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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. D. 1,
”Tyrkiet - Indre Forhold”. Pakke 1, til 31 dec. 1916

Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Departure of telegram: 09/04/1915
Arrival of telegram: 09/20/1915
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 113
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 04/02/2012

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


No. 113

Constantinople, 4 September 1915.


Mr. Foreign Minister,

In continuation of my most respectful reports No. LXXVIII [78] of July 22, No. LXXXVII [87] of July 31, and No. IC [99] of August 18, I have the honor of reporting that the persecutions of the Armenians are continuing with great intensity, in spite of the promises made by the government here, and about which I have already reported.

At the reception Monday the 16th of August, the German ambassador [von Wangenheim] once again brought up these persecutions with the Grand Vizier [Said Halim], and asked him to induce his government to cease, - especially when it comes to the Armenian Catholics who have never participated in revolutions or interfered with politics and are still subjected to the most persistent persecutions.

Even the Gregorian Armenians, who have distanced themselves from all nationalist ideas to the extent that they have abandoned their mother tongue and have embraced the Turkish language as their own, are being persecuted.

The promises which the Grand Vizier gave to the German ambassador were not kept, and when the persecutions and killings continued, His Holiness Monseigneur Paul Pierre XIII, the Armenian-Catholic Patriarch, turned to the resident Spanish minister and asked him, in the name of Catholic Spain, to try to turn once more to the Grand Vizier to obtain that at least the safety of the Catholic Armenians were respected.

The Spanish minister [Marquis Julian del Arroyo], who consented and, using the words of the Patriarch, objected to the Grand Vizier at the reception last Monday, tells me that the His Highness, after having listened to him, showed his surprise about what had happened, and that he, when the minister firmly claimed that he had proof that the cruelties mentioned had actually taken place, noted it and promised to immediately order that the Armenian Catholics were spared.

However, both the minister and the Patriarch are convinced that these terrible persecutions will not cease, among other things because the central government has no power over the provincial authorities, who, when it suits them, do not obey the orders they receive from Constantinople, and – last not least – because the Germans in their opinion only pretend to protest against the persecutions and killings.

It is obvious, they say, that the Germans are interested in the extermination of the Armenians and in the Greeks fleeing fearing that the same thing should happen to them, so that they (the Germans) without effort can take over Turkey’s trade and become the only Europeans with a foothold here.

The authorities in the provinces and the Young Turks, they say, do not consider the German ambassadors application to the government as serious.

I shall briefly allow myself to give an account of the important and sad communications of the latest developments, that has been given to me by completely reliable and truthful source, and which is of such a nature that it will cause general regret everywhere in the Christian world.

The Turks are vigorously carrying through their cruel intention, to exterminate the Armenian people.

In Brussa they have forced the well-to-do Armenians to pay the police 300 Turkish pounds (approximately 5,000 Danish kroner) a person to be allowed to stay in the city, and yet the next day they have banished them from the city with their wives and children.

Where these unfortunate people are now, and what fate they have met after they have had to leave their homes, is not possible to learn even for the closest family.

In Adana the governor has ordered the posting of a proclamation which, in a French translation I have received from the Patriarchate, goes as follows:

6) L’expédition se fera quartier par quartier. 18) On doit se rendre à Alep par la voie de Osmaniéh-Radjou. Août 1915.

In a letter received here from the bishop of Erzerum, Monseigneur Melchisédéchian, it is stated that the parish of Khodirtchour, which was made up of 12 villages, has been completely evacuated, and that no one knows what has happened to the vanished population.

That same prelate, on July 17 this year, reported that he himself had been forced to set out for an unknown destination, and nothing has been heard of him since.

The former bishop of that same district, Monseigneur Ketchourian, at the same time travelled to Constantinople, but disappeared along the way.

The bishop of Karput [Harput; Kharpert], Monseigneur Israëlian, on June 23 reported to the Patriarchate that he had been ordered to leave the town for Aleppo with all of his parishioners within 48 hours, and it has later been learned that this bishop and all the clergy that accompanied him have been attacked and killed between Diyarbekir and Urfa at a place where approximately 1700 Armenian families have suffered the same fate.

The whole of the population in the abovementioned parish are considered lost.

The populations in the parishes of Diyarbekir and Malatia have also been driven out of their villages, and it is not known what has happened to the bishops Tchélébian and Khatchadourian and their parishioners.

The sad message has also been confirmed that the archbishop of Mardin, Monseigneur Maloyan, and approx. 700 of his Catholic parishioners have been killed, and that the population in the town of Tallermen, which was purely Catholic, has been completely exterminated.

Reports are completely lacking on what has happened to the bishop of Mouch, Monseigneur Topuzian, and his parishioners, but there is reason to believe that they too have been killed.

It is feared that a similar fate has befallen the clergy and parishioners of Gurin.

In the parish of Sivas, the only village to have been spared is Pirkinik, where the archbishop, Monseigneur Ketchedjian, has escaped to. He, and one cleric that accompanied him, are the only survivors.

Trebisond, Samson, [illegible], Marsivan, and Amassia have been completely evacuated, and there is no knowledge of what has happened to the 47 clerics of these towns.

Tarsus, Hedzin, and Mersina have suffered the same fate.

In Angora, all of the men have been abducted from the town, and the women have been forced to marry Muslims; approximately 6000 men, approximately 70 clerics, and the bishop, Monseigneur Grégoire Bahaban, have been shot on the road to the place of banishment.

In the city of Ismid, the government has ordered that the Armenian Catholics who had been banished to Eskicheir should be allowed to return to their homes, but the governor would not let them enter the city, and sent them back. The same thing has happened many other places.

Even here in Constantinople Armenians are being abducted and sent to Asia, and it is not possible to get information of their whereabouts.

The Patriarchate has calculated that half of the Armenian-Catholic hierarchy has been lost; 7 bishops, approximately 100 priests, 70 other clerics, and thousands upon thousands of their parishioners have disappeared.

The Church formerly consisted of 16 districts (Constantinople, Mardin, Diyarbekir, Karput, Malatia, Sivas-Tokat, Mouch, Erzerum, Trebisond, Angora, Césarée [Cesarea, Kayseri], Brussa [Bursa], Adana, Marache [Marash], Aleppo, and Alexandrie [Alexandrette]), and according to the latest information only Marache, Aleppo, and Césarée have been spared outside of Constantinople.

The fate that thus has befallen the Catholic Armenians has with even greater cruelty befallen all the other Armenians, in that the aim of the government, as I have already had the honor to report, is to completely exterminate the Armenian people.

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


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