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Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1915-03-26-DE-001
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14085
Publication: DuA Dok. 020 (gk.)
Central register: 1915-A-11682
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 04/02/1915 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: Nr. 191
Translated by: (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012

From the Ambassador in Constantinople (Wangenheim) to the Reichskanzler (Bethmann Hollweg)


No. 191
Pera, 26 March 1915

On the 12th of this month the Imperial consul in Aleppo reported of an uprising, which took place in Zeitun, a well-known Armenian flash-point from times past, but whose scope presently remains unknown.

Even though the Vali warned of it, the military commander did not leave troops there. When asked about it, the consul in Adana responded saying that it cannot be a question of an uprising of the Armenians but that in all likelihood it involved isolated expression in reaction to recruitment procedures. The local Armenian Patriarch agrees and adds that the government some time ago had taken away all weapons from the inhabitants.

Here is yesterday’s telegram from Consul Rössler:

“In Zeitun some Armenian deserters, who were to be arrested, shot a couple of Turkish gendarmes; the Islamic population of Marash clearly was going to use this incident as a reason to start with a massacre but remained calm since the set-up of a court-martial was announced. A German mission brother from Marash was sent to Zeitun as mediator. If the inhabitants do not hand over the ring leaders, military intervention will be used. In this case it might be difficult to keep in check the lower classes of the Islamic population of Marash. Asking for strict orders to prevent excesses. Armenian population of Marash is entirely peaceable. The strike against Zeitun should be swift and overwhelming to avoid the spreading of the insurrection. The mission, with eight Sisters living there, sent one of them to ask me to come to the help of the Germans in Marash. Asking for permission to leave. Trip there alone takes 3 days. Reply by wire.”

I arranged for the imperial consul to start the trip to Marash as long as he arranges for a suitable replacement in Aleppo and informs the consul representative in Alexandretta about his temporary absence.

[Answer from Wangenheim, 26 March]

Agree to journey to Marash. Take cipher along. Please ensure suitable representation and inform consul in Alexandretta.

[Notes by Mordtmann, 26 March]

News from the Armenian Patriarch (discussion with him today)

1. Zeitun: Some months ago Armenian "deserters", i.e. individuals who had escaped levying by fleeing, were hanging around in the area around Zeitun and resorted to highway robbery, whereupon the Mutessarif from Marash, accompanied by several Armenian notables from Marash, proceeded to Zeitun. Several respected inhabitants of Zeitun acted as mediators and induced the refugees to surrender to the authorities after the authorities had assured them that they would not be punished. Despite having been given their word, they themselves, as well as those people from Zeitun who had intervened were incarcerated and are still in jail today; there are about 70 – 80 individuals.

Ultimately, a Turkish gendarme, Abdullah, was disarmed and wounded by the people of Zeitun (the cause is unknown); other gendarmes were greeted by having stones thrown at them.

A court martial then went from Marash to Zeitun and the town was surrounded by troops.

Although the people of Zeitun have always been known for their independent and rebellious characters, this is now not a case of a planned, general riot; above all, they do not have the weapons for such an act; even knives and similar items were taken away from them.

The Catholicos of Sis, whose diocese includes the district of Zeitun, has repeatedly used his influence to caution the people of Zeitun to remain calm; he would probably go there now personally, but is worried that the role of mediator would not agree with him any more than it did with the people of Zeitun who are now sitting behind bars as assistants of the deserters.

2) Dort Yol. The Patriarch's news does not add anything to the report received here (1712) from the consulate in Adana.

3) Adana. During these past few days the Patriarch received telegrams from there which lead him to fear that there will be unrest against the Armenians. The Patriarch added that for the past some two weeks the Armenian troops have been disarmed, even those who had served previously, and that both they and the recruits are being used to build roads and for similar services, even though Enver Pasha himself spoke in praise of the attitude of the Armenian troops during the battles in the Caucasus.

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