The following report about Turkish excesses against the Armenian population around Erzurum confirms the reports I received from the Armenian Patriarch; they caused me to mention these conditions to the Sublime Porte, and I urged them to see to it that those incidents are stopped. But the Grand Vizier pointed out that these incidents did not occur without Armenian provocation; as proof he pointed out that Armenians are openly taking sides against the Turkish cause in the war, and he mentioned that the Bulgarian Armenians send a troop of volunteers to Russia.
Re: excesses against Armenians in the district of Erzurum.
The Armenian population of the Vilayets of Erzurum, especially the country people, is very worried because of a few incidents, which they see as harbingers of new massacres.
On the 1st of the month three Turkish irregulars visited a distinguished priest in the village of Osni on the Erzurum plateau, where they ate and slept. The next morning they forced him to accompany them to the edge of the village, where he was shot to death with a shotgun.
In the village of Tevnik, also on the Erzurum plateau, a group of 12 irregulars expelled all the males of the village, chained them and asked for 100 Turkish pounds of ransom. The village could not raise this amount of money. The men remained prisoners. Some women of this village came crying to the Armenian bishop in Erzurum and asked for help.
There are similar reports from other villages.
The Armenian bishop turned to the Vali, who promised to rid the Erzurum plateau of these irregulars.
These reports come from respectable Armenians.
The Armenian population maintains that the Turkish party “Ittihad” instigates this movement. It is a matter of fact that Turkish officers do not see eye to eye with the Armenians and reproach them with being friendly to Russia and helping Russian troops to get into Turkish territory. Even with the Turkish population, as one can see from certain symptoms, the old hatred is rising again.
I reported all these incidents to the commander of the fortress of Erzurum, General Posseldt, member of the German military mission.