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Source: DK/RA-UM/Gruppeordnede sager 1909-1945. 139. N. 1, ”Armenien”
Edition: Danish diplomatic sources
Arrival of telegram: 03/21/1916
Embassy/consular serial number: No. 54
Translated by: Matthias Bjørnlund
Last updated: 03/23/2012

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


No. 54

Constantinople, 10 March 1916.

Mr. Foreign Minister,

Travellers who have arrived here from Asia Minor during the last days are stating that the persecutions of the Armenians have started again. A Hungarian gentleman, whose credibility is established by the local Dutch legation, came here from Baghdad the other day and related that the large stretches he has travelled in Mesopotamia is covered with Armenian corpses. He estimates that the number of Armenians killed in Mesopotamia exceeds 300.000.

However, I doubt that it really is a case of new massacres ordered from here, and I think it more likely that the possible new killings are an effect of the removing to faraway places of the deported Armenians that now take place and which makes such orders obsolete, because they invariably are attacked, killed, and plundered by robbers on the way.

A German priest who arrived from Damascus a couple of days ago relates that a very large part of the deported Armenian population, without being massacred, simply dies of starvation now because they have been transported to areas where no provisions are available, and left to their destiny.

This priest, who has studied these conditions on the location, and who has witnessed incredible horrors, is now leaving for Berlin to tell his story.

With regards to the renewed persecutions of the Armenians here in Constantinople, Scutari, Pera, etc., they have not taken the form of mass arrests at the moment, but a number of isolated arrests and deportations of Armenians belonging to the wealthier and more enlightened classes, doctors, lawyers, etc., are taking place on a daily basis, while the lower class, who has no knowledge and quietly minds its own business, has only been disturbed in a few instances.

Considering the way the Armenians have been and still are being treated, there will hardly be many of them left, and if Greece is being forced to join the Entente, then I fear that the Greeks in Turkey will fare the same way the Armenians have.

If the Young Turks have their way, the time will never come back when the Arabs, Armenians, and Greeks made up the majority in the Ottoman parliament, because they realized that such a majority sooner or later would demand that the Caliphate was replaced by a confederation, and that they would soon lose their power. The Turks have therefore chosen the only means available to them to preserve their control over Turkey – that is the complete extermination of the peoples who had the greatest possibilities to evolve after the introduction of the constitution, and who they have no way of competing with in a peaceful struggle.

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


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