“Temporary Law on the Measures Implemented by the Military
against those Opposing the Government Implementations at Wartime”
also known as “Immigration Law-Tehcir Law” was resolved on
27 May 1915. (1) The Law was published in the Official Gazette
of the time, Takvim-i Vekayi, on 1 June 1915 and came
into force. (2)
Article 1 of the before mentioned temporary law authorizes,
the commanders of the Army, Army-corps and Divisions to take
military measures against those opposing government orders,
country’s defense, and the protection of peace; and against
those organizing armed attacks and resistance, and kill rebels
during aggression and uprising in wartime. The second article
authorizes the same commanders to transfer and resettle on
a single basis or in mass, the people living in villages and
towns who are found to be engaged in espionage or treason.
The properties owned by the Armenians subjected to immigration
were protected under an order (3) dated 10 June 1915. “Commission
on Abandoned Properties” comprising of a president and two
members, one administrative and one financial, was established.
These commissions are to determine Armenian properties in
the villages and towns that are evacuated, and to keep detailed
record books. One of the books is to be kept in the regional
churches, one to be submitted to the regional administration,
and one shall be kept by the commission. Non-durable goods
and animal stock shall be auctioned and the money shall be
kept. In location where a commission is not appointed, the
provisions of the communiqué shall be enforced by the officers
in the regions. Both the commission and the regional administrators
shall be responsible for the protection of these properties
until the Armenians return.
As it can be understood from the law dated 27 May 1915 and
order dated 10 June 1915, the immigration implementation initiated
by Talat Pasha and approved by the Parliament covers “the
regions that threaten the security of the front directly”.
The first of these regions includes the vicinities of Erzurum,
Van and Bitlis, which constitute the background of Caucasian
and Iranian fronts. The second region is provinces of Mersin-Iskenderun,
which constitute the background of the Sinae front. Because,
in these regions, Armenians were collaborating with the enemy
and were engaged in activities facilitating the landing of
the enemy forces.
However, the law regarding “the measures implemented by the
military against those opposing the government implementations
at wartime” is an authorizing law intended to protect the
state and its legal order. One of the most important characteristics
of this law is that “not a name of any ethnic group or community
was mentioned nor even suggested in the text of the law”.
The Ottoman citizens of Moslem, Greek and Armenian origin
covered under this law were subjected to immigrate from their
own place and resettle elsewhere. To regard this law as being
directed against one particular ethnic group is an indication
of a lack of information, or else, intentional behavior...
Halacoglu, Prof. Dr. Yusuf, Ermeni Tehcirine Dair Gerekceler
— Realities on the Armenian Immigration — (1915), TTK
Publication, Ankara 2001.
1) Bayur, ibid., III/3, p.40; Gürün, ibid., 214.
2) Takvim-i Vekayi’, 18 Recep 1333/19 May 1331, 7th
year, no:2189; Y.H. Bayur, ibid, III/3, p.30
3) ATBD, December 1982, ibid., no:81, document 1832
4) Yildirim, Dr. Hüsamettin, Ermeni Iddialari ve Gercekler
— Armenian Claims and Realities- Ankara 2000, p. 21