REASONS BEHIND RELOCATION
The decision regarding migration was taken under compulsion,
in order to prevent the harmful acts of Armenians, who stabbed
the Ottoman State that was their own state, in order to establish
an independent Armenia. Documents confirm how the Russians
and the Entente States deceived and provoked Armenians. (1)
The Armenians who were deceived by such promises as to be
given the lands they obtained during the War and that their
independence to be recognized; established a number of revolutionary
societies (2). Armenians, who started their terrorist activities
before the immigration process, continued these activities
even during the immigration. They collaborated with the enemy
both in the border areas and in the inner regions, and applied
genocidal activities to the Moslem people (3).
Ottoman Government decided to compile the documents expressing
the cruelties of the Armenians in a book and requested the
documents and photographs of Armenian massacres (4). Those
documents and photographs collected in a book and published
under the title of Ermeni Komitelerinin Faaliyetleri ve
Ihtilal Hareketleri/ Mesrutiyetin Ilanindan Once ve Sonra
Armenian cruelties continued after the First Wold War as well.
In fact, one of the most striking examples of such activities
is the one committed in Nahcivan by an Armenian band of 1.200
people under the command of an Armenian named Hanov (6). Furthermore,
it is understood from the telegraphs dispatched on 3 and 7
March 1920 respectively by Mümtaz Bey who was then the acting
Governor of “Mamuretül Aziz” Province, that the Armenians
protected by the French Forces in the region were then under
the delmion of establishing an independent Armenia from Clicia
to Adana provinces (7).
Upon such developments, Enver Pasha, acting Head Commander,
in order to find a solution to this problem, sent the following
note to Talat Pasha on May 2, 1915.
“Armenians domiciled around Lake Van, and in Van Provincial
Governorate are always ready for an uprising. I think that
the Armenians should be moved from these places, and centers
of revolt be dissipated. According to the information given
by the 3rd Army Command, the Russians caused the
Moslems within their own boundaries to immigrate over our
boundaries in miserable conditions. Both as a retaliation
to this act, and to ensure the aim I mentioned above, either
the said Armenians should be transported into the Russian
land together with their families; or they should be distributed
in the various regions in Anatolia also with their families.
I kindly request from you the selection of the most suitable
alternative and act accordingly. However, I personally prefer
that the revolting people and their families be sent beyond
our borders; and Moslem people their families be re-settled
in their place” (8).
With this letter, which may be accepted as the first sign
of the intention of immigration process, Enver Pasha requested
of dispersion of Armenians in order to avoid their uprising
act. According to the said letter, it is clear that the implementations
would be made only in locations where the Armenians revolted;
and it was carried out accordingly.
Talat Pasha, not wishing to waste time due to the urgency
and importance of the matter, initiated the re-settlement
implementation without waiting for the resolution of the Parliament
hence did not hesitate to undertake such a heavy responsibility
by himself (9). Talat Pasha, who took first considered to
start immigration of the Armenians domiciled in Van, Bitlis
and Erzurum regions out of the War area. He informed Tahsin
Bey, Cevdet Bey and Mustafa Abdulhalik Bey, Governors of Erzurum,
Van, and Bitlis Provinces respectively on the matter by cryptic
communiqués dd. May 9, 1995. Talat Pasha in his above — mentioned
cryptic message communicated that the Armenians concentrated
in certain regions to start revolts and uprising were decreed
to immigrate towards the south, and that every possible assistance
should be given to the Governors in order for this decree
to be implemented. Talaat Pasha noted that a communiqué concerning
the issue was sent to the Supreme Military Command to the
Commanders of the 3rd and 4th Armies.
He informed that it would be advantageous if the implementation
was undertaken in areas to cover the southern part of Erzurum
along with Van, the critical sub-provinces in Bitlis, and
especially the vicinities of Mus, Sasun, and Talori; and requested
from the Governors to immediately initiate the implementation
in cooperation with the army commanders.
Furthermore, Talat Pasha issuing a cryptic communiqué to the
4th Army Command dated 23 May 1915, listed the
location requested to be evacuated as follows:
1. The provinces of Erzurum, Van ad Bitlis;
2. The subdivision of Maras excluding the city of Maras;
3. Villages and towns within the boundaries of the sub provinces
of; Iskenderun, Beylan (Belen), Cisr-i Sugur and Antioch excluding
the central sub province of the Province of Aleppo;
4. The sub-divisions of Adana, Mersin, Kozan and Cebel-i Bereket
excluding the cities of Adana, Sis (Kozan) and Mersin;
Accordingly; Armenians evacuated from Erzurum, Van and Bitlis
were decreed to be transferred to the southern part of Mousul
along with the sub-division of Zor and sub-division of Urfa
excluding the central city: and the Armenians evacuated from
the vicinities of Adana, Aleppo and Maras to be transferred
to the eastern part of the Province of Syria along with the
eastern and southeastern part of the Province of Aleppo. To
supervise and manage the immigration process, State Inspectors,
Ali Seydi Bey and Hamid Bey were appointed to the Adana region,
and to the regions of Aleppo and Maras, respectively.
It was stipulated that the Armenians arriving at the new locations
of resettlement were to be settled either in the houses that
they would build in the existing villages or towns; or in
the villages that they would re-establish in the locations
identified by the government; and that the Armenian villages
were to be at least of 25 km away from the Baghdad Railway.
The protection of lives and properties of Armenians following
the process of immigration, and provision of their needs such
as food, drink and rest were left to the regional authorities
along the transfer route. It was decreed that the immigrating
Armenians to be allowed to carry along all of their belongings
and arrangements about their established properties were to
be prepared and submitted to the authorities concerned (11).
In order for the immigrating Armenians not to re-constitute
dens of conspiracy, the Supreme Military Command communicated
a letter dated 26 May 1915 to the Ministry of Interior, considering
the following aspects:
1. The population of the Armenians in the locations they newly
immigrated to should not be in excess of 10% of the population
of the existing tribes and Moslems.
2. The villages the Armenians to be re-established should
not be bigger than fifty houses each.
3. The Armenian immigrant families should not change houses
either for the purposes of travel or transfer (12).
A short while after the Ministry of Interior’s measures were
came in force, Russian, French and English governments issued
a joint declaration stating that in the Eastern and Southeastern
Anatolia, which they referred as “Armenia”, Armenians had
been killed with in a month. In addition, they declared that
the Ottoman Government is responsible for these events (13).
Upon the spread of the issue in international arena in this
manner, Talaat Pasha, sent a communiqué dated 26 May 1915
to the Prime Ministry in order to provide a legal basis for
the implementation of the immigration (14). In this communiqué,
having stated that the invaders promoted discrimination among
the Armenians, who were Ottoman citizens, and assisted them,
in order to realize their invasory desires; that the uprising
Armenians took variety of means to hinder the progress of
the operation of the Turkish Army fighting against the enemy;
that they abstracted the transport of food items, weapons
and ammunition to the soldiers, that they collaborated with
the enemy; that a group of them joined the enemy rank, and
organized armed attacks against the military units and innocent
civilians; that they massacred and pillaged in cities and
towns; and that they provided food to the enemy navy and disclosed
critical military zones to the enemy, Talaat Pasha noted that
a radical measure needed to be taken for the security of the
state and on this account, the Armenians rioting in war zones
needed to be immigrated to other regions.
This communiqué of the Ministry of Interior was submitted
immediately to the Parliament along with another communiqué
written by the Prime Ministry. Talat Pasha’s statement having
been reiterated in the Prime Ministry’s communiqué, it was
expressed that the initiation of the immigration implementation
was rightly made for the security of the state and that it
was necessary to implement this policy methodically and systematically.
(15) And the Parliament decreed to ratify the implementation
on the some date.
In the Parliamentary decree, it was noted that it absolutely
necessary to block through effective methods such harmful
activities for having a negative impact on the existence and
the security of the state, and that the measures by the Ministry
of Interior on this account were rightfully and duly taken.
Furthermore, a communiqué was issued regarding the determination
of the immovable properties owned by the immigrating Armenians
by a commission to be appointed, and the creation of job opportunities
suitable for the conditions of the Armenians in their new
locations, and the assistance to be given on the account of
Immigrant’s Compensation. It was requested that an order to
be written to those concerned in order to ensure the implementation
of immigration securely (16).
The following communiqué dated 30 Mays 1915 sent by the Prime
Ministry to the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of War and
the Ministry of Finance, the regulations of implementation
of the immigration were stated: (17)
a) The Armenians shall be transported to the regions allocated
in a comfortable manner, ensuring the security of their lives
b) Their food and drink expenses shall be covered by the Immigrant’s
Compensation until they settle in their new houses.
c) Real estate and land shall be provided for them in accordance
with their former financial status.
d) The government shall build houses for those in need, and
provide seeds, and agricultural equipment for the farmers
and agricultural experts.
e) The movables they left behind shall be delivered, and after
the determination of their immovable properties settled, these
shall be distributed among the Moslem immigrants to be setting
in their place. Income generating from places that are not
within the expertise of these immigrants such as olive, mulberry
and orange groves, vineyards, shops, inns, factories and warehouse
shall be either auctioned or rented and their compensations
shall be recorded in deposit by savings fund to be paid to
f) Special commissions shall implement all these issues and
an order shall be issued in this regard.
Halacoglu, Prof. Dr. Yusuf, Ermeni Tehcirine Dair Gercekler
— Realities on the Armenian Immigration- (1915), TTK,
Yayini, Ankara, 2001
1) Cryptic Item, no: 45/115 (sent a communiqué about this
matter to the provinces of Van, Bitlis, Mamüretüaziz, Adana,
Diyarbekir and Sivas, via the telegram dated 23 September
2) DH. EUM. Division 2, File 1, document 45/2 (see document
3) Cryptic Item. , NoB 6; no; 62/24; no: 63/175; no; 64/92;
no: 64/163; no; 64/194; no: 66/51; no: 46/56; no: 66/192;
BA, BED, no: 343464 (see document 784).
4) Cryptic Item, no: 62/57; 62/58; 63/241.
5) Istanbul 1916. The same work was translated in French,
in 1917, in Istanbul and published as an abridged version
under the title Les Allogations et les Mouvements Révolutionnairs
des Comités Arméniens— (Ankara, 1981)
6) Letter dated 1 February 1920 from the Ministry of Interior
to the Prime Ministry (BA: BEO, no; 341351).
7) Security, File 2 F/3; Security, File 2 F75 see document
799 and 800.
8) ATBD, December 1982, no: 81, document 1830
9) Bayur, ibid, III/3, 38.
10) G.K., no: 15/200; no: 52/281-282
11) G.K, no: 53/94
12) General Staff, no: 1/1, Folder 44 File 207, F 2-3, quoted
by, K. Gürün, ibid, p.213.
13) Bayur, ibid, III/3, p. 37
14) BA, BED, no: 326758
15) Parliamentary Decree, Book no: 198, Decree no: 163 (see
document 123); Bayur ibid. III/3, pp. 40-42.
16) Bayur, ibid, III/3, pp. 40-42
17) BA, BED, no: 326758