisal’. This pretext may be either true or false, a real atrocity or an invented one; it does not matter. (Page 29).
A frequent visitor of the area was the American historian, E. Alexander Powell:

- When Christian Europe was burning its heretics at the stake, Moslem Turkey was permitting its heretics to follow their own religions unmolested (Page 51).

- Let it be clearly understood that, although the two classes have always been separated by a religious barrier, it has created surprisingly little friction between them, mosques and churches frequently being found in close proximity to each other. The antagonism between the Christians and the Moslems is, to a large extent, a development of the last half century and religion and nationality have had comparatively little to do with it. The real cause was the encouragement of political irredentism among the Christian minorities by the great powers in order to further their own selfish ends (Page 52).

- For centuries these non-Moslems lived in peace under the Istanbul government. Exempted by Turkish law from military duties, they lived not only in peace but in a degree of prosperity which not all of the sultan’s subjects were able to obtain. Positions of power in the government were open to them without reference to their status as religious dissenters, the premiership of the empire having more than once been filled by Armenians (Page 57).

- The presence of non-Moslems, as Dr. Talcott Williams has pointed out, is proof that the sultans of Turkey and the Moslems they ruled were not wise enough to see that, in the early stages of the development of a people, unity of faith must be secured or all union will be lost. The European races, he reminds us, have understood this perfectly and have acted upon it, for, down to very recent years, nearly all European countries placed heavy disabilities on any departure from the established religion and some still do (Page 53).

- The Armenian Patriarchate plotted with the Russians for years, with a view to bringing on war between Russia and Turkey; it fomented the Armenian revolution at Van for the purpose of taking the Turkish armies in the rear while they were fighting the Russians; and when Russia collapsed in red ruin, it allied itself with the French in Cilicia, helping to raise and equip an Armenian Legion for service against the Nationalists.

- The history of the Ottoman Empire is less marred by religious intolerance and by massacres due to religious hatreds than the history of European states from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries.

D. Deportation

Before we review the deportation decision, let us study the events that led up to the deportations.

When war was declared, under pressure by the Germans, the Turks had to concentrate first in the East. Enver, The Turkish Minister of War, had already strengthened the Third army based at Erzurum (Shaw page 314) which covered the entire area of north eastern Anatolia. Enver made a last effort to secure the Turkish Armenians but a meeting in Erzurum with Armenian leaders was unsuccessful. Armenian leaders told Enver only that they wanted to remain neutral but their sympathy for the Russians was evident. Hovannisian (page 42) also writes that “although most Armenians maintained a correct attitude vis-à-vis the Ottoman government, it can be asserted with some substantiation that the manifestations of loyalty were insincere, for the sympathy of most Armenians throughout the world was with the Entente, not with the Central powers.

By autumn 1914, several prominent Ottoman Armenians (Hovannisian page 42) including former members of parliament, had slipped away to the Caucasus to collaborate with Russian military officials.

Whereas the Armenians of Turkey tried to convince the Turkish government that they would stay neutral, those of Russia begged Tsar Nicholas II for the opportunity to undertake more than normal obligations. Samson Haruturian, President of the National Bureau, declared to the Tsar: “From all countries Armenians are hurrying to enter the ranks of the glorious Russian Army, with their blood to serve the victory of Russian armies. Let the Russian flag wave freely over the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. Let with your will, Great Majesty, the peoples remaining under the Turkish yoke receive freedom.”

War in the Caucasus started in December of 1914. The 100,000 strong army of Enver moved swiftly towards Kars and Sarikamis and forced the Russian armies to retreat. However, Enver failed (Hovannisian page 46) to take precautions against a severe winter. When epidemics of typhus and cholera augmented the heavy casualties, the army vanished by the beginning of January. By January 12 the Russian troops regained the prewar boundaries and started advancing into Ottoman territory.

In the initial stages of the Caucasus campaign the Russians had demonstrated the best means of organizing a campaign by evacuating the Armenians from their side of the border to clear the area for the battle, with the Armenians going quite willingly in the expectation that a Russian victory would soon enable them not merely to return to their homes, but also to occupy those of the Turks across the border. Nearly seventy thousand Armenians uprooted from the battle zone fled towards Erevan and Tiflis. Enver followed their (Shaw page 315) example to prepare the Ottoman side and to assist the expected spring offensive. The Armenian leaders in any case now declared their open support of the enemy. The four Armenian voluntary units were among forces which participated in a fierce battle at the Sarikamis.

In April 1915, even before the deportation orders were issued, Dashnaks from Russian Armenia organized a revolt in the city of Van whose Armenian population comprised 42.3% of the population. The Russian Army of the Caucasus also began an offensive toward (Shaw page 310) Van with the help of a large force of Armenian volunteers recruited among refugees from Anatolia as well as local Caucasian residents. Leaving Erevan on April 28th, a day after the deportation orders had been issued and long before news of them reached the east, they reached Van on May 14 and organized and carried out a general slaughter of the local Muslim population.

The Armenian newspaper Gochnak, published in the United States, also proudly reported on May 24, 1915 that “only 1500 Turks remain in Van”, the rest of the 60,000 Turks had been slaughtered within a couple of days.
On May 26, the Minister of the Interior, Talat Pasha, sent a communiqué concerning the Armenian deportations: “Because some of the Armenians who are living near the war zones have obstructed the activities of the Imperial Ottoman Army, which had been entrusted with defending the frontiers against the country’s enemies: because they impede the movements of provisions and troops: because they have made common cause with the enemy and especially they have attacked military forces within the country, the innocent population, killing and plundering and because it is necessary that rebellious activities and that villages which are the bases and shelter for these rebels should be vacated, certain measures are being adopted among which is deportation of the Armenians from the Van, Bitlis, Erzurum vilayets: the counties of Adana, Mersin, Kozan (Hovannisian page 50) except for the cities of Adana, Sis and Mersin: the Maras Sancak, except for Maras itself, and the Iskenderun, Beylan and Antakya districts of Halep vilayet, except for the administrative city of each. It is being announced that the Armenians are to be sent to the following places: Mosul vilayet, Zor Sancak, southern Urfa, eastern and south eastern Halep and the eastern part of the Syrian vilayet.” Four days later, on May 30, the Ottoman Council of Ministers confirmed the necessity of deportation and approved the following provision:

1. To safeguard the person and possessions of the deportees until they had reached their destination.

2. To compensate the deportees with new property, land and goods necessary for a comfortable life.

3. To permit Moslem refugees to inhabit the abandoned villages only after having officially recorded the value of the homes and land and making clear that the property still belonged to the legal owners.

4. To sell or rent those fields, properties and goods not settled by Moslem refugees and to keep in the treasury, in the owner’s name, an account of the derived income.

5. To authorize the Finance Minister to create special committees to supervise these transactions and to publish circulars pertaining to the compensations for the properties and their protection.

6. To oblige all officials to comply with the law and report to the government during the course of its fulfillment.

This was followed by a series of communiqués, the originals of which are kept in the files bearing the number 9158 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the State Archives of the United Kingdom.

- Document No. 173 dated July 23rd. The Catholics should be excluded from this deportation procedure.
- Dated July 20th; information was received that the moveable goods of the Armenians who are to be transported to other areas have been sold at very low prices and thus the owners of the said goods suffered losses:

a) The entry and free movement of all strangers and suspicious persons in these areas should be prohibited.
b) If there are any persons who purchased Armenian goods at low prices, necessary measures were to be taken to cancel the purchase.
c) The Armenians are to be allowed to take with them all kinds of goods they desire.

- Document No. 170 dated August 2nd: Of the Armenians to be deported, the families of soldiers and officers as well as military doctors will be left in the areas where they are presently settled, they should not be transported to other areas.
- Dated August 2nd: The transport of the Protestant sect shall be stopped.
- Dated August 4th: Deportation of the Armenian officials, workers and employees working at the railways who carry service documents and their families should be stopped.
- Document No 190: The Armenians to be displaced are to be provided with food and the expenses of food for the poor Armenians will be met from the immigration fund.
- The districts where the deported Armenians are gathered should be constantly inspected and watched.
- Document No. 192 dated August 25th: If any attack takes place against the Armenian immigrants in the transportation centers and during the transport, the attackers should be arrested and court-martialled.
- The officials, who receive gifts and bribes from the immigrants and who assault women by promises, threats and other ways or make illegitimate relations with them, should be instantly dismissed from their duties. Such officials will be court-martialled and will be sentenced to the heaviest punishments.
- If the officials responsible for the work of transport of immigrants and those who supervise the transport work, are indifferent and neglectful, deductions will be made in their salaries.

The instructions of the Ottoman government, of which some of the things summarized above do not in any way promote or support any massacres but, on the contrary, try to contain any wrongdoing against the Armenians. Armenian propaganda claiming that massacres were an Ottoman government policy requires proof that such a decision was, in fact, made. For this purpose the Armenians produced a number of telegrams attributed to Talat Pasha, supposedly found by British forces commanded by General Allenby when they captured Halep in 1918. It was claimed that they were found in the office of an Ottoman official named Naim Bey, and that they were not destroyed only because the British occupation came with unexpected speed. These documents were, however, entirely fabricated and anything derived from them, therefore, cannot be sustained. They were, in fact, published by British newspapers in 1922, which also attributed them to a discovery made by Allenby’s army. But when the British Foreign Office enquired about them at the War Office, and with Allenby himself, it was discovered that they had been produced by an Armenian group in Paris.

Following the Entente occupation of Istanbul, the British and the French arrested a number of Ottoman political and military figures and some intellectuals on charges of war crimes. In this they were given substantial assistance by the Ottoman Liberal Union Party which had been placed in power by the Sultan after the war, and which was anxious to do anything it could to destroy the Union and Progress Party and its leaders, who had long been political enemies. Most of the prisoners were sent off to imprisonment in Malta, but the four Union and Progress leaders, who had fled the country just before the occupation, were tried and sentenced to death in absentia. Three other government officials were sentenced to death and executed but it was discovered later that the evidence on which the convictions had been based was false.

In the meantime, the British looked everywhere to find evidence against those who had been sent to Malta. Despite the complete cooperation of the Ottoman Liberal Union government, nothing incriminating could be found among the Ottoman government documents. Similar searches in the British archives were fruitless. Finally, in desperation, the British Foreign Office turned to the American archives in Washington but, in reply, one of their representatives, R C. Craigie, wrote to Lord Curzon (Ref. British Foreign Office Archives, 371/6504/8519: 14 July 1921). “I regret to inform your Lordship that there was nothing therein which could be used as evidence against the Turks who are at present being detained in Malta…. No concrete facts being given which could constitute satisfactory incriminating evidence….. The reports in question do not appear in any case to contain evidence against these Turks which would be useful even for the purpose of corroborating information already in the possession of His Majesty’s Government”.

Uncertain as to what should be done with the prisoners, who had already been held for two years without trial, and without even any charges being filed or evidence produced, the Foreign Office applied for advice to the Law Officers of the Crown in London, who concluded on July 29, 1921. “Up to the present no statements have been taken from witnesses who can depose to the truth of the charges made against the prisoners. It is indeed uncertain whether any witnesses can be found”. (British Foreign Office Archives, 371/6504/8745).

At this time the documents “discovered by Allenby” were available, but despite their desperate search for evidence, which could be presented in a court of law, the British never used them because they were forgeries. As a result, the prisoners were quietly released in 1922, without charges ever having been filed or evidence produced.

There is some circumstantial evidence against Armenian claims. An American Aid Organization called “The Near-East Relief Society” was allowed by the Ottoman Government to stay and fulfill its functions in Anatolia during the deportations. Even following the entry of the USA into war on the side of Entente powers against the Ottoman Empire, the same organization was permitted to remain in Anatolia. Many American authors refer to this organization, when they refer to the history of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. In this case, if an order to “massacre Armenians” had been issued, would the Ottoman Government have allowed an American organization to witness the “massacres?”

Secondly, if the Ottoman Government had decided to massacre the Armenians, why would they undertake such a big task of large-scale deportation; instead they could have murdered the Armenians far more easily in their own villages without drawing the attention of foreign observers.

Thirdly, even the Armenian sources accept that not all Armenians were deported (Housepian page. 26-29). Protestants and Catholics were excluded, so were most city dwellers and skilled craftsmen, as well as doctors and interpreters. If the motive was a wholesale massacre, why would the Ottoman Government leave witnesses behind? The Germans in World War II did not take exceptions and, in fact, involved everybody who had some Jewish blood.

Another important aspect of the deportation decision is the question of who had made the decision. The Ottoman Government at the time was under full German influence. Even the Ottoman armies were under German command. Therefore, Ottoman leaders could not have taken such a decision without German consent.

Housepian (page 30), an Armenian, points out the deportations did not trouble the Germans; according to Morgenthau it was, in fact, the Germans who had originally suggested the deportations, and Julius Kalisky, a German Social Democrat, responded to appeals for saving the Armenians on grounds of economic expedience by suggesting that “the business talents of the Armenians might be adequately replaced by those of the Jews.”

Powell states that “Certain it is, however, the scheme was encouraged, if not actually abetted, by the German military party, which saw in the energetic and ambitious Armenians, already highly successful in industry and finance, a menace to the scheme for bringing the whole of Turkey under German economic domination. The Young Turks, be it understood, were hand in glove with the militarists of Berlin, whose emissaries, in the guise of military advisers, instructors, consuls, traders and the like, were working indefatigably throughout the sultan’s dominions laying the foundations for the meditated Drang nach Osten.”

Tobin (page 72) asserts that “the German officers and civilians instigated with Prussian thoroughness the wholesale deportations of the Armenians from near the front. Deportations, historians agree, were not an impetuous act of fanatical Moslems bent on exterminating Christians. They were the result of the cold-blooded political policy of a weak Ottoman government influenced by the Prussians. It was the Prussians’ secret conviction that this was the logical time to eliminate a talented people whose functions in the Empire they intended to take over entirely after military victory had been achieved.”

Dr. Lepsius who was given full access to the files of the German Foreign Ministry after the war, published many of the relevant documents in his volume “Deutschland und Armenien”, 1914-1918. According to one record, Baron von Wangenheim, the German Ambassador in Istanbul, telegraphed Berlin on May 31st, 1915 as follows: To limit Armenian espionage and to prevent extensive risings, Enver Pasha means to close a large number of Armenian schools, to suppress Armenian postal correspondence and Armenian newspapers, and to settle in Mesopotamia all Armenian families which are not entirely free from suspicion. He asks urgently that Germany should not interfere with him in this.

Of course, these Turkish measures will once more cause great excitement among all the powers hostile to Germany and will be exploited against us. These measures are certainly very harsh for the Armenians. However, I am of the opinion that we may only try to mitigate their form, but must not hinder them on principle.”
Whether it was the Ottoman Government who initiated the deportations as military measures, all the Germans who initiated them behind economical considerations, one thing is unquestionable, the Germans knew about the decision in advance and they approved it.

Before we close this subject, I would like to shed some light on the composition of the Turkish Government of the time. Powell (page 111), who had many personal acquaintances among the Young Turks leaders, claims that they were far from being religious bigots. The majority of them were, on the contrary, free masons of the European brand, who were opposed to the interjection of religion in politics, and some of them, such as Cavit, were actually Jews.

E. Statistics

In this section, three questions will be addressed:

1. What was the Armenian population before World War 1?
2. Did the Armenians constitute the majority in Eastern Anatolia?
3. How many Turks and Armenians were killed?

Powell, in his book published in 1925, claims that fairly reliable statistics are unobtainable. However, “it is estimated that the total number of Armenians in the world does not exceed three million, of whom about a million and a half are in Turkey” (Powell page 100).

According to a 1914 issue of a French magazine “Illustration”, the total population of Armenians in the so called “Turkish Armenia” was 714,121. A 1910 issue of the Encyclopedia Britannica quotes “Accurate statistics cannot be obtained, but it is estimated that in the nine vilayets which include Turkish Armenia, there are 925,000 Gregorian, Roman Catholic and Protestant Armenians. The total number of Armenians is estimated at 2,900,000 (in Turkey 1,500,000; in Russia 1,000,000; in Persia 150,000; in Europe and America 250,000).

However, according to recent studies of Stanford S. Shaw, Professor of Ottoman History at UCLA, there was a census system in the Ottoman Empire. Since the census system was started in 1831, before the Armenian-Turkish conflict started and the objective was to determine the taxes, there is no reason to believe in any foul play. According to that census, there were 989,000 Gregorians, 90,000 Armenian Catholics, and 36,000 Protestants in the Ottoman Empire in 1885 (Shaw page 332).

During the reign of Abdulhamit, the Census Department was directed by Migirdich Efendi, an Armenian who, following a common practice at the time tended to staff it with young members of his own millet (Shaw page 333).

In 1906, the census indicated that there were 1,050,000 Gregorians, 90,000 Armenian Catholics and 54,000 Protestants in the Empire.

The final census that was published in March 1914 indicated that there were 1,161,000 Gregorians, 68,000 Armenian Catholics and 66,000 Protestants.

Shaw also concludes that “there is no evidence to substantiate accusations that records were falsified for political purposes. Indeed, Ottoman reluctance to publish their figures as well as procedures, if anything, seems to indicate the reverse. Not perfect then, by any means, but probably as good as contemporary efforts in the other nations of Europe and far more accurate than rough estimates left by foreign visitors (Shaw page 336).

Now, let us address the second question if Armenians constituted the majority in any districts of the Empire. According to Morgenthau, who is a strong Armenian advocate, “Van is the only large town in Asia Minor in which the Armenian population is larger than the Moslem” (Shaw page 293).

Britannica agrees with this statement to some degree: “The Armenians, taking the most favorable estimate, are in a majority in nine kazas or sub-districts only (seven near Van and two near Mush).
Shaw does not even accept that claiming only 42.3% of Van’s population was Armenian.

But, whatever the population of Van the important conclusion is that the Armenians were not in the majority in Turkish Armenia.

Illustration quotes the Turkish population in Turkish Armenia to be 3,674,878 vs 714,121 Armenians, a ratio of 5:1.

Britannica, basing the data to General Zelenyi of the Caucasus Geographical Society, claims the population of Turkish Armenia was 6 million, of which 15% were Armenians and 74% Turkish Moslems.

According to Powell, “In the region corresponding to Armenia, the Armenians are nowhere, save, perhaps in a few towns, in a majority over the Moslems. This the Armenians themselves admit, but they also claim that, were the administration of the region placed in their hands and backed up by a European Army of occupation, the Moslems would eventually move elsewhere in preference to living under Christian Rule” (Powell page 54).

The last question is the most difficult of the three. This is not a simple subtraction. It is claimed 60 million Europeans died during World War I as a result of four years of a severe war, famine and diseases. One must accept that, many Armenians as well as Turks died because of war, famine and diseases and many escaped to Russia, the Middle East or Europe.

Powell estimates that “not far from half a million Armenians perished in Asia Minor.” He also adds that “unbiased judges are of the opinion that during 1914-22, as many Moslems were massacred in Asia Minor by Armenians and Greeks as there were Christians massacred during the same interval by Moslems” (Powell page 115).
According to Shaw, of the 1.3 million Armenians, about 400,000 were deported and half a million subsequently fled to Caucasus. “Since about 100,000 Armenians lived in the Empire afterwards and about 200,000 immigrated to Europe and the USA, one can assume that about 200,000 perished as a result, not only of the transportation, but also of the same conditions of famine, diseases and war action that carried away some two million Moslems at the same time.

Justin McCarthy, Professor of Middle-East history at Louisville College, Kentucky, claimed during a TV debate on Channel 26 – WETA, that as many as 2.2 million Turks lost their lives during the war at the hands of Greeks and Armenians, whereas about 600,000 Armenians died as a result of massacres and deportation.


A. Armenians’ Historical Rights.

Although, in the past, many nations claimed certain regions as theirs by some dubious historical rights, nowhere, except a few regions which are economically insignificant, changed hands without the use of force. If the British are giving up Hong Kong, it is not because they recognize the historical rights of the Chinese, but because they know they cannot defend Hong Kong, and by giving up Hong Kong without war, they believe they can gain certain privileges to British business both in Hong Kong and mainland China. Same British fought for the Falklands, although historically and geographically, these islands belonged to Argentina.

Many wars throughout history were started with the excuses of historical rights to certain regions. Internationally, historical rights are not recognized excuses to gain rule of land. If historical rights were accepted, then both North and South America should be handed over to the original owners of these lands. But that cannot happen. More important than historical rights, is the composition of the population and this is the factor behind many United Nations decisions made on the subject.

Even if the Armenians had historical rights to Eastern Anatolia, that does not have any significance since 99% of the population in Eastern Anatolia is composed of Moslems today.

But the fact is that the Armenians have no right to claim historical rights to Eastern Anatolia.

Referring to Section III.A, in the last 2,600 years for which we have accurate information, the Armenians lived in these lands with many other ethnic groups, but they only ruled these lands briefly between 189BC and 28BC. In other words, they ruled the regions which they call Armenia for only 187 years out of last 2,600 years. The Armenians also gained independence three more times but, the lands they ruled were a fraction of what they call Armenia. Between 886-1045, under Arab rule they enjoyed partial independence in the province of Ararat. In 1080-1375, they ruled Cilicia and in 1919 they won independence in Soviet Armenia for a brief three years. These lands on the other hand were ruled for 400 years by the Persians, 300 years by the Macedonians, 400 years by the Romans and Parthians, 400 years by the Arabs, 300 years by the Seljuk Turks and 600 years by the Ottoman Turks and the Turkish Republic.

One may say, that even if the Armenians did not rule, they inhabited these lands for almost three thousand years, shouldn’t that mean something. Yes, but the Turks, Tartars and Kurds also lived in this region and they outnumbered the Armenians by far and they have more rights than the Armenians.

B. Populations before World War I.

Referring to Section IV.E, independent sources claim that the Armenian population made up only 15% of the total population of Eastern provinces or the so-called Turkish Armenia. According to Patriarchate estimates that Hovannisian refers to in his book, this figure was 38.9%. However, elsewhere he stated that the figures were somewhat distorted; “yet, even if the maximal figures of the Patriarchate are accepted as accurate, there is conclusive evidence that the Armenian population in the Eastern provinces did not represent a majority.”

According to independent sources, the total population of Armenians in the Empire before the war broke down was about 1,500,000 of which 700,000-900,000 lived in the eastern provinces. Ottoman census figures indicate that the total Armenian population was about 1,300,000.

Of the 1.3 to 1.5 million Armenians in the Empire, about 350,000-500,000 escaped to Russia, about 200,000 left for Europe or the USA, about 200,00 – 300,000 safely arrived in the Middle-East during deportations and 100,000 remained in Turkey. That leaves us with 350,000-500,000 that are not accounted for. So less than half a million and not 1.5 million as Armenians claim, lost their lives through four years of war, famine, diseases and killings, along with 2 million Turks who died the same way.

C. Is it Genocide?

The answer is NO; no, it is not genocide!

First of all, if it had been genocide, the death toll figures would have been much higher. We figured out that no more than half a million Armenians of the Ottoman Empire could have lost their lives during 1914-1922. If 85,000 soldiers of Enver’s modern army lost their lives to typhus and cholera in a matter of two weeks, we can easily assume that at least two thirds of Armenian casualties, if not more, were a result of famine and disease. Those 150,000 Armenians may have been killed, mostly due to war activities or by local Turks or Kurds who had been taking revenge or taking advantage of anarchy in the war regions. Stories of many local Turks and some Jews, too, taking revenge on the Armenians who terrorized them for years, are still talked about.

Secondly, any killing of Armenians was started after the Armenians chose to fight against the Turks; it was many years after the Dashnaks started organizing fighting bands, arming people, organizing revolutionary committees and terrorizing the government officials (Nalbandian page 168). The Armenian revolution started in 1862; according to Armenian sources, the “so called” massacres took place in 1895 and again in 1915-1922 according to the same sources. Therefore, this was not a case where the rulers terrorized the peaceful, loyal and innocent subjects; this was a war against the minority rebels, against the insurgents who, with the help they received from the Western Powers, attempted to dominate and rule other ethnic groups who were larger in number than themselves.
Thirdly; a genocide, which by definition is a deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic group, requires organized action as in the case of the Jewish Holocaust. It will require government decisions and orders. Whereas Istanbul was invaded at the end of the war by the British, all the archives confiscated and about 200 Ottoman leaders were put in jail in Malta, they were later released due to lack of evidence. If it was an organized action by the Ottoman leaders, how could they have destroyed all the evidence? The Germans could not hide the evidence of Holocaust after World War II, how could the Ottoman leaders be so successful of leaving no evidence behind them. If it was a deliberate action by the Ottoman leaders, would they be foolish enough to let the American Missionaries operate in the Eastern Provinces at the same time as they were destroying the same ethnic group the Missionaries were trying to convert to their religion. All Ottoman Government documents are now kept in the British archives and there is enough evidence in those documents that Ottoman leaders tried to protect the Armenians as much as possible at the time of deportation.

Fourthly, there was no reason for the Turks to destroy the Armenians, had they not rebelled. For over five centuries, the Armenians were highly trusted and were rewarded with high positions in government. Armenians were allowed to rule themselves. Their religion or ethnic differences had not been a cause for any irritation by the Ottoman leaders for at least 400 years.

Fifthly, more Turks lost their lives than Armenians. Whereas a maximum 500,000 Armenians might have lost their lives, more than 2 million Turks died during the same period in the Eastern provinces. Even the wildest Armenian claims that put the Armenian death toll at around 1.5 million falls short of Turkish casualties. If it was genocide of an innocent ethnic group by the rulers, how come the rulers lost so many more lives? The fact is that four years of war activities, famine and disease took the lives of the rulers as well as the ruled. Casualties during the war are in the same ratio as pre-war populations.

V. Why is the Press Pro-Armenian?

However convinced you are with the assertions and conclusions drawn so far, you may be wondering why then, for a century, you heard only the Armenian side of the story. Let’s leave the answers to two American and one British author. The British author, Arnold Toynbee, is a well-known historian. The Americans are Richard Dunn, a naval attaché in Turkey and E. Powell, who is also an historian. All three of them were in the Ottoman Empire and/or the Republic of Turkey numerous times in the 1910s and 1920s and had close relations with the Turks, Greeks and Armenians.

Toynbee (page 90): “Great Britain would not readily relinquish the policy initiated by her Prime Minister. He, too, wielded a screen (the diplomatist’s substitute for a butler). In his case, it was the protection of the Christian Minorities hitherto subject, and here also there was a traditional public sentiment to give the diplomatic form of subject.”

Toynbee (page 269): “Our western ancestors were more provident than those of our Turkish contemporaries. In most western states, they took the necessary steps, before the end of the seventeenth century, to secure homogeneity of population where it did not exist already. But in provinces like Ireland or Bohemia, where they skimped their work, their descendants have reacted to the same stimulus as the Turks and the Greeks in Anatolia.”

Dunn (page 328-9): As a British M.P. said in the Commons “The voice behind the throne is probably Sir Basil Zaharoff’s. Few but his fellow war-profiteers then knew the name of a small wiry man who was Europe’s richest. Zaharoff had a British title and French citizenship. He posed as a Greek but was born in Istanbul. I first heard of him from an American who knew about more than Mosul oil.”

Dunn (page 422): “The main reason for British commercial and territorial expansion in the Near-East was oil. The Baku area was considered small in comparison with the untapped deposits along the Tigris in Kurdistan and Mesopotamia around Mosul. These, the British claimed on the grounds of a prewar concession from the Turkish government to a company that was British controlled; with a German interest later transferred to the French and then it was said transferred to Sir Basil Zaharoff.”

Powell (page 32): “Throughout the four years of the Great War, the Allies used propaganda against the Turks as a recognized weapon, just as they used it against the Germans. To this protracted long range bombardment, the ammunition for which has consisted in about equal parts of truths, half-truths and untruths, the Turk has had no opportunity to reply; first, because he has had few, if any, spokesmen in Western Europe and the United Stated and secondly, because the cables and the columns of the West European and American press have been, to all intents and purposes, closed to him. So far as being able to place his side of the case before the outside world went, the Turk has been, and in a large measure, still is, incommunicado.

Powell (page 40): “Yet, when the news of Mustafa Kemal’s victorious onset and the annihilation of the Greek Army reached this country, press and pulpit joined in threats to ‘kick the Turk, bag and baggage, our of Europe’ or to ‘wipe Turkey off the map’.”

Powell (page 43): “We regard the Turk as a tyrant and, he was, yet he gave the people of Mesopotamia and Syria a considerably greater measure of autonomy than they enjoy today under British and French mandates, which explains, perhaps, why a majority of the inhabitants of these regions want him back again.”

Toynbee (page 78): Within the first few weeks of the Greek landing in Izmir, so much bloodshed and destruction occurred that the Allied governments sent a commission of senior officers, under the presidency of Admiral Bristol, the US High Commissioner in Istanbul, to put a stop to the fighting and establish the responsibility for the atrocities already committed. They reported on the crimes committed but their report has never been published by their governments. There is no doubt that the ‘Big Three’ were morally as well as technically responsible for the consequences of this particular decision.”

Dunn (page 328-9): “The Commission urged unanimously that all Greek forces evacuate the Izmir area, returning it to Turkey. What happened? Almost angrily, Paris rejected every finding. Unofficially it admitted that the findings were according to the facts and justified by them. Officially, it found technical grounds for rejecting a report which struck at plans for the commercial exploitation of the Near-East. The Big Four action was conditioned by these plans and by the sympathy of the British Government, because of religious, traditional and its own imperialist aims for Greek expansion into Asia-Minor under the guise of ‘liberating’ Christians there.”

Powell (page 39): “A case in point was the burning of Izmir in September 1922. There was scarcely a newspaper of importance in the United States that did not editorially lay the outrage at the door of the Turks, without waiting to hear the Turkish version, yet, after it had been attested by American, English and French eyewitnesses and by a French commission of inquiry, that the city had been deliberately fired by the Greeks and Armenians in order to prevent it falling into Turkish hands, how many newspapers had the courage to admit that they had done the Turks a grave injustice.”

Toynbee (page 32): “In 1921, an Englishman calling an official at the British Embassy in Istanbul had to make his way through a cordon of Greek or Armenian door-keepers, interpreters and clerks before he could get into touch with one of his countrymen. Sometimes one had difficulties, and then wondered what happened to Turks on similar errands, with the rival nationality holding the gates and no other avenue to their English superiors. The employment of Armenians as military interpreters seemed a particularly hazardous policy.”

Powell (page 21): “Because an American (Morgenthau) who was once ambassador in Istanbul, where his facilities for first-hand investigations were limited by the diplomatic restrictions which hedge all ambassadors, an Englishman (Toynbee) who was once secretary to Lloyd George and is now an apologist for the policies of his discredited chief, a bishop whose church has expanded millions in supporting missionaries in Armenia, all assert that the Turk is a confirmed murderer and tyrant incapable of reformation, who can never take his place in civilized society, that does not make their assertions true.”

Dunn (page 328): It was clear now papers Venizelos (Greek Premier) had waved in the Hall of Mirrors with Lloyd George (English Premier) and Clemenceau (French Premier) were forgeries and the chairman Bristol weighed ‘that Izmir was seized as a consequence of two falsified papers documented to Peace Conference.”

Powell (page 21): “Consciously or unconsciously, both press and pulpit have systematically concealed the facts whenever the publication of the facts might tend to cast discredit on Christian nations or redound to the credit of the Turks.”

Toynbee (page 34): “An unbroken belt of Greek territory separated Turkey in 1921 from every other state in Europe. You could not telegraph from Istanbul or Izmir to London or Paris without running the gauntlet of the Greek censorship, for the marine cable passes through a transmitting station on the Greek island of Syra, and the overland wire from Istanbul crosses Eastern Thrace.”

Powell (page 34): “Probably 99% of the editorials on Turkish affairs in American newspapers are written by men who have themselves never been in Turkey and who, I will wager, do not number a real Ottoman Turk among their acquaintances.”

Toynbee (page 90): “But public feeling is no more rational in England than in France. It is inclined to take satisfaction in the liberation of one Christian from Moslem Rule, even if this involves the subjection and oppression of ten Moslems.”
Powell (page 33): “I wonder if Americans are aware that fully nine-tenths of the dispatches regarding Near-Eastern affairs which appeared in American newspapers came from anti-Turkish sources.”

Dunn (page 347): “Our reports informed the American government that ‘constant appeals are received to protect Armenians from massacre, while the continual provocation given to the Moslems by the Armenians in extending their political control, in driving Moslems into exile and destroying their villages, are facts not told our people’. This we know from observation; I confirmed it by experience when I joined the campaign of Armenia’s General Dro.”

Powell (page 35): “Another cause of American misconceptions regarding Turkey is traceable to the missionaries……… Very early in their work the American missionaries discovered that Moslems do not change their faith, so they devoted their energies to religious, educational and medical work among the Christian minorities, particularly the Armenians ………Having been rebuffed by the Moslem Turks and welcomed with open arms by the Christian Armenians, it is scarcely surprising that they espoused the cause of the latter.”

Toynbee (page 297): “During the year that the Greek occupation of Izmir had lasted (July 1920 to June 1921), the war of extermination had gone to such lengths, and the local Greek civilians had compromised themselves so deeply by participation, that the entire native Christian population took its departure with the troops. Naturally, they felt savage. They vented their rage on their Turkish civilian neighbors, while they still had them in their power.”

Powell (page 37): “In attempting to gain the ear of the American public, Turkey has been enormously handicapped by the insignificant number of Turks in this country. The Greeks and Armenians in the United States outnumber the Turks by at least thirty to one.”

Dunn (page 425): “………..big party at which, of course, ‘champagne flowed like water’ and girls did the ‘hootchy-cootchy’. ‘Dimes of Sunday school children pay for a Near-East Relief belly dance’ wrote Larry Rue for the Chicago Tribute. The author of fake massacre wails from starving Armenia then libeled Larry, who sued and won his case.”

Powell (page 52): “Debarred by their religion from attaining political positions, Christians devoted themselves to trade and banking, quickly becoming the natural channels of European commerce; which eventually passed almost entirely into their hands. Thus, the Christians steadily waxed rich while their Moslem competitors became poor.”

Powell (page 104): “Yet the undeniable fact remains that Armenians lived for centuries in comparative security and certainly with a very large measure of prosperity as Ottoman subjects.”

Toynbee (page 354): “Turks’ crimes are undoubtedly exaggerated in the popular Western denunciations, and similar crimes committed by Christians in parallel situations are always passed over silence.”

Powell (page 134): The American Consul-General, Mr. George Horton, whose wife is Greek and who, therefore, is naturally pro-Greek in his sympathies, lays the blame (for burning Izmir) upon the Turks.”

Dunn (page 324): “The French General winced “Clemenceau (French Premier) is a poor man’ he said. ‘His son married the daughter of the Greek Premier, who is very rich’. And the gossip was Venizelos got Izmir for her dot.
Admiral Chester of the US Navy (page 1): “There are no prejudices against Christians in Turkey (in 1922), let alone killing of Christians. Massacres of the past were enormously exaggerated by prejudiced writers and speakers.”
VI. Armenian Atrocities of Today

The following individuals have been murdered by Armenian terrorists within the last two decades:

1. Mehmet Baydar, Consul-General of Turkey, January 27, 1973 in Los Angeles, USA.
2. Bahadir Demir, Consul-General of Turkey, January 27, 1973 in Los Angeles, USA.
3. Danis Tunaligil, Ambassador of Turkey, October 22, 1975 in Vienna, Austria.
4. Ismail Erez, Ambassador of Turkey, October 24, 1975 in Paris, France.
5. Talip Yener, Driver of Ambassador, October 24, 1975 in Paris, France.
6. Oktay Cirit, First Secretary, Turkish Embassy, February 16, 1976 in Beirut, Lebanon.
7. Taha Carim, Ambassador of Turkey, June 9, 1977 in Vatican City.
8. Necla Kuneralp, Wife of the Ambassador, June 2, 1978 in Madrid, Spain.
9. Besir Balcioglu, retired Ambassador of Turkey, June 2, 1978 in Madrid, Spain.
10. Ahmet Benler, son of the Ambassador of Turkey, October 12, 1979 in The Hague, Netherlands.
11. Yilmax Colpan, Counselor for Tourism, Turkish Embassy, December 22, 1979 in Paris, France.
12. Galip Ozmen, Attaché, Turkish Embassy, July 31, 1980 in Athens, Greece.
13. Neslihan Ozmen, daughter of the Turkish Attaché, July 31, 1980 in Athens, Greece.
14. Dr. Resat Morali, Labor Attaché, Turkish Embassy, March 4, 1981 in Paris, France.
15. Tecelli Ari, Religious Affairs Official at the Turkish Embassy, March 4 1981 in Paris, France.
16. Mehmet Yerguz, Official at the Turkish Consulate-General, June 9, 1981 in Bern, Switzerland.
17. Cemal Ozen, Security Officer at the Turkish Consulate, September 24, 1981 in Paris, France during a raid where they also held 40 people as hostages.
18. Kemal Arikan, Turkish Consul-General, January 28, 1982 in Los Angeles, USA.

1. World Alive by Robert Dunn
2. Men are Like That by Leonard Ramsden Hartill
3. The Smyrna Affair by Marjorie Housepian
4. Armenia on the Road to Independence by Richard G. Hovannisian, 1969
5. The Diplomacy of Imperialism by William L. Langer
6. Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story by Henry Morgenthau, 1918
7. The Armenian Revolutionary Movement by Louise Nalbandian, 1963
8. The Struggle for Power in Moslem Asia by Alexander Powell, 1925
9. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey by Stanford J. Shaw, 1977
10. Turkey, Key to the East by Chester M. Tobin
11. The Western Question in Greece and Turkey by Arnold J. Toynbee, 1922

This paper was originally written in 1983 and edited in 2005.