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Books out of Print

The Background and Origin of Andon?an's Book

ŞİNASİ OREL*
The Talat Pasha Telegrams
 

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IN this chapter we shall analyse Andonian’s book and correspondence with the object of determining what he himself wrote about the source of the ‘documents’ and their authenticity or lack thereof. This is a necessary preface to the discussion of the ‘documents’ themselves, as it will enable us to determine Andonian’s aims and those of the Armenian propagandists who utilized the ‘documents’.

 


 

1. Who were Andonian and Naim Bey?

In the Prefaces to the English and French editions of his book, Andonian provides a number of biographical details on his life. He tells us that he was an Armenian from Istanbul who entered the Ottoman Army at the time of the First World War mobilization. Subsequently, he was arrested and charged with having leaked information to the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul with regard to the ‘cruelties’ perpetrated against Anatolian Armenians. Despite the fact that his guilt was not established, he was ordered to be ‘deported’ on 11 April 1915. During his ‘deportation’ he managed to escape and was recaptured several times. At one stage he was treated in hospital for a broken leg. Finally, he survived by going into hiding in Aleppo.

Owing to this ‘background’ Andonian claims to have been an eye-witness to the events he describes. This may account for his tendency from time to time to replace Naim Bey in his book and narrate his own personal ‘recollections’. At other times he attempts to support Naim Bey’s ‘recollections’ with his own.

The hero of Andonian’s book is, without question, Naim Bey. We noted earlier that the English edition includes the name of Naim Bey in its title. According to Andonian, Naim Bey was an Ottoman official who, during the war, initially served as a secretary in the Tobacco Regie office in Res-ul-Ain, and was subsequently appointed the ‘Chief Secretary of the Deportations Committee in Aleppo’.

In the French edition of his book, Andonian writes on this subject: ‘This Turk is Naim Bey, the former Chief Secretary of the Deportation Administration in Aleppo.’[1]

A similar statement is found in the English edition, where we read: ‘That Turk, by name of Naim Bey, is the late Chief Secretary of the Deportations Committee of Aleppo.’[2]


 


2. The differences between the French and English editions of Andonian’s book

The French and English editions of Andonian’s work present us with significant differences in style, content, and method of compilation. Owing to the extensive differences between the French and English versions, it is even possible to view them as two separate books.

 

The English edition consists of 84 pages and includes the following: (a) a Foreword by Viscount Gladstone; (b) a Note by Andonian as the translator; (c) ‘The Memoirs of Naim Bey’; and (d) an ‘Open Letter’ addressed to President Wilson of the United States of America, which is dated January 1919 and written by a German named Armin T. Wegner. The ‘documents’ are interspersed throughout that 71-page section of the work which is sub-titled: ‘The Memoirs of Naim Bey’.

It is impossible to determine with any certainty the extent to which the section called ‘The Memoirs of Naim Bey’ may have been written by him, if such a person existed, or by Andonian himself. This confusion stems from the fact that much of the material in the English edition which appears in the section presented as ‘The Memoirs of Naim Bey’ is narrated in the French edition by Andonian himself. Specifically, the passages which are introduced as ‘The Memoirs of Naim Bey’ on pages 18—19, 20—1, 24—7, 27—9, 32—3, 34—5, 36—7, 44—6, 47—8, 48—51, and 51—2 of the English edition, appear in the French edition as Andonian’s statements. Again some points attributed to Naim Bey in the English edition were changed by Andonian into footnotes in the French edition. As a result, it becomes impossible to distinguish between the ‘Memoirs of Naim Bey’ and the ‘Memoirs of Andonian’. This confusion is further heightened by virtue of the fact that some passages given in the French edition do not appear at all in the English edition.

Thus, even a cursory comparison of the English and French editions raises some fundamental questions with regard to the integrity of the purported memoirs of Naim Bey.

Scattered throughout the text of the English edition we find a total of 48 texts presented as English translations of ‘official Ottoman documents’. These 48 ‘documents’ are attributed to the following individuals or organizations: 

 Individual/Organization

 Number of  ‘Documents’

 Minister of the Interior, Talat Pasha

 30

 Director of the Aleppo Settlement Office, Abdulahad Nuri Bey

 8

 Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey

 3

 Committee of Union and Progress

 2

 Minister of War, Enver Pasha

 1

 Ministry of the Interior

 1

 
Individual/Organization Number of ‘Documents’
Governor of the sanjak [a subdivision of a province in the Ottoman administrative system; its chief official was a mutasarr?f] of Der Zor, Zeki Bey

1

Governor of the sanjak of Antep, Ahmed Bey
Unattributed 1
Total  48

Aside from two ‘letters’ attributed to the Committee of Union and Progress, it is claimed that the remaining ‘documents’ are texts of telegrams.

Of the 30 ‘telegrams’ attributed to Talat Pasha, 1 is undated, 7 are without a number, and 6 have neither date nor number. Of the 8 ‘telegrams’ attributed to Abdulahad Nuri Bey, 3 lack date and number. Of the 3 ‘telegrams’ attributed to Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, 1 lacks both date and number, and a second has no number. In the ‘telegram’ attributed to the Ministry of the Interior, there is neither date nor number, while in each of the single ‘telegrams’ attributed to Enver Pasha, Zeki Bey, and Ahmed Bey, there is no number. *

Together with the unattributed ‘document’, there are thus a total of 24 out of the 48 ‘documents’ which are incomplete.

In the English edition of Andonian’s work photographs of only 4 of these 48 ‘documents’ are provided. Of the four ‘documents’ for which photographs are supplied, 3 are attributed to Talat Pasha, and 1 to the Committee of Union and Progress.

The French edition is far more detailed, systematic, and inclusive than the English. It consists of 168 pages in contrast to the 84 pages of the English edition. The French edition includes the following sub-sections: (a) a Note written by the translator, M. S. David-Beg; (b) an Introduction by Andonian; and (c) a text comprising five chapters. In the text itself, Andonian is the narrator, although he frequently quotes Naim Bey. Unlike the English edition, those passages belonging to Andonian and those from the ‘Memoirs of Naim Bey’ are clearly distinguished by quotation marks. As a result, our own quotations in the following chapters are generally taken from the French edition.

While, as we have seen, there were a total of 48 translated ‘documents’ in the English edition, Andonian presents 50 translated ‘documents’ in the French edition. Of these, it is claimed that 48 are ‘telegrams’, and 2 are ‘letters’ written (as in the English edition) by the Committee of Union and Progress. This total of 50 ‘documents’ in the French edition are attributed to the following individuals or organizations:

Individual/Organization Number of ‘Documents’
Minister of the Interior, Talat Pasha 31
Director of the Aleppo Settlement Office, Abdulahad Nuri Bey 9
Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey 2
Committee of Union and Progress 2
Minister of War, Enver Pasha 1
Ministry of the Interior 1
Aleppo Prosecutor’s Office 1
Governor of the sanjak of Der Zor, Zeki Bey 1
Governor of the sanjak of Antep, Ahmed Bey 1
Unattributed 1
Total 50

The reason for the growth of the number of ‘documents’ to 50 is that 1 more ‘telegram’ has been added to those previously attributed to Talat Pasha and Abdulahad Nuri Bey.

Less clear is why a document which in the English edition was attributed to the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, is, in the French edition, attributed to the Aleppo Prosecutor’s Office. No reason is advanced in the book for this difference.

In the French edition, Andonian has scattered 16 of the translated ‘documents’ among the pages of the ‘Memoirs of Naim Bey’, while the remaining 34 are found in those sections that he himself has clearly written.

Of the 31 ‘telegrams’ attributed to Talat Pasha, 5 are undated, 9 have no number, and 5 have neither date nor number. Of the 9 ‘telegrams’ attributed to Abdulahad Nuri Bey, 1 has no date, 2 have no number, and 1 is lacking both date and number. Both of the ‘telegrams’ attributed to Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey are without a number. In each of the ‘telegrams’ attributed to Enver Pasha and to the Aleppo Prosecutor’s Office, there are neither numbers nor dates, while in each ‘telegram’ attributed to Zeki Bey and Ahmed Bey, there is no number. As for the ‘telegram’ attributed to the Ministry of the Interior, in addition to lacking both date and number, it is also lacking any kind of address.

Together with the unattributed ‘document’, there are thus a total of 31 out of the 50 ‘documents’ in the French edition which are incomplete.

In the French edition photographs of 13 of the 50 translated ‘documents’ are provided. Of the 13 ‘documents’ for which photographs are given, 8 are attributed to Talat Pasha, 3 to Abdulahad Nuri Bey, and 2 to the Committee of Union and Progress.

Three of the 4 photographs provided in the English edition are among the 13 which appear in the French edition. The photograph of the one ‘document’ which appears only in the English edition is of one attributed to Talat Pasha. In sum, we are provided with a total of 14 photographed ‘documents’. In Chapter II these 14 ‘documents’ will be examined in detail.

 


 

3. Why did Andonian write the book?

Andonian tells us that he was prompted to write his book out of a desire to attest the events which he calls the ‘Armenian massacres’. Further, that in order to confirm the ‘massacres’ he wanted to find official Ottoman documents. Finally, that he was motivated by a desire to preserve data for history. He clearly states that the book is his own personal product: ‘Taking advantage of the situation (as the British entered Aleppo), I wanted at least to gather data for history. . . . ‘[3]

Despite his proclaimed intent, it is clear from his letter of 10 June 1921, that the book was not the product of his own personal undertaking, but was, rather, written on behalf of the ‘Armenian National Union’ of Boghos Nubar Pasha. This union was actively pursuing the goal of securing at all costs a ‘home-land’ for the Armenians on Turkish soil. Thus Andonian wrote: ‘The “National Union” has entrusted me with the task of choosing among the documents. . . . “[4] Likewise, in the Dashnak work entitled Justicier du Genocide it is freely admitted that the actual idea of publishing the book and its ‘documents’ was supported by the Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia, who had charged an Armenian delegation with the duty of finding documents:
‘Subsequent to the fall of the Turkish government in Aleppo, the Catholicos of Cilicia had asked an Armenian delegation to obtain from the Turkish authorities the permission to examine the archives relating to the deportations.’[5] This clearly suggests that the publishing of Andonian’s book was not the result of his individual undertaking, but was, rather, part of a larger organized undertaking. The goal of this organized effort becomes clear when we stop to consider the timing of the publication.

The book’s appearance coincides with the extensive attempts on the part of various Armenian circles to persuade the Entente Powers to establish an independent Armenian State in Eastern and South-Eastern Anatolia, in the wake of the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in the First World War. It appeared at a time when Armenian attacks on Turkey’s eastern borders were being directed by the newly established Armenian Republic based in Erivan, which was controlled by the Dashnaks.

Simultaneously, at the Paris Peace Conference, the Armenian delegation led by Boghos Nubar Pasha, was attempting to gain Entente acceptance of the inclusion of Armenian requests for independence. Within the overall framework of dividing up the remains of the Ottoman Empire, a plan for giving a significant portion of Eastern and South-Eastern Anatolia to the Armenians was being prepared. At the same time the Entente Powers were exerting great pressure on the Ottoman Government in Istanbul to accede to these plans. The Turkish Liberation Movement, which, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, was beginning to blossom in Anatolia, represented a real source of concern both for the Armenians’ and the Entente Powers’ desires to implement their goals.

In the midst of all these activities, the publication of a book such as Andonian’s was designed to facilitate Armenian aims, by influencing public opinion in the Christian United States of America and Western Europe. Such a publication, which aimed at casting aspersions on all Turks, further suited the interests of the Entente Powers occupying Anatolia, as it would further help to weaken the Turkish Liberation Movement.

That this was in fact the purpose of the book in question becomes absolutely clear when we read the Introduction to the English edition written by Viscount Gladstone, together with the Open Letter of Armin T. Wegner.

Gladstone’s Introduction contains the following passages: ‘We are about to make a Treaty with the governing Turk reeking of deeds surpassing in magnitude and vileness the most imaginative pictures of hell ever conceived.’[6] ‘. . . the Treaty that has yet to come must rescue once and for all the survivors of this Christian nation (the Armenians) from the unutterable misdoings of the “Sublime Porte”.’[7]

As for Wegner, he addressed the following comments to President Woodrow Wilson of the United States of America: ‘I appeal to you at the moment when the Governments allied to you are carrying on peace negotiations in Paris, which will determine the fate of the world for many decades. .. .‘[8] ‘It would be an irremediable mistake if the Armenian districts of Russia were not joined with the Armenian provinces of Anatolia and Cilicia to form one common country entirely liberated from Turkish rule, with an outlet of its own to the sea.’[9]

Nor does Wegner hesitate to state that ‘The Armenian question is a question for the Christian world.”[10]

Clearly the goal is not to ‘gather data for history’ as Andonian claims, but rather to produce a ‘documentary book’ which will further the Armenian cause, This interpretation is confirmed by Andonian himself in his letter of 10 June 1921, where he wrote: ‘Finally, as was also noted in the travel document I was using as a passport, and which had been issued by the French military authorities in Aleppo, I was entrusted with the duty of bringing these documents to Europe in the name of the Armenian National Union in Aleppo, and to submit them to the delegation of the Armenian National Union at the Peace Conference.”[11]

Likewise, in support of the Armenian cause, Andonian does not hesitate to condemn, without exception, the entire Turkish people. Passages such as the following serve to illustrate this intent:’. . . while an entire people was being slaughtered with a barbarity unseen in history, each Turk was filed with a savage joy”[12] and: ‘Can a single Turk be found who has not had his share in these pillages? Can a single Turkish house be pointed out where an abducted Armenian woman, girl, or child is not found?’[13]

Nor does he fail to accuse Turkey’s late ally, Germany, for having condoned the ‘Armenian massacres’, and even for having had a hand in encouraging them. This was also done with the intention of strengthening Entente support for Armenian sponsored initiatives. Speciffically, in the French edition of his book, Andonian accused Germany and the German people.

Interestingly enough, Germany is not treated in the same manner in the English edition. This may stem from the fact that anti-German sentiment was stronger in France than in England, and Andonian hoped to play upon the fact that the Peace Negotiations were being held in Paris. Alternatively, it may reflect a desire not to antagonize Armin T. Wegner, a German, who had contributed to the English edition.

Andonian, in his letter of 26 July 1937, sheds some light on the motivation of the anti-German sentiments expressed in the French edition of his book. He writes: ‘We must also keep in mind that during this period making statements against Germany was a prerequisite for obtaining a hearing in the countries of the Entente.”4 Given this logic, it is easy to understand the motivation prompting Andonian and Armenian circles to support any and all kinds of anti-Turkish projects.


4. Thesource of the ‘documents’ in Andonian’s book

Andonian tells us that he obtained the ‘documents’ given in his book from Naim Bey, who he tells us was the Chief Secretary of the Ottoman Settlement Office of Aleppo:

It is a Turk who will speak through me. A Turk, who was employed for a long time in an important position in a department created specifically to oversee the general massacre of the Armenian people. In the course of this service he obtained all the official orders as well as the reports concerning the implementation of these orders. This Turk was Naim Bey, the former Chief Secretary of the Deportations Administration in Aleppo.[15]

Andonian writes that Naim Bey, whom he had previously known, gave significant assistance to the Armenians, and depicts Naim Bey as an honest and kind individual who held an important position.

The book provides the following detail in regard to Naim Bey’s personality, and on the manner in which the ‘documents’ were actually obtained:

Not only did Naim Bey not denounce us, but he also asked for nothing in return for his silence. This despite the fact that he could have obtained anything he wished, especially from these wealthy families...[16]

Considering the fact that he had held an important position in the Aleppo Deportations Administration, it was obvious that he must know many things, and everything that I was interested in. I believed that the promise of a monetary reward would perhaps prompt him to make a long confession.... However, at the time of my first interview with Naim Bey, I realized that I had misjudged him. Although his financial situation was not good, Naim Bey declined any offer of money.[17]

The factor of money having been discarded, it was difficult to prompt him to make confessions. He had an ardent Turkish consciousness, and he was apprehensive of giving through his revelations, the coup-de-grace to his race which would have the effect of expiating all the crimes it had been guilty of during the war, upon its defeat. More than my own pleading and insistence, it was the visits of Armenian women, who came by the dozen to tell me and have me record their recollections of the sufferings and tortures they had undergone, and which I would then communicate to him, which finally made Naim Bey talk.[18]

In addition to his own personal recollections, Naim Bey gave us a great number of documents which were of great historical value.[19]

Some of these documents have been transcribed as he recollected them, and the most important ones have been photographed in this present work.[20]

As these passages point out, Andonian obtained the documents with great difficulty by appealing to the conscience of Naim Bey who had no regard for financial considerations.

A similar assessment of Naim Bey is found in the letter of 10 June 1921 which Andonian wrote to the lawyers of Talat Pasha’s assassin, Tehlirian. Here he repeated the comments quoted above and added the following statement:

Naim Bey was a fundamentally kind and harmless man, and the Armenians who were in Aleppo and in other areas witnessed in many instances, even during the war, the kindness and affability shown by Naim Bey to them and to their fellow citizens who were deported.[21]

However, in his letter dated 26 July 1937, Andonian makes a far less flattering assessment of Naim Bey’s personality and motivation, and openly states that the portrayal of events as contained in his book and in his letter of 10 June 1921 were incorrect:

There were matters which I could neither disclose in my book, nor to Tehlirian’s lawyers, in order not to blacken Naim Bey’s character which was in reality not that good.... On the other hand, he also had a bad reputation as an official.... He was addicted to alcohol and to gambling, and in reality it was these shortcomings which dragged him into treachery. The truth of the matter is that everything which he provided us in the way of documents, we bought from him in return for money.[22]

Naim Bey persuaded a number of wealthy families to escape to Aleppo under these conditions, and promised that he would of course facilitate their escape in return for money.[23]

In my book I gave an entirely different portrayal of Naim Bey, because to have unveiled the truth about him would have served no purpose. Naim Bey was a totally dissolute creature.[24]

As this indicates, Andonian now claims that Naim Bey was an alcoholic, a gambler, a greedy and totally dissolute individual, and that the ‘documents’ which he provided were in fact all purchased for money.

Here, the first question which comes to mind is: Why did Andonian, who provided such a positive portrayal of Naim Bey in both his book and letter of 10 June 1921, wait seventeen years to unveil the truth? Likewise, the first answer which comes to mind is that he did not want to risk anything which would threaten the credibility of the ‘memoirs’ and ‘documents’ provided by Naim Bey. Andonian knew, of course, that no one could be expected to believe the ‘memoirs’ of an alcoholic, gambler or dissolute character.

Andonian, who revealed the ‘truth’ seventeen years later in a personal letter, emphasizes that his earlier action had been solely motivated by a desire ‘not to injure Naim Bey’s reputation’. However, the real question which we must ask is: Was this done to protect Naim Bey’s reputation, or to strengthen the credibility of his own book and its ‘documents’?

Bearing in mind the cause which the book serves, Andonian’s real goal becomes clear. Namely, ‘the coup-de-grace to his [Turkish] race’ was not Naim Bey’s desire, but rather that of Andonian and the circles he represented. As for the question of when the ‘documents’ were actually obtained, here, too, Andonian gives one explanation in his book, and a totally different one in his letter of 26 July 1937.

In the book he states that the ‘documents’ had been obtained following the entry of the British forces into Aleppo, when some of his acquaintances mentioned Naim Bey’s name to him: ‘And it was during these days that some of my friends from Adana reminded me of Naim Bey and promised to bring him to me.’[25]

His letter of 26 July 1937 contradicts the account provided in his book, and states that the plans for obtaining the ‘documents’ had begun before the British entered Aleppo: ‘Aleppo was about to fall, and the British had advanced to Damascus. I told Naim Bey that when the British entered Aleppo be would be able to sell any kind of documents relating to the massacres to the appropriate Armenian authorities for a high price. At the same time I encouraged him to begin writing up his recollections on the Armenians.’[26]

Again, in his book and in his letter of 26 July 1937, Andonian provides contradictory explanations as to why Naim Bey, who as an Ottoman official should have left the city with his colleagues prior to the British occupation, chose to stay in Aleppo.

The book reports that Naim Bey opted to stay in Aleppo because he had a clear conscience; ‘The departure of the Turks from Aleppo, he told me, was similar to the escape of criminals, and as my conscience was clear, I did not want to follow these criminals, so I remained.’[27]

In his letter of 26 July 1937, Andonian explains Naim Bey’s decision to stay in Aleppo as stemming from the offer he had made to buy the ‘documents’: ‘Because of this, he remained in Aleppo.’[28]

Likewise, Andonian provides two contradictory explanations to account for the fact that Naim Bey possessed the ‘documents’ in the first place. In his book he credits this fact to Naim Bey’s fear of being held responsible:’. . . Naim Bey, by giving us these documents which he had obtained in the course of his tenure. . . and of which he had kept a few, fearing perhaps that he would be held responsible. .‘[29]

Seventeen years later, in his letter of 26 July 1937, Andonian implies that Naim Bey had stolen the ‘documents’ with the intention of selling them: ... The Armenians formed a “National Union” which hastened to buy, after many examinations, the documents stolen by Naim Bey.’[30]

There can be no question but that the conflicting versions of events as portrayed by Andonian in his book and subsequent correspondence make it almost impossible for the impartial reader to determine which version of any given event he should accept. On the basis of these contradictory statements one cannot help but wonder if there are still other points which Andonian chose not to reveal. Ultimately, these questions cast doubt on the veracity of the book itself, and consequently upon the ‘memoirs’ of Naim Bey and the ‘documents’.

These queries, instead of being answered, are further complicated by the Dashnak Committee’s version of events. Despite Andonian’s letter of 26 July 1937 and the explanations it contains, the Dashnaks insist that the ‘documents’ were obtained by an Armenian delegation which had been granted permission by the Turkish authorities to examine the archives for material relating to the deportation of the Armenians, subsequent to the fall of the Turkish administration in Aleppo.[31] This claim, which appears in Justicier du Genocide, precedes the following statement: ‘The [Armenian] delegation didn’t meet any resistance, and bearing in mind this new development, Naim Bey, the Chief Secretary of the Deportation Service in Aleppo, did not hesitate to help these gentlemen in their research. Without doubt, he wanted to avoid a share of the responsibility weighing on the Turkish government.’[32]

What is not clear, is why the Armenian delegation failed to attempt to obtain its permission to examine the archives from the British occupation forces, considering the fact that the Turkish administration in Aleppo had fallen. Moreover, this Dashnak version of events contradicts Andonian, who fails to mention contacts with any Turkish authority, and, indeed, only mentions the name of one individual in regard to the ‘documents’, that of Naim Bey. One can only conjecture that this Dashnak version, which appears in their 1981 book, sixty-one years after Andonian’s work was published, stems from their desire to include a ‘Turkish authority’ in the picture, and thus give the ‘documents’ a broader ‘official’ character. What is harder to understand is why the 1981 Dashnak Committee publication, which makes these claims, also includes Andonian’s letter which contradicts them.

Given this confusion, the obvious question to be asked must be: Is it the Dashnaks, or is it Andonian who is telling the truth? Or would it be more correct to believe neither of them?

Before proceeding, there is one further point which must be emphasized. It concerns Andonian’s claim that he met Naim Bey at the beginning of 1916 in the town of Meskene. Andonian wrote: ‘I had met him [Naim Bey], in the begin-fling of 1916 in Meskene.’[33] In the same vein, Andonian provides the following quotation by Naim Bey in his ‘memoirs’: ‘I went to Meskene. . . . While I was still in Aleppo, the following telegram arrived from Constantinople.’[34] The telegram in question is claimed to have been sent from Istanbul on 1 December 1915. This would indicate that Naim Bey went to Meskene sometime in late December, or, at the latest, in the first days of January 1916.

With regard to the reason for his having been sent from Aleppo to Meskene, Andonian has Naim Bey make the following statement:

. . . Eyoub Bey sent for me: ‘Naim Efendi’, he said, ‘We cannot trust any of the officials we have sent to Meskene. You have been involved in this work and are aware of the orders which we have received. Try not to leave any of these people [Armenians] alive. If necessary, kill them with your own hands. After all, killing them is really a pleasure.’[35]

Andonian informs us that Naim Bey did not carry out this order, and on the contrary that he actually helped the Armenians. It was for this reason that he was dismissed from office:

. . . However, Naim Bey was not a suitable man for such a task, because he was not a bad person. For form’s sake he did organize a few convoys towards Der-Zor, but soon he was dismissed, as his activities in this respect were judged insufficient.’[36]

. . . we know that Naim Bey was dismissed a short time later. . . .[37]

All of these statements clearly point to the conclusion that Naim Bey was dismissed after a short stay in Meskene. It would appear that his removal from office must have occurred near the beginning of 1916.

However, as we saw earlier, Andonian had stated that the ‘documents’ were in Naim Bey’s possession. This claim is also repeated in Andonian’s letter of 10 June 1921 where we read: ‘The documents which I included in the book ... were in the possession of Naim Bey, the secretary to the Assistant Director of the Deportations [Office].’[38]

We have stated previously that Andonian subsequently claimed (in his letter of 26 July 1937), that ‘Naim Bey had stolen the documents in order to sell them to the Armenian Delegation at the time of Aleppo’s fall’.

Out of all these conflicting versions we may draw the following conclusions:

Naim Bey was dismissed from office early in 1916. Aleppo fell to the British in October of 1918. In other words, Naim Bey gave the ‘documents’ to Andonian more than two and a half years after his dismissal from office. It is hardly possible to account for the fact that an official who had been dismissed from office kept these documents for two and a half years because he had ‘listened to his conscience’, or because he ‘was afraid of being held responsible’. The fact of the matter is, he had no reason to fear responsibility, his conscience was clear, he had helped the Armenians, and indeed it was his kindness towards the Armenians which had led to his dismissal from office in the first place. Moreover, there is nothing to indicate that Naim Bey was such a far-sighted individual that he possessed the capacity to foresee what would happen two and a half years later.

Alternatively, if we opt for Andonian’s second explanation, it is impossible to understand how Naim Bey was able to secretly enter the Settlement Office (from which he had been dismissed) and steal the ‘documents’. For even Andonian himself claims that the Young Turk Government had destroyed all the documents relating to the massacres: ‘Because the Young Turk Government had destroyed the documents concerning the Armenian massacres, we lacked official proof. It was this gap which Naim Bey filed by giving us these documents. . . . ‘[39]

We are asked to believe that when all such documents had been destroyed, Naim Bey was able to enter an office from which he had been fred, and steal the documents which he wanted. This scenario strains credulity!

Moreover, had such documents actually existed, the Armenians would not have had need for a thief such as Naim Bey. The occupying Entente authorities in Aleppo would gladly have confiscated such documents in the Armenians’ interest, as well as for their own purposes.

It would not be incorrect to state that this point alone is enough to cause the collapse of Andonian’s entire theory. It appears that Andonian is attempting to fill the gap of ‘official proof’ himself, in the name of one Naim Bey.


5. Are the ‘documents’ authentic?

Andonian claims that the 'documents' obtained from Naim Bey are 'authentic official documents’. He further states that the aim of his book is to publish the ‘official proofs which will condemn the Turks’. He describes the ‘documents’ in the following terms: ‘These official documents consist of ministerial telegrams, of orders given by governors of provinces, of official notes sent by the Committee of Union and Progress. , ‘[40]

The book contains no hint as to what kind of study or research may have been made to prove that the ‘documents’ were ‘official and authentic’. Andonian deems it sufficient to simply state that they are ‘authentic and official documents’.

Subsequently, having become aware of the weakness of his book in this respect, Andonian attempts to alleviate this problem by providing new information in the letter he sent to Tehlirian’s lawyers on 10 June 1921. Within this framework he argues for the ‘authenticity of the documents’ based on a series of ‘notes’ written in the margins of some of the ‘documents’. These notes, and the signature affixed to them, were added, he tells us, by Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, the Governor of Aleppo. Further, Andonian alleges that he had seen the originals of the ‘documents’ in question.

His 10 June 1921 letter provides the following information in this respect:

There is no doubt that these documents were taken out of the files of the Assistant Directorship of the Deportation Office in Aleppo. The Governor of Aleppo, after having had the orders he received from the Minister of the Interior (Talat Pasha) concerning the Armenians deciphered, appended a note with his signature to them in which he referred them for implementation to the Assistant Directorship of the Deportation Office where Naim Bey was a secretary.

When Naim Bey agreed to provide us with these documents, the Aleppo Armenian National Union, which was an official organization, had the handwriting and signatures (appended to the documents in question), examined. This examination lasted exactly one week. Other documents to which the Governor Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey had appended notes and his signature were examined, and even the smallest details were subjected to comparison. Finally, it was determined without any possibility of doubt that the handwriting and signature in the notes added to the documents belonged to the Governor Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey. This erased even the slightest suspicion as to the authenticity of the documents.

After the National Union was absolutely convinced that the documents were authentic, it entrusted me with the duty of selecting from among those documents which were in Naim Bey’s possession, those which would prove the responsibilities relating to the Armenian massacres. I was chosen for this task because I had witnessed the massacres and cruelties, for I had lived in this environment of terror for two years. I selected the most important of these documents. .[41]

In his letter of 26 July 1937, Andonian provides the following additional information with regard to this ‘investigation’: ‘. . . The “National Union” formed by the Armenians purchased the documents stolen by Naim Bey after much investigation. ‘[42]

The passages quoted above, from Andonian’s various writings, reveal the following points:

(a) Contrary to the opinion held in many interested foreign circles, the ‘documents’ do not contain anything signed by Talat Pasha ordering massacres.

(b) The proof of the authenticity of the ‘documents’ stolen or given by Naim Bey rests solely upon Andonian’s allegation that the handwritten notes and signatures they contain are those of the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey. Consequently, should Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey’s real signature not match that found on Andonian’s ‘documents’, the spuriousness of these ‘documents’ will be apparent.

(c) Andonian, fully aware that his explanation may be considered insufficient, swears that the ‘documents’ are authentic. Further, he tries to give an ‘official’ character to the Aleppo Armenian National Union which instigated the expert appraisal, and, finally, he feels the necessity to state that the ‘documents’ are supported by events which he himself witnessed.

The organization which carried out the authentication of the ‘documents’ was hardly a disinterested party. It was an Armenian organization whose aim was nothing less than the establishment of an Armenian State in Anatolia, and one which is known to have resorted to any and all means to reach this goal. Nor was there any impartial or foreign authority present during its investigation of the ‘documents’, to confirm that such an investigation even occurred in the first place. In summary, the claim of an authentication by experts rests solely on Andonian and the Aleppo Armenian National Union, and there is no other source to substantiate Andonian’s claims.

Let us not overlook the fact that Andonian and the National Union did, however, have plenty of opportunity to gain outside support for the authenticity of their ‘documents’. Indeed, they were fully aware that the British who initially occupied Aleppo, and the French authorities who succeeded them there, were both engaged in an active campaign to search out and arrest any former Ottoman official who could be held responsible for the ‘deportations of the Armenians’. We cannot help but wonder why the Armenian National Union chose not to include British or French authorities in their attempt to authenticate the ‘documents’, or why, following their ‘authentication’, copies of these ‘documents’ were not made available to these Entente authorities. Subsequent events prove that the Armenians had no desire to keep this great discovery to themselves, but sought to use it as widely as possible in the Entente states. Given these facts we must look for an answer to the obvious question: Is it possible that such an attempt to ‘authenticate’ the ‘documents’ simply never occurred?

As for the Dashnak Committee, it is still able to insist, more than sixty years after the publication of Andonian’s book, on the ‘authenticity of the documents’. In Justicier du Genocide we read: ‘Aram Andonian was present at the examination of the files, and selected the most important documents in the hope of one day publishing a great work. As a matter of fact that is exactly what he did.’[43] Clearly, even today the Dashnak Committee has no other option than to refer to Andonian, nor is it able to produce any other source which would confirm his account.

As a matter of fact, Andonian considered it natural that there would be an element of doubt with regard to the ‘authenticity’ of the ‘documents’ used in his book, and recognized that his own assertions would only serve to present a one-sided version of the events. In his letter dated 26 July 1937 he states:

Naturally, the subject of the authenticity of the documents was raised in the course of our first meeting with Tehlirian’s lawyers in Berlin. On 10 June 1921, I gave them a short note about the sources of the documents.... As this was only a one-sided opinion it was insufficient to resolve the issue....[44]

This meant that neither Andonian’s book nor the note he gave to Tehlirian’s lawyers constitutes sufficient proof of the ‘authenticity of the documents’. What was needed was a new witness who would support his version of events. The solution found by the Armenian circles wishing to demonstrate the ‘authenticity of the documents’ in order to assist with the Tehlirian defence efforts was to have Andonian’s book ‘authenticated’ by an outside source. Through the services of Dr Johannes Lepsius, a strong Armenian supporter with links to the German missionaries, they solicited the opinion of Dr W. Rössler, who was said to have been the German Consul in Aleppo during the First World War.

Andonian provides the following details on this question in his letter of 26 July 1937, where he writes:

... Tehlirian’s lawyers had given my book and the documents in the book for examination, to W. Rössler, a Foreign Ministry Official who had been the German Consul in Aleppo throughout the war.... Rössler’s report, a copy of which is in my possession, was given to me by the late Dr Lepsius on the condition that I do not disclose its contents without first obtaining the written authorization of Consul Rössler.[45]

The Dashnak Committee, in Justicier du Genocide, confirms the above account:

Tehlirian’s lawyers, before using these documents and submitting them to the court... had made sure of their authenticity. They had recourse to a Foreign Ministry Official, W. Rössler, who had been the German Consul in Aleppo throughout the war, and thus had been an eyewitness to the atrocities committed against the Armenians.[46]

W. Rössler disclosed his views on the ‘documents’ contained in Andonian’s book in a letter of 25 April 1921 which he wrote to Dr Lepsius, who had acted as the intermediary in his contacts with Armenian circles and Tehlirian’s defence lawyers. In his letter to Lepsius, which is assumed to be genuine, Rössler enumerates the errors and contradictions permeating Andonian’s book and its ‘authentic documents’ , and says:

I believe that the author is not capable of being objective; be is carried away by his passion....‘[47]

Leaving these points aside, I must say that as a whole, the content of the book gives an impression of authenticity. The published documents coincide with the course of events and share a similarity with reality.[48]

It is naturally very difficult to determine the question of the authenticity of the telegrams which were sent from Constantinople [Istanbul] and which contain the orders of the Ministry of the Interior, because these telegrams contain only the handwriting of the telegraph officials and the individuals responsible for their decoding.[49]

As for the authenticity of the letter dated 18 February 1915 [which is found on p. 96 of the French edition of Andonian’s book], which was sent by the Young Turk Committee to its Adana representative Cemal Bey, it is of special importance as it predates the start of the deportations. However, I can say nothing with regard to its authenticity, nor that of the other letters of the Committee, and I do not see either how their authenticity can be proved.[50]

Rössler, who emphasizes that Andonian could not be objective and was carried away by his passion, points out the difficulties in attempting to determine the ‘authenticity of the documents’, and admits that he does not know how to determine the ‘authenticity’ of some specific documents. However, be also writes that as a whole the book gives the impression of authenticity.

In short, Rössier avoids making a judgement as to the ‘authenticity of the documents’. His opinion on this question relates not to the individual ‘documents’, but rather to the overall content of the book. As has been demonstrated in the preceding pages, Andonian’s letter of 26 July 1937 (in which he contradicts most of the statements made in his book) clearly shows that the content of the book has little to do with authenticity.

It would probably not be incorrect to look for pressure either from Dr Lepsius or from Armenian circles to account for the tone of Rössler’s statement.

In view of Rössler’s inability to make a definitive judgement concerning the question of the ‘authenticity of the documents’, Andonian was prompted to engage in some very frank self-criticism. Indeed, his letter of 26 July 1937 contains the following enlightening passage about his motivation:

This report [Rössler’s report] is written in German. It contains much criticism about my book, which he considers lacking in objectivity. Moreover, he compleely refutes most of the passages relating to the attitude of Germany during the war. There is no doubt that he is right in most of the matters he points out. However, he forgets that my work was not a historical one, but rather one aiming at propaganda. Naturally, my book could not have been spared the errors characteristic of publications of this nature... I would also like to point out that the Armenian Bureau in London, and the National Armenian Delegation in Paris, behaved somewhat too cavalierly with my manuscript, for the needs of the cause they were defending.[51]

The importance of this passage must be recognized. While Andonian acknowledges a number of errors, he freely confesses that his book is not a historical work, but one of propaganda. In addition, he complains that the Armenian circles in London and Paris, who actually published his work, freely altered his text in keeping with their own intended utilization of his book. In other words, Andonian, too, was uncomfortable with the exaggerations in his work and its documents.

These statements made by Andonian, seventeen years after his work was published, in an attempt to defend his own reputation, shake the very foundation of the book and of the ‘documents’ upon which it is allegedly based. There simply can be no reason to treat a book seriously when its author acknowledges that it was written for propaganda purposes. As for the ‘documents’ which it contains, bearing in mind that they, too, are found in a work of propaganda where anything is considered permissible, they may well be viewed as fictitious.

As for the Dashnak Committee, despite Rössler’s letter in which he clearly states that he was unable to make a judgement concerning the ‘authenticity of the documents’, they continue to claim that he authenticated the ‘documents’:

‘Rössler replied with a long report which concluded that the documents are authentic.’[52] Their obdurate attitude in the face of the obvious must also be viewed as yet another example of pure propaganda, where it is acceptable to resort to any means on behalf of a cause.


6. The trial of Tehlirian and the ‘documents’

Soghomon Tehlirian was an Armenian assassin who murdered Talat Pasha in Berlin on 15 March 1921. His trial was held in Berlin on 2—3 June 1921, and he was acquitted when the jury responded ‘no’ to the question: ‘Is the accused Soghomon Tehlirian guilty of having killed with premeditation Talat Pasha on 15 March 1921?’ As German criminal law of that period did not provide the opportunity, Talat Pasha’s widow was not allowed to participate in the trial, nor was she allowed to be represented in court by a lawyer. In other - words, the rights of the victim were not sufficiently protected.

On the other hand, most of the witnesses who did testify at the trial were Armenians. They all spoke on behalf of Tehlirian, praising his qualities as a human being, claiming that he was very ill, and that when he carried out the murder he had been under the influence of past events.

These factors played a major role in influencing the decision of the jury to acquit the assassin.

Today it is a well-known fact that this murder was committed with premeditation by Tehlirian on the orders of the Dashnak Committee. * This murder was the first step in a whole series of Dashnak assassinations of former Ottoman officials. On 6 December 1921, Said Halim Pasha, a former Ottoman Prime Minister, was killed in Rome by assassins of the Dashnak Committee; Behaeddin ?akir Bey, an administrator of the Committee of Union and Progress, and Cemal Azmi Bey, the former Governor of Trabzon, were killed on 17 April 1922 in Berlin; and Cemal Pasha, the former Minister of the Navy, was killed by Dashnak assassins in Tiflis on 25 July 1922.

Today, these assassins are recognized as ‘National Heroes’ in various Armenian circles. Tehlirian himself died in 1960 after a life of comfort and wealth which the notoriety he gained from this murder helped ensure.

There is a widespread belief in Western Europe and the United States among individuals interested in the Armenian question, that the German court which tried Tehlirian accepted and even certified as ‘authentic’ some of the ‘documents’ which were included in Andonian’s book.

This mistaken conviction stems from the fact that Tehlirian’s lawyers attempted to introduce some of Andonian’s ‘documents’ in court as evidence, and in the course of their attempts the ‘documents’ were discussed in the trial proceedings.

However, the transcript of the trial makes it abundantly clear that none of the Andonian ‘documents’ were in fact afrowed to be entered as evidence. We can trace the sequence of events leading to their rejection from the actual transcript:

Attorney Von Gordon: ‘My duty impels me to reply to the claims you have made, by referring to the five telegrams belonging to the Aleppo administration.’ (Attorney Von Gordon places them on the table.) ‘While I request that these be studied as evidence, I will read two of them here. Professor Lepsius has confirmed their authenticity.’ [Note: We have previously seen that this confirmation had been supported not by Lepsius, but rather by Rössler’s report; and that Rössler had been unable to make a judgement as to the ‘authenticity of the documents’.]

President: ‘If you read them here you will take away from them their value as evidence.’

Attorney Von Gordon: ‘But at least I must state their meaning.... As for the authenticity of these telegrams, witness Andonian can confirm this. [Note: As this indicates, the question of authenticity is once again referred to Andonian.] I would like to have them verifled as evidence, only if the members of the Jury were not convinced.’

Prosecutor: ‘I request that you refuse the subject of confirmation....I believe that here, in this court, Talat’s responsibility cannot be discussed. Otherwise, a decision concerning history would be made, and much more evidence than we have here would be necessary for such a decision.’

Attorney Von Gordon: ‘After this attitude of the Prosecutor which influences the members of the jury, I believe that I will be forced to abandon my request for veriffication, albeit unwillingly.’

President: ‘This issue has thus been solved.’[53]

As the transcript of the trial clearly demonstrates, Andonian’s ‘documents’ were neither used in the trial as evidence, nor were they accepted by the court as ‘authentic’. Thus, the widespread belief to the effect that the acceptance of the ‘documents’ by the court upheld their ‘authenticity’ is simply not true. The fact is, this argument also does nothing to prove that the ‘documents’ were not invented by Andonian.

The 1981 publication of the Dashnak Committee also freely admits that the Berlin court did not accept the ‘documents’ as evidence: ‘These telegrams had been given to the court by the defence. However, despite the request of the defence lawyers, it was decided not to accept them in court.... This occurred after the judge explained to the accused the meaning of an observation made by the jury.’[54]

The prosecutor’s personal opinion on the ‘documents’ is also found in the transcript of the trial, where we read: ‘The use of the documents produced here, cannot also lead me into error. As a prosecutor I am familiar with the history of how, in the chaos of the revolution, we came to possess documents bearing the signatures of high ranking individuals, and how it was subsequently proved that they were false.’[55]

With this statement, the prosecutor also makes an accurate evaluation concerning Andonian’s ‘documents’, and confirms the points we have been making. Despite this assessment made in 1921, today, more than sixty years later, Armenian circles are still insisting on the ‘authenticity of these documents’.


7. Where are the originals of the ‘documents’?

Previously we have discussed how Andonian claimed to have seen the originals of all the translated ‘documents’ (fifty in number) which he included in his book, despite the fact that ‘photographs’ of only fourteen of them were printed in the English and French editions.

Today, the first question facing anyone desirous of studying this matter, is: Where are the originals of the ‘documents’?

The following passage from Andonian’s 26 July 1937 letter provides us with his version of their fate:

The originals of the telegrams which I included in my book were in London, at the ‘Armenian Bureau’, which had been entrusted by the prominent Armenians of Manchester with publishing the English version of my work.... I had left London prior to the publication of the book, and had taken with me only a few of the original telegrams whose zinc plates had been completed. The remaining telegrams were in London in order that their plates could be completed. I completely forgot about them until the day Abdulahad Nuri Bey, the former Assistant Director of the Deportations Office in Aleppo, who had subsequently served as an official of the Naval Ministry in Constantinople [Istanbul], was arrested in that city, on the complaint of Dr A. Nakachian. This transpired in August of 1920...[56]

In preparation for the trial, Dr Nakachian had appealed to Bogos Nubar Pasha, the President of the Armenian National Delegation, through the intermediary of the Constantinople [Istanbul] Patriarch, Archbishop Zaven, and had requested him to have me send the originals of the documents in my book to the Patriarchate. I received a letter on this subject from Bogos Nubar Pasha, and I immediately wrote to the Armenian Bureau in London and requested that they send all the originals in their possession to the Patriarchate. This they did. At the same time, I also sent to the Patriarch a long memoir written in pencil by Naim Bey, which dealt with Abdulabad Nuri Bey, and the originals of a few documents in my possession which mentioned Abdulahad Nuri Bey’s name. In spite of this the case was not brought to trial.[57]

As for the documents sent to the Patriarchate, either from London or by myself, which were included in the case flue opened against Abdulahad Nuri Bey, they naturally remained there. I never knew what happened to them.[58]

Thus Andonian claims that all the ‘originals’ of the ‘documents’ which were in the possession of the Armenian Bureau in London, together with some of the ‘originals’ which were in his possession, including the pencil-written ‘memoirs’ of Naim Bey, passed out of his hands. In other words, they were lost. If we are to believe Andonian, the majority of the ‘originals’ no longer exist today.

Before proceeding with our discussion on the fate of the ‘original documents’, it is deemed useful to digress for a moment and examine what Andonian wrote about the reasons why Abdulahad Nuri Bey was not brought to trial.

Andonian claims that Abdulahad Nuri Bey was the brother of Yusuf Kemal Bey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Nationalist Government in Ankara; further, that Yusuf Kemal Bey had threatened to have the Armenians in Anatolia massacred without mercy if his brother were harmed. Consequently, in face of this threat, the Armenian Patriarch and Dr Nakachian were forced to drop the case:

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Nationalist Government in Ankara, Yusuf Kemal Bey, the brother of Abdulahad Nuri Bey, sent the spiritual leader of the Armenians in Kastamonu, Archimandrite Dadjad, to Constantinople [Istanbul]. Yusuf Kemal had threatened that should his brother be sentenced to death as a result of the trial, and this was the likely outcome, he would then have all the Armenians living under the jurisdiction of the Kemalist Government mercilessly massacred. The poor Armenian Archimandrite who took this threat at its face-value, went to Constantinople and begged the Armenian Patriarchate and Dr Nakachian to drop the case.[59]

Following this passage, Andonian adds that Abdulahad Nuri Bey ‘was released from custody when a government tied to the Kemalist movement came to power in Istanbul’.
 
Our own research on this matter, while substantiating that Abdulahad Nuri Bey was indeed the brother of Yusuf Kemal (Tengir?enk), and that he was arrested in Istanbul by the British forces of occupation, indicates that all of Andonian’s other claims concerning this matter bear no relation with reality. In the first place, Yusuf Kemal Bey was not the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Nationalist Government in August 1920 (the time when Andonian alleges that his intervention in the trial of his brother took place). In that period, Bekir Sami Bey was Minister of Foreign Affairs; Yusuf Kemal Bey was only appointed to that post on 15 May 1921, that is, a full ten months after the date asserted by Andonian. Given this fact, Yusuf Kemal Bey could not possibly have threatened the Armenian Patriarchate in the name of the Ankara Government. Equally ludicrous is the suggestion that a government would threaten to massacre a great number of people on behalf of one individual!

Moreover, had such a threat in fact been made, the Patriarchate and Dr Nakachian, rather than dropping their case, would immediately have informed the British occupation forces in Istanbul, i.e. this threat of massacre would have been the occasion of a series of protests designed to create a reaction in the Christian public opinion of Western Europe and the United States of America. This was a well-established pattern of reaction on the part of Armenian circles in Istanbul. However, Andonian would have us believe that the Patriarchate and Dr Nakachian missed this opportunity and simply dropped the case.

Within this context, we should note that the occupation forces governing Istanbul in this period had created an ‘Armenian-Greek Office’, to respond to such complaints reported by Greeks and Armenians. Further, in response to unfounded and unsubstantiated denunciations of this office, the occupation forces in Istanbul arrested a great number of Turks.

In addition, Andonian’s charge that Abdulahad Nuri Bey was ‘released from custody when a government tied to the Kemalist movement came to power in Istanbul’ is equally inaccurate. Inquiries made among relatives of Abdulahad Nuri Bey, who are alive today, point to the following sequence of events.

After his arrest by the British occupation forces, Abdulahad Nuri Bey was stricken by a partial facial paralysis. As a result, he was constantly transferred back and forth between the prison and the Haydarpa?a Hospital on the Anatolian side of the city, in the company of a guard. One day, as he was being taken to the hospital, he was kidnapped by a group led by a friend of his named Dr Dervi? Bey. Subsequently, disguised as a Greek Orthodox priest, he was smuggled by small boat to the Black Sea port of Inebolu in Anatolia. Abdulahad Nuri Bey died in 1927 at the age of 63.

It would be useful to remind our readers at this time that many Turks who were unjustly arrested for a variety of reasons by the Entente Powers who had occupied Istanbul and parts of Anatolia, or by the Government of the Sultan in Istanbul whose policies supported the Entente Powers, escaped from Istanbul to Anatolia in the same way that Abdulahad Nuri Bey did. There were even underground organizations formed in Istanbul to help such individuals escape to Anatolia.

Further, we should note that the same British occupation forces which arrested Abdulahad Nuri Bey were at the same time arresting numerous Turks accused of ‘crimes against Armenians’ and sending them to Malta to be held for trial. Many of those arrested were charged with far less significant crimes than those attributed to Abdulahad Nuri Bey. This cycle of British arrests continued until November 1920, i.e. well after August, when Andonian tells us that Abdulahad Nuri Bey was arrested. The obvious question in this respect is: Why didn’t the British immediately send Abdulahad Nuri Bey, a man who in the words of Andonian was a ‘monster’, to Malta after he was arrested? It would appear that the British forces of occupation, in spite of the ‘documents’ sent by the Armenian Bureau in London and by Andonian himself, did not take these charges very seriously. Can there be any reason why we, more than sixty years later, should treat seriously, what the contemporary British occupation authorities chose to ignore?

Andonian, whose only facts in this respect were an arrest in Istanbul and a known family connection, then concocted his own additions in an attempt to distort the facts in the service of his own cause. Having witnessed this pattern repeatedly in the preceding pages, it is obvious that this was Andonian’s normal behaviour.

Later, we will examine in detail the outcome of the efforts to pursue the ‘criminals of the Armenian incidents’, that is, the fate of those individuals arrested by the British and shipped to Malta for trial. However, it is useful to note at this point that the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, who according to Andonian ‘was one of those who bore primary responsibility for the Armenian massacres’, and whose handwriting and signature were used by Andonian to support the ‘authenticity of the documents’, was among the Malta exiles.

In his letter dated 26 July 1937 Andonian writes as follows with regard to the fate of the remainder of the ‘original documents’:

I no longer thought about the documents [i.e. those discussed earlier] when I was invited by the Moabit Court, in April of 1921 (if I am not mistaken), to Berlin, to testify at the trial of the assassin of the Former Prime Minister, Talat Pasha... Tehlirian’s lawyers had said it would be very useful were I to bring the originals of some of the documents in order to support my book which they had decided to use in court.

I went to Berlin taking with me the rest of the documents, and in-particular Behaeddin ?akir Bey’s letters and the copies of a few decoded telegrams which included the notes added by Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, the Governor of Aleppo.

Among the originals of these documents I am able only to find Behaeddin Sakir’s letter which is dated February 18th. His second letter and the originals of a few telegrams were made part of Tehlirian’s case file, and they should still be there. After I returned to Paris, I made numerous attempts to retrieve them; however, all my attempts proved useless.[609

In short, out of all the ‘original documents’ only one, and this a letter by Behaeddin ?akir Bey (this is one of the two ‘letters’ attributed to the Committee of Union and Progress), was left in Andonian’s possession as of 1937. All the rest of the ‘original documents’ had been lost!

In summary, today all of the ‘originals’ of Andonian’s ‘documents’ have disappeared. It is not possible to locate a single one of them. Bearing in mind Andonian’s tendency to give conflicting explanations for the same event and his all too-frequent distortion of facts, one question comes to mind: Is it not possible that the Armenian circles purposely destroyed the ‘originals’, in order to avoid the chance that one day the spuriousness of the ‘documents’ would be revealed? Given the fact that Andonian himself acknowledged that his book was a work of propaganda, such a question does not seem to be beyond consideration.

 



 NOTES

[1] Andonian, Documents, p. 12.
[2] Andonian, Memoirs, p. x.
[3] Andonian, Documents, pp. 13—14.
[4] Justicier du Genocide, p. 225.
[5] Ibid., p. 213.
[6] Andonian, Memoirs, p. vii.
[7] Ibid., p. viii.
[8] Ibid., p. 73.
[9] Ibid., p. 82.
[10] Ibid., p. 73.
[11] Justicier du Genocide, p. 225.
[12] Andonian, Documents, p. 11.
[13] Ibid., p. 165. .
[14] Justicier du Genocide, p. 232.
[15] Andonian, Documents, p. 12.
[16] Ibid., p. 13.
[17] Ibid., p. 14.
[18] Ibid., pp. 14—15.
[19] Ibid., p. 15.
[20] Ibid., p. 16.
[21] Justicier du Genocide, p. 224.
[22] Ibid., p. 234.
[23] Ibid., p. 235.
[24] Ibid., p. 237.
[25] Andonian, Documents, p. 13.
[26] Justicier da Genocide, p. 237.
[27] Andonian, Documents, p. 14.
[28] Justicier du Genocide, p. 237.
[29] Andonian, Documents, p. 16.
[30] Justicier du Genocide, p. 237.
[31] Ibid., p. 213.
[32] Justicier du Genocide, p. 213.
[33] Andonian, Documents, p. 12.
[34] Ibid., p. 77.
[35] Ibid.
[36] Ibid., pp. 12—13.
[37] Ibid., p. 79.
[38] Justicier du Genocide, p. 224.
[39] Andonian, Documents, p. 16.
[40] Ibid., p. 15.
[41] Justicier du Genocide, pp. 224—5.
[42] Ibid., p. 237.
[43] Ibid., p. 213.
[44] Ibid., p. 232.
[45] Ibid.
[46] Ibid., p. 15.
[47] Ibid., p. 226.
[48] Ibid., p. 227.
[49] Ibid., p. 228.
[50] Ibid., pp. 228—9.
[51] ibid., p. 232.
[52] ibid., p. 15.
[53] Ibid., pp. 137—9.
[54] Ibid., p. 213.
[55] Ibid., p. 161.
[56] Ibid., p. 230.
[57] Ibid., pp. 230—1.
[58] Ibid., p. 231.
[59] Ibid.
[60] Ibid., pp. 231—3.
[*] Translator’s note: The importance of the failure to include numbers will become apparent in succeeding chapters where authentic telegrams emanating from the Ottoman Administra¬tion in this period are examined.
[*] Translator’s note: For a discussion of the Dashnak murder squad known as ‘Nemesis’ which carried out this and other assassinations in this period, see Christopher J. Walker, Armenia: the Survival of a Nation (New York, 1980), pp. 343—5.

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