Your Excellency, I have the honour of enclosing transcripts of a number of records made here on the violent actions taken by the Young Turk government against the Armenian nation.
The records, some of which I have made and some of which were made by the officials of the consulate at my instigation, refer solely to those cases, which either took place within the administrative district or were brought to the consulate's attention by Armenians passing through.
It is said here that the Armenians were massacred in the cruelest way in different towns in the country's interior, especially in the areas along the Turkish-Arabic language border.
Everywhere and in all cases the Turkish authorities are responsible for these acts. Since the Turkish government has had an official explanation published that the entire Armenian population enjoys the most complete security for their lives and their property, I believe that I cannot keep Your Excellency's attention from those occurrences which permit the government's manner of action against the Armenians to be determined.
Bread is only supplied against payment, while water is occasionally completely refused.
The same applies for all such gatherings. Nowhere do the people receive food for free, and sometimes, as in Osmania, they must pay 5 – 8 piastres for one loaf of bread. There are many thousands (up to 20,000 people) in Osmania who are robbed at night by the villagers.
Two Kurds from Mardin, who attend to the transport of supplies to Constantinople, told Markos Gasarian, a Kurdish-speaking Armenian, upon his inquiry as to how matters were progressing in the eastern provinces of Asia Minor that all of the Armenians in Harput, Diyarbekir, Mardin and Viran Shehr had been massacred.
Missak Simikian and Markos Gasarian have stated the foregoing to me personally in Adana.
According to a statement by Miss Sirpuhî, a teacher at the orphanage who visited me, all of the girls, about 35, left the house and sought to be taken in by different families as a result of the unreasonable demand made of them. I am not aware of their fate; I referred them to the American Mission.
14 out of about 60 Christian boys remained at the orphanage, because they did not know what to do. Those left behind have already started to become Mohammedans.
Osman Bey had explained to the children that the Christian religion could not be tolerated in the Ottoman orphanage. The pupils were to refrain from any kind of religious activity, particularly praying. (Sirpuhî).
A certain Manuk Schahbasian, a wholesale merchant in Adana whose family had been joined by Armenian friends of theirs, thus resulting in a train set of 33 wagons, was attacked one evening by Turkish robbers.
As it is assumed that those Armenians who leave by wagon are prosperous, these – Mohammedan – robbers have their eyes especially on such caravans. In their opinion, they are hardly doing anything that is not right when they attack the Armenians, possibly killing them, because the authorities have rather bluntly given them the order to massacre the Armenians.
(Proof of this is to be found, among others, in the behaviour of the railway line workers near Ulu Kishla who refer directly to the Kaymakam of Ulu Kishla with regard to murdering the Armenians: statement by Meier, head of the railway in Mersina).
Altogether, the Armenians who were attacked paid 1200 Turkish Lira to the robbers and were then permitted to continue their journey. The actual number of casual robbers is not clear, but at any rate it should hardly have been more than a few, taking into consideration the proportion of the booty for each.
Orman Katibi Lewon Effendi's wagons drove some distance behind the strung-out train set of the Schahbasian. Due to the bad road, these wagons had difficulty moving ahead. The robbers, probably the same ones who had pillaged Schahbasian's train, also appeared here. The number of robbers who took part in this attack is known: it was only two people. After the Mohammedans had at least partially satisfied their need for the blood of the Armenians by stabbing and beating them, they extorted 35 Turkish Lira from Lewon Effendi. His injuries were fairly significant, so that it was not possible for him to continue his journey, and he returned to Adana where he is still to be found at present.
On the afternoon of 22 inst. (Wednesday), the Vali of Adana went to Osmania, resp. Djihan. At best, his journey is for the purpose of taking the money from the robbers – for himself. It is, however, doubtful whether this is possible without compromising himself with the robbers.
On 28 August of this year, the Armenian inhabitants of Talas (Kaisaria) left behind their possessions to the authorities there and began the deportation journey they were forced to take to Mesopotamia:
On 29 August, the four gendarmes and two policemen accompanying the deportees' caravan from Talas, began their act of robbery along the way at an uninhabited place and in the darkness of the evening. With loaded rifles, blows with the rifle butts and strokes with the lashes they frightened the deported Armenians and extorted money from them. One of those maltreated, Arabadschi Alexan, bled to death along the way, not far from Nigde (Konia) as a result of this:
For example, those listed below paid the following amounts to the gendarmes
The same gendarmes threw Stepan Garabejekian's six-year-old son onto the ground and caused his death.
Again, it was the same gendarmes who killed Pehliwanian's child with their lashes.
On 13 August 1915, the Turkish government took the men from the town of Orta Koy to Hadji Köy, and on the following day the women, and had all the Armenians, regardless of their age and sex, a total of about 700 people, begin their journey of deportation. The deportees' caravans reached Begaslayian, in the Vilayet of Angora, on 22 August 1915 without any incidents.
The next day, 6 gendarmes took over the supervision and leadership of the deportees on the continuation of their journey. Several recruits and civilians, all of them Moslems, joined the caravan in order to take part in the planned atrocity. When the caravan arrived in Tépé Han, the gendarmes had the men separated from the women, interned in a khan and brought out tied up in groups. Their cash was taken from them and all of the men were handed over to the soldiers and murderous gangs. In this way, all of the men and youths, about 250 people, were taken to a valley nearby and killed in the most hideous manner. The women had to watch all of this.
Four people from Hadji Köy were shot by the gendarmes in front of the women.
The following are the names of some of the victims which the women mentioned above were able to give:
from the town of Orta-Köy and
Avedis [and] Serkis,both from the town of Hadschi Köy.
The rest of the caravan, unprotected, poor and miserable, continued the journey via Besanti-Tarsus-Adana without any support from the government. Only the Kaymakam in Tarsus is supposed to have provided those poor people with carts. Upon arrival of the deportees' procession in Jenidjé, not far from Adana, the gendarmes demanded 40 piastres from each family. The women were hardly able to meet this demand; after having sold their possessions and bedding along the way, they only had a few piastres on them.
On the deportation journey from Yozgad to Bogaslajan (in the Vilayet of Angora), we were eyewitnesses as about one hundred Turkish soldiers shot several hundred Armenians from Yozgad and Sungurlu, all men, among them two priests, in a valley 4 hours south of Yozgad on 20 August of this year; they beat them to death with the butts of their rifles and annihilated all of them without exception.
On the evening of 22 August, our caravan, consisting of 700 people, all of them deported from Orta-Köj, Hadschi-Köj and Aladscha, arrived in Tépé Han (Vilayet Angora), where the men were first interned in a khan. Then the gendarmes raided all of them, group by group, took away their cash and handed them over to the murderous gangs. The gendarmes were also involved in the murderous deed by shooting four people from Hadschi-Köj in front of the women."
The names of the victims known to the women making the statement are:
Meliko, 35 years old
Harutiun, 30 years old
Donik, 60 years old
Nischan, 50 years old
Garabed, 25 years old
Kevork, 20 years old
Krikor, 20 years old
Garabed, 23 years old
Sarkis, 30 years old
Sarkis, 28 years old
Nasar, 14 years old
Ufan, 30 years old
Iskender, 13 years old
The gendarmes took the two last-named people to their mother and promised her that they would be freed for ransom. Although they received fifteen Turkish Lira, they shot them in front of their mother.
All of the gendarmes from Yozgad, Bogaslajan, Erkelet, Indsché Su, Karahissar and Nigdé who accompanied the deportees' procession took away all the cash bit by bit and gave all the valuables to the irregulars and rapacious gangs. After arriving in Nigdé, one of the above mentioned women, Sultané, sold her pack animal for 80 piastres. The woman was robbed by a gendarme of even this amount, as well as 200 piastres hidden in her knapsack, together with the knapsack.
On 10 September of this year, one of the women from Aladscha gave birth along the stretch from Tarsus to Adana. The women hurrying to assist her, including the same woman already mentioned, Sultané, were lashed and beaten by the gendarmes and forced to move on, wanting to leave the woman in childbed lying in the open on the road. It was only with the greatest difficulty that the women were able to bring their companion to Adana.
The government gave the deportees no food or accommodation; on the contrary, the widowed women and orphaned children were treated so harshly by the gendarmes everywhere that they were not even permitted to quench their thirst and could only have a cup of water upon payment of 10 – 20 paras. Mrs. Sultané's two-year-old daughter died of thirst, and Mariam's two-year-old boy died of thirst and hunger.
Séféré Göschbekian from Aladscha (Angora)
Mardiros Bogossian from Aladscha (Angora)
made almost the same statement to me on 11 September of this year as the women Mariam, Sultané and Güstüma had done, and added that they had been eyewitnesses along the way as the gendarmes and soldiers from Tersili massacred and killed several hundred people from Yozgad and the surrounding area, all of them male, in a valley several hours south of Yozgad.
These people making a statement also told me that they saw no male Armenians along the way in the towns of Tschat, Burun–Kishla, Tschachmachsadé and Keller, and everywhere along the way they learned that all of them had been killed.
It was supposedly the Kaymakam from Bogaslajan who ordered the massacre in all of these towns.
On 8 August of this year, the Turkish authority ordered the Armenian population in Hadschi-Köj to leave their homes within 3 days and begin the deportation journey to Mesopotamia. The women were permitted to accompany their husbands and it was made clear to them that they should be grateful to the government for this favour.
On 14 August, the government supplied 120 families with 174 wagons in order to take the most essential objects and food with them. Under the leadership of 12 gendarmes, the deportees arrived in Bogaslian via Yozgad without mishap.
On the way from Bogaslian to Erkelet, the 6 gendarmes who came along from Bogaslian as guards demanded money from the deportees' caravan on 22 August. Together, the 120 families collected 10 Turkish Lira in order to rid themselves in this manner of the danger to their lives. The gendarmes, angry because of the small sum, separated all the men, about 200 people, from the women and locked them into a khan. The gendarmes then brought the people out of the khan, tied up in groups, robbed them of all their cash and sent them, still tied together, to a nearby valley. The gendarmes later used rifle shots to signal the neighbouring Turkish murderous gangs, already waiting, to attack. All of the men and the youths over the age of 12 were tortured and killed by means of blows with a club, stones, sables, daggers and knives, and all this happened in front of the women and children who had to watch the murderers do their horrific deeds. The Turks took most of the young boys with them in order to convert them to Islam. The Turkish drivers did not take part in the murderous deeds; they were merely spectators.
The rest of the deportees, all of them only women and children, then arrived in Erkelet and were attacked by the Turks. There, the Turks led away all of the mature girls and young women and violated them. Two girls resisted and were maltreated so badly on the part of the gendarmes that they died. The names of these 2 girls are Ossanna and Tabid Kirasian. One girl named Rosa Kirasian gave herself up to a gendarme. He is supposed to have promised not to harm the girl and to give her to his brother for a wife. In all, the Turks in Erkelet led away 50 girls as well as 12 boys.
The remaining women continued their journey and arrived in Akserai where, with the gendarmes' permission, the Turks took away the rest of their cash, even examining the women's underwear for this purpose.
From Akserai onwards, the women begged their way via Bozanti-Tarsus to the town of Adana, from where they continued their journey.
The following are among those killed:
Intimidated by the warning of the two deported and murdered Members of Parliament, Sohrab and Wardges, he saw himself forced to offer everything to free himself in some way from the agonies and dangers of deportation, and saved his life in the following manner:
He signed a two-year contract with the brother of the local Vali, Hamdi Bey, reaching an agreement with him that the Vali's brother would have the right to half of this year's harvest in exchange for Nalbandian's enjoying complete freedom. It is said that, roughly, Nalbandian has 15000 dönum at his disposal and that he is the only large-scale Armenian landowner in Kosan, so it can be assumed that the Vali's brother has assured himself of at least 1500 – 2000 Turkish Lira's worth of pure profit for this year. The Vali's brother's share also has the advantage that cheap, yes, even unpaid workers from the ranks of the workers' corps will be available for the harvest and the work in the autumn.
There are also other known cases of bribery:
All known Armenian trading companies, the prosperous craftsmen and traders from the town of Adana are being exploited by Dschemal Bey, the Chief of Police, and Hakki Bey, the Vali. The agent for all of these negotiations is Hakop Ohanian, an Armenian who is by no means reliable, known for his loose way of life and for having gotten into financial difficulty. As the former friend and dinner partner of the Chief of Police, he was used as a tool and a negotiator.
Just when the local Armenians received a strict order from the police to leave the town within a few days and found themselves in the most awkward situation, Ohanian began to assist the Armenians, as if out of his own initiative, negotiating for permission that they be allowed to remain for an indefinite period of time. These secret negotiations took place with individual persons so that it is not possible to determine all the cases exactly. But from the general situation and taking into consideration that the rich Armenians remained behind, it can be concluded that Ohanian succeeded in squeezing out several thousand pounds for the Chief of Police and the Vali, who have lately become close relatives (brothers-in-law) of his. Just the three firms of Topalian, Ipranossian and Mindikian paid 100 Turkish Lira each. The minimum amount which could be accepted was certainly not less than 10 Turkish Lira. Taking into consideration that such negotiations are not carried out in writing and that there is no obligation for a set period of time, it is easy to see that this method of exploitation represents a never-ending source and always gives cause for new extortions.
One proof of this is the new system for the auctioning of municipal taxes. In accordance with the latest regulation by the town council, whose chairman is Dschemal Bey, the Chief of Police, the deportation measures are not to apply to those Armenians who buy municipal taxes and take over the administration of taxes. Hoping to free themselves in this manner, the rich and well-to-do Armenians had to collectively pay in about 7000 Turkish Lira for the municipal taxes. In the past year, the town council received barely one-quarter of the above mentioned sum for these taxes.
As a result of the last decrees, most of the Armenians have had to leave the town of Adana, so that the sum of 1,800 Turkish Lira, paid as a deposit and making up the last of their savings and the funds for travelling of those doomed to deportation, was for the most part lost, as it was not reimbursed by the town council.
As the more senior officials attempt to enrich themselves in this manner, consider bribery and extortion to be a harmless and permissible act, and compromise the law and the state's dignity, naturally they have no moral strength and authority to keep their subordinate officials, judges, doctors, officers, yes even the gendarmes and ordinary soldiers in check. Every public official looks for a way to get money at his own discretion.
In Ulu-Kishla, the gendarmes, together with their superior, act like an organised gang. Each deportation procession must pay its tribute. The deportees from Nigde were hardly able to save themselves by paying 200 Turkish Lira, and those from Ismid had to sacrifice 7 of their notables, among them Nerses, the vicar, because they refused. The reports by Aram Chandschian from Yozgad, an eyewitness and one of those who suffered, clearly show that the worst state of anarchy exists in the Vilayets of Angora, Sivas, Konia and Adana.
Examples for other cases of bribery and financial extortion are not rare.
Colonel Sulejman Bey and Fethi Bey, the Muttessarif of Osmania, who received the order to deport the Armenians from Dört Yol, received for a mere two-day extension: 25 Turkish Lira from Garabed Dschinanian, 40 Turkish Lira from Minas Karajagupian, and 30 Turkish Lira from Hakop Bojadschian. Khatscher Garajagupian was the agent for the negotiations.
Wahan Wartabedian and Bogdschalian, both businessmen in Adana, informed me that they each paid 20 Turkish Lira through Ohanian as a bribery to Dschemal Bey, the Chief of Police, in order to enjoy temporary preferential treatment for a few weeks.
both residing in Adana, informed me of the following which they learned from the Armenian women deported from Ismid, whose husbands were shot along the way by soldiers:
Along the Ulu-Kishla-Pozanti road, the Armenians from Ismid refused to pay more than the fare which had been agreed upon. The drivers, all of them Turks, attacked and maltreated the Armenians. In order to scare off their opponents, two Armenians pulled out their weapons, but did not use them.
A Turkish officer who was called upon from Ulu-Kishla had 7 Armenians, among them a vicar by the name of Nerses, tied up and ordered the gendarmes to shoot the people. The gendarmes refused to carry out this order, making it clear that the people had not deserved such a severe punishment. The officer then ordered his soldiers to execute the 7 tied-up men in front of their wives and children by means of a firing squad, and this order was promptly carried out. The same officer had five other Armenians tied up and taken into the mountains, and their trail has been completely lost. Three of the victims are:
A badly-wounded Armenian was taken to Tarsus, where he was cared for and remained alive. The next day, the deported Armenians from Akserai:
"Correspondence from Persia was found in an American newspaper, in which a female American missionary reported the following on the occurrences in Urmia (Persia).
In January of this year, the son of the Vali in Van at that time, a young officer who had studied in Beirut, captured the Persian town of Urmia and had those inhabitants who had remained behind (Armenians and Assyrians), about 700 people who had looked for refuge with the Persian Kurds, forcefully taken from their places of refuge and all of them, without exception, massacred. Several days later, the Russians, mainly Russian Armenians, recaptured the town of Urmia. With this impression, the Russian Armenians took the Turkish town of Van by storm and captured it within a few days."
It can probably be said that the Armenians, under the impression of the cruelties in Urmia, took revenge on the Vali of Van and his wife. However, since the wife of the Vali of Van was supposedly a close relative of Enver Pasha, the present Minister of War, it is believed that the persecution and annihilation of the Armenians was an act of revenge by him.