1909-06-04-DE-002
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Quelle: DE/PA-AA/R 13187
Zentraljournal: 1909-A-09787
Erste Internetveröffentlichung: 2009 April
Edition: Adana 1909
Praesentatsdatum: 06/08/1909 p.m.
Laufende Botschafts/Konsulats-Nummer: Nr. 135
Letzte Änderung: 03/23/2012


Der Botschafter in Konstantinopel (Marschall von Bieberstein) an den Reichskanzler (Bülow)

Bericht



Nr. 135
1 Anlage.

Die Meldung des Kommandanten S.M.S. Loreley, dass in Adana die Regierung und das Militär während der Massakres vollkommen unter dem Einfluss des englischen Konsuls gestanden habe, hat mir Anlass gegeben, meinen englischen Kollegen unter Hinweise darauf, dass wir einen Berufskonsul dort nicht besitzen, zu bitten, mir einen der detaillierten Berichte des Major Doughty Willie [Doughty-Wylie] zur Verfügung zu stellen. Sir Gerald Lowther hat dieser Bitte willfahrt. Im Anschlusse beehre ich mich Abschrift eines Berichtes dieses Herrn vom 21. April d.J. vorzulegen. Derselbe bestätigt vollkommen die Meldung des Kapitänleutnants Hildebrand, dass Major Doughty Willie während der kritischen Zeit in Folge der Indolenz des Valis und des Truppenkommandanten - beide sind inzwischen abgesetzt worden - faktisch die Regierung und die Truppen in Adana geführt hat.

Die in den neuersten Berichten des Konsuls Christmann aufgestellte Behauptung, dass die drei Bataillone des zweiten Korps - in dem Bericht werden dieselben irrtümlich als Saloniker Truppen genannt - an dem nach Ankunft am 24. April einsetzenden neuen Massakre Schuld gewesen sind, dass dieselben mit den übrigen Horden brannten, mordeten und plünderten und der Stadt Adana „den Rest gaben“ haben, schien mir mit Rücksicht auf die geradezu musterhafte Haltung, welche die rumelischen Soldaten hier beobachtet haben, einer Kontrolle zu bedürfen. Ich habe, um nicht noch einmal meinen englischen Kollege zu behelligen, den Militärattaché der Kaiserlichen Botschaft, der mit seinem englischen Kollegen gute Beziehungen unterhält, gebeten, sich auf diesem Wege womöglich die neueren Berichte des englischen Konsuls zugänglich zu machen. Dies ist geschehen. Major von Strempel hat die sämtlichen Berichte gelesen und sich Aufzeichnungen aus denselben gemacht. Er erstattete mir darüber folgende schriftliche Meldung:


Aus diesem Berichte erhellt, dass Major Doughty Willie das Bestreben hat, unparteiisch zu urteilen Er plaidirt mildernde Umstände für den Armenier, der ihn aus einem Hinterhalt angeschossen hat. Er erwähnt sogar die offenbar aus armenischer Quelle stammende ganz unwahrscheinliche Version, dass die rumelischen Bataillone, als sie vor der Stadt erschienen, nicht von Armeniern, sondern von Türken angeschossen worden sind. Zweifellos ist durch die fraglichen Berichte die von Herrn Christmann aufgestellte Behauptung, dass die rumelischen Truppen die eigentlichen Urheber des zweiten Massakres gewesen sind, widerlegt. Die Truppen haben einzelne schwere Verfehlungen begangen. Das ist richtig. Aber die vernichtende Kritik, welche Herr Christmann an ihnen übt, verdienen sie sicherlich nicht. In dieser Beziehung scheint mir die Darstellung eines englischen Offiziers, der während der ganzen Vorgänge an Ort und Stelle anwesend war, beweiskräftiger zu sein, als die Schilderung Christmanns, der von Hörensagen urteilt und dessen Zuverlässigkeit nach Vorgängen früherer Zeit nicht über jeden Zweifel erhaben ist. [Wilhelm II.: dann ist er auch nicht der geeignete Mann als mein konsul. Vertreter dort! der muss einwandfrei sein]. Dass die rumelischen Bataillone, als sie an der Stadt Adana ankamen, von Armeniern Feuer erhielten und dabei Verluste an Toten und Verwundeten hatten, ist auch aus einem mir zugänglich gemachten Bericht des Direktors der Mersina-Adanabahn an die Anatolische Bahngesellschaft bestätigt.

Bezüglich der dringend notwendigen alsbaldigen Neuordnung unserer konsularischen Vertretung im Vilajet Adana behalte ich mir besondere Berichterstattung vor. [Wilhelm II.: das scheint mir allerdings gründlich der Fall zu sein. wir wollen ganz Syrien dazu nehmen!! da sieht es übel aus!]


Marschall
[Anlage]

British Vice Consulate, (temporary) Adana, 21. April 09

Sir,

I have the honour to submit the following statement of the course of events in Adana.

On Wednesday morning, the 14th April, I received a letter from Mr. Trypani, the British Dragoman at Adana saying that there was a very dangerous feeling in that town; threats had been freely offered, there were some murders, and the shops were all shut.

I went to Adana by the next train, arriving about 5 p.m. So little had I expected that any massacre was eminent, that I took my wife with me.

From the train, about two stations from Adana we saw a dead body, and a little bit further on several refugees running towards the train. All the people from the 2nd Class carriage got into the first, saying that there were men in the train to kill them. On going through 2nd Class carriage with my Cavass, I saw two armed Turks threatening the refugees running by the train. When they saw me they put away their pistols and were quite.

The nearer we got to Adana the more bodies there were, and while I was escorting my wife to Mr. Trypani’s house which is near the station, two or three men were killed under the very noses of the Turkish Guard, which has a little guard-house about midway between Mr. Trypani’s house and the station.

I got into Uniform, went to the Guard, and sharply recalled to the officer his duty to prevent murder. I took 4 soldiers as escort, and Mr. Edwards, Inspector of the Ottoman Bank, who asked protection, and walked through the town to the Konak., about 11/2 miles. I saw several men killed on the way, and the town was full of a howling mob looting the shops. There was firing in all directions.

On arrival at the Konak I found all in disorder. The Vali and Ferik both were in the Telegraph Office in a state of panic. I demanded more soldiers to go to the American Mission, and other places where there were British subjects. They gave me a few, very unwillingly, as they said they would take no responsibility for my life. They could not or would not give an Officer, and there was no time to argue.

I afterwards found out from American and British witnesses, Mr. Gibbons of Tarsus and Mr. Lawson Chambers, that some little time before I got there two men had been killed in that very office, practically before the Vali’s eyes - there was a grating between him and them - who was too frightened to protect them or punish the murderers.

I went in the dark to the American Mission which is in the Armenian Quarter. Around this place there was much firing. Finding all save there, I left Guards at the 2 schools. Days afterwards I found that one of these Guards did fairly well but the other melted away.

I took Mr. Edwards to the Ottoman Bank, where I left more Soldiers. I than made a search for Mr. Cokinakis and his wife - British subjects - at the other side of the town, and found them at last in a farm about one mile from their factory, where they had made refuge. The owner, an Arab called Biblan Oglu, who was their friend swore to me that he could and would not be answerable for them.

I had than only four Soldiers, and did not dare to take them through the mob in the town to Mr. Trypani’s house, which was at last two miles away. However, two days afterwards I sent them an armed escort and brought them in as their position had become untenable.

I than went back to the Konak, and found the Vali and Ferik had done absolutely nothing. I warned them that I should come again in the morning, and required 50 men and a senior officer and a horse to ride round the town. I was then searching for an American and an Englishman, who were missing from the Mission. I found they had been safe in the Konak for several hours, and had been eyewitnesses of the murders referred to. They were also witnesses of the beginning of the outbreak, when the Ferik went out with the troupes. At the first shot he had turned back to the Konak, and taken the troupes with him.

I then paid another visit to the American Mission, and returned through the city to Mr. Trypani’s house.

The city all this time was in undescribable tumult, with heavy fighting going on in the approaches of the Armenian Quarter and murder and fires everywhere.

I had not force enough to do much to stop it.

My four soldiers, who had been murdering men on my arrival, followed me faithfully through it. My cavass, Bedir, was also with me.

Next morning I went again to the Konak, seeing on the way some soldiers joining the murderers. After some difficulty I obtained some 50 men from the Konak, (where I think were about 500 soldiers), and the Commandant of Gendarmerie (Alai Bey) to come with me. No superior officer to him would leave the Konak. We paraded through the town with bugles blowing - the Ferik had lent me a horse, and I had 3 or 4 mounted men.

Wherever we went, the firing ceased. We cleared the streets, sometimes by charging with the bayonet, and sometimes by firing over the heads of the crowd.

We went through the Armenian Quarter. Both sides ceased firing when they recognized me, with the exception of a few stray shots. I visited the Armenian and the French schools.

I had it cried everywhere that everyone was to go into his house as I should fire down the streets. The city is a large one, and it is difficult to quiet the many of is alleys and by-ways at once.

After I passed, apparently fighting was freely resumed.

I went back to the station, and drove back a big crowd of villagers who were flocking into the town to loot and murder.

After I returned from there towards the Armenian Quarter - a mile or more away - some of these villagers and guards murdered Armenians within sight of Mr. Trypani’s house. The Officer of the Guard, on being called on by my wife, saved some women, all badly wounded.

When I arrived at the Armenian Quarter, I found that two American Missionaries were killed. They had been gallantly working for an hour to put out a fire which was threatening their school, and were killed at the closest range by five Turks who had previously promised to let them alone. The third Missionary, Mr. Throwbridge, who was with them, managed to escape.

They told me in the school that the bodies were lying in the street and that nobody could approach. My party carried them in. They were both breathing. While carrying them in, fire was opened on us from a minaret within easy range. We went to clear it, but everybody ran away. Before this second visit to the Armenian Quarter I changed my infantry at the Konak, but the Ali Bey, a Captain of Gendarmerie, and the mounted men remained with me all day. We also visited the Turkish Quarter and dispersed threatening crowds. The big bazaar was blazing, and Turks and Armenians were carrying on a house to house fighting, which it was extremely difficult, and in some places impossible to stop. In one place I left a guard to keep clear the road where the battle had been raging, and no sooner was I gone than it seems my own guard joined in the attack on the nearest Armenian house, and killed everybody in it. Late in the afternoon I received an appeal for help from the Regie Tobacco Factory, inhabited by Mr. Abbott, a British Subject. I went down there with all the troops, and gave him a guard.

While there, they told me that certain wounded Turkish soldiers were lying in some houses among some burning ruins not far away. We went to look for them, and while searching a tiny garden where were 8 or 10 bodies of Turks and Armenians - men and women - an Armenian, from behind a window, fired at me from a very short range and broke my arm.

He was probably deceived by my Military uniform into thinking that I was a Turkish officer, or else too wild with terror of despair to know what he was doing.

I should like to bring to your Excellency’s notice the conduct of Mr. Lawson Chambers, who rode with me as my interpreter throughout this day. He speaks Armenian, and was very valuable to me. He is a nephew of Mr Nesbit Chambers a Canadian British Subject, head of the American Mission in this town.

I had taken him with me in the morning from the Konak, where he had passed the night for security.

Being afraid that this unfortunate accident would be the signal for a general storm on the Armenian Quarter, I sent the Altai Bey to the Vali and Ferik to say that even now, if they would stop the massacre no indemnity or punishment would be demanded by me, but that otherwise I had already telegraphed for a ship in the morning, and the responsibility lay with them. I told them that they should surround the Armenian Quarter with regular troupes and good officers, and should allow nobody in and out, that at the same time they should patrol the streets of the rest of the town, driving people into their houses and shooting freely if necessary.

This accident was the more unfortunate and inconvenient to me, as I could not write.

As regards the troops, the soldiers of my escort in the Konak and in some of the Guards were Nizanieh, and behaved with some exceptions fairly well wherever there were Officers, especially when we began to get the matter in hand a little. The Ferik had called up the Reserves, who were armed from the Barraks and turned loose without uniform into the streets. They came from outside villages and Tarsus, and did an infinite amount of harm. There were a few exceptions even amongst them. The Hojas were divided. I found one trying to calm the crowd, others took the rifle and fought themselves.

Friday, 16th.

I had sent Lawson Chambers to the Konak overnight, and he told me that the Vali and Ferik had promised all that I wished, but that he (Chambers) could get no Officers to go with him to the Armenian Quarter.

The day was spent in continual telegrams and messages. I was trying to save Germans at Bagshe, and Englishmen at Osmanieh, and Americans at Hadjin. The streets were nearly as the day before. The refugees began coming in here escorted by soldiers. The Germans from the German cotton factory in Adana hat taken refuge in Mr. Trypani’s house, having been ordered to leave their Factory by soldiers, who said they would kill the 500 Armenians left behind. I think these soldiers were redifs. I ordered the Yuz Bashi of the Guard near the station, which had become my guard, to go with the soldiers and save these Armenian lives. With the exception of 3 men they brought them all into the house of Mr. Trypani. The men, I think, would have been murdered, but that I heard the firing and sent over to stop it. It is quite close to Mr. Trypani’s.

Towards evening the Vali sent me news that peace had been made, and the Hojas and Armenian priests had kissed each other in the Konak.

During the day fighting had been going on in places around the Armenian Quarter, and Bashi Bazouks had been firing houses.

Mr. Chambers sen. had a man killed actually in his arms, but with singular courage, and still covered with blood managed to make his way, with some peacemakers, to the Konak. From this visit resulted the peace which was announced to me by the Vali.

From Friday morning, the murdering was done by Bashi Bazouks alone. Except in isolated cases, so far as I know, I believe the Turkish soldiers made some efforts to stop it.

On Friday at 10 a.m., 400 Tarsus Redifs seized a train, threatening the station-master, a British subject - with dead if he did not give it. They left to massacre and burn Tarsus. I sent Mr. Chambers jun. and Mr. Gibbons, under escort, to demand troops to send to Tarsus to protect the American and French schools, but none were given on that day. That night 100 Nizamieh arrived from Beirut, and the next morning I got 25 troops and a good officer, and sent them with Mr. Gibbons und Mr. Christie (whose son-in-Law had been killed on Thursday) by special train to Tarsus.

The train was refused to me by order of the Director at Mersina, but I told the station-master that I would take it by force if necessary, and would afterwards get for him the necessary order for it, which had to be signed by the Vali. He, the station-master, gave way, and for this action the next morning was censured and another man sent to supervise him, because he had given the train contrary to the Directors orders.

I think this is a very hard case and I recommend it to Your Excellency’s notice. Mr Falanga, the Station-master, throughout this crisis has done all he could to help, but his regulations are against him. His station was surrounded with corpses and he was often in imminent danger himself. The train in question may, I think, be said to have saved Tarsus’ school.

While I am on the subject of the Railway, I should like to state that it refused to transmit telegrams for me. Their telegraph office is close to Mr Trypani’s house, while the way to the other lies right through the heart of the town and is over a mile long. Also when it became an urgent necessity to send down messengers and refugees, they refused trains. Military defence of the trains was never at all difficult.

Saturday. 17th.

Next morning, a deputation of Hojas and notables came to me. They said that peace was made. I also saw the Messrs. Chambers, who told me the same thing.

I sent a message to the Vali that he was to telegraph the severest orders to outlying districts to stop the massacre.

Turkish Officers came to me for orders, and I said that the streets were to be kept clear, fires put out, plunderers and anybody with arms in their hands to be shot. Anybody committing a murder to be killed by the troops without distinction of race or religion. These orders were accepted by the Hojas as being fair and just, but in spit of them there were a good many murders committed that day, and killing and pillaging in the villages went on as before.

I think it was on this day that your Excellency’s telegram reached me stating that a British ship had sailed to Mersina.

I cannot give any detailed account of the days that followed. They were occupied from morning till night in bringing in refugees, telegraphing, and messages to and from the Konak. Also with endless visits from people of all nationalities in urgent need of assistance in different directions.

There being no other Consul in Adana, I did what I could to help the dragomen and Nationals of all Powers.

On Tuesday night I got the telegram that the “Swiftsure” would arrive the next day, which news I promptly circulated, and which had a great effect in restoring confidence. Threads of renewed massacres were made at various and all hours, but gradually we began to persuade the people to return to their homes.

Mr. Trypani’s house had 500 people in it; while there were thousands in the factories and in the American and French Missions. Many were wounded, and the food question became acute. My wife opened a Hospital the day after I was wounded and, with several English Volunteers has been busy ever since. Mr. Chambers and I organized the beginning of relief work, and subscriptions were started. I am making great efforts to get the factories and flour miles working, but the people are too panicstricken to do much yet. The dead had to be sorted and buried, and the wounded brought in. In all this, Mr. Larson Chambers, and other English and Americans were untiring helpers.

Parties of troops have been send to various places such as Hamidieh, Osmanieh, Bagshe, Hadjin and many villages, to try to save life.

The Hojas of the town have made a practice of visiting me in a body, with the exception of today, 22nd April, and we have tried to arrange the restoring of women and girls abducted, and the general pacifying of the country.

The Armenian Bishop of Adana (Gregorian) was announced to be returning on the 21st, Wednesday, by the Khedivial steamer. Many Turks have spoken to me of this man, as one of the prime causes of the trouble. On the Tuesday, certain notable Armenians, through Mr. Chambers, asked me to prevent his return if possible, as they feared he would again stir up strife. I took upon myself to telegraph to my Dragoman at Mersina to meet him on arrival, and forbid him to land. I backed this up by telegraphing to the Mutessariff of Mersina to prevent him from coming to Adana, if he should, in spite of me, succeed in landing. He appealed to the Captain of the “Swiftsure”, who backed me up.

At the Parliament of Hojas that day, when the question of disarming of the Armenians was mentioned, some of them declared that the Armenians did not wish for peace, as they still kept their arms. I said that they did, and that I could prove it.

They had themselves asked me to prevent their own Bishop from coming, and I had done so. This produced an instantaneous effect, every Hoja jumping to his feet und coming to shake hands with me.

Causes.

It is still too early to me to have much idea of the real causes of this extraordinary massacre, which took me by surprise. I have for some time expected disturbances at Adana, but nothing on such an appalling scale.

The Turkish side of the question is that from first to last the Armenians are entirely to blame, that they armed themselves, and that certain delegates of the Hundjak Society, and preachers like the Gregorian Bishop had openly urged the people to fight the Turks and to set up a principality for themselves, that the Armenians had shot two Turks in Adana, that they had fixed a certain day on which to rise and rebel against the Turks, and were all armed and prepared for it.

There is truth, I think, in what they say about the Hundjak Society, which, however, represents but a fraction of the people. It is also true that an Armenian did shoot two Turks (whether in self defence or not is not established), and certainly there was much vain boasting and wordy provocation. But I cannot think, however, that such wide-spread destruction was without some secret preparation on the Turkish side.

Attitude of Turkish Authorities.

The massacre began in very distant places, on the same day, and nearly at the same hour. The local provocation at Adana could not have effected this. I am inclined to think that some, at any rate, of the authorities knew of the intended massacres, beforehand.

The extraordinary demoralisation which I found in the Konak on arrival was undoubtedly the result of the natural feebleness of the Vali, Djevad Bey. I do not understand why the Ferik, a Turkish General, has from the first displayed such pitiable cowardice. He refuses to leave the Konak even now. Even the doubtful troops he held were sufficient to have scattered the howling fanatical mob, if resolutely handed in the first hour.

One of the very few officials of this province, who has kept massacres from this town, is the Mutessarif of Mersina.

Among the best of the Turks, both civil and religious, there exist still an unanimous distrust, and even hatred, of the Armenians. They deplore massacre, but all apparently believe in the idea of an armed Armenian Revolution.

Beginning of massacre.

Among the first Armenians who were killed, was a well known member of the Municipality. He had been that morning through the Bazaars together with Turkish notables, to persuade shopkeepers to open their shops. They had returned to the Konak to report to the Vali. It is said that he was killed with these words: I will begin with you, and may Good increase the work”. This was one of the murders of which Mr Gibbons, and Mr Chambers, Junior, were eye-witnesses, committed almost in the Vali’s presence, and for which no arrest or punishment has been made.

On the first evening five men were killed in the close courtyard of the Konak, where is the Valis house. One Armenian Cart-driver was shot the next morning under the Vali’s window, and almost on his door step, by the very Redifs he had brought in in his cart. This courtyard contained at that time about 500 regular soldiers. I took the Vali out myself, and showed him the fresh pool of this man’s blood, and asked him, how afterwards he hoped to clear himself of having abetted the murder. He was too frightened to answer.

Future.

Two regiments are reported to be coming from Gallipoli, and troops and cavalry from Syria, under the command, it is said, of Osman Pasha, commanding the 5th Army Corps. It is undoubtedly necessary to make a military parade through certain districts to restore order.

I am afraid, owing to the slow processes of Turkish law, there will be little or no punishment.

The gravest question is imminent famine. It is reported to me tonight that there are in Adana city already 15000 people in desperate need of food. The shops have been burned and gutted.

The barley harvest begins in about 10 days, but there will be great difficulties in finding the necessary labour, owing to the extermination of the Armenian workmen in nearly all the villages. It is said that there is left in Adana flour and wheat sufficient for 20 days, but the prices are already enormous and will rise still higher. The new harvest cannot be of much use till the middle of July. Further there are a large number of women and children whose supporters have been killed.

An enormous quantity of valuable property, much of which I fear will prove to be British, has been destroyed, many farms have been burnt with their agricultural implements. Many farmers and merchants will be bankrupt, and unable to pay for goods obtained on credit. It is doubtful whether insurance will beheld to cover such risks.

The country which seemed so promising a field for English commercial enterprise, is ruined in credit, and will take years to recover.

Disarmament.

The disarmament of the country is being taken in hand. My advice was asked by the Turks, and I have advised them not to press the house to house search for a few days on account of the panic it would cause.

The Armenians sent one of the French Priests to me to beg that if a search was necessary, foreigners should accompany the Turks. I declined to listen to such proposals, as they have nothing whatever to do with foreigners.

Punishments.

I strongly urged on the Vali the hanging of murderers caught red-handed since the peace, but without success. He has not the courage to take such a step. I propose, with your Excellency’s approval, to assist as far as possible the relief work which is now necessary, but to refrain from giving advice on subjects not connected with British interests. What I have done in this direction had been forced upon me by the entire absence of any respected authority, and the risk of renewed massacre. Osman Pasha’s arrival, or a change of Vali should put this right.

Casualties.

In Adana city there seems to have been about 2000 corpses buried. Besides this there were a large number thrown in the river. A considerable fraction of these 2000, about 600, were Moslems killed in the street fighting in the Armenian Quarter.

In the villages, while no exact number can yet be given, the loss has been enormous. It may be estimated at between 15000 and 25000; of these, very few, if any, can be Moslems.

In many cases, women, and even small children, were killed with the men.

I have the honour …

gez. C. Doughty Willie [Doughty-Wylie]
Vice Consul
The British Ambassador, Constantinople.



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