So-called Armenian Genocide

Excerpts from the book:A Myth of Terror
Armenian Extremism:Its Causes and Its Historical Context
An Illustrated Expose by Eric Feigl

The Armenians" Last Chance Blown by the Dashnaks

The Koran school "with the two minarets" is a symbol of Erzurum. "Ars er Rum - Land of the Romans" - was the name

given to the town by the Arab geographer Ibn Battuta. It was first attacked by the Seljuks in 1049. In the year 632, the Byzantines held a synod here, in the course of which the defeated Armenian principalities were ordered to accept Greek Orthodoxy. Under the name "Karen", Erzurum belonged to the Bagratid Empire, which was tributary to the Caliphs. The Turks established themselves in Erzurum following their victory at Mantzikert (1071).

In 1914, a Dashnaktsutiun Party Congress was held here. The Dashnaks regarded Erzurum as the capital of a future "Greater Armenia".

The outbreak of the First World War represents a decisive turning point in the history of the Armenian people. It was on the eve of the Ottoman Empire's entry into the war on the side of the Central Powers (which did not come until the beginning of November) that the revolutionary Dashnaktsutiun held its congress in Erzurum.

There are widely differing accounts of the events of the congress, especially concerning the attitude of the delegates towards the Ottoman State.

Hovhannes Kachaznuni, who was later to become prime minister of the independent Armenian Republic, did, however, present a statement concerning this matter to the Bucharest Congress of the Dashnaktsutiun in July, 1923:

"At the beginning of the Fall of 1914 when Turkey had not yet entered the war but had already been making preparations, Armenian revolutionary bands began to be formed in Transcaucasia (i.e., in Czarist Russia, editor's note), with great enthusiasm and, especially, with much uproar. Contrary to the decision taken during their general meeting at Erzurum only a few weeks before, the A. R. F. (Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnaksutyun) had active participation in the formation of the bands and their future military action against Turkey..."

After commenting briefly on the (for Hovhannes Kachaznuni) distressing fact that the A. R. F. of Transcaucasia had never stuck to its decisions, the former prime minister of the Republic of Armenia continued:

"It would be useless to argue today whether our bands of Volunteers should have entered the field or not. Historical events have their irrefutable logic. In the Fall of 1914 Armenian volunteer bands organized themselves and fought against the Turks because they could not refrain themselves from fighting. This was in inevitable result of psychology on which the Armenian people had nourished itself during an entire generation: that mentality should have found its expression and did so...

If the formation of bands was wrong, the root of that error must be sought much further and more deeply ...

The Winter of 1914 and the Spring of 1915 were the periods of greatest enthusiasm and hope for all the Armenians in the Caucasus, including, of course, the Dashnagtzoutiun. We had no doubt the war would end with the complete victory of the Allies; Turkey would be defeated and dismembered, and its, Armenian population would at last be liberated.

We had embraced Russia wholeheartedly without any compunction. Without any compunction. Without any positive basis of fact we believed that the Tzarist government would grant us a more or less broad self-government in the Caucasus and in the Armenian villayets liberated from Turkey as a reward for our loyalty, our efforts and assistance."

No one from the inner ranks ever told the truth to the Armenians in such a dry, matter-of-fact, uncompromising fashion as their own prime minister of the Armenian Republic, Hovhannes Kachaznuni.

When he says, "We had implanted our own desires into the minds of others," he knows what he is talking about.

As they have almost always clone with their politics, the Russians let the whole truth be known in 1914 concerning their intentions towards the Armenians (in the came way as Lenin openly pronounced his intentions towards the "capitalist world"; it is just that hardly anyone in the West has ever believed him). It was enough just to read the appeal issued by the Czar, and even that did not have to be read very closely, considering how blatantly it destroyed all Armenian illusions! - "Armenians!

From East to West, all the peoples of Greater Russia have answered my call respectfully. - Armenians!

The hour has come to free yourselves from the tyranny that has ruled over you for five hundred years - this tyranny that has massacred, and continues to massacre, so many of you. The Russians gladly remember their glorious Armenian compatriots. The Lazaroffs and the Melikoffs and others have fought on the side of their Slavic brothers for the glory of the Fatherland. Their loyalty is our guarantee of your loyalty as well. We are certain that you will all fulfill your duty and contribute everything to the victory of our forces and of our just cause.

Armenians! You will be united with your brothers under the regime of the Czars and finally experience the blessings of freedom and justice!",

What did this appeal contain, aside from the assertion that the Armenians would be united under the regime of the Czars (assuming a Russian victory)?

No trace. of a promise of independence. Not even a hint at autonomy or autonomous self-government.

Nevertheless: The Armenians delivered themselves up to the Russian slaughter. They willingly let themselves be sacrificed on the chessboard of Russian superpower politics. And they apparently still have not learned their lesson, since Armenian terrorism is, willingly or unwillingly, still offering its services today to Russian super power politics.

"We had created a dense atmosphere of illusion in our minds. We had implanted our own desires into the minds of others; we had lost our sense of reality and were carried away with our dreams. From mouth to mouth, from car to ear passed mysterious words purported to have been spoken in the palace of the Viceroy; attention was called to some kind of a letter by Vorontzov-Dashkov to the Catholicos as an important document in our hands to use in the presentation of our rights and claims - a cleverly composed letter with very indefinite sentences and generalities which might be interpreted in any manner, according to one's desire.

We overestimated the ability of the Armenian people, its political and military power, and overestimated the extent and importance of the services our people rendered to the Russians. And by overestimating our very modest worth and merit was where we naturally exaggerated our hopes and expectations.

The deportations and mass exiles and massacres which took place during the Summer and Autumn of 1915 were mortal blows to the Armenian Cause. Half of historical Armenia - the same half where the foundations of our independence would be laid according to traditions inherited from the early eighties and as the result of the course adopted by European diplomacy - that half was denuded of Armenians; the Armenian provinces of Turkey were without Armenians. The Turks knew what they were doing and have no reason to regret today. It was the most decisive method of extirpating the Armenian Question from Turkey.

Again, it would be useless to ask today to what extent tile participation of volunteers in the war was a contributory cause of the Armenian calamity...

The proof is, however - and this is essential - that the struggle began decades ago against the Turkish government brought about the deportation or extermination of the Armenian people in Turkey and the desolation of Turkish Armenia. This was the terrible fact!"

A short while later, the former Prime Minister of the Armenian Republic comes to his conclusion:

"By an extraordinary mental aberration, we, a Political party, were forgetting that our Cause was an incidental and trivial phase for the Russians (in their fight against the Ottomans and their drive to the Mediterranean, editor's note), so trivial that if necessary, they would trample on our corpses without a moment's hesitation ...

When the Russians were advancing we used to say from the depths of our subconscious minds that they were coming to save us; and when they were withdrawing we said they are retreating so that they allow us to be massacred ...

In both cases we misunderstood the consequence and the purpose and intention . . ."

Appeal issued by the Hunchaks at the beginning of the First World War

The Hunchak Social Democrat Committee which has been working since over a quarter of a century in a bloody path to obtain the liberation of the Armenians in Turkey, now descends, driven by the power of actual political events, from the Taurus Mountains and the borders of Armenia down to the battle-field, blowing the trumpet of strife and revolution, to drown in blood the Ottoman tyranny.

In this gigantic struggle where existence of nations is at stake, the Hunchak Committee as well as the entire Armenian nation will join their forces, moral and material, and waving the sword of revolution in their hands, will enter into this world war. As comrades of arms of the Triple Entente and particularly of Russia they will co-operate with the Allies, making full use of all political and revolutionary means they possess for the final victory in Armenia, Cilicia, Caucasus, and Azerbaijan ...

Well then, foward Comrades ... Foward to work. Let us crush down the death, death which threatens Armenia, so that it lives and it lives forever ...

Paris, 1914
Head offices of the Social
Democrat Hunchal Committee.
May 17, 1915

The Armenians conquer Van and set fire to the Moslem part of town

It was a tragic but telling coincidence that April 24 was the day the Ottoman Minister of the Interior gave the order to arrest the party functionaries, known revolutionaries, and agitators in Istanbul. (There was not yet any talk about a relocation order.) On that very same day, the governor of Van sent the following telegram:



Truly an absurd telegram. The governor of Van wanted to move the Moslem women and children to the safety of the West. No one was yet thinking of relocating Armenians, only Moslems.

On May 8, the Armenian rebels began a general assault in the vicinity of Van. All the surrounding Moslem villages went up in flames. Tile Ottoman governor, Cevdet Pasha, now ordered a withdrawal. On May 17, the Ottoman troops abandoned Van. On the same day, the incoming Armenians set fire to the Moslem part of town and established total Armenian control.

A few days later, the Russian vanguard arrived in Van. It was made up of Armenian units. Several days after that regular Russian troops followed. The new Armenian ruler of Van, Aram, presented the Russian commander, General Nikolayev, with the keys to the city.

Two days later, Nikolayev confirmed the Armenian provisional government in office, with Aram as governor. The point of this Russian show of generosity was clear. It was intended to give the Armenians an appetite for similar self-government in the wake of similar rebellions.

The specter lasted only six weeks; then the Ottomans advanced and reconquered Van. They moved into an empty town. The Moslems had been killed, and the entire Armenian population, along with the American missionaries, had fled north with the Russians to the safety of Transcaucasia.

Front page of the Armenian newspaper "Hunchak" with the Hunchak appeal to take up arms against the Ottoman Empire, summer 1914.

cartton:Puch Julj 22,1876
This picture appeared in the Armenian-American journal "Azk" on March 2, 1915. That means it was taken at least three months before the Ottoman government's relocation order, which was issued in the wake of constant armed uprisings behind the front. The photo shows Hunchaks who fought against the Ottomans oil the Caucasian front. For the most part, these were deserters who stood out for their cruelty against the civilian population.

Armenian uprising behind the Ottoman front, February-March, 1915. Among the faces in this photo is that of Papkene far left), who had already helped organize the raid oil the Ottoman Bank, in 1896.

Home | About Us | Membership | Component Associations | Events | Reference Center
©Assembly of Turkish American Associations
Home of xxx Turkish American Associations across U.S., Canada and Türkiye
1526 18th St, NW,Washington, DC 20036 - Phone: (202) 483-9090, Fax: (202) 483-9092