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Ottoman Empire

Sir: Under the Ottoman Empire, according to your report , Christians, Jews and Muslims co-existed in peace and prosperity.

You fail to mention that Christians and Jews had the subordinate status of dhimmis forced upon them: they had to buy protection from their Muslim rulers by paying the jizya tax, which unlike the Muslim zakat was not voluntary, they had to adopt a submissive posture in the presence of Muslims, they were not allowed to repair their places of worship or proselytise, their men were not allowed to marry Muslim women, though Muslim men were allowed to marry Christian or Jewish women, and their houses and dress had to be modest in comparison with that of Muslims.

A weakened Ottoman Empire did abolish the jizya in 1856 under pressure from European nations, but observers continued to remark the downtrodden status of non-Muslims, and European pressure was not sufficient to prevent the Ottoman massacres of Lebanese Christians in 1840-60, and of Armenian Christians in 1894-6 and in 1915-17.

The myth of a tolerant Ottoman empire dates to the 19th century and was a European creation, designed to prevent Russia from expanding southwards under the pretext of protecting the Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire.


Financial crisis contributed greatly to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Whether conscious decisions like the debasing of the currency system, or unconscious decisions like Sivis Year Crisis, the Empire was in financial peril which it projected onto it's minorities. 




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Enver Pasha

Ismail Enver, known to Europeans during his political career as Enver Pasha (Istanbul, November 22, 1881 - August 4, 1922) was a military officer and a leader of the Young Turk revolution in the closing days of the Ottoman Empire. He was a vocal supporter of eliminating the non-Turkish population of the rump Ottoman Empire.

In April 1912 the Young Turks (officially the C.U.P.) won an overwhelming majority in an election, but loss of the province of Libya to Italy and other setbacks eroded its support to the point that in July the C.U.P. was forced to yield to a political coalition called the Liberal Union, which formed a ministry. In a coup on January 23, 1913, the C.U.P. overthrew the Liberal Union coalition and introduced a military dictatorship headed by the "Three Pashas" - Cemal, Enver and Talât. Enver's portfolio was Minister of War. With the opening of hostilities in World War I the Ottomans suffered a disastrous defeat almost immediately, when the Third Army was decimated in eastern Anatolia in December 1914, during an abortive offensive led by Enver against Russia. On suspicions that Russian sympathisers within the Armenian community were planning a revolt, he ordered that Armenian recruits in the Ottoman forces be disarmed, demobilized and assigned to labor camps, where they were summarily executed. Turkish sources claim, however, that the demobilized Armenian soldiers were returned to Armenia.

Enver was not directly in charge of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, but according to Armenian resources, on May 19, 1916, Enver declared, "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." He further stated, "I am entirely willing to accept the responsibility myself for everything that has taken place."

At the end of the war Talât resigned days before the empire capitulated and signs an armistice on October 30. The C.U.P. Cabinet resigned en masse in the next two days, and the "Three Pashas" fled into exile. A post-war tribunal in Istanbul tried him in absentia and condemned him to death.

Enver was ironically killed in action against an Armenian batallion of the Red Army on August 4, 1922, near Baldzhuan in Turkestan (present-day Tajikistan).

Talat Pasha

Mehmed Talat Pasha (Turkish: Mehmet Talat Paşa) (1872-1921) was one of leaders of the Young Turks, Ottoman statesman, grand vizier (1917), and leading member of the Sublime Porte from 1913 until 1918. One of the architects of the Armenian Genocide.

Soghomon Tehlirian, whose family had been killed in the Armenian genocide, assassinated the exiled Talat in Berlin in March 1921 and was subsequently acquitted after a jury trial.

Talaat was buried into the Turkish Cemetery in Berlin. In 1943, his remains were taken to Istanbul and reburied in Şişli. His war memories were published after his death. A Black Book kept by Talaat detailing numbers of Armenian deportees was recently released by Talaat's relatives and has become a major source of proof of the Armenian Genocide.


In a conversation with Dr. Mordtmann of the German Embassy in June 1915...

Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate (grundlich aufzaumen) its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.

After the German Ambassador persistently brought up the Armenian question in 1918, Talat said "with a smile"...

What on earth do you want? The question is settled. There are no more Armenians.

                                              TALAAT PASHA'S TELEGRAM

Now as for that tall story, according to which Catholics and Protestants were not deported, it is true that there were a number of telegrams sent regarding this subject in order that the local responsible authorities could prevent such deportations. But the first message sent was already dated 4 August 1915. That is, it was sent 3 months after the deportations.
The first document about Catholic Armenians was sent by Talaat Pasha. The telegram stated that the deportation of Catholic Armenians should not take place. A similar telegram was sent on 15 October about Protestant Armenians. There, too, the following was said: those Protestant Armenians who haven't been deported yet, shall not be deported anymore. As inferred from both telegrams, Armenian Catholic and Protestants had already been deported prior to that date.
Now in telegrams sent on 18 September 1915 from Kayseri, Eskishehir, Diyarbakir, and Nigde, governors replied that all the Armenians in their respective regions had been deported and that none remained.
From many documents, we understand that those telegrams of Talaat Pasha were sent "merely for the sake of doing it". Later, verbal instructions were sent to the same governors so that they would not take those telegrams seriously. But even the above-mentioned documents alone are sufficient to show that the claim that Catholics and Protestants had not been deported is a tall story.

     Let's hope that, this painful page of the history accepted in the international public opinion as the Armenian Genocide and that among us it is recalled only as the "Armenian Question", stop being for us a topic on the agenda only in the month of April, and that it shall be the object of a general serious discussion rid of legends, because he who doesn't face his own past, cannot build his future.

                                        Cemal Pasha

Cemal (pronounced, and often spelled Jemal) was similarly killed by Stepan Dzaghikian, Bedros Der Boghosian and Ardashes Kevorkian in Tbilisi, Georgia.


To a German officer upon seeing the deportations in Mamure said...

 I am ashamed of my nation (Ich schame mich fur meine Nation)

Minister of the Interior of Turkey publicly declared on March 15 that on the basis of computations undertaken by Ministry Experts...

800,000 Armenian deportees were actually killed...by holding the guilty accountable the government is intent on cleansing the bloody past.


     Massacres of Sultan Abdul Hamid II

It was in such conditions as you saw described in the previous part, that in 1876 Sultan Abdul Hamid became king of the empire by the help of Medhat Pasha, who was at the head of the liberal groups. First the Sultan killed the Medhat Pasha and then in 1878 dissolved the national parliament and he himself was set at the head of affairs. He was a very tricky despot and meanwhile he was a blood-thirsty dictator.

The condition of Armenians became more deplorable and frightening than it had been since the beginning of the domination of the Ottomans. There was no day that in any Armenian city or village, some people were not murdered. Kurds, who were tent-dweller tribes that subsisted   by  robbing  villagers, occasionally came down from the mountains; after murdering and plundering some Armenian villages, they returned to the mountains.

The conditions were such that Turks and Kurds around Armenian villages were armed; each day the government armed them more, but Armenians didn't have the right to keep weapons in order to defend themselves against aggressive Kurds and Turks. None of the Armenians, both man and woman, old and young, in fields, in streets, in houses or even in churches, had security of life.

There were no trials or punishments if Turks or Kurds encroached on the life, property and chastity of Armenians. When an Armenian complained to the court that such and such Turk or Muslim had raped his daughter, the first reaction of the court was to arrest the Armenian himself and send him to prison.

The courtiers uniformed the plundering Kurds to establish them as officials and made them gendarmes of Armenians, in order to encourage the Kurds to kill, plunder and encroach on Armenians.

These groups, which were established by the order of Sultan Abdul Hamid, were called "troops of Hamid" (Afvajeh Hamidiyeh) and they were rare and incomparable in their cruelty and crimes.                                                     The obvious result of this measure was that the Kurds were armed to the extreme, their felonies and crimes were made legal, Armenian lands were taken over and finally, the Armenian population in the region was decreased. Attacking Hamidian troops or defending oneself against them, was counted as revolt and resistance against the government, and was followed by heavy punishments for Armenians.

It was the year 1894. Mass murders had not started yet, but some scattered and successive massacres of Armenians, made life frightening and every day was passed in fear of armed robbery, rape, and slaughters. The European governments notified the Sultan several times, but they were in reality just paying lip service; the Sultan deceitfully promised reforms every time. Reforms had been promised for 40 years but they never came.

At last in 1894, the limited and scattered massacres turned into mass murders that spread all over the empire. Suddenly the number of murdered reached a rare level, and the massacring of Armenians generalized and spread contagiously from place to place. First the matter started because the Armenians of the mountainous region of Sasoun, located in Bitlis province, stood up against criminal encroachments of Kurds.

At the same time, the Turkish army joined in the attacks on Armenians, first burning some Armenian villages and then murdering thousands, cooperating with Kurds. The European powers with, England at the head, intervened in order to stop the massacres and the Sultan promised some reforms to European governments by the particular trickery which he had. But the slaughters not only weren't stopped but also gained more intensity and speed.

In the slaughters of Armenians during the years 1894-1896, which harvested the Armenian inhabitants one after another, in Western Armenia and Anatolia (eastern parts of Turkey), Trabzon, Erzinchan, Bitlis, Van, Marash, Urfa, Bayburt, Sasoun, Mush, Diyarbakir, Erzrum, Cilicia (Adana), Angora (Ankara) ... , over 300,000 Armenians were butchered disastrously.

For an example of their crimes, take the 28th of December 1895 in Urfa. Over 2500 Armenian men, women and children, fearing for their lives, had sought refuge in the altar of a church; undeterred Ottoman gendarmes set the church afire and its inhabitants were burnt alive.

On the 26th of August 1896, some of the Armenian youth, in order to draw the attention of the public figures of Europe to the events which were happening in the empire, took over the central bank in Constantinople (Istanbul), the capital of Ottoman, and asked that the Armenian massacres be stopped and that the promised reforms be carried out. But three days after the end of the venture, the violence of Ottoman Turks exploded and tens of thousands of Armenians were butchered and cut to pieces in the streets of Constantinople. These were vengeances which had been designed beforehand and led by Sultan Abdul Hamid himself.

After these massacres, no other mass murders occurred until 1908; in this year suddenly mass murder and plundering of Armenians was committed, this time in Constantinople, in front of the very eyes of foreign delegations, diplomats and big powers of Europe. This massacre gained a strong reaction in Europe and injured the credit and respectability of the Sultan seriously; he was given titles such as, The Red Sultan, The Red Animal, The Monster of ildiz,... . All the polticians and intellectuals of Europe, both left and right, liberal and conservative, condemned the massacres of Armenians in Turkey severely.

At last, in the same year, 1908, Sultan Abdul Hamid was faced with a coup d'etat by Turkish revolutionists, who were called Young Turks. the result was that his sultanate took on a ceremonial aspect and the next year, 1909, he was deposed by the Young Turks completely.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881 in Salonica (present-day Greece) – 10 November 1938 in Istanbul (present-day Turkey) was the founder of the modern Turkish Republic in 1923. He is revered throughout Turkey and in an interview published on August 1, 1926 in The Los Angeles Examiner, spoke unfavorably of the former Ottoman Young Turk government that orchestrated the Armenian Genocide:
These left-overs from the former    Young Turk Party, who should have been made to account for the millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly driven en masse, from their homes and massacred, have been restive under the Republican rule.








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