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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. D. 1, ”Tyrkiet - Indre Forhold”. Pakke 2, fra Jan. 1917 – 1. Jan. 1919
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 08/07/1918
Arrival of telegram: 08/24/1918
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 73
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 04/01/2012

The minister in Constantinople (Carl Ellis Wandel) to the Foreign Minister (Erik Scavenius)


No. 73

Constantinople, 7 August 1918.


Mr. Foreign Minister,

The day before yesterday, "Ikdam" brought the surprising announcement that the Armenian and Arab populations, which were deported by the Turkish authorities during the war, will soon be sent back to the places in the Empire where they belong, and it was also announced that this humanitarian decision was caused by a wish that was reportedly stated by the new Sultan [Mehmet 6]after the sensational audience the other day where he received the leader of the Senate opposition, Ahmed Riza, who, as I have already reported earlier, on several occasions have spoken on behalf of the non-Turkish peoples in the Ottoman Parliament.

The fact that it was "Ikdam" who could bring the first announcement regarding this important decision, before "Tannine" [Tanin] had gotten the time to prepare the public opinion and explain away the seemingly inconsequential new attitude of the government on this issue, was, I hear, actually perceived in Stambul as a sign that it had been forced upon the Ministry by the Royal Court despite the damage that the prestige and influence of the Pashas Talaat and Enver can easily suffer, and yesterday their friends were apparently still unable to bring it in accordance with the manner in which these 2 ministers have up until now tried to solve the Armenian and Arab questions.

As reason for the extensive deportations the government did in fact, as is well-known, state that they, seen from a military standpoint, were crucial due to reasons of the security and war efforts of the Empire, and H. H. Talaat Pasha has later on always staunchly refused to show sentimental considerations when he was asked to tone down the energetic precautions that he and Enver Pasha have used during the war to anticipate possible separatist movements.

The opponents of the government did therefore immediately claim that the new decision in a striking way disavowed the policy it has followed up till now, a policy it believes was irresponsible, unnecessary, and unwise.

But the confidential explanation given by the Grand Vizier [Talaat Pasha] in the Committee, as it has been related to me today, is supposedly about the Porte having to change its policy regarding the Armenian question as long as it cannot stop the temporary establishment of an independent Armenia in the Caucasus.

The government hopes, I hear, that considering the low number of inhabitants that the small independent Armenia will have, it will turn out to be unviable as long as it does not experience any major population growth through the immigration of Ottoman Armenians from Turkey, meaning that within the borders of Turkey the government must in the future allow Armenians bearable life conditions in their domiciles to which they still feel attached, and this is the reason that they will now be allowed to return, namely so that they shall not immigrate after the war and make possible the creation of a strong Armenian state.

I still have not heard anything about how the government will officially explain the decision, or how it will possibly be able to explain it regarding the Arabs, without suffering damage to its reputation.

With the highest esteem I remain, Mr. Minister, yours faithfully


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