1916-12-25-DE-001
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Source: DE/PA-AA/BoKon/174
Publication: DuA Dok. 310 (gk.)
Central register: 1917-A-00613
Embassy register: A53a/1916/3822
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 1410
Translated by: Vera Draack (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012


From the Secretary of State of the Foreign Office (Zimmermann) to the Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy in Constantinople (Goeppert)

Directive



No. 1410
Berlin, 25 December 1916

The secret report K.No. 177 from the administrator of the Imperial Consulate General in Jerusalem dated 14 November, a copy of which was sent to me, mentions among other things that, according to reliable sources and contrary to all Turkish attempts to deny this, the forced conversions to the Islamic religion among the deported Armenians are being continued. The same news was received here through another channel and caused justifiable indignation in large circles of the German Christians.

It was only with great difficulty that we managed to prevent a public discussion of the deplorable occurrences until now. Those interested have thus sent petitions to the Reichskanzler and the Foreign Office, urgently demanding guarantees that those who have been forced to convert will have the factual possibility after peace has been made of returning to their former faith.

I request that Your Excellency brings up this matter again in a friendly, but suitably serious manner with the Porte and indicates that by tolerating the forced conversions to the Islamic religion it is not only making its position at the peace conference more difficult, but also giving the powers a new lever – now and also in future – to interfere in national Turkish affairs. As a Christian power and as an ally for whom Turkey’s inner strength and independence is of extreme importance, we can only strongly advise our Turkish friends to remedy this situation quickly and thoroughly.


[Zimmermann]


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