There is reason to believe that the attack on the Armenians was decided upon on Enver Pasha's return after the repulse in the Caucasus, when he appeared to be infuriated against the Armenians because they had greatly assisted the Russians. Talaat Bey evidently seized the opportunity to retaliate upon the defenseless colonies in Asia Minor. The formula adopted as a cloak was an order for the expulsion of Armenians and their deportation to centres in the interior, and resistance or delay in compliance with the Government order was made an excuse for murder, rape, and other savageries.
The provincial authorities generally carried out the task entrusted to them only too thoroughly, and, unlike the previous historic massacres, the present atrocities are not confined to a definite area. From Samsun and Trebizond, from Ordu and Aintab, from Marash and Erzerum come the same tales of atrocities - of men shot down in cold blood, crucified, mutilated, or dragged off for labor battalion, of children carried off and forcibly converted to Islam, of women violated and enslaved in the interior, shot down, or sent off with their children to the desert west of Mosul, where there is neither water nor food, or to Deirezor, between Aleppo and Baghdad, where there is no food, in either case to die miserably. Many of these unfortunates did not reach their destination because the cohort so overdrove the victims that many fell out and flogging and kicking were unavailing. They were left to perish by the roadside. Their corpses distinctly displaying the route that many followed. Many were tied back to back in pairs and thrown into rivers alive. At Zeitun the Armenians were meanly tricked by promised relocations to Adana. Promises that lead to their eventual deaths. (Original version: At Zeitun the Armenians were … simply tricked by Fakhry Pasha of Adana … .)
Some German Consuls directed or encouraged the proceeding thus Rossler, the Consul at Aleppo, a fitting companion to his colleague at Haifa, went to Aintab to superintend in person, and the notorious Baron Oppenheim suggested the removal of women and children of the Allies to Urfa where they could not fail to witness the barbarities committed by the troops in the streets, which literally ran blood.
The systematic butchery, abduction, and deportation to the desert which still continue point to a total loss of life probably exceeding the total of the Hamidian regime. The nature and scale of the atrocities dwarf anything perpetrated in Belgium, or under Abdul Hamid, whose exploits in this direction now assume an aspect of moderation compared with those of the present Governors of Turkey, who certainly can outdo their Teuton masters in the matter of coercion. That Talaat Bey is responsible seem incontestable. It is proved by fact that when ordering the deportations he said. "After this for 50 years there will not be an Armenian question” - this from the man who is chief of the Committee of Union and Progress and Grand Venerable of the spurious Masonic Grand Orient of Turkey, and who was one of the leading members of the Parliamentary deputation in 1909 to England, where he was greeted as one of the regenerators of Turkey.
The Chief Culprit
The dispatch from the Cairo Correspondent of the Times brings into special prominence the dastardly conduct of Talaat Bey, the Turkish Minister of Interior. Three of the leading Armenians murdered - Vartkes Effendi, Haladjian Effendi, and Pastermadjian Effendi - had long been his intimate personal friends. When in Constantinople in 8 September 1913, I had opportunities of observing the closeness of their relations. Pastermadjian Effendi, the former Minister of Agriculture, had been arrested in Asia Minor by the zeal some local official. Vartkes Effendi, who was an extremely intelligent and vigorous Armenian, went at once to the Sublime Porte to remonstrate with Talaat, whose room I happened to enter during their conversation. Talaat immediately gave orders for the release of Pastermadjian, and explained to me jokingly that there was nothing he would not do for his friend Vartkes, who [not deciphered] scolded him severely. The relations between the two men, seemed, indeed, to be those of two chums, and my impression was afterwards confirmed by the language of Vartkes himself.
Before leaving Constantinople I dined at the Cercle d’Orient with Talaat and Haladjian Effendi. Haladjian was eloquent in his defence of the Young Turkish regime, and spoke warmly of the friendship of Talaat for the Armenians and of the reforms that were about to be introduced. Talaat was as cordial toward s Haladjian as he Had been towards Vartkes. Now both have been murdered at the instance of Talaat.
Unless I am mistaken, there is something more than treachery and bloodthirstiness in this systematic massacre of a whole population. The Committee of Union and Progress and those who have inspired its policy doubtless feel the need of turning the minds of the Turkish population from the ruin that is being brought upon the Ottoman Empire by the crimes and follies of its “generators”. I trust that the British Government will not only not condone these abominations, but will make Turkish Ministers, and especially Talaat and his helpers, personally responsible for the innocent blood that has been shed. It is not enough to punish or execute local officials and peasants or soldiers who have been instruments of the governing clique. The British Government should make it clear that the whole Turkish Administration, including the Grand Vizier, Talaat, and the other Ministers, will answer with their lives for their villainy. It may not be in the powers of the Allies to save the Armenian population of Turkey, but at least they can proclaim their determination to see that exemplary justice shall be done.