As a bridge between Asia and Europe, with its straits connecting The Black Sea with the Mediterranean and its geopolitical situation at a point where the Central Asian, Caucasian and Middle Eastern natural energy sources intersect, Turkey draws the attention of the entire world.
The Ottoman Empire in the past and Turkey at present has always been an arena for which intrigues were incessantly designed. The colonialist superpowers wishing to eradicate the Ottoman Empire from the world by dividing it did not fail to use in their schemes also the Armenians who coexisted in peace with the Turks for so many centuries.
There are today just like in the past, several countries striving to secure themselves political and economic benefits at the expense of Armenian community. Monuments accusing Turks and Turkey of having committed genocide are being erected in some countries; decisions intending to recognise the so called genocide are brought into the parliamentary agenda in several countries and even voted for in some others. Issues that need to be left to historians are turned into means of self interest by the politicians.
The Armenians who were ousted from one place to the other, pushed into wars, and treated as third rate citizens throughout the history by the Romans, Persians and Byzantines. After the advent of Turks into Anatolia, they benefited from the just, humane, tolerant and unifying traditions and beliefs of their new neighbours. The period that lasted until the end of the nineteenth century when the apogee of these developments and relations was attained, was the golden age of Armenians. In fact, the Armenians were by far the greatest beneficiaries of the opportunities offered by the Ottoman Empire to all industrious, capable, honest and straightforward citizens of the non-Moslem communities. Being exempted from the military service and to a large extent from taxation, they had the opportunity to excel themselves in trade, agriculture, craftsmanship and administration and therefore were rightly called the “loyal nation” because of their loyalty and ability to interact with the Ottomans. There were so many Armenians who spoke Turkish, who even conducted their rites in this language , who rose to topmost public service posts such as the Ministries and Under-Secretariats of State for the Public Works, Navy, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Treasury, Posts and Telegraph and Minting. There were some who even wrote books in Turkish and foreign languages on the Problems of the Ottoman Empire.
With the start of the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the European powers began to intervene in its affairs and degeneration became evident in the peaceful Turkish-Armenian relations. Great effort was displayed by the instigators whom the Western powers planted into the Ottoman Empire under clerical guise, to create a schism between Turks and Armenians in the religious, cultural, commercial, political and social fields. Thus, bloody clashes arose, in which the blunt of pain was borne by the Turks, and thousands of Armenians and Turks lost their lives in the revolts that broke out in Eastern Anatolia and spread all the way to Istanbul.
Though there were many Armenians fighting in the Ottoman armies against the enemy or serving in the rear ranks during the World War I, a considerable number had sided with the foes on the battlefronts and launched massacres against the population without distinction of women, children and the aged. Their toll was hundreds of thousands of Moslems and ruin in Eastern Anatolia.
The measures adopted by the Ottoman Empire to stop this violence were presented to the rest of the world under a completely different light and the Armenians, misguided by the promises and instigation of the Western Powers started to undermine the country where they had led a privileged life more than a thousand years.
The Hinchak, Tashnak, Toward Armenia, Young Armenians, Union and Salvation, Ramgavar, Paramilitaries, Black Cross societies and Hinchak Revolutionary Committee, which were established out of Anatolia, formed organisations urging the people for an armed revolt. These activities were the bloody uprisings that cost thousands of Turkish and Armenian lives.
During World War I, the Ottoman Empire was fighting against Russian armies in Eastern Anatolia, where the Armenian revolt was at its peak; and also against Armenian forces which supported the Russians. On the other hand, behind the lines it had to continue to fight against Armenian guerrillas that were burning Turkish villages and towns and attacking military convoys and reinforcements. In spite of this violence, the Ottoman Empire tried to solve the Armenian problem for months by taking local measures. Meanwhile, an operation was made against the Armenian guerillas and 2345 rebels were arrested for high treason. When it became evident that the Armenian community was also in rebellion against the state, the Ottoman Empire proceeded with the last resort of replacing only those Armenians in the region who actively participated in the rebellion. With this measure, the Ottoman Empire also intended to save the lives of the Armenians who were living in a medium of civil war because Turks started to counter-attack the Armenians who had performed bloody atrocities against Turkish communities.
Today, Armenia and some states using Armenians for their economic and political benefits have launched a massive propaganda campaign to present the replacement decision and the 24 April arrests as genocide to the world public opinion(1).
At the end of the World War I, when the armies of Allied States occupied The Ottoman Empire and the British officials among them arrested 143 Ottoman political and military leaders and intellectuals for “having committed war crimes toward Armenians” and exiled them to Malta where a trial was launched. However, the massive scrutiny made on the Ottoman, British, American archives in order to find evidence to incriminate these 143 persons failed to produce even the least iota of proof against them. In the end, the detainees in Malta were released without trial and even any indictment in 1922.
The United States archives contain an interesting document sent to Lord Curzon on 13 July 1921 by Mr. R.C. Craigie, the British Ambassador in Washington. The message was as follows: “I regret to state that there is nothing that may be used as evidence against the Turkish detainees in Malta. There are no events that may constitute adequate proofs. The said reports do not appear to contain even circumstantial evidence that could be useful to reinforce the information held by His Majesty’s Government against the Turks.”
On 29 July 1921, the legal advisers in London decided that the intended indictments drawn up against the persons on the British Foreign Ministry’s list were semi-political in nature and therefore these individuals should be treated separately from the Turks detained as criminals of war.
They also stated the following: “No statements were hitherto received from the witnesses to the effect that the indictments intended against the detainees are correct. Likewise it does not need to be restated that finding witnesses after so long a time is highly doubtful in a remote country like Armenia which is accessible only with great difficulties.” This statement was made also by none other than the legal advisers in London of His Majesty’s Government.
Yet, the efforts to smear the image of Turks with genocide claims did not come to an end as the British press published certain documents attempting to prove the existence of a massacre claimed to have been perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire while efforts were being made to start a lawsuit in Malta. It was stated that the documents were found by the British occupation forces in Syria, led by General Allenby. The inquiries subsequently made by the British Foreign Office revealed, however, that these documents were fakes prepared by the Armenian Nationalist Delegation in Paris and distributed to the Allied representatives(2).
The Armenian Diaspora, who left no stone unturned to keep the genocide claims on the agenda despite all these facts, resorted to terrorism in the end. The so-called Armenian issue, which started to attract the attention of the world and Turkish public opinion through the smearing campaign launched by the Armenians against Turkey after 1965, in the ‘70s turned into terrorist attacks directed against the Turkish representations abroad. In Santa Barbara on January 27, 1973, the first individual terrorist attack was launched by an aged Armenian named Gurgen (Karekin) Yanikian. He murdered Mehmet Baydur and Bahadir Demir, the Turkish Consul General and Vice Consul in Los Angeles, and these murders turned into an organised campaign after 1975. The attacks against Turkish embassies, officials and institutions abroad gradually intensified.
A major increase in the attacks was noted after 1979 when an internal unease started in Turkey. The Armenian terrorists staged a total of 110 attacks at 38 cities of 21 countries. 39 of these acts were committed by small arms, 70 of them were realised by bombs and one was an outright occupation. 42 Turkish diplomats and 4 foreigners were killed and 15 Turks and 66 foreigners were wounded in these incidents(3).
As these actions received a strong reaction from the world public opinion, the Armenian terrorist organisations changed their tactics in 1980 and began to co-operate with the PKK terrorist group which was pushed into the scene by the Eruh and Şemdinli attacks as the ASALA and Armenian operations were stopped. The documents and evidence from Beqaa and Zeli camps show that the PKK and ASALA militants were trained there together.
The success achieved by the Turkish security forces made the Armenian terrorism pursue the so called genocide claims through the Armenian Diaspora and attempt to make the world believe in the existence of such an event by inducing several parliaments to adopt resolutions and laws which recognise it.
The goal of these terrorists is to plant into minds of people the existence of a genocide, to force Turkey to recognise it, to receive indemnity from Turkey and, finally, to snatch from Turkey the land needed for realising the dream of Great Armenia
1) Osmanlıdan Günümüze Ermeni Sorunu, Yeni Türkiye Yayınları, Ankara 2000.
2) Yıldırım, Dr. Hüsamettin, Ermeni İddiaları ve Gerçekler, Ankara 2000, s. 38 (PRO.FO. 13 Temmuz 1921, 371 / 6504 / E.8519)
3) Şimşir, Bilal, Şehit Diplomatlarımız, Bilgi Yayınevi, Ankara 2000, 2 Cilt.
THE FOUR “T” PLAN
The goal of Armenian terrorism that has never hesitated to go to such extremes as cold-blooded murder is to make the claims of genocide against Armenians heard and their demands known. The ultimate objective is a “Great Armenia”, for which they designed the so-called “ Four T Plan” based on propaganda, recognition, indemnity and land. The intention here is to rehabilitate the world public opinion by making them to accept, through terrorism, the existence of genocide against them, to force Turkey into recognising it, to receive compensation in monetary terms and finally to seize from Turkey the land needed for realising a Great Armenia.
The claims underlying “the Four T Plan” are the following:
- The Turks invaded Armenia and seized its land.
- They applied a systematic massacre against Armenians since the 1877-1878 war. They resorted to a planned genocide against Armenians from 1915 onward.
- Talat Pasha issued secret orders to apply genocide on the Armenians.
- 1,5 million Armenians lost their lives through genocide.
It is necessary to make a brief study on the claims and the historical developments of Turkish-Armenian relations so as to understand how preposterous the insinuations are and which clandestine interests underlie them.
A SHORT REVIEW OF ARMENIAN HISTORY
The racial origins of the Armenians and the geography in which they lived are still debated today. It is certain, however, that they have always been the subjects of other states throughout history.
The encyclopædias state that Yerevan, Lake Sevan, Nahkichevan, north of Rumiah Lake and Maku region were called “Armenia” which meant “ upper lands” and the people living there were named Armenians.
Some of the Armenian historians claim that they are descendants of the Hittites who lived in Cilicia and Northern Syria in the 6th century AD, while some others bring the genealogy to Haig, one of Noah’s sons. There is no certainty about exactly where the community referred today as Armenians settled and lived in the geographical region called Armenia. Their population and the percentage of their population to other groups that lived in the same area are still a mystery.
Thus, even the Armenian historians are not unanimous as to their origin. It may therefore be stated that it is impossible for a community that has never had the privilege of being a nation and founding an independent state, to have claims on a certain geography as “a homeland”. Consequently, the dream of Great Armenia is but the product of an expansionist ideology.
As the history went, the Armenians lived under the Persian, Macedonian, Seleucide, Roman, Partian, Sasanite, Byzantine, Arabian and Turkish hegemonies. In fact, all of the Armenian principalities known to have existed in the region were established by the sovereigns that controlled the region in order to draw this community into their sphere of influence and employ them in a variety of tasks.
The Selchuks saved the Armenians from the Byzantine persecution and offered them the opportunity of leading a decent life when they secured the control of Anatolia in 1071. Under the reign of Mehmed II, freedom of thought and belief was granted to the Armenians and the right to establish a patriarchate of their own for governing the community’s religious and social activities.
The Armenian Patriarch had the power of appointing and dismissing clergy members, banning the religious rites, collecting dues from the community, concluding the marriage formalities and even pronouncing imprisonment decisions.
Until the end of the 19th century, the Armenians lived their golden age under the Ottoman rule, also with the vast tolerance of the Turkish people. Having been exempted from military service and of most of the taxes, they excelled in trade, agriculture, artisanry and rose to major posts in the administration. For the services that they rendered to the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians were allowed to settle in the regions vacated after the Greek rebellion and were given the prestigious title of “the faithful nation”.
It ensues from the foregoing that there was not any Armenian issue until the end of the 19th century nor were any problems that the Armenian citizens could not solve with the assistance of Turkish administration.
HOW THE ARMENIAN ISSUE CAME ABOUT?
When the Ottoman Empire began to decline and was exposed to European interventions in many fields, deterioration began in the Turkish-Armenian relations. The Western powers then started to sever the Armenian community from the Ottoman community for attaining their own regional interests.
A number of European states that intervened in the Ottoman internal affairs under the guise of ensuring the introduction of reforms, organised the Armenians against the Empire. As a result of the provocations of the internal and external Armenian organisations as well as of the Armenian Church, this community gradually began to dissociate itself from the Turks.
Starting to fight against Turks under alliance with the Western powers despite all the good intentions of Turks, the Armenians initiated a campaign to present themselves as a subjugated society and to accuse the Ottoman Empire of “having annihilated” their sovereignty rights in Anatolia.
As they lost their former privileges when the Moslems and non-Moslems were given equal rights under the Restoration Firman, the Armenians asked Russia not to withdraw from Eastern Anatolia that it had invaded during the 1977-1878 Ottoman-Russian war, to grant autonomy to these regions or to introduce reforms in their favour. This request of the Armenians were partially accepted by Russia and the Armenian issue was brought onto the international platform after Hagia Stephanos Treaty, signed at the end of the war; and also after the Berlin Treaty signed later. Thus, foreign countries that wanted to divide Turkey started to intervene in Turkish-Armenian relations. It is with these claims that the Armenian issue had begun to take shape and acquire an international character.
ARMENIAN REVOLTS AND MASSACRES
In the period that followed the Berlin Treaty, the Armenian issue developed in two directions, The first is the interventions made by the Western powers in the affairs of the Ottoman Empire, and the second is the clandestine organisation and rearmament of Anatolian, Syrian and Thracian Armenians in various parts of Anatolia, particularly in Eastern Anatolia and Cilicia.
The initial provocations started coming from Russia. This attitude induced the British and French Governments to display a greater interest toward Armenians. British Consulates mushroomed in Eastern Anatolia and large numbers of Protestant missionaries were dispatched to this region.
As a result of these activities, several Armenian committees were formed in Eastern Anatolia from 1880 onward. These committees that remained at local level failed and withered away in time because the Armenians who lived in welfare and did not have any complaints against the Ottoman Empire were not interested in the committees.
When the plans to make the Ottoman Armenians revolt against the State through the committees failed, the Russian Armenians were encouraged to set up such committees out of the Ottoman Empire. Hinchak was founded in Geneva in 1887, with socialist tendencies and moderately militant ideas and Tashnak was established in Tbilisi in 1887, with extremist, terrorist and revolutionary attitudes favouring armed struggle and full independence. The goal imposed on these committees were the “salvation of Anatolian land and Ottoman Armenians”.
The revolt attempts launched by the Hinchaks that extended its organisation into Istanbul and aimed at provoking the Ottoman Armenians by drawing the Western attentions on the issue, were followed by those of the Tashnaks. The common features of the both groups were the fact that they were planned and oriented by the committees that came to the Ottoman Empire from abroad and that they were largely supported by the missionaries spread all over Anatolia.
The first revolt broke out in Erzurum in 1890, followed by the Kumkapi demonstration in the same year. These revolts were followed by 1892 and 1893 Kayseri, Yozgat, Çorum and Merzifon incidents, 1894 Sasun revolt, 1894 Sublime Porte demonstration and Zeytun mutiny, 1896 Van revolt and the occupation of Ottoman Bank the same year, the second Sasun Revolt in 1903, the 1905 attempt to kill Emperor Abdulhamid and the Adana revolt in 1909.
By far the greatest damage given to Turks by the Armenians were the massacres perpetrated during World War I. During this period, the Armenians acted as spies for the Russians, evaded the mobilisation orders by hiding, and those that were in the Ottoman army collectively committed high treason by joining the Russian forces taking their arms with them.. The Armenian gangs that had already started attacks on the Turkish villages, with the start of the war massacred, among others, the entire women, children and the aged inhabitants of Zeve village of Van Province.
The quelling of these revolts by the Ottoman army was presented to the world as a massacre of Armenians by the Moslems and thus the issue acquired a larger international dimension. In fact, the British and Russian diplomatic reports of the time state that the goals of Armenian revolutionists were to create social chaos against which the Ottoman army would react and to thereby ensure the intervention of Western powers in the situation. It seems that these goals were reached and the diplomatic and consular representations of the Western States, with the assistance of Christian missionaries spread all over Anatolia, played a major role in the transmission of the Armenian propaganda to the Western public opinion.
APRIL 24, 1915
Regarding these revolts and massacres, the Ottoman Government merely declared to the Armenian Archbishop, deputies and community leaders that appropriate measures would be implemented if the Armenians did not stop massacring the Moslems. However, the intensification of the events, the increase of attacks against defenseless Turkish women and children and the war that waged on several battlefronts all at the same time necessitated to secure the rear lines.
The first move adopted on April 24, 1915 was to ban all Armenian committees and to arrest 2.345 leaders for crimes against the State. The date of April 24, commemorated by the Armenians abroad as the anniversary of genocide against Armenians, is the date of these arrests and has nothing to do with the replacement.
The Etchmiasin Patriarch, a priest named Kevork, sent the following cable to the United States President upon this move:
Mr. President, according to the latest news received from the Turkish Armenia, a massacre started there and an organised terror has put the Armenian lives in danger. In this precarious moment, I am addressing to the noble sentiments of the great American nation and ask you to intervene immediately through your Great Republic’s diplomatic representation for protecting my people left to the mercy of the violence of Turkish fanaticism, on behalf of humanity and Christian belief.
Kevorg, Ecumenic Patriarch of all Armenians.
This cable was followed by the Washington contacts of the Russian Ambassador.
The incident here was merely the banning of Armenian committees and the arrest of the culprits. Yet, the Armenians endeavoured to display it as a massacre and to rally the United States and Russia into their ranks.
LAW ON RELOCATION AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION
Reasons for Relocation
The Ottoman Government, in order to deal with the Armenian riots and massacres, primarily applied regional measures and preferred to maintain a position of defence to settle the events locally. Despite the great roles the religious leaders played in riots and the desertion of Armenians with their arms, the Government agreed to define these riots as individual attempts. At the same time, the Armenian Patriarch and Armenian parliamentarians, committees and leaders of the Armenian community were told that more severe measures would have to be taken in order to ensure the defence of the country in case of newly arising disputes.
These endeavours of the Ottoman Government have been proven with documents. However, the Armenians that were well prepared for any riots before the occurrence of the war, didn’t revolt in masses as soon as the war broke out. While the Ottoman army was actively fighting on the fronts, the Armenian activities continued according plans prepared with “the aim to serve the alliance ideal for the Armenian independence”. Nonetheless, the fact that the activities carried out by the Armenian gangs were considered as a betrayal regarding the international laws was ignored.
The Armenian riots spread from Eastern Anatolia other towns. As the Russian occupation spread in and around Erzurum, Armenians considered that they could claim right on the blood of the dwellers and, as a German general cited, began to eradicate the Muslim population in this region.
While these actions and brutalities of the Armenian gangs continued, numerous kinds of arms and guns were caught in the searches performed by security forces in regions where Armenians resided. This severe condition that endangered the existence of the state indicated that more problematic arouse as result of more tolerance compensation would be impossible.
After the Ottoman State entered the war and especially after the defeat on the Caucasus front, occurrences such as Armenian oppression against the Muslim population, their desertion the military units, their attacks on the soldiers and security forces, their being capture with arms, the capturing of French, Russian and Armenian coding groups were the most significant proofs showing that they were about to start revolts within the country.
Besides taking necessary security precautions against riots and massacres, the Ottoman Government, before the “Law on Replacement and Settlement” was passed, had also settled the Armenians in some other regions when these precautions were not sufficient enough. However, the incident that strengthened the idea of the generalization of this practice that was the riots of the Armenians of Van.
Official documents prove that the Armenians were gathering in Van and, took up armes, waiting for the Russians to get closer, when the Ottoman State entered the war. The riots that Armenians caused, excluding the massacres and destruction, resulted in the occupation of Russians of Van, Malazgirt and Bitlis within a month. The example of Van showed clearly that the Turkish army would always be betrayed. Under these circumstances, the government had to decide upon the relocation of Armenians residing in various regions of the country.
The implementation of replacement became a necessity because Armenian dreaming over the foundation of an independent Armenia and thinking that they would be given the regions they occupied in the First World War. The practice of relocation of the Armenians living in the regions which formed a security line through the Caucasus, Iran and Sina, was not performed with the aim of eradicating the Armenians, but with the aim of ensuring security in the state and to protecting them. The replacement was the most successful one that ever been done in the history of world.
However, the implementation of relocation is not considered from this point of view. Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora have been exercising propaganda full of lies and calumnies against the Ottoman State. Nonetheless, the historical fact is this: by the decision of relocation, Ottoman State saved the Armenians from becoming extinct and also protected them in a way never seen before. If there exists an Armenian nation and is vast in population, it stems from the good intentions and the success of the Ottomans. Armenia and the Armenians, instead of accusing them, have to be thankful to the Ottoman State for providing them with an independent church and protecting them, and they have to consider the faithful and sensible approaches Turkish Armenians, as a good example.
As the riots and massacres made by the Armenians who joined in the activities of The Allied States and Russia reached to a point that would change the result of the war, the commander in chief Enver Pasha, sending a written notification to Talat Pasha, the Minister of Domestic Affairs, on 2nd May 1915, stated that it was necessary to disperse the Armenians that were ready and gathered to maintain their riots in the Van region so that they could not riot.
Taking immediate action, Talat Pasha, through sending a coded message to the 4th Army Command on 23th May 1915, ordered that the Armenians who were moved from Erzurum, Van and Bitlis be replaced and settled in Urfa district, excluding the southern part of Musul province, Zor district, and the central district; the Armenians who were moved from Adana, Halep, Maras settled in the eastern part of Syria province and to the eastern and southeastern part of Halep province. The Civil Services Inspector Ali Seydi Bey was assigned to the post of inspecting the settlement and relocation procedures in Adana region, Hamid Bey in Aleppo and Maras region.
The Ottoman government had founded the basis of the practice of relocation within the framework of a law already valid in those times. It was not an arbitrary practice. The law containing four articles comprises the measures to be taken by military units against the rebels that refused the authority of the state taking action in war.
It is stated in the Article 1 of the Law on Relocation and Settlement that if there is opposition against the governmental powers and the established order, attacks and resistance, severe defence and elimination should be exercised, and in Article 2, it is stated that towns and villages that are proven to be betraying and engaging in espionage towards the armed forces be displaced to other regions, in Article 3 the validity of the law and in Article 4 the liability of the implementation of the law is stated.
As seen from the law, it is exactly an authoritative law against violence, and ensuring the protection of the state and public order. The most significant feature of the law is that no specific ethnic group and community are implied or indicated. The Ottoman citizens of Muslim, Greek and Armenian origin covered by this law were subject to relocation. Thus regarding the Law on Relocation and Settlement also known as the “Law on Migration” to be aiming at a specific nation either results from lack of information or is a deliberate attempt of propaganda.
While the Ministry of Domestic Affairs were taking measures to arrest the Armenian rebels, Russian, French and English governments, who issued a joint statement on 24th May 1915 claimed that Armenians were continuously being killed in one month in Eastern and South-eastern Anatolia, which they named as “Armenia” and declared that they agreed upon the fact that the Ottoman Government had to be charged for all these events.
Upon the new international dimension the issue had gained, Talat Pasha delivered an official note on the practice of relocation to the Prime Minister on 26th May 1915. In the note, he stated that they decided on the settlement of Armenians living in regions of war in other regions, after it was proved that Armenians started rebellions and massacres. The note of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs together with another note by the Prime Ministry was immediately put on the agenda of the Parliament. In the note of the Prime Ministry, it was stated that the practice of relocation was necessary for the security of the state and that it was necessary to exercise it in association with a procedure and regulation. The Parliament took a decision that approved this practice on the same date. Thus, the law issued on 27th May 1915 in the Parliament was put into force by being published in Takvim-i Vekayi, the Official Gazette of those times, on 1st June 1915.
In a written notification sent by the Prime Ministry to the Ministry of Domestic Affairs and Finance and the War Ministry on 30th of May 1915, it was explained in detail how the migration would be implemented and it was stated that the Armenians would be settled in the regions allocated for them, ensuring security for their lives and properties; their needs would be met through the subsidy of the immigrants’ association until they completely settled in their new houses; they would be given real estate and lands in regard with their former financial conditions; the ones in need would be provided with housing constructed by the government; the farmers and those engaged in agriculture as a profession would be provided with seed beds, equipment and devices; the movable properties they left behind would be returned to them; the immovable property, after their values being determined, would be sold and the money to the owners would be handed over; places such as olive, mulberry and orange groves, vineyards, shops, factories and warehouses which yield revenues would be sold by auction or be rented and costs of the same be registered at the deposit so that they would be paid to their owners later; all these issues would be executed by special commissions and a detailed instructions guide would be prepared regarding this matter.
The Telegraph Attributed To Talat Pasha
That the measures taken regarding the Armenians were not aiming at their eradication was frequently repeated by Talat Pasha. Even, the tone of the language used in a coded telegraph sent to the governor and the administrative units of the relevant provinces on 29th of August 1915 is a clear evidence of this. The code is as follows:
“The objective carried out by the government by displacing the Armenians from where they live and settling them in assigned regions is to ensure that this nation does not take part in activities opposing the government and that they become unable to follow their national ideal on founding an Armenian Government. The case is not that these people be eradicated, yet, during relocation, the security of Armenian convoys shall be ensured and all necessary precautions shall be taken in order to meet their needs through the subsidy of the immigrants’ association. Severe legal measures shall be taken against the attackers towards these convoys or the against gendarme and officials that take part in such attacks and they shall immediately be dismissed and delivered to the military courts.”
As to the telegraph that the so-called Armenian genocide claim supporters:
An Armenian called Aram Andonian mentioned this issue in his book “Naim Bey’in Anilari / Ermenilerin Tehcir ve Katliamina Iliskin Resmi Türk Belgeleri” (Memoirs of Naim Bey / Official Turkish Documents Related to the Armenian Migration and Genocide) he published in London, 1920. The telegraphs that are mentioned in the book and attributed to Talat Pasha are fake documents produced in order to create a criminal for the so-called genocide. As a result of the researches made by Sinasi Orel and Sureyya Yuca on these documents, numerous concrete evidences were found that they were fake.
The Practices during Relocation
Law on Relocation and Settlement provided how relocation would be made in detail. In these decisions and instructions, issues such as how movables and real estates were to be delivered of, condition of the lands and crop on them, their registration and even, giving hot food with meat to the immigrants were taken into consideration. The legislation clarifying how the law would be applied did not aim at destruction of any movables or real estate or killing of the people; on the contrary any mistakes in the execution of the regulation punished severely, including capital punishment.
Fundamentals of how relocation would be made was resolved by the Board of Ministers as follows:
The inhabitants shall be moved to the allocated regions in security, safety and comfortably.
Their victuals shall be met by the subsidy of immigrants association until they become resident at their new homes.
They shall be given lands and real estates taking into consideration their previous financial and economic conditions and the government shall construct houses for those in need and seeds and tools shall be supplied to the farmers and business experts.
The movable properties they left behind shall be taken to them in a proper manner.
Pursuant to fixing and evaluation of real estates in cities and villages evacuated by the Armenians, those shall be distributed to the migrants to be settled down in such villages.
Places such as olive and mulberry groves, vineyards, shops, factories and warehouses which yield revenues shall be sold by auction or shall be rented and costs of the same shall be registered at the deposit for to be paid later to their owners.
Such issues shall be pursued by a special commission and instructions shall be issued on this subject.
As may be understood from the text, displaced persons would take their movable assets with them or they shall be taken to them afterwards, their real assets were to be sold by auction, prices to be paid to them.
In accordance with the Law on Relocation and Settlement dated 27 May 1915 and the decrees setting forth the forms of application of this law; the Armenian convoys were gathered in some certain centers such as Konya, Diyarbekir, Cizre, Birecik and Halep, on the crossroads to their destinations.
The routes on which the convoys were to be displaced were selected among the nearest roads due to security reasons and prevention of difficulties the migrants may suffer.
Maximum attention was paid for orderly sending and protection from any dangers or loss of the convoys despite the war conditions. As a matter of fact, Mersin Consul of America, Edward Natan, in the report he sent to Ambassador Morgenthau on 30 August 1915 depicted, “All routes from Tarsus to Adana were full of Armenians; despite some troubles that may take place due to the crowd, the government managed the situation well; it did not allow violence and irregularity; the migrants were provided necessary number of tickets; and those in need were provided assistance”.
If Ottoman government initiated a practice of intentionally killing a group of people, it would not implement decisions such as conditions to be provided for the migrants on their way, protection of the convoys against attacks by the bandits, medical aid, protection of children, registration of movables and real assets they left behind, giving food with meat at certain intervals. Therefore, relocation of the Armenians was not slaughtering of the Armenians, but was aimed at ensuring the security of the state and is the most successful relocation and settlement movement in history.
Expenses incurred during the Relocation
General Administrate for Migrants was established in order to meet the needs arising in relation with displaced Muslims, Greeks and Armenians and the migration movements toward Anatolia which attempted to solve the settlement, means of living and other problems of the migrants.
Documents pertaining to the practice give detailed information on in which provinces and districts hospitals were established, and which buildings were allotted for the orphaned Armenian children. The documents show that the amount spent for relocation, settlement and ensuring the living of the migrants subject to relocation was 25 million kurus in 1915, and 230 million kurus in 1916.
The convoys established during the migration were provided with means of transport or saddle beasts special care was given to women, elderly and children. Article 2 and Article 3 of the regulations issued by the term Ministry of the Interior, explained respectively that “the displaced Armenians could take all their goods and animals together with them” and “protecting the lives of the Armenians on the journey to the places they were to be settled during their travel and supplying their food and rest were the duties of the administrative authorities of the regions they pass; any slackness or carelessness that might take place with regard to this issue would be responsibility of all of the officers”.
Quinine was distributed to those migrating via sea in order to make sure that they protect themselves from malaria, which was an epidemic of the day and for the patients, the possibility of benefiting from military hospitals in addition to the civil hospitals was given.
Ottoman Government, while spending so much money for this replacement implementation, either delayed or cancelled the public and private debts of the Armenians subject to immigration. At the same time, an amount of money sent from America to be given to the Armenian immigrants was distributed to the Armenians by the American missionaries and consuls with the consent of the.
Armenian Population before the Relocation
The most abused and distorted issue, which the Armenian revolutionary committee members and their supporters of today use, is the Armenian population before and after the migration process. The records of war period, official figures, church logs, information on population in the reports of foreign missionaries are being constantly distorted to make the real population of those days look much more despite those documents the figures are unreasonably exaggerated so as to find support to their so-called genocide allegations. Some of these figures even exceed the total Armenian population of today’s world.
In some foreign resources the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire is:
2.5 million as per Armenian Patriarchate
2.2 million as per the Armenian Committee of Lausanne
1.5 million as per the French Yellow Book
1.5 million as per Britannica
1 million as per the English yearbook.
Armenian population as to Ottoman official documents is as follows:
1.001.465 as per 1893 Census
1.120.748 as per 1906 Census
1.221.850 as per Population Statistics of 1914
Taking into consideration the statistics pertaining either to the Ottomans and foreigners, it is evident that the population of the Armenians living in the Ottoman territories during World War I was about 1.250.000 at most.
It is certain that the most reliable numbers with regard to Armenian population of Ottoman State is in official documents. General Directorate of Statistics was established in 1892 in the Ottoman State. The general director was Nuri Bey in 1892, a Jew called Fethi Franco between 1892 and 1897, an Armenian called Migirdiç Sinabyan between 1897 and 1903, an American named Robert between 1903 and 1908 and Mehmet Behiç Bey between 1908 and 1914. As it is seen, non-Muslims were in control of the information about population in the Ottoman Empire in a period during which important events were taking Armenian issue to the political arena. Therefore, the information on population given by Ottoman sources should be relied on since no documents and opinions showing the contrary have been found until now.
The Regions where the Armenians were Settled
Within the framework of relocation implementaitons, it was decided that the Armenians from Erzurum, Van and Bitlis were to be sent to south of Musul, and to Zor and Urfa Districts; and Armenians from Adana, Halep, Maras to be sent to eastern Syria and east and southeast of Halep. However, a note to Adana, Erzurum, Bitlis, Halep, Diyarbekir, Syria, Sivas, Trabzon, Elazig (Mamuretülaziz) and Musul provinces and Adana Abandoned Property Commission Chairmanship, Zor, Maras, Canik, Kayseri and Izmit Administrates upon continuing revolutions and slaughters of Armenians, on 5 July 1915, set forth that the regions allotted for Armenian settlement was widened. At the same time, special attention was paid to establish the residential areas of the Armenians 25 km far from the Baghdad railway at most, to make sure that the Armenian population does not exceed 10 percent of the Muslim population of the region and to ensure that every village has maximum 50 houses.
The Population of the Armenians Subjected to the Relocation
The number of Armenians subjected to the relocation regarding their arrival and departure points was under control and registered at all times. It is quite obvious that 438.758 people were displaced from various regions of Anatolia and 382.148 of these people were safely replaced in new settlements between 9 June 1915 and 8 February 1916. As seen, there is a difference of 56.000 people between the evacuees and the arrives. All the figures regarding the relocation of the Armenians were registered. The pertinent Ottoman documents explain this difference as follows:
500 people on the road between Erzurum and Erzincan; 2000 in Meskene, between Urfa and Aleppo and 2000 others on the outskirts of Mardin were massacred in attacks launched by bandits or nomadic Arabs. Another 5000 people were killed in attacks on convoys passing through Dersim. These figures prove that no massacre had been occurred against the Armenians and it is impossible to mention a genocide.
It was understood from these documents that many people had also fallen victim to hunger while on the road. Apart from these, some 25-30 thousand people had lost their lives when struck by fatal diseases such as typhoid and dysentery. In all, an estimated 40 thousand casualties had been registered during relocation. The remaining 10-16 thousand people were made at stay in provinces they had reached, when the implementation of relocation was brought to an end. For instance, on April 26, 1916, orders were given to provide the return to and the settlement in the province of Konya of those Armenians setting out form the province to new destinations. On the other hand, many other Armenians are believed to have fled to either Russia or to Western countries, including the Unites States.
Apart from this, many Armenians went to several countries prior to the war and after the war mainly to United States of America and Russia. It was set forth with certain documents that 50.000 Armenians were trained in the region where they joined the Russian army and that 50.000 Armenians were receiving training in the American army for fighting with the Turks. In fact, the letter of an Armenian who was living in America to Murad Muradyan an advocate in Elezig shows such information. In the concerned letter, Muradyan mentions that some Armenians were escaped to Russia and America and later 50.000 of those trained soldiers went to Caucassia. As it can be understood from all the concerned documents, many of Armenian subjects of the Ottoman State were scattered through various countries especially to U.S.A. and Russia, before and during the war. For example, Artin Hotomyan who was a tradesman in America sent a letter to the Chieftain of Security on January 19, 1915 and stated that thousands of Armenians migrated to U.S.A. and they were facing with hunger and hardships.
According to the report presented by Noradungian Gabrial to the Lausanne Conference Evacuation Commission, it was observed that 345.000 people went to the Caucasus, 140.000 people went to Syria, 120.000 to Greece and to the Aegean islands, 40.000 to Bulgaria, 50.000 to Iran; 695.000 in total.
In a message sent to Hüseyin Rauf by Hatisov who participated in the Trabzon Conference (14 March – 14 April 1918) and who was one of the eminent figures of the Armenians (he became the President of Armenia afterwards), it was said that the number of Armenians who left the Ottoman territories and went to the Caucasus was 400.000.
Another Armenian Richard Hovannisian states that 50.000 Armenians went to Lebanon, 10.000 to Jordan, 40.000 to Egypt, 25.000 to Iraq, and 35.000 to France and USA from the Arabian countries except for Syria .
In the light of the figures given by Armenians and foreigners, it is clear that 345.000 Armenians went to the Caucasus, 140.000 to Syria, 120.000 to Greece and to the Aegean islands, 40.000 to Bulgaria, 50.000 to Iran, 50.000 to Lebanon, 10.000 to Jordan, 40.000 to Egypt, 25.000 to Iraq, and 35.000 to France, USA, Austria etc. in the application of evacuation and placement; 855.000 Armenians in total.
It is impossible that 2-3 millions of Armenians could have been killed as claimed by Armenians. This slander may be the biggest lie on the earth as the number of the Armenians living in the territories of the Ottoman State had been around 1.250.000.
Moreover, if the Ottoman State had wanted to get rid of its Armenians subjects, this could have been handled by assimilation or by presenting the war as a reason. However, as it is known, Armenians led a more comfortable life than that of the Turks in the Ottoman Empire. As stated, when the Armenians, who were deceived by the dream that the territories occupied by Armenians would be given to them and that an independent Armenia could be established, began to fight with the Ottomans, in betrayal, the application of relocation became a must. Execution of relocation did not aim at the destroying Armenians, on the contrary, it was aimed at protecting them and providing security of the state, and it is the most successful relocation application of the world.
Attacks on the Armenian Convoys and the Measures Taken by the Government
Certain convoys were attacked by the tribes located between Aleppo and Zor, and by Arab bandits during the journey of Armenians to the placement areas. According to a deciphered telegram of 8 January 1916, it was reported that many Armenians had been killed by the attacks of Arab bandits whose intentions were robbery, in the area between Aleppo and Meskene, that 2.000 Armenians were robbed and attacked by the Arab tribes on their way to Aleppo through Saruç and Menbiç. It was also reported that around 2.000 people had been killed regardless of their religion including Muslims and non-Muslims in Diyarbekir by certain bandits and tribes, and that another convoy of 500 people travelling on Erzurum-Erzincan way was killed due to the attacks of Kurds.
The Ottoman Government spent great efforts in order to provide the safety of the convoys while it was also fighting with the enemy on battle fronts. Certain inspection delegations were established and sent to replacement areas in order to investigate the officials who failed to settlement areas. These delegations dispatched those people found guilty to Martial Court. Some authorities were dismissed from service and some others were given heavy punishments.
Those Armenians who were not Relocated
According to the telegrams of 2nd and 15th August 1915, sent to the Governor Offices of relevant provinces it was reported that those Armenians of Catholic and Protestant sects, Armenians serving in the Ottoman Army officers and in medical troops, Armenians working in the branches of the Ottoman Bank, Armenians in the Reggie administration and in certain consular offices were excluded from relocation as long as they remained loyal to the state.
In addition, the sick, the disabled, the old, and the women and children were excluded from relocation, they were taken care of in orphanages and villages and their needs were met by the state. In a circular of 30th April 1916, on Armenian families who need shelter, it was stated that those families whose fathers had been replaced or were serving the military or had nobody to look after them would be settled in villages and towns where there were no foreigners other then Armenians and that their needs would be met by the immigrant budget.
Property of the Armenians who were Relocated
According to the instruction published on 10th June 1915, properties of Armenians who were subjected to immigration were protected. Those properties that could not be protected, such as animals and workshops that needed to be operated were sold by certain committees established for the care purpose by public auction and the income earned was sent to their owners.
Returning of Armenians who were Relocated
The placement of Armenians in new settlements was stopped on 25 November 1915 due to winter. In a general instruction sent to the provinces and sanjaks, it was stated that the relocation of Armenians was stopped totally, and that no relocation would be performed for any reason. After the end of the World War I, a circular was issued in order to provide the return of Armenians who had been subjected to the relocation to their homes if they wished. In a document issued by the Interior Minister Mustafa Pasha and sent to the Prime Ministry on 4th January 1919, it was set forth that certain instructions had been issued in order to provide the return of Armenians who were subjected to relocation to their homes if they wished and it was stated in detail that required precautions were taken.
The Reflections concerning Relocation in the World
Although the foreign observers located in the areas where relocation operations were being executed reported that even though the Ottomans Government fought in several fronts in the World War I, it executed relocation operations successfully and with great care, the western press gave misinformation about the issue and distorted the facts. For example, although the Consular of the United States of America in Mersin, Edward Natan, stated in his report that the relocation implementations were carried out in an order, the Ambassador in Istanbul distorted the facts in Natan’s report and when his report reached America, the American press used this information against the Turks.
Within the framework of the reports of the British consulars in Iran, the claims that 1.000.000 Armenians were killed were taken into consideration in the English Parliament and the decision to protest the Turkish Government was taken. Moreover, the Mavi Kitap (the Blue Book) published in Britain on the Armenian events, claimed that in the Ottoman Empire one third of the total Armenian population, which was 1.800.000 was killed.
Inspection by Foreigners
After the World War I, following the occupation of Istanbul and other provinces by the Central European Powers, 143 Ottoman political and military leaders and intellectuals were arrested and sent to the Malta island by the British and to be tried. A comprehensive investigation was carried out in the Ottoman archives in order to find out the proof of guilt regarding these imprisoned people, but no proof showing that they were guilty could be presented to the court. The British Government studied on certain reports in its archives and the archives of the USA in Washington thoroughly, but no evidence was found.
In a message sent by the British Ambassador in Washington R. C. Craigie to Lord Curzon on 13 July 1921, it was stated that
“I am sorry to say that nothing to be used against the Turks persecuted in Malta as proof could be found… No problem is available at the moment to present as a qualified evidence. The relevant reports, in no way, seem to be including any proofs to support the information available in the Government of Her Majesty’s regarding the Turks”.
The Law Advisers in London stated on 29th July 1921 that the accusations on the persons included in the list of the British Foreign Office included semi-political judgement, and therefore a new operation has to be performed for those Turks who were arrested for accusations of war crimes.
“No statement was received from any witnesses proving that the accusations against the arrested persons are right. Indeed, it is not clear that any witness can be found as it is unnecessary to state that it is highly difficult to find any witness in a country which is far and hard to reach such as Armenia, particularly after such a long time”. This statement was made by the Law Advisers of the British Government in London.
In conclusion, those arrested people in Malta were released in 1922 without any hearing and any accusation directed to them.
During this period, certain documents were published in the British press accusing the Ottoman Government and trying to prove these accusations. It was claimed that these documents were found in the Ottoman State offices in Syria by the British Occupation Forces under the command of General Allenby. However, the investigations carried out by the British Foreign Office afterwards found out that these documents given to the British press were not the documents received by the British Army, but they were fake documents sent to the allied delegations by the Nationalist Armenian Delegation in Paris.
Replies of the Scientists for the Claims
Scientists considering the history according the sizes and principles of history, received the original information and documents regarding the issue since 1925 and listened to the witnesses, and made certain observations in the areas that the events took place. These scientists knew that the Ottoman Archives were open to foreign researchers to personal applications. Therefore, comments or contrary beliefs on their convictions can only be made by the people who know in detail as much as these scientists.
Another significant document regarding the issue is the report presented by the 69 American scientists to the Parliament of Representatives on 19 May 1985.
“The area called Turkey, in fact “Republic of Turkey”, was a part of the Ottoman Empire which was a multi-religious, multi-national state from the 14th century to 1922. It is incorrect to consider the Ottoman Empire as equal to the Republic of Turkey just as in the case of Habsburg Empire and Republic of Austria”.
Those American academicians whose signatures are present below and who are experts on Turks and Ottoman researches, are of the opinion that the language used in the resolution of the American Parliament of Representatives was distorted and incorrect. Our concerns focus on the use of the “Turkey” and “genocide” and can be summarised as follows:
The Ottoman Empire which was brought down in 1922 by the Turkish Revolution, which led to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 192, was a state that had the territories of more than 25 states currently located in the Southeast Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East, one of which is the Republic of Turkey. The Republic of Turkey cannot be held responsible for any event that took place during the Ottomans.
As for the “genocide” accusation, those signing this report do not have any intention to look down on the dimensions of the pains that Armenians had suffered. Likewise, we are of the opinion that the suffering of the Muslim people in the concerned area cannot be treated in a different way either. (…) However, there are several documents and findings to be reached by the historians in order to differ the belligerent and innocent from the to find out the reasons for the events.
The accusations, such as those in the Resolution of the Parliament of Representatives No 192 shall lead to the unjust statements regarding the Turkish people and maybe will damage the improvements obtained by the historians in understanding these tragic events.
If the Congress approves this Resolution, it shall try to decide on what part of the historical problem is correct via laws. Such a decision based on suspicious assumptions shall damage historical research and shall damage the reliability of the American legislative process.”
WHAT IS GENOCIDE?
The replacement was presented by the Armenians and hostile states as a massacre and genocide against Armenians, and a massive propaganda campaign was launched against the Ottomans.
Genocide is the crime of annihilation of human groups because of racial, national, ethnic and religious differences. It can be perpetrated only directly by a Government or under its consent. In order to prevent the crime of genocide in the world, the United Nations General Assembly voted in 1948 the Genocide Convention, to which Turkey adhered in 1950.
The mention of genocide reminds the massive massacres perpetrated by Nazis against Jews and other ethnic groups In World War II. In this period lasting from 1939 to 1945 six million Jews, more than three millions of Soviet prisoners of war, more than one million Polish and Yugoslav civilians, about 200.000 Gypsies and 70.000 disabled persons were murdered. This is genocide in the true sense of the word.
Similarly, an imposing number of genocides have been committed in the recent years despite the United Nations Convention. For example, the confessions of two retired French generals published in the daily Le Monde show that the French army murdered at least one million Algerians between 1954 and 1962, while the Indonesian army massacred a full one million communists and their family members in 1965 and 1966, the Red Khmer killed 1,7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979, 500.000 Tutsis were beheaded by Huttus of Ruanda in 1994 and thousands of Moslems were exposed to Serbian atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.
The crime of genocide was committed in the above cases in its most blatant form. Contrary to the Armenian pretensions, the measures adopted regarding the Armenians in Eastern Anatolia was merely a replacement in another region within the Empire for security reasons and had nothing to do with genocide.
It is true that there were Armenian losses during the war and the replacement operation but they were actually due to the failure of establishment of order because of the war and the revolts in Eastern Anatolia., together with hunger, lack of food and fuel, adverse climatic conditions and epidemics such as typhus. There was no genocide or a planned massacre whatsoever.
It is a fact that the Armenians were subjected to many similar replacements in the past for treason against the states under whose hegemonies they were living. the Sasanites moved 70.000 Armenians to Iran in 379 AD, the Byzantines relocated 40.000 East Anatolian Armenians in Sivas and Kayseri in 1025, the Mameluks sent 10.000 to Egypt, the Iranians dispersed 24.000 into the country and the Russians invading Crimea sent thousands of Armenians into the Siberian steppes.
Without mentioning any of these preceding replacements and exiles, the Armenians strive to make a genocide issue out of their replacement undertaken in 1915 for undeniably sound reasons by the Ottoman State. This attitude is the product of policies designed to break apart the integrity of Turkey. The most obvious evidence of this phenomenon lies in the fact that the Western powers, oblivious to the true genocide events in Africa, the Balkans and several other parts of the world, lend support to the claims of genocide against Armenians.
THE ARMENIAN TERRORISM
Another significant dimension of the Armenian issue from Turkey’s point of view is the start of the use of armed terror methods by the Armenians against the Turks. This aggressive strategy which was aimed directly at Turkish statesmen, started with the bombed attack launched in 1905 against Emperor Abdulhamid II.
After the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, there was a peaceful period until 1965. In 1965 the terrorist movements suddenly rekindled with the support of the Armenian lobby. Turkish diplomats were killed, nearly 20 monuments were erected until the end of 1972 and a systematic press and publication activity was launched.
During the Armenian terror period, it was the traditional Tashnak and Hinchak organisations that designed, developed and implemented the attacks, diversified the targets, provided manpower for the terrorist teams, gave them moral and psychological support and found the necessary contacts for them.. The organisation that made itself known most frequently in this process was the ASALA, the acronym of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia.
The creators of the new terror age were the traditional terrorist organisations through the teams and groups that they trained, and the ASALA with the most merciless and inhuman practices under an independence mask. ASALA received its moral and psychological support, and the medium for contacts and relations from Hinchak. It may be stated on the basis of the foregoing that the traditional terror continued without respite, benefited from the occasions offered in the ‘60s and, making use of the of the opportunities launched a manhunt against Turks.
The Armenian terrorist organisations showed a rapid ascent within a relatively short time by armed assaults against the Turkish officials, representations and organisations abroad. During this period, the Armenians who secured themselves bases in Central and Eastern European Countries, and Syria and Lebanon also received help from the Cypriot Greeks and Greece.
The Armenian terror organisations, upon adverse reactions from the world opinion, have changed have their tactics and entered into co-operation with the terrorist group PKK in the ‘80s. PKK was pushed into the scene with the attacks directed against Eruh and Şemdinli in 1984 and the Armenian terrorist group ASALA withdrew to the background. The facts evidencing the connection between the Armenians and PKK are the following:
- The terrorist group PKK announced the dates between 21 and 28 April 1980 as the Red Week and commemorated the 24th April as the day of genocide committed against Armenians.
- On 8th April 1980, PKK and ASALA organised a joint press conference in the City of Sidon in Lebanon and issued a declaration at the end of this conference. Because of the reactions against this event, however, they decided to maintain their relations illegally on a secret basis. PKK and ASALA declared joint responsibility for the attacks made on the Turkish Consulate General in Strasbourg on 9th November 1980 and on the Turkish Airlines bureau in Rome on 9th November the same year.
- Abdullah Öcalan, the separatist terrorist and the leader of PKK, was elected to honorary membership of “the Association of Armenian Authors” for “his intellectual contributions to the idea of Great Armenia.”
- A Kurdistan Committee within the Armenian Popular Movement was formed as in many European countries.
- On 4th June 1993, the Armenian Hinchak Party held a meeting at the PKK headquarters in Western Beyrouth with the participation of several members of PKK and ASALA.
Another striking example of the Armenian-PKK relations is the following group of decisions taken in the meetings held at two separate churches in Beyrouth from 5th to 9th January 1993, with the participation of the Armenian Orthodox Archbishop, officials of the Armenian Party and about 150 youth representatives:
- A somewhat sedate attitude should be reserved toward Turkey for the time being.
- The Armenian community is on the way to growth and better economic conditions.
- The propaganda activities have started to make the genocide claims better understood in the rest of the world.
- The recently-founded Armenian State, with a constantly growing territory, will definitely avenge the ancestors of its citizens.
- The Western powers and particularly the United States side with and favour the Armenians in the combat for Karabakh. This opportunity should be well exploited as more and more Armenian young men join the ranks in this fight.
- The civil war in Turkey ( referring to the war against PKK terrorism) will continue and eventually collapse the country’s economy, leading to an uprising by the entire population.
- Turkey will be separated and a Kurdish State will be formed.
- Armenians will hold good relations with the Kurds and support their fight.
- Territories presently held by the Turks will become Armenian tomorrow.
It may be stated briefly that the common goal of the Armenian terrorist organisations is to destabilise Turkey using all available opportunities, to save the so-called Armenian land under occupation, and to create an independent Great Armenia. These expectations appear to be nurtured also by the new state of Armenia under different forms and guises.
The Republic of Armenia that declared its independence on 23rd September 1991 following the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has made the genocide claims against Turkey a state policy. Trying to create the image of a nation under oppression and persecution, it strives to secure the sympathies of Western powers and particularly the United States and France and international organisations.
Their objective is the recognition and registering of the genocide claims, securing a sizeable indemnity from Turkey, the returning of the territories “seized from Armenians” and the establishment of Great Armenia. In fact, the declaration adopted on 23rd August 1990 by the Armenian Parliament states, in no uncertain terms, that “The Armenian Republic supports the efforts for the international recognition of the 1915 genocide in Western Armenia by the Ottoman Turkey”.
The initiatives intended for the recognition of the so called genocide have been concentrated on in a number of countries where commemorative monuments were erected and the claims of genocide were formally included in school curricula .
A relatively mild atmosphere prevailed in the Turkish-Armenian relations under the term in office of Ter Petrossian. With the election, however, of Kocharian to the Presidency in April 1998, the extreme nationalist activities were let loose and Armenia began to pursue a toughness policy in its relations with Turkey. Kocharian stated in an official declaration that “The Armenians will never forget the genocide and always try to remind the rest of the world of this tragedy” and added that “The Genocide remains unpunished and the international recognition and reproach are inadequate and insufficient”. He repeated this statement also in the 53rd General Assembly Meeting of the United Nations and said that Armenia was under the blockade grip of Turkey and Azerbaijan.
The best reply to people like Kocharian has been given by the Armenian community living in Turkey. Regarding the genocide and the replacement claims, Dikran Kevorkian, Kandilli Armenian Church Pastor, said the following on 7th October 2000 in a television programme named “ Nutshell”:
Genocide and replacement denote two different concepts. The imperialist schemes and the Armenian apolitical dream leaders (media, churches and the clergy) are the causes of this situation. The Patriarch is a spiritual leader and a blunder is committed when his opinions are sought about political matters. What could ASALA and PKK do if there were no political support behind them? There was a German pressure on the Sublime Porte for the replacement, in an attempt to shake the existing order and to secure itself economic benefits through the Berlin-Baghdad railroad.
For the assimilation claims, Kevorkian stated the following words:
Today, it is only in Turkey among all countries of the world that the Armenians manage to maintain their own identity. The Armenians in the Diaspora abroad continue their struggle for existence by changing their names because there are efforts there to assimilate the Armenians. The Diaspora knows very well that the Sunday rites in all major American churches are in English and the Armenians are gradually forgetting their own language. When we say these we are criticised. It is for these reasons that we, as the Armenians living in Turkey declare our regrets against these efforts, because an injustice is being committed to the concept of “National Forces” entrusted to us by Atatürk. All this is a stratagem conducted from abroad, including the ASALA, PKK and Kocharian’s declaration. We, as the citizens of Turkey believe that an injustice is perpetrated here. If Armenians are intelligent enough, they should not allow themselves to be used for the interests of others.
In a reception held at Hilton Hotel on 22nd May 1999, the Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II gave the following messages refuting most of the Armenian claims:
The establishment of the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate is an event unprecedented in the history. In 1481, only eight years after the conquest of Istanbul,. the firman issued by Mohammed the Conqueror for the conversion of the West Anatolian Armenian Episcopate into the Istanbul Patriarchate, is a clear evidence of his vision and the tolerance displayed by the subsequent sultans, toward other religions.
The establishment of a spiritual leadership office for a religion other than that of the ruler is unprecedented in the history before and after Mohammed the Conqueror. We will better understand the value of this event that occurred some 538 years ago and the importance of the tolerance between religions and cultures when we consider the clashes prevailing in the world and the wars being fought around us, at the threshold of a new millenium .
On this occasion, we recall with affection and gratitude Mohammed the Conqueror, all the statesmen that served the country along the lines that he had drawn and our eighty-three Patriarchs who faithfully served this office, beginning with the first Istanbul Armenian Patriarch Hovaghim from Bursa.
We, the Turkish Armenians as the largest Christian community living in this country sincerely believe in the bright future of the Republic of Turkey, we joyfully celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary and we maintain great hopes for the future.
As in the past, there are still some states that are trying to obtain political and economic benefits through the Armenian community. In some countries monuments have been erected to accuse Turks and Turkey of committing a genocide; in others, decisions with the purpose of the recognition of the so called genocide are included on the parliamentary agendas; and even in some other countries these decisions have been approved by the parliaments. These issues, which should have been left to historians are becoming a means of self interest in the hands of ambitious politicians.
Ever since the emergence of the Armenian problem, Armenian terrorists have never hesitated to kill and massacre. The aim of these terrorists, who insist on ignoring all the historical facts, is to publicise their claims for the so called Armenian genocide and the demands of Armenians, all over the world. The ultimate goal is “Great Armenia”.
In order to realise their “Great Armenia” dream, Armenians and their supporters have put their “Four T” plan into operation, which exploits the replacement of Armenians and presents it as a genocide to the whole world.
The objective of this plan is to make propaganda about the so called genocide, to have it recognised, to obtain indemnity and to acquire land from Turkey.
The Armenian problem was created by the states that wanted to attain their own goals by separating the Ottoman Empire. Today, the Armenian problem is a baseless, artificial and designed problem, which is still kept on the agenda by the same states which have different names now, so as to realise their evil intentions on Turkey.
Those, who hope to obtain benefits with these false claims and accusations are not the Turkish citizens of Armenian origin, who live in the borders of the Turkish Republiç and who are completely free to practice all their traditions and religious customs. They are the Diaspora Armenians who are physically and emotionally away from the Armenian lands where people are suffering from starvation; They are the opportunistic politicians who provoke their own citizens for dangerous and futile adventures so as to get more votes. The injustice done to Turkey by these opportunists who disregard all historical facts for gaining political and economic advantages must be stopped.