AGAINST THEIR OWN NATIONALS
Armenian committeemen not only conducted massacres on Turks,
but also made various oppressions on the Armenians whom they
suspected were on the side of the Turks.
After the Kumkapi demonstration, which took place in July
1890, the Hinchak Committee, started arranging assassinations
to the suspected Armenians presumed to be the supporters of
Advocate Hachik was killed by a 15-year-old Armenian named
Dacad Varabet, the preacher of Gedikpasa Church was cut into
Mampre Karabet, who was elected to the Spiritual Assembly,
was wounded assassination and because of spying for the government.
It was suspected that Patriarch Ashikyangave the plans of
the committee to the government, and due to this reason an
assassination was arranged by an Armenian named Diyarbakirli
Agop / Agop From Diyarbakir, elected by drawing lots by the
committee in the patriarch ate church on March 24, 1804. Since
the Karadag branded pistol the assassin used was defective,
the young man was arrested.
The Hinchak Committee carried out an assassination on March
10, 1894 to Simon Maksut, when they considered being the friend
of Ashikyan, through two committeemen, in front of the Havyar
Han in Galata.
The French Ambassador Monsieur Cambon gave the following information
to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 27, 1894
about these assassinations:
From Cambon to Casimir Perier,
Beyoglu: March 27, 1894
Last Sunday, while Patriarch Ashikyan was leaving the Kumkapi
Church after the ritual service in order to go back to the
patriarchate, an eighteen-year-old Armenian youngster aimed
on him by his pistol and fired a few shots. Since the weapon
was defective, no bullet hit the patriarch. The patriarch
was fainted and he was treated in his home. The young Armenian
was taken to the police station, and when he was interrogated
on the reason of the murdering, he told that Ashikyan is the
enemy of Armenians, and that he frequently informed the government,
therefore, the Armenians had sworn to get rid of this man
to save the nation. He also emphasised that he and his colleagues
from the same sect were faithful to the Sultan.
Monsieur Cambon states in his telegram which he sent on June
3, 1894 that :
From Cambon to the Minister of Foreign Affairs :
Beyoglu : June 3, 1894
In the last days, an assassination has been made to a leader
of Armenian Society in Istanbul. This person who survived
the attack, is Simon Maksud, the gate attendant or the chief
translator, a wealthy banker, and one of the contractors of
the Ministry of Defence. Mr. Maksut, one of the members of
the Patriarchate Peoples Assembly, were known by the members
of the same sect as a treacherous person who was sold to the
Turks. Mr. Maksut, last year, when the celebration of the
constitution granted by Sultan Mecit to the Armenians was
banned by the Sultan, he refused to make conspiracies for
the lifting of this ban. He attracted the hatred of the conspiracies
and provocateurs violently.
The porters from Van, who tried to kill him, are the people
who suffered a lot of from Kurds, and Turkish officials in
There is no doubt that that we are facing a political murder.
The murderers were carrying documents and letters written
by the Armenian committees. These people admitted that they
were hired by an Armenian person named Levona and who had
paid them for the crime. After the assassination attempt,
the committees wished to warn the members from the higher
Armenian classes whom they considered to be treacherous and
who did not serve to their national cause and were considered
to be the friends of Turks. The committees wanted to strike
their blows in the center of the government / in the capital,
and not in the provinces from then on, and to provide a larger
area for their activities, and to make a strong effect on
The Sultan was very annoyed by this assassination. A lot
of arrests that were made by the police in Istanbul prove
The leader of the Hinchak Committee in Istanbul, after the
Kumkapi demonstration, is Murad (Hamparsum Boyaciyan). Vart
Badrikyan, came from Caucasia as the Hinchak representative.
Badrikyan was arrested after one or two months later but since
he was a Russian citizen, he was taken; by the Russian Embassy.
Ardavazt Ohancanyan, was sent from Caucasia in lieu of him.
The assassinations occured at a time when these representatives
were in Istanbul. (1)
The oppressions of Armenians on Armenians do not only comprise
of assassinations. The Armenian committeemen, who tried to
obtain money for the rebellions, robbed a great number of
Armenian citizens. As a matter of fact, the following information
given to M. Sifir, whose actual name is Rezi Yalkin, by the
famous Pantikyan, who played a great role in the armistice,
is very shocking :
I would like to stress especially that, in the raids
made by the Kurds and the Turks, as a reaction to the rebellion
movements in the several regions of Anatolia at those times,
the amount of material losses were extremely small compared
to the wealth pillaged by the Hinchaks in the robberies in
Istanbul. The percentage would not total even to one percent.
The committeemen robbed the Istanbul Armenians in such a pitilessly.
They put several wealthy persons into a penniless situation.
I find it useful to list the amount of money stolen at
that time, to give a lesson to the new Armenian generation,
to expose these robbers by giving figures, and the names of
the owners of the money as far as I remember:
A committee of bandits conducting robberies under the leadership
of the priest Murat Irakliyan, from Van, one of the famous
wicked men operated in Bakirköy, Yedikule and Samatya. The
collected twenty two thousand gold coins only from poor Armenian
shoppers and craftsmen. They apart from these they collected
six thousand gold coils from carpets trader Karnik Sümbülyan,
five thousand gold coins from draper Nisan ªahpazyan, and
ten thousand gold coins from mobile grains traders.
The robberies made in Yenikapi, Kumkapi districts were
not less than these were at all. The all existences of all-small
traders, shoppers and craftsmen were taken away from their
hands and the safes of the outstanding wealthy men were all
seized. In case my memories do not mislead myself, the totals
of the robberies made in this district also reached thirty
thousand golden coins.
Those who collected tributes in Galata and Beyoglu brole
all the records of robbery. Thirty thousand gold coins were
seized only from one of the outstanding jewellers of that
time named Istepan, who was a wealthy Armenian, and a total
of the robberies in this district hundred thousand gold coins
was the sum total. Izmirliyan, who gained control of even
the patriarchate Migir, together with the five secret detectives
of the committee; priest Murat Irakliyan; Musdic Kesisyan,
from Aleppo and his friends became extremely wealthy.
The committeemen of that time claimed that an important
part of that money was given to the men of the palace. But
these words are absolute lies, because, ten years after the
event, Murat Irakliyan escaped to Sofia, and settled there.
He personally told the event to my father in detail, and he
emphasized that the thirty thousand gold coins which was his
share, was taken by force from him by Izmirliyan. (2)
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hasan Oktay, ation from the University of
Yüzüncü Yil, Department of History, has found out a very shocking
example regarding the oppressions of Armenians on Armenians
Following the atmosphere which prevailed after the announcement
of the Second Constitutional Regime, the post of Mayor in
Van, was given to Bedros Kapamaciyan, an Armenian member of
Van Administrative Assembly, in the midst of the year 1909.
In spite of the fact that the Moslem people constituted the
majority of population in the city; Kapamaciyan Efendi was
elected as a member without any considerations of discrimination
by earning the respect of all the people, therefore, he also
received votes the Moslem people. As a matter of fact, at
the end of the elections, two out of ten members in the Administrative
Assembly were Armenians.
Kapamaciyan Efendi, who pleased the people of the province
during his administration and who always sided with the Ottoman
State in spite of the Tashnak and Hinchak committees, served
for the peace and the welfare of both the Turkish and the
Armenian committees in Van. While Kapamaciyan, the Mayor,
was working hard for the peace and the future of the city,
the Armenian Patriarch was conspiring for plots and provocation
in Van and its environs. He collaborated with the Tashnak
committee in order to keep the Armenian matter alive for the
As a result of these plots, a series of fires broke out
in Van, and the houses of some of the Armenians were also
burned up in these fires. The Patriarch wanted the Major to
send a report to the Ambassadors of the European States stating
that the fires and provocation were caused by the Moslem people,
and that they are getting ready to destroy the lives and the
property of the Armenians at any moment.
However, Kapamaciyan Efendi, the Mayor, sent a report telling
that the matter was not so and the fires were started by the
Armenian Tashnak committees.
The existence of Kapamaciyan Efendi, who spoiled the efforts
of the revolutionary Armenians still working with great efforts
in the center of Van, was an unbearable situation, so the
committees took the decision to execute the major. The revolutionary
gangs, who based their theories on an Armenian-Turkish conflict,
had arranged assassinations before the outstanding Armenian
people who supported the Ottoman State and who weakened their
domination over the people. Thus, with this assassination
they were going to frighten the community and avoid further
Kapamaciyan Efendi, who was frequently threatened on December
10, 1912 in the evening, w,th all his family got onto the
sledges that was waiting in front of the door of his home,
to go to Marcidciyan Efendi, who was one of his relatives,
for the celebration of name giving. He did not know that
he was on the black list. A Tashnak group was waiting near
his home the group started a volley of shots onto the crowd.
The Mayor, who was caught unaware and without any protection
at all, was shot with two bullets in his head and fell dead
on the ground.
Since the home of the Mayor was in the Baglar quarter,
the closest patrol station was ten minutes away. So, the murderers
fled in the darkness before the gendarmerie arrived. The Baglar
quarter was a place with gardens and vineyards. In this is
quarter Armenians were the majority and it was easy for the
murderers to hide and run away.
The witnesses who saw the incident started to be questioned.
The facial features and other information about the murderers
were slowly being revealed. Especially from the evidence given
by the Mayors son, it was understood that Karakin and his
friend were probably the murderers. Thus, the disclosure of
the murderers prevented probable clashes between the Moslem
and the Armenians. Karakin was caught after rapid operations,
and his friend whose name we could not find out, escaped.
The assassins who were among the group who committed the crime
and was wanted for smuggling arms into Van whose names were
Potur, the carriage man, Sarac, Osep, jeweller Karakin, and
somebody named Sahaf who fled to Karagündüz village after
the event and who was one of the leading members of Tashnak
committee, and who planned the murder of Kapamaciyan Efendi,
were caught after a difficult search. The friend of the murderer
Karakin, who got lost just after the event, was later on captured
and put in prison.
Viramyan Efendi, one of the writers of the Azadamart newspaper
as published in Van by the members of Tashnak committee in
Van; Aram Manukyan Efendi, the inspector of Armenian schools
and the Van delagate of Tashnak committee; and some of the
Armenian leaders of the Tashnak committee were arrested for
plotting Mayor Kapamaciyans murder.
Because the Ottoman officials were successful in finding
the murderer of Kapamaciyan, who was very popular among the
Armenians, the capturing of the murderers, even though they
were not punished severely, still met with pleasure by the
people. But the Armenian people felt deep sorrow because the
murderers were Armenians. Necessary measures were taken in
the funeral and thus special care was taken to avoid any disturbances.
The English, Russian, and the French Consuls were among the
foreign missions who also participated in the funeral. However,
the fact that nobody from the military and also from the Tashnak
committee was at the ceremony, which was rather meaningful.
With this attitude, the Tashnak committee made it clear to
their supporters and enemies that they killed the mayor and
thus this was a warning to their enemies.
The revolutionist Tashnak committees could kill their own
people without any their hesitation to reach their goals.
The committeemen were capable doing all kinds of actions for
the formation of a suitable medium for a revolution. They
conducted their actions systematically with the help of Russia;
they were able to occupy Van, temporarily. When the Russians
retreated because of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Van
again passed to the hands of Turks. (3)
Oktay, reports the following from Altan Deliorman concerning
to the oppressions of Armenians on Armenians:
While the Armenians were conducting their activities in
Anatolia, in Istanbul they were also, killing those Armenians
who did not sympathise with them. Advocate Hachik; Dacad Vartabet,
the Chief priest of Gedikpasa Church; Trader Karagözyan, Candle
man Onnik; Apik Uncuyan; Policeman Markar, Mampre Vartabet,
the member of the Spiritual Assembly; Hajji Dikran Migirdic
Tütüncüyan are only a few of the Armenians who were murdered
by the Armenian gangs. (4)
(1) Uras, Esat, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi / The
Armenians and the Armenian Matter In History, Belge Publications,
Istanbul, 1987, p. 469 471.
(2) Banoglu, Niyazi Ahmet, Gündüz Printing House, Ankara,
1976, p. 24 25.
(3) Oktay, Assoc. Prof. Dr., Hazan, "www.ermenisorunu.gen.tr/articles"
(4) Altan Deliorman, Türklere Karsi Ermeni Komitecileri, Istanbul,
1975, p. 31.