Monday, August 25, 2008

A people killed twice

It is the forgotten 20th-century catastrophe. In 1915, under cover of world war, Ottoman Turks wiped out a third of the Armenian population. To this day, Turkey denies blame - and, behind it, Britain stands firm among a dwindling band of nations that fail to acknowledge the massacres were genocide

Julia Pascal
The Guardian, Saturday January 27 2001
Article history

Today is Britain's first Holocaust Day, and already the row has started. January 27, Auschwitz's Liberation Day, is the symbolic memorial for the Jewish holocaust, and that will be the focus of a ceremony in Whitehall. The genocides in Bosnia, Cambodia and Rwanda will also be remembered. But what about the Armenians, whose holocaust was the first of the bloody 20th century? Originally they were to be excluded from the ceremony entirely. Following intensive pressure, the government has made a concession: a few Armenians have been invited to the event, and mention will be made of the hundreds of thousands of deaths in 1915. This immediately provoked an angry reaction from the Turks - without satisfying the Armenians who were planning to hold a silent vigil in protest outside the Home Office on the night before the ceremony.
At the end of 1999, there was a collective feeling that the year 2000 would begin with a clean slate: the Jewish holocaust was part of the past century. That changed when the new millennium brought with it the David Irving trial, plunging British law into the sensitive area of holocaust-denial. Currently, Jewish writers and historians are making connections between holocaust deniers such as Irving and Turkey's refusal to accept the bloody anti-Armenian policies of the Ottoman Empire. And, across the sweep of the century, a real link between the Armenian and Jewish genocides becomes clear. Just as Hitler wanted a Nazi-dominated world that would be Judenrein (cleansed of its Jews), so in 1915 the Ottoman Empire wanted to construct a Turkic Muslim empire that would stretch from Istanbul to Manchuria. Armenia, an ancient Christian civilisation spreading out from the eastern end of the Black Sea, did not not fit into the plan. In a terrible coincidence, both Jews and Armenians lost a third of their population through genocide. Both are still recovering.
Already, at the end of the 19th century, Ottoman Turks had murdered between 100,000 and 250,000 Armenians. We can now see that these pogroms were a warning of what was to happen in 1915. Tens of thousands fled. In 1901, Protestant missionary Theresa Huntington Ziegler chronicled a massive haemorrhaging of Armenians towards France, Egypt, Lebanon, South America, Palestine and the Sudan. Today, the majority of diaspora Armenians live in California.
Who exactly are the Armenians? Their language is Indo-European and their culture dates back to more than 2,000 years BC. In AD303, as an act of collective identity against assimilation by the Persians, they were the first nation to declare Christianity a state religion. St Mesrob Mashtots is their literary hero. He created the 36-letter Armenian alphabet in AD405. Armenian culture is a multilayered heritage of music, dance, theatre, literature and extraordinary poetry. Armenia was an independent state in medieval times but was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, from the 15th century right up until 1920 when it was briefly declared a republic. Two years later much of it became part of the USSR; now - with the break-up of the Soviet Union - there is once again a Republic of Armenia. The entire diaspora speaks western Armenian; only those living in this independent homeland of Armenia speak eastern Armenian, with its structural and phonological differences.
A certain amount of romance has surrounded Armenian culture since the 19th century. Lord Byron went to Venice to study Armenian in the belief that "Armenian is the language to speak with God". William Gladstone said, "to serve Armenia is to serve civilisation". But, of course, geography is all. Armenia, in 1914, was uncomfortably sandwiched between the warring sides of Tsarist Russia and the sultanate of Mohammed V. In the first world war, conscripted Russian and Turkish Armenians, just like German and British Jews, were fighting their own cousins in the trenches.
At the beginning of the last century, civil rights for European minorities became a serious issue. A modernisation of the Ottoman Empire was promised by the 1908 revolutionary movement of Young Turks, and Turkish Armenians hoped for equality. In fact, the Young Turks continued to target Armenians and other non-Muslims. As Sultan Abdul Hamid II put it, at the beginning of the century, "The way to get rid of the Armenian Question is to get rid of the Armenians."
In 1915, the Young Turks, who had deposed the old sultan, carried out a systematic final solution, through mass shootings, concentration camps, starvation, abandonment in the desert, even gassing and mass deportation. This happened despite conscription, the year before, of 250,000 Armenians into the Turkish army. Christopher Walker and David Marshall Lang, writing for a journal in the Minority Rights Group series, detail Armenian loyalty to the Empire during the first world war: "When the Turkish war minister, Enver Pasha, was defeated by the Russians, it was the Armenian soldiers who saved him from being killed or captured by Tsarist forces." But, remembering the 1896 assassinations and recent pogroms, some Armenians joined the enemy Tsarist armies as volunteers. This helped the Ottomans portray the Armenians as a dangerous fifth column.
By 1915, all Armenians had been forced to give up personal firearms. Armenians in the Ottoman army were assembled into labour battalions where they were starved, beaten or machine-gunned. On April 24, 1915, more than 300 Istanbul Armenian intellectuals were arrested and then murdered in a mini Katyn. This included MPs in the Turkish parliament. The Armenian community was now without able-bodied men and intellectuals. This lack of leadership was to have a profound political and emotional effect on the survivors. The loss is felt even today.
Memories from this genocide make gruelling reading. There are stories of women's breasts being cut off. Others were systematically raped and then murdered. Some were taken to harems and disappeared. In every province, town and village of Turkish Armenia and Asia Minor, the entire Armenian population was rounded up. The men were usually shot, and the women and children forced to walk in huge convoys to the Syrian desert. Even today, skeletons are still found from this journey to hell. Few survived the death marches. Those who did get through made sure their experiences were passed down to children and grandchildren.
Dr Susan Pattie, senior research fellow at University College London, is a 50-year-old US-born anthropologist. Her family was deported from the town of Kessab on the Turkish/Syrian border in 1915. Two of her grandmother's children died on the death marches and two more were taken away by Turks. (Many Armenian children were used as slave workers, others were adopted and converted; the rest disappeared.)
Pattie, who grew up in Washington DC, has been profoundly affected by her grandmother's early tragedy. "Although my father was American-English and my schoolfriends were mainly Jewish, I totally identified as Armenian, particularly as my grandmother lived with us. We were told about the deportation when we were growing up. It was part of being Armenian."
Genocide was decided at government level. Locally, gendarmes carried out the mass murders together with a special organisation (Teshkilat-i Mahsusa) of convicted criminals who had been offered a pardon in return for slaughtering Armenians. Survivors from the death marches were held in the infamous Syrian open-air concentration camp of Deir el-Zor, where many were murdered by camp guards.
Death came in various ways. In Trebizond, local Armenians were pushed on to boats then thrown overboard. Others were hurled off the edge of a gorge. Before 1914, more than two million Armenians lived in Turkey. After the genocide, only 500,000 remained, destined to become refugees in what was to become known as the Armenian diaspora.
Talaat Pasha, Ottoman minister of the interior, was the genocide's main architect. He wrote, "By continuing the deportation of the orphans to their destinations during the intense cold, we are ensuring their eternal rest." This uncannily prefigures the Nazis' welcoming of the Jews to Auschwitz with the sardonic words, "Now you are on the road to Paradise."
Jews bore witness to the Armenian holocaust from the start. Henry Morgenthau, a German-born Jew and America's ambassador to Turkey, protested fiercely to the US government in an attempt to force its intervention. Writing in the Red Cross Magazine in March 1918, he said, "None of the fearful horrors perpetrated in the various zones of war can compare with the tragic lot of the Armenians." Morgenthau has become a hero to the Armenians. But Jewish sympathy did not provoke any international aid for the Armenians, whose extermination was being veiled under cover of war.
After the war, France and Britain were anxious to seize whatever territory they could from the 1918 dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. Palestine was to become a British mandate, the French took Syria and Lebanon. The fate of the Armenians was of little interest to the imperialist powers. In a 1915 dispatch, the Times war correspondent, J Norman, writes of "husbands mourning their dishonoured wives, parents their murdered children, churches despoiled, graves dug up, young of both sexes carried off". He describes men being forced to dig trenches for their own graves. These are disturbingly prophetic images of events 26 years later, when the Einsatzgruppen in the Soviet Union forced Jews to do the same.
Turkey has never admitted to the genocide, but there are too many independent witnesses for its denial to be credible. The Reverend Henry H Riggs was an American missionary in the Ottoman Empire. His book, Days Of Tragedy In Armenia, is one of the most detailed genocide histories in English. The US National Archives have information on the slaughter and deportations on file and open to the public. There is even protest from Mehmet Sherif Pasha, former Turkish envoy to Sweden. Writing to the New York Times in 1921, he says, "The Armenian atrocities perpetrated under the present regime surpass the savagery of Genghis Khan and Tamburlaine." Dr E Lovejoy of the executive board of the American Women's Hospital wrote to the Times, "I was the first American Red Cross woman in France, but what I saw there during the Great War seems a love feast beside the horrors of Smyrna. When I arrived at Smyrna there were massed on the quays 250,000 wretched, suffering and screaming women beaten and with their clothes torn off, families separated and everybody robbed."
The problem is that guilt admission sometimes takes centuries. The Vatican has taken nearly 1,000 years to apologise for the Crusades. Even in Britain, particular archives from both world wars remain closed, so it should be no surprise that the Turks are equally secretive. Historian Ara Sarafian notes how Ottoman archives fail to detail "abandoned" private properties or any compensation paid to individuals for "resettlement". He also details how "no such records have emerged on the actual 'resettlement' [a euphemism for death] of the hundreds of thousands of Armenians deported during this period". As recently as 1990, Turkey's ambassador to the US, Nuzhet Kandemir, claimed the Armenian deaths were, "a result of a tragic civil war initiated by Armenian nationalists".
Public Armenian protest did not emerge until the 60s. Until then, survivors were too busy picking up their lives to start retribution claims. When recognition of the Jewish holocaust gradually filtered into the popular imagination in the 70s and 80s, the Armenians felt that their story was being upstaged, especially as constant Turkish denial helped bleach out the facts.
In the late 70s and early 80s, the Armenian liberation army (ASALA) assassinated Turkish diplomats to focus media attention on the Armenian genocide. In July 1983, a Turkish diplomat was killed in Brussels. In Paris, six people died and 48 were wounded when a bomb exploded in front of the Turkish Airlines' check-in desk at Orly airport. ASALA killed 39 diplomats in a decade. Many of the gunmen were trained in Libya and had Palestinian connections. The Armenians have, at different times, identified with both Palestinians and Jews.
At a conference held in Lausanne in 1983, 200 Armenians met to discuss the creation of an independent Armenian state in northeastern Turkey; a country that might extend into Soviet Armenia. These Armenians described themselves as "something halfway between the World Jewish Congress and the Palestine National Council". Their dream may have seemed utopian, but the idea of a Jewish homeland also appeared unrealistic at the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897. Although the Lausanne conference did not lead to direct political action, the assassinations stopped. Since then, the battle for who writes Armenian history has intensified, and the Armenians are beginning to gain ground.
In 1985, the UN Committee on Human Rights published a report declaring the Ottoman Empire responsible for the massacres of the Armenians in 1915 and 1916. Two years later, the Council of Europe agreed that Turkey's refusal to recognise the genocide was an insurmountable obstacle to Turkey's admission to the EU. By the end of 2000, the European Parliament, France, Sweden, the Vatican and Italy finally acknowledged the Armenian genocide. Of the major powers, only the US, Canada and Britain still hold back. There are too many conflicting interests at stake. Turkey, for instance, threatened to deny the US use of its air bases if President Clinton agreed formally to accept the massacres as a genocide.
Perhaps the Armenians' best hope is allegiance with the Jews, who have learnt the importance of stubbornly pursuing justice. They certainly have Jewish allies. But Jewish solidarity is not always certain. Turkey is one of Israel's few Muslim allies and the Israeli state has not wanted to alienate the Turks. Enlightened Jews in the diaspora are less circumspect. In 1988, the Israeli Knesset signed a statement acknowledging the Armenian massacres during the first world war without mentioning Turkey, whereas in the US the Jewish Reform movement condemned the Ottoman Turks for "one of the most shameful events in history".
Recently, Israeli political priorities have shifted. Since the current intifada, the Israeli/ Palestinian struggle for Jerusalem has intensified. Israelis have traditionally appreciated Turkey's support, but they may now need Armenian sympathy even more: a sixth of non-Jewish, non-Arab Jerusalem is in Armenian hands.
Israel's internal power shifts also change the perspective. In 1989, rightwing prime minister Yitzhak Shamir called the commemoration of the Armenian genocide "not our business". The Israeli left is usually more sensitive. The Jerusalem Post is highly critical of Turkey's genocide denial: "Turkey should be advised that the attempt by the old Ottoman rulers back in 1915 to make the 'traitorous' Armenians into authors of their own misfortune does not serve well as the basis of contemporary relations." Jewish historians are alert to the fact that the murder of Armenians was helped by German officers and that Hitler saw the Armenian genocide as an inspiration for the Final Solution. They also know that denying the Armenian massacres is only one small step away from denying the destruction of the Jews.
In 1995, Israel's education minister, Ammon Rubinstein, wanted to include the Armenian genocide in the school curriculum. But this was rejected by Hebrew University historian Michel Abithol and other "experts", who declared the Ottoman critique "one-sided". Armenian historians counter-attack: "Is there another side to Hitler who gassed the Jews?" Some Israelis are reluctant to ally themselves publicly, fearing that an emphasis on the Armenian genocide might detract from the uniqueness of the Jewish holocaust, as if there is some crazy competition about who suffered the most.
For the Turks, the problem is enormous. An acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide might result in land claims and reparations. They have only to look at recent German and Swiss history to take fright. It is no surprise, then, that they try to control who writes history. Turkey has offered funding for academic programmes in the universities of Princeton and Georgetown. Three years ago, UCLA's history department voted to reject a $1m offer to endow a programme in Turkish and Ottoman studies because it was conditional on their denying the Armenian genocide. Professor Colin Tatz, director for the Centre for Comparative Genocide Studies at Macquarie University, in Sydney, Australia, claims that Turkey has used "a mix of academic sophistication and diplomatic thuggery . . . to put both memory and history into reverse gear".
The argument over who controls history continues, even on the internet. In August, the Turkish government tried to suppress a Microsoft online encyclopedia entry. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the Turkish government threatened Microsoft with serious reprisals unless all mention of the Armenian genocide was removed. Authors Ronald Grigor Suny and Helen Fein refused to give in.
As for Jews in Turkey, their history has been easier than that of their cousins in Christian countries. Certainly, they have reason to be grateful to a land that welcomed them after expulsion by the 1492 Spanish Inquisition. Turkish Jews were a large pre-war minority in Turkey who felt a natural sympathy with Armenians. In the larger cities, both were considered a privileged, educated elite who, together with the Greeks, succeeded in business, culture and politics. They also had reason to thank their host country in the second world war.
Sixty-five-year-old Turkish Jewish novelist, Moris Farhi, now lives in London. He learnt about the Armenian genocide when his family was living in Ankara and they took in two penniless survivors from the death marches. Farhi remembers, "an apocryphal story that Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish state, was a Jew, as he was born in the very Jewish city of Salonika. In 1933, Ataturk offered asylum to Jews and leftwingers persecuted by Hitler. Thousands came to Turkey."
But under Ismet Inonu's government in 1942, a new crippling wealth tax was imposed on non-Muslims. Farhi's father was breaking stones in a workcamp as punishment for his inability to pay these astronomical taxes. Despite family poverty, Farhi remembers never being hungry as food was offered by sympathetic neighbours.
The majority of Turks remained ignorant of the genocide while it was happening, and have since. Mehmet Ergen, a 34-year-old London-based Turkish theatre director, confirms, "In our Turkish schools we never learnt about our history. The Armenian massacre was never mentioned. In London I heard that the Kurds were told that if they killed the Armenians they could take their lands. So they did, and then the Turks killed the Kurds." Ergen, a multiculturalist, laments Turkey's denial of "its own historical mosaic". He says, "even Turkish theatre owes its birth to Armenian writers and actors. Armenian, Greek and Jewish culture has vanished, and Turkey is the loser."
If the genocide is now a central focus for Armenians, is this dangerous? Surely to fixate on disaster defines a people through destruction rather than achievement: as if the holocaust, Jewish or Armenian, becomes a new quasi religion. The majority of Jews and Armenians are not religious. They do not live in Israel or Armenia. If they don't adhere to their faith, then what makes them Jews or Armenians, particularly when so many are marrying out? These two holocausts remain like a terrible icon dominating the present as well as the past.
The problem is that there has been no proper mourning. As psychiatrist and Auschwitz survivor Bruno Bettelheim said, a people cannot move on if it has not buried its dead. And the Armenians, as well as the Jews, had no bodies to bury. Therefore the unmourned are carried around in the psyches of the survivors and transmitted to children and grandchildren rather like ghosts. Sometimes the survivors are guilty of reconstructing so quickly that they forget to mourn. Israel's choice of Modern Hebrew as the new language for the new Jews and its total abnegation of Yiddish was expedient. It was a deliberate act to end the stereotype of the Yiddish-speaking ghetto Jew forced into the gas chamber. But the loss of the language has also meant the assassination of a wealthy culture. Two generations have already lost their grandparents' Yiddish heritage. In contrast, the Armenians have carried their language with them into the diaspora as a deliberate act of resistance.
Ani King-Underwood, a Beirut-born Armenian documentary film-maker, still owns the deeds to her family's Turkish property. Her mother was 40 days old when the family left during the deportations with Nansen papers (Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian diplomat, explorer and 1922 Nobel peace prize winner, a kind of early Raoul Wallenberg, who provided an escape for 300,000 Armenians using League of Nations documents). The British refused Ani's family entry into Palestine or Egypt, but finally permitted them to live in camps on Cyprus. Her 23-year-old law student son, Gregory, has an English father but is a fluent Armenian speaker. He takes an active part in the Armenian community and promotes the young Armenians' website, www. Here, the group RBO Unlimited have produced a rap song about the genocide.
Living here, does he feel a dual allegiance? "Very much so. I am a British Armenian, but perhaps more British. I play rugby. I drink beer. I'm proud of being British. It's multicultural." So what does being Armenian mean? "Armenia is not a nation. It's a culture. It's an idea in our heads." His mother interjects. "When he was a baby, I had him baptised. Not as a Christian but as an Armenian."
Secular Jews and Armenians both fuse religion with cultural identity but, even if they share the trauma of genocide, this does not automatically lead to solidarity. Are Armenians sometimes jealous of Jews? "Yes," says Gregory, "the Jews have been very good at marketing the holocaust. And it is a good thing." Synthesising the argument historically, Gregory says, "the problem is that the British were fighting the Nazis. Some liberated Belsen. They saw what was done to the Jews. But no outsider liberated us. The only people who know about the Armenian genocide are the Armenians and the Turks."
Clearly, the victims of both atrocities seek atonement from the murder state. German guilt-admission makes it easier for Jews to talk to Germans and even to work together. The process has to be gone through psychotherapeutically, by discussion and confrontation.
Then there is always revenge. In 1921, the Ottoman Hitler, Talaat Pasha, was assassinated by the Armenian Soghomon Tehlirian in Berlin. The agent of retribution was released on grounds of temporary insanity and lived out his days as a hero in the Armenian paradise of California. There were similar murders of former Ottoman leaders in Rome and Tbilisi, Georgia. In March 1943, Talaat Pasha's remains were sent by Hitler from Berlin as a gift to the Turkish government. They were reinterred on Turkey's Hill of Liberty in a ceremony attended by the representatives of Hitler's ambassador to Turkey. Although Armenians are Christians, they are not turning the other cheek.
Reverend Dr Nerses Nersessian, an Iranian-born Armenian scholar and priest, is the curator of the Hebrew and Christian Middle East section at the British Library. His Christian name is Vrej, a very popular first name for boys. Vrej means "revenge".
Turkish-born Armenian author, Agop Hacikyan has written A Summer Without Dawn. The book is based on the experiences of his grandparents, who fled to Jerusalem during the genocide before returning to Turkey in 1920. In 1955, Hacikyan was called up and spent 18 months in Izmir as a translator between the Turkish Port Detachment and Nato. As a soldier in uniform, he remembers stopping to go to the public toilet. Looking down, he saw that the urinal had been constructed from Armenian gravestones. Forty years after the mass murders, Turks were happily making people urinate on Armenian graves. He now lives in Canada, which has a large Armenian community. Here, there are very few - shamefully, only 200 Armenians were allowed to immigrate to Britain between the wars, whereas France absorbed 63,000.
As the century ended, the Armenian Shoah seemed to fade out of public consciousness. There seemed to be just too many genocides to absorb.
On July 26 last year, a group of British parliamentarians from both houses petitioned Tony Blair to recognise the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The government refused - and the concession concerning today's Holocaust Day ceremony does not alter that. But the problem will not go away and, if prominent supporters of the Armenian cause are championing their case in the US and Israel, the debate is surely going to take root here. On September 27, eminent British Jewish historian Sir Martin Gilbert talked publicly about the Armenian genocide at Washington's Holocaust Museum in a deliberate attempt to push the issue deeper into Jewish consciousness.
As Thomas Bürgenthal, an Auschwitz survivor, lawyer and member of the UN Human Rights Committee, says, "I don't know why the Turks can't admit it, express sorrow and go on. That is the worst. You do all these things to the victim and then you say it never happened. That is killing them twice."

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Enver Pasha
One of the triumvirate rulers
publicly declared on 19 May 1916...
The Ottoman Empire should be cleaned up of the Armenians and the Lebanese. We have destroyed the former by the sword, we shall destroy the latter through starvation.

Enver Pasha's reply to US Ambassador Morgenthau who was deploring the massacres against Armenians and attributing them to irresponsible subalterns and underlings in the distant provinces:
You are greatly mistaken. We have this country absolutely under our control. I have no desire to shift the blame onto our underlings and I am entirely willing to accept the responsibility myself for everything that has taken place.

Talaat Pasha, Minister of the Interior
September 6, 1916. - To the Government of Aleppo.
It was at first communicated to you that the Government, by order of the Jemiet had decided to destroy completely all the Armenians living in Turkey...An end must be put to their existence, however criminal the measures taken may be, and no regard must be paid to either age or sex nor to conscientious scruples.

Talaat Pasha said, after the German Ambassador persistentlybrought up the Armenian question in 1918:
What on earth do you want? The question is settled. There are no more Armenians.

Talaat PashaIn a conversation with Dr. Mordtmann of the German Embassy in June 1915...
Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.

Henry Morgenthau (U.S. Ambassador to Turkey)
The real aim of deportations is killing and burglary. In reality, it was a new way to eradicate a nation. When Turkish powers were giving out the order for deportation, they sentenced a whole nation to death, (1916).

Arnold Toynbee (noted British historian)
All these atrocities have been committed toward Armenians even though they have not done anything to invite them, (1915).

Anatole France (French author)
Armenia is dying, but it will survive. The little blood that it still has left is precious blood that will give birth to a heroic generation. A nation that does not want to die, does not die, (1916).

Fritof Nansen (Norwegian public figure)
The massacres that started in 1915 have nothing to compare with the history of mankind. The massacres by Abdul Hamid are minor in comparison to what today's Turks have done, (1916).

Jacques de Morgan (French scientist)
The deportations of Western Armenians are nothing but concealed race extermination. There is no language rich enough to describe the horrors of it, (1917).

Valerii Brusov (Russian poet)
Turks continued their previous policy. They would not stop committing massive and most awful massacres that even Leng Timur would not dare to do, (1916).

Fayez el Husein (Arab publicist)
Who can describe the feelings that an eyewitness experiences when he thinks of this heroic and unfortunate nation. Its courage and spirit surprise the world. A nation that yesterday was one of the most energetic and progressive nations of the Ottoman Empire is becoming a memory, (1917).

Joseph Markwart (German scientist)
Even after proclamation of the Constitution, the main slogan of the Turkish policy has been "Without Armenians there will be no Armenian problem, (1919).

Dr. Martin Niepage, From the Horrors of Aleppo, seen by a German eyewitness,
translated by the New York Times publication (its magazine) Current History Vol. 5 Nov. 1916 pp 335-37.
The German Consul from Mosul related, in my presence, at the German club at Aleppo that, in many places on the road from Mosul to Aleppo, he had seen children's hands lying hacked off in such numbers that one could have paved the road with them.

Henry Morgenthau U.S. Ambassador to Turkey (1914-1916)
When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race: they understood this well, and in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact.

John Loftus
Genocide & Human Rights (1992)
There is a strong circumstantial case that the vice consul to Armenia, von Scheubner, was the man who carried the lesson of the Holocaust forward from the Armenians and transmitted it to Hitler, that Hitler recalled it formulated it as part of his foreign policy as early as 1931, a decade before the Jewish Holocaust was to be released in full fury. The essence of what Hitler understood was indifference. To put it crudely, it takes one hundred people to kill each child in a genocide: one to pull the trigger, but ninety nine to shrug their shoulders. It was this legacy of indifference, this lack of deterrence that led Hitler to make his famous statement, 'Who now remembers the Armenians?'

Henry Morgenthau,U. S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1914-1916.
One day Talaat made what was perhaps the most astonishing request I had ever heard. The New York Life Insurance Company and the Equitable Life of New York for years had done considerable business among the Armenians. The extent to which this people insured their lives was merely another indication of their thrifty habits.

'I wish,' Talaat now said, 'that you would get the American life insurance companies to send us a complete list of their Armenian policy holders. They are practically all dead now and have left no heirs to collect the money. It of course all escheats to the State. The government is the beneficiary now. Will you do so?' This was almost too much, and I lost my temper.

'You will get no such list from me,' I said, and I got up and left him.

From a speech presented to the Turkish Committee of Union and Progress
February, 1915
It is absolutely necessary to eliminate the Armenian people in its entirety, so that there is no further Armenian on this earth and the very concept of Armenia is extinguished.

Yossi Beilin Israeli
Deputy Foreign Minister.April 27, 1994 on the floor of the Knesset in response to a TV interview of the Turkish Ambassador
It was not war. It was most certainly massacre and genocide, something the world must remember... We will always reject any attempt to erase its record, even for some political advantage.

Gerald Ford
Addressing the US House of Representatives
Mr. Speaker, with mixed emotions we mark the 50th anniversary of the Turkish genocide of the Armenian people. In taking notice of the shocking events in 1915, we observe this anniversary with sorrow in recalling the massacres of Armenians and with pride in saluting those brave patriots who survived to fight on the side of freedom during World War I. - Congressional Record, pg. 8890

George W. Bush
President of United States
Presidential Message on Annihilation of Armenians U.S. Newswire April 24, 2001.
Today marks the commemoration of one of the great tragedies of history: the forced exile and annihilation of approximately 1.5 million Armenians in the closing years of the Ottoman Empire. These infamous killings darkened the 20th century and continue to haunt us to this day. Today, I join Armenian Americans and the Armenian community abroad to mourn the loss of so many innocent lives. I ask all Americans to reflect on these terrible events. While we mourn the tragedy that scarred the history of the Armenian people, let us also celebrate their indomitable will which has allowed Armenian culture, religion, and identity to flourish through the ages. Let us mark this year the 1700th anniversary of the establishment of Christianity in Armenia. Let us celebrate the spirit that illuminated the pages of history in 451 when the Armenians refused to bow to Persian demands that they renounce their faith. The Armenian reply was both courageous and unequivocal: "From this faith none can shake us, neither angels, nor men, neither sword, fire or water, nor any bitter torturers." This is the spirit that survived again in the face of the bitter fate that befell so many Armenians at the end of the Ottoman Empire. Today, that same spirit not only survives, but thrives in Armenian communities the world over. Many Armenian survivors and their descendants chose to live in the United States, where they found safety and built new lives. We are grateful for the countless ways in which Armenian Americans continue to enrich America's science, culture, commerce and, indeed, all aspects of our national life. One of the most important ways in which we can honor the memory of Armenian victims of the past is to help modern Armenia build a secure and prosperous future. I am proud that the United States actively supports Armenia and its neighbors in finding a permanent and fair settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. I hope that this year we will see peace and reconciliation flourish in the south Caucasus region between Armenia and all its neighbors. efforts by the Armenian people to overcome years of hardship and Soviet repression to create a prospering, democratic, and sovereign Republic of Armenia. Let us remember the past and let its lessons guide us as we seek to build a better future. In the name of the American people, I extend my heartfelt best wishes to all Armenians as we observe this solemn day of remembrance.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Armenia's painful past

From Brian Todd
Friday, April 29, 2005

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- We shudder at images from Darfur, Sudan, wince at memories of Rwanda and look at grainy pictures of the Holocaust and say "never again."
Nearly forgotten is a brutal campaign from nearly a century ago, that historians say may not have been a model for those genocides, but certainly provided a rationale.
"The fact that a state could in fact carry this out under the eyes of the international community and get away with it, became in fact a hallmark of what the 20th century, the tragic 20th century, was really all about," says Charles King, author of "The Black Sea: A History."
Adolf Hitler himself was reported to have made a reference to it in 1939, as he prepared to invade Poland. He was quoted as saying, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"
In April, 1915, the Ottoman Empire, which covered the general area of what is now Turkey, was battling on two fronts in World War I, and was disintegrating in the process.
Armenians, long part of that empire, were restless for independence -- and were getting encouragement from Russia.
The Ottoman Turks, fearful of a Russian invasion on their eastern front, saw the Russian-Armenian alliance as a huge threat and targeted the Armenian population inside their borders.
"They embarked on an extermination plan by deporting the entire population, close to -- a little under 2 million Armenians -- in the empire into deserts and by killing and starvation and disease," says Harut Sassounian, editor of "The Armenian Genocide."
Between 1915 and 1923, Armenian leaders were rounded up in cities and executed; villagers were uprooted en masse and driven south toward the deserts of what are now Syria and Iraq. Many were shot or butchered outright by Turkish forces, but most died in forced marches.
The numbers -- to this day -- are still in dispute. Armenians say 1.5 million were killed. The Turkish government says not more than 300,000 perished and that Armenians weren't the only victims.
"These few years both sides suffered [and lost an] incredible number of people to war, to famine, to harsh climate," says Turkish Ambassador to the United States Faruk Logoglu.
Objective historians say the Armenian death toll is likely between 600,000 and 1 million.
The fight is not only over numbers, but also a word.
Neither the Turkish government, nor any U.S. president, except Ronald Reagan, has ever called this event "genocide."
Sassounian is the grandson of survivors.
"I describe it as a deep wound in the psyche of every Armenian that is not healing, is not going away, because it's like an open wound as long as that denial is there," Sassounian says.
The U.S. government says between 60,000 and 146,000 people have died in Darfur, Sudan, over the past two years, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell called that a genocide.
Historian King believes what happened to the Armenians was genocide by any definition, but "labeling it genocide among politicians has very severe political ramifications, particularly in terms of the U.S. relationship with Turkey -- an important strategic partner in southeast Europe and the wider Middle East," says King.
As Armenians mark the 90th anniversary of their darkest days, many say all they want is acknowledgement.
The Turks say they're willing to set up a commission to examine the historical record.
Two countries with a closed border and no formal relations -- still haunted by a distant tragedy.

Avoiding the G-word

The EU has come up with a new term to describe the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman forces in 1915

David Cronin,
Wednesday May 21 2008
Article history

This week the European parliament will seek to introduce a new euphemism for genocide into the lexicon of international relations. Diplomats who follow MEPs' advice will no longer have to run the risk of offending countries with a dishonourable history by uttering the 'g' word. They can, instead, refer to the most egregious crimes against humanity as "past events".
That is the phrase our fearless elected representatives use in a report they are about to formally endorse on Turkey's efforts to join the European Union. Although it advocates a "frank and open discussion" between Turkey and Armenia about "past events", the report is anything but frank and open about what those events could be.
In the absence of more explicit guidance, I can only assume the "events" in question were the slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman forces in 1915. There is ample evidence to suggest that this was the 20th century's first holocaust and that it partly inspired the efforts to exterminate Europe's Jews that Hitler initiated two decades later. No less a personage than Winston Churchill described the "massacring of uncounted thousands of helpless Armenians, men, women and children together, whole districts blotted out in one administrative holocaust". Political bodies across the world have passed resolutions recognising that a genocide occurred, including the European parliament itself back in 1987 (a fact conveniently omitted from the new report).
The question of whether the terms "genocide" or "holocaust" can be applied to the plight of the Armenians is not a purely historical or academic one. It is painfully pertinent to modern-day Turkey.
Last year Hrant Dink, the editor of Agos, a bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper, was murdered by extreme nationalists. He had been prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which made it a criminal offence to utter anything that could be construed as denigrating Turkishness. Dink was under no illusions that he was charged because he was prepared to address the Armenian genocide.
In 2005, the Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk told a Swiss newspaper that "30,000 Kurds and a million Armenians were murdered" in Turkey during the previous century and that "hardly anyone mentions it, so I do".
For bravely trying to break a taboo, Pamuk also found himself facing charges, though these were later dropped on a technicality.
Pamuk and Dink are the most high-profile victims of article 301, a law that has also been evoked to muzzle academics, human rights activists, even students and singers. Foreigners have been affected, too. The Turkish translation of Robert Fisk's mighty tome The Great War for Civilisation - which contains a harrowing account of unearthing Armenian skeletons in the Syrian desert - hit the shelves with zero marketing, because its publishers were scared of the reaction it would otherwise receive.
Last month, the Turkish assembly agreed to modify the law, reportedly to placate the EU's most powerful institutions. Out went the crime of insulting Turkishness. In came the crime of insulting the Turkish nation.
Several analysts have concluded - rightly - that this amendment is cosmetic and ambiguous. Yet according to the European commission, it is "very much a welcome step forward". The socialist grouping in the European parliament, which includes Britain's Labour MEPs, has made a similar statement ahead of this week's debate.
It is ironic that MEPs are indicating they may settle for something less than a total repeal of article 301. One MEP, the Dutch Green Joost Lagendijk, has been investigated under its provisions for accusing the Turkish army of inflaming tensions in the largely Kurdish south-east of the country during 2005.
Don't get me wrong. I'm in favour of Turkey joining the EU, once it chalks up significant improvements on its human rights record. And I consider it repugnant how right-wing politicians in France, Germany and Austria have opposed Turkey's accession efforts so that they can pander to an anti-Muslim bias for selfish electoral reasons.
But assaults on elementary rights like free expression have to be opposed whenever and wherever they occur. When alterations to laws designed to stifle democratic dissent are quite patently piecemeal, they should be criticised, not applauded.
And is it too much to ask from our elected representatives that they call a spade a spade and a genocide a genocide?

Orhan Pamuk,
Thursday June 12 2008

"When my sales went up my welcome from the Turkish literary scene disappeared"

Istanbul, Turkey

From an American school in Istanbul Pamuk went on to study architecture at Istanbul Technical University for three years. He then enrolled on a journalism course at Istanbul University in order to put off his military service.

Other jobs
Although Pamuk's family did not approve of his decision to abandon his architectural studies in order to become a full-time writer, his father did support him with 'pocket money' until he was 32. He also spent three years as a visiting scholar in Iowa.

Did you know?
In 1998 Pamuk refused to accept the prestigious title of "state artist" from the Turkish government. He said that if he accepted it he could not "look in the face of people I care about".

Critical verdict
Although Pamuk started writing full-time in the mid 1970s, he did not achieve popular success until the 1990s - and then he swiftly became the fastest-selling author in Turkish history. He is unusual in achieving both mass market success and critical acclaim for his complex, post-modern novels which tackle big themes - cultural change, identity crises, east v west, tradition v modernity - head-on. International recognition of his work came more recently, with the Irish Impac award in 2003, followed by the German book trade Peace prize and the French Prix Médicis étranger. He was also widely believed to have been a serious contender for the 2005 Nobel prize for literature, which went to Harold Pinter. However, it is for his political travails that Pamuk's name is becoming best known outside his home country. Following remarks made during an interview with a Swiss magazine in February 2005 concerning the alleged genocide of Kurds and Armenians in Anatolia between 1915 and 1917, he was charged by Turkish state prosecutors with "insulting Turkishness" - a new offence which carries a prison sentence of up to three years as a penalty. Pamuk's trial opened on December 16 2005 and was immediately rescheduled for February 7 2006. Tensions over the case in Turkey are running high - Pamuk has said that he was initially forced to flee the country because of a hate campaign being waged against him - but there has also been an international outcry, with Amnesty International, PEN (the worldwide association of writers) and a collection of renowned authors (including Gabriel García Márquez, John Updike, Gunter Grass and Umbert Eco) denouncing Turkey's actions.

Recommended works
Pamuk is best known outside his own country for his two most recent novels - My Name is Red (2000) and Snow (2002, English translation 2004). The former, which won the Impac award, is a murder mystery and love story set among the artistic intrigues of the Islamic miniaturists of the Ottoman court in 16th-century Istanbul. A rich and complex work narrated by a range of voices, it explores the tension between east and west, Islam and Christianity. The critically-acclaimed Snow, a thriller set in the 1990s that features a poet who is caught up in a military coup, is the first of Pamuk's novels to tackle politics directly. While either of these would be a reasonable introduction to Pamuk's style and primary concerns, new readers may be better advised to start off with The White Castle (1985). An allegory of two doppelgangers, it is his shortest and arguably most accessible work, but its focus on identity-swapping introduces a key theme of Pamuk's work. Meanwhile, there is no better introduction to Pamuk's own background than Istanbul: Memories and the City, the writer's love letter to the city of his childhood and memoir of his early life.

Pamuk acknowledges the influence of Dante on his novel The New Life and Joyce's Ulysses on The Black Book. John Updike has compared Pamuk's intellect and descriptive skill to Proust, but writers more commonly cited as the progenitors of Pamuk's style of postmodern narrative trickery are Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Garcia Márquez and Salman Rushdie.

Now read on
Staying within Turkey, another well-known writer-in-translation is Yasar Kamal. Try his Mehmet, My Hawk, the story of a boy growing up in Anatolia. For background on the country, Lords of the Horizon: a History of the Ottoman Empire by Jason Goodwin is worth a dip. The same author has a novel due out, too - The Janissary Tree is described as a detective thriller set in 19th-century Istanbul. Ranging more widely on the fiction front, Panos Karnezis's tale of a dissolute Greek army brigade making their way across the Anatolian desert, The Maze, may appeal, as may his short story collection, Little Infamies. Umberto Eco would, of course, be a safe choice. Readers who are attracted by Pamuk's political stance may like to explore the poetry of the late Nazim Hikmet, who brought modernism to Turkish literature but was stripped of his Turkish nationality in 1959 for criticising the political system.

In 1992 Pamuk wrote the screenplay for a film, Gizli Yuz, which was derived from his novel Kara Kitap (published in 1990, translated as The Black Book in 1995).

Useful links

·Comprehensive website
· Wikipedia entry on Pamuk
· Pamuk's Impac award citation
· Pamuk on Istanbul
· Pamuk's letter to The New Yorker on the subject of his trial

Publisher convicted of insulting Turkey

· Hearing followed book on Armenian genocide
· Five-year sentence likely to be reduced to fine
Robert Tait in Istanbul
The Guardian,
Friday June 20 2008
Article history

The publisher of a book by a British author acknowledging the 1915 Armenian genocide has been convicted under Turkey's notorious Article 301, despite reforms intended to make the law less draconian.
A judge sentenced Ragip Zarakolu to five months in prison after ruling that The Truth Will Set Us Free, written by George Jerjian, "insulted the Turkish republic".
The conviction came despite a letter of support from the author to the court arguing that his book was intended to forge a "new understanding of history between Turks and Armenians".
Translated into Turkish in 2005, Jerjian's book tells the story of the slaughter of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman forces during the first world war through the eyes of his Armenian grandmother, who survived largely thanks to the protection of a Turkish soldier.
Turkey disputes allegations that the Armenians' deaths were a result of deliberate genocide.
Zarakolu, who was acquitted of a separate charge of insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern Turkish state, has been freed on appeal.
He is not expected to serve time after the judge ruled that his sentence could be reduced to a fine, citing good behaviour.
The case, which has lasted more than three years, prompted MEPs, human rights organisations and the international writers' group Pen to campaign on Zarakolu's behalf.
His conviction is the first since Turkey's Justice and Development party (AKP) government revised Article 301 in April under pressure from domestic and foreign critics, who saw it as the country's most significant restriction on free speech.
The altered law banished the crime of insulting "Turkishness" and reduced the maximum sentence from three to two years.
The law also laid down that all prosecutions need prior approval from the justice minister.
The law was first introduced by the AKP in 2005 and has been used to prosecute 60 writers and journalists, including the Nobel prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk, who was charged after telling a Swiss newspaper that no one in Turkey dared mention the Armenian deaths or those of 30,000 Kurds.
The charges against Pamuk were subsequently dropped.
Article 301 was used to prosecute Zarakolu for the publication of another book on the Armenian question, Dora Sakayan's An Armenian Doctor in Turkey: Garabed Hatcherian, My Smyrna Ordeal of 1922.
Zarakolu, 60, whose human rights activities earned him two spells in prison during the 1970s, has faced official harassment for numerous publications over the years. Ultranationalist radicals firebombed the premises of his publishing company in 1995.
The law was also used against Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor who was shot dead by a nationalist extremist in Istanbul last year.
Dink, who campaigned for recognition of the crimes against Armenians, was prosecuted three times and convicted once. The last charges were dropped after his murder.
Zarakolu and his late wife Aysenur established the Belge publishing house in Istanbul in 1977.

Turkey’s Killing Fields

Published: December 17, 2006
In July 1915, the American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire sent Washington a harrowing report about the Turks’ “systematic attempt to uproot peaceful Armenian populations.” He described “terrible tortures, wholesale expulsions and deportations from one end of the Empire to the other accompanied by frequent instances of rape, pillage and murder, turning into massacre.” A month later, the ambassador, Henry Morgenthau — the grandfather of the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau — warned of an “attempt to exterminate a race.”
The Young Turk nationalist campaign against the empire’s Armenian subjects was far too enormous to be ignored at the time. But decades of government-backed denial have created what amounts to a taboo in Turkey today. Instead of admitting genocide, Turkish officials contend the Armenians were a dangerous fifth column that colluded with Russia in World War I; many Armenians may have died, they say, but there was no organized slaughter. Turkish writers who challenge this line, like the novelists Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak, have risked prosecution for insulting Turkish identity. And on the diplomatic front, when Turkey should be polishing its credentials for eventual European Union membership, it is mired in historical fights; this May, for instance, it pulled out of a NATO military exercise to protest the Canadian prime minister’s acknowledgment of the genocide.
“A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility,” by Taner Akcam, is a Turkish blast against this national denial. A historian and former leftist activist now teaching at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, Akcam is often described as the first Turkish scholar to call the massacres genocide, and his impressive achievement here is to shine fresh light on exactly why and how the Ottoman Empire deported and slaughtered the Armenians. He directly challenges the doubters back home, basing his powerful book on Turkish sources in the old Ottoman script — including the failed Ottoman war crimes tribunals held after World War I. Although he bolsters his case with material from the American, British and German archives, he writes that the remaining Ottoman records are enough to show that the ruling party’s central committee “did deliberately attempt to destroy the Armenian population.”
Akcam closely links the 1915 genocide with World War I. The Unionists, as the nationalist leaders were known, dreaded the partition of their empire by the European great powers. Not only did they suspect the Armenians of dangerous disloyalty, Akcam writes, but massacres of Muslims in Christian regions of the faltering empire before World War I had fostered a desire for vengeance.
While never excusing the atrocities, Akcam does argue that the Turkish leaders chose genocide in a mood of stark desperation. Staggered by a series of early military defeats, and by the Allied onslaught at Gallipoli, they fully expected their empire — driven out of so much of its vast territories over the past two centuries — to collapse. The Turkish heartland of Anatolia was threatened — as was Constantinople.
The fiercest Ottoman enemy was Russia, which had nearly seized Constantinople in a bloody 1877-78 war and had a storied history of trying to foment uprisings against Ottoman rule. The Turkish nationalist line puts great weight on the internal menace of pro-Russian Armenians. But Akcam argues that there was little real danger from the Armenian uprisings, which were limited and directed mostly against the deportations. (British officials considered the Armenians militarily useless and thus refused to encourage the uprisings.) Akcam allows that the evacuation of Armenians may have been justified by military necessity in areas where the Armenian revolutionaries were strong — but not throughout the empire.
The killings were a colossal undertaking. Paramilitaries and Interior Ministry gendarmes slaughtered Armenians en masse, while the Interior Ministry under Talat Pasha, who coordinated the campaign, arranged for the deportation of untold thousands more to the blazing Syrian deserts. Many of the deportees were massacred along the way, and those who survived were left without food, shelter or medicine, in what Akcam calls “deliberate extermination.” Akcam cites Ottoman Interior Ministry papers that chillingly call for keeping Armenians to less than 5 or 10 percent of the population. A postwar Turkish investigation found that some 800,000 Armenians perished.
After the war, Britain pressured the defeated Ottoman government into setting up its own war crimes tribunals. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk himself, the founder of the present Turkish republic, once said that the Unionist leaders “should have been brought to account for the lives of millions of our Christian subjects ruthlessly driven en masse from their homes and massacred.” Today, those who deny the genocide have to dismiss these trial records as mere victor’s justice. Akcam uses the records as important evidence, though he frowns on Britain’s imperialist ambitions and cultural biases.
This dense, measured and footnote-heavy book poses a stern challenge to modern Turkish polemicists, and if there is any response to be made, it can be done only with additional primary research in the archival records. In 1919, a British general hoped the Ottoman war crimes trials would “dispel the fog of illusions prevailing throughout the country.” Eighty-seven years later, the murk still lingers.
Gary J. Bass, the author of “Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals,” is writing a book on humanitarian intervention.

Swiss Convict Turkish Politician for Denying Armenian Genocide

Published: March 10, 2007
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 9 — A prominent Turkish politician was convicted Friday of breaching Swiss antiracism laws by saying that the early 20th-century killing of Armenians could not be described as genocide.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted swiftly to the decision, saying in a statement that it was saddened by the Swiss court’s ruling to punish the politician, Dogu Perincek, leader of the Turkish Workers’ Party, and to ignore “his freedom of expression.”
Mr. Perincek was ordered to pay a fine of $2,450; an additional penalty of $7,360 was suspended.
He was charged with breaking Swiss law by denying during a visit to Switzerland in 2005 that the World War I era killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians amounted to genocide. He has since repeated his statements, including at his trial this week.
In Turkey it is a crime to use the word genocide to describe the killings.
Mr. Perincek accused the judge of “racist hatred” toward Turkey and said he would appeal the verdict to Switzerland’s supreme court.
If necessary, Mr. Perincek told Turkey’s government-run Anatolia news agency, he would take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
In his closing statement, Judge Pierre-Henri Winzap described the defendant as an intelligent and cultivated person but added that to deny the Armenian genocide was an arrogant provocation because it was an accepted historical fact. Most Western governments consider the killings genocide.
Switzerland’s antiracism legislation has previously been applied to Holocaust denial.
The case has caused diplomatic tension between Switzerland and Turkey, which insists that Armenians were killed in civil unrest during the tumultuous collapse of the Ottoman Empire and not in a planned campaign of genocide.
In its response to the verdict the Turkish Foreign Ministry called into question the legitimacy of the Swiss law and said the case was “inappropriate, baseless and debatable in every circumstance.”


Indeed,very few nations can have so large number of sufferings, tortures, wars, genocides but still survive, live and prosper!


Chapter XI: USSR (FROM 1920s TO 1980s)

New losses.
On December 1, 1920 as the news about the Sovietization of Armenia reached Azerbaijan, Narimanov, the chief of the Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan, surprisingly declared about the cessation of the Azerbaijan's claims to the Armenian territories and proclaimed Karabakh, Nakhichevan and Zanguezour, integral parts of Armenia. However, just a day later, the Narimanov's decree appeared in a slightly different wording: Nakhichevan and Zanguezour were recognized parts of Armenia, whereas Karabakh was given the right of self-determination. Nonetheless, the strange alliance between the Turks and the Russian Bolsheviks played a fatal role in the final determination of borders. The Treaty of Alexandropol, signed in December of 1920 asserted the defeat of Armenia. Then in March of 1921, Turkey and Russia signed a mysterious Treaty of Moscow to tear Nakhichevan away from Armenia and to attach it to the Soviet Azerbaijan.
In summer of 1921, the Caucasian Office of the Communist Party of Bolsheviks held a number of sessions to solve the Karabakh problem. On July 4, the plenary session issued a decree confirming the belonging of Karabakh to Armenia. However, on the next day, Stalin convened an extraordinary session to transfer Karabakh to Azerbaijan. The Treaty of Kars signed in October of 1921 completed the carve-up of Armenia. As a result of the Soviet and Turkish manipulations, the territory of the Soviet Republic of Armenia was reduced to 30,000 square km. Armenia was even deprived of Mount Ararat, its main symbol.

Fate of Nakhichevan.

During the Soviet rule, Nakhichevan, the Armenian province with the Armenian name and the unique Armenian historical and cultural heritage underwent an unprecedented period of "white genocide" and "ethnic cleansing". Predominant there in the 19th century, the Armenians composed 50% of the population in the 20s. From 1936, when the Turks of Azerbaijan became "Azerbaijanis" instead of "Caucasian Tartars", the Soviet historians followed the instructions of the Communist Party leaders and began creating the so-called "history of Azerbaijan". In order to erase any trace of the region's Armenian past, many unique Armenian monuments were destroyed, including khachkars and churches of early Christian period. The land was then extensively peopled with the Turks while the Armenians left on a large scale. According to the census of 1959, the number of Armenians in the region decreased to 1, 5%!

Stalin's purges.
From 1922 to 1936, Armenia formed part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic, consisting of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The new Constitution of the USSR adopted in 1936 dissolved the Transcaucasian Republic. Armenia became one of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics. Like the other Republics, Armenia was governed by the Central Committee of the Republican Communist Party. The 1st Secretaries of the Party were appointed from Moscow. In the 30s, just like the other peoples of the Soviet Union, Armenians suffered from a large-scale campaign of political terror launched by Joseph Stalin. The purges touched virtually every Armenian family. Thousands of writers, artists, scientists and political leaders were executed or exiled.

During the World War II, Armenians made an important contribution to the Soviet victory. Over 500 thousand of Armenians fought for the Soviet army, and half of them fell in battles. 5 Armenian infantry divisions were formed. Armenia gave 4 marshals and 60 generals. The Armenian Church and the Armenian colonies abroad donated large sums of money. After the WW II, the Armenian and Georgian Republics laid territorial claims to Turkey. However, the Soviet Government was not willing to return the Armenian lands, and shortly thereafter stated to have no claims to Turkey.

The new wave of the Armenian migration.
In 1946, many patriotic Armenians from the foreign Armenian colonies decided to repatriate to their historical homeland to contribute the post-war restoration. However, in years1948-1949, Stalin launched a new campaign of terror, and thousands of those repatriated Armenians were illegally arrested and forcibly deported to Siberia and Altay.
From the beginning of the 60s, Armenians began to emigrate from the Soviet Union on a large-scale. The Soviet leaders considered the Armenians, together with the Jews and the Germans as "unreliable elements" of the Soviet system.

The Genocide commemorated.
On April 24, 1965 the Armenians throughout the world took part in the mass meetings and manifestations, to commemorate the 50-th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In Yerevan, a grand monument was raised to the 1915-1921 victims' memory. Since then, the funeral marches and meetings on April 24 became an Armenian tradition. At the same time, the Armenian colonies and organizations abroad began the large-scale campaign for the recognition of the Genocide. In the 70s, a number of secret organizations were founded, such as ARA (Armenian Revolutionary Army) and ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia). These organizations stated to have no faith in the effectiveness of the peaceful demonstrations, and were involved in the terrorist activities. During the following decade, many terrorist attempts were committed against the Turkish representatives in the European countries, in order to attract public attention.

The Karabakh Question.
The Armenian liberation movement also manifested itself in several petitions of Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, requiring the reunification with Armenia. The leaders of the USSR discussed the problem in 1967-1970, while Anton Kochynian, Armenian 1st Secretary carried on the fruitless negotiations with the Azeri leaders Akhundov and Aliyev. In 1977, the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh was raised again. However, the issue was shelved again.

Karin the Builder.
Under Karin Demirchyan, the 1st Secretary from1975, the economy of Armenia went through the period of stagnation, just like the economies of the rest of the Soviet Union. However, Demirchyan succeeded in construction and house building and later was deservedly nicknamed as Karin the Builder. Various sites and new buildings modernized Armenia, especially Yerevan. Armenia became a highly urbanized Republic.



Collapse of Transcaucasian Federation.
The triumph of Bolsheviks in 1917 put an end to the Russian Empire. In winter 1918, the Armenian, Georgian and Moslem leaders of Transcaucasia united to convene the Transcaucasian Federation, which proclaimed the secession of Transcaucasia from Russia.
The Turks, rapturous over the Russian Revolution, took it almost as a miracle produced by Allah. With the decline of the Russian military power, the Caucasus front collapsed, and the decaying Turkish power survived. To prevent the further destruction of the new Bolshevik State, Vladimir Lenin was forced to conclude the humiliating Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The treaty had drastic consequences for the Armenians. The Turkish forces reoccupied the lands of the Western Armenia, earlier liberated by Russians.
In late May 1918, under the threat of a new Turkish offensive on the Caucasus, the Transcaucasian Federation collapsed after only 3 months of existence. In fact, the Federation was a still-born creature from the very beginning. Insuperable divergences existed between the Armenian, Georgian and Moslem deputations. The Georgians were oriented to Germany, and the Moslems to Turkey, whereas the Armenians, though loyal to the Entente, were supported by nobody. On May 26 the independence of Georgia was declared. At the same time, the Moslems proclaimed a "Musavat Republic of Azerbaijan". This new Turkish state, created in the historical lands of the eastern Armenia, immediately and shamelessly laid claims on the Armenian territories in Karabakh, Zangezur and Nakhichevan.

The independence of Armenia proclaimed.
Left alone, Armenians faced the total annihilation as the 100 thousandth Turkish army crossed the pre-war Russian frontier, annexed the city of Kars and approached the Armenian capital of Yerevan. After having depopulated the Western Armenia, the Turkish military were now about to destroy the rest of Armenia and achieve their goal of eliminating the Armenian nation.
The Armenians raised an army of 40,000 men, including soldiers, officers, volunteers and mass levies. At first the Dashnak leaders wanted to evacuate the population and to surrender Yerevan, but the Military Council headed by the Colonel Pirumian finally decided to do battle. The two armies met on May 28, 1918 near Sardarapat. The battle was crowned with an outstanding Armenian victory. Some 30 thousand of Turkish soldiers were killed; the Turks were flung out. Vahib-Pasha, the defeated Turkish commander, termed the Armenian soldiers as "the best fighters in the world". The Armenians also held defenses at Karaklis and at Abaran.
On the same day of May 28, 1918 Armenia was proclaimed an independent republic. However, the embryo state was devastated, with a dislocated economy, dozens of thousands of refugees and the population starving. The danger of a new Turkish aggression was still imminent. Also, the country was soon involved in a territorial conflict with Georgia. Moreover, the situation in Karabakh was especially dangerous as the new Azerbaijani state made a series of ultimatums to the Armenian population.
In September, 1918 the Turkish troops invaded Baku and joined the Turkish-Azeri mobs in massacring some 30, 000 Armenians. Dozens of surrounding Armenian villages were destroyed.

The Wilsonian borders.
Meanwhile, the European powers found themselves unable to solve the Armenian Question. The unification of the Caucasian Armenia with the Turkish Armenia proclaimed by the Armenian government in 1919 turned out Utopian. After Armenia was officially recognized by the governments of Allies and by the United States, the US President Woodrow Wilson was invited to determine the borders of the Armenian State. According to Wilson's map, a new Armenia would include most of its historically belonging lands. The project would never come true.

Armenia falls to Bolsheviks.
Furthermore, Armenia would face the new territorial losses. Mustafa Kemal, the new Turkish opposition leader, was able to reach an agreement with the Bolshevik leaders of Russia. Enthusiastic with the idea of "exporting the revolution eastward", Lenin and Stalin were prompt in starting an unprecedented financial and military aid to Kemal. At that time Armenia exploded into anarchy as the Armenian Bolsheviks rose in the cities of Nakhichevan, Alexandrople and Kars. The Soviet government hypocritically negotiated with both Dashnak and Bolshevik leaders of Armenia.
In August 1920, the Treaty of Sèvres, signed by England, France and Turkey, bound Turkey to recognize the independence of Armenia and the Wilsonian boundaries.The new Armenian state was recognized by most of the countries, including the United States. However, after the triumph of Mustafa Kemal, the Turks, supported by the Bolshevik Russia, attacked the infant Armenian Republic again. The Armenian and Russian Bolsheviks played a fatal role in demoralizing the population and the Armenian army. The Bolshevik propaganda now called the Turks "socialists" and "friends of Russians". On the other hand, the victorious Russian XI Red Army, after successfully Sovietizing Baku, Azerbaijan, and Karabakh, approached Yerevan to "overthrow the Dashnaks". The disoriented Armenian army retreated, surrendering Kars and the uyezd of Surmali. The whole Armenian population there was then pitilessly butchered by the Turks. On November 29, 1920, Armenia was declared a Soviet state.


Chapter IX: THE GENOCIDE (FROM 1914 TO 1922)

The Turkish Plan.
It is generally accepted that the Armenian Genocide started on April 24, 1915. The Armenians commemorate this date because on April 24, 1915 more than 200 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were arrested and then murdered in Constantinople. However, the Turkish plan of uprooting the Armenians from their ancestral homeland was masterminded far beforehand. The outbreak of the WWI in 1914 gave the Young Turks the perfect opportunity to solve the Armenian Question.
At first Dr. Nazim, the Young Turks ideologist, traveled throughout the vilayets (provinces) of the Ottoman Empire calling for the boycott of the Armenian businesses. Then Enver-Pasha, the idol of the Turkish revolution issued the order to form special battalions. Later, these units of violent criminals and Kurdish irregulars attacked, looted and burned thousands of Armenian shops in Dyarbekir. At the same time, Talaat-Pasha, one of the triumvirs and the most influential figure in the Turkish cabinet, ordered to carry out the disarmament of the Armenian villages. Since the Moslem Turkey was involved in war against the Christian countries, the Christian Armenians were considered "unreliable" and sympathizing to their coreligionists. The weapons collected from the Armenians were distributed in neighboring Turkish villages.

Disarmed, arrested and executed.
The Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army were disarmed, put in labor battalions, and then killed. Meanwhile, the legitimated bands of chete (Kurdish irregulars, criminal hirelings) began systematic raids on the defenseless Armenian villages to rape women and ransack houses. In all major cities, the Armenian businesses were looted under the convenient pretext of "war contributions". In October 1914, mass arrests and killings of Armenians were reported in Erzerum and Zeytun. In November, as Russia had declared war on Turkey, the jihad (holy war against non-believers) was proclaimed and publicly read in all the vilayets of the Ottoman Empire. Together with the mass execution of the Armenian soldiers in the army, a number of notable Armenian community leaders, including religious were slain in different cities. In the provinces, the Armenian bakers were publicly charged for poisoning the bread of the Turkish Army.

Hypocricy of Turkish leaders.
In March, 1915 a special decision to exterminate all Armenians throughout the Ottoman Empire was already issued by the Ittihad committee. Meanwhile, a severe censorship was established, and all foreign postal offices in Turkey were closed. Even the neutral US Ambassador was unable to read uncensored dispatches from his own government. In Constantinople, where a large number of Europeans, including foreign ambassadors were present, the Turkish leaders made hypocritical speeches. Enver-Pasha congratulated the brave Armenian soldiers for their admirable service on the Caucasus front, while Talaat-Pasha met with the Armenian leaders shortly before their mass arrests to declare they had nothing to fear.

Armenian defense.
In April, 1915 the regular Turkish troops began the non-stop attacks on the city of Van. The Armenians under the leadership of Aram Manukian organized a heroic defense. They decided to rise up arms after they were informed that more than 30 thousand of Armenians in surrounding villages had been killed in three days. The desperate defense of Van lasted 36 days with 55 thousand of Armenians being killed. The survivors were rescued by the units of the Armenian volunteers serving in the Russian army on the Caucasus front. Later, a handful of unarmed Armenians desperately defended themselves in Shabin-Karahisar, the native village of General Andranik. Another heroic example was the defense of Musa-Dagh in Cilicia, described by Austrian author Franz Werfel (one of my favourite books).

Turkish atrocities.
After the events that the Turks had termed as "revolution of Van", the Armenians were declared "internal enemies" of the Ottoman Empire. In Constantinople, many of the most eminent Armenians, including intellectuals, political and religious leaders were arrested and murdered. Among them were Grikor Zohrab and Vartkes Serengulian, members of the Ottoman Parliament and generally known as friends of Talaat-Pasha. At the same time, the mass killings took place in Bitlis, Mush and Dyarbekir. The special instructions for the detailed procedure of deportations were sent to all Governors of the vilayets throughout the Ottoman Empire. The Armenians would be told they must be deported or relocated, and then marched off to the Syrian deserts between Jerablus, Mosul and Deir el-Zor. Only a small part of them would reach the final point. Many died of starvation, but most of them were killed on the march in extremely barbaric fashion. An American missionary testified to see, while traveling from Malatia to Sivas, a countless number of disfigured corpses all along both sides of the road for 9 hours running. Tens of thousands of dead bodies were thrown to the Euphrates River. In Trebizond, thousands of Armenians were sunk out at the sea...

In July 1915, there were virtually no Armenians remaining in Van, Bitlis, Dyarbekir, Sivas, Erzerum and Trebizond. Only a part of the orphan boys were converted to Islam and adopted by the Turkish families. Soon thereafter, Talat-Pasha told the German Ambassador that the Armenian Question had been finally solved. The depopulation of the Western Armenia was successfully completed.

Deportations continued.
In 1916, the deportations and the massacres continued with unremitting cruelty. The numerous instructions went to exterminate the remnants of the Armenian orphans. The survivors were subject to Islamization. But the most of the deportees who later reached the Syrian deserts were murdered or died from hunger or sicknesses.In October 1916, the German Ambassador Wilhelm Radowitz reported to Berlin that out of the two and a half millions of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire alive were left only 300 000. The rest were killed or deported; some were lucky enough to escape eastward to the Caucasus or somewhere else. The ambassador mentioned "the two and a half millions" in accordance with the falsified results of the census taken in the Ottoman Empire in 1887, under the Sultan Abd al-Hamid. The actual number of Armenians was deliberately reduced, at least 3 times.

End of Young Turks.
The governments of all European countries, and the United States condemned the Genocide of Armenians. Henry Morgenthau, the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, wrote: "...the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared to the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915."
The Ittihad Cabinet resigned in October 1918. The triumvirs and other leaders of the Young Turks fled the country. They later were convicted by different courts-martial. Enver, Talat, Gemal and Nazim were sentenced to death by default. Kemal Bey, responsible for Yozgat massacres, was publicly hanged. Rashid Bey, governor of Dyarbekir, committed suicide. Other culprits of massacres were sentenced to different terms of imprisonment. Some of them were later released; others fled to join the army of Mustafa Kemal. However, the Genocide of Armenians was never officially recognized and condemned by the Turkish government. Even now, the Turkish authorities continue to deny the fact of the Genocide.
Talat-Pasha, one of main designers of the Genocide, was assassinated in 1921 in Berlin by Soghomon Tehlirian.
Enver-Pasha also fell from an Armenian in 1922 in a battle in Tajikistan.
Gemal-Pasha was assassinated in 1922 in Tiflis by an Armenian Tzagikian.
Gemal Azmi, former governor of Trabzon and Beahaddin Shakir, one of the Genocide's propagandists were both assassinated in 1922 in Berlin.



Uprisings in the Ottoman Empire.
The 20s and the 30s of the 19th century were marked by a series of revolts of the non-Turkish peoples throughout the Ottoman Empire. Greece obtained independence in 1829. The Serbs, Bulgarians, Albanians and Armenians were about to throw off the Turkish sway. The fall of the declining Empire seemed inevitable. However, the Turks held on as a result of the European disagreement about how to divide the spheres of influence. Once again, Armenians put their hopes on Russia. During the Russo-Turkish war of 1829, the czar Nicholas I captured Erzerum and was already advancing to Constantinople, but was stopped by European powers. Paradoxically, just 3 years later, Russians were involved in a conflict against Egypt in order to protect the Ottoman Sultan. The inconsistent Russian policy resulted in a number of setbacks for Russia's further expansion. On the other hand, England, Germany and France, though sympathetic toward the enslaved nations of the Ottoman Empire, tried hard to reduce the Russian influence and finally became involuntary allies of the Turks.

First Armenian Political Parties.
During the next decades, the Turk rulers led the policy of large-scale reforms known as the Tanzimat (Turkish for "reorganization"). The reforms were aimed to "civilize" Turkey making it look a more "European" country. The Tanzimat lasted for about 30 years and affected all aspects of political and social life. For the enslaved nations, it marked an unprecedented raise of the national-liberation movement.
The uprisings of Balkan peoples and the plight of Armenians urged the Russian intervention in 1877-1878. After the Treaty of San Stefano Russia gained control over a large part of Armenia and obtained the independence of Romania and Serbia. However, Russia had to step back as a result of the English and German pressure. The Treaty of San Stefano was revised and the Czar Alexander II withdrew the Russian troops from the Armenian territories.
The coming to power of the despotic Sultan Abd al-Hamid II in 1876 put an end to the Tanzimat. Nonetheless, the Armenian liberation movement gathered momentum. The three major Armenian political Parties were founded: Hnchak, Dashnaktsutiun and Ramkavar.

Massacres of Abdul-Hamid.
From 1894 to 1896, the systematic massacres were organized by Abdul-Hamid in order to punish Armenians for their aspiration for freedom. The Sultan considered the Armenian population as an eternal excuse for Europeans and for Russians to interfere. The government instigated assaults on the Armenian villages, that quickly spread to all regions of Western Armenia. Despite the armed resistance in some places, particularly Zeytun, over 200 thousand of Armenians were killed as a result of these bloody pogroms. Historians named Abdul-Hamid "Red Sultan".

Young Turks and massacres in Adana.
Meanwhile, the new opposition Party of the Young Turks rose in the Ottoman Empire. Propagating the attractive slogans of "fraternity and common homeland", the leaders of Young Turks inspired many short-sighted Armenians, who believed in the reality of an "autonomous Western Armenia". As the Young Turks struggled against the Red Sultan, Armenian parties and leaders assisted them and supported financially.
After the so-called Young Turk Revolution of 1908, the Sultan's authority was reduced to the point that he became a sheer symbolic figure. Although an attempt to a counterrevolution was made, the Young Turks managed to retain the real power. Abdul-Hamid, forced to abdicate in 1909 was removed to solitary confinement. He was replaced by Mehmet V, who was only a puppet of the Young Turks. Then, the leaders of the Young Turks founded a new powerful party called Ittihad ve Terakki (Turkish for "Union and Progress").The victory of the Young Turks marked the immediate end to the Armenian illusions. In 1909, a series of bloody rampages took place in Adana, Cilicia, where the Turkish mobs were supported by the Turkish army. The sporadic pogroms took place in different cities. Some 35,000 Armenians were killed as a result of these massacres. In despite of the promises and oaths to "establish order", the threat of the physical extermination of the Armenian nation was imminent.

In 1912, the Balkan wars began. Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece formed a coalition against the Ottoman Empire. The coalition gained a number of important victories and the Turks sued for peace. An Armenian hero Andranik (later known as General Andranik) fought for the Bulgarians forming an Armenian volunteer unit.

The Armenians at death's door.
The First Balkan war marked serious territorial losses for the Ottoman Empire, but during the Second War in the next year the Turks regained the large territories as a result of a discord between the Balkan States. In 1913, a coup d'état within the Union and Progress committee brought an extreme nationalist triumvirate headed by Enver, Talaat and Gemal to the absolute power in the Ottoman Empire. The racist doctrines of Pan-Turkism, Turkish national exclusiveness and Turkish homogeneous state were preached by party's ideologists, such as Zia, Dr.Nazim and Dr.Shakir. Armenians were openly termed as superfluous and dangerous elements inside the Ottoman Empire. In many places, the Armenian bankers were accused of "looting the country" just like the Armenian intelligentsia was blamed of undermining the state foundations. The Armenian nation entered the gloomiest period of its history.



Decline of Armenia.
In the early 15th century Armenia was still divided into many small-scale principalities. However, after the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Muhammad II in 1453, the country gradually lost all vestiges of political sovereignty. Armenia was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. The systematic invasions and ravages caused decline of the major Armenian cities. The Nakharar system was definitely destroyed. The Armenian Church also remained in disorder until the Holy See was transferred from the former Cilician capital of Sis to Vagharshapat.
A large number of Armenians continued to migrate from their devastated lands to Crimea, to Russia, to Poland, to India. As Constantinople became a thriving center of the Ottoman Empire, its Armenian community increased to the extent that a special see was set up apart from the Patriarchal See in Vagharshapat.The Armenian Church in Constantinople had particular privileges among the other branches of the Christian church.
While the Armenian colonies prospered in different countries, the population of Armenia proper suffered incredible privation and persecution. The peasantry was especially oppressed, discriminated and overtaxed. Several uprising against Turkish conquerors took place, but all of them were brutally crushed.

Partition of Armenia.
From the beginning of the 16th century, Armenia became a scene of confrontation between the Ottoman Empire and Iran. The Armenian population fell victim of that bloody conflict that lasted more than two centuries. Following the final armistice in 1639 the territory of Great Armenia was split into two. The Western Armenia fell to the Ottoman Empire, and the Eastern Armenia fell to Iran.
The Shah Abbas I, the greatest of the Safavid rulers, led the policy of intensive settling of the Muslims on the Armenian lands, while the Armenian population was moved to Iran. A big colony was founded in New Julfa, a suburb of Safavid capital of Isfahan. Very soon, New Julfa became one of the centers of the Armenian intellectual and cultural life, just like Constantinople or Venice. In all of these cities, also in Amsterdam and in Vagharshapat, several Armenian printing houses were set up. The first printing of the whole Bible in Armenian was done in 1666 in Amsterdam, but the first book printed in Armenian appeared in Venice in the early 16th century.

The Russian Hope.
From the early 17th century, Armenians began to place their hopes on the growing Russian Power. A number of messengers were sent to the Russian czars in order to ask protection. The rich Armenian community of New Julfa made the czar Alexis I Mikhailovich a sumptuous present of a golden throne adorned with precious stones. In the late 17th century, the ties with Russia strengthened as military victories of Peter the Great over Persians and Turks inspired Armenians. At the same time, a number of patriots, such as Israel Ori, traveled all over the Europe trying to find support of Christian powers. Unfortunately, their activities brought little results.

The Meliks of Karabakh.
At the same time, the Eastern Armenian provinces rose against the Moslems. Uprisings were headed by the princes of Artsakh (the so-called Meliks of Karabakh). In 1697, the Meliks adopted Gandzasar Treaty, which proclaimed "the entry of Armenia under the patronage of Russia". Unfortunately, the Russian territorial expansion stopped soon, and Armenians met with great disappointment. David-Bek, ruler of Artsakh and Siunik provinces, supported by Mkhitar Sparapet, consolidated Armenian forces against the Turks. However, after David-Bek died in 1730, the Turkish tribes gradually dominated most of Artsakh, proclaiming the Khanate of Karabakh in the late 50s.

The Armenian nation took heart under the reign of Russian Empress Catherine the Great (1762-1796). As a result of the two successful wars against the Ottoman Empire, Russians annexed new vast territories. The Count Potemkin, illustrious statesman and favorite of the Empress, propounded the idea of forming a new Armenian-Georgian Kingdom. A number of enthusiastic rich Armenians abroad suggested financing the project. Unfortunately, it turned out Utopian just like another similar project of creating a Greek monarchy. However, the Russian influence in Caucasus kept growing, while the Persian power fell in decline. In 1800, Georgia became part of the Russian Empire. 5 years later, the rebellious leaders of Karabach proclaimed themselves loyal subjects of the Russian czar. The Persian troops were defeated several times, and the Russian army besieged Erevan. The Treaty of Gulistan (1813) officially asserted the Russian sovereignty over a number of former Khanates including the Khanate of Karabakh.

Eastern Armenia becomes part of Russian Empire.

After the Treaty of Turkmenchaj(1828), the greater part of the Eastern Armenia was brought under Russian control. As a result, a large number of Armenians moved back from Persia to Armenia. The Armenian Oblast (Province) was created, which lasted from 1828 to 1840. From the middle of the 19th century, capitalist relations in the Eastern Armenia developed intensively. The newborn Armenian bourgeoisie invested its capital in the new industrial centers, such as Tiflis and Baku, also in Alaverdi and Zangezour, centers of the copper industry. Meanwhile, the Western Armenia with most of the Armenian lands still remained under the yoke of the Ottoman Turks. The large Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire continued to experience immeasurable sufferings. Periodic uprising took place during the entire 19th century in Sassun, Mush, Zeytun, Van and other Armenian cities, but all of them were severely suppressed.