The Extermination of Ottoman Armenians by the Young Turk Regime (1915-1916)
Among the countless instances of violence observed during the First World War, the extermination of the Armenians constitutes the bloodiest episode that affected the civilian population: around 1.5 million people lost their lives in 1915-1916—victims of the Young Turk regime (Cf. infra, “The Consequences of Mass Violence”). The context of war—with Turkey on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary—created propitious conditions for a massive outburst of violence and allowed for the legitimization of measures that were inconceivable in times of peace. Between April and September of 1915, the 3000-year-old Armenian land—the Armenian provinces of the East and of Asia Minor—were methodically emptied of their population—wiped off the map—in the space of a few months.
The Young Turk Committee was strongly influenced by a Europe racked by extreme nationalist movements but still dominated by liberal governments. It was the first nationalist party to rise to power that would conceptualize and execute a program of extermination against a segment of its population which had previously, as a social body, been excluded as an “internal enemy.” This destruction was carried out as a necessary condition of the formation of the Turkish Nation-State.
For decades, this crime has not been the object of any study acknowledging it as such, but has, in response, engendered a vast literature of accounts almost exclusively published in Armenian. This corpus of works shows the individual and collective experience of the victims, but has remained inexorably confined to the Armenian world. The material only took shape with the bringing to light of the contents of the archives of Germany, Austria-Hungary (States allied with Turkey), and the United States (a neutral country), as well as the instructional records prepared after the Mudros Armistice, which put an end to the war with the Ottoman Empire.
Official documents, laws of deportation and confiscation of “abandoned properties”, statistics, examinations of high-ranking officers, orders by coded telegram, and martial court archives from the years 1915-1916 constitute an invaluable collection for the documentation of the extermination procedures. We nevertheless remain dependent upon the memoirs of some high-ranking cadres of the Young Turk party (Committee of Union and Progress—CUP) and its paramilitary wing, the Special Organization, in charge of the execution of the extermination program, in order to understand the decision-making process. Only a few documents emanating from the central Young Turk committee and its armed wing are known to this day.
The escalation of nationalist movements and the mass violence associated with them, which affected other groups (Syrian Christians, Jacobites, Chaldeans, etc.), and which included Kurds as well, will be treated in other chronological indexes.
Ideological Bases of Mass Violence
Although the subsciption of the Young Turks to Social Darwinism (the theory of the application to humans of the survival-of-the-fittest in the animal world) had convinced them that the construction of the Turkish nation would be realized through the elimination of the Armenians, the central Young Turk Committee had envisaged leaving certain groups of Armenians alive so that they could better integrate them into their program to turkify Asia Minor. Young children, particularly girls, along with younger and older women were destined to reinforce the Turkish nation upon a ritual of integration into the dominant group, which subscribed to the religion of Islam. According to the expression of one Young Turk official, young Armenian girls that had a certain level of education were to help accelerate the modernization of the family and of Turkish society. An inventory of many accounts demonstrates that the nationalist Young Turk ideology was more about a discrimination against the collective identity of a group than a rejection of individual biology as was later practiced by the Nazi regime.
Another aspect of the Young Turk project concerns the usurpation of the individual and collective property of Ottoman Armenians accompanying the attempts to form a Turkish middle-class of businessmen, practically inexistent before. This program, named Millî İktisat (“National Economy”), theorized by the regime ideologist Ziya Gökalp, included the socio-economic element of crime, which is at the same time an instrument of justification and incitement. It appeared that this practice mostly benefited the Young Turk elite and the State-party, but also was to assist all sectors of society, particularly those engaged in the Young Turk movement, without significantly parting from the extremist ideology of its leadership. The lure of income had undoubtedly contributed to the radicalization of men who, in other circumstances, would never have participated in such acts.
An inventory of those especially accountable in this program of extermination—civilian and military officials or local notables—allows us to confirm that those most heavily implicated in acts of mass violence were often marginalized groups, including minorities from the Caucasus, particularly Circassians and Chechens, along with nomadic Kurdish tribes (and less often settled villagers). The nine members of the Central Committee, and particularly the Minister of the Interior, Mehmed Talat, and the Minister of War, İsmail Enver, along with Dr. Ahmed Nazım and Bahaeddin Şakir, were the chief instigators of the extermination of the Armenian population. They were condemned to death in abstentia in 1919 by the military tribunal in Istanbul.
The Process of the Radicalization of the Young Turks in Power (January 1914-March 1915)
During the long reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876-1909), marked early on by the Treaty of Berlin (1878), which dispossessed the Ottomans of part of their European lands, observers witnessed widespread massacres (1894-1896). For a long time, it was supposed that a continuity between the anti-Armenian policies of the Hamidian regime and those of the Young Turks (in power from 1908 to 1918) existed. The theory that the program of systematical destruction of the Armenian population was begun under Abdülhamid II and realized by the Young Turks was rejected once historians were able to highlight their respective ideological resilience.
One cannot compare the Hamidian efforts to decapitate part of the Armenian social body—which was aimed mainly at males—in an attempt to reduce them to “acceptable” demographic proportions with the policy of ethnical homogenization of Asia Minor conceived by the CUP. Today, we have a better understanding of the processes that led to the elimination of the Armenian population, which was signaled by the successive decisions that marked the radicalization of the Young Turk State-party. It is first necessary to highlight the fact that the project to turkify the Anatolian lands, entertained by the leaders of the CUP before their accession to power in July 1908, does not seem to have been initially conceived as a project of systematic extermination. The plan to deport the Greeks from the Aegean coastal areas and the Armenians from the eastern provinces elaborated by the Young Turk Central Committee in February 1914 served its desire to transform the demographic composition of Asia Minor and to create a “Turkish” land, but was not necessarily designed to exterminate its non-Turkish elements (Akçam 2004). The Armenians, initially placed after the Greeks in the party’s priorities, were supposed to populate the Syrian and Mesopotamian deserts, considered to be spaces outside of the Turkish sanctuary. But the ambitions of the CUP were not merely confined to these population exchanges. Non-Turkish Muslims, which were classified in a hierarchy according to their capacity to assimilate to the “Turkish” model at hand, were also to be deported (although without physically disappearing) in order to repopulate the lands emptied by the deportation of the Greek and Armenian population. This vast demographic engineering of the historic groups of the Empire, connected to a nationalist ideology, was part of a still more ambitious plan to create a contiguous geographic and demographic territory linked to the Turkish-speaking populations of the Caucasus.
The crushing defeat suffered by the Ottoman Army at Sarıkamış at the end of December 1914 had not only convinced the Central Committee of the Young Turks that it would be impossible to realize their ambitions, but also undoubtedly brought them to compensate for this upsetting event with a harsher policy toward its Armenian population. (The Young Turk Central Committee consisted of Mehmed Talat, Minister of the Interior; Midhat Şükrü, Secretary General, Dr. Nâzım, member of the political wing of the Special Organization; Kara Kemal, Minister of Provisions, who was charged with creating “Turkish” societies; Yusuf Rıza, Head of the Special Organization in the Trabzon region; Ziya Gökalp, an ideologue of the Committee; Eyub Sabri Akgöl, from the military; Dr. Rüsûhi, head of the Special Organization in the Azerbaijan and Van regions; Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, President of the Special Organization; and Halil Menteşe, Minister of Foreign Affairs.) This stage in the process of radicalization can be dated from March 20-25, 1915 (Kévorkian, 2006: 306-308). Although there was no unanimity among the core of the Young Turk Central Committee (sources report that three of its nine members—Midhat Şükrü, Ziya Gökalp, and Kara Kemal— were opposed to the decision to exterminate), at the same time they did not raise serious resistance to it (Astourian, 1990). As we observe in other cases of mass violence perpetrated by a single-party State, we do not have in our posession a formal document of the decision to exterminate. It was the witnessing of the on-the-ground policies of the State-party that convinced contemporary observers—Consuls stationed in the areas concerned along with American and German ambassadors—of the premeditated nature of the CUP leaders’ genocidal plans.
From the beginning of the month of April 1915, a change in tone with regards to the Armenians in the Young Turk press of Istanbul can be observed. There, the Armenians were presented as “internal enemies”, as traitors who were making common cause with the Triple Entente (France/Great Britain/Russia) and especially with the Russians. Accusations launched by the press of a plot hatched against the security of the State had also undoubtedly served to sway public opinion in favor of the radical measures to be taken against the Armenian population in its entirety.
In the Ottoman system that still prevailed in 1915, each important historical group enjoyed legitimate representation before the authorities in their respective institutions—the Patriarchate or Grand Rabbinate. They were religious in nature but were in reality run by secular representatives. The different political sensibilities were represented by a mostly Istanbul-based elite, whose links with the Young Turk leaders were long established and close. Young Turk and Armenian opposition groups struggled together for years against the Hamidian regime, under which Armenians were not the only ones to suffer from authoritarian acts. The revolution of July 1908 reestablishing the constitution (which had been suspended after just two years of existence), announced a democratization of the regime and equal rights for all citizens regardless of their national or confessional inclination. Ottomanism was, hence, proclaimed as the unifying bond of the Ottoman Empire. The Young Turk revolutionaries and Armenians left their clandestine existence to take on a modern life. Europe was not the last to salute this breeze of freedom, blowing away the “sick man of Europe.” Often having come together in Europe, these Turkish and Armenian elites —both francophone—were not without shared interests. They both advocated common “progressive” values, but were additionally marked by their years of clandestine activity, which had engendered among them a taste for secrecy and the building of underground paramilitary structures. During the first years of the regime, the Young Turk leaders tended to appoint puppet governments with which they were not involved on a public level, in order to better impose their political choices. The names of the nine members of the Young Turk Central Committee were always kept secret.
An uneasy intimacy existed even between elite Armenians and Young Turks, with both considering themselves to be invested in a “sacred” mission to save the “Nation”. The massacres in Cilicia in April 1909, which occurred before any event foreshadowing the First World War, marked a turning point in Turkish-Armenian relations. The political treatment of these crimes—approximately 25,000 Armenian victims in the region bordering the eastern Mediterranean—convinced the Armenian elite that the CUP was responsible for those events, and this contributed to a crisis of confidence between the two groups (Kévorkian, 1999: 106-140).
The despoliation of the Armenian peasants in the eastern provinces, the permanent insecurity in these regions, and the boycott campaigns launched by the CUP against non-Turkish merchants convinced the Armenian elite that the Young Turk government was not at all committed to introducing reforms in zones controlled by Kurdish tribal structures.
In the complicated set of Turkish-Armenian relations, the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, which caused practically the complete loss of the Ottoman territories in Europe, heralded another turning point. After the loss of Albania, Macedonia, and a good part of Thrace, Turks and Armenians found themselves facing each other; threats of massacre were made increasingly explicit. The project of reforms in the Armenian provinces—provided for since 1878 (Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin) but never implemented—appeared to the Armenians as the last hope for stemming the massive migratory trend that was emptying their historical land of its inhabitants. Launched at the end of 1912, this project mobilized international authorities and was based on the negotiations between the Ottoman government and the Great Powers on one side, and between Young Turk leaders and Armenians on the other. In December 1913, Halil Bey and Ahmed Cemal, two members of the Young Turk Central Committee, warned their Armenian “friends” that the CUP would never stand for “international supervision” of these reforms, which were designed to devide the local power in the Armenian provinces. The single-party regime that was established in January 1914 gave the CUP full powers and led to the first decisions of the Central Committee that aimed to eradicate the Greeks and Armenians, the last two non-Turkish groups who carried some weight, particularly economic, in the Empire.
1914; January 3: Nomination of Ismail Enver to the post of Minister of War by the ten members of the Central Committee (CC) of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). Opposition is eliminated. Single-party rule is established, controlled by a majority of young officers. ** (Turfan, 2000: 348).
1914; January 7: 280 high-ranking officers and a total of 1,100 officers of the Ottoman Army are “immediately dismissed” and replaced by officers affiliated with the Young Turk party, who then take control of the army. ** (Turfan, 2000: 348)
1914; January 30: The Young Turk daily Ikdam denies claims that there is a plan “whose objective is to remove Armenians from the provinces they inhabit and to deport them to Mesopotamia […] [in order to] establish Armenia Muslims who can unify with other Muslims of the Caucasus and form a serious resistance to Slavic encroachments.” ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 306).
1914; February-June: The Young Turk Central Committee puts in place in the course of several secret meetings a “plan to homogenize” Anatolia and to liquidate its “non-Turkish concentrations”. This plan aimed above all the expulsion of the Greeks from Thrace and Anatolia, particularly the Aegean coastal areas or to “move them to the interior” by the spring of 1914. It also recommended the transfer of the Armenian population to Syria and Mesopotamia. *** (Akçam, 2004: 144-150; Dündar, 2006: 190-220 and Kutay, 1962: 60-63).
1914; July 16: Around twenty individuals along with approximately 100 Armenian militants of the Social Democratic Hentchak Party are arrested and interned in Istanbul. ** (Gidour, I, 1962; Aramiants, I-III, 1918, and La vérité sur le mouvement révolutionnaire, 1916).
1914; August 2: Negotiations conducted between the German ambassador to Istanbul, Baron Wangenheim, and members of the Young Turk Central Committee lead to the signing of a secret treaty that would provide for a military alliance between Germany and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 223-224; Trumpener, 1967: 108-112; and Weber, 1970: 63-65).
1914; August 3: Order of general mobilization and imperial decree [irade] puts the Ottoman Parliament in recess. Beginning of the conscription of Ottoman Armenians between the ages of 20 and 40. ** (Kévorkian, 2006 : 225-226)
1914; August 3: Meeting of the Central Committee (CC) of the CUP resulting in the formation of the Special Organization (OS) [Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa], a paramilitary group that exists independently of the official State structures and charged with the struggle against “internal enemies”. Its political bureau is composed of five of ten members of the CC, Dr. Nâzım, Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, Dr. Rüsûhi, Yusuf Rıza Bey, and Atıf Bey Kamçıl, along with Aziz Bey, Director of General Security in the Ministry of the Interior, and Colonel Cevad. The headquarters of the Organization are set up at the CUP premises on Nuri Osmaniye Street in Istanbul. ** (Kutay, 1962: 36; [Arif Cemil], Vakıt, 1933; Takvim-i Vekayi No. 3540, May 5, 1919: 5; Kévorkian, 2006: 226-228).
1914; August 19: Diyarbekir. Arson at the Diyarbekir bazaar, which mostly hosted Armenian entrepreneurs. ** (Agouni, 1921: 60).
1914; August 26: Tekirdağ/Rodosto (Edirne province). The Armenian quarter is entirely destroyed by an arsonist blaze. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 684).
1914; September 8: The Dutch Louis-Constant Westenenk, appointed in April 1914 as Inspector of Erzerum (northern sector) to implement reforms in the Armenian provinces, is summoned by the Minister of the Interior. Minister Mehmed Talat dismisses him. ** (Andonian, 1925: 10).
1914; September: The beginning of the recruitment of common criminals freed from prison by decree of the Minister of Justice, and the formation of the SO squads. Installation of the command center of the Organization at Erzerum under the jurisdiction of the 3rd Army to operate in the provinces of Erzerum, Bitlis, Van, Diyarbekir, Harput, Trabzon, Sivas, and the district of Canik. ** (Takvim-i Vekayi (T.V.) No. 3557, May 25, 1919: 97-98; T.V. No. 3540, May 5, 1919: 5, col. 2; T.V. No. 3554, May 21, 1919: 67-69).
1914; October 1: Closure of foreign posts in Istanbul at the order of the Turkish authorities. ** (Andonian, 1925: 13).
1914; Autumn: Pillage of Armenian and Greek merchants carried out under the pretext of military requisitions.
1914; October 21: The Armenian Political Council holds a meeting with its inner circle at Galata along with a certain number of Armenian personalities from all political backgrounds in the Ottoman capital to confer about the evolution of the situation and to take appropriate measures. ** (Zaven Der Yéghiayan, 1947: 72).
1914; October 29: Attack on Odessa and other Russian sites along the Black Sea by the navies of Goeben and Breslau, commanded by Admiral Souchon, by order of the Minister of War, Ismail Enver. *** (Turfan, 2002: 363; Weber, 1970: 83-85; and Trumpener, 1967: 56, n. 85).
The Context of War, the Deciding Element for the Destruction of the Armenians
The entry into war on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary undeniably strengthened the most radical members of the Young Turk Central Committee. It created an environment that paved the way for the destruction of the non-Turkish elements of the Ottoman Empire and the Armenians in particular, who were suspected of “treason”. This entry into war permitted the drafting from the beginning of August 1915 of Armenians from the ages of twenty to forty who had been officially disarmed since February 28, 1915, so that they could be gradually exterminated. This measure proved to be highly effective during the subsequent implementation of mass violence as the Armenian “life force” could be neutralized. The entry into war served to legitimize military requisitions, which, once again, turned out to be a veritable pillage of the State primarily upon Armenians and Greeks.
1914; October 30: Meeting of the Congress of Young Turk Party, the expanded direction of the CUP, which decides by voice vote (17 to 10) to enter into war with the Ottoman Empire on the side of Germany. ** (Trumpener, 1967: 56, No. 85).
1914; November 2: The Ottoman Empire declares war on Russia.
1914; November 2: An expanded Armenian Political Council is held at Galata in presence of the principal Armenian personalities in the capital. The assembly decides to publish a circular to be sent to all the provinces so that “each fulfills its obligations and renews its oaths of fidelity to the Ottoman homeland.” The assembly also moves to set up a field hospital at the expense of the nation. ** (Zaven Der Yéghiayan, 1947: 74).
1914; November 10: Publication by the Armenian Political Council of a circular calling upon Armenian subjects to mobilize for the “Ottoman homeland”.
1914; November 13: Call to jihad—holy war against the “infidels’—is officially announced by the Sheikh-ul Islam, Hayri Effendi. *** (T.V. No 3571, June 11, 1919: 127-140).
1914; Late November and early December: Massacre of 1,276 Armenian civilians and abduction of 250 young women and girls in the villages of Pertus and Yörük in the Ardanuş and Olti area by S.O. squads. A total of 7,000 Armenians are executed by these squads in the frontier zones on the eve of the Ottoman offensive ** (Lepsius, 1919: 90; Dadrian, 1993: 13-14).
1914; December to January 1915: Execution of several hundred Armenian civilians, mainly men, in the kaza of Başkale, southeast of Van, aimed at the villages of Paz, Arak, Piş, Alanian, Alaş, Soran, Rasulan, and Avak. ** (Barby,1917: 234; Kévorkian, 2006: 277).
1914; December 15 to January 14, 1915: Murders, pillages, and abductions committed by Kurdish gangs of the S.O. under the command of Ömer Naci, a military officer of the CUP, in the kaza of Saray-Mahmudiye along the Iranian border in the villages of Hasaran on December 15, Satmants on December 20, Akhorig and Hasan Tamran on December 30, 1914 and Avzarig on January 14, 1915. ** (Barby : 235-240; and Kévorkian, 2006: 278).
1914; December: Murder of Armenian priests and peasants committed by troops of the Ottoman 3rd Army in villages on the Erzerum plain, as recounted by the German vice-Consul, Dr. Paul Schwarz. ** (Dadrian, 1993: 12, and Kaiser, 2002: 130).
1914; Mid-December: Arrival at Salmast in Iranian Azerbaijan of 2,000 Armenian refugees from the region of Başkale ** (AMAE, Perse, n.s., vol. 18, Fo 201 Vo; Golnazarian-Nichanian, 2002: 109).
1914; Late December: Beginning of the offensive by the Ottoman 3rd Army, made up of some 90,000 men, on the Caucasian front under the command of the Minister of War, İsmail Enver.
1914; December 25 to January 30, 1915: 53,437 Armenian refugees and 9,658 Assyrians from Iranian Azerbaijan flee towards the Caucasus, across the Araxe Valley and the Julfa bridge to escape the Turkish forces under the command of Cevdet, the brother-in-law of the Minister of War, Enver, and Military Governor of Van vilayet. *** (Golnazarian-Nichanian, 2002: 111-113).
1914; December to Febrary 1915: Atrocities committed by Ottoman troops in Iranian Azerbaijan claim the lives of nearly 21,000 Christians, mostly in the plains of Salmast and Urmia. There were also an unknown number of women and children abducted and held by Kurdish tribes. *** (Golnazarian-Nichanian, 2002: 139-140).
1915; January 1: Murder of the vicar of Erzincan, Sahag Odabachian, on the main road from Sivas to Erzincan in the Kanlıdere region of the kaza of Suşehir, by members of the S.O. ** (APC/PAJ, Bureau d’information du Patriarcat, dossier No. 23).
1915; January 4: Offensive by the Ottoman 3rd Army Corps is repelled by Russian forces. These divisions are almost entirely decimated. *** (Karsh & Karsh, 2001: 142-146).
1915; Late January: 33,078 Ottoman-Armenian refugees (4,111 households) from the frontier zones are counted in the Caucasus. They originate from the kaza of Pasın (12,914); Narman (655); Bayazid (1,735); Diyadin (1,111), Karakilise (6,034); Alaşgirt (7,732); and Başkale (2,897). ** (A-To, 1917: 107-108 and 113-114).
1915; February: Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, then at Erzerum, is appointed President of the political bureau of the Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa (S.O), with his Vice-President being Filibeli Ahmed Hilmi, a party member who joined the party’s Central Committee the following year. * (Kévorkian, 2006: 276).
1915; February 10: The Deputy Director of the Ottoman Bank’s headquarters at Erzerum, Setrak Pastermadjian, is stabbed in the street by two soldiers. The German General Posseldt, the local military commander, saw that the perpetrators were not arrested although their guilt was widely known. *** (Autheman, 1996: 235; Agouni, 1921: 138; and Kaiser, 2002: 130-131).
1915; February 14-18: Eight hundred Armenians from Salmast and Dilman in Iranian Azerbaijan are transferred to the neighboring villages of Haftevan and Khosrova where they are tortured and mutilated and then thrown into wells and water tanks. *** (Golnazarian-Nichanian, 2002: 136-139).
1915; February 25: The Minister of War, Enver Pasha, signs a degree ordering the disarmament of Armenian soldiers. ** (Zürcher, 2002: 187).
1915; March: A special committee tasked with managing the administration and policing associated with the project to eliminate the Armenians is created under the direct authority of the CUP. It brings together prominent members of the CUP: İsmail Canbolat, Director-General of Security, then Governor of the capital; Aziz Bey, Director of the General Security of the Ministry of the Interior; Ali Münif, Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of the Interior; Bedri Bey, Police Chief of the Capital; Mustafa Reşad, Director of the Political Affairs Department of the National Police (from early 1915 to June 1917); and Murad Bey, Deputy Director of the Police in Istanbul. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 642).
1915; First half of March, Everek (sancak of Kayseri): Arrests of the local Armenian notables, many of whom die under torture at the konak of Everek. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 642).
1915; March 2, Dörtyol (sancak of Cebelbereket in the province of Adana): The Minister of the Interior, Talat Bey, orders the arrest of the notables of Dörtyol, who are then hanged in public. On March 12, 1915, Dörtyol is besieged by a unit of the 4th Army Corps and 1,600 men are arrested and remanded to labor battalion (amele taburları) in Aleppo. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 729-730; and Dündar, 2006: 241-242 [who gives the date according to the Julian calendar, i.e., in February].
1915; March 9-13: Some elements of the 4th Army Corps besiege Zeytun officially to subdue Armenian deserters. ** (Agouni, 1921: 47; Kévorkian, 2006; 725-726; and Dündar, 2006: 242-243).
1915; March 13: The President of the Special Organization [Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa], Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, leaves Erzerum to go to Istanbul to participate in the Young Turk Central Committee meeting.* (Cemil, 1933: Vakit/Haratch 82).
1915; March 15: Catholicos Sahag informs the Armenian Patriarch in Istanbul that deportations have begun in Zeytun. ** (Zaven Der Yéghiayan, 1947: 77).
1915; March 15, Merzifun and Amasya (in the province of Sivas): The authorities proceed to arrest 17 Armenian men involved in politics and education in Merzifun and Amasya. They are interned in the medrese of Sifahdiye at Sivas. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 539).
1915; March 17 to 22, Zeytun: Five thousand soldiers of the 4th Army Corps arrive in Zeytun from Aleppo under the orders of General Hurşid. On March 25, they surround the town. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 726-727; and Dündar, 2006: 242-243).
The Decision to Exterminate the Armenians and the Modus Operandi
The decision to exterminate the Armenians was made between March 20 and 25, 1915, in the course of several meetings of the Young Turk Central Committee, which convened immediately after the return of one of its most eminent members, Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, from Erzurum to the Capital. According to the memoirs of some of the nine members of the Committee, three of them were in favor of deportation, but not of the extermination of the Armenian population (a point made by Hüseyin Cahit Yalçın, Siyasal Anılar [Political Memoirs], Istanbul: 1976, and Midhat Şükrü Bleda, İmparataroluğun Çöküşü [The Fall of the Empire], Istanbul: 1979, 56-59, in Astourian, 1990: 140-141). The plan to destroy was made by the Young Turk Central Committee, but the execution of orders to exterminate were entrusted to a paramilitary group, The Special Organization (Teşkilât-ı Mahsûsa), which was directed by a political bureau comprised of four of the nine members of the Central Committee—Dr. Ahmed Nâzım, Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, Atıf Bey, and Yusuf Rıza Bey—along with Aziz Bey, the Director of the Criminal Investigations Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior. (The charge of the Ittihadist leaders, read by the President of the military court in Istanbul, during the first convocation of the Unionists trial, which took place April 27, 1919 at 13:50 [Takvim-i Vekayi, No. 3540, (May 5, 1919), p. 5; the copies of documents presented by the court; Seventh meeting of the Unionists trial, June 17, 1919], the deposition of Midhat Şükrü [Takvim-i Vekayi, No. 3561, May 29, 1919, pp. 115-116, and for the declaration of the Secretary-General of the CUP, p. 119)
The general headquarters of the Special Organization were based at the central office of the CUP, on Nur el-Osmaniye Street, in Istanbul. The judgments against the Young Turk criminals in 1919 clearly demonstrated the organic link that existed between the party and the Special Organization. All of the telegrams and documents addressed to the provincial networks and presented in the course of the Unionists’ trials were signed by chiefs of the same party. They demonstrate that the heads at Nur el-Osmaniye acted as the planners and coordinators of the activities carried out on the ground, while the President of the political bureau of the Special Organization, Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, along with Dr. Rüsûhi and Yusuf Rıza Bey, directed the operations on the ground. The Organization also had its correspondent at the heart of the Minister of War, Küçübahçızâde Eşref Sencer, who oversaw the formation and equipment of the paramilitary forces of the Special Organization along with the financing of its operations. Its members were recruited from among the officers who were close to the party, and its members came from two sources: common criminals, freed upon the instruction of the Minister of Justice, and members of Circassian and Kurdish tribes. The squadrons thus established were set up either in fixed locales where they operated against the convoys of deportees. The policy of deportations and massacres that followed was overseen from the shared offices of the CUP and the Special Organization, which made use of special ethnographic maps conceived to ensure the demographic homogenization of Asia Minor.
In the clear divisions of labor, the services of the administration guaranteed the preparatory phases: the police put forth the list of men to be deported; the gendarmerie issued the order to deport the convoys and oversaw their supervision; the services of the Treasury were occupied with “managing” the bank accounts of the deportees and their “abandoned properties”. The local coordinators of these operations were the “Secretary- Responsibles” delegated by the party in all the provinces. It seemed that not a single civilian or military authority was able to oppose the orders given by the Young Turk party representatives as far as they concerned the anti-Armenian operations. They had others tasked with the mission of informing local members of the Special Organization of the arrival of the convoys. But it is also known that those civil servants who balked at the orders of deportation that came from the center were immediately relieved of their duties, and some even paid with their lives for their failure to comply.
The role of the army in this violence must be nuanced. In the 3rd Army’s jurisdiction, which was present in the six eastern provinces, the army committed genocidal acts against the civilian populations only in the regions of Erzerum, Van, and Bitlis, where the Armenian population was significant.
1915; March 20-25: Several meetings of the Young Turk Central Committee debated the solution to the Armenian question. Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, who had returned to Istanbul after spending six months in Erzerum, presented a report concerning the Armenian “domestic enemies”, upon which the final decision to exterminate the Armenian population was taken.
** (Taner Akçam, 1996: 43; Akçam, 2004: 166-167; Cemil, 1933: Vakıt/Haratch 88; Astourian, 1990: 138-140, No. 116-117, 122-123; and Kévorkian, 2006: 307-308).
1915; March 25: Dr. Mehmed Reşid, one of the founders of the CUP, is appointed governor of Diyarbekir. *** (Kieser, 2002: 261).
1915; March 28, Sıvas: Governor Ahmed Muammer brings in Armenian leaders of Sıvas for questioning. After forty days in detention, the men are transferred to Yeni Han on May 7, and assassinated at Masadlar Yeri in the presence of the governor and the CUP representative at Sıvas, Gani Bey. *** (Agouni, 1921: 81-82; F.O. 371/6500, and Kévorkian, 2006: 539).
1915; March 29: Ahmed Cemal, Commander of the 4th Army, denounced the “revolt” of the Armenians of Zeytun and announced measures to “punish” them. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 313).
1915; March 30: Governor Cevdet Bey entered Van with his troops after his military campaign in Iranian Azerbaijan where he participates, along with Ömer Naci, in the extermination of 21,000 Armenian civilians. ** (A-To, 1917: 150-151).
1915; March 31: Turkish forces invade Zeytun and arrest a number of Armenian notables and teachers. *** (Lepsius, 1986: doc. 34, 79-84; and Agouni, 1921: 47).
1915; End of March: Four thousand villagers from Ekabad, Hertev, Hasankale, and Badidjavan, from the High Pasın region (province of Erzerum) are deported by the army to Mamahatun for“security” reasons. ** (Zaven Der Yéghiayan, 1947: 83; Kaiser, 2002: 134; and Kévorkian, 2006: 356).
1915; April: A measure to “remove” Armenian inspectors of the Ottoman Post and Telegraph is adopted. ** (Krieger, 1980: 30).
1915; April, Gallipoli peninsula and the Dardanelles: From the month of April 1915, after the start of the battle over the Dardanelles, 3,000 Armenians from the region are provisionally transferred to Biga and Lapsaki and then deported to Syria. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 685).
1915; April 2, province of Sıvas: A battalion of Special Organization bandits, formed at the initiative of Governo Muammer and commanded by Kütükoglu Hüseyin and Zaralı Mahir, proceeds to arrest the priests, teachers and notables excused from conscription in the Armenian villages in the valley of Kızılırmak. Some of these prisoners are executed in the gorges of Seyfe, while the others are interned at Sıvas. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 540).
1915; April 3: Searches for weapons are carried out in Armenian homes at Maraş and Hacin. A number of notables from these places are arrested and interned. ** (Kévorkian, 2006).
1915; April 8: Arrival in the villages in the Zeytun district of emigrants (muhacir) from Bosnia. ** (Dündar, 2006: 245).
1915; April 8-20: Eighteen thousand Armenians from Zeytun and nearby locales are deported in several convoys—6,000 towards Konya-Ereğli, then Sultaniye; 5,000 to Aleppo; and the remainder to Rakka. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 727).
1915; April 11, district seat of the kaza of Şatak in the province of Van: The director of the district’s Armenian educational institutions and local political leader, Hovsèp Çoloyan, is arrested. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 393).
1915; April 12: The authorities at Şatak demand that the Armenian population give up their weapons. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 393).
1915 April 15 to 17, Maraş: The military authorities proceed to arrest the Armenian notables of the town as the first stage of operations, and then organize the deportation of over 20,000 Armenians of the town and its surrounding villages to the Syrian Desert. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 733).
1915; April 15 to 30, kaza of Göksun (mutessarifat of Maraş): In the kaza of Göksun, the deportations claim 9,500 Armenians from 18 localities, all of whom are deported to Aleppo and the Syrian desert. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 727).
1915; April 15 to 30, kaza of Elbistan (mutessarifat of Maraş): Nearly 6,000 Armenians are deported to the Syrian Desert by order of the kaymakam, Hüseyin Derviş Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 727).
1915; April 16: One of the three Armenian leaders in Van, Ichkhan, is assassinated by the hired hands of Governor Cevdet near the town of Hirc (Hayots Tsor). ** (A-To, 1917: 155; Agouni, 1921: 34; Zaven Der Yéghiayan, 1947: 92; Lepsius, 1919; Ussher, 2002: 127).
1915; around April 17: Van Deputy Archag Vramian is assassinated near Bitlis at Arapu Tsor, by order of the governor, Cevdet. ** (A-To, 1917: 158; Kévorkian, 2006: 304).
1915; April 17: Militias commanded by the sub-prefect, Hamdi Bey, attempt to invade the high ground of the gown of Tagh (kaza of Şatak). The Armenians entrench themselves. ** (A-To, 1917: 382; Kévorkian, 2006: 394).
1915; April 18: Governor Cevdet orders the Armenians of Van to surrender their weapons to the authorities.
** (A-To, 1917: 158; Kévorkian, 2006: 393).
1915; April 18: Dr. Ussher, an American medical doctor working in Van, is witness to a meeting between governor Cevdet and the Colonel of the Kasab Taburi (“battalion of butchers”), which received the order to “go to Şatak and make the population disappear.” ** (Ussher, 2002: 127, and Knapp, 2002: 13-27).
1915; April 18 to 20: Irregular troops of the Special Organization attack the village of Hirc, followed by the regions to the south of Van, Hayots Tsor, “the valley of the Armenians”, the kazas of Karçikan, Gevaş/Vostan, Şatak, and Moks; to the north of Lake Van the villages of the kazas of Erciş, and Adilcevaz; and to the east the region of Perkri. Approximately 55,000 people are executed, their lands looted and then set ablaze. At night, the Armenian quarter of Van, Aykestan, is surrounded by Turkish forces, by order of Governor Cevdet. News of the massacres carried out in the surrounding regions reach Van. *** (Rafael de Nogales, 1926: 59-61; A-To, 1917: 168-194; Ussher, 2002: 129-131, 143; and Kévorkian, 2006: 394-5, 408).
1915; April 19: Diyarbekir. Members of the Diocesan Council, parochial groups, and humanitarian organizations are arrested and imprisoned upon the order of Governor Reşid. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 441).
1915; April 19, sancak of Malatya: Armenian conscripts from the region are disarmed and thrown into labor battalions. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 501).
1915; April 20, Van: The Armenian quarter of Aykestan is surrounded and bombarded from the citadel. Armenians entrench themselves in their quarters. Aram Manoukian takes the lead of self-defense operations in Van. In the course of the following days, 15,000 Armenian peasants from the region seek refuge in the town. The offensive is carried out by voluntary Turkish and Circassian battalions, a battalion of mounted gendarmes, battalions of gendarmes, regular troops, and some 1,200 to 1,500 Kurdish bandits, comprising a total of around 10,000 men. The siege lasts until May 16.
*** (Ussher, 2002: 129-131; Rafael de Nogales, 1926: 74-75; and Kévorkian, 2006: 399-406).
1915; April 20: The governor of Bitlis, Mustafa Abdülhalik, has the “elite of the Armenian youth” of the town arrested. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 298-299).
1915; April 21: The patriarch Zaven meets with the Minister of the Interior, Talat, who assures him that the CUP has no special policy with regards to Armenians, that the decision to disarm the Armenian soldiers was made in haste, and that he did not receive any information concerning the murder of these soldiers committed in the region of Erzerum. *** (Zaven Der Yéghiyan, 1947: 94-95).
1915; April 21: The head of the Special Organization (Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa), Bahaeddin Şakir, is back in Erzerum. He sets up a “special committee for deportation,” whose leadership is entrusted to the Secretary-General of the province, Cemal Bey.
1915; April 21, Diyarbekir: Major figures in the political parties are arrested, imprisoned, and tortured. *** (Kieser, 2006: 265, No. 104 and Kévorkian, 2006: 441).
1915; April 22: A governmental decree orders the requisition of weapons and demands that the population make statements to military commanders within five days regarding the location of weapons. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 324).
1915; April 22, Egin/Agn (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Systematic searches are conducted at Agn and 248 people are arrested. ** (Agouni, 1921: 174).
1915; April 23: A meeting is held of the Armenian combined Council, including the Deputies and Senators, Zaréh Dilber, Krikor Zohrab, Vartkès Séringulian, Haroutiun Bochguézénian, and Hovsèp Madatian. There, the patriarch renders an account of all the violence recently experienced in Kayseri, Muş, Bitlis, Van, Dörtyol, and Zeytun. The patriarch underlines the feelings of malice and distrust of the government toward all Armenians. All those present suggest reaffirming their loyalty to the government of the Ottoman State. Krikor Zohrab and Zaréh Dilber write a memo to this effect. *** (Zaven Der Yéghiyan, 1947: 95-96).
The First Phase of the Destruction: Deportations and Massacres (from April to October, 1915)
The operations were structured in several phases, according to a mode of operation that was largely identical everywhere. In February 1915 (the order given by Minister Enver Pasha was dated February 25), tens of thousands of Armenian conscripts serving in the 3rd Army were disarmed and placed in labor battalions or were directly executed in isolated regions (those who originated from western Anatolia and who served in the Fourth Army based on the Palestine front, were intermittently employed in battle until 1918). After the end of April 1915, the authorities proceeded to arrest Armenian elites in Istanbul along with those in provincial towns. In May, they interned in several waves males from the ages of sixteen to sixty. In the districts most densely populated with Armenians they opted to conscript males between the age of sixteen and nineteen, while those who were forty-one to sixtee years old were released from conscription. In the six eastern provinces, these men were executed in small groups in isolated areas by Special Organization death-squads.
When the following stage—that of the actual deportations—began in May 1915, there were practically no more adult males in the Armenian regions in the east. A region-to-region survey of the process of deportation and elimination demonstrates that the populations in these six eastern provinces, which were considered to be their historical land, were guided above all by the plan to exterminate. The operations aimed at the Armenian colonies in western Anatolia, which were initiated two months later and can be considered as the final act in the program of liquidation. In the east, the plan foresaw the immediate extermination of men, conscripts or not, or their use as a labor force, as opposed to the regions of the west where men were deported along with their families. As for the rest of the population—women, children, and the elderly—one can also discern differences in their treatment. The convoys from the eastern provinces were methodically destroyed as they traversed their route and a small minority of them actually arrived in their “place of banishment”. One observes, on the other hand, that the Armenian colonies from western Anatolia or Thrace were expedited to Syria as whole families, often by train, and arrived at their deportation destinations with few losses.
Among the numerous slaughter-sites run by the Special Organization, the two most important ones were located in gorges—those of Kemah, to the south-west of Erzincan on the Euphrates, where tens of thousands of men were exterminated in May and June 1915 under the direct supervision of Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, Head of the S.O.; and those of Kahta, in the mountains to the south of Malatya, through which 500,000 deportees passed.
1915; Night of April 24 to 25, Istanbul: Several hundred individuals—Dashnak political militants, Hentchakists, and Ramgavar, journalists, writers, lawyers, medical doctors, high-school principals, teachers, clerics, and merchants—are arrested by the General Security services and the political police in the Ottoman Capital. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 317-318).
1915; April 24 and 25, Erzerum: Two hundred locals are arrested and interned. On April 26, thirty of them are “transferred” to Erzincan, but executed en route. *** (Agouni, 1921: 139; Kaiser, 2002: 133-134; and Kévorkian, 2006: 356).
1915; April 26: Members of the Armenian elite in Istanbul are transferred under police escort to the Haydarpaşa Station on the Asian side of the Capital, and then sent by train to Ankara. The outlaws are divided into two groups: the “politicians”—around 150 people—are interned at Ayaş, and the “intellectuals”—also comprising some 150 individuals—are kept on site at Çankırı. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 318).
1915; April 28: The President of the military tribunal in Istanbul announces charges against Hentchakist leaders, who had been interned since June of 1914, of “public nuisance and rebellion”. The trial of the 28 people charged begins on May 11 in the late morning.
1915; End of April, kaza of Payas, Yumurtalık, and Hassa (province of Adana): Twenty thousand Armenians from these cantons are deported to the Syrian Desert. Around 3,500 of them—essentially those individuals deported to the Damascus region—are still alive when the armistice is signed. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 730).
1915; Beginning of May, Tokat (province of Sıvas): The four main Armenian political leaders are arrested and executed in the town’s prison. Following a visit by Governor Muammer to Tokat, which took place at the same time, all the Armenian functionaries in the police and gendarmerie are dismissed. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 555).
1915; Beginning of May, Adapazar (mutessarifat of İzmit): Fifty of the town’s notables are arrested and deported to Sultaniye (province of Konya) and Koçhisar. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 689).
1915; May, kaza of Siverek: Five thousand four hundred fifty Armenians of the administrative center and 3,825 from the localities of Karabahçe, Çatak, Mezre, Simag, Harbi, Gori, and Oşin are victims of raids. The men are arrested and executed by the kaymakam, İhsan Bey, and Special Organization squads commanded by Yuzbaşı Şevket. The remaining population of the kaza is deported in July to Urfa and Aleppo. ** (Ternon, 2002: 101-102; Faiez el-Ghocein, 1965: 16-18; and Kévorkian, 2006: 448).
1915; May, kaza of Beşiri and Silvan (province of Diyarbekir): Around 18,000 Armenians from these two kazas are attacked by the Kurdish tribes of Belek, Bekiran, and Sego. Several thousand refugees reach neighboring Sasun, where they are executed in August 1915, along with other Armenians from the villages of the plains of Muş. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 449).
1915; May, kaza of Divriği (province of Sıvas): After the arrest of the local Armenian elite, a second wave of arrest is organised upon the merchants and artisans of Divriği, upon which underage adolescents, comprising some 200 individuals, are mobilized. Submitted to torture for several days, these men are finally brought to the outskirts of the town, shackled, and forced to march to the gorges of Deren Dere, where they are assassinated with axes. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 551-552).
1915; May 1, Harput (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Arrest of the Armenian Protestant elite, particularly the professors of the Euphrates College. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 474).
1915; May 1 and 2, Çemişgezek (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Raids are conducted by the authorities in schools and in the homes of Armenian functionaries. One hundred individuals are arrested and interned. The arrests last until June 20. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 517).
1915; May 2, Trabzon: Gendarmerie forces carry out systematic raids of Armenian residences in the town and in the villages, by order of Governor Cemal Azmi.
1915; May 4, sancak of Malatya: The authorities organize systematic raids of Armenian homes and proceed with the arrest of several dozen men in possession of “compromising documents”. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 501).
1915; May 5, Erzerum: The order to deport Armenians from the province is transmitted to the Governor of Erzerum. ** (Agouni, 1921: 134; and Kévorkian, 2006: 357).
1915; May 6: A governmental decree renews the order to collect weapons throughout the Ottoman territories. This measure is applied especially to the Armenian populations and takes place in the context of systematic raids, plunder and arrests. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 324).
1915; May 9: The Young Turk daily Tanin begins the publication of a series of articles titled “The Great Plot” mentioning a project conceived by the leader of the opposition in exile, Şerif Pasha, and his followers, to bring down the Ittihadist government and assassinate the Young Turk ministers with the complicity of the Armenians. The publication of these articles linking the Hentchakists—“the Armenians”—with a plot against “the security of the State” engenders a gnawing hostility against the Armenian population of the Capital. ** (Andonian, 1925: 38-46; and Agouni, 1921: 30)
1915; May 11, Diyarbekir: Civil servants, lawyers, intellectuals, merchants, bankers, architects, engineers, landowners, and religious leaders—comprising approximately 1,000 men, are arrested and tortured by order of Governor Reşid. *** (Agouni, 1921: 63; Kieser, 2002: 265, No. 105; and Kévorkian, 2006: 442).
1915; May 12-14, Antep/Ayntab (province of Aleppo): Around 200 Armenian notables are taken in for questioning in the space of three days. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 752).
1915; May 13: The Council of Ministers makes the official decision to deport the Armenian population of the provinces of Erzerum, Van, and Bitlis. *** (Osmanlı Belgelerinde Ermenileri 1995: 33-35).
1915; May 13, Viranşehir (province of Diyarbekir): Armenian and Syrian Catholic notables are arrested. On May 18, a second wave of arrests is carried out against adult males; on May 28, the first group of notables is executed; on June 7, “Circassians”—probably the Çerkez of Dr. Reşid—proceed with the arrest of all males from twelve to sixtee years of age, comprising a total of 466 individuals; on June 11, at dawn, the latter are escorted to Hafdemari, a nearby village, and executed; the same day, the segment of the Armenian population that remained is regrouped and conducted to caves in the periphery of the region where they are massacred; on June 14 a second convoy comprised of women suffers the same; on June 16, the third and last convoy leaves for Ras –ul-Ayn, reached by some of the survivors. ** (Armalto, 1970: 350-359; Rhétoré, ms.: 39-42; Simon, s.d.: 82-83; Ternon, 2002: 98-100; and Kévorkian, 2006: 447).
1915; May 14, kaza of Hüsn-i Mansur and Besni: Four hundred men from this region and the neighboring area of Besni are executed at Adıyaman by Special Organization bandits commanded by Haci Mehmed Ali Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 509).
1915; May 14-16: Turkish forces lift the siege at Van and depart, along with the Muslim population of the town, in the direction of the southwest of the city, before the arrival of Russian forces on May 18. *** (Rafael de Nogales, 1926: 107; Ussher, 2002, 153; and Kévorkian, 2006, 405).
1915; May 16: The 30,000 Armenian villagers from the Erzerum plain are deported in three large caravans to Mamahatun. They are exterminated near Erzincan by a Special Organization squad. *** (Kaiser, 2002: 139; and Kévorkian, 2006, 359, 366-367).
1915; May 16, province of Bitlis: After having Kurdish tribes massacred the men in the preceding days, Governor Mustafa Abdülhalik organizes the deportation of women and children from 56 localities in the kaza of Bitlis (16,651 individuals) and from 22 villages in the northern kaza of Ahlat (13,432 Armenians). In the course of the following days, 12,000 of these deportees, many of whom are wounded, are regrouped at Bitlis, and 700 of them are taken in by the American local mission. They are finally dispatched from there in several convoys to the south, and massacred. * (Knapp, 2002: 31; and Kévorkian, 2006: 416).
1915; May 18, province of Erzerum: Arrest of the 78 leading notables of Bayburt, including the chief among them, Anania Hazarabédian. On May 21, the kayamakam, Nusret, arranges for their hanging—to the beats of drums—on the banks of the Djorok River (Kévorkian, 2006: 368).
1915; May 18, sancak of Erzincan: Departure of the first convoy of deportees from the prefecture of Erzincan. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 376).
1915; May 18, Tokat (province of Sıvas): Authorities arrest all the Armenian notables and teachers of Tokat, as well as, the adolescents a bit later that day, who were imprisoned in the central food stockhouses and systematically tortured there. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 555)
1915; May 18, Amasya (province of Sıvas): Armenian notables in Amasya are taken in for questioning and tortured, then executed by axe on May 23 in an isolated region three hours from town, at Saz Mountain. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 558).
1915; May 18, province of Adana: The deportation to Syria of the Armenian population of the provincial cantons begins. Thousands of men are interned and some are executed in public. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 736).
1915; May 20, Adana: The first convoy of deportees, comprising thousands of Armenians, is sent to Syria. *** (Kévorkian, 2006 : 736)
1915; May 21, Erzincan: A list of the first convoy of deportees from Erzincan comprising 60 families is prepared by local authorities. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 376).
1915; May 21-27, sancak of Malatya: Raids are carried out on Armenian homes. All of the Armenian civil servants and notables are arrested and interned from May 22, after which the measure is extended to include all men of the town. At the end of May, 1,300 prisoners are counted. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 501).
1915; May 23-25: The mutessarif of Erzincan, Memduh, at the head of the gendarmes and bandits (some 12,000 men), takes over the Armenian villages (some 60 in number) in the region. The men are systematically shot or their throats cut in pits dug ahead of time, while the women and children are dispatched and placed in the Armenian cemetery of Erzincan. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 376-77).
1915; May 23: The Minister of the Interior, Talat, affirms the order to deport the Armenians from the provinces of Erzerum, Van, and Bitlis, and recommends to civil officials that they apply the orders emanating from military authorities, i.e., the commander of the Third Army, Mahmud Kamil. *** (Osmanlı Belgelerinde Ermeniler, 1995: 36-37).
1915; May 23: The Directorship of the Settlement of the Tribes and Emigrants (İskân-ı Aşâyirin ve Muhâcirin Müdiriyeti), a department under the Ministry of the Interior charged with the Ittihadist Central Committee’s policy of “demographic homogenization,” informs the provinces that the deportees can be settled in the province of Mosul, with the exception of its northernmost regions, which form a border with the Van province. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 775).
1915, May 23: The Minister of Post and Telegraphs decrees that all Armenian employees of the Post and Telegraph Services in the provinces of Erzerum, Ankara, Adana, Sıvas, Diyarbekir, and Van be removed from their offices. *** (Osmanlı Belgelerinde Ermeniler, 1995: BOA, DH. Sfr No. 53/89).
1915; May 23-27, Hacin (province of Adana): Cavalry and infantry troops invade the city. On May 27, they proceed with the arrest of 250 Armenian notables who are interned at the konak and at the monastery, which have been requisitioned, There, they are tortured and executed. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 743-744).
1915; May 25-27, Erzincan: Authorities gather the Armenian population of Erzincan in the Armenian cemetery of Kuyubaşı, situated about fifteen minutes from the town. The evening of Thursday 27, the entire population of the town and the villagers from the surrounding areas are interned under the surveillance of Special Organization bands. The deportees are regrouped by quarter and the men from the ages of forty to fiftee are separated, then massacred by the gendarmes and the bands. The remainder is sent on May 28, under the supervision of Halet Bey, to the neighboring gorges of Kemah, in small groups leaving in one-hour intervals in order to escape detection. The deportees’ throats are slashed and they are thrown into the Euphrates by S.O. squads commanded by Jafer Mustafa. Hundreds of women and children also jump together over the edge. Infants of six or seven months of age are collected in the villages of the plain, tied in sacks, and thrown into the Euphrates. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 377).
1915; May 24-28: 17,060 Armenians from the rural zones of the kaza of Bayburt (province of Erzerum), living in 30 localities, are attacked by local squads of the S.O., which are under the command of Lt. Piri Necati Bey, under the direct supervision of Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir and sent in three convoys departing at two hour intervals. They are executed north of Bayburt, at Deyirmendere in Yanbaşdi and the gorges of Hus. Children from the ages of one to five are separated from the convoys by the sub-prefect, Nusret, and distributed among Turkish families. The young women are abducted by the officers and notables. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 367-369).
1915; May 27: The Istanbul press announces the promulgation of the “provisional law of deportation”. ** (Osmanlı Belgelerinde Ermeniler, 1995: 33-35; and Takvim-i Vekayi, No. 2189, June 1, 1915).
1915; May 28, kaza of Divriği: The inhabitants of the surrounding villages are first gathered at Divriği, where the men and youth from fourteen to eighteen years-of-age are separated from the others and imprisoned in a church before being executed. The remainder of the rural population is deported via Egin and Arapkir to Malatya and Fırıncılar. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 552).
1915; May 30, Diyarbekir: Six hundred thirty six men are evacuated from the town’s prison and are sent to the banks of the Tigris where they embark on 23 kelek (rafts). Dr. Reşid demands that his “aide-de-camp,” Çerkez Yaver Şakir, accompany him with is Çerkez band. On June 9, the men debark and are directed to the village of Chekavtan/Çalikan, then escorted to the gorges of Rezvani, where their throats are slit or they are shot by members of the Feikhanoğlu clan and the bands of the governor’s “aides-de camp”. ***(Lepsius (ed.), 1986: doc. 78:93; and Kévorkian, 2006: 442-443).
1915; May 30 and 31, kaza of Tercan/Mamahatun (province of Erzerum): The inhabitants of 41 Armenian villages of the kaza, which comprises some 11,690 individuals, are deported under the supervision of Halet Bey, the deputy of Kemah. The men are massacred on the spot, where some 25 km further south, at Gotır Köprü, their throats are slashed, they are skinned and thrown into the Euphrates by the S.O. squad by order of Gülo Aga. The other members of the convoy are eliminated in the gorges of Kemah. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 371).
1915; End of May, kaza of Pülumer/Polormor: The villagers of Perkri, Gersenoud, and Dantseg are massacred on the spot by a Special Organization squad. * (Kévorkian, 2006: 379).
1915; End of May - beginning of June, kaza of Kangal (province of Sıvas): Adult males are arrested and executed by the men of head of the bandit squadron of Sıvas, Kütükoğlu Hüseyin, who personally oversaw the execution of some 100 men at Daslı Dere. * (Kévorkian, 2006: 551).
1915; June 1, kaza of Hınıs/Khnous: The villagers of Karaçoban have their throats cut in the neighboring gorges of Çağ. The town of Gövendug suffers a similar fate, on the same date, along with the villages of Burnaz/Purnaq (449 souls) and Karaköprü (1,161 individuals), which are victims of assaults at the hands of the S.O. thugs commanded by Hoca Hamdi Bey. Their population is liquidated by knives in an isolated spot. The inhabitants of the village of Haramig (898 individuals) resist 15 days of assaults by the bandit group led by the Kurdish chief, Feyzullah. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 371).
1915; June 1, kaza of Palu (province of Dyarbekir): Eight hundred Armenian soldiers-workers (originating from Egin and Arapkir) of the labor battalion based in Hoşmat, northern of Palu, and 400 based in Nirhi are tied-up and executed by knife by “butchers” of the S.O.
1915; June 1, Egin/Agn (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Authorities arrest Armenian religious leaders and civilians of Agn, who are then drowned in the Euphrates (near Keban Maden) along with some 100 other Armenian detainees. ** (Agouni, 1921: 175).
1915; June 2, Istanbul: Deputies Krikor Zohrab and Vartkès Seringulian are arrested and deported to Syria. They are executed on July 19 by a member of the Special Organization, Çerkez Ahmed, on the road from Urfa to Diyarbekir. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 667-668).
1915; Beginning of June, kaza of Kiskim-Khodortçur (province of Erzerum): The first convoy of deportees, comprising 300 families of the villages of Khodortçur (around 3,740 people), and the second convoy of 200 families (around 1,500 individuals) mostly from Kudraşen and Kiskim, are dispatched and entirely liquidated between Kasaba and Erzincan by Special Organization squadrons. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 375).
1915; Beginning of June: The fifteen localities of the kaza of Kemah (province of Erzerum), comprising 6,396 individuals, are attacked by gangs of bandits commanded by Armedanlı İsmail, Erzincanlı Kasab Memduh, Ziya Hasan Çavuşoğlu, and Boyağlı Sefer. The population is exterminated on the spot. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 378).
1915; June 1 to 15, Diyarbekir: The men are systematically snatched and subsequently have their throats slashed in groups of 100-150 each day in the gardens of the gates of Mardin or on the Gözle road (currently Gözalan). A group of some 1,000 men appointed to public work projects or with the administration of military requisitions are also annihilated in a similar manner by the gangs of Governor Reşid. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 444).
1915; June 1-15, Palu (province of Diyarbekir): The males of Palu and 36 Armenian villages of the kaza, amounting to some 15,000 Armenians, are arrested and executed in the gorges of Kornakdere and at three slaughter-sites situated around the Palu bridge on the Euphrates, and then thrown into the river by bands of Kurdish chiefs and Special Organization members, Haşım, Teffür, İbrahim Tuşdi, and Teyfeş Beg, Zeynalzade Mustafa and his sons Hasan and Hüsni, Mahmud Çavuş, Şeyhzade Hafız, Süleyman Bey, Said Bey, Kazım Ali Mustafa Ağa, and Musrumli Karaman. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 453).
1915; June 3-5, Mardin: Gendarmes and Special Organization militias take control of all points of access to the town. Arrested and interned at the prefecture under the supervision of commissary Gevranlızade Memduh are 1,062 notables of the town, clergy and laymen, mostly Armenians, including Mgr Ignace Maloyan, the primate of Armenian Catholics, and six priests. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 455).
1915; June 3: In the kaza of Refahiye/Gercaniş (province of Erzerum), the inhabitants of three Armenian villages in the district—Gercaniş, Horopel, and Melik Şerif—around 1,570 people, are attached by bandit gangs and executed on the spot. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 378).
1915; June 4, Bayburt: The first caravan of deportees leaves Bayburt (province of Erzerum), and is followed by a second on June 8 and a third on June 14, 1915, together numbering some 3,000 people. At a point two hours from the town, the men are taken aside and eliminated. 2,833 infants from the kaza of Bayburt are drowned in the Euphrates in the midst of the gorges of Kemah. The remaining deportees follow the Erzincan route via the bridge at Kemah-Arapkir until they reach Gümüşmaden, where Kurdish bands proceed with a systematic massacre of the survivors. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 369).
1915; June 4, Gölcük (sancak of Ergeni): One hundred thirty “militia soldiers” coming from Harput and commanded by Müdir Begzade Ali carry out arrests of all males over the age of sixteen, who are then locked up in a stable, systematically tortured, and dispatched “to an unknown destination”. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 450).
1915; June 6-20, Harput, Hüseyinig, and Mezre (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Authorities carry out searches of all the homes and arrest several hundred men whose names were on pre-existing lists. *** (Jacobsen, 2001: 68-70 and Riggs, 1997 : 75)
1915; June 7, Egin/Agn (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Four hundred conscripts recruited among the male population between the ages of sixteen to eighteen and forty-six to sixtee are tied together in groups of five and thrown into the Euphrates at three different spots. ** (Agouni, 1921: 175)
1915; June 8, kaza of Kiskim-Khodortçur (province of Erzerum): The third convoy, made up of inhabitants of the villages of Garmirk (600 souls) and Hidgants, is dispatched and rejoins the second caravan of Erzerum, and the two suffer the same fate. After having passed through Bayburt, Erzincan, Kemah, Egin, Malatya, Arapkir, Samsad, Suruc, Raffa, Birecik, and Urfa, twenty survivors are counted at Aleppo on December 22, 1918. The fourth convoy, made up of villagers from Mokhrgud (350 people), Kotkan, Atik, Grman, Sunik, Gakhmukhud, Keğud, Cicaroz/Cicabağ, Gisag, Mitchin Tağ, and Khantatsor, follow a route similar to that of the third caravan as far as Samsad, but are then decimated on the banks of the Euphrates between Gantata and Gavanlug by regular troops and bandits commanded by Samsadlı Haci Şeyh İçko . ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 375)
1915; June 8, kaza of Kıği (province of Erzerum): The order to deport the 19,859 inhabitants of the kaza is made public. From June 3 to 7, Armenian villages are searched by Special Organization bandits supervised by the sub-prefect, Laz Midhat Mehmed Bey, head of the local Special Organization branch. These operations, which were initially carried out in the villages of the district of Kıği by the Special Organization result in some 1,500 victims. On June 7, the villages of Khups/Çanakçı (1,216 individuals) resist the assault by a group of bandits. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 372).
1915; June 9, sancak of Siirt: At the initiative of Serfiçeli Hilmi Bey, mutessarif of Siirt, and Erzerumli Nazım Hamdi Bey, Commander of the Gendarmerie, the Armenian Diocesan primate Yeghiche, the Chaldean bisho, Addai Şer, the Syrian abuna (primate) İbrahim and ten other notables are arrested and shot the following day, at a distance of half an hour from Siirt. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 415).
1915; June 10-11, Mardin: Some 100 bandits and gendarmes slash the throats of 400 notables of Mardin and Tel Armen at Ahraske, on the road from Diyarbekir, and at Adırsek, in the grottos of Şeyhan. Mgr Igace Maloyan is executed last by the commissary Memduh, near Karaköprü. *** (Ternon, 2002: 123, no. 20, 124-125, nos. 22-27, 126-127).
1915; June 10: Publication of a directive to set up local commissions charged with the “protection” of the “abandoned properties” of the deportees. *** (Askeri Tarih Belgeleri Dergisi, No. 81 [Dec. 1892], doc. 1832; and Dündar, 2006: 264).
1915; June 10, Gürün (province of Sıvas): seventy-four notables of Gürün are massacred in the valley of Ulaş, near the village of Kardaşlar, under the command of Cendarme Ali Çavuş, by a dozen thugs in gendarmerie uniforms. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 553).
1915; June 10, Hacın (province of Adana): The deportation of 5,000 Armenians begins under the supervision of Colonel Hüseyin Avni. The first convoy is made up of 150 families who are marched on foot towards Osmaniye and Aleppo via the Kiraz mountain road. The 5,000 Armenians of the neighboring kaza of Feke are deported a bit later. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 744).
1915; June 11, sancak of Malatya: One thousand two hundred soldier-workers from a labor battalion stationed at Çiftlik, between Malatya and Çoğlu, are executed near the village of Pirot by a gang of thugs based at Taşpınar. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 504).
1915; June 11, Mardin: Two hundred sixtee six men, 180 of whom are Armenians, are arrested at Mardin. On June 14, they are deported under the direction of Abdulkadir Bey, Commander of the Gendarmerie. Upon their arrival at the grottos of Şeyhan, these men are stripped and 84 of them are executed on June 15. *** (Ternon, 2002: 134-135).
1915; June 11, sancak of Siirt: Six hundred seventy men from Siirt are gathered at the barracks, arrested, and shot the following day, at a distance of half an hour from the town in the gorges of Vedi Ezzreb. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 415).
1915; June 11, kaza of Kıği (province of Erzerum): The first convoy of deportees, made up of 1,200 people, leaves Kıği, with their primate, Mgr Kegham Tivekelian. On June 13, the notables of the group, including the bishop, are separated from the convoy and shot near Tepe, at Deli Mizi on the Palu road. The other deportees are decimated a bit further south, in the middle of the Palu bridge on the Euphrates—another massacre site chosen by the S.O. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 372-373).
1915; June 11, Kıği: A second convoy of Armenians from the kaza of Kıği made up of 2,000 villagers from fifteen localities in the western part of the district, 700 of whom are men, is dispatched. It arrives in the surroundings of Palu, at Dabalu, on June 15 under the direction of Mehmedzade Hilmi, where the people in the convoy are decimated the same day by S.O. thugs. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 373).
1915; June 12, Kıği: A third convoy, made up of the inhabitants of Kıği and its surrounding villages, is dispatched. A group of deportees is killed by bladed weapons the following morning by thugs. The young women are abducted. Members of the escort disembowel the women as they observed during the searches that some of them had swallowed their gold pieces. The escapees (around 15) rejoined at Palu on June 16 the remnants of the first two caravans, and together the group made their way south on the 18th day of the same month. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 373).
1915; June 13, Kıği: A fourth convoy (the last of the town), comprised of civil servants and merchants, is dispatched directly to Harput under the command of the bandit chief Karaman Ulaszade Mustafa. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 373).
1915; June 13, sancak of Siirt: Eight thousand men of the Van Governor’s (Cevdet Bey) “butcher battalion” (kasab taburiler) arrive at Siirt. They proceed to take in the remaining men of older age for questioning, who subsequently have their throats slit in the main square over the course of the following days. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 415).
1915; June 13, sancak of Malatya: Two hundred fourteen soldier-workiers from a Malatya labor battalion are executed at Taş Tepe with axes and knives along with 74 others half an hour away at Kızıl Göl by a squadron of thugs based at Taşpınar. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 504).
1915; June 13, sancak of Kayseri: The arrests of Armenian notables of Talas begins. Soon afterwards, they are shot at Gemerek. ** (Barton, 1998: 121-2; and Kévorkian, 2006: 647).
1915; June 14: General Mahmud Kamil, Commander of the Third Army, orders the internment of the Armenian conscripts of the labor battalions of Erzincan in the town’s barracks. Each day, they are bound together in small groups and brought toward the east to the bridge at Cerbeleg, where they are shot and thrown into ditches dug in advance. The conscripts of the region working in the labor battalions are massacred at two locations. Around 5,000 are assassinated on a plain located slightly to the east of Erzincan and thrown into mass graves. A second group of approximately the same size is destroyed in the gorges of Sansar, located about eight hours to the east of Erzincan near the Tercan kaza boundaries. Around 15,000 elderly individuals of the province are exterminated at the same site. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 378).
1915; June 14, kaza of Kangal (province of Sıvas): Around 5,000 Armenians of the kaza are deported to the Syrian desert via Malatya, Adıyaman, and Suruc, by order of kaymakam Muhammad Ali Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 551).
1915; June 14, Amasya (province of Sıvas): The systematic arrest of men, particularly artisans, begins on June 14 and climaxes with their execution on June 29, when they are taken out under the cover of night in four convoys, tied together in groups of four, and killed in the Amasya region. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 558).
1915; June 14-15, Mezreh (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Three thousand soldier-workers from the labor battalions of Hoğe, Habusi, and Aşemi, along with 500 artisans from Harput, are interned at the Kırmızı konak, outside of Mezreh. There, they are tortured and starved. On June 18, Çerkez Kazım, one of the Commanders of the Special Organization “militias” accompanied by cavalrymen and two hundred infantrymen, transfers these soldier-workers to the south and has them assassinated the same day. *** (Piranian, 1937: 98-99, 117-118; 133-139; 151-7; Riggs, 1997: 78; Atkinson, 2000: 38; and T.V. No. 3771, Jan. 13 1920: 48-49).
1915; June 14 to July 11, Şebinkarahisar (province of Sıvas): Soldiers and thugs encircle the bazaar and question 300 men, who are then executed in the cellars of the konak at dawn on July 15. A squadron of thugs commanded by Kel Hasan enters the lower quarters and carries out other arrests throughout the night. On July 17, 5,000 to 6,000 Armenians, three-quarters of them women and children, entrench themselves in the citadel. Around 500 fighters secure their self-defense. The first assault is launched on June 25 by army units that had come from Suşehir. On July 4, a second offensive is initiated with the dispatch of 6,000 men from Erzincan, several irregular squadrons, and three regiments from Sıvas, who are commanded by Neşed Pasha. On July 8, the last of the fighters attempt an escape, and on July 11—the 27th day of the siege—a white flag is hoisted up from the citadel. Those males over the age of fifteen are shot in the field and the remainder of the population is deported to Syria, via Egin and Fırıncılar. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 565-567).
1915; June 15-16, Sıvas: Twelve political militants are hanged in public on June 15. On June 16, between 3,000 and 3,500 Armenians—secondary school teachers, members of the Diocesan Council, physicians, pharmacists, lawyers, architects, photographers, police commissaries, and civil servants—are arrested in their places of employment or residences and interned either at the main prison or in the cellars of the medreses of Sifahdiye and Gök.
1915; June 15: Twenty convicted Hentchakists are condemned to death for “high treason and separatism” and are hanged in the court of the Minister of War on June 16 at 3:30 am.
1915; June 15, Merzifun (province of Sıvas): One thousand two hundred men arrested during the past several days are eliminated in several groups. The first, made up of 300 young people, is escorted to Elek Deresi near the village of Tenik on the route from Çorum, under the direct supervision of Faik Bey, the kaymakam, and Mahir Bey, the Commander of the Gendarmerie; they are stripped and hacked to death with axes. In the following days the other prisoners suffer the same fate. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 559).
1915; June 15 to the end of September, Kayseri (province of Ankara): Eleven members of the local Armenian elite are hanged at the Kömür Bazaar’s square on June 15. These executions are followed by 857 more of individuals condemned to death by the military tribunal at Kayseri. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 644).
1915; June 15-20, Ordu (province of Trabzon): In six days, 500 soldiers from the regular army take control of the Armenian quarters of Ordu and carry out the arrests of men, who are then interned in the prison at the barracks and then dispatched in groups of 80 to 100, bound in groups of four, and killed by having their throats slashed in the wooded valleys nearby. Twelve thousand people from Ordu and the Armenian villages of the kaza are deported to Mesudiye, then to Suşehir, 30 km to the west of Sabinharahisar. It is in the vicinity of Suşehir that a number of the deportees are massacred and several young girls and women are abducted. The elderly, the sick, and the infirm, who had been kept at the hospital, were officially sent by boat to Samsun. They were, in fact, drowned at sea. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 603-604).
1915; Mid-June: The villagers of the kaza of Ispir, which is made up of seventeen small villages and an Armenian population of 2,602 souls, are exterminated on site under the direct supervision of Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir and the gang leader, Oturakçı Şevket. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 365).
1915; June 15-30: Diyarbekir. Each day, the colonel of the “militia”, Yaşınzâde Sevkı, and the commander of the gendarmerie, Colonel Çerkez Rüşdi, accompanied by their men, invade some one hundred Christian homes in Diyarbekir. At a set hour, military requisition vehicles pass in front of the designated homes and see to it that these families are taken out of town. The first convoy, which is made up of 510 women and children, is annihilated at Dara. The corpses are stuffed into underground tanks. The following convoys are sent in two directions: to the south-west to Karabahçe, Siverek, and Urfa, and to the south to Mardin, Dara, Ras ul-Ayn, Nisibin, and Deir el-Zor. Along this second axis, a site located an hour from Diyarbekir near the village of Çarıklı at Kozandere becomes the main killing field where squadrons of local Kurdish and Special Organization irregulars are posted. Another killing field can be placed further east, between the villages of Şeytan Deresi and Kaynag, in the gorges of Bigutlan, which are run by members of the Kurdish tribe of Tirkan, where 24,000 deportees are exterminated. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 453).
1915; June 15 to 30 juin, kaza of Palou (province of Diyarbekir): Women and children from rural areas and Palou are put in the parc of the church of St-Gregory. Small children are separated from their mothers, put in barils and thrown in the Euphrates. At the beginning of July, survivors are deported via Maden, Severek, Urfa and Bilecik, to the Syrian Desert. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 453)
1915; June 15-30, Tokat, Amasya, Merzifun, Zile, Niksar, and Hereke (province of Sıvas): In all these towns the Armenian males are arrested and almost immediately executed in their respective regions. ** (Kapigian, 1924: 86).
1915; June 15-29, province of Sıvas: The inhabitants of spots along the main course of the Halys/Kızılırmak, from the kazas of Koçhisar and Koçkiri, are the first in their region to be deported to the Syrian desert. ** (Kapigian, 1924: 90-91; and Kévorkian, 2006: 542).
1915; The second half of June, Kirason/Giresun and the kaza of Tireboli and Gorele (province of Trabzon): The Armenian homes of Kirason are searched by security forces. The males between the ages of sixteen and fifty are questioned and imprisoned in the Mayor’s compound. Around 150 notables are executed and then the order of deportation is handed down. Arıf Bey, the kaymakam of Kirason, confirms that he has received the order from Governor Cemal Azmi to deport the Armenians of the region to Mosul “via the Black Sea,” in other words, to have them drowned. The 3,000 Armenians of these cantons are deported in four convoys. The fourth, which is escorted by gendarmes under the direction of Commander Hasan Sabri, is made up of 1,200 people, 500 of which are male. These men are separated from the convoy in the middle of İki Su and massacred by 82 “gendarmes” near Eyriboli. After twenty-eight days of walking and enduring numerous attacks en route, the convoy reaches Kuruçay and at Dmir Magara, situated a bit south of Divriği (dubbed by the local Armenian population as “the Armenian slaughterhouse”), and is only made up of no more than 40 survivors. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 605).
1915; June 16, kaza of Kiği: The last convoy, made up of villagers from 35 localities including Temran, Oror, and Arek, is set en route. It is attacked and plundered for the first time at Sarpıçay (in the kaza of Akpunar) by Kurdish bands linked to the Special Organization. These deportees are parked at Dabalu near Palu, then hacked to death and thrown into the Euphrates from the middle of the bridge at Palu. Of a total of 19,859 deportees from this kaza, 3,000 arrive at Ras ul-Ayn. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 374).
1915; June 16, Erzerum: The first convoy of deportees, made up of the most influential Armenian families, leaves Erzerum under the orders of the gendarmerie captain, Nusret, towards the south-west in the direction of Kıği and Palu. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 359-360; and Kaiser, 2002, 139).
1915; June 16: Six hundred Jacobites and Syrian Catholics from Mansuriye (sancak of Mardin) are executed on the spot. ** (Ternon, 2002: 161-166).
1915; June 17, Tokat (province of Sıvas): 1,400 men from Tokat, bound together in groups of ten, are escorted in four convoys outside the town in the valleys of Ardova, Gazova, and Bizeri, and then executed *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 556).
1915; June 17, Sis (kaza of Kozan, province of Adana): The official order to deport the Armenians, personally confirmed by the Minister of the Interior, reaches the prefecture of Sis. Sixteen thousand Armenians from the town and its surrounding kazas, especially Karsbazar, are deported to Osmaniye and Aleppo under the supervision of Colonel Hüseyin Avni. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 744-745).
1915; June 18, Tokat (province of Sıvas): Seventeen clergymen, including the auxiliary bishop Nerses Mgrditchian and Father Andon Seraydarian, are assassinated in the citadel at Tokat. Over the next ten days, males between the ages of fourteen and twenty are executed. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 556).
1915; June 18: The second convoy of deportees from Erzerum is set off in the direction of Bayburt. This convoy is made up of 1,300 middle-class families, who are joined en route by 370 families of the town of Garmirk (kaza of Kiskim), for a total of approximately 10,000 people. They are escorted by gendarmes commanded by captains Muçtağ and Nuri and supervised by two leaders of the Special Organization, the kaymakam of Kemah and Kozukçioğlu Münir. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 362-363).
1915; June 18: The Fifth Expeditionary Corps commanded by Halil Bey Kut, along with 8,000 men from the “butcher battalions” (kasab taburları) run by the Van Governor, Cevdet Bey, and Ömer Naci, form “Red Head-Quarter” accomplish the extermination or the deportation of Armenians and 5,000 Assyrians and Chaldeans from the sancak of Siirt. ** (Rafael de Nogales, 1926: 123-124).
1915; June 19, kaza of Arapkir: One hundred thirty notables of Arapkir are drowned in the Euphrates by Special Organization bands. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 495).
1915; June 19, kaza of Çemişgezek (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Searches begin in the 21 Armenian villages of the kaza, particularly at Garmrig. More than 200 men are imprisoned on July 3 and 4 and are executed in the course of the following days by gendarmes and Special Organization bands. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 518).
1915; June 19-22, plain of Harput: One thousand Armenians from places around the plain and from Mezreh and Harput are arrested in their homes and interned at the Kırmızı Konak of Mezreh. On June 23, 900 of them are dispatched and shot the day after at the foot of Mount Heroğli by Special Organization bands commanded by Çerkez Kazım.***(Piranian, 1937: 156-1157, 167-77; Atkinson, 2000: 38; and Davis, 1994: 123).
1915; June 20: The men from the first convoy from Erzerum are assassinated and many of the women are kidnapped near the village of Çoğ by Kurdish irregulars directed by two S.O. leaders, Ziya Beg of Başköy, and Adıl Bey (his real name being Adıl Güzelzade Şerif). *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 360-361).
1915; June 20: Twelve thousand women and children are executed between Diyarbekir and Mardin under the direct supervision of Commissary Memduh Bey, the head of S.O. operations in the province of Diyarbekir. *** (Simon, s.d.: 56 and 85).
1915; June 20, kaza of Koçhisar (province of Sıvas): Two thousand men, including all of the parish priests in the kaza, are interned in the prison at Koçhisar and executed before the deportations. Each night, these males are taken outside the town in groups of 100 and executed in the gorges of Seyfe or in the middle of the bridge of Boğaz under the direction of the S.O. gang leaders Kütükoğlu Hüseyin and Zaralı Mahir. The first convoy, which is made up of villagers, leaves around June 20. It is followed by a caravan comprised of the inhabitants of Koçhisar, 500 of whom are male. After an initial attack by Circassians of Kuştepe, this convoy reaches the village of Ulaş, where it is grouped together with another caravan made up of 1,000 women and 200 men from the rest of the kaza. Two days later the group arrives at Hasançelebi, where 200 adolescents are separated from the convoy and executed. The following day, at Hekimhan, the elderly men are extracted from the convoy and massacred. Several dozen women from Koçhisar arrived in Hama, in Syria, in the fall of 1915. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 548-549).
1915; Between June 20 and 29, kaza of Koçgiri/Zara: Around 7,000 Armenians of the kaza are deported to Divriği, then Harput, Siverek, Urfa, Viranhşehir, and Rakka. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 549).
1915; June 20-30, kaza of Derik (province of Diyarbekir): The President of the military tribunal of Diyarbekir, Tevfik Bey, carries out the elimination of the men, in small groups, and then has the women and children deported. They are massacred near the town by bands of the S.O. On June 27, the religious leaders from different confessions are hung in public. ** (Armalto, 1970: 345; Rhétoré, ms. 43; and Ternon, 2002: 100-101).
1915; June 21: The general order to deport all Armenians without exception is transmitted to all the provinces by the Minister of the Interior, Talat. ** (Dündar, 2006: 265-66).
1915; June 21: Midyat (sancak of Mardin). The Christian homes of Midyat are searched. Around 100 men are arrested and executed outside the town, around the Well of Sayta. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 459).
1915; June 21, kaza of Arapkir (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Three hundred men from Arapkir are drowned in the Euphrates by S.O. gangs. ** (Kévorkian, 2006:495).
1915; June 21, Merzifun (province of Sıvas): Around 9,000 Armenians of Merzifun are set en route to the Syrian Desert via Hasançelebi, Fırıncılar, Suruc, and Arapbunar, and then Bab and Aleppo, where some 20 men and less than 100 women and children arrive. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 559).
1915; Summer, Istanbul: Around 30,000 Armenians of the Capital, mostly bachelors and people originally from the provinces, are deported in small groups to Syria. ** (Lepsius, 1986: 185).
1915; June 22, Gürün (province of Sıvas): Some 20 men from Gürün are executed on the route from Elbistan by Tütünci Hüseyin Çavuş and his irregulars. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 553).
1915; June 22-24, Trabzon: Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, the President of the Special Organization, begins a visit to Trabzon on June 22. On June 24, 42 Armenian notables—political figures, key businessmen, and teachers—are arrested and dispatched by boat the following morning. They are drowned in the open sea of Platana by gangs commanded by Tekkeli Neşad. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 586).
1915; June 23-24, kaza of Arapkir: Two groups of 250 men from Arapkir are drowned in the Euphrates by S.O. gangs. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 495).
1915; June 23, Sıvas: A second wave of questioning is launched in Sıvas. A thousand men are interned in the main prison and in the cellars of the medrese. *** (Kapigian, 1924: 85).
1915; June 23, Binga (province of Sıvas): Around 1,000 Armenians of Binga are deported in a convoy to Arapkir, then to the Syrian desert. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 552).
1915; June 24 and 25, Harput and Mezreh (province of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Police carry out the arrest of all men; they are subsequently assassinated in the outskirts of Harput, mostly at Gügen Boğazi, a gorge situated near Maden. *** (Riggs, 1997: 77-78; Piranian, 1937: 179-182; and Kévorkian, 2006: 477).
1915; June 25, Bitlis: Cevdet and his 8,000 “human butchers” begin to round up the males of Bitlis. Seven hundred men are executed at a spot six miles from the town; boys from the ages of seven are burned alive at the outskirts of Bitlis in the presence of Governor Mustafa Abdülhalik. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 417).
1915; June 27, Gürün (province of Sıvas): Forty notables of the sub-prefect are executed near Çalikoğlu by S.O. bands. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 554).
1915; June 27, Harput plain: The Minister of the Interior orders Sabit Bey, governor of Mamuret ül-Aziz, to make the necessary arrangements to have the Muslim emigrants (muhacir) settle in the “evacuated” Armenian villages. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 479).
June 27, 1915, Red Konak of Mezreh: Five hundred detainees, who had been arrested over the course of the preceding days, leave for “Urfa,” but are assassinated at Gölcük by S.O. bands. ** (Piranian, 1937: 185; and Kévorkian, 2006: 478).
1915; June 29: The third caravan of deportees from Erzerum is put en route to Bayburt and Erzincan. It is made up of between 7,000 and 8,000 people, including 500 families from the Khodortçur district. At İçkale, a walking distance of ten hours from the town, 300 men are shot. A bit further, the surviving men suffer the same fate in the gorges of Kemah. It is in the gorges of Kahta, however, that the majority of the people in the convoy have their throats slit a few weeks later. Sever dozen escapees reach Mosul, in Mesopotamia. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 364-365).
1915; June 29 and 30, Bitlis and surrounding areas: Eight thousand women and children are expelled from their homes, settled in the court of the cathedral and several houses, and then escorted to the south of Bitlis to the Arabi bridge by Cevdet Bey’s gangs. Around 2,000 people are abducted from there, and the others are deported to the south via Siirt. Some 15,000 Armenians from the sancak of Bitlis are estimated to have been executed on the spot. ** (Rafael de Nogales, 1926: 133; and Kévorkian, 2006: 417-418).
1915; End of June: The second caravan from Erzerum reaches the killing field in the gorges of Kemah, at the middle of the bridge that spans the Euphrates. Squadrons of bandits commanded by Oturakçı Şevket and Hurukçizade Vehib screen the deportees. Eight to nine-hundred men are separated from the convoy and killed by the S.O. thugs commanded by Çetebaşı Cafer Mustafa on July 18. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 363-364).
1915; End of June, kaza of Yeni Han: After the execution of the men at a location called Masadler Yeri near Yeni Han, around 1,500 people are deported to Syria. * (Kévorkian, 2006: 549).
1915; End of June, sancak of Mardin: The Jacobite and Syrian Catholic inhabitants of Kırbüran, along with the Chaldeans of Kırjaus, Batı, Killet, and Hisn Kayfa, are massacred on the spot or flee to the Tur Abdin mountains. ** (Ternon, 2002: 175-176; and Armalto, 1970: 413).
1915; End of June, sancak of Mardin: All the men of Savur—Armenians and Jacobites having been lumped together without distinction—are arrested and executed at the outskirts of the town. The women and children are deported on a convoy to Karabhond, past Nisibin, where they are killed and hurled into huge pits. ** (Ternon, 2002: 175-176; and Armalto, 1970: 413).
1915; End of June, Gürün (province of Sıvas): Boys between the ages of ten and fourteen are questioned in Gürün. Kasap Osman, one of the Special Organization’s killers, sends a group of 120 boys to the Saçcığaz valley, to a Turkish village two hours away from Gürün, where their throats are slit. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 553).
1915; End of June, Tokat (province of Sıvas): The remaining population, around 9,000 people, is grouped by age and deported accordingly. The Azar han serves as the -provisional detention center for mature women, who are questioned by police en route, followed by young women, and then the last Armenians who take the Sıvas route (via Çiftlik-Yeni Han) to Sarkışla/Maraş, or more frequently to Kangal/Malatya. The operations are overseen by Special Organization bands, notably Salhi Ağa (the local butcher), Çerkez Mirza Bey, Çerkez Osman Bey, Çerkez Mahmud Bey, and Çerkez Elmalızade Haci Effendi. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 556).
1915; End of June, kaza of Niksar (province of Sıvas): The execution of men and the deportation of the remaining population—some 3,500 people—take place at the end of the month under the direction of the kaymakam, Rahmi Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 556-557).
1915; End of June, kaza of Erbaa (province of Sıvas): Nearly 7,000 Armenians are executed on the spot (men), or are deported (women and children) along the Sıvas-Kangal-Hasançelebi-Fırıncılar axis. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 557).
1915; End of June, kaza of Zile (province of Sıvas): Violence hits more than 4,000 Armenians. The men are arrested and escorted through the marshes of Lake Gaz and executed. The women and children are deported through the Sıvas- Kangal-Hasançelebi-Fırıncılar route. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 557).
1915; End of June, kaza of Mehsudiye (province of Sıvas): The 600 Armenians of the kaza are deported to the Syrian Desert by the kaymakam, Nafi Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 567).
1915; July: The second caravan from Erzerum reaches the plain of Fırıncılar, to the south of Malatya—one of the main killing fields employed by the Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa, which is supervised by the deputy from Dersim, Haci Baloszade Mehmed Nuri, and his brother, Ali Pasha, who are under order from two Kurdish chiefs from the Reşvan tribe, Zeynal Bey and Haci Bedri Agha, along with Bitlisi Emin, a retired Gendarmerie Commander. Three thousand six hundred deportees are executed there at the knife, 2,115 of which are men. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 363).
1915; July, sancak of Ergeni: Around 12,000 Armenians from Ergeni Maden, Çermik, and Çenkuş (province of Diyarbekir) are deported in several convoys, then executed and thrown into the chasms of Yudan Dere. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 451-452).
1915; Beginning of July, kaza of Sarkışla: The kaymakam, Cemil Bey, first organizes the arrest of 400 villagers, who are eliminated on the spot each night in groups of 20. The deportation of some 20,000 Armenians commences in the beginning of July. The convoy follows the usual route via Alacahan, where the men are separated and massacred, then Kötü Han, where the bands of Emirpaşaoğlu Hamid Bey await. In the numerous stopping points along the way—Hasançelebi, Hakimhan, Hasanbadrik, Kırk Göz, and Fırıncılar—almost all of the remaining men are eliminated. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 549-550).
1915; Beginning of July, kazas of Bünyan and Aziziye: Some 6,000 people are deported via the Gürün route to Akdağ, then to Fırıncılar, by the head of the CUP at Aziziye, Havasoğlu, Haci Hüseyin, who is supported by the kaymakam, Hamid Nuri Bey and the sub-prefect of Bünyan, Nabi Bey. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 550).
1915; Beginning of July, kaza of Gürün (province of Sıvas): Under the supervision of Küçükzade Bahri, a local Young-Turk leader, Katırcı Nuri Effeni, the inspector of convoys, and Deli Bekir Mustafa, over 10,000 Armenians of the kaza are deported in two convoys: the first travels via Albistan, Kanlı Dere, Kani Dağ, Ayranbunar, Sağın Boğaz, Aziziye, Göbeğ Yören, and Fırıncılar, then Ayntab, Maraş, Urfa, and Karabıyık to Der el-Zor; and the second follows the same route, but is instead directed to Hama, Homs, and Hauran. It is near Maraş that a number of deportees from Gürün are massacred. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 554).
1915; Beginning of July, Vezirköprü (province of Sıvas): The kaymakam, Bekir Bey, organizes the elimination of 1,612 Armenians of his sub-prefecture—the execution of men, and then the deportation of the rest of the population via Havza, Amasya, and Tokat, to Sıvas and Malatya. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 562).
1915; Beginning of July, Gümüşhaciköy (province of Sıvas): The kaymakam, İbrahim Niyazi Bey, supervises the removal of the 4,000 Armenians of his kaza, via Havza, Amasya, and Tokat, to Sıvas and Malatya. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 562).
1915; Beginning of July, Çorum (province of Ankara): Three thousand Armenians of Çorum are deported in a convoy to the Syrian Desert via Boğazliyan and Bozantı. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 640).
1915; Beginning of July, Derevank (sancak of Kayseri): The male population is systematically arrested at Derevank and in all the Armenian villages in the valley, and are then executed. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 647).
1915; July 1, Tel Arman (sancak of Mardin): Males from the ages of ten to seventy are arrested beginning on June 18 by order of müdir Hıdıroğlu Derviş. They are first kept in Armenian churches and then escorted, beginning on July 1, via the Güliye Ksor route and are killed by Kurds from these regions. Women and children are killed in the second church and in surrounding fields. ***(Ternon, 2002: 158-161; and Simon, s.d., 49-50).
1915; July 1, Divriği (province of Sıvas): The Armenian quarters of Divriği are surrounded by regular troops, who carry out the expulsion of the inhabitants, who are gathered near the southwest exit from the town, where they are put en route for Arapkir. Young women and girls are taken for the harems of local notables. The convoy is pillaged shortly after its departure near Sarı Çiçek by Kurdish villagers from nearby areas. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 564).
1915; July 1, Mezreh: The first convoy, made up of inhabitants of three Mezreh neighborhoods (Devriş, Nayil Beğ, and Market)—around 2,500 people—are escorted by infantry soldiers and mounted gendarmes, commanded by the captain Adam Pasha, and dispatched to Diyarbekir. Shortly after leaving Mezreh, all of the males are separated from the rest of the group and eliminated. The survivors reach Ras ul-Ayn fifteen days later and a handful reach the Der el-Zor area after two weeks. *** (Davis, 1994: 41-43; Piranian, 1937: 215-219; and Kévorkian, 2006: 482-483).
1915; July 1 and 2, sancak of Malatya: Four hundred eighty Armenians detained in the Malatya prison are executed near the town, at İndere, by a gang squad based at Taşpınar. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 505).
1915; July 1 to 3, Trabzon: Fifteen thousand Armenians from the town and surrounding villages are deported in three convoys from Deyirmen Dere, a place ten minutes from the town, where they are dispatched towards Gümüşhane. In sum, 6,000 people leave the town between July 1 and 3. Some of the men are separated from their convoy near Gümüşhane and are executed a half-hour’s distance away by a band of thugs commanded by Mirza Effendi; the others are eliminated at Fırıncılar, in the gorges of Kanlı Dere, where Kurdish chiefs Zeynal Bey and Haci Bedir Ağa are in charge. It is near the Gölcük lake that most of the deportees from Trabzon are executed. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 598-600).
1915; July 1 to 5, Egin/Agn (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The women, children, and elderly of Egin and 25 of its sub-districts—some 13,000 people—are deported in three convoys to Malatya until they reach the killing field of Fırıncılar, where a good portion of the group is exterminated in the gorges of Kahta. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 500-501).
1915; July 2: The second convoy from Mezreh, comprised of inhabitants of the Karaçöl neighborhoods of İcadiye and Ambar—nearly 3,000 people—is dispatched to Malatya, where the men are separated from the convoy and executed. After passing through Urfa, the surviving deportees arrive in the Syrian Desert, at Der el-Zor, several weeks later. **(Piranian, 1937: 222-227).
1915; July 2, Mardin: Six hundred men are escorted beyond the walls of the city and are summarily executed. *** (Ternon, 2002: 138).
1915; July 2, province of Bitlis: The 2,598 Armenians from the village of Khoultig, located two hours to the southeast of Bitlis, are attacked by some 100 soldiers and Kurdish militiamen. They are packed together and burned alive by Humaslı Farso and his men. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 421-422).
1915; July 2, Çemişgezek (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): A convoy of 1,000 deportees from Çemişgezek is dispatched to Arapkir. One hundred fifty people arrive alive in Aleppo two months later. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 517-518).
1915; July 3, sancak of Mardin: Three thousand Jacobites and Catholics from Güliye Ksor are executed on the spot by S.O. squads. *** (Ternon, 2002: 161-166).
1915; July 3-7, Amasya (province of Sıvas): Around 12,000 people are deported in five convoys. After they reach Kangal, the convoys from Amasya see all their males over the ages of eight year executed at Sarkışla around July 15 by Turkish villagers and Çerkez commanded by Halil Bey, the Commander of the bandit squadrons of the province of Sıvas. The remainders are then sent in the direction of Hasançelebi and Fırıncılar, where the first convoy arrives on September 7, and then Suruc, Arapbunar, Bab, Aleppo, Meskene, and Der el-Zor. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 567).
1915; July 4, province of Mamuret ül-Aziz: The Armenian population of Hüseyinig is deported in one convoy via Malatya. ** (Piranian, 1937: 222-227; and Atkinson, 2000: 40).
1915; July 5, province of Mamuret ül-Aziz: Eight hundred men from Harput and Mezreh are executed in a gorge near Hanköy by a band of thugs who had accompanied them to their destination. ** (Atkinson: 2000: 40; Riggs, 1997: 103; and Jacobsen, 2001: 73).
1915; July 5, Arapkir (village of Mamuret ül-Aziz): Seven thousand Armenians from Arapkir, 250 of which are men, are deported on a convoy to Urfa. The men are separated from the group a week later at the Kırk Göz Bridge (“The Forty Arches”), situated on the Tohma Çay, an affluent of the right bank of the Euphrates, and there they are shot. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 496-497).
1915; July 5, Trabzon: Armenian Catholics and Protestants—including children and pregnant women—are deported in the last convoy leaves Trabzon. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 599).
1915; July 5-18, Sıvas: Five thousand eight hundred fifty Armenian families from Sıvas are deported in fourteen convoys, one departing daily, between Monday July 5 and Sunday July 18, with an average of 400 families per caravan. The deportations follow the route from Sıvas through Tecirhan, Magara, Kangal, Alacahan, Kötühan, Hasançelebi, Hekimhan, Hasanbadriğ, Aruzi Yazı, the Kırk Göz bridge, Fırıncılar, Zeydağ, and Gergerdağ (the mountains of Kanlı Dere, where Kurdish chiefs, Zeynal Bey and Haci Badri Ağa, of the Reşvan tribe are in charge), before being directed to Adıyaman, Samsat, then crossing the Euphrates River at Gözen, and then following the route through Suruç, Urfa, Viranşehir, Ras ul-Ayn, and passing either through Mosul or Bab and Mumbuc to arrive at Aleppo. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 544).
1915; July 7: The Iskân-ı Aşâyirîn ve Muhâcirîn Müdîriyeti (IAMM, Directorate for the Installation of the Tribes and Migrants) extends the zones designated for “receiving” the deportees from “parts south and west of the Mosul province” to locales in the sancak of Kirkuk “moved from at least 80 kilometers from the Iranian frontier; the regions in the south and west of the sancak of Zor are located at least 25 kilometers from the limits of the Diyarbekir province and comprise the villages of the Euphrates basin and the Kabur; all the villages and towns of the western part of the province of Aleppo, along with the southern and eastern regions, with the exception of the northern zone of Syria; the sancaks of Hauran and Kerek, with the exception of the territories located at least 25 km from the rail line. These are the regions where the Armenians must be dispersed and settled so that they form 10% of the population among the majority Muslim population”. ** (T.C. Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi, 22 Sh 1333, IAMM, circular from Ali Münif, Sf 54/315, doc. no. 63).
1915; July 7-8, kazas of Yarpuz, Islahiye, Bahçe, and Osmaniye (sancak of Cebelbereket, province of Adana): Around 20,000 Armenians from these cantons are deported to the Syrian Desert. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 745-746).
1915; July 8, Mezreh (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): Individuals previously exempted from deportation, i.e., the elderly, are deported in a convoy. ** (Jacobsen, 2001: 76-77).
1915; July 8-14: The expeditionary corps of Halil Kut arrives in the plains of Muş and takes control of all lines of communication. The 103 Armenian villages, comprising around 75,000 individuals, are systematically surrounded by bandits, who first round up the men, bind them in groups of ten to fifteen, and escort them out of their villages and execute them in orchards or on nearby roads. Women and children are locked up in barns doused with kerosene and are burned alive. Some 20,000 people flee to the Sasun mountains. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 422-423).
1915; July 9: The first convoy of deportees from Gölcük (province of Diyarbekir) is dispatched and its members are executed at Gapan. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 450-451).
1915; July 10: The second convoy of deportees from Gölcük suffers the same fate as the first convoy. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 450-451).
1915; July 10: The mutessarif of Muş, Servet Bey, has 300 soldier-workers, who are part of a labor battalion, executed on the road to Çabağçur (sancak of Genc). Another battalion of soldier-workers made up of 700 men is remanded to the commissary, Kazım, who sends them to Garmir, where they are shot. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 423).
1915; July 10: Mahmud Kamil, the Commander of the Third Army Corps, addresses a coded telegram from his headquarters in Tortum to the Governors of Sıvas, Trabzon, Van, Mamuret ul-Aziz, Diyarbekir, and Bitlis ordering the condemnation to death of “certain elements of the Muslim population who are harboring Armenians in their homes” and “to see to it that any Armenian who has not already been deported no longer remains […]. Armenian converts [to Islam] are also to be sent away”. **(T.V., No. 3540, certified doc., date of which converts to February 23, 1919, Minister of the Interior, Directorate of General Security).
1915; July 10, Harput (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The first convoy, made up of fifty families from the “lower quarter” (Vari Tagh), is dispatched and escorted by “Kurds and gendarmes”. ** (Atkinson, 2000: 46; and Jacobsen, 2001: 76-77).
1915; July 10, kaza of Çemişgezek (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The population of the 21 Armenian villages of the kaza—some 3,000 individuals—is dispatched in a convoy from Arapkir to Urfa and Aleppo. Around 15% reaches its destination. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 518).
1915; July 10, Samsun (province of Trabzon): Male Armenians are arrested and massacred by peasants in the areas around the prefecture. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 608).
1915; July 10-20, kazas of Samsun, Bafra, and Çarşamba (sancak of Canık): Around 30,000 Armenians are deported to Amasya, after which the men are separated, bound, and sent to Tokan, then Çiftlik or Gisgisa, where they are massacred. The women and children pass through Sarkışla, then Sıvas, followed by Malatya, near which they are thrown into the Kırk Göz, a tributary of the Euphrates. The 2,000 Armenians of the neighboring kaza of Bafra suffer the same fate, as do the 15,000 Armenians of the kaza of Çarşamba. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 608-612).
1915; July 11, Dara (sancak of Mardin): Seven thousand deportees from Erzerum are executed and thrown into the huge Byzantine cisterns of the town by men from the Sixth Army Corps commanded by general Ali İhsan Pasha. ** (Simon, n.d.: 86).
1915; July 12, Mush/Muş: The vicar, Vartan, and about 100 other personalities of Muş are arrested, escorted to Khaskiugh, and shot. The Armenian quarters of the lower part of the town, Chikrashen and Prudi, are bombarded, and then invaded by army units and bandit squads linked to the S.O. Three thousand people are escorted to the village of Arinchvank, located a few kilometers to the northeast of the town, where they are separated into two groups: the men are shot in the town’s orchards and the women and children are burned alive in the barns. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 423-424).
1915; July 15-20, kaza of Terme, Uniye, and Fatsa (sancak of Canık): Twenty-five notables of Uniye and its surrounding areas are arrested and shot. The 12,000 Armenians of these regions are deported in four convoys in the same manner as the Armenians deported from Samsun. Around 300 men are able to take refuge in the foothills of the Chain Ponticus (Kévorkian, 2006: 621-613).
1915; July 15-20, Ankara: After having Hasan Mazhar dismissed, the interim Governor, Atıf Bey, a member of the Young Turk Central Committee, has 1,200 non-Catholic Armenian notables of Ankara arrested. On August 14, around midnight, several hundred Armenians are escorted by the police and the Gendarmerie, bound in pairs, to the outskirts of the town. The escorts turn them over to the bandits, who are waiting for them in an isolated spot. These recruits of the Special Organization are the butchers and tanners of Ankara, who are “specially remunerated” for executing these men with the help of villagers from nearby areas (Kévorkian, 2006: 621).
1915; July 15-30, Kayseri: The arrests of men over the age of fourteen becomes systematic. They are sent out of town each night and executed under the supervision of the captain of the gendarmerie and the head of the bandits of Kayseri S.O., Gübgüzade Sureya Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 645).
1915; Mid-July to August 7, kaza of Boğazliyan (sancak of Yozgat): The 48 Armenian villages of the sancak—some 40,000 souls—are emptied of their males, then of their women and children, under the direct supervision of Kemal Bey, the interim prefect. The latter sets up a huge killing field near the village of Keller, where these Armenians die at the knife at the hands of S.O. bandit squads directed by Major Tevfik. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 628-629).
1915; Mid-July, kaza of Akdağmaden (sancak of Yozgat): Three thousand Armenians of the kaza are executed on the spot by S.O. thugs who had come from Ankara under the command of Major Tevfik. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 640).
1915; July 16, transit camp at Fırıncılar (sancak of Malatya): Girls under the age of fifteen and boys under the age of ten are removed from the convoys of deportees passing through Fırıncılar to be officially housed in orphanages specially established for them at Malatya. Several thousand of them are drowned in the Euphrates some days later.
1915; July 17, Mardin: The first convoy, made up of 250 members of Mardin’s most influential Armenian families, is dispatched, escorted by gendarmes under the command of Çerkez Şakir. They are executed by knife or gun at İmam Abdul, near Tel Armen, by men linked to the president of the military tribunal of Diyarbekir, Tevfik Bey. ***(Ternon, 2002: 139-144).
1915; July 17-18, Mush/Muş: Five thousand inhabitants of the higher quarters are escorted to Komer, Khaskiugh, Norshen, Arinchvank, and Alizrnan, stuffed into barns, and burned alive. Around 10,000 women and children from the villages on the Muş plain—Sorader, Pazu, Hasanova, Salehan, Gvars, Meghd, Baghlu, Uruc, Ziyaret, Khebian, Dom, Hergerd, Norag, Aladin, Goms, Khachaldukh, Sulukh, Khoronk, Kartsor, Kızıl, Agadj, Kömer, Şeyhlan, Avazaghpiur, Plel, and Kurdmeydan—are deported towards the west through the valley of the Euphrates (Murat Su), under the guard of Kurds. Many are massacred in the gorges of Murat Su, which opens to the west of Genc, by bands of Kurds who had come from Jabahçur. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 424).
1915; July 18, mountains of Sasun: The Şeg, Beder, Bozek, and Calal tribes take position in the east; the Kurds of Kulp, directed by Hüseyin and Hasan Beys, along with Kurds of Genc and Lice, invade the west; Khati Bey of Miyafarkin along with the Khiyank, Badikan, and Bagiran tribes penetrate the south while forces of the regular army undertake the liquidation of Sasun from the north. Several tens of thousands of Armenians take refuge there and organize a resistance. On August 2, the defenders of a smaller part of the population attempt an escape through the north. The majority of them are exterminated on the spot, particularly in the valley of Gorşik, after the last of them engage in man-to-man combat on August 5.
1915; July 18: The fourth convoy from Erzerum, comprised of 7,000 to 8,000 deportees, most of whom are workers in military factories, the families of soldiers, military physicians, pharmacists, and the primate of the Diocese, Mgr Smpat Saadetian, are set en route to Bayburt. The Special Organization networks then take charge: men go to Kemah and women and children go to Harput. Around 300 escapees, two of whom are men disguised as women, reach Cizre, and then Mosul. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 365).
1915; July 18, Harput (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The second convoy from Harput, made up of some 3,000 people, is set en route to Urfa. Eight days later, at a point some three hours from Malatya at a place called Çiftlik, the males over the age of twelve are extracted from the convoy and executed in the barracks. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 484).
1915; July 18, Çankırı (province of Kastamonu): Fifty-six members of the Armenian elite interned at Çankırı since April 1915 are deported. They remain interned in to the prison of Ankara from August 20 to 24 and on the evening of the 24th all of them are dispatched and executed a few days later near Yozgat. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 663).
1915; July 18, mutessarifat of İzmit: The order to deport Armenians from the 42 localities of the sancak is signed by the Minister of the Interior. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 688).
1915; July 18-19, Arslanbeg (mutessarifat of İzmit): The Armenian village is surrounded by 200 soldiers and gendarmes under the direction of a Commander of the Gendarmerie, İbrahim Bey. The following morning the deportations begin while the village is pillaged by Çerkez thugs linked to the Special Organization. Over 2,000 people are deported via Eskişehir, Konya, and Bozantı, and are then dispersed to Rakka, Meskene, Der el-Zor, Mosul, or Baghdad. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 690).
1915; July 22, province of Bursa: A cadre of the General Security, Mehmedce Bey, accompanied by Special Organization thugs, has 400 Armenian notables of Bursa, who had until then been interned at Orhaneli in the gorges of Karanlık Dere, shot and burned. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 695).
1915; July 27, Mardin: The fourth convoy of men, made up of some 300 people, leaves Mardin. Its members are executed and thrown into the underground cisterns of Dara. The Armenian conscripts—50 of them—are massacred later in small groups on the route to Nüsaybin behind the Mardin citadel on August 12, and 12 others at the foot of the Mar Mikail convent on August 24. Seventeen masons working on the construction of the el-Sahiya mosque’s minaret are not executed until October, 1915. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 458).
1915; July 28, Harput (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The third and last convoy from Harput carries the elderly, young women, some children, and the blind who had been taken care of until then. **(Jacobsen, 2001: 82-83; and Davis, 1994: 53).
1915; July 28, kaza of Hüsni Mansur: After the arrest and elimination of the men over the course of the months of June and July, the women, children, and elderly are deported in a convoy to Urfa. Two hundred boys and elderly men are executed in the gorges of Karayarık. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 509).
1915; July 29, Antep/Ayntab (province of Aleppo): The deportation order from Istanbul is examined by the local Young Turk Committee, which undertakes the task of putting up a list of the first Armenians to be deported. The first convoy, comprised mainly of notables, is set out on July 30. The 36,000 Armenians of Antep are deported in groups of 300 families per day and are mostly sent in the direction of the station at Akçakoyun, where they are settled in a transit camp, enclosed with barbed wire, and then loaded into animal wagons destined for Aleppo and then sent on foot across the Syrian desert to Der el-Zor. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 752).
1915; July 31, Musa Dağ (sancak of Antakya): Four thousand two hundred Armenians entrenched in the highlands of Musa Dağ are besieged by regular troops beginning August 8. On September 10, a French warship, le Guichen, spots a distress signal issued by the besieged. With three other cruisers, including the Jeanne-d’Arc, the French marines undertake the transfer aboard their ships of the 4,000-plus villagers landed at Port Said. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 758).
1915; August 1 to 15, Kessab and Alexandretta (sancak of Antakya): Around 10,000 people from Kessab and Alexandretta are deported to Homs and Hama by the kaymakam, Fatih Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 758).
1915; August 2: The Deputies Krikor Zohrab and Vartkes Seringulian leave Urfa and are executed two hours from the town in a deep gorge, Şeytan Deresi, which is practically the same spot where the Armenian elite from Urfa suffered the same, by Çerkez Ahmed, a S.O. officer. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 765).
1915; August 2 to 7, Sıvas: Prisoners held at the Gök medrese are extracted each night from the town in groups of 100 to 200, brought to Karlık in the valley of Çelebiler located around four hours to the northwest of Sıvas, where they are hacked to death with axes. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 567-568).
1915; August 3: The Armenian population of Van and its surrounding areas—several tens of thousands of individuals—is evacuated towards the Caucasus. They are attacked en route by bands of Kurds and Turks in a gorge in the Perkri region, where nearly 1,600 people are massacred. From the town of Echmiadzin alone, where these refugees were stationed, one can count 2,613 deaths in fifteen days between the end of August and the beginning of September 1915, which basically occurred in two waves.
1915; August 4, Mezreh (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The Armenians detained at the central prison of Mezreh—the political elite of the region—refuse to be deported and set themselves on fire. *** (Jacobsen, 2001: 84; and Piranian, 1937: 296-300).
1915; August 4, kaza of Bazarköy (province of Bursa): Two thousand soldiers and gendarmes under the supervision of Haci Alaeddin, a delegate of the CUP, and Abdülhamid Bey, military Commander at Bursa, besiege the town of Çengiler. On the same day they deport 1,200 families to Syria. The men are separated from the convoy an hour from the town and are executed on the banks of a river near Barzudağ. The Armenians of Ortaköy, Keramet, Sılız, and Benli—some 10,000 souls—are deported in the following days. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 698).
1915; August 6, kazas of Nallihan and Mihalicik (province of Ankara): All the males of Nallihan over the age of fourteen are arrested and dispatched along with 300 women and children; they are escorted by band commanded by Abdül Selim Tevfik. Two weeks later, 260 men are separated from the convoy and interned at the konak at Ankara. On August 23 they are set en route to the Syrian Desert. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 624).
1915; August 6 to 9, İzmit: Four thousand Armenians from İzmit are deported in three convoys to Konya. The authorities then proceed with the methodical destruction of houses and Diocese, then also the Armenian cemetery, in the Armenian quarter, which are burned. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 690).
1915; August 8: The commander of the Third Army Corps, Mahmud Kamil, receives the order to no longer occupy himself with the deportations, but to only cooperate with their administration. This measure is taken after a conference which is held at Erzincan around July 31, 1915, at which were gathered the Governors of Erzerum, Trabzon, Harput, and Sıvas, along with several mutessarifs and kaymakams, such as that of Bayburt. The conference was led by Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, the head of the S.O. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 382).
1915; August 8, kaza of Cizre (sancak of Mardin): The extermination of the inhabitants of the rural zones of Cizre begins on August 8 and lasts a week. ** (Simon, n.d.: 88).
1915; August 8, kaza of Yozgat (province of Ankara): Four hundred seventy-one Armenian notables from Yozgat are arrested and deported. Soon afterwards, a second group made up of 300 men is sent to Dere Mumlu, a spot some four hours from the town, and liquidated. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 634-635).
1915; August 8 to 12, Sıvas: The people detained in the medrese of Sifahdiye are brought in groups of 200 to 300 to a farm located three hours from Sıvas near the training school. They are executed there by orders of the local Secretary-Responsible of the CUP, Gani Bey. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 568).
1915; August 10: A Special Organization battalion commanded by Halil Kut executes the 1,500 Armenian and Assyrian soldier-workers of the two labor battalions stationed around Urfa, at Karaköprü and Kudeme. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 765).
1915; August 10, Mardin: The third convoy, made up of some 600 people, is set en route. Its members are executed on the road, particularly at Salah and Harrin. *** (Ternon, 2002: 146-147).
1915; August 10 and 12, Merzifun (province of Sıvas): Seventy-two Armenians, including a number of professors who had taken refuge in the Anatolia College, are questioned en route to Zile, where they had been escorted by gendarmes. The men are separated into one group at Yeni Han, bound together, and executed. On August 12, police and gendarmes break through the gates of Anatolia College and seize the 63 Armenian orphans of the American establishment. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 561-562).
1915; August 11, kaza of Adapazar (mutessarifat of İzmit): The order to deport the Armenians of Adapazar and its surrounding villages is made public. Regular troops surround the Armenian quarters and control access points. The authorities forbid the population from carrying out movable goods. In fifteen days, 20,000 people are set en route to Konya in several convoys. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 689-690).
1915; August 11, Karaman (province of Konya): One thousand Armenians of the town are deported via the Ereğli, Tarse, Osmaniye, Katma, Aleppo route to Meskene in the Syrian Desert, in accordance with orders from the Mayor, Ahmedoğlu Rifat, seconded by Halvacızade Haci Bekir and Hadimlizade Enver. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 713).
1915; August 13, sancak of Kayseri: From this date on, some 20,000 Armenians from Kayseri and Talas are deported in several convoys to the Syrian Desert via İncesu, Develi, Niğde, Bor, and Ulukışlsa under the personal supervision of Yakub Cemil Bey, the CUP delegate in the province. The first convoy from Kayseri is made up of the remaining Armenians from the peripheral district. ***(Barton, 1998: 124; and Kévorkian, 2006: 646).
1915; August 13 to 15, mutessarifat of İzmit: Eight thousand Armenians from Bardizag/Bağçecik are deported, following those near Döngel and Ovacık, to Konya and Bozantı. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 690).
1915; August 13 to 15, sancak of Afyonkarahisar (mutessarifat of Kütahya): Seven thousand five hundred Armenians of the sancak, and 4,500 from the prefecture, are deported under the supervision of Dr. Moktar Besim, the Secretary-Responsible of the CUP at Afyonkarahisar. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 703-704).
1915; August 14, sancak of Eskişehir (mutessarifat of Kütahya): The 4,500 Armenians from four localities in the sancak are deported under the supervision of Dr. Besim Zühtü, Secretary-Responsible of the CUP at Eskişehir. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 703).
1915; August 15, kaza of Zyr/Stanos (province of Ankara): Seven hundred males over the age of fifteen are arrested and transferred under escort to Ankara. A few days later, they are brought to the Çayaş Bahçesi valley and massacred. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 624).
1915; August 15 to 17, sancak of Malatya: The first convoy of deportees from the various quarters of Malatya is put together and sent to Sürgü. Part of this convoy is decimated two hours away at Akçadağ, in the Beğler Deresi valley, by local Kurdish tribes. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 508).
1915; Mid-August, sancak of İzmir: The Armenians from Menemen, Kuşadası, Bayındır, Söke, and Pergame (some 1,000 souls) are deported under the supervision of Farah Bey, kaymakam of Kuşadası/Dikili, and Arıf Hikmet Bey, kaymakam of Pergame. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 708).
1915; Mid-August, sancak of Burdur (province of Konya): Around 1,500 Armenians from Burdur are deported by order of mutessarif Celaleddin Bey to Rakka and Ras ul-Ayn, then Der el-Zor. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 714).
1915; Mid-August, sancak of Niğde (province of Konya): Around 4,500 Armenians from Niğde, Bor, and Nevşehir are deported to Syria. Fifteen hundred others, established at Aksaray, are executed at the end of August by Nazmi Bey, kaymakam of Niğde, and Lt.-Col. Abdül Fetah, the director of the office of deportations at Aksaray. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 714).
1915; Mid-August to September 3, Adana: Five thousand families (20,000 individuals) are deported in eight convoys to Syria under the supervision of Ali Münif, Deputy of Adana and assistant to the Minister of the Interior, Talat, and the Director of police, Adıl Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 737-738).
1915; Mid-August, kazas of Birecik and Rumkale: Around 3,000 Armenians from these cantons are deported to the Mesopotamian desert. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 771).
1915; August 16, Nisibin (sancak of Mardin): The Christian notables, including the Jacobite bishop of Nisibin, are arrested and executed outside the town limits. Women and children are also exterminated in the course of the following days, and are thrown into 65 pits. *** (Ternon, 2002: 182-184; and Simon, n.d., 12).
1915; August 17 to 19, province of Bursa: Eighteen hundred families, nearly 9,000 Armenians of Bursa, are deported in three convoys to Syria via Konya and Bozantı, in animal wagons or on foot. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 696).
1915; Augst 18, kaza of Everek (province of Kayseri): After the males are exterminated, 13,000 Armenians are deported to Syria under the supervision of the kaymakam Salih Zeki; around 600 arrive in Aleppo, and 400 arrive in Damascus. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 649).
1915; August 18 and 19, Sivrihisar (province of Ankara): Four thousand Armenians of Sivrihisar are deported in three convoys to the Eskişehir station, then via train to Syria, to the Rakka and Der el-Zor camps. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 625-626).
1915; August 18, 28 and 29, Talas (sancak of Kayseri): The Armenians of Talas are deported in three convoys to Syria. ** (Barton, 1998: 122-123; and Kévorkian, 2006: 647).
1915; August 19, Çankırı (province of Kastamonu): A second group of Armenian intellectuals interned at Çankırı since April 1915 is transferred to the Ankara prison, where they are put up from August 20 to 24. On the evening of the 24, they are set en route and are executed several days later at Yozgat. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 663).
1915, August 19, Medz Norkiugh (kaza of Bazarköy, province of Bursa): Under the supervision of the müdir, Mehmed Fahri, nearly 8,000 Armenians are sent to Eskişehir, then directed on foot along the Konya-Bozantı-Aleppo route. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 698).
1915; August 19, Bilecik (sancak of Ertuğrul, province of Bursa): Thirteen thousand Armenians of Bilecik and it surrounding regions are deported under the supervision of the Secretary-Responsible, Ahmed Mercimekzade, the local delegate of the CUP Central Committee. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 699-700).
1915; August 19-20, Urfa: Çerkez Ahmed and his bandits proceed to massacre several hundred Armenians at Urfa. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 766).
1915; August 20, Akşehir (province of Konya): The first convoy of deportees from Akşehir is set en route to the Syrian Desert. Around 5,000 Armenians from the town are deported to the same destination in the following weeks. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 713).
1915; August 21, Konya: Three thousand Armenians from the town are deported in a convoy to Syria under the order of Ferid Bey, a.k.a. Hamal Ferid, the Secretary-Responsible of the CUP at Konya (Kévorkian, 2006: 712).
1915; August 22, Yozgat: The first convoy from Yozgat, comprising some 2,000 women and children, leaves the town toward the south. On August 27, they are surrounded at Karahacıli by Turkish and Circassian villagers and exterminated, with the exception of some young women and children, who are abducted to be sold. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 637).
1915; August 23, Mardin: The fourth convoy, made up of 300 deportees, leaves Mardin. The members of the convoy are executed at Salah and Harrin. *** (Ternon, 2002: 146-147).
1915; August 23 to 25, sancak of Malatya: The second convoy of deportees from Malatya is put together and sent to Fırıncılar. Part of the group arrives at Samsat. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 508).
1915; August 26, Merzifun (province of Sıvas): The American medical and hospital corps of Merzifun, comprised of 52 Armenians who mainly take care of the war-wounded, are arrested by of Governor Muammer, and eliminated. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 562).
1915; August 27, Ankara: Gendarmes and police raid the Armenian quarters and summer homes and proceed to arrest some 1,500 male Catholics, including the bishop and seventeen priests, who are gathered together in the town. On the night of August 29 August, they are set en route to the village of Karagedik, where they are supposed to be executed, but are actually deported along with the rest of the Armenian population via Kirşehir, Kayseri, and Biga, to Aleppo, upon the intervention of Angelo Maria Docli, the Roman apostolic delegate and ambassador from Austria-Hungary, Pallavicini; only just over 200 people, including the bishop, arrived at Aleppo. Sent then to Ras ul-Ayn or Der el-Zor, four priests and some thirty lay-people arrive at the Meskene camp. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 622).
1915; August 27, Yozgat: The second convoy from Yozgat, comprised of some 1,700 women and children, is set en route via Keler, where several Circassian squadrons recruited by the S.O. and commanded by İlyas Bey exterminate them. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 637).
1915; August 27, Tomarza (sancak of Kayseri): After having exterminated 400 local men, nearly 4,000 Armenians or Tomarza are deported to Aleppo via Hacın. When their convoy arrived at Aleppo there are no more than 300 survivors. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 650).
1915; August 28 and 29, Cizre (sancak of Mardin): The Syrian-Catholic and Chaldean bishops of Cizre are assassinated first; all Armenian men and a number of Chaldeans and Jacobites are arrested and their throats are slashed with knives in the outskirts of the town. Their bodies are thrown into the Tigris. *** (Ternon, 2002: 180-182).
1915; August 29 and 30, sancak of Malatya: The 400 surviving detainees of the Malatya prison are killed by having their throats slashed in the prison’s slaughter-site. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 508).
1915; August, kaza of Kandere (mutessarifat of İzmit): Three thousand five hundred Armenians from a dozen villages are deported via Konya-Bozantı under the supervision of the kaymakam of Kandere, Kamil Bey. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 691).
1915; August, kazas of Muhaliç, Kırmastı, and Edrenos (province of Bursa): Around 8,500 Armenians from these kazas dispersed in ten villages are deported to Syria. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 699).
1915; August, kazas of Yenişehir, İnegöl, and Söğüt (sancak of Erteğrul, province of Bursa): Twelve thousand Armenians from these cantons are deported under the supervision of Emin Effendi, the local Secretary-Responsible of the CUP, and deputy of İnegol, Mehmed Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 700-701).
1915; August, sancak of Karasi, province of Bursa: Around 20,000 Armenians from Bandırma and Balıkesir are deported under the direction of Ahmed Midhat Bey, the mutessarif of Balıkesir; Diyarbekirli Cemal Bey, the Secretary-General of the sancak; Ömer Lütfi Bey, the Secretary-Responsible of the CUP at Bandırma; and Servet Bey, the President of the municipality at Bandırma. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 701-701).
1915; End of August, kaza of Geyve (mutessarifat of İzmit): Over 8,000 Armenians from seven villages of the kaza are deported to Syria via Konya. * (Kévorkian, 2006: 692).
1915; End of August, kazas of Karamursel and Yalova (mutessarifat of İzmit): Eight-thousand six hundred Armenians from eight localities in the kaza are deported to Syria via Konya. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 692).
1915; End of August and September, Tarse and Mersin (province of Adana): Six hundred Armenian families from these kazas are progressively deported to Syria. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 741-742).
1915; August to the spring of 1916, concentration camp at Islahiye: Around 60,000 deportees become victims of famine and typhoid during the ten months of the functioning of the camp. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 784).
1915; September 1, Cizre (sancak of Mardin): The women and children of Cizre are deported by kelek (local raft) to Mosul. Most of them are drowned en route. *** (Ternon, 2002: 180-182).
1915; Beginning of September, Ankara: The women, children, and elderly of Ankara, Catholics and apostolics combined, are expulsed from their homes after they are raided by police. Several thousand people are then gathered at the station, where they remain for 25 days, before being deported to Syria via Eskişehir and Konya. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 622).
1915; September 10: Eight thousand women and children from convoys originating in Harput and Erzerum are exterminated between Diyarbekir and Mardin, their killers being members of bandit squadrons of the S.O. **(Simon, n.d.: 90).
1915; September 14: Two thousand women and children of the convoys originating in Harput and Erzerum are exterminated in the outskirts of Nisibin. ** (Simon, n.d.: 90).
1915; September 15, Mardin: The fifth convoy, with 125 women and children, leaves the town. Most of the deportees are executed at Salah and Harrin.
1915; September 17, Gölcük Lake (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): A convoy of 3,000 deportees is destroyed by Kurdish bands on the banks of the Gölcük lake. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 491-492).
1915; September 20 to 22, Tekirdağ (province of Edirne): Authorities carry out the arrest of notables, particularly those of the Armenian entrepreneurs of the town, who are deported to Syria with their families. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 684).
1915; September 22: Two hundred soldier-workers from Erzerum are liquidated some three hours from Cizre under the supervision of Halil Kut by S.O. bands. *** (Simon, n.d.: 91).
1915; September 24, Gölcük lake (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): The American Consul at Harput, Leslie Davis, discovers several large mass-graves around the Gölcük lake. They are filled with the bodies of thousands of deportees from Erzerum. *** (Atkinson, 2000: 55; and Davis, 1994: 166-167).
1915; September 24, sancak of Bolu (province of Kastamonu): Dr. Ahmed Midhat, Chief of police of Istanbul, delegated by the CUP to Bolu, supervises the deportation and massacre of the Armenian population of the sancak (around 3,000 people). He is joined by Sureya Effendi, General Council, and Haib Bey, the Deputy of Bolu. Some of these men are executed later in public on October 11, 1915, January 3 and 10, 1916, and October 16, 1916. Children are “adopted” by Turkish families and Armenian women are taken into harems. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 664-665).
1915; September 26: Adoption of the “provisional law related to the property and debts from deportees”, prepared by the Directorate of the Settlement of Tribes and Migrants (IAMM), linked to the Ministry of the Interior, establishing the Emvali Metruke (abandoned properties) commissions. *** Takvim-i Vekayi, No. 2303, 14/27 September, 1915: 1-7).
1915; September 29 to October 23, Urfa: The Armenian population of Urfa entrenches itself in its quarters under the leadership of Mgrditch Yotneghperian and resists several assaults. On the evening of October 23, after 25 days of battle, all of the Armenian positions are taken over by the army. The men are executed. Two thousand women and children deported from Urfa pass through Mardin on October 20, followed by 3,500 others on October 28, to Mosul. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 766-769).
1915; September, kaza of Kangal (province of Sıvas): Two thousand villagers from Ulaş, who had been temporarily saved in order to ensure the harvest of wheat that was indispensable to the army, are deported in a convoy to the Syrian Desert via Malatya, Adıyaman, and Suruc, by order of the kaymakam, Mohamed Ali Bey. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 551).
1915; Autumn, concentration camps of Katma and Azaz (province of Aleppo): Around 60,000 deportees perish in two camps from famine and typhus in the fall of 1915. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 784-785).
1915; Beginning of October, province of Kastamonu: Two thousand men from Kastamonu and Çankırı are deported in a convoy to the Syrian Desert via Çorum, Yozgat, İncirli, Talas, Tomarza, Hacın, Osmaniye, Hasanbeyli, Islahiye, and then Meskene, Der el-Zor, and Abuharar. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 662).
1915; Mid-October, sancak of Sinop: Eight hundred men are interned in the Sinop mosque and then executed. Over 4,000 Armenians are deported via Çankırı and are executed near Yozgat, or are sent to Syria or Malatya via Sıvas. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 665).
1915; October 15, Çorlu (province of Edirne): Around 1,500 Armenians from Çorlu are deported, first on a ship to İzmit, then on foot or by train through Konya to Bozantı and Syria. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 685).
1915; October 15 to 31, Tekirdağ (province of Edirne): Ten thousand Armenians from the town are deported to the Syrian Desert in several convoys via Istanbul, Konya, Bozantı, and Aleppo. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 684).
1915; October 22, Mezreh (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): Five hundred orphaned boys from the ages of four to eight detained in the “orphanage” of Mezreh are drowned in the Euphrates at İzoli. *** (Jocobsen, 2001: 99, 112).
1915; October 27 and 28, Edirne: The 4,500 Armenians of the town are deported in two convoys via Istanbul, Konya, and Bozantı on foot or by rail-car to Syria or Mesopotamia. The pillage of their property is carried out to the benefice of the local CUP club and Turkish schools. Three hundred Armenian shops of the Ali Pasha Bazaar are destroyed. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 681).
1915; October to the beginning of spring 1916, concentrantion camp at Bab (province of Aleppo): Between 50,000 and 60,000 deportees die in the camp in the space of six months. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 787).
1915; Beginning of October to mid-November, transitory camp of Arabpunar (province of Aleppo): Four thousand deportees die in six weeks. They are victims of epidemics. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 802).
1915; October to the end of March 1916, concentration camp at Ras ul-Ayn (mutessarifat of Zor): This camp is situated to the east of Urfa, in Syria and Mesopotamia in a desert climate. The camp of Ras-ul-Ayn houses deportees for six months. ** (Kévorkian, 2006:804-805).
1915; November 1, İzmir: The Armenian quarter of Haynots is surrounded by troops, who proceed with a systematic raid and arrest of around 2,000 people. These individuals are deported to Syria in three convoys on November 28 and December 16 and 24. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 708).
1915; November 1 to 10, Tekirdağ (province of Edirne): Around 3,000 Armenians from the town are deported to Syria via Konya and Bozantı under the supervision of Zekeria Zihni bey, the mutessarif of Tekirdağ. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 685).
1915; November 8: Adoption of the “regulations related to the mode of execution of the provisional law of September 13 1331/1915 on the commissions of the liquidation of abandonded properties left by the deportees, and their allocations”, which is part of a follow-up decree. ***(Takvim-i Vekayi, No. 2343, Oct. 28/Nov. 10, 1915, in 25 articles).
1915; November 8, Harput (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): Four hundred thirty-five people seized in the preceding days, particularly from the American hospital at Harput, are deported and executed in “isolated valleys” by “gendarmes”. **(Jacobsen, 2001: 108; and Davis, 1994: 91-92).
1915; November 9 and 10, İzmir: Three hundred Armenian Catholics of İzmir, Kordelio, and Karataş are deported to Afyonkarahisar, followed by 300 or 400 people from the wealthier society (Kévorkian, 2006: 708).
1915; November, Kırkağaç (province of Aydın): One thousand Armenians of this region are deported to Konya. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 709).
1915; November to April 1916, concentration camp of Dipsi: Thirty thousand deportees die in six months. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 813).
1916; Beginning of December, Istanbul: Four thousand Armenians from the Capital are deported to Syria. ** (Lepsius, 1986: 185).
1915; December to March 1916, concentration camps at Lale and Tefrice (province of Aleppo): Several thousand deportees die during the four months activity of the camp. **(Kévorkian, 2006: 787).
1916; January, Mezreh (province of Mamuret ul-Aziz): Three hundred children housed in the German orphanage at Mezreh, which is directed by pastor J. Ehmann, are turned over to authorities and burned alive some two hours from the town. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 493).
1916; January to September, concentration camp at Meskene (province of Aleppo): Around 80,000 deportees die from typhus, cholera, or starvation in the camp in its eight months of existence. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 810-812).
1916; February, Yozgat (province of Ankara): Agah Bey, the mutessarif of Yozgat, has between 1,300 and 1,500 women and children questioned and executed. They had been serving as slaves in local Turkish households. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 640).
1916; February, Talas (sancak of Kayseri): One hundred fifty young Armenian girls from the American college at Talas, invited to convert to Islam, are poisoned en masse. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 648).
1916; February, Ödemiş (sancak of İzmir): Fifteen hundred Armenians from this town are deported to Syria. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 708).
1916; February 15, Erzerum: Several hundred Armenian conscripts that had been added to a labor battalion are shot in the neighboring gorge of Askale (province of Erzerum). ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 381).
The Second Phase of the Destruction in the Camps in Syria and Mesopotamia (February to December, 1916)
The final step in the process of destruction was aimed directly at the escapees mostly originating from Anatolia and Cilicia. The frame of the new violence—the twenty-five concentration camps in Syria and upper Mesopotamia, which were set up beginning in October 1915—have remained terra incognita for a long time for researchers.
These camps were run by a sub-director of deportees, which was himself attached to the Directorate of the Settlement of Tribes and Migrants (İskân-i Aşâyirîn ve Muhâcirin Müdîriyeti), a body linked to the Ministry of the Interior. These camps saw some 800,000 deportees pass through them. These deportees, who were many times moved from camp to camp, often succumbed to deprivation or epidemics.
A clandestine network, put to life by missionaries based at Aleppo and supported by American and German Consuls, had, however, provided for the rescue of some and inhibited their complete liquidation. This undoubtedly explains the ultimate decision to destroy the remaining deportees near the end of February and the beginning of March 1916, by the Young Turk Central Committee. These actions were carried out among 500,000 surviving deportees, who had arrived over the course of six months in Syria and Mespotamia, some of whom had been adapting to their new surroundings. From April to December 1916, two sites—Ras ul-Ayn in the north and Der el-Zor to the south—became the sites of systematic massacres, which claimed the lives of several hundred thousand people.
The dissolution of the Armenian patriarchate of Istanbul on July 28, 1916 by the Council of Ministers was also one of several actions that contributed to the disappearance of the Armenians.
1916; February 22: The Minister of the Interior, Mehmed Talat, orders the liquidation of the Armenian deportees interned in the concentration camps along the Euphrates and at Der el-Zor. ** (T.V. No. 3540, read aloud on 12 April, 1919, dated May 5, 1919, p. 5).
1916; March 17, concentration camp at Ras ul-Ayn: In five days the operation saw the systematic liquidation of 40,000 internees still living in the camp. This violence was organized by the kaymakam, Refik Bey; Adıl Bey, the Director of deportees; an “educated” Istanbulite; and local Çerkez led by the Mayor of Ras ul-Ayn, Arslan Bey. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 805).
1916; March 19, Adana: Cevdet Bey, former Governor of Van, is appointed head of the province of Adana. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 847).
1916; June 13 to 19, rail sites of Taurus and Amaus: Around 15,000 Armenian workers are deported by Colonel Hüseyin Avni and executed between Bahçe and Maraş, along with others further afield at Birecik, Viranşehir, Urfa, and Mardin. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 848).
1916; July, Sıvas: Two thousand five hundred Armenian soldier-workers, interned at the medrese at Sıvas, are taken to the outskirts of the town and are massacred between Sarkışla and Gemerek by Nuri Effendi, the captain of the gendarmerie, by orders of Governor Ahmed Muammer, “cut down by axes, swords, and clubs, wielded by criminals atop the cliffs.” The Secretary-Responsible of the CUP at Sıvas, Gani Bey, organizes the destruction of another work force some three hours from Sıvas at Yon Yukus. The 500 soldier-workers working near Hanlı are exterminated at Kayadipi, some seven hours from Sıvas, and the 900 men at the battalion based at Gemerek suffer the same fate near the Ortaköy fountain. In total, some 5,000 Armenian conscripts remaining in the labor battalions of the Third Army Corps, are eliminated in July 1916. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 570-572).
1916; July, Der el-Zor: The mutessarif, Ali Suad, is dismissed and replaced by Salih Zeki, the butcher of Armenians at Everek-Fenese.
1916; July to December, Der el-Zor: In five months the mutessarif, Salih Zeki, carries out the extermination of 192,750 deportees who are concentrated at Der el-Zor. The massacres are mainly carried out by S.O. bands recruited among the Çeçens of Ras ul-Ayn and its surrounding regions including Suvar, Şeddadiye, Haseke, and Markade. ***(T.V. No. 3540, May 5, 1919; and Kévorkian, 2006: 824-825).
1916; July 28, Istanbul: The Ottoman Government proceeding with the “reform” of the Consitution interns Armenians, which foreshadows the suppression of the Armenian patriarchate of Istanbul and the exile of the patriarch to Baghdad. *** (T.V., No. 2611, July 28, 1916, 1-5).
1916; October 9, Der el-Zor: Two thousand children from the Der el-Zor orphanage are executed in the Suvar desert under the supervision of the police commissary, Mustafa Sidki. They are mostly placed in natural pits and burned alive after having been doused with kerosene. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 824).
1916; October 15, Manisa (province of Aydın): Four-hundred Armenians of the town are deported by the initiative of the Gendarmerie Commander, Fehmi Bey. * (Kévorkian, 2006: 709).
1916; October 24, Der el-Zor: Around 2,000 orphans gathered by Hakkı Bey, the inspector of the CUP, of the northern camps, are bound together in twos and thrown into the Euphrates. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 824).
1917; January 22: Mehmed Talat is appointed Grand-Vizier of the Ottoman Empire. ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 855).
1917; February 17: The Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik, is appointed Under-Secretary of State to the Minister of the Interior. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 855).
1917; September 11 and 12, Mosul region: General Halil Kut has 15,000 Armenians executed in two nights by Kurds and irregulars, and has them thrown into the Tigris, bound together in groups of ten. * (Kévorkian, 2006: 808).
1918; May 4: The Sixth Army Corps invades Iran and directly threatens Salmast and its seat, Dilman, along with the town of Urmiya. ** (Golnazarian-Nichanian, 2002: 168-169).
1918; May 15: The Ottoman Army of the Caucasus attacks Alexandropolis, which provokes a massive exodus of the Armenian population around Yerevan, along with massacres. A major participant is Colonel Abdülkadri Hilmi, a member of the General Ottoman Army staff. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 863-865).
1918; May 24: Armenian forces from the Caucasus stop the Turkish advance several tens of kilometers to the east of Yerevan, at Sardarabad, and also to the north, at Karakilise, some 30 km to the east of Alexandropolis. *** (Hovannisian, 1967: 191-194).
1918; May 26 to 28: The three Caucasian political entities declare themselves independent after the demise of the transcaucasian republic.
1918; Mid-June: Ottoman soldiers arrive at Bayazid and Ottoman migrants at Maku massacre the 500 Armenians of the town and then pillage their properties along with the goods of the neighboring monastery of St.-Thaddée. *** (Golnazarian-Nichanian, 2002: 200-201).
1918; June 21: The Ottoman Sixth Army Corps commanded by General Ali İhsan Pasha Sabis arrives at Khoy, in Iranian Azerbaijan, and the Kurdish chief Simko carries out the massacre of the Armenian population of the town and its surroundings. *** (Golnazarian-Nichanian, 2002: 169).
1918; Sarting on July 18: Sixty to seventy thousand Assyrian and Armenian refugees leave Urmiya for Hamadan, where they hope to find the protection of the British to escape the advance of the Sixth Ottoman Army Corps. *** (Golnazarian-Nichanian, 2002: 179-180).
1918; July 31: The Sixth Ottoman Army Corps enters Urmiya and exterminates 600 Assyrians who had taken refuge in the French mission in the company of Mgr Sontag. ***(Golnazarian-Nichanian, 2002: 179-180).
1918; September 15 to 17: Fifteen to twenty thousand Armenians from Baku are massacred by the Tatar population of the town under the supervision of Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir, head of the S.O. The Ottoman forces, commanded by Halil Pasha, his nephew, Nuri Pasha, and the General Mürsel, enter the town on September 16. ** (Hovannisian, 1967: 220-227; and Kévorkian, 2006: 872-873).
1918; October 7: Talat’s cabinet is dismissed.
1918; October 21: The CUP organizes its last annual congress and proceeds with the complete overhaul of its structures in the Capital as well as in the provinces. It is reborn under the title “Teceddüt Fırkası” (Renovation Party). Its assets are transferred to the new party, which is presided over by Fethi Bey Okyar. The unionist leaders vote to create the Karakol (The Guardian), an organization intended to: 1) protect the Ittihadists against possible criminal proceedings for their role in war crimes in the evacuation of the Capital; 2) organize a movement of resistance based in Anatolia and the Caucasus, and to transfer to these regions members, money, arms, and other materials. ***(Zürcher, 1998: 141).
1918; October 30: Admiral Calthorpe and Hüseyin Rauf sign the armistice at Mudros, which ratifies the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
1918, November 1: The main leaders of the CUP leave Istanbul at night on the German boat Loreilei: Mehmed Talat; İsmail Enver; Ahmed Cemal; Dr. Bahaeddin Şakir; Dr. Nazım; Aziz Bey; Bedri Bey; Cemal Azmi, the governor of Trabzon; İsmail Hakkı; Salih Zeki Bey, mutessarif of Der el-Zor; İsmail Mustak Bey, Secretary-General of the Senate; Resneli Nazım Bey, the Secretary-General of the CUP at Mamuret ul-Aziz; and Haydar İbrahim, the Representative of Azerbaijan at Istanbul. *** (Zürcher, 1998: 138-140).
The Consequences of Mass Violence
The refugees counted at the end of the war can be classified in two main categories: several thousand children and young women who had been abducted by nomadic tribes, who were recovered after the armistice of October 1918, and over 100,000 deportees, mostly civilians, who had been dispatched along the Aleppo-Homs, Damascus, Maan, and Sinai route, who had been mostly employed in labor-related tasks for the army, whom the British discovered in an indescribable state, after their conquest of Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918.
Similarly, several tens of thousands of escapees were counted in the Caucasus and Iran, some of whom eventually died of famine or epidemics, along with another 80,000 at Istanbul, some 10,000 at İzmir, and several thousand in Bulgaria. It is impossible to give a precise number of the victims of this violence. One can estimate for sure that in these regions there included the extermination of 192,750 deportees concentrated at Der el-Zor between July and December 1916, which had been counted by the Turkish authorities themselves (T.V. No. 3540, May 5, 1919). There are also the American and German consular reports from Aleppo, which evaluate with precision how many deportees from a particular convoy reached Syria. But one cannot make sense of the losses with the simple addition of numbers. The notion of “victim” itself requires elucidation. Women and children abducted from the convoys were counted among the “disappeared,” while some of them, aftern having been islamized, were recovered at the end of the war and reintegrated into Armenian society. Others survived death marches or the desert camps of Syria, but died from famine or from consequence of ill-treatment after the end of the war. The only empirical method that approaches reality is to compare the number of people counted before the war with the number of escapees. Thus, one can estimate that over two-thirds of the Ottoman Armenian population—around two million people on the eve of the First World War—were exterminated in the course of the war. Around 1,300,000 people, to which we must add victims of military operation and massacres carried out by the Ottoman Army and its paramilitary affiliates in Iranian Azerbaijan, Russian Azerbaijan, and in the Caucasus against Armenian civilian populations. This makes for a clear total of nearly 1,500,000 people.
For several decades, the Turkish authorities represented by their ambassadors, members of the Turkish Historical Society, professors in public universities, and the mainstream political classes, have denied these numbers and have instead put forth the number of Armenian deaths as several hundred thousands; figures go between 300,000 and 600,000. Official scholarly books of the Turkish Republic describe events according to official discourse, and Turkish law severely penalizes the term “genocide” to describe these events.
Historians like Arnold Toynbee (Armenian Atrocities, The Murder of a Nation, London: 1916), and Herbert Gibbons (The Blackest Page of Modern History: Events in Armenia in 1915, New York: 1916) were among the first to argue that what took place was the systematic destruction of Armenians. The sub-commission for War Crimes, installed on February 3, 1919 in after the preliminary peace conferences, made one if its tasks the study of “violations of laws and customs of war and humanitarian laws”. The distinguished jurists composed a “commission of fifteen” and noted that they were confronted with a “case that did not conform to procedure”, which surpassed war crimes thus far codified with particular reference to the “massacres of Armenians organized by the Turkish authorities”, and which did not enter the “cases overseen by the penal code” (Kévorkian: 2006: 937). The commission was also to develop the concept of crime against the “laws of humanity”, and to establish a legal definition of such crimes, and to bring before an international High Tribunal “all persons belonging to enemy States, however high their status and rank might be, without distinction of rank, those responsible for infractions against the customary laws of war or laws of humanity.” This effort was part of the elaboration of an international law concerning acts that would later be termed “genocide”.
In an (unedited) speech at New Haven (Connecticut) in 1949, on the occasion of the adoption of the Convention for the repression and prevention of Genocide, Raphael Lemkin, who had been familiar with the Armenian case since 1921 and had lived since in Poland, noted, in order to illusrate the urgency of adopting the Convention: “It was only after the massacre of some 1,200,00 Armenian victims that the Allied victors had proclaimed to survivors that they favored appropriate laws and an adequate tribunal to deal with this abominable massacre. But it did nothing” (Kévorkian: 2006: 947-948).
The man who created the term “genocide” aimed his definition to describe, in part, the crimes committed by the Young-Turk regime against the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. The term was since taken up by the general population, particularly historians.
1919; End of December: Armenian escapees are found at: Istanbul (150,000); the province of Edirne (6,000); the mutessarif of İzmit (20,000); province of Bursa (11,000); sancak of Bilecik (4,500); sancak of Karasu (5,000); sancak of Afyonkarahisar (7,000); province of Aydın (10,000); provinces of Kastamonu and Bolu (8,000); sancak of Kirşehir (2,500); sancak of Yozga (3,000); sancak of Ankara (4,000); province of Konya (10,000); sancak of Sıvas (12,000); sancak of Tokat (1,800); sancak of Amasya (3,000); sancak of Sabinkarahisar (1,000); sancak of Trabzon (0); sancak of Lazistan (10,000); sancak of Gümüşhane (0); sancak of Canik (5,000); province of Erzerum (1,500); Van (only the town): (500); province of Bitlis (0); province of Diyarbekir (3,000); sancak of Harput (30,000); sancak of Malatya (2,000); sancak of Dersim (3,000); province of Adana (150,000, under French administration until November, 1921); sancak of Aleppo (5,000); sancak of Antep (52,000); sancak of Urfa (9,000); sancak of Maraş (10,000); Jerusalem (2,000); Damascus (400); Beirut (1,000); Hauran (400). This makes for some 543,600 Armenians. ** (Kévorkian: 2006: 917-918).
The Young Turk Criminal Proceedings
When the Armenian patriarchate was reestablished following the Mudros Armistice, an Information Office (Déghédadou Tivan) was formed to collect evidence for the case. The creation of an administrative commission of inquiry, “the Mazhar commission”, which existed at the center of General Security, by the imperial decree of November 21, 1918, under which military tribunals were given the task of judging Young Turk criminals in the course of the following months, had a number of files to deal with. From the beginning of its formation, the “Mazhar commission” embarked on recovering testimonies of witnesses and focused its investigations primarily on State officials implicated in crimes against the Armenian population. It enjoyed extended powers to render justice, research and seize documents, and also to arrest and imprison suspects and to benefit from the services of the police and other State offices. From the outset, Hasan Mazhar addressed an official memorandum to the prefects and sub-prefects of the provinces, requesting originals or certified copies of the orders received by local authorities to deport and massacre Armenians, which were remitted. In just under three months the commission made 130 files, which were turned over to the court martial.
Reactions observed in the Istanbul press concerning the criminal proceedings of the Young Turks demonstrate that the vast majority of the population did not consider the acts against Armenians as crimes worthy of sanction. It also seems that the court martial was most concerned with focusing culpability on a small group of men rather than on the Ottoman State in its attempt to give a certain “purity” to Turkey in preparation for the signing of a peace treaty with the victors of the war.
It is important to recall the preparations made principally by the British and French governments, which are largely unknown in western historiography, to bring Young Turk crimes to an international High Court. The legal categories elaborated by the commission of Liabilities and its sub-commissions, which convened at the preliminary peace meetings in February 1919, were never acted upon in order to punish the Young Turk executioners of Armenians, but later directly inspired the lawyers that worked on these questions.
1918; November 23: A commission of inquiry from the administration is set up by the sultan at the heart of the General Security and is presided over by Hasan Mazhar Bey, the former Governor of Ankara. It undertakes the collection of eye-witnesses accounts and concentrates its investigations in particular on the civil servants of the State implicated in crimes committed against Armenian populations. In three months, it compiles three hundred files, which are progressively transmitted to the military tribunal. *** (Dadrian, 1994: 507; and Akçam, 1999: 445-446).
1918; November 24 to December 21: The fifth commission of the Ottoman Parliament, which is charged with investigating war crimes, questions members of the Young Turk Central Committee and cabinets of Ministers still present in Istanbul ***(Kévorkian, 2006: 890).
1919; January 8: An extraordinary military tribunal is definitively formed by Sultan decree and is designed to judge the following criminal categories: 1) The central instigators of crimes against Armenians; 2) Those who worked under the auspices of those mainly responsible, such as influential members of the Central Committee of the CUP; 3) members of clandestine organizations, such as the Special Organization, along with high-ranking military officials and criminals set free from prison; 4) Deputees who did not protest and who acquiesced to the crimes committed; 5) Publicists who applauded and encouraged these crimes, and incited public opinion with their articles filled with falsehoods and provocations; 6) Those who enriches themselves or otherwise profited from these crimes; and 7) Those pashas and beys who participated in the crimes. *** (Dadrian, 1994: 508-509; and Kévorkian, 2006: 905).
1919; January 29: Dr. Reşid, Governor of Diyarbekir, and İsmail Canpolat, the prefect of Istanbul, are arrested. ** (La Renaissance, No. 57, February 5, 1919; and Kévorkian, 2006: 882).
1919; February 3: The Commission of Responsabilities for the war and sanctions, created during the preliminary peace conferences, holds its first meeting. It is entasked with presenting the propositions for the “cases not included in the regular files”, which exceed war crimes outlined to date. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 936-937).
1919; February 5 to April 8: Trials related to the massacres at Yozgat are held in front of the military tribunal at Istanbul. Here the kaymakam Kemal is condemned to death, and the Gendarmerie Commander, Tevfik Bey, receives a sentence of fifteen years of hard labor. *** (T.V., No. 3617, August 7, 1919).
1919; March 4 to October 10: Damad Ferid Pasha presides over the Liberal Council of Ministers.
1919; March 5: The commission of Responsabilities at the preliminary peace conferences submits its conclusions. In its three main points, its defines the “acts that constitute violations of customs and laws of war”, and refers to the preliminary norms established in section IV E of the Convention of the Hague (1907): systematic terrorism; murder and massacre (article 46); torture (article 46); use of civilians as human shields (article 46); attacks on the honor of women (article 46); confiscation of private property (article 53); pillage; collective punishment, including the arrest and execution of hostages (article 50); action without written orders or with recourse to law (article 51); searches carried out under the guise of military operations (article 52); seizure of goods belonging to the public or to educational or charitable institutions (article 56); the arbitrary destruction of public or private property; deportation and forced labor (article 46); and the execution of civilians under false allegations of war crimes. The report recommends the formation of a High Tribunal to punish these crimes. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 937-938).
1919; March 10: The Ottoman police carries out arrests of Said Halim; Hayri Bey, former Sheikh ul-Islam; Musa Kâzım, Sheikh ul-Islam; Rifât Bey, former Minister of Finance; Halil Bey Menteşe, former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ahmed Şükrü Bey, former Minister of Public Instruction; Ahmed Nesimi Bey, former Minister of Foreign Affairs; İbrahim Bey, former Minister of Justice; İsmail Müştak Bey, Secretary-General of the Senate; Habib Bey, Deputy from Bolu; Ali Münif, former Secretary of State for the Interior; Hilmi Bey, Deputy from Ankara; Ahmed Emin Bey, Deputy from Istanbul; the Editor in chief of Vakıt, Celal Nuri Bey; the Editor in chief of Attı, Osman Bey; Secretary-General of the Ministry of the Interior, Fethi Bey Okyar; former Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of Teceddüd, Salah Cimcöz; former Deputy, Fuad Bey; Director of Telephones, Sabancalı İsmail Hakkı; Editor of İstiklal, İzzet Bey; CUP member Hoca Hasan Fehmi; Deputy of Sinop, Mustafa Reşad Bey, Director of the political division of the Ottoman police. *** (La Renaissance, No. 85, March 11, 1919; and Kévorkian, 2006: 882).
1919; March 20: Arrest of Ahmed Ağaoğlu, member of the CUP Central Committee. *** (La Renaissance, No. 93, March 21, 1919; and Kévorkian, 2006: 882).
1919; Mars 27: Arrest of Cevad bey, military Commander of Istanbul, Yusuf Ziya bey, member of the CUP Central Committee and Necati bey.
*** (La Renaissance, No. 100, March 28, 1919 and Kévorkian, 2006: 882)
1919; April 17: Arrest of Midhat Şükrü Bey, Secretary-General of the CUP; and Küçük Talat Bey and Ziya Gökalp, members of the CUP Central Committee. *** (La Renaissance, No. 118, April 18, 1919; and Kévorkian, 2006: 882).
1919; April 27: The trial of member of the CUP Central Committee and Council of Ministers opens before the extraordinary military tribunal at Istanbul. Those on trial include: Halil Menteşe (former President of Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and member of the CUP Central Committee); Midhat Şükrü (Secretary-General of the CUP Central Committee); Ziya Gökalp (rector of Istanbul University and member of the central bureau of the CUP); Kara Kemal (former Minister of Provisions and member of the CUP Central Committee); Yusuf Rıza (member of the central bureau of the CUP and head of the S.O. at Trabzon); Said Halim (former Grand-Vizier and member of the CUP Central Committee); Ahmed Şükrü (former Minister of Education and member of the CUP Central Committee); Giritli Ahmed Nesimi Sayman (former Minister of Foreign Affairs and member of the CUP Central Committee); Atıf Bey (CUP delegate, then Governor of Ankara and Kastamonu, and member of the CUP Central Committee); Ahmed Cevad Bey (Military Commander of the Capital); İbrahim Bey (former Minister of Justice, then President of the Council of State); Küçük Talat Bey (member of the CUP Central Committee). Eventually added to this group on June 3 were: Hayri Effendi (former Sheikh ul-Islam and member of the CUP Central Committee); Musa Kâzım (former Sheikh ul-Islam and member of the CUP Central Committee); Mustafa Şerif Bey (former Minister of Commerce and Agriculture and member of the CUP Central Committee); İsmail Canpolat (Director-General of Security and member of the CUP); Abbas Halim Pasha (Minister of Public Works and brother of Said Halim); Ali Münif Bey (former Secretary of the State to the Ministry of the Interior); Hüseyin Haşım (Minister of Post and Telegraph); and Rifât Bey (President of the Senate), in the absence of the main individuals indicted. *** (T.V., No. 3571, June 11, 1919, p. 127).
1919; May 4 to 17: Seven hearings are held in the trials of six members of the CUP Central Committee for Midhat Şükrü, Ziya Gökalp, Ahmed Cevad, Küçük Talat, Yusuf Rıza, and Atıf Bey, who remain in the Capital. *** (T.V., No. 3543, May 12, 1919, pp. 15-31; No. 3547, May 15, 1919, pp. 33-36; etc.; and Kévorkian, 2006: 961-963).
1919; May 22: Forty-one Young Turks charged with crimes are freed by the military tribunal at Istanbul. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 945).
1919; May 28: British authorities decide to take control of the Young Turk members still interned in the prison of the Istanbul military court. They are put onto a warship and imprisoned at Malta. ** (Kévorkian, 2006: 945).
1919; July 5: The military tribunal at Istanbul delivers a verdict aimed solely at those charged in the trial of Young Turk Ministers. Condemned to death in abstentia are: Talat, Enver, Cemal, and Dr. Nâzım; and sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor are: Cavid, Mustafa Şerif, and Musa Kâzım. *** (T.V., No. 3604, August 5, 1919, pp. 217-220).
1920; January 21: A “law to restore Armenian properties”, made up of 33 articles, is adopted by the Ottoman Parliament, but is never applied. *** (T.V., No. 3747, January 25, 1920, p. 6, col. 1-2).
1920, Spring: Social service branches of the Armenian Patriarchate at Istanbul estimate that 6,000 women and children remain captive throughout Istanbul, İzmit, Bursa, and Eskişehir along with 2,000 at Karahisar, 1,500 in the Bolu district, 3,000 at Konya, 500 at Kastamonu, 2,000 at Trabzon, and 3,500 at Sıvas and Kayseri, 3,000 at Erzerum, 25,000 in the Diyarbekir-Mardin region, 3,000 at Harput, and 5,000 in the towns of Bitlis and Van. *** (Kévorkian, 2006: 929).
1921; March 15, Berlin: The former Grand-Vizier, Mehmed Talat, who had taken refuge in Germany since November 1918, is assassinated by an Armenian militant, Soghomon Tehlerian.
1922; April 17,Berlin: Bahaeddin Şakir and Cemal Azmi are executed in the street by two Armenian militants.
1922; July 25, Tiflis (Georgia): Ahmed Cemal is assassinated by an Armenian militant.
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Simon, Hyacinthe, s. d., Mardine, la ville héroïque. Autel et tombeau de l’Arménie durant les massacres de 1915, Jounieh (Liban), s. d.
Takvim-ı Vakayi, n° 3540, of May 5 1919, p. 5.
Takvim-ı Vakayi, n° 3771, January 13, 1920, p. 48-49.
Ternon, Yves, 2002, Mardin 1915, special issue of Revue d’Histoire Arménienne Contemporaine, IV (2002).
Trumpener, Ulrich, 1968, Germany and Ottoman Empire, 1914-1918, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Turfan, Naim, 2000, Rise of the Young Turks, Politics, the Military and Ottoman Collapse, London-New York: I.B. Tauris.
Ussher, Clarence D., 2002, An American Physician in Turkey, London: Gomidas Institute.
Weber, Frank G., 1970, Eagles on the Crescent: Germany, Austria and the Diplomacy of the Turkish Alliance, 1914-1918, Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
Zürcher, Erik J., 2002, “Ottoman Labour Battalions in World War I”, in H.-L. Kieser and D. J. Schaller (eds.), Der Völkermord an den Armeniern und die Shoah, Zürich: Chronos Verlag.
Zürcher, Erik J., 1998, Turkey, a Modern History, London-New York: I.B. Tauris.
* Archival sources allowing the documentation of certain parts of this chronology are not listed here. They can be consulted by referring to the aforementioned author.
_ Çete: bandit (member of a paramilitary group)
_ Vilayet: province
_ Sancak: department
_ Kaza: district
_ CUP = Committee of Union and Progress
_ T.V. = Takvim-ı Vakayi
_ O.S. = Special Organization or Teskilât-ı Mahsusa