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MINORITIES IN THE OTTOMAN STATE AND ARMENIAN QUESTION ACCORDING TO ARCHIVES

MINORITIES IN THE OTTOMAN STATE AND ARMENIAN QUESTION ACCORDING TO ARCHIVES


TABLE OF CONTENTS


FOREWORD

Prejudices, misinformation and incorrect assessments are the underlying factors of the accusations brought against Turkey for years in the international platforms. The unjust criticism directed against Turkey in various fields result from omni lateral actions that are taken without the required research on the events of the past and investigation of the archives and publications. The approach of the world public opinion to the Armenian question is the work of those circles that do not have an objective point of view regarding said question. These circles have exerted efforts to show Turkey wrong in issues on which it is right and to make Turkey guilty in issues that it is innocent.

Turkey is in the position of a bridge, extending to the west, for the regions in which the most significant problems of today's world are encountered, and disputes and hot conflicts are confronted in a concentrated manner. Whereas tolerance, justice, peace and comfort ruled the region for centuries, under sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire.

Afterwards however, people of different religions, languages, and race could not achieve a real peace on the same land. How the people of numerous ethnic origins and religions lived together in peace, despite their diversity within the borders of the Ottoman State, which was a World Empire extending to three continents, is a matter of curiosity for the world's leading historians and scientists, who have researched the Ottoman history.

The major states of the era have not only shown tolerance to elimination, forced immigration and seizure of the goods of the Turkish population by the people whom they had incited to revolt with the promises of independence in order to remove the Turks from the Balkans, but also have not abstained from causing a conflict and initiating a war between said people either, after the Turks have retreated.

Despite the fact that everyone knows that turks have been the ones who had been killed and raped without discrimination of women, children and the elders and the ones whose houses had been burnt and destructed, goods had been seized and the ones that have been exiled from their country, a propaganda on the contrary has been conducted and Turks have been blamed with a caution to mislead the facts to the favor of others.

Just as it has been in the past, in addition to not permitting Turkey express itself and express opinions with regards to problems that it has been subjected to, access of the true information to the world public opinion was prevented with various methods.

Thus, this study that we have realized, briefly aims at examining the minorities and the Armenian question in the Ottoman Empire, research the issue from the point of view of foreign authors, historians and statesmen and to convey not only the replies of the Turks to the foreign sources accusing the Turks, but also the opinions of the scientists with opinions on the contrary.

MINORITIES IN THE OTTOMAN STATE

The concept of minority is derived from the Latin term minor and is defined as the communities that are different from that of their country of residence in terms of culture, ethnic origin or racial characteristics.

The Ottoman State has sheltered several religions and has granted minority status to every religion and sect other than Islam and has defined said groups as "Nation". Thus, the Ottoman society consisted of the main elements namely, Muslims and Non-Muslims. Within this framework, the Orthodox, Armenians, Catholics, Jews, Protestants have taken place among the non-Muslim communities called "Nation". The Zsitva-Torok Treaty of 1606 has been the first international treaty signed by the Ottoman State on the minorities. With this Treaty, the Catholics have been granted the freedom to found churches and to worship on the Ottoman lands. With the Karlowitz Treaty signed in 1699, the Ambassador of Poland has been granted the authority to apply to the Ottoman Ruler with regards to the problems of the Catholics and with the treaties of Passarowitz of 1718, Belgrade of 1739, Kuchuk Kaainardji of 1774 the foreigners have been granted the right of intervention into the internal affairs of the Ottoman State with regards to minorities. On the other hand, with the signing of the Kuchuk Kaainardji Treaty in 1774, the Orthodox have been included into the field of protection, which was only applicable for the Catholics until that date.

In addition to fulfillment of all religious custom and usage of the respective sect by every non-Muslim, they have been granted the immunity with regards to sacred grounds and temples in the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, besides the non-intervention into the government and internal function of the places of worship, the governments thereof have been granted strictly to the communities. Acceptance of the Jews, Greek and the Armenian as an individual community and granting of an autonomous status were realized after the Turks had conquered Istanbul. Sultan Mohammed the Conqueror, recognized said communities as nations and granted the right of electing their own leaders, continuing their laws and protecting their institutions. Firstly, he has authorized election of the new patriarch, Germadios by the Greeks and granted the title of leader of said community and provided freedom to the Patriarchy in its religious and administrative affairs. Moreover he has issued a firman (order) for continuation of all previous practices and affiliated the Rumanian, Bulgarian, Serbian and Greek churches to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchy.

Furthermore, he has ensured settlement of ten thousands of Armenians at Istanbul by inviting the Armenians to Istanbul from their region and the Armenian population has consequently reached 150000 as of the year 1880. On the other hand, he has ensured the opening of the Armenian Patriarchy by inviting the Clerical Leader of the Armenian Church to Istanbul.

The Ottoman State has claimed not only those within its borders but those who were under pressure and who have been subjected to injustice in countries outside its borders; brought in groups of Jews, who were forced to becoming Catholic in Hungary in 1376, France in 1394 and Spain in 1492 and had these groups settled in various cities of the Empire. Moreover, the Jews escaping from the cruelty and pressure imposed by Russians were settled in different regions within the Ottoman Empire, namely in Jerusalem as of the year 1882.

The last minority community that was recognized as a Nation in the Ottoman history was the Protestants. A statute was enacted in 1878 in order to determine the organization structure of this community. The Islamic law and the traditional good will and tolerance of the Turks have contributed greatly to the determination of the legal status of the minorities with different ethnic origins, religious beliefs, languages and cultures, living on the lands of the Ottoman Empire.

The administrative approach and the law system in the Ottoman State were based on the concepts of "Ruling Nation", completely consisting of Muslims and "Condemned Nation" prior to the Gülhane Firman (order) of 1839, which constitutes the beginning of the Period of Reforms. Despite this, however, the prerequisite to becoming a grand vizier and vizier was being a Muslim and being Turkish was not compulsory. Whereas, the Ruling Nation approach displayed itself in the form of racial superiority or common thought in all major states, contemporary with the Ottoman Empire.

While the Firmans of the Sultan determined the rights and the governing organizations of the non-Muslim nations prior to the Reforms, enactment of statutes have been initiated in the period thereafter. Said statutes were elaborated in the form of legal securities that provided the possibility of conducting their own administrative organizations and activities to each nation. On the other hand, despite the necessity of submission of the candidates of the Greek Patriarchy to the approval of the Ottoman Government, this condition was not applicable for the candidates of Armenian Patriarchy and Chief Rabbi of the Jews. The reason for granting of such a privilege especially to the Armenians, extends from the fact that they were considered as a "Loyal Nation" and were given separate value.

While the non-Muslims paid a tax called "cizye" and did not fulfill their military service, though it has been announced numerous times in the Constitutional Monarchy period that "cizye" would be abolished and that non-Muslims shall be recruited, said decisions have not been implemented due to the objections of the non-Muslims and significant discussions have emerged. The most important reason for objection against the military service was based on their fear of loosing the superiority they had gained over numerous fields of the economy, especially in trade and crafts. Recruitment of the non-Muslim to the

military was realized after the Constitution of 1908 for the first time in Turkish history.

The most significant rules that were imposed on the non-Muslims have taken place in the agenda in the matters of clothing and costumes. For example shoes and hats of blue for the Jews, black for the Rumanian and red for the Armenians were made compulsory. Yellow was determined as the color of the Muslims. Another significant rule that was compulsory for the non-Muslims was the prohibition of involvement in politics. Again the sentence for offences committed against the state was made severe to the extent of death penalty.

Constitution of the 1st National Assembly, opened in 18 March 1877, consisting of people from different languages, sects and languages is the best indicator of the respect and freedoms vested in the minorities. The fact that there has never been a parliament consisting of representatives of 11 different religions and sects and 18 languages in the major states of the era, displays in the best manner, the difference between the Ottoman Empire and those wishing to disintegrate it.

Ottoman Empire, which restricted its authority with military, finance and administration has vested the affairs of education, communication, justice, population and religion in the establishments and associations that have been organized on the basis of religion and sects and granted the right of hearing the cases related with marriage, divorce, alimony and inheritance again in the courts of the communities. The decisions awarded by such courts were imposed by the state organs and said courts have been authorized to sentence people to exile and condemnation to galleys in addition to imprisonment. The vital records of the communities were kept in patriarchies and again the death and birth records were realized by the patriarchies. With regards to education, the non-Muslim communities were granted the right of opening their own schools and setting their curriculum. With the Period of Reforms, the concept of nation based on religion was abolished i.e. the period of Ruling Nation was terminated and equality of the citizens approach was adopted on the base of the idea of Ottomans. Thus, all ranks and offices have been opened to the Condemned Nation and non-Muslims becoming senior bureaucrats and civil servants at posts such as ministers, undersecretaries, ambassadors, consulates, governors, inspectors was made possible. Moreover, while it was impossible for the non-Muslims to testify against the Muslims previously, in the Period of Reforms the non-Muslims were granted the right of jurisdiction over the Muslims in the form of court membership.

On the contrary to the beliefs, the Period of Reforms could not ensure an equality in terms of all elements of the Ottoman and led to a new situation against the Muslims. Accordingly, the non-Muslims have gained power by means of developments in both trade and education due to the possibility of benefiting from all rights on the one hand and being exempt from the military service on the other.

In the Period of Reforms, the rights granted to the non-Muslims in the previous period were conserved in addition to the new rights and the non-Muslims who had been organized all over the Ottoman lands and who conducted nearly all of their affairs through their own assemblies, conducted their relations through their own institutions and leaders such as Patriarchs and Chief Rabbis rather than the State.

Following the Period of Reforms, the concept of citizenship was adopted and everyone living on the lands of the Ottoman Empire were subjected to the same rules of law without a discrimination of Muslim and non-Muslim.

With his words, "Only distinction that I see among my subjects is that Muslims are in the Mosques, Christians are in the Churches and Jews are in the Synagogues. There is no other difference between them. All are subject to my affection and justice, and all are my own children".

Sultan Mahmud the II has emphasized that there is no discrimination in the Ottoman State government between the Muslims and the non-Muslims and that equality existed in all other areas. As a result of the numerous legal amendments realized after the Period of Reforms, certain prohibitions and restrictions imposed by the Islamic law on the non-Muslim were abolished and thus, having acquired a complete equality, the non-Muslims have gained a more privileged status than the Muslims after they found a way to benefit from the capitulations; and acquired the right of being represented at the parliament and provincial assemblies by utilizing their political rights in convenient manner.

In conclusion, the non-Muslims have protected their identities without being subjected to assimilation with the autonomy granted to them in significant fields such as education, worship and family law. While the Muslims constituted the largest community in the Ottoman Empire, the Greeks were the second and Armenians were the third largest community in the population. The non-Muslims constituted a larger population in Istanbul, the capital city of the Empire, in comparison to the Muslims and again Istanbul has become a city in which a high number of foreigners resided. The breakdown of the population in terms of communities in the Ottoman Empire between 1906 and 1914 is given in the following table.

Table 1
Breakdown of the Population of the Ottoman State in terms of Communities (1906-1914)

Communities

1906

%

1914

%

Muslims

15.518.478

74.26

15.044.846

81.24

Greek-Orthodox

2.822.773

13.50

1.729.738

9.33

Armenian-Gregorian

1.050.513

5.03

1.161.169

6.27

Bulgarians

762.754

3.65

-

-

Greek-Catholics

60.597

0.29

62.468

0.34

Armenian-catholics

90.050

0.43

67.838

0.37

Protestants

53.880

0.26

65.844

0.36

Latin

20.447

0.09

24.845

0.13

Jews

256.003

1.23

187.073

1.01

Marooni

28.726

0.14

47.406

0.26

Foreigners

197.700

0.95

-

-

Others

35.696

0.17

128.789

0.69

TOTAL

20.897.617

100.00

18.520.016

100.00

Source: Stanford J. Shaw, the Ottoman Census System and Population 1831-1914, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 9 (1978) page 337.

1-1. MINORITIES IN OTTOMAN EMPIRE IN THE VIEW OF FOREIGNERS

The minority rights were granted with the firmans of the Sultan without any pressure from the external forces until the declaration of Gülhane Imperial Decree in 1839, which constitutes the beginning of the Period of Reforms. However as of the Period of Reforms, the rights and freedoms of the minorities have been declared with the laws and constitutions due to the pressure of the major states. With the 1839 and 1856 Firmans and the Constitutional periods of 1876 and 1908, more and more rights have been claimed for the minorities and a gradually increasing pressure was imposed on the Ottoman State by means of the issue constantly being brought into the agenda by the major states.

The real objective of the major states, acting under the excuse of defending the rights of the minorities, has been creation of independent states under their control. Thus, no matter how well the approach of the Ottoman Empire has been towards the minorities, incorrect assessments were made to mislead history. Despite all of these adverse issues, the facts have been revealed as a result of the researches.

While the famous historian Thomas Philips has expressed said issue with his wording, "The Ottoman Empire had a superior structure in comparison with all other outdated states with its political stability, harmony between religions and social justice. The Ottoman Empire, which was Turkish in terms of its foundation and Islamic in terms of its law system, has granted broad rights, including the right of self-government other than political rights within the framework of the religious rules of law to the elements that it embodied as a community of nations and religions, initiated with the extension. Against these, it only requested obedience and loyalty to the State", the Consulate- General of Russia in Van and Erzurum, General Mayevski has stated, "Turks have never intervened with the religious and national affairs of the nations that they ruled, at any time in their history".

English statesmen Lord Clarendon has stated in his secret telegram of 23 March 1853, "The attitude against the Christians is not harsh and the tolerance displayed by the Sublime Porte towards said subjects may be construed as a model for certain governments who look down at Turkey as a barbarian state.

Moreover, the issue has been addressed as follows: Dr. Arshi KHAN of Jamia Hamburd University, India, "The opinions and politics of the Ottoman with regards to the non-Muslim communities were based on tolerance and understanding which constitute means for multi-culture, plurality and autonomy"; Missioner of Cezvit Emilli Lagrand, "One desires that the Catholics would be in comfort and freedom in England and Holland as they are on the lands of the Ottoman Emperor"; French diplomat and historian Engelhard, "The Ottomans have acted with an approach of negotiation and integration rather than causing conflicts and discrimination among people of different religions and sects"; Alan Palmer, "The status of the Jews within the Ottoman Empire was much better than the situation in Russia and other specific countries in East Europe.

As of 1868, two Jews at minimum have always been a permanent member of the Council of Reforms and have contributed to formation of the laws that would be applicable in the whole Empire. The Jews were in possession of the rights granted to the Orthodox Greeks and Armenians for a long time. Chief Rabbi of Istanbul was considered at the same level with the two Christian Patriarchs within the Ottoman social structure".

II- ARMENIAN QUESTION ACCORDING TO ARCHIVES

2-1. STATUS OF THE ARMENIANS WITHIN THE EMPIRE

The first nation to adopt Christianity as a whole in history were the Armenians. The lands of the Armenian Kingdom which was abolished in 430 A.D. were shared between the Byzantine and Persian Empires and the first tribe that the Turks met when they entered Anatolia were the Armenians. Armenians, who have lived together without any significant problems either in the Seljuk and Ottoman periods, have a history of one thousand years in common. The Armenians, who were the most privileged among the Christian citizens of the Ottoman State and who always took place in superior offices, were also given an important status in the society and were not subjected to discrimination from Turks and Muslim citizens. The most significant indication of the value that was given to them is the fact that they were considered as "Teba'YI SadIka" ("Loyal Nation"). Turks have placed Armenians along with Turks to the new lands that were conquered. Application of this practice, called voluntary settlement, in terms of the Armenians constitutes an example of the importance and privileges said nation enjoyed The Echmiazin Church near Yerevan is known as the most ancient clerical center of the Armenians and the place where the clerical leader Catolicuses lived. Armenians who fled from the Tatar invasion have built two new centers by constructing two churches at Ahtamar Island in Van Lake and Sis (Kozan). Afterwards, despite the fact that the clerical center was considered as Echimiazin by the Armenians in Russia and Yerevan; Ahtamar by those at and near Van; and Sis by those living at and near Maraş, Kozan and Aleppo, the Church of Echmiazin remained as the most significant clerical center due to the fact that its Catolicus was appointed by election.

Sultan Mohammed the Conqueror has recognized the Armenians as a nation in 1461 and brought Hovakim, the most superior religious leader, residing in Bursa, to Istanbul and declared him as the Armenian Patriarch. Thus, Istanbul has become the clerical center for the Armenians. Though the Armenian Patriarchy in Istanbul was affiliated to the Echmiazin, which was located within the borders of the Ottomans at the time, it was considered as the center conducting the administrative affairs of the Ottoman Armenians. 400 years after the rights granted by Sultan Mohammed the Conqueror, the right of constituting an Armenian Assembly of 140 members and some other new concessions were granted to the Armenians with the "Decree on Armenian Nation" published in 1860. With this decree, a kind of state in a state was created by means of assigning the government of the Armenians within the State to an assembly. This decree was approved by Sultan Abdulaziz in 1863.

In the Ottoman era, Armenians have been appointed to the posts of 22 generals, 33 member of parliaments, 7 ambassadors, 11 consulates, 11 lecturers, 8 doctors generals, 41 senior civil servants. Examples of such posts are Agop Pasha, who served for two terms as the Minister of Finance in the Sultan Abdulharnit n, Mavro Kordato Efendi who served as the Minister of Forestry, Mines and Agriculture, Naum Pasha who served as Minister of Trade and Gabriel Norodonkian Efendi. Numerous documents, evidencing that the Armenians lived a trouble-free, happy and comfortable life with the Turks, are present in history. One of the most significant ones among these is the declaration elaborated by the Prince of Armenia, who lived in England, for distribution to the Armenians living on the Ottoman lands. The mentioned declaration contains the wording:

"Dear Brothers, loyal citizens!

Our aim and heart-felt desire is to defend your country and the Sultan against the cruelty of the north to your last drop of blood. Remember brothers, there is no Russian whip in Turkey, they will not tear your nostrils; your women will not be whipped either in secret or in public. There is humanity under the sovereignty of the Sultan; whereas there is only brutality under the cruel sovereignty of the north. For this reason, keep yourselves in the path shown by God and fight for the freedom of your country and your current ruler in a heroic manner. The only happiness for me is to fight with you against those who tyrannize your country and your religion. I hope that God shall give the inspiration to the heart of the Sultan to approve my desire. Because, while our religion shall remain in a pure manner under the sovereignty under his rule, it shall be changed under the cruel sovereignty of the north".

Then, what has caused the loyal Armenian nation, who enjoyed broad possibilities, rights and freedoms, who spoke Turkish in their daily lives and even conducted their ceremonies in Turkish, to revolt against the Ottoman State and to attempt to stab the Ottoman army from the back with treason against their country of citizenship and participation in the rows of the enemy armies?

The best reply to this question can be given with the words of the British Ambassador, Layard in his report dated 12 June 1879, "If the Sublime Porte shall not act in a clever and foreseeing manner, it shall be faced with the Armenian problem which shall be similar to the Bulgarian problem that caused the recent war in Anatolia, in the near future. The same intrigues are being conducted in Anatolia to create an Armenian nation. Efforts are exerted to form a situation to cause a Christian outcry and European intervention".

The statement, "My community is very excited. If it is necessary to cause a revolt (among the Armenians) in order to gain the sympathy of the European States, it shall not be difficult to cause such an event", sent by the Armenian Patriarch Nerses to English Ambassador Sir H. Elliot in 1876.

2-2. ARMENIAN QUESTION

The internal and external problems have started to emerge as of the 17th Century with Ottoman Empire not being able to follow the military, scientific, technical and economical changes i.e. the Empire entering the recession period. Countries like Russia, England and France, which started gaining power in a period in which the Ottomans were weakened, gradually started implementing a new imperialist strategy, i.e. the Orient Problem and in another words the East Question against the lands of the Ottoman Empire. The essence of the East Question was to accelerate the weakening period and to share the lands of the Empire by taking the Christian Ottoman citizens under their auspices with the excuse of protecting their rights and using them against the State. Russia, France and England, the three major states that initiated this policy, made the Armenian question the most significant part of the Orient problem.

The Armenian question is an artificial problem created by the Western States, acting in order to weaken the Ottoman State and take it under their control, then disintegrate its lands and seize the riches.

This question was turned into an issue which was used, abused and exaggerated by said states for intervention to the Ottoman State and the rights, freedoms and privileges granted constantly to the Armenians was never deemed efficient. In brief, the Armenian question has never been an issue of humanity or Christianity but a question created on hatred, hostility and interests by the States wishing to intervene with the internal affairs of the Ottoman State.

Thought these countries which had conflicting interests in various periods, seemed to be on the side of the Ottoman State from time to time, they have continued their attempts to destroy the Ottoman Empire and seize its lands either individually or jointly. They have added the Armenians to the allies they had determined to reach their goals and selected to form the force to strike the Ottoman Empire from the interior by playing the role of defender of the rights and protector.

Major states like England, France and Russia who succeeded in removing the Turks from both the Balkans and the Middle East, aimed at the Anatolia this time and selected to have people, who lived together for years, kill one another. The great forces who started to deceive and provoke the Armenians, who lived in an environment of peace without any problems until that date, with promises of land and independence, formed gangs to eliminate the Turks and seize their goods, as it had been at the Balkans, and used these gangs brutally against the defenseless and unarmed, innocent people. In other words, the major states who saw that no large minorities other than the Armenians in the last periods of the Ottoman Empire, have started to insist on the solutions they wanted by developing the Armenian question and taking the question completely under their control in order to achieve their interests, especially in the Middle East.

The first country to use the Armenians in line with its interests was Russia. The idea of foundation of a new Armenian Kingdom was set forth by Catherine II for the first time, as a part of the policy of encouraging the Armenians and pulling them to their side during the 1768-1774 Ottoman-Russia War. The aim was the project to found the "Kingdom of Ararat", under the protection of Russia. However, this project was never realized. Kuchuk Kaainardji Treaty, signed in 1774, granted the right of protection of the Christians living on the Ottoman lands and founding churches to Russia; as of this date onwards the control and utilization of the Armenians against the Ottoman State became easier. With the Edirne Treaty of 1829, the Echmiazin Catolicusship, which constituted a large influence on among the Armenian, was left within the borders of Russia and taking good advantage of this, Russia has started its religious and political pressures on the Ottoman Armenians.

Russia, which knew very well that the path to accessing the warm seas and becoming dominant over the Mediterranean and the Middle East, passed from the Bosphorus and Anatolia, tried every means to weaken the Ottoman Empire. While implementing the policy to found a Slav and Orthodox Union which caused the revolts of the Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians, Bosnia-Herzogovinans, Russia selected the Armenians as the community to use for its interests in Anatolia. The Armenian question which never existed prior to the Ottoman-Russian war, started emerging with the provocation of the Armenians against the Turks by the Russians, following seizure of certain Turkish cities by the Russians and became clearly visible with the inclusion of articles requiring improvement, modification and renovation of the lands on which the Armenians lived, into the Treaties of San Stephano and Berlin. Said treaties have resulted in inclusion of articles that were related with the Christian Ottoman citizens and required more rights and freedoms into the treaties signed between the Ottoman State and the states such as Russia, England and France. Thus the Christians were given the message "We support you, revolt now!"

Russia who undertook the protection of Christians in Ottoman Territory with the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kaainardji 1774, conducted this role with Prussia, Austria, England and France after The Treaty of Paris in 1856. Despite the name of Armenians is not explicitly specified in this Treaty, this new development meant that the studies and supports for Armenians would be conducted by a higher number of countries, the problem would increase and it would be out of the control of Ottomans.

English and French who started to be interested in Armenian question that had gradually gained significance in Europe by 1880splayed the role of guardian of Catholics whereas Russians played this role for the Orthodox and undertook the protection of Armenian Protestants. Moreover, an article granting the freedom to change religion was added to 1856 Hatt-i Humayun Edict in order to increase the number of Protestants. The purpose of English was to take Armenians who were the most significant and effective community among Ottoman citizen Christians on their side and both to get benefit from against Ottomans and to have the Armenian ally who were a significant minority from the control of Russians. Therefore, although they sometimes seem to be on the side of Ottomans during Ottoman- Russian wars, they managed to get concessions on minority issues, particularly for Armenians in addition to the lands out of this case in return.

Despite the fact that France is the leader of the countries accusing Turkey with the allegations of genocide and who is discussing Armenian question in the international platforms today, it has been the last country who dealt with Armenian question in the past when compared with Russia and England. Despite the fact that capitulations granted by Sulayman the Magnificent in 1535 and extended in 1604, 1673 and 1740 are the most significant evidences of the importance given to French by Turks. France misused the opportunities and confidence granted to them by Turks, supported the rebellion actions occurring within the territory of Ottoman State, undertook the role for the protection of Ottoman citizen Catholics, tried to be efficient and influencing particularly on issues concerning holy places and established a great occupation power with including Armenians among its soldiers from colonies during the occupation of Anatolia, following 1918 Mudros Treaty. French who had supported Armenian gangs and organizations condoned the massacres by these forces and then left the Armenians whom they have deceived with the dream of an Independent Armenia to their fate.

French who is aware of the tortures and massacres to Turks and Muslims by the Armenians wearing French uniforms did not hesitate from naming those who have been killed as Armenians and deviating the truths since then and tried to make their role in this great catastrophe forgotten. The extend of the crimes of French who were the main actors in the events experienced in Antep, Maraş and Adana are guilty against history is known by the researchers. French, who had taken 30 thousand Armenians soldiers that they have used as occupation power in their own forces, when they were retreating, settled these Armenians to their country and laid the foundations of the Armenian colony in today's France.

Archives of French Presidency of the Chief of Staff are full of documents evidencing how French used Armenians in Anatolia, how they provoked Armenians against Turks and how they set two societies living in peace at loggerheads for their imperialist interests. In the book titled "Les Volontaires Armeniens Sous Les Drapauz Fransais" (Armenians buried under the flag of France) by an Armenian named Aram Turabian in Marseilles in 1917 includes dramatic information on French- Armenian cooperation.

On the other hand, not only the three major countries but also Missioners also conducted activities provoking Armenian question. Although the Patriarchy was established by Sultan Muhammed the Conqueror for the purpose of representation of Ottoman Armenians had stayed away from politics for nearly three centuries, it gradually started to be interested in religious and national issues with the influence of the western churches who had been trying to include the Armenians into their sects after XVIII. Century and due to the efforts of te missioners and started to incite Muslim-Christian discrimination. With the opportunities granted by both capitulations and by undertaking the protection of Christians, English, Russian, American and French missioners started to get organized particularly in the provinces with high Armenian population and established churches, aid institutions, hospitals, colleges and schools by the end of XVIII.

Century and as of the beginning of XIX. Century. Missioner schools rapidly spread in the Ottoman territory and the actual purpose of the established schools was revealed with regards to the fact that their actual target was the Armenians. According to statistics of istanbul Armenian Patriarchy for 1901-1902, Armenians had a total of 803 schools, 81226 students and 2088 teachers in the Ottoman Empire.

2-3. ARMENIAN REVOLTS

European States with the aim of founding an independent Armenia in Eastern Anatolia abused religious and national feelings of Armenians and provided their organization in committees, associations, aid institutions and churches and their armament and then started to put Ottoman State into difficulty by inciting the Armenians to revolts. On the other hand, Ottoman state had acted tolerantly at the end of each revolt and preferred to end the events rather than imposing heavy penalties. Armenakan established in Van in 1885, Dashnak established in Tblisi in 1890 and Marxist Hinchak Committee established in Switzerland in 1897 played a significant role in the organization and occurrence of Armenian revolts. When the dates of establishment of the committees and the dates of revolts are taken into account, it is obvious that the revolts did not emerge as a coincidence.

The following are the significant Armenian revolts resulting in great difficulties for the State in the history:

Armenians, daring to organize an assassination to Sultan Abdulhamid II in 1905 as well as the aforementioned revolts showed that they were in the position to be able to kill the Ottoman Sultan. Leon Trotsky who played a significant role in the foundation of Soviet Union and who is also the founder of the Red Army defines the policies of Russians on benefiting from Armenians with the following words, "During Russian-Turkish War, i.e. by the end of 1870s, the idea of revolting against Turkish and Kurdish dominance was very widespread in Turkey Armenia. In the view of revolutionists, such a revolt would result in interference by major States - namely Russia. The authorities of Tsardom diplomacy were trying to take Armenian revolutionists to their side and place them under the service of Tsarity".

Moreover, Leon Trotsky described a squadron of Armenian volunteers who were forming a part of the Macedonian Legion established to fight against Turks and who were taking place in the rows of the enemy army against the army of the country of which they were citizens with the following expressions: "I was with the squadron of Armenian volunteers forming a part of the Macedonian Legion while they departed from Sofia and traveled to the front by the mid October. The concerned legion would be having a bad reputation due to their tortures in a short period of time. The Volunteer Armenians left the high school for girls in which they were placed and underwent weapon training. They were 230 dark tanned men of ages between nineteen and forty five with beards and moustaches".

The commander of the squadron of Volunteer Armenians described by Trotsky was an Armenian named Adranik Pasha who attacked and organized collective massacres against Turks and Muslims in various regions of Eastern Anatolia with the gangs he established and the Armenians under his command.

2-4. FORCED IMMIGRATION PRACTICE

In the final period of Ottoman State, Armenians cooperated particularly with Russians occupying a significant portion of the Eastern Anatolia during Wars of Trablusgarp, Balkans and World War I and initiated a big attack against the Turkish and Muslim people of the region. Armenians who made an unforgivable mistake by cooperating with the army of the enemy against the state of which they were citizens and by stabbing their own army from the back made use of the lack of authority due to the fact that Ottoman Army had to fight in many fronts, and started to murder and exile everyone from their own homelands and did not hesitate from eliminating Turkish and Muslim population in masses without making any discrimination between young- elder, women- men with the wildest methods

Armenians, who had the tradition of betraying by taking place among the rows of Russian Army both in 1828 and during 1878 Russian - Turkish Wars, continued their tradition of betrayal during Word War I by massacring the civil people. Ottoman State who had endured the genocide actions carried out by the Armenian gangs against Turks and Muslims with the assistance of Russian army for nearly one year finally interfered in this case and had to decide upon settlement of the Armenians of the region to the lands of the Empire in south, i.e. forced immigration ("tehcir") had been initiated.

"Tehcir", a word originating from Arabic language, means to force to immigration from one location to another. This word in no case includes the meaning of exile. As the efforts of Armenians to attack, murder and to force to immigrate by burning down and destructing in 6 eastern provinces with the support of Russian, English and French armies had reached an unbearable status and as the threats and losses arising from the Armenians in the back routes of Ottoman army in the state of war, the Law on Dispatch and Settlement known as "Law of Tehcir" had been enacted on May 27, 1915. This law covers the issues on settlement of those conducting the acts of spying and who had been unfaithful with cooperating with the enemy, to locations which are not under state of war and transfer thereof to distant locations and regulations had been enacted on the procedure of the transfers. Issues such as protection of those who had been forced to immigrate against attacks of revenge or robbery, taking measurements to meet all kinds of requirements, food and beverage supply, provision thereof from the depots of Ottoman army if such shall be in insufficient quantities, determination and registry of their properties and real estates and protection thereof, allowing them to take their animals, assisting them in their settlement in their destination locations, provision of home, land, employments etc. had been underlined and the execution of necessary procedures by the authorities had been required in these regulations.

Armenians who had tried to use the Law of Tehcir in order to support the claims of genocide by identifying this law as an exile and the western circles that supported them did not pay any effort to understand the facts in Armenian history. Nevertheless, history includes various exile cases to which Armenians had been subjected to other than the Ottoman State. For instance, Arabians who had conquered Sassanid Empire in 640 arrived

in Nakhichevan and exiled 35.000 Armenians. Baybars the Mamelukian Sultan who had conquered Çukurova in 1275 had sent 10.000 Armenians to Egypt. During the Ottoman-Persian war in 1746.

Persians had forced 24.000 Armenians to immigrate to Persia. 75.000 Armenians had been exiled from Crimea to Middle Asia steppes in 1778. Since Armenians who had spread all over the world turned into a significant economical and political power in their countries of residence and established effective lobbies, they are being supported with various interest issues by the statesmen and politicians of those countries and the claims regarding Armenians are sometimes being defended by means of media in a more radical exaggerated manner than Armenians. In numerous countries, namely in United States of America and France, presence of rulers with Armenian origin who could find the opportunity to be Governor, Mayor, Deputy or Senator increases the impact of Armenian lobby on international platforms and makes it difficult for Turkey to explain the truths and have its own thesis accepted.

On the other hand, the Jewish genocide by Nazis and the fact that Germans had gathered not only the Jews living in their country but also those in the countries they have invaded and had sent them to death camps to kill them is forgotten and the fact that there exists no death camp on the territory of Ottomans and that no method had been imposed to kill has always been ignored. It is known that the deaths among the convoys from the provinces of Eastern Anatolia to the Ottoman lands in the south had occurred due to road conditions and various epidemic diseases as well as the attacks by the bandit gangs with a majority of deserters hiding in mountainous lands along the immigration routes for robbery purposes or revenge attacks by those who had lost their relatives in the massacres of Armenians.

The encouragement of the bandit and raider gangs were increased by the facts that the best troops of Ottoman army were in the state of war in various fronts, the quality and quantity of the soldiers were insufficient to ensure the security of the convoys on the immigration route and many soldiers, officers and security guards had been martyred in these attacks. Those defending the Armenian thesis, despite being aware of these facts, are unable to explain why Turks preferred to force Armenians to immigration rather than eliminating them in their own locations of residence. While some Armenian sources and the sources in favor of Armenians attempt to describe the events experienced during compulsory immigration as genocide, the number of deaths is stated to be approximately two millions. They do not abstain from imposing all kinds of pressures and threats against the historians, scientists and diplomats who are objecting to these claims in which they actually do not believe in themselves. Famous historian Bernard Lewis is a recent example for this case. Numerous threats and insults had been imposed and cases have been filed by the Armenian associations, lobbies all over the world and their supporters in their countries against this famous historian who could find the courage and honesty to state that "these are the interpretation of the history by the Armenians. However, there are conflicts and mutual killings between the two people. This case should also be taken into account in the view of Turks" with regards to the genocide claims and figures of Armenians.

In the Bernard Lewis case, a message was sent to everyone who was involved in, studying on this issue, interested in Armenian question that pressure would be imposed on those who do not take the cases into account in the view of Armenians.

One of the most striking comments on the tragic events experienced in 1915 was made by American Professor with Armenian origin named Hovannisian. In his statement in "Congress on Problems of Armenian" organized in Munich, Germany in 1982, he stated that "Armenian genocide has not been proved. Genocide is invalid legally and also has been subject to lapse of time". Following the publication of these views in Le Monde, one of the leading newspapers of France, Armenian circles and supporters were astonished by the unusual statements of an Armenian professor and reacted to his statements.

Inconsistent and exaggerated figures have been uttered by the Armenian favoring circles and Armenians on the Armenian population living within the territory of Ottoman Empire. However, the Director of Ottoman Statistics Public Administration was an Armenian named

Mlglrda~ Smabyan between 1897- 1903 and the Armenian population was calculated to be 1.042.374 in the census of 1897 and 1.050.513 in the census started in 1903 and completed 'in 1906. The Armenian population has increased to 1.299.007 in the last census in 1914.

An unrealistic portrait was revealed with the above figures that 2 million people claimed to be killed in the forced immigration was more than the total of the Armenian population. The number of those who had been subject to forced immigration is estimated to be 700 000 while the number of deaths is estimated to be 200 000. The number of the Turks and Muslims killed by the Armenians with the most inhumane methods is more than the number of Armenian deaths. It has been identified that the number of Muslims massacred merely in Kars and Ardahan population has reached 30 000 whereas more than one million Muslims died in 6 provinces with Armenian inhabitants.

2-5. ARMENIAN QUESTION IN DOCUMENTS OF OTTOMAN ARCHIVE

State of Republic of Turkey proposed those exerting efforts to have the Armenian claims accepted and called them to examine the Ottoman archives to prove their ungrounded claims, these documents were published in English and Turkish in original and the document originals were made available for all kinds of studies. Many concerned countries, namely Armenia did not make their archives available and did not even send a researcher for the examination of the documents in the Ottoman archive. However, the documents in the Ottoman archive are of qualifications that can surprise those who have been believing in the false claims for years. These documents are the complete oral or written testimonies of the people who had been subjected to Armenian atrocity and of the witnesses. Testimonies given by Turks and Muslims who suffered great pains, at the rulers of province, district, sub-districts to which the event locations are affiliated, reports by Village Council of Elders, correspondences to Army and Commandership of Army Crop include various details such as the events experienced, names of the Armenian gang leaders and members involved in the massacre, names and number of the people killed, goods and animals robbed, confiscated, the mosques, homes and stables burned down and destructed. One copy of concerned statements had been presented to French and Russian Military Authorities, namely the English Military Representatives who had been in the concerned region then, and attention had been called for the experiences of the Turkish and Muslim people whereas prevention of Armenian gangs and protection of civil people were requested. One sample of the concerned documents can be definitely found among the archives of these countries.

This study aims at presenting the documents which had been selected among the numerous documents in Ottoman Archives with great care and which include the comments of foreign observers and representatives. For instance, it is stated in the report prepared by English representative Lieutenant Colonel Ravlinson upon his examinations on both sides of the frontier that; "Armenians are conducting massacre on the front from Oltu to Eastern Beyazld frontier and allies should immediately send forces to this region for the punishment thereof".

Armenians who had returned after evacuation of Igdir by Turkish soldiers started to impose a genocide on Muslim people. The events experienced were explained to the English General iyes who was a member of Peace Commission. And General Iyes stated that he shall inform the competent authorities. Tatyana Karameli who was one of the Russian Red Cross nurses and student in Moscow Faculty of Medicine and who arrived in Bayburt with the Russian Army in August 8, 1917 described what she saw and experienced in her statement as: "Armenian gang leader called Arshak and the gangster called Atranik managed the cruelties in the region in a coordinated manner. The children in the orphanage were daggered and murdered, girls and women were raped and all men arrested in Bayburt were murdered. Moreover, Armenians murdered some of approximately 150 Turkish children whom they have taken with them by using force when leaving Bayburt. Ungrateful Armenians who were guarded and hidden by the helpful Turks during the compulsory immigration with those who escaped to Russia due to their unfaithfulness against Turks in the first years of the are now showing themselves and are leading all actions against Turks and participating in the massacres rather than preventing the massacres and guarding the unprotected people".

It is expressed in another document that "Armenians provoked by English who said: "we will provide arms and ammunition, shoot the Muslims" continued their attacks against Azerbaijanis in Nakhichevan and Kamarh and having massacring the people of three villages threw their corpses to the Aras River. Armenians state that they had been provoked by English".

Massacres by Armenians in Erzincan and its environs have been published under the headline "Burning Down and Destructions by Armenians and Massacres by Armenian Troops" in "Stockholmes Dagbladet" and "Aftanbladet" newspapers of the Sweden press. This document including the information given by Ottoman State Stockholm Ambassador regarding the concerned news show that the massacres by Armenians had been published in the European Press. Leaders of Turkish and Muslim people in Eastern Anatolia region referring to a commander assigned to the region by General Kert, Eastern State Commander of French Army explained what Armenians did to people and requested such to be stopped and the protection of people. It has been underlined that the blood shed shall be under the responsibility of French and it has been stated that the whole world shall be informed of this case.

Brutality, which can not be comprehended by human mentality, had been experienced during the Armenian atrocity between 1906-1922 in Anatolia and Caucasian. Armenian brutality had been observed and reported in provinces and districts of Anatolia and their villages, namely as Kars, Kaglzman, Sankamlş, Oltu, Ardahan, Karakurt, Igdlr, ispir, Trabzon, Bayburt, Erzurum, Tercan, Aşkale, Hmls, Pasinler, Van, Adana, Dortyol, Kilis, Antep, Maraş, Bitlis and in various locations in Caucasus namely as Nakhichevan, Gtimrti, Yerevan and Batum. In the document with the explanations of those surviving from the genocide by the Armenian gangs and Russian in Van and its environs, presented to Ministry of Internal Affairs, General Directorate of Security and bearing the signatures of significant local administrators such Mayor of Van, Van Commandership of Gendarmerie Troops, it is stated that "human butcher" Armenians uniting with Russian forces left where they had invaded as" full of corpses like a slaughterhouse"; completely plundered and pillaged rich and valuable things, fired mosques and medreses (schools) with swearing at and insulting Islamism, enjoyed massacring Muslims, collected the weapons of the inhabitants and cut their noses and ears, legs and heads, cut through their abdomens, put them to sword, set alive children to fire, enjoyed in raising and putting down their swords on the children who were not even old enough to talk and those too old to be able to walk, peeled some their skin, attached the cut heads to the ends of the bayonets and chopped some on the logs, threw some to the Mermid Stream, filled up the wells with people, filled up the earth ovens with children and women and set them on fire, those who were left under the ruins moaned for days and then died, raped women with unbelievable methods, brutally massacred those who resisted while some cut through their thighs and filled tern with their filth, completely undressed women whose breasts, noses were cut and who were

somehow able to survive, left children to die on snow and that people died of hunger.

III CONCLUSION

It is obvious that history is full of unbelievable exile and massacre events. The attempt of Russia - who exiled hundred thousands of Crimean Turks to Siberia, forced hundred thousands of Muslims in Caucasus to change their religion and exiled them to Anatolia both in 1978 and in World War II and who eliminated more than three million people after 17 October Revolution - to lecture other countries on topics such as exile, massacre and genocide results in a great contradiction.

The experiences of the people killed in American Indians camps with defenseless children, women and old people and the American Indian Tribes who had been left to poverty, hunger and death in America have not been explained explicitly up to date. People were used as slaves because of their color of black, hundred thousands of civil people were eliminated with atom bomb in World War II, and again hundred thousands of people were eliminated with napalm bombs and other weapons in Vietnam by the Americans. Nobody could account for the collective murdering of the South American natives. Europeans having conducted such and similar genocides claim that all had been for the purpose of providing civilization and religion to the faithless natives with privileged, wild and under developed life styles and try to justify themselves against history.

It has not been forgotten yet that Australian Native Aborigines had been systematically eliminated, English and French colonist who shared Africa among themselves changed the religious and languages of Africans by force, punished those who resisted by exiling them to other locations or collectively killing them. The same colonists had started the trade of African slaves and lead to death of hundred thousands of blacks due to traveling, bad life conditions, works of unbearable loads, rebellions, escapes and similar reasons. All history books wrote what happened to hundred thousands of people who resisted against English in Sudan and India. Moreover, 400 000 Irish died of hunger as a consequence of the food embargo imposed on Ireland by English between 1849- 1851. Again, Irish population of 8 million had decreased a half between 1841-1911 as a result of the oppression of England.

The whole Europe knows as mush as Italians that Italians who were running after lands of Africa that it can colonize killed the people of Abyssinia with gas bombs who resisted against them and tried to surrender them. As the suits of the tortures and massacres by French colonist against the Algerians who were demanding independence are still continuing and collective burials are revealed in various locations of the country. French who try to evade this issue with ignorance make the statement with the words of their Prime Minister Lionel Jospin "let's leave the assessment of what happened in Algeria to the historians". The number of independence demanding Muslims killed by French only in Algeria and Tunisia is more than 1 million. Armenians have to comprehend that the countries trying to have the Armenian claims accepted by imposing oppression on Turkey in every platform are in the effort to have their liabilities of the experiences in the past forgotten, to investigate what these countries did to people living under their colonies and whom they have surrendered and how they are currently impeding the relations between Turks and Armenians and damaging Turks.

Turks are treated with prejudice on the issue of Armenian question. International promotion is so much significant in the elimination of this prejudice. The facts that archive documents are not made available to international researches in Internet media, the lobby activities are insufficient in terms of quality, low number of works on this issue and translated in several languages have led to the facts not being duly explained to the public opinion in the world. To turn all arrows towards Turkey with diverting the history is the greatest injustice of the countries claiming to be the defender of human rights. Exerting efforts to have such ungrounded Armenian claims accepted by Turkey by imposing oppression is thought-provoking. History and truths will one day interrogate those who try to divert them.

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