THE RELOCATION LAW
�Temporary Law on the Measures Implemented by the Military against those Opposing the Government Implementations at Wartime� also known as �Immigration Law-Tehcir Law� was resolved on 27 May 1915. (1) The Law was published in the Official Gazette of the time, Takvim-i Vekayi, on 1 June 1915 and came into force. (2)
Article 1 of the before mentioned temporary law authorizes, the commanders of the Army, Army-corps and Divisions to take military measures against those opposing government orders, country�s defense, and the protection of peace; and against those organizing armed attacks and resistance, and kill rebels during aggression and uprising in wartime. The second article authorizes the same commanders to transfer and resettle on a single basis or in mass, the people living in villages and towns who are found to be engaged in espionage or treason.
The properties owned by the Armenians subjected to immigration were protected under an order (3) dated 10 June 1915. �Commission on Abandoned Properties� comprising of a president and two members, one administrative and one financial, was established. These commissions are to determine Armenian properties in the villages and towns that are evacuated, and to keep detailed record books. One of the books is to be kept in the regional churches, one to be submitted to the regional administration, and one shall be kept by the commission. Non-durable goods and animal stock shall be auctioned and the money shall be kept. In location where a commission is not appointed, the provisions of the communiqué shall be enforced by the officers in the regions. Both the commission and the regional administrators shall be responsible for the protection of these properties until the Armenians return.
As it can be understood from the law dated 27 May 1915 and order dated 10 June 1915, the immigration implementation initiated by Talat Pasha and approved by the Parliament covers �the regions that threaten the security of the front directly�. The first of these regions includes the vicinities of Erzurum, Van and Bitlis, which constitute the background of Caucasian and Iranian fronts. The second region is provinces of Mersin-Iskenderun, which constitute the background of the Sinae front. Because, in these regions, Armenians were collaborating with the enemy and were engaged in activities facilitating the landing of the enemy forces.
However, the law regarding �the measures implemented by the military against those opposing the government implementations at wartime� is an authorizing law intended to protect the state and its legal order. One of the most important characteristics of this law is that �not a name of any ethnic group or community was mentioned nor even suggested in the text of the law�. The Ottoman citizens of Moslem, Greek and Armenian origin covered under this law were subjected to immigrate from their own place and resettle elsewhere. To regard this law as being directed against one particular ethnic group is an indication of a lack of information, or else, intentional behavior... (4)
Halacoglu, Prof. Dr. Yusuf, Ermeni Tehcirine Dair Gerekceler � Realities on the Armenian Immigration � (1915), TTK Publication, Ankara 2001.
1) Bayur, ibid., III/3, p.40; Gürün, ibid., 214.
2) Takvim-i Vekayi�, 18 Recep 1333/19 May 1331, 7th year, no:2189; Y.H. Bayur, ibid, III/3, p.30
3) ATBD, December 1982, ibid., no:81, document 1832
4) Yildirim, Dr. Hüsamettin, Ermeni Iddialari ve Gercekler � Armenian Claims and Realities- Ankara 2000, p. 21