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I plan to collect historical documents and articles by various authors in this blog, usually without comments. Opinions expressed within the articles belong to the authors and do not always coincide with those of mine.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Armenian Atrocities in Eastern Anatolia

Source: Stanford J. Shaw, on Armenian collaboration with invading Russian armies in 1914, "History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (Volume II: Reform, Revolution & Republic: The Rise of Modern Turkey, 1808-1975)." (London, Cambridge University Press 1977). pp. 315-316:

"With the Russian invasion of eastern Anatolia in 1914 at the beginning of World War I, the degree of Armenian collaboration with the Ottoman's enemy increased drastically. Ottoman supply lines were cut by guerilla attacks, Armenian revolutionaries armed Armenian civil populations, who in turn massacred the Muslim population of the province of Van in anticipation of expected arrival of the invading Russian armies... In April 1915 Dashnaks from Russian Armenia organized a revolt in the city of Van, whose 33,789 Armenians comprised 42.3 percent of the population, closest to an Armenian majority of any city in the Empire... Leaving Erivan on April 28, 1915, Armenian volunteers reached Van on May 14 and organized and carried out a general slaughter of the local Muslim population during the next two days while the small Ottoman garrison had to retreat to the southern side of the lake."

Source: Hassan Arfa, "The Kurds," (London, 1968), pp. 25-26:

"When the Russian armies invaded Turkey after the Sarikamish disaster of 1914, their columns were preceded by battalions of irregular Armenian volunteers, both from the Caucasus and from Turkey. One of these was commanded by a certain Andranik, a blood-thirsty adventurer.. These Armenian volunteers committed all kinds of excesses, more than six hundred thousand Kurds being killed between 1915 and 1916 in the eastern vilayets of Turkey."

Source: Justin McCarthy and Carolyn McCarthy, Turks and Armenians, Washington DC, 1989:

Page 49:

"Armenian revolutionaries had secreted arms in the City of Van and surrounding villages. Throughout April 1915, Armenian rebels infiltrated the city, which was policed only by small detachments of security forces. Clashes with Ottoman police in the city began on April 13. By April 20, the rebels had begun to fire on police stations, other government buildings, and Muslim houses. The security forces were defeated and forced to withdraw from the city in the first part of May. During and immediately after the Armenian takeover the Muslims who could not escape the city were killed, as were the Muslim inhabitants of surrounding villages which came under Armenian control. In one incident, Muslims from villages to the North of Van were herded into the village of Zeve, where all but a few of the approximately 3000 Muslim villagers were killed. Similar incidents took place throughout the region. In Van itself, the entire Muslim quarter of the city was destroyed. No Muslims were left alive in the city. Refugees were set upon the roads by Armenian guerrillas, who killed untold numbers."

Page 50:

"The terror of Van was repeated in other cities as the Russians and Armenians advanced. In Bitlis and other cities Muslim men, women, and children were hunted down and murdered in the streets. Villagers fled before the advancing armies to be massacred on the roads by Armenian guerrilla units."

Source: Justin McCarthy, Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922, The Darwin Press, 2nd Printing, 1996, pp. 186-187:

"Armenian plans to take eastern cities were brought into force once the war began. For the sake of understanding the chronology of massacre and counter massacre in the region, it should be understood that these and other revolutionary activities took place well before any orders for deportation of Armenians were given. The revolts or attacks on Ottoman forces in Van, Zeytun, Muş, Reşadiye, Gevaş, and other cities and towns all began before the Ottoman order of deportation  (26 May 1915). By May of 1915, eastern Anatolia was already in the midst of a civil war."

Source: John Dewey, "The Turkish Tragedy", The New Republic, Volume 40, November 12, 1928, pp. 268-269:

"Few Americans who mourn... the miseries of the Armenians, are aware that till the rise of nationalistic ambitions, beginning with the 'seventies, the Armenians were the favored portion of the population of Turkey, or that in the Great War, they traitorously turned Turkish cities over to the Russian invader; that they boasted of having raised an army of one hundred and fifty thousand men to fight a civil war, and that they burned at least a hundred Turkish villages and exterminated their population."

Source: Justin McCarthy, Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922, The Darwin Press, 2nd Printing, 1996, pp. 196-197:

"The worst Armenian massacres of Muslims and destruction of Muslim villages took place in two periods at the beginning and end of the First World War. The first period began with the entry of the Ottoman Empire into the war and the beginnings of organized Armenian rebellion against the Ottomans. It ended with the Russian conquest of eastern Anatolia in 1916. The second period began as the Russian army dissolved or retreated from eastern Anatolia and ended with the defeat of the Armenian armed forces who had taken the Russians' place in the field. For the middle period of the war, the years of Russian occupation of eastern Anatolia, from the middle of 1916 to the middle of 1917, there is very little evidence of any kind. No Ottoman investigation committees such as the ones that investigated the early atrocities were present to record the events of the Russian occupation. Scattered reports indicate that major massacres of Muslims took place, particularly in Van and Bitlis vilâyets [75]. From the large number of Muslim refugees, it is obvious that conditions were awful, but not as bad as they would become after the Russian army collapsed in 1917. The Russian Revolution brought with it the wholesale desertion of Russian soldiers on the Anatolian front. Enlisted men and some officers simply left their units and walked home, stealing their sustenance (and anything else that was available) from villages as they passed. Russian authority in eastern Anatolia was replaced by the authority of Armenian soldiers and Armenian bands, at first nominally under the control of the Transcaucasian Federation, then as troops of the Armenian Republic. The area they ruled in Anatolia stretched from Erzincan in the east to the Persian border and north to Trabzon and the border of Russian Armenia. Muslim villagers suffered from the depredations of the deserting Russian soldiers, but they suffered far worse from the Armenians who were left in charge. After the Russians departed, nothing held the Armenians in check. The events of the first period of the short Armenian rule were of a type seen all too often in that time -- murder of unarmed Muslim villagers, kidnapping of villagers, who were never seen again, destruction of Muslim markets, neighborhoods, and villages, and ubiquitous plundering and rape."

[75] A postwar British source stated that Armenians "massacred between three and four hundred thousand Kurdish people in the Van and Bitlis Districts," mostly the work of  Armenians in the Russian Army ("Interview of Col. Wooley of the British Army, 12 September 1919," in U.S. 184.021/265). On atrocities against Muslims in the Erzurum Vilayeti during the Russian occupation, see Vehip to Acting Supreme Commander, 21 March 1916, Belgeler III, no. 169.

Other relevant quotes from the web:

Source: General Bronsart wrote as follows in an article in the July 24, 1921 issue of the newspaper "Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung:"

"As demonstrated by the innumerable declarations, provocative pamphlets, weapons, ammunition, explosives, etc., found in areas inhabited by the Armenians, the rebellion had been prepared over a long time, organized, strengthened and financed by Russia. Since all the Moslems capable of bearing arms were in the Turkish Army, it was easy to organize a terrible massacre by the Armenians against defenseless people, because the Armenians were not only attacking the sides and rear of the Eastern Army paralyzed at the front by the Russians, but were attacking the Moslem folk in the region as well. The Armenian atrocities which I have witnessed were far worse than the so-called Turkish brutality."

Source: Prof. Justin Mc Carthy, "The Anatolian Armanians 1912-1922", 1984.

"To understand the end of the Armenian presence in Anatolia one must remember that the Armenian disaster came in time of war -- World War I and the Turkish War of Independence.The numbers used by demographers are of limited use in describing war. They will not tell us who fired the first shot, nor label those responsible for the bloodshed.They only count the dead.We now know from reliable statistics that slightly less than 600,000 Anatolian Armenians died in the wars of 1912-22, not 1.5 or 2 million, as is often claimed. Not that 600,000 is a small number. The Armenians suffered a terrible mortality. But when considering the number of dead Armenians, one must also consider the numbers of dead Muslims. The statistics tell us that ...in the Six Vilayets, the Armenian homeland, more than one million Muslims died. These Muslims, no less than the Armenians, suffered a terrible mortality."

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