REASONS BEHIND RELOCATION
The decision regarding migration was taken under compulsion, in order to prevent the harmful acts of Armenians, who stabbed the Ottoman State that was their own state, in order to establish an independent Armenia. Documents confirm how the Russians and the Entente States deceived and provoked Armenians. (1)
The Armenians who were deceived by such promises as to be given the lands they obtained during the War and that their independence to be recognized; established a number of revolutionary societies (2). Armenians, who started their terrorist activities before the immigration process, continued these activities even during the immigration. They collaborated with the enemy both in the border areas and in the inner regions, and applied genocidal activities to the Moslem people (3).
Ottoman Government decided to compile the documents expressing the cruelties of the Armenians in a book and requested the documents and photographs of Armenian massacres (4). Those documents and photographs collected in a book and published under the title of Ermeni Komitelerinin Faaliyetleri ve Ihtilal Hareketleri/ Mesrutiyetin Ilanindan Once ve Sonra (5).
Armenian cruelties continued after the First Wold War as well. In fact, one of the most striking examples of such activities is the one committed in Nahcivan by an Armenian band of 1.200 people under the command of an Armenian named Hanov (6). Furthermore, it is understood from the telegraphs dispatched on 3 and 7 March 1920 respectively by Mümtaz Bey who was then the acting Governor of �Mamuretül Aziz� Province, that the Armenians protected by the French Forces in the region were then under the delmion of establishing an independent Armenia from Clicia to Adana provinces (7).
Upon such developments, Enver Pasha, acting Head Commander, in order to find a solution to this problem, sent the following note to Talat Pasha on May 2, 1915.
�Armenians domiciled around Lake Van, and in Van Provincial Governorate are always ready for an uprising. I think that the Armenians should be moved from these places, and centers of revolt be dissipated. According to the information given by the 3rd Army Command, the Russians caused the Moslems within their own boundaries to immigrate over our boundaries in miserable conditions. Both as a retaliation to this act, and to ensure the aim I mentioned above, either the said Armenians should be transported into the Russian land together with their families; or they should be distributed in the various regions in Anatolia also with their families. I kindly request from you the selection of the most suitable alternative and act accordingly. However, I personally prefer that the revolting people and their families be sent beyond our borders; and Moslem people their families be re-settled in their place� (8).
With this letter, which may be accepted as the first sign of the intention of immigration process, Enver Pasha requested of dispersion of Armenians in order to avoid their uprising act. According to the said letter, it is clear that the implementations would be made only in locations where the Armenians revolted; and it was carried out accordingly.
Talat Pasha, not wishing to waste time due to the urgency and importance of the matter, initiated the re-settlement implementation without waiting for the resolution of the Parliament hence did not hesitate to undertake such a heavy responsibility by himself (9). Talat Pasha, who took first considered to start immigration of the Armenians domiciled in Van, Bitlis and Erzurum regions out of the War area. He informed Tahsin Bey, Cevdet Bey and Mustafa Abdulhalik Bey, Governors of Erzurum, Van, and Bitlis Provinces respectively on the matter by cryptic communiqués dd. May 9, 1995. Talat Pasha in his above � mentioned cryptic message communicated that the Armenians concentrated in certain regions to start revolts and uprising were decreed to immigrate towards the south, and that every possible assistance should be given to the Governors in order for this decree to be implemented. Talaat Pasha noted that a communiqué concerning the issue was sent to the Supreme Military Command to the Commanders of the 3rd and 4th Armies. He informed that it would be advantageous if the implementation was undertaken in areas to cover the southern part of Erzurum along with Van, the critical sub-provinces in Bitlis, and especially the vicinities of Mus, Sasun, and Talori; and requested from the Governors to immediately initiate the implementation in cooperation with the army commanders.
Furthermore, Talat Pasha issuing a cryptic communiqué to the 4th Army Command dated 23 May 1915, listed the location requested to be evacuated as follows:
1. The provinces of Erzurum, Van ad Bitlis;
2. The subdivision of Maras excluding the city of Maras;
3. Villages and towns within the boundaries of the sub provinces of; Iskenderun, Beylan (Belen), Cisr-i Sugur and Antioch excluding the central sub province of the Province of Aleppo;
4. The sub-divisions of Adana, Mersin, Kozan and Cebel-i Bereket excluding the cities of Adana, Sis (Kozan) and Mersin;
Accordingly; Armenians evacuated from Erzurum, Van and Bitlis were decreed to be transferred to the southern part of Mousul along with the sub-division of Zor and sub-division of Urfa excluding the central city: and the Armenians evacuated from the vicinities of Adana, Aleppo and Maras to be transferred to the eastern part of the Province of Syria along with the eastern and southeastern part of the Province of Aleppo. To supervise and manage the immigration process, State Inspectors, Ali Seydi Bey and Hamid Bey were appointed to the Adana region, and to the regions of Aleppo and Maras, respectively.
It was stipulated that the Armenians arriving at the new locations of resettlement were to be settled either in the houses that they would build in the existing villages or towns; or in the villages that they would re-establish in the locations identified by the government; and that the Armenian villages were to be at least of 25 km away from the Baghdad Railway.
The protection of lives and properties of Armenians following the process of immigration, and provision of their needs such as food, drink and rest were left to the regional authorities along the transfer route. It was decreed that the immigrating Armenians to be allowed to carry along all of their belongings and arrangements about their established properties were to be prepared and submitted to the authorities concerned (11).
In order for the immigrating Armenians not to re-constitute dens of conspiracy, the Supreme Military Command communicated a letter dated 26 May 1915 to the Ministry of Interior, considering the following aspects:
1. The population of the Armenians in the locations they newly immigrated to should not be in excess of 10% of the population of the existing tribes and Moslems.
2. The villages the Armenians to be re-established should not be bigger than fifty houses each.
3. The Armenian immigrant families should not change houses either for the purposes of travel or transfer (12).
A short while after the Ministry of Interior�s measures were came in force, Russian, French and English governments issued a joint declaration stating that in the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia, which they referred as �Armenia�, Armenians had been killed with in a month. In addition, they declared that the Ottoman Government is responsible for these events (13).
Upon the spread of the issue in international arena in this manner, Talaat Pasha, sent a communiqué dated 26 May 1915 to the Prime Ministry in order to provide a legal basis for the implementation of the immigration (14). In this communiqué, having stated that the invaders promoted discrimination among the Armenians, who were Ottoman citizens, and assisted them, in order to realize their invasory desires; that the uprising Armenians took variety of means to hinder the progress of the operation of the Turkish Army fighting against the enemy; that they abstracted the transport of food items, weapons and ammunition to the soldiers, that they collaborated with the enemy; that a group of them joined the enemy rank, and organized armed attacks against the military units and innocent civilians; that they massacred and pillaged in cities and towns; and that they provided food to the enemy navy and disclosed critical military zones to the enemy, Talaat Pasha noted that a radical measure needed to be taken for the security of the state and on this account, the Armenians rioting in war zones needed to be immigrated to other regions.
This communiqué of the Ministry of Interior was submitted immediately to the Parliament along with another communiqué written by the Prime Ministry. Talat Pasha�s statement having been reiterated in the Prime Ministry�s communiqué, it was expressed that the initiation of the immigration implementation was rightly made for the security of the state and that it was necessary to implement this policy methodically and systematically. (15) And the Parliament decreed to ratify the implementation on the some date.
In the Parliamentary decree, it was noted that it absolutely necessary to block through effective methods such harmful activities for having a negative impact on the existence and the security of the state, and that the measures by the Ministry of Interior on this account were rightfully and duly taken. Furthermore, a communiqué was issued regarding the determination of the immovable properties owned by the immigrating Armenians by a commission to be appointed, and the creation of job opportunities suitable for the conditions of the Armenians in their new locations, and the assistance to be given on the account of Immigrant�s Compensation. It was requested that an order to be written to those concerned in order to ensure the implementation of immigration securely (16).
The following communiqué dated 30 Mays 1915 sent by the Prime Ministry to the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of War and the Ministry of Finance, the regulations of implementation of the immigration were stated: (17)
a) The Armenians shall be transported to the regions allocated in a comfortable manner, ensuring the security of their lives and property.
b) Their food and drink expenses shall be covered by the Immigrant�s Compensation until they settle in their new houses.
c) Real estate and land shall be provided for them in accordance with their former financial status.
d) The government shall build houses for those in need, and provide seeds, and agricultural equipment for the farmers and agricultural experts.
e) The movables they left behind shall be delivered, and after the determination of their immovable properties settled, these shall be distributed among the Moslem immigrants to be setting in their place. Income generating from places that are not within the expertise of these immigrants such as olive, mulberry and orange groves, vineyards, shops, inns, factories and warehouse shall be either auctioned or rented and their compensations shall be recorded in deposit by savings fund to be paid to their owners.
f) Special commissions shall implement all these issues and an order shall be issued in this regard.
Halacoglu, Prof. Dr. Yusuf, Ermeni Tehcirine Dair Gercekler � Realities on the Armenian Immigration- (1915), TTK, Yayini, Ankara, 2001
1) Cryptic Item, no: 45/115 (sent a communiqué about this matter to the provinces of Van, Bitlis, Mamüretüaziz, Adana, Diyarbekir and Sivas, via the telegram dated 23 September 1916)
2) DH. EUM. Division 2, File 1, document 45/2 (see document 670).
3) Cryptic Item. , NoB 6; no; 62/24; no: 63/175; no; 64/92; no: 64/163; no; 64/194; no: 66/51; no: 46/56; no: 66/192; BA, BED, no: 343464 (see document 784).
4) Cryptic Item, no: 62/57; 62/58; 63/241.
5) Istanbul 1916. The same work was translated in French, in 1917, in Istanbul and published as an abridged version under the title Les Allogations et les Mouvements Révolutionnairs des Comités Arméniens� (Ankara, 1981)
6) Letter dated 1 February 1920 from the Ministry of Interior to the Prime Ministry (BA: BEO, no; 341351).
7) Security, File 2 F/3; Security, File 2 F75 see document 799 and 800.
8) ATBD, December 1982, no: 81, document 1830
9) Bayur, ibid, III/3, 38.
10) G.K., no: 15/200; no: 52/281-282
11) G.K, no: 53/94
12) General Staff, no: 1/1, Folder 44 File 207, F 2-3, quoted by, K. Gürün, ibid, p.213.
13) Bayur, ibid, III/3, p. 37
14) BA, BED, no: 326758
15) Parliamentary Decree, Book no: 198, Decree no: 163 (see document 123); Bayur ibid. III/3, pp. 40-42.
16) Bayur, ibid, III/3, pp. 40-42
17) BA, BED, no: 326758