Despite efforts by Armenian circles to diminish the significance of the riots which have broken out over the past few weeks in various places or to put the blame on the measures taken by the Turkish authorities, there are increasingly more signs that this movement is more widespread than was presumed up to now and that it is being encouraged from abroad with the help of the Armenian Revolutionary Committee.
The fighting already reported in Van, during which the rebels sometimes even seemed to have kept the upper hand, indicates that the Armenian people living there were sufficiently equipped with weapons and explosives; according to information provided by the Turkish authorities, many individuals had been found in Russian clothing among the dead and it is not being denied from the Armenian side that one of their compatriots, a certain Pastirmadjian, has intervened severely in the interest of the Russians. Formerly, this dangerous agitator had become well-known even in wider circles through the attack he led on the local Banque Ottomane, but he then returned here after the re-introduction of the Constitution, became a Member of Parliament and later, because he was not re-elected, went to Russia. According to the latest news (of 8th inst.), Armenian volunteers succeeded several times in uniting with the Russians from their location in Van.
Concerning the bombs found in Caesarea, the Armenian Patriarchate states that one Armenian who had returned from America and settled in Everek near Caesarea, began to take an active part in their production, and after he had finished three of them, had an accident with the fourth one; the three finished bombs were hidden by his fellow people, but were discovered by the police, who by chance had heard about the matter. Upon further investigation, 24 empty, not yet loaded shells were brought to light under the tiled roof of the local Armenian church. This happened at the beginning of February. Since then, even more findings of bombs appear to have been made; the Minister of the Interior recently quoted the number of bombs found in Caesarea as being 400; also some had been found in Diyarbekir and sent to Van to be used there by the rebels.
The fact that the Armenian population in the eastern provinces has access to weapons is being admitted by the Armenians; allegedly these weapons are being used in defence against the armed robberies by Kurds and other riff-raff; it can be assumed that they had already been accumulated there a long time ago, mainly by the Armenian Revolutionary Committee.
The authorities most likely presume that the Armenians from Zeitun have also been agitated by foreign subversive activities to put up armed resistance to the government.
It cannot be denied that the Armenian movement has taken on a worrying character over the past few weeks, which has given the government cause to introduce severe repressive measures.
The mass arrests both here and elsewhere, e.g. in Erzurum, where the Vali believes he has evidence of an Armenian conspiracy in his hands, or in Aintab, etc., are directed against the Committees, which in this way have been robbed of their leaders, but first and foremost against the party of Dashnaktsutiun.
In Zeitun, a part of the population has been removed, mainly to Konia; the same measure has been resolved for Sivas and some North Syrian places and is currently being carried out.
Here in the capital, the whole population was told a few days ago to surrender weapons of all types which they still had in their possession.
With the excitement, which has also come over the Muslim population, it will not be possible to prevent the oppression of the quiet elements and excesses on the part of subdivisions of the authorities. But despite the worry prevailing in many cases, there has been no massacre so far, either in Zeitun or in Marash, or in Aintab or Erzurum, and it should also be possible for the government to prevent such occurrences in future.