Main Page       Contact  
   
Türkçe

Daily Bulletin Subscription

To receive our Daily Bulletin please fill out the form below.
Name:
Surname:
Email:


Books out of Print

Andonian's 'Documents'

ŞİNASİ OREL*
The Talat Pasha Telegrams
 

 ="justify">

 


 

ANDONIAN’S ‘DOCUMENTS’

 


 

CHAPTER I has focused upon an in-depth examination of Andonian’s own written comments regarding his ‘documents’, how they were obtained, and the question of their authenticity or lack thereof. In Chapter II we will provide a detailed analysis of the ‘documents’, one by one.

However, before proceeding with this analysis of the ‘documents’, a few comments and observations on Naim Bey himself would be useful.

 


 

1. Was Naim Bey a real person?

Faced with the fact that Andonian’s book and letters frequently contain inconsistent and even contradictory statements with regard to the same events, plus the fact that he frequently engaged in distortions in his description of events, together with what we shall see are numerous errors in his alleged documents, one quite naturally begins to question whether Naim Bey, the hero of his work and the alleged source of his ‘documents’, was an actual person.

The question of whether or not an individual named Naim Bey was actually employed in the Aleppo Settlement Office has been thoroughly investigated in the Ba?bakanl?k Ar?ivi (Archives of the Prime Minister) in Istanbul.

The obvious place to begin such an investigation was by examining the Ottoman Salnames, or Yearbooks, periodic compilations listing the names of all officials in provinces of the Empire. Unfortunately, such Yearbooks were not published in the chaotic years of 1912—17, and the last Salname compiled for the province of Aleppo was published in 1910. As a result, we turned to a variety of other official registers, including the Irade-i Seniye Defterleri (Imperial Rescript Registers), the Ruzname-i Ceride-i Havadis (Registers of Daily Events), and the Düsturs (Law Codes), in an attempt to verify the employment of an individual named Naim Bey on the Aleppo Settlement Office staff during the years 1915—16. Despite exhaustive research, we were unable to uncover a single reference to Naim Bey in any of these sources.

On the other hand, the names of several other individuals, said by Andonian to have been employed in Aleppo and its vicinity during the relocation of the Armenians, do appear in the archival documents.

Given this state of affairs, there are only three possible explanations regarding Naim Bey: (a) Naim Bey was simply a fictitious person created by Andonian; (b) Naim Bey is an assumed name; (c) Naim Bey was an actual person, whose name, for some reason, has not been recorded.

In this situation it seems impossible to make a definite judgement on the question of whether or not Naim Bey was an actual person. The only point which can be made with certainty is that if Naim Bey actually existed, he was undoubtedly a very low-ranking official. Indeed, Andonian confirms this impression in his letter of 26 July 1937, where he writes: ‘Naim Bey was an entirely insignificant official....“[1]

Bearing this fact in mind it seems logical to conclude that Naim Bey could not have been in a position to have access to documents of a secret and sensitive nature. However, Andonian in his book attempts to strengthen the credibility of Naim Bey’s ‘memoirs’ and ‘documents’ by giving him the title of Chief Secretary of the Settlement Office. Despite this, in other references to Naim Bey Andonian makes certain errors. Typical of these is the following passage where Andonian makes Naim Bey sound like a foreigner rather than a Turk: ‘The departure of the Turks from Aleppo, he told me, was similar to the escape of criminals.‘[2]

It hardly seems likely that a Turk would speak of his fellow countrymen as if they were foreigners, especially when speaking with a non-Turk. It is clear that Andonian made a mistake here.

 


 

2. The presentation of the ‘documents’

In the French edition of his work, Andonian organized the most important of his ‘documents’ under seven chapter headings in accordance with a specific plan. This method was not followed in the English edition.

These chapter headings are respectively: ‘The Premeditation’, ‘The Measures of Precaution’, ‘The Extension of the Massacres’, ‘The Little Martyrs’, ‘The Incitements’, ‘Efforts to Justify’, and ‘The Second Act’.

As these titles suggest, Andonian claims that the ‘Armenian massacres’ were the result of a systematic and pre-planned policy; that various measures were taken to ensure that no public reaction against the ‘massacres’ was raised; that the scope of the ‘massacre’ victims was subsequently broadened; that ultimately even little children were included as ‘massacre’ victims; that local officials were encouraged by the central government to kill more Armenians; that a speciffic propaganda campaign to justify the ‘massacres’ was engaged in; and that following the armistice and the liberation of Eastern Anatolia from Russian-Armenian occupation, the Turks engaged in a second round of ‘massacres’.

Implicit in this approach is the desire to create the impression that the ‘Armenian massacres’ were organized as part of a speciffic state policy, and that as a result of this policy the entire Armenian people, including small children, were destined for annihilation. There can be no doubt that the book has indeed been successful in creating this impression. For, even today, Andonian’s ‘documents’ illustrate numerous Armenian publications in support of these claims, and they have been accepted in certain foreign circles.

Andonian did not present his ‘documents’ in chronological order. The most important are found scattered throughout the seven chapters we have enumerated above, together with a series of explanations provided by Andonian which are based at times on Naim Bey’s ‘memoirs’ and at times on the author’s own ‘experiences’. In the words of Andonian, these explanations are aimed at providing the reader with a better ‘understanding of the documents’.

Our examination of the ‘documents’ will parallel the method followed by Andonian. In this examination we shall naturally give priority to those fourteen ‘documents’ of which the ‘photographs of the originals’ were published, while referring to the remaining translations as well.

In this chapter we shall record the texts of Andonian’s ‘documents’. The ‘originals’ and the translated texts (as they appear in the French and English editions) are given in facsimile in Appendix I, ‘The Forged Documents’.

We have given numbers to the ‘documents’ discussed in this chapter, in order to facilitate their comparison with the ‘originals’ in Appendix I.

 


 

3. Differences between the Muslim Rumi* and Christian calendars

Naturally, the ‘documents’ in Andonian’s book contain dates from the Rumi calendar which was then used in the Ottoman Empire. It is therefore necessary to give a short explanation with regard to the method of converting dates in the Rumi calendar into the Christian dates.

When converting the Rumi calendar into the Christian calendar, one adds 584 to the year, and 13 to the day. For example, the date 3 September 1331 in the Rumi calendar equals 16 September 1915 in the Christian calendar.[3]

The Rumi year began on 1 March. This means that the last two months of the Rumi year calendar (January and February) are the first two months of the Christian calendar. The correct Christian year for these two months of the Rumi calendar is found by adding 584+1=585 to the Rumi year. For example, 5 January 1331 in the Rumi calendar corresponds to 18 January 1916 in the Christian calendar.

Up until 1917 the Ottoman year began on 1 March. Then in February of 1917 a law was enacted which abolished the 13-day difference between the Rumi and Christian calendars, although the date of the year was maintained. 16 February 1332 (February 1917) was now considered to be 1 March 1333 (1 March 1917), and the year 1333 was considered as 10 months running from 1 March until 31 December. Likewise, 1 January 1334 became the equivalent of 1 January 1918.

The Christian calendar was adopted in Turkey under the Republic in 1925, and the Rumi year 1341 became 1925. Thus, following the difference in days, the difference in years also was abolished.
 
These technical matters are of great importance in terms of Andonian’s ‘documents’, as we shall see. In the meantime we should mention that because, until the Rumi year 1333 (1917), the beginning of the calendar year was 1 March, the file numbers put on ‘incoming’ and ‘outgoing’ official correspondence would begin with ‘1’ on 1 March, and run sequentially through the year until 28 February, and then begin with ‘1’ again on 1 March.

 


 

4. ‘The Premeditation’

In this chapter of his work the thesis advanced by Andonian is that the ‘Armenian massacres’ had been pre-planned by the Turkish Government; further, that the Government sought to justify this action by claiming that the Armenian population was preparing to engage in a general insurrection; whereas in actual fact, Andonian claims, the Armenians had no such intention:

It [the Turkish Governmentj alleged that the Armenians, who were planning an insurrection, were going to cut the supply lines of the Turkish armies which were fighting at the front, in order to facilitate the entry into Turkey of the Entente Powers and of Russia in particular. The Armenians had no such intention. Nor were they ready to rebel, because this idea had not even occurred to them. In any case, they were not armed....‘[4]

Despite these statements, a few pages later Andonian acknowledges that indeed some incidents had occurred prior to the relocation of the Armenians: ‘Events which occurred prior to this date [24 April 19151 included the Van incident and the deportations in Deortyol and Zeitoun....‘[5]

In another section of his work, Andonian also acknowledges that the Armenians had weapons and bombs in their possession:

There were also in particular the bombs which had been found in the provinces in the vicinity of Constantinople [Istanbul]; but these bombs had been made by the Dashnaktzutiun in complicity with the ittihad [Committee of Union and Progress], in order to fight hand in hand in case of a reaction such as that which had occurred on 31 March 1909, shortly after the proclamation of the Constitution. In any case, these bombs, which were very few in number, could not have served efficiently during an insurrection. As for weapons ... they represented, for each province, such an insignificant number that it would have been impossible to sustain a resistance of any length or to organize any kind of a revolt with them.[6]

It is not our intention here to examine how the Armenians, taking advantage of the outbreak of the First World War, rebelled in co-operation with the Entente Powers and Czarist Russia in particular, and joined the ranks of the Russian armies in large numbers; nor is it our intention to discuss what these troops did to the defenceless Muslim population of Eastern Anatolia.[7] We must, however, state, for the record, that the views expressed by Andonian on this subject have long since been abandoned by even the extremist Armenian terrorist and propaganda circles. Further, that these rebellions and their instigators are commemorated in various ceremonies, and that some Armenian terrorist groups have even taken names recalling these rebellions. In Chapter III of this work we shall provide a variety of documents from the Ottoman archives relating to this subject.

At this point, we will confine our remarks on this question to reprinting a letter dated 30 November 1918, written by the Chairman of the Armenian Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, Boghos Nubar Pasha (who is frequently mentioned in Andonian’s correspondence), and addressed to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, S. Pichon (reproduced overleaf) .[8]

In his letter, Boghos Nubar Pasha emphasizes that since the very beginning of the war, Armenians had fought as combatants among the ranks of the Entente forces on all fronts; that they had maintained an unshakable devotion to the cause of the Entente Powers; that in France, Armenian volunteers had joined the French Foreign Legion; that in Syria and Palestine, Armenian units which had been formed by the Armenian National Delegation had comprised more than half of the French fighting forces; further, that these Armenian troops had played a vital role in General Allenby’s victory against the Turks; that in the Caucasus, 40,000 Armenian volunteers, in addition to the 150,000 Armenians in the army of Czarist Russia, had fought for the liberation of the Armenian provinces; and that the Armenians were the only people in the Caucasus who had resisted the Turkish armies in the Caucasus (under the command of Antranik and Nazarbekof), from the time of the Bolshevik retreat till the signing of the armistice agreement. Finally, Boghos Nubar Pasha notes that the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pichon, was already fully aware of these facts.

Thus, Boghos Nubar Pasha, the one individual in this period speaking in the name of all Armenians, states with some pride that during the previous four years, i.e. from 1 November 1914 when the Ottomans entered the war, until the signing of the Mundros Treaty on 30 October 1918, the Armenians had constantly fought against the Turks. Considering the fact that the Ottoman decision to relocate a portion of its Armenian population away from the war zones only occurred in May of 1915, that is six months after the Empire had officially entered the war, we may even consider this decision as overdue.

In his chapter entitled ‘The Premeditation’, Andonian published translations of two ‘documents’, together with ‘photographs of their originals’. These two ‘documents’ are ‘letters’ written by the Committee of Union and Progress to their Adana representative, Cemal Bey.

The first of these two ‘letters’ is dated 18 February 1331. In the French edition of his book, Andonian has translated this date as 18 February 1915, whereas in the English edition’s translation the date is given as 25 March 1915. The ‘original’ of this ‘letter’ appears together with a French translation in the Paris edition, whereas the London edition only provides an English translation.
 

The following is a translation of the ‘original’ Turkish ‘document’ as it appears in the French edition of Andonian’s work.

‘Document’ No. I

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

To Cemal Bey, the Adana Delegate:

18 February 1331 [2 March 1916]

The only force which would be able to stop the political life of the Union and Progress [Committee] in Turkey, is the Armenians, and according to the latest news received from Cairo, it appears that the Dashnaktzutiun are preparing a final and deffinitive attack against the Committee. If we are to examine all the historical stages of the past, each of the storms which have appeared on the road of the patriotic efforts of the Committee are the result of the seeds of malice sown by the Armenians. Doctor Naz?m Bey writes that ‘I could bring all of Turkey today upon the smallest signal by the Union and Progress, to a state which would enable it to enter the desired road, if there were no Armenians.’

The Committee has decided to save the country from the passions of these cursed people, and to bear the responsibility of the shame which will besmirch Ottoman history on this subject. The Committee, which cannot forget the unfortunate incidents and effects of a past full of revenges succeeding one another, has decided being hopeful for its future to destroy all the Armenians living in Turkey until not a single one remains. On this subject it has given broad powers to the government.

The Government will provide the necessary explanations to the Governors and Army Commanders in regard to the arrangements for the massacres. All the delegates of the Union and Progress will follow up on this matter wherever they are, and they will ensure that no Armenian is given any protection or help. Due to the fact that their possessions which they leave behind will be confiscated and kept temporarily by the Government as it judges appropriate, in order that theybe used later towards extending the organization of the Committee and in the promotion of its patriotic activities, the delegates will request explanations about the accounts when necessary from the commissions which will be formed for this purpose. Should you feel that there are any abuses in its administration, you may apply to the Governor.

[Signature illegible][9]

The text of the French translation in the Paris edition and that of the Turkish ‘original’ are similar, although there are minor differences. In particular, the French translation begins with the phrase ‘by the order of the responsible authority’, a phrase which does not appear in the Turkish ‘original’. Apparently this phrase was added in the translation to give the ‘letter’ a more official tone.

Of more importance are three differences between the English and French translations. These are as follows:

(a) In the French translation of the ‘letter’ the date is given as 18 February 1915, whereas in the English translation it appears as 25 March 1915;
 
(b) that section of the paragraph in the French translation which begins: ‘Doctor Naz?m Bey writes...‘ is not found in the English translation;

(c) the sentence which reads: ‘They will ensure that no Armenian is given any protection or help,’ appears at the end of the sixth paragraph of the French translation, and at the end of the second paragraph in the English translation.

Given the fact that the Turkish ‘original of the documents’ is supposedly one and the same ‘letter’, why are there these differences in the French and English translations? We are unable to provide an answer to this question.

In his book, Andonian states that this ‘letter’, together with a similar ‘letter’, was found among the papers belonging to Abdulahad Nuri Bey, that its author was unknown, but that the individual who wrote these ‘letters’ was an official of the Istanbul Headquarters of the Committee of Union and Progress:

Among the documents which Naim Bey provided us, some of the documents belonging to his Chief, Abdulahad Nuri Bey, were included. Among these, were two letters addressed to Cemal Bey, who was the Adana delegate of the Union and Progress Committee. These letters were sent to Cemal Bey prior to his arrival in Aleppo, that is, while he was the Committee of Union and Progress’s Adana delegate. The letters were signed with a ‘mark’; there is no doubt but that their author was a member of the Constantinople [Istanbul] Headquarters Committee.’[10]

Seventeen years later, in his letter of 26 July 1937, Andonian claimed that after receiving new information he had now determined that the signature on the ‘letters’ was that of Behaeddin ?akir Bey.

When my book was being published I did not know that these letters had been written by Behaeddin ?akir Bey. This was due to the fact that in place of a signature they had an illegible ‘mark’ or ‘paraph’. However, a few months after my book was published, I gained additional insight into this matter in Berlin. In this city, an Armenian Committee which was handling Tehlirian’s defence had assembled a large number of Armenian newspapers containing articles relating to the massacres.... I looked through them out of curiosity, and all of a sudden I saw a translation of one of the letters, with its full signature written out as Behaeddin ?akir Bey. This letter had appeared in an old undated issue (probably published in 1920) of the Joghovourti Tzaine newspaper. Because the letter in question had appeared in my book without any signature, I naturally was curious as to why Behaeddin ?akir’s name appeared in this translation. I wrote a letter to the newspaper in question. In their reply they stated that the translation had not been made from my book, which they hadn’t seen, but rather from a version which had been published in a Turkish newspaper with the signature Behaeddin ?akir Bey (this was probably the Sabah newspaper which was owned by an Armenian named Mihran Bey, and whose Editor-in-Chief was Ali Kemil [Kemal] Bey, an individual whose position in opposition to the Union and Progress Party was well known). I later learned that the paraph at the end of the two letters published in my book constituted the word ‘BEHA’, a diminutive form of Behaeddin ?akir Bey’s name used by his friends.”[11]
 
In the same letter, Andonian also attempts to account for the manner in which such secret ‘documents’ happened to be found among the papers of Abdulahad Nuri Bey. Here he alleges that Cemal Bey had given these ‘letters’ addressed to him to Abdulahad Nuri Bey’s office as an outline of the procedures they were to follow: ‘... Because Abdulahad Nuri Bey was one of the trusted and loyal supporters of the Committee of Union and Progress, Cemal Bey had given him these two letters of Behaeddin ?akir Bey’s as a “blueprint” for the procedures he was to follow. Abdulahad Nuri Bey followed this “blueprint” word for word.’[12]

The date of the second ‘letter’ sent to Cemal Bey by the Committee of Union and Progress is 25 March 1331 (7 April 1915). The ‘photograph’ of the ‘original of this letter’ is provided in both the English and French editions of Andonian’s book.

The following is a translation of the ‘original’ Turkish ‘document’ as it appears in the French edition of Andonian.

‘Document’ No.II

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

To Cemal Bey, the Adana Delegate:

By the Order of the Authorized Delegation, 25 March 1331 [7 April 1915]

It is the duty of every one of us to recognize that it is a great sacrifice for the Government to join the general war, by taking upon itself the entire responsibility, in order to ensure, come what may, the actualization of the exalted concept of annihilating the existence of known elements which for centuries have been an obstacle to the progress of the state towards civilization, through a broad operation aimed at cleansing political obstacles. It is also our duty, to ensure through work that the measures which are taken attain the desired results. As we have also stated in our letter dated 18 February 1330, the Committee has determined to eradicate today those various forces which have been standing in its path, and it has been obliged to take, unfortunately, bloody measures in this respect. Be assured that we too feel much sadness at the ferocity of our measures. However, the Committee is unable to see any other solution which will preserve its eternal existence.

Why does Ali R?za continue to show compassion and to criticize? Such naive behaviour borders on stupidity. Go to Aleppo, and if you can convince him, work together. If this is not possible we will find another place for him where he can listen to his conscience.

It would not be right to attempt to deal with the others before the undertakings concerning the known individuals bear fruit. It has been found appropriate for the time being to punish through legal means, those who have drawn attention to themselves, and this will be the basis of the operation which will be followed later.
 
I would like to remind you once again concerning the issue of the possessions which are left behind. It is extremely important. Constantly supervise its administration. Frequently check the manner in which the computations are made. Inform us as to the date of your departure.

[Signature illegible]

Note: Naci Bey will go there. You will introduce him [to others]. It is not possible to change the Governor. In any case you are leaving the area. Thus, there is no more need.’[13]

Apart from very minor differences, the Turkish ‘original’ and the French translation of this ‘letter’ are in agreement. Nevertheless, we can point out one specific difference:

This variation occurs in paragraph 3, where the Turkish text reads: ‘those who have drawn attention to themselves...‘. This passage appears in the French translation as ‘the notables’. Here, Andonian has added a footnote explaining the meaning of ‘the notables’, and states that this refers to religious leaders, intellectuals and the wealthy.[14]

One additional point of interest is the use of the expression ‘various forces’ in addition to the Armenians. Again, in a footnote added to the French edition, Andonian states that this phrase refers to the Greeks, Arabs, and Syrians.[15] The obvious message which this phrase is intended to convey is that the Turks, after having dealt with the Armenians, will then massacre the Greeks, Arabs and Syrians. In other words, the intention of the author is to lay the groundwork for an ‘Armenian-Greek-Arab Front’ against the Turks, in the period prior to the Sevres Treaty in 1920 when Anatolia was partially occupied by the Entente Powers. It is interesting to note that this phrase appears in the second ‘letter’ as a reference to the first ‘letter’, although the first ‘letter’ in fact contains no reference to ‘various forces’. Here is yet another indication of carelessness on Andonian’s part.

Much more important are the differences between the French and English translations. These variations, which are numerous and varied, may be summarized as follows:

(a) In the French translation, the date of the ‘letter’ is given as 25 March 1915, whereas, in the English translation it is 18 November 1915;

(b) while the word ‘Armenian’ does not appear in the Turkish text, and in the French translation appears only in brackets, the English translation of the phrase: ‘annihilating the existence of known elements...‘ in paragraph 1 has been rendered as: ‘the realization of the noble project of wiping out of existence the Armenians...‘;

(c) the date of the first ‘letter’, which is referred to in the French translation as 18 February 1915, appears in the English translation as 8 February;
 
(d) the name of Ali R?za Bey, which appears in both the Turkish text and the French translation, is not given in the English translation;

(e) in both the Turkish text and the French translation Ali R?za Bey is mentioned as a person for whom ‘we will find another place’ should he continue not to co-operate. In the English translation this phrase is generalized to read as: ‘For those who will not co-operate with us we will find a place. . .‘;

(f) paragraph 4 of the French translation, which begins: ‘It would not be right to attempt to deal with, the others before the undertaking concerning the known individuals bears fruit ...‘ is omitted altogether from the English translation;

(g) the sentence which appears in the Turkish text and French translation as ‘Inform us as to the date of your departure’ is likewise omitted from the English translation;

(h) again, the ‘note’ which is appended to the Turkish text and French translation is entirely omitted from the English translation.

Is it conceivable to view all these variations as simply ‘omissions’ or as ‘printing errors’? The answer is clearly: No!

These ‘letters’ are simply forged documents which were concocted by Andonian and the Armenian circles he represented in the name of the ‘Armenian cause’!The truth of this statement is borne out by the following facts:

(a) In the ‘original’ Turkish text of the first ‘letter’ the date given is unquestionably 18 February 1331. Bearing in mind our earlier discussion concerning the differences between the Muslim Rumi and Christian calendars, the Christian calendar equivalent of 18 February 1331 is 2 March 1916 (owing to February being a leap year in 1916, i.e. it had 29 days), not
18 February 1915 as is given in the French translation of Andonian’s book, nor 25 March 1915, the date given in the English translation. In other words, in order for this ‘letter’ to have been written on 18 February 1915 its year in the Turkish ‘original’ would have had to be: 1330, not 1331 as is the case. Why is this such an important fact? Andonian published this ‘letter’ in order to prove his assertion that the ‘relocation and massacres of the Armenians’ were part of a ‘premeditated’ plan, i.e. he uses this ‘letter’ to prove premeditation on the part of the Ottoman Government. But, when the date of this ‘letter’ is used, 18 February 1331 (2 March 1916), his entire argument is destroyed, for a letter written on 2 March 1916 can hardly support the charge of ‘premeditation’ for events which had transpired nine months earlier in 1915.

Owing to the fact that the Muslim Rumi calendar’s year began on 1 March, if the first ‘letter’ carries the date of 18 February 1331, the second ‘letter’ which follows it would have to be dated 25 March 1332. However, the date of the second ‘letter’ is clearly written as: 25 March 1331.

In the second ‘letter’ the date of the first ‘letter’ is referred to as 18 February 1330, but it was too late for this cover-up attempt, and Andonian clearly betrayed himself through this serious error. The fact that the ‘original’ of the first ‘letter’ dated 18 February 1331 was not included in the English edition, and that the English translation gave its date as 25 March 1915, plus the fact that the English translation of the second ‘letter’ gives its date as 18 November 1915, must be viewed as a clumsy attempt at preventing attention from being drawn to this error.

It is totally inconceivable that Behaeddin ?akir Bey, or any other Ottoman official, could have made such a mistake. There can be no doubt that these ‘letters’ were forged by someone unfamiliar with the differences between the Muslim Rumi and Christian calendars, who, given the fact that he was manufacturing these ‘documents’ several years later, simply neglected to check his dates.

(b) At the head of each of these two ‘letters’ there is a sign denoting the Islamic injunction ‘Besmele’: bismillahirrahmanirrahim (‘In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful’). The inclusion of such a sign (usually abbreviated) was customary on letters in this period. However, on Andonian’s ‘letters’ the manner in which this sign is written varies considerably from the normal format. Specifically, the letter ‘s’ or sin is written incorrectly. Further, in both these ‘letters’ the part of the sign denoting the name of God, or Allah, is also incorrectly written. Finally, the whole sign is written much larger than is usual (see pp. 40—1).

These facts clearly suggest the possibility that the ‘letters’ were written by a Turkish-speaking non-Muslim, as Christians obviously were unfamiliar with the use by Muslims of this religious injunction. A comparison of the texts of these false Andonian ‘letters’ with actual examples of genuine documents preserved in the Turkish Archives, will give additional insight on this matter (see pp. 42—3).

(c) Andonian, in his letter of 26 July 1937, insists that what he previously thought was an ‘illegible’ initial in place of a signature is in fact the abbreviated form of the name Behaeddin ?akir Bey, or ‘Beha’. Anyone with a knowledge of Ottoman Turkish who examines these ‘letters’ immediately realizes that it is impossible to read this signature as ‘Behaeddin’ or ‘Beha’.

(d) Andonian tells us that Cemal Bey went to Aleppo as soon as he had received these ‘letters’ from the Committee of Union and Progress: ‘Upon receipt of these letters, Cemal Bey hastened to leave Adana and went to Aleppo, where he had to devote himself with so much zeal to the execution of the Armenian massacres project.'[16] However, in March 1915 the decision to relocate had not yet been taken. According to Andonian, Naim Bey and Abdulahad Nuri Bey arrived in Aleppo and began working in the Settlement Office in the autumn of 1915. In his book, Andonian has Naim Bey make the following statement in this respect: ‘I arrived in Aleppo. Destiny decreed that I was to be appointed to the position of Chief Secretary to Abdulahad Nuri Bey, who had arrived in Aleppo three days earlier, to take up his position as Assistant Director of the Deportations Office.’[17] This indicates that the Aleppo Settlement Office was only formed in the autumn of 1915. In this case there can be no logical explanation as to why Cemal Bey went to Aleppo as soon as he received the second ‘letter’ dated 25 March 1915.

(e) Throughout his work Andonian refers to the ‘Committee of Union and Progress’ almost as if it were some kind of secret underground organization. If this were the case it would be impossible to account for the fact that the representative of the ‘Committee of Union and Progress’ which operated through ‘secret methods’, in a place as important as Adana, could have given (as Andonian claims) two very secret and personal ‘letters’ addressed to himself to the Aleppo Settlement Office as examples of the procedures which were to be followed. Nor that these ‘letters’ went unnoticed, as Andonian claims, while all the relevant documents were being destroyed, and finally they came into the possession of Naim Bey.

There was no need for ‘examples of the procedures to be followed’, because, as Andonian himself tells us, there were a great number of ‘telegrams’ describing the manner in which the ‘Armenians will be massacred’. Moreover, several of these ‘telegrams’ are allegedly signed by no less a personage than Talat Pasha, the Minister of the Interior. In the face of such ‘evidence’, i.e., ‘telegrams’ ordering the massacres which were signed by Talat Pasha, the ‘letters’ written by the Committee of Union and Progress should not have had much value.

Finally, it strains human logic to accept the idea that if such ‘letters’ had really existed, they would have been preserved rather than destroyed throughout the three years from the autumn of 1915 until the time of the British occupation of Aleppo in October of 1918, in the files of Abdulahad Nuri Bey’s office!

(f) While in the ‘letters’ it is stated that a decision to ‘destroy all the Armenians living in Turkey, until not a single one remains’ has been arrived at, there is no information provided on the method by which this plot is to be carried out. Indeed, Cemal Bey is simply instructed to proceed to Aleppo. In other words, it is not clear how the ‘annihilation of the Armenians’ is connected with Aleppo. Such a connection obviously rests upon the knowledge that this ‘annihilation’ will be realized by transferring the Armenians to Aleppo and its vicinity. However, the ‘letters’ do not provide any information on this question. Clearly, whoever forged these ‘letters’ neglected to consider this rather important detail.

(g) The ‘letters’ are full of expressions which simply are out of character with what Andonian would have us believe was the typical behaviour of the leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress. Is it conceivable that the leaders of the Union and Progress, who it is claimed made a ‘premeditated’, ‘coldhearted’ decision to ‘massacre the Armenians’, would have referred to their decision in this respect as the ‘shame which will besmirch Ottoman history’, or state that they had been ‘obliged to take, unfortunately, bloody measures in this respect’? Has there ever been an incident in history where the participants have announced their guilt beforehand, because of the possible consequences of a specific political decision?

The aim of the individual who concocted these forged ‘letters’ was nothing less than the desire to have the Turks themselves acknowledge (in advance of the events themselves) the ‘guilt of the Turks’, to confirm as it were the Armenian claims against the Turks. In short, to have the Turks say what the Armenians themselves wanted to say.

In his book, Andonian frequently resorted to this tactic, through the pretence of using Naim Bey as his spokesman. A single example should serve to illustrate this point: ‘I believe that the question of the tragic deportations and massacres of the Armenians, which has made the name Turk worthy of the eternal malediction of humanity, resembles none of the dreadful events hitherto witnessed in history.’[18]

Similar sentiments were expressed by Viscount Gladstone in the Preface that he wrote for the English edition of Andonian’s book: ‘... the governing Turk reeking of deeds surpassing in magnitude and vileness the most imaginative pictures of hell ever conceived’. (Andonian, Memoirs: p. vii). It is interesting that Andonian’s ‘Naim Bey’ and Gladstone express the same idea using very similar terminology. This indicates the goal pursued by the Armenians.

(h) The ‘letters’ contain some mistakes in grammar and language which are immediately obvious to anyone familiar with Ottoman Turkish. For example, the sentence reading: ‘Doctor Naz?m Bey writes that “I could bring all of Turkey today, upon the smallest signal by the Union ‘and Progress, to a state which would enable it to enter the desired road, if there were no Armenians” ‘,which appears in the first ‘letter’, is written in a manner which is grammatically incorrect in Turkish. No Turk, then or now, would have written this sentence in this form. Its grammatical construction is, however, that of an Indo-European language such as French or English, or for that matter, Armenian, which belongs to the Satem group of this language family. Given the fact that these letters were forged by an Armenian, this fact should not be surprising.

The Ottoman Turkish text of the forged letter dated 18 February 1331 (2 March 1916), attributed by Andonian to the ‘Committee of Union and Progress’*

 

The Ottoman Turkish text of the forged letter dated 25 March 1331 (7 April 1915) attributed by Andonian to the ‘Committee
of Union and Progress’*

This is a ciphered telegram dated 11 October 1332 (24 October 1916) [Reference Number 2705], which was sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of the province of Trabzon. It is an order concerning the postponement of the relocating of the Armenians. *


 
This is an ?rade-i Seniye [Imperial Rescript] dated 25 June 1333 (25 June 1917). It grants permission for the building of a church and a school, in the Armenian village of Siloz, which was located in the District of Orhangazi . *

(i) Finally, the essence of these forged ‘letters’ consists of the claim that the Committee of Union and Progress considered the Armenians to be their primary enemy, that it held them responsible for every evil, and that its sole purpose in entering the First World War was because it afforded them the possibility of ridding themselves once and for all of the Armenians. Andonian was fully aware that by arguing in this ridiculous fashion the real question of: ‘Why were there Armenian massacres?’, would remain unanswered. It was for this reason that preparations were made to compile these forged ‘letters’ in support of this claim.

 


 

5. ‘The Measures of Precaution’

The thesis of this chapter of Andonian’s work is that the Turkish Government ‘took the decision to massacre and began its implementation’, while at the same time resorting to every possible means to ensure that the carrying out of this policy would ‘be unnoticed by the world’.[19] To back this claim, Andonian publishes the texts of three ‘ciphered telegrams’ which he alleged were sent by the Minister of the Interior, Talat Pasha, to the Governor of Aleppo. While these three texts appear in both the French and English editions, Andonian provides only one of the Turkish ‘originals’.

To anyone familiar with the history of this period the claim that the Ottoman Government could possibly have entertained the notion that the relocation of the Armenians could ‘be unnoticed by the world’ is simply ludicrous! Given the fact that there were American, German, and Austrian Consulates spread throughout the cities of Anatolia, not to mention a large number of German and Austrian civilian and military officials employed in the region, together with numerous American missionaries, such an attitude on the part of the Ottoman officials would have been the height of naivety. Correspondingly, our attention will ignore this claim and focus on the ‘documents’ designed to substantiate it.

The one ‘original document’ in support of this claim to be published by Andonian is the deciphered version of a ‘ciphered telegram’ dated 18 November 1331 (1 December 1915), which it is claimed was sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo. The Turkish ‘original’ of this ‘telegram’ is included in both the French and English editions of
Andonian’s work.

The translation of this Turkish ‘original’ reads as follows:

‘Document’ No. III

This is the decoded form of the Ministry of the Interior’s ciphered telegram of 18 November 1331 [1 December 1915] sent to the Governor of Aleppo:

The fact that in some areas the American Consuls have resorted to secret means in order to gather information with regard to the method of the transfer of known persons, has come to our knowledge as the result of a recent inquiry made by the [American] Embassy in Istanbul, on the orders of the American Government. Despite the fact that they were given assurances that the transfers were being carried out in security and comfort, it is necessary not to create incidents, which would draw attention to the transfer near the cities, towns and settled areas, as this explanation will not be sufficient for them. Moreover, a temporary polite attitude during the transfers is indispensable for instilling in the foreigners in these areas, that these transfers have no other aim than the relocation in keeping with present policy. It is communicated that the known measures be executed in appropriate places only. Further, that individuals who are apprehended in the course of such inquiries, be arrested and turned over for Court Martial on some other charge.

[Note]: Talk with the Chief of Police without mentioning the cipher. Are there indeed people making such investigations? If so, in accordance with the orders of the Ministry, operations in such areas should be kept moderate. Forwarded to the Assistant Director-General on 21 November.

Governor
Mustafa Abdülhalik

[Note]: I was actually convinced of the existence of such individuals, and on a few occasions I requested the Chief of Police to make the necessary observation. It was of no use. Perhaps, if his Governor gives him the necessary order it would bear fruit. 21 November.

Assistant Director-General
Abdulahad Nuri

[Note]: To the Assistant Director-General: You should also have written to the Transfer Officials. 22 November.

[Note]: To Naim Efendi. To be written. 22 November.[20]

In general, the translation in the French edition of Andonian’s book parallels that of the Turkish text of the ‘original’. However, there are some slight variations which are worthy of note:

(a) Andonian has changed the expression ‘it is communicated’ (which appears near the end of the actual text), in the French translation, to read: ‘I recommend [that] you’ (Je vous recommande), and thereby personalized the ‘instruction’.

(b) While in the Turkish ‘original’ there is neither a name nor a title at the end of the text of the ‘telegram’, in both the English and French translations Andonian has gratuitously added the title ‘Minister of the Interior’, and the name ‘Talat’.

(c) Whereas the Turkish ‘original’ ends with the note reading: ‘To Naim Efendi. To be written. 22 November’, in the French translation Andonian has added the following note: ‘?t has been written. File 741/16’ (II fut ecrit. Dossier 741/16). This addition was probably intended to prove Naim Bey’s role.

(d) In paragraph 1 of the ‘original’ Turkish text the sentence which in English reads: ‘Moreover a temporary polite attitude. ..‘, contains no indication that this is being done ‘To throw dust in someone’s eyes’ [etaler pour la frime] or ‘to save appearances’, as stated in the French and English translations respectively. This is apparently another Andonian addition designed to bolster his claims.

Once again, the more obvious differences are those separating the French and English translations of the Turkish ‘original’:

(a) The English translation makes no mention of a date for the ‘telegram’;

(b) the phrase which in the Turkish and French translation reads: ‘in accordance with the orders of the Ministry’ (in the note attributed to Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey), is rendered in the English translation as: ‘in accordance with the order of the committee’;

(c) likewise, whereas in the note attributed to Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, Abdulahad Nuri Bey is referred to as the ‘Assistant Director-General’, the French translation renders this title as ‘Assistant Director-General of the Deported’ (sous-directeur general des deportes), while in the English translation he is called the: ‘representative of the General Committee’;

(d) the English translation of this ‘document’ ends with the ‘note’ appended by Abdulahad Nuri Bey, while in the French translation this ‘note’ is followed by three additional ‘notes’.

The second ‘document’ included by Andonian in this chapter is once again the text of a ‘telegram’ signed Talat Pasha, which is given the Number 745, and dated 11 December 1915. The English edition of Andonian’s book provides the following ‘translation’ of this ‘telegram’:

We hear that the correspondents of Armenian newspapers travelling in those parts have faked some letters and photographs showing certain criminal actions, which have been given to the American Consuls. Arrest and destroy such dangerous persons.

Minister of the Interior
Talat [21]

The text of this ‘document’ carries the same date and number in both the English and French editions of Andonian’s book. However, the Turkish ‘original’ of this ‘telegram’ is not given in either edition.

The final ‘document’ included in this chapter entitled ‘The Measures of Precaution’ is yet another ‘telegram’ which is given the Number 809 and dated 29 December 1915. It, too, is claimed to have been sent by Talat Pasha to the Governor of Aleppo. The English edition of Andonian’s book provides the following ‘translation’ of this ‘telegram’:

We hear that there are a number of alien officers on the road who have seen the corpses of the above mentioned-people [the Armenians] and are photographing them. It is recommended as very important that those corpses should at once be buried, and not left exposed.

Minister of the Interior
Talat [22]

Once again, the ‘original’ Turkish text of this ‘telegram’ is not provided in either the English or French editions. The translation appears in both the French and English editions with the same number and date. However, a note of the Governor of Aleppo is added to the French edition.

As in the case of the ‘Letters’ discussed previously, these ‘telegrams’, too, are forged documents concocted with the aim of justifying Armenian claims! The truth of this statement is borne out by the following facts:

(a) Despite exhaustive research in the Istanbul Prime Minister’s Archives, the originals of these three ‘telegrams’ could not be found. Nor, for that matter, were the ‘originals’ of any of the other ‘documents’ utilized by Andonian in his book found in the archives. However, given the fact that all these ‘documents’ were allegedly sent from or received by the Ministry of the Interior, in conjunction with the known proclivity of the Ottoman bureaucracy to keep copies of every message sent from or received in the capital, the originals should have been preserved in the Prime Minister’s Archives.

The obvious retort to this statement, and one which Andonian frequently made in his book as we discussed in Chapter I, is that because the Committee of Union and Progress or the Ottoman Government of the time had destroyed the originals of these documents, it is only natural that they could not be found.

Indeed, were the sum of our argument to rest on our failure to find the originals of these ‘documents’ alone, the reader would be left with the choice of believing Andonian or ourselves. However, as the reader will recall from our discussion in Chapter!, Andonian based his claim as to the ‘authenticity of the documents’ on the ‘notes’ and ‘signature’ which were appended to them in the alleged handwriting of the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey. Given this fact, the obvious test of Andonian’s ‘documents’ is to compare preserved samples of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey’s signature on official archival documents, with those found in Andonian’s book. Such a comparison clearly establishes that the ‘signatures’ on Andonian’s ‘documents’ are forged, because they bear no relationship to Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey’s actual signature.
 
To illustrate this point we reproduce on the following pages the ‘original’ photographs of two of Andonian’s ‘documents’ allegedly signed by Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, together with samples of two authentic documents preserved in the Prime Minister’s Archives, which contain the actual signature of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey. The Andonian ‘documents’ consist of the ‘telegram’ discussed above, i.e. that dated 18 November 1331 (1 December 1915) and a second ‘telegram’ which also allegedly bears the signature of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, this one dated 12 December 1331 (25 December 1915). Both of these ‘documents’ are attributed by Andonian to Talat Pasha, and both are claimed to contain notes handwritten and signed by Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey. The archival documents, on the other hand, are letters written by Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey to the Ministry of the Interior, which are dated, respectively, 8 December 1331 (21 December 1915) and 25 January 1331 (7 February 1916).
To facilitate comparison we reproduce below the signatures from the two Andonian ‘documents’, together with those found on the archival documents:

One does not need to be an expert in Ottoman Turkish to recognize that items (1) and (2) above bear no resemblance to items (3) and (4). In short, the ‘signatures’ appended to the ‘notes’ on Andonian’s ‘telegrams’ of 1 December 1915 and 25 December 1915 emerge as crude forgeries, when compared with Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey’s actual signature from his letters of 21 December 1915 and 7 February 1916. (Note: the authentic archival documents are stored in the Prime Minister’s Archives, under the following classification: ‘Ministry of the Interior’: Preserved Aleppo File for the years 1331—3) (see pp. 52-3).

In short, the unmasking of the ‘forged signatures’ of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey alone is quite sufficient to cause the collapse of Andonian’s house of cards, which, as we have demonstrated, was built on nothing more substantial than forged documents. Likewise, this process has demonstrated that the claims which these forged documents were intended to bolster are equally baseless.

In the light of this evidence, we could well end this investigation of Andonian’s ‘documents’ at this point. However, we have deemed it advisable to continue our inquiry into an analysis of the remaining ‘documents’, to demonstrate the method by which they, too, were concocted.

(b) Immediately obvious, to anyone trained in the reading of Ottoman documents, is the fact that the two notes, allegedly written by Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey and Abdulahad Nuri Bey, which are appended to the forged ‘telegram’ dated 18 November 1331 (1 December 1915), were in fact written by one and the same person. While this fact may well be apparent only to the trained eye, the similarities between the two supposed ‘signatures’ on these ‘notes’ are readily apparent. To facilitate the comparison of these ‘notes’ and their ‘signature’, we reproduce them below:

(Note: The full text of this 18 November 1331 'telegram' appears on p. 50.)

(c) Ottoman bureaucratic practice dictated the keeping of registers in each branch of government, in which were kept a daily record of all outgoing
 
The forged document dated 18 November 1331 (1 December 1915), attributed by Andonian to Talat Pasha, Minister of the ?nterior: *


 

The forged document dated 12 December 1331 (25 December 1915) No. 830, attributed by Andonian to Talat Pasha, Minister of the Interior:*


 
The authentic Ottoman archival document dated 8 December 1331 (21 December 1915) No. 596, written by the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, and sent to the Ministry of the Interior.

The subject-matter of this document concerns an order which had been transmitted to the Governor of the Sanjak of Urfa.*

The authentic Ottoman archival document dated 25 January 1331 (7 February 1916), which bears the Number 718. It was written by the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, and sent to the Ministry of the Interior.

The subject-matter simply states that a matter enquired about by the Ministry of the ?nterior has already been answered: *

 

and incoming correspondence. Among the literally thousands of such registers preserved in the Istanbul Prime Minister’s Archives is one entitled: 1331 y?l? Giden ?ifre Kay?t Defteri, or in English: ‘The Record Book of Outgoing Ciphers for the year 1331.’ This register lists chronologically with reference number every ciphered telegram sent out from the Ministry of the ?nterior in 1331 (1915). In addition, it provides a summary of the subject-matter discussed in each such correspondence. Given the survival of this register, it was a relatively easy manner to turn to the sub-section listing ‘ciphers’ dispatched from the Ministry to the Province of Aleppo. Page 41 of this register (a photograph of which is provided on the following page), contains two entries, as follows:

 

(1) A ‘cipher’ numbered: 160, sent from the Ministry of the Interior, to the Governor of Aleppo on 17 November 1331 (30 November 1915). Its subject-matter was: a request from the Ministry for a report on the outcome of the investigation concerning the Kaymakam of the District of Raka. [In the Ottoman administrative system a Kaymakam was the chief official of a Kaza (district), which was a sub-division of a sanjak.]

(2) A ‘cipher’ numbered: 161, sent from the Ministry of the Interior, to the Governor of Aleppo on 19 November 1331 (2 December 1915). Its subject-matter concerned the (Aleppo) Chief of Police. Specifically, it orders the Governor to have As?m Bey, the President of the Investigative Committee, look into the charges against the Police Chief.

The importance of this document is that it establishes, beyond doubt, that there simply was no ciphered telegram sent from the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 18 November 1331 (1 December 1915). There is no gap between the entry of 17 November 1331 (30 November 1915) which contains the reference number 160, and that of 19 November 1331 (2 December 1915) which has the reference number 161.

(d) The two genuine archival documents (published on pp. 52—3), which contain the authentic signature of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, also provide us with additional examples of the way in which the Islamic injunction of ‘Besmele’ was written. As such, they provide additional proof of the’ points in this respect which were made in our section entitled ‘The Premeditation’. Other examples illustrating the normal manner in which this injunction was written may be found in Appendix 2.

(e) As we noted above, one of the forged ‘documents’ attributed by Andonian to Talat Pasha contains the reference number 745 and was dated 11 December 1915 (see: Andonian, Documents: p. 103 and Andonian, Memoirs: p. 54; also p. 46 in the present study). In addition, both the

Photograph of p. 41 of ‘The Record Book of Outgoing Ciphers for the Year 1331 [1915], Aleppo section’*

French and English editions of Andonian contain translations of a second ‘telegram’ attributed to Talat Pasha, which likewise contains the reference number 745. This second ‘telegram’ is, however, dated 9 December 1915.[23] Even had there been no other telegram sent from the Ministry of the Interior to Aleppo in the interim between 9 December 1915 and 11 December 1915, it is impossible that two separate ciphered telegrams, sent from the same office with a two-day interval, could have had the same reference number. Clearly, this is yet another example of the carelessness with which Andonian and his associates prepared their forgeries. The reason why Andonian did not spot this error may be the fact that in the French edition these two forged ‘telegrams’ were published with an interval of 39 pages, whereas in the English edition they are separated by 9 pages, i.e. because they were not published adjacent to one another the forgers did not spot the fact that they had inadvertently given the same reference number to what were supposed to be two separate telegrams.

 


 

6. ‘The Extension of the Massacres’

In his chapter dedicated to the thesis that the ‘massacres’ were initially directed against the Armenian male population and were quickly broadened in scope to include women and children as well, that is, the Turkish Government subsequently determined upon the course of annihilating all the Armenians, Andonian published the translations of 12 ‘documents’. Of these, however, only 5 of the Turkish ‘originals’ are provided in the French edition. The English edition, on the other hand, does not include any of the Turkish ‘originals’.

We are informed by Andonian that of these 12 ‘documents’, 5 were sent by Talat Pasha, 5 by Abdulahad Nuri Bey, and 1 each by Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey and Ahmed Bey, the Governor of the sanjak of Antep. Of the 5 ‘documents’ for which the Turkish ‘originals’ are given in the French edition, 3 are attributed to Abdulahad Nuri Bey and 2 to Talat Pasha.

In the following section we have provided the translations of the Turkish texts of these 5 ‘documents’:

‘Document’ No. IV

This is the deciphered copy of the Ministry of the Interior’s ciphered telegram number 502, dated 3 September 1331 [16 September 1915]:

It is recommended that the previously issued orders regarding the treatment of the males of the known individuals, be now extended to women and children; and that trustworthy individuals be employed in this matter.

Minister of the Interior
Talat

[Note]: To Abdulahad Nuri Bey. 5 September. Have you met with the Commander of the Gendarmerie?

Governor
Mustafa Abdülhalik[24]
 
In general the translation in the French edition is an accurate rendering of the Turkish text of the ‘original’. The only real difference is that in the French translation the phrase ‘we recommend’ (nous recommandons) is used instead of ‘it is recommended’ which appears in the Turkish ‘original’. The English translation which was given in the book’s London edition also parallels the meaning of the Turkish ‘original’. However, the English translation does not include the ‘note’ attributed to the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey.

‘Document’ No. V

This is the deciphered copy of the Ministry of the Interior’s ciphered telegram number 537, dated 29 September 1331 [12 October 1915]:

Reports have been received that some of the people and officials are marrying Armenian women. It is strongly recommended that this be prevented, and that such women be separated and transferred.

Minister of the Interior
Talat

[Note]: [Refer] to the Assistant Director-General of the Immigrants’ Office.

Governor
Mustafa Abdülhalik.[25]

Once again, the English and French translations of the Turkish ‘original’ are generally accurate. This notwithstanding, they both contain one significant emendation which is not given in the Turkish ‘original’. Both report that these women who have married Turks will be separated and’ transferred ‘to the desert’ (dans les deserts). As we have seen, this phrase does not appear in the ‘original’. In the English translation the phrase is given in parenthesis for added emphasis. As with the previous ‘document’, the English translation of this ‘telegram’ does not include the ‘note’ attributed to Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey.

‘Document’ No. VI

This ‘document’ and the two which follow it, unlike those we have examined so far, are alleged by Andonian to be copies of the actual ‘ciphered telegrams’ rather than the decoded copies. Their ‘texts’ consist of groups of two-digit numbers, interspersed between which are occasional words or phrases in Turkish. Owing to the absence of the actual cipher ‘key’ used, we have been forced to provide only the translation of the Turkish words and phrases they contain:

‘Document’ No. VI’ which Andonian claims has the reference number 57 and is dated 10 January 1332(23 January1917), is alleged to be a copy of the original ciphered text of a telegram sent by Abdulahad Nuri Bey to the ‘General Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Immigrants’. The words and phrases given in Turkish in the text of the ‘ciphered original’ may be translated as follows:

To the General Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Immigrants:

[line 9]: it appears by investigating, that they did, and                 
[line 10]: those who were                              
[line 11]: by being that the result                       
[line 13]: that is, it is requested
                                    
10 January 1332 [23 January 1917][26]

As the above scattering of words and phrases in no way conveys the meaning of the ‘original’, we have provided below an English translation (of the French translation) of the decoded form of this ‘ciphered telegram’ as given by Andonian in his book:

No. 57

To the General Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Deportees:

It has been established, following an investigation, that scarcely 10% of the Armenians subjected to the general deportation have arrived at their destined places, and that the others have died on the way, by hunger, sicknesses and other natural causes. I hope to obtain the same result for the survivors by treating them with severity.

10 January 1916

Abdulahad Nuri[27]

Andonian provides no clue as to how the ‘key’ which allowed him to decipher these groupings of two-digit numbers was obtained.

Bearing in mind that we do not have the Turkish ‘original’ of this ‘telegram’, our analysis must be restricted to a comparison of the French and English translations of the text as provided by Andonian. Here, the only significant difference is with regard to the name of the office to which the ‘telegram’ was addressed. In the French translation, the name of this office is given as the ‘Directorate General for the Settlement of the Tribes and the Deportees’ (Direction generale de l’installation des tribus et des deportes), whereas the English translation calls this office the ‘General Committee for settling the deportees’.

Interestingly enough, yet another ‘telegram’ published by Andonian provides information on the percentage of the surviving ‘deportees’ which is quite at odds with that given in ‘Document’ No. VI above. This ‘telegram’ (the Turkish ‘original’ of which is not published), is dated 29 February 1916 in the French edition, and 26 February 1916 in the English edition. ?n it, Andonian claims that Abdulahad Nuri Bey stated that 25% (in contrast to the only 10% figure seen above) of the deported Armenians were able to reach their destinations, and that the remainder had died.28 Here is yet another example of the carelessness with which these ‘documents’ were forged. 
 
‘Document’ No. VII

As with ‘Document’ No. VI the Turkish ‘original’ is a ‘ciphered telegram’ attributed to Abdulahad Nuri Bey, consisting of two-digit number groups, and a scattering of Turkish words which may be translated as follows:

To the General Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Immigrants:

[line 1]: Reply, 3 March 332 [16 March 1916] 
[line 6]: and                                        
[line 10]: that                                          
[line 13]: understood from its content
                             
7 March 332 [20 March 1916][29]

Because this is all that is decipherable in the ‘original’ Turkish text, we offer below a translation of the French text found in Andonian’s book:

No.76

To the General Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Deportees:

Reply to the ciphered telegram dated 3 March 1916.

Based on reports received, the number of Armenians who have died of various causes, until today, is: 35,000 in the vicinity of Bab and Meskene; 10,000 in Aleppo (in Karlik); 20,000 in the vicinity of Dipsi, Abouharrar, and Hamam; and, 35,000 in
Res-ul-Ain; for a total of 95,000 persons.

7 March 1916 Abdulahad Nuri[30]

Again, Andonian provides no due as to how the ‘key’ which allowed him to decipher these groupings of two-digit numbers was obtained.

In general, the French and English translations of this ‘document’ are similar. There are, however, two differences: (a) the number of Armenians alleged to have died is given as 95,000 in the French translation, and as 100,000 in the English translation; and (b) where once again the office to which the ‘telegram’ was addressed appears as ‘Directorate General for the Settlement of Tribes and Deportees’ (Direction generale de l’installation des tribus et des deportes) in the French edition, and as the ‘Committee for settling the deportees’ in the English. It would appear that Andonian was unable to make up his mind about the function of Abdulahad Nuri Bey’s office and the title of the authority in Istanbul.

‘Document’ No. VIII

As with ‘Documents’ VI and VII, the Turkish ‘original’ of this ‘telegram’ attributed to Abdulahad Nuri Bey, consists of a ‘ciphered telegram’, made up of two-digit groupings of numbers, among which are scattered a few Turkish words. The Turkish words which are legible are translated as follows:

To the General Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Immigrants:

[line 1]: dated 9 September 1331 (22 September 1915)
[line 4]: order; and dated 20 November 1331 (3 December 1915)
[line 6]: .............required before.....................
[line 10]: ..........it has been understood that they were; from here.............
[line 12]: ............as necessary........................
[line 13]: ....that the procedure was done..................
[line 14]: ................and that the situation....................
[line 15]: ...was informed.                                 13 December 1331 (26 December 1915)[31]

As the Turkish ‘original’ lacks any meaning whatsoever, we give below a translation of the French text:

No.51

To the General Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Deportees:

It has been ordered in the Ministry of the Interior’s ciphered telegram dated 9 September 1915 and by its ‘high’ telegram of 20 November 1915 that the individuals known as Hapet Aramian, Karabet Antunian, and Arsen Shahbazian, be arrested. We hereby inform you, that as we had been assured that these individuals were in Res-ul-Ain, an official was sent on the instructions of the Ministry from here to carry out the orders concerning them, and that this action was brought to the attention of the Ministry through the office of the Governor.

13 December 1915  Abdulahad Nuri[32]

Again Andonian gives no information as to how this ‘ciphered telegram’ was decoded.

The English and French translations provided by Andonian vary one from another in two respects: (a) the English translation does not provide the names of the three individuals to be arrested; and (b) the final sentence of the ‘telegram’ is presented differently in the two texts.

In addition to the five ‘documents’ discussed above, which are found in Andonian’s chapter on ‘The Extension of the Massacres’, he included an additional 7 ‘telegrams’ in translation, for which no Turkish ‘original’ was provided. One of these ‘telegrams’ is given the number 691, and dated 23 November 1915, and is attributed by Andonian to Talat Pasha. In this ‘document’, allegedly sent by Talat Pasha to the Governor of Aleppo, Andonian goes even further and states that ‘the orders to destroy all the Armenians of the Eastern provinces by secret means have been given’.[33]
 
The forged document number 502, dated 3 September 1331 (16 September 1915), attributed by Andonian to Talat Pasha, Minister of the Interior. *

 
These ‘documents’, too, like all the others presented by Andonian, are forgeries concocted in the ‘service of the Armenian cause’. The explanations provided below will bear out the truth of this statement:

(a) The first ‘document’ presented in this chapter entitled ‘The Extension of the Massacres’, was a forged ‘telegram’ given the number 502 and dated 3 September 1331 (16 September 1915), which was allegedly sent by Talat Pasha to the Governor of Aleppo. This so-called ‘telegram’ (above, p. 61) also contains a ‘note’ dated 5 September (18 September) which we are told was written and signed by the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey.

While our comparison earlier of authentic samples of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey’s signature with that alleged by Andonian to be his has already proved that Andonian’s examples are nothing but crude forgeries, there is yet another problem with this ‘document’. Specifically, on 3 September (the day the ‘telegram’ was sent), and on 5 September (the day Mustafa Abdülhalik allegedly appended his note), Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey was not the Governor of Aleppo. On those dates, the Governor of Aleppo was Bekir Sami Bey. Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey was only assigned to this position on 27 September 1331 (10 October 1915)!

This is yet another example of the carelessness which permeates Andonian’s forged ‘documents’, that is, his failure to match his dates and names with known historical chronology.

Two genuine archival documents will illustrate the point made above. On the following pages we include photographs of two documents preserved in the Prime Minister’s Archives, in the Preserved Aleppo Files of the Ministry of the Interior.

(1) The first of these is a letter (number 452) dated 22 September 1331 (5 October 1915), by the then Governor of Aleppo, Bekir Sami Bey, to the Ministry of the Interior. In it, Bekir Sami Bey states that as he only started his official duties on 24 June 1331 (7 July 1915), a letter which the Ministry has requested that he answer, was not sent to him but to his predecessor. Given the fact that Governor Bekir Sami Bey’s letter is dated 22 September 1331, it is immediately apparent that Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey was not Governor in Aleppo on 3 September 1331.

(2) The second document is a letter (number 668) dated 10 January 1331 (23 January 1916), which was sent by Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey to the Ministry of the Interior after he had assumed his position as Governor of Aleppo. In it, he informs the Ministry, in response to its letter of 27 September 1331 (10 October 1915) inquiring as to whether or not he has begun working in his new position, that he had responded previously, with a letter dated 9 November 1331 (22 November 1915). Once again, the actual signature of Mustafa
 
A letter sent by the Governor of Aleppo, Bekir Sami Bey, to the Ministry of the Interior. It contains the reference number 452, and is dated 22 September 1331 (5 October 1915). In this letter, Bekir Sami Bey informs the Ministry that as he only started his official duties on 24 June 1331 (7 July 1915), a letter which the Ministry has requested that he answer, was not sent to him but to his predecessor.

A letter sent by the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, to the Ministry of the Interior. It contains the reference number 668, and is dated 10 January 1331 (23 January 1916). The contents of this letter read as follows:‘This is the reply to the letter number 136, which was dated 23 December 1331 (5 January 1916). The reply to the letter number 370, dated 27 September 1331 (10 October 1915) concerning my assuming my duties, was sent with the letter dated 9 November 1331 (22 November 1915).
 

Abdülhalik Bey on this letter bears no resemblance to that forged by Andonian on his ‘documents’.

(b) Referring once again to the Register of Outgoing Ciphers which the Ministry of the Interior maintained, we see that indeed the Ministry did send a ciphered telegram to the Governor of Aleppo on 3 September 1331. However, unlike Andonian’s forgery this telegram bore the number 78 instead of 502, and its subject-matter concerns the digging of wells for water in various parts of the Sinai Peninsula. The photograph of the relevant page of the Aleppo section of the Ministry’s Register of Outgoing Ciphers (p. 66) conflrms this point.

As the actual number of the Ministry telegram sent on 3 September 1331, was 78 rather than 502 (as given on Andonian’s forgery), the sequence of numbers which appear on the remainder of Andonian’s forged ‘documents’ in this section likewise lose all meaning, and the falseness of Andonian’s ‘documents’ is once again demonstrated.

(c) In his forged ‘telegram’ which is numbered 537 and dated 29 September 1331 (12 October 1915), Andonian claims that Talat Pasha, the Minister of the Interior, upon ‘learning that some of the people and officials have married Armenian women’, ordered the Governor of Aleppo to see that ‘such women be separated and transferred’. While there was in fact a ciphered telegram sent from the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 29 September 1331, its reference number was not 537 but 95. In the Aleppo section of the Register of Outgoing Ciphers (p. 24) for the year 1331, we see that the subject of this telegram had nothing to do with Armenian women but rather ordered that the brother of the Parliamentarian Nalbantian Efendi, Kirkor Nalbantian (who was in Aleppo), be returned to Kozan. A photograph of p. 24 of this Register is provided on p. 67.

(d) Despite the fact that the forged ‘ciphered telegram’ attributed by Andonian to Abdulahad Nuri Bey (to which he affixed the number 51 and the date of 13 December 1331, i.e. 26 December 1915, consists of groupings of two-digit numbers, lines 1, 12, and 14 in the Turkish ‘original’ contain groupings of three-digit numbers. As such a cipher is indecipherable, given the mechanics of ciphering, the author of this forged ‘telegram’ made a serious technical error.

(e) None of the ‘originals’ of the three ‘telegrams’ attributed by Andonian to Abdulahad Nuri Bey, and allegedly sent to the ‘General Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Immigrants’ in Istanbul contains a reference number. Despite this fact, in his translations Andonian had arbitrarily added the numbers 51, 57, and 76 to these three ‘telegrams’.

Again, while the signature of Abdulahad Nuri Bey has been attributed to these three ‘documents’, in reality none of these 
 
Prime Minister’sArchives: Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Bookfor the Year 1331:p. 20

‘documents’ bears his signature. They only contain paraphs which are impossible to read as Abdulahad Nuri.

(f) Of the above-mentioned three ‘documents’ attributed by Andonian to Abdulahad Nuri Bey, that bearing the number 76 was written on double-lined paper, with no official markings on it. Anyone familiar with the bureaucratic practices followed by the Ottomans will immediately be aware that paper of this sort (which resembles the notebooks used by schoolchildren in handwriting classes) was never used for official purposes.

(g) Again, the forged ‘document’ bearing the number 76 is given the date of 7 March 1332 (20 March 1916). As we have previously discussed, until 1917 the Ottoman calendar year began on 1 March. Correspondingly, all document numbers (both incoming and outgoing) were numbered consecutively (beginning with 1) from 1 March through 28 February. Andonian, when numbering his ‘documents’, overlooked this fact and there fore gave a ‘document’ dated 7 March the reference number 76. Were this

Prime Minister’sArchives:Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Bookfor the Year 1331:p. 24

possible, it would have meant that Abdulahad Nuri Bey dispatched 76 ciphered telegrams to the General Directorate in Istanbul in the week 1—7 March 1332! Once again the crudeness of Andonian’s ‘forgeries’ is obvious.

(h) Likewise, Andonian’s ‘document’ bearing the number 57 was given the date of 10 January 1332, that is, 23 January 1917. Here again, he overlooked the changes in the Ottoman calendar, and for 10 January 1332 he has given the corresponding Christian date as 10 January 1916 on this ‘document’. This error upsets the chronological order designed by Andonian, and the nature of the ‘forgery’ becomes self-evident.

(i) Andonian attributes two ‘ciphered telegrams’, both of which bear the same reference number, 76, to Abdulahad Nuri Bey. One of these is the ‘document’ dated 7 March 1332 (20 March 1916), which we have referred to above. The other is dated 17 February 1916.[34]

Both of these forged ‘telegrams’ with the same reference number were sent to the same office. The fact that these two number 76’s were published on adjoining pages in the French edition (pp. 122 and 123) is one of the more obvious examples of how these ‘documents’ were concocted. However, a similar error was not made in the English edition of Andonian’s work, as the forged ‘telegram’ of 17 February 1916 was omitted.

(j) Both the French and English editions of Andonian’s book (pp. 111 and 55 respectively) contain the text of an alleged ‘ciphered telegram’, which it is claimed was sent by Talat Pasha to the Governor of Aleppo. In this ‘telegram’, which Andonian has given the reference number 691 and the date of 23 November 1915, but without providing us with the Turkish ‘original’, the Minister of the Interior allegedly issued orders to the Governor of Aleppo to ‘destroy by secret means the Armenians of the Eastern Provinces’.

To demonstrate the nature of this forgery we must once again examine the Register of Outgoing Ciphers for the Year 1331. Such an examination proves beyond any doubt that no ciphered telegram was sent from the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 23 November 1331 (6 December 1915). As is clear from p. 42 of the Aleppo Section of this Register (p. 70), there was a ciphered telegram sent from the Ministry to the Governor of Aleppo on 22 November 1331 (5 December 1915). However, its reference number was 163, not 691. The subject-matter of this ciphered telegram concerned a warship named Skaraonzo, which had been charged by the French Government with the task of destroying the petroleum tanks on the Syrian coast. The following entry in this Register is, as one would expect, number 164. It, too, was a ciphered telegram sent to Aleppo on 25 November 1331 (8 December 1915), which ordered that a survey of the population in the eastern portions of the Aleppo province be carried out. There simply was no ‘ciphered telegram’ sent from the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 23 November 1331!

While all of our analysis of Andonian’s ‘documents’ has hitherto established that he systematically failed to add the requisite 13 days when converting the dates on his forgeries from the Muslim Rumi calendar to the Christian calendar, let us assume for the moment that he did do so on this particular ‘document’. In other words, for the sake of argument, we are assuming that the date of 23 November 1915 which he gives on the French and English translations of this ‘document’, the Turkish ‘original’ of which was not published, did account for the 13-day difference between the Muslim and Christian calendars. In this case the Rumi equivalent would be 10 November 1331. Turning to the Aleppo Section of the Register of Outgoing Ciphers for the Year 1331, we see (p. 39) that indeed two ciphered telegrams were sent from the Ministry to Aleppo on 10 November 1331. The first of these two dispatches was numbered 153 and requests a clarification from the Governor with regard to an earlier telegram concerning Doctor Richelieu, while the second, number 154, deals with the transportation of one Hampar Gizirian, an employee of the Ottoman Bank, who was in Tarsus. A photograph of this document is included on p. 72.

No matter how we compute the Rumi equivalent of the Christian date on this Andonian ‘document’, it clearly is a forgery bearing an obviously forged reference number. The actual reference numbers attached to the genuine ciphered telegrams, sent from the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo in this period, once again reveal the carelessness with which Andonian concocted the reference numbers on his forged ‘documents’.

 


 

7. ‘The Little Martyrs’

Andonian’s thesis in this chapter, described in particularly touching language, is that the Ottoman Government’s cruelty, from which Armenian children had at first been spared, was subsequently extended to include all but the very young. In his words, we are told: ‘Initialiy the government had decided to spare the lives of all [children] under the age of fifteen, but subsequently modified this decision to exclude only those who were under the age of seven, and later under five. Those above this age had their throats cut in the most terrifying manner, together with the adult male population of the six Armenian Provinces. In Bitlis, the Governor Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey — who later became the Governor of Aleppo —, after having gathered together a thousand of these children, took them to a place where he had them burnt alive.’ Andonian goes on to claim that the ‘goal of the government was to
 
Prime Minister’sArchives:Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Bookfor the Year 1331:p. 42.

totally exterminate the future Armenian generation, in order to bring about the complete annihilation of the race’, and states that ‘instructions were subsequently issued to spare only those children under five years of age’. He charges that these children were ‘to be raised as Turks, just as in the days of the Janissaries’ .[35]

The obvious absurdity of this claim will become apparent in the light of the Ottoman Archival Documents published in Chapter III.

Andonian, with the aim of supporting his claims, provides the text of eight forged ‘documents’, in his chapter entitled ‘The Little Martyrs’. Of these eight ‘documents’, he has published the Turkish ‘originals’ of three in his French edition, and two in the English version. As one of these forged ‘documents’ is given in both the French and English editions, the actual number of the so-called Turkish ‘originais’ is four.

Of the eight forged ‘documents’ utilized by Andonian in this section of his book, six are attributed to Talat Pasha, and two are claimed to have been written by Abdulahad Nuri Bey. All four of the ‘documents’ for which Andonian has provided the Turkish ‘originals’ are attributed to Talat Pasha.

As we have previously done, we present below the English translation of the texts of the Turkish ‘originals’ of the four ‘documents’.

‘Document’ No. IX

This is the decoded copy of the Ministry of the Interior’s ciphered telegram Number 603, dated 5 November 1331 [18 November 1915]:

Reports have been received that the children of known persons who have been orphaned, due to the death of their parents on the road as they were being transferred from the Provinces of Sivas, Mamuretilaziz, Diyarbakir and Erzurum, have been accepted by various Muslim families as adopted children and as servants.

It is communicated by this circular that such children within your province be gathered up and sent to the resettlement area; and, that the necessary warnings be made to the people in regard to this matter, in a suitable manner.

Minister of the Interior
Talat

[Note:] Discuss this with the Chief of Police.
To the Assistant Director-General of the Immigrants.
7 November.

Governor
Mustafa Abdülhalik [36]

The English and French translations of this ‘document’ (provided by Andonian) are both generally accurate renderings of the Turkish ‘original’ published in the French edition. Worthy of note, however, is the’following discrepancy: whereas, in the Turkish ‘original’ we have seen that the Governor Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey ‘transferred’ the ‘document’ to the ‘Assistant Director-General of the Immigrants’, Andonian’s En?lish edition translates this as the ‘Representatives of the General Deportations Committee’.
 
Prime Minister’s Archives: Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Book for the Year 1331: p. 39

‘Document’ No. X

This is the decoded copy of the Ministry of the Interior’s ciphered telegram Number 830, dated 12 December 1331 [25 December 1915]:

That the orphans of the known persons, who are too young to remember the disaster which befell their parents, be gathered together and looked after; as for the remainder, they are to be dispersed to the convoys. 12 December 1331.

Minister of the Interior
Talat

[Note:] To the Assistant Director-General of the Immigrants. 12 December 1331.

Governor
Mustafa Abdülhalik[37]

The French and English translations of this ‘document’ parallel the text of the Turkish ‘original’, which is included in both editions of the book. However, the word ‘disaster’ (Turkish: felaket), appears in the French translation as ‘terrors’ (terreurs), and in the English version as ‘tortures’.

Norshould we overlook the fact thatAndonian has Talat Pashause the phrase: ‘the disaster which befell their parents’, in order to strengthen his fabricated story.

‘Document’ No. XI

This is the decoded copy of the Ministry of the Interior’s ciphered telegram Number 853, dated 23 January 1332 [5 February 1917]:

While there are thousands of immigrants, and orphans and spouses of the Muslim war dead, who need protection and feeding, it is not appropriate that too much expense be undertaken in order to feed the children left behind by the various known persons, who after all, will only once again cause harm in the future. In keeping with the most recent order, those who have been fed, up until now should be sent to Sivas, and the remainder should be sent to join the transportation convoys.

Minister of the Interior
Talat

[Note:] To the Assistant Director-General of the Immigrants. 25 January

Governor
Mustafa Abdülhalik [38]

Here again, the French and English translations generally parallel the wording of the Turkish ‘original’, the text of which is given in the English edition of Andonian’s book. There are, however, two important variations:

(a) The French translation gives the date of this document as 23 January 1915 (a date when the relocation of the Armenians had not begun), while the English translation gives it as 23 January 1916. In point of fact, as we have seen above, the so-called Turkish ‘original’ is dated 23 January 1332, the equivalent of which in the Christian calendar is 5 February 1917.

(b) The English translation of this ‘document’ does not include the ‘note’ added by the Governor, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey.
 
There can be no doubt as to the reason for the inclusion of this forged ‘telegram’ in Andonian’s book. It was clearly intended to bolster his claim that the Ottomans ‘desired to annihilate the future Armenian generations’.

‘Document’ No. XII

This ‘document’ which is claimed to be the text of a ‘ciphered telegram’ attributed by Andonian to Talat Pasha, constitutes one of the two ‘documents’ most frequently utilized in Armenian propaganda efforts. As such, it has appeared in countless Armenian publications. This stems from the fact that it was written on an actual Post Office telegraph form, and that, together with the cipher groupings of numbers, the deciphered text is also given.

The following is a translation of the Turkish text of this ‘telegram’:

To the Governor of Aleppo.
Number: 819
Date: 7 March 1332 [20 March 1916]
Date Received: 8 March.
Signature of the receiver: Zeki.

By order of the Ministry of War, those children of the known persons who have been collected along the roads and fed by the military posts, are to be taken, with the excuse that they will be looked after by the Immigrants’ Office and collectively annihilated in a manner which will not arouse suspicion. We are to be informed of the results.

Minister of the Interior
Talat [39]

The Turkish ‘original’ of this ‘document’, which constitutes a key link in the Armenian charges, is included in the French edition of Andonian’s book. Both the translations provided in the English and French editions are basically accurate renderings of this Turkish ‘original’, with minor exceptions. In the English translation the term ‘Armenians’ was used in place of ‘known persons’. Moreover, in the French translation the number of the ‘document’ was omitted, and in the English version both the number and the date do not appear.

By placing emphasis on an analysis of this last ‘telegram’ we demonstrate in the following pages the forged nature of these ‘documents’.

(a) On 7 March 1332 (20 March 1916) no ciphered telegram bearing the reference number 819 was sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo. There was, however, a ciphered telegram bearing the number 9 sent by the Ministry to Aleppo on this date. Its subject-matter deals with the Armenians in the city of Antep. A photograph of page 2 of the Aleppo Section of the Register of Outgoing Ciphers for the Year 1332 (p. 76) conffirms this point.

(b) Andonian, in keeping with the pattern we have earlier demonstrated, once again neglects to account for the differences between the Muslim Rumi and Christian calendars, and has put the reference number 819 on his forged ‘telegram’ dated 7 March 1332. As the Rumi year 1332 began on 1 March, this means that 819 ciphered telegrams would have been sent from Istanbul to Aleppo in the week of 1—7 March. This is clearly impossible!

(c) In spite of the fact that the ciphered form of Andonian’s forgery consists generally of three-digit number groups, line 6 of this 7 March 1332 ‘telegram’ contains two-digit number groups. Were this a genuine document, it would mean that two different codes were utilized in the same telegram. As such a practice would have made deciphering extremely difficult, it was never used by the Ottoman bureaucracy. This is simply yet another Andonian error.

(d) A thorough survey of authentic Ottoman documents housed in the First World War Section of the Chief of Staff’s Archives (Genelkurmay Ba?kanl??? Ar?ivi, Closet: 139; Container: 1762; File: 187), has established that during the years 133 1—2 (1915—16), the Ottomans used ciphers consisting of two-, four-, and five-digit number groupings, i.e. three-digit number groups were not used in this period at all. As for the date of 7 March 1332, the cipher system which was in use on that date was one consisting of four-digit number groups. Andonian, who obviously was not privy to this information, concocted his forgery for this date based on a three-digit grouping.

In the section entitled ‘The Extension of the Massacres’, the forged ciphered telegrams numbers 51, 57 and 76 which are attributed to Abdulahad Nuri Bey are written in two-digit groups. This could suggest to the reader that they might in fact be authentic, as two-digit groups are known to have been used at times in 1915-16. However, on their own merits these 'telegrams’ have already been unmasked as forgeries.

(e) A comparison of the forged ‘telegrams’ numbers 830 and 853 (see Appendix I), and the signatures of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, which they allegedly bear, with his signatures on official authentic Ottoman archival documents which we have previously examined establishes that those attributed to him on the forged ‘telegrams’ numbered 830 and 853 are likewise false.

(f) As discussed above, the first forged ‘document’ presented by Andonian in his chapter entitled ‘The Little Martyrs’ was a ‘telegram’ with the reference number 603 and the date of 5 November 1331 (18 November 1915), which he alleges was sent from the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo.

While there was in fact a ciphered telegram sent from the Ministry to the Governor of Aleppo on 5 November 1331, its actual reference number

Prime Minister's Archives: Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Bookfor the Year1332:p. 2
 

 
was 150. As may be seen from the photograph of p. 38 of the Aleppo Section of the Register of Outgoing Ciphers for the Year 1331 (p. 78), the subject-matter of this telegram had nothing to do with Armenian orphans. Rather, it confirms that decisions taken in Aleppo by a delegation presided over by Cemal Pasha had been approved by the Ministry.

(g) Also under this heading Andonian has given the text of a forged ‘ciphered telegram’ bearing the number 830 and dated 12 December 1331 (25 December 1915). There were, indeed, two actual telegrams sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on this date; however, neither the reference numbers nor the subject-matter coincide with those provided in Andonian’s forgery. The reference numbers of the actual telegrams were 178 and 179. The first of these refers to the examination of a copy of a telegram sent from Aleppo to the Iranian Embassy, and the second concerns charges of bad behaviour which were levied against one Osep Borborsian of Antep. The photograph of p. 45 of the Aleppo Section of the Register of Outgoing Ciphers for the Year 1331 (see p. 79) establishes this point.

(h) Andonian’s ‘Little Martyrs’ chapter also included the text of a forged ‘ciphered telegram’ with the reference number 853 and the date of 23 January 1332 (5 February 1917). No telegram was sent from the Ministry to Aleppo on this date. To substantiate this fact we reproduce photographs of pages 38 and 39 of the Aleppo Section of the Register of Outgoing Ciphers for the Year 1332 (pp. 80-1). As may be clearly seen from these photographs: (a) on 18 January 1332 (31 January 1917) a ciphered telegram with the reference number 189 was sent from the Ministry to Aleppo; and (b) on 26 January 1332 (8 February 1917) a ciphered telegram with the reference number 190 was sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo. The subject-matter of No. 189 deals with preparations for the exchange of six English ladies held in Aleppo for an Ottoman family [held by the British], while that of No. 190 is concerned with arrangements which are to be made in conjunction with a visiting Afghan prince.

(i) The so-called Turkish ‘original’ of the forged ‘ciphered telegram’ to which Andonian affixed the reference number 853, and the French and English translations of this ‘document’, bear different dates. In the French translation this date is given as 23 January 1915 (although it is understood from the book that this date should be 1916), whereas in the English translation it is given as 23 January 1916. In contrast, the Turkish ‘original’ gives the date as 23 January 1332, that is, 5 February 1917. Had Andonian dated his ‘document’ 23 January 1331 he might have avoided this blatant error. However, his failure to do so makes the nature of this ‘forgery’ apparent at a glance.
 
Prime Minister’s Archives: Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Book for the Year 1331: p. 38

Prime Minister’sArchives: Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Bookforthe Year 1331:p. 45

Prime Minister’sArchives: Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Bookfor the Year1332:p. 38

Prime Minister’sArchives: Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Book for the Year1332:p. 39

(j) While our comparisons between Andonian’s concocted reference numbers and those actually used by the Ministry of the Interior on its communications with the Aleppo Governor’s office have repeatedly shown the former to be nothing more than forgeries, there are also inconsistencies and contradictions in his own numbers when they are compared with each other. Thus, while Andonian gave the number 830 to his ‘document’ dated 12 December 1915, he carelessly affixed the number 809 to his forged ‘telegram’ of 29 December 1915, [40] and the number 820 on his forgery dated 4 January 1916. [41] As it is clearly impossible for a telegram dispatched on one date to have a reference number lower than that given to those which preceded it, Andonian has once again demonstrated the carelessness with which his forgeries were constructed.

 


 

8. ‘The Incitements’

In this chapter of his work, Andonian claims that the Turkish Government incited its officials and the Muslim community at large to engage in the ‘massacres’ of the Armenians. Further, that it subsequently failed to punish such ‘murderers’. In support of this thesis he presents the texts of four ‘documents’. The so-called Turkish ‘originals’ of two of these (both attributed to Talat Pasha) are published in the French edition of his book.

The translations of the Turkish ‘originals’ of these two forgeries read as follows.

‘Document’ No. XIII

This is the decoded copy of the Ministry of the Interior’s ciphered telegram No. 544, dated 3 October 1331 [16 October 1915]:
The purpose for choosing the Sanjak of Zor as the settlement region was explained in the ‘secret’ communication number 1843, of 2 September 1331 [15 September 1915]. Because all of the crimes which will be committed by the people against the known persons en route will further the goals of the Government, legal prosecutions in regard to these matters are not necessary. The necessary orders have been communicated to the Sanjaks of Zor and Urfa.

Minister of the Interior
Talat

[Note]: To the Assistant Director-General of the Immigrants. 5 October.

Governor
Mustafa Abdülhalik [42]

While the French and English translations are fairly accurate renderings of the Turkish ‘original’, there are several minor variations in tone. Thus, the English edition omits the ‘note’ attributed to Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey. The phrase which appears in the Turkish text as gizli yaz? (‘secret’ communication), is given in the French translation as ‘ciphered telegram’ (telegramme chiffre), and in the English version as ‘secret order’. Finally, the phrase in the Turkish ‘original’ which reads: ‘al! of the crimes which will be committed’ is rendered in the French translation as: ‘the excesses committed’ (les exces commis).

Clearly, one of the main objectives of this forged ‘telegram’ was to have Talat Pasha himself admit that the ‘actions taken in regard to the Armenians were crimes’.

As the authentic Turkish Archival Documents which are presented in Chapter III of the present work will provide our reply to this claim, we will not discuss this allegation at length here. Nevertheless, it is useful to recollect that no fewer than 1,397 individuals were subsequently charged with a variety of offences related to the relocation of the Armenians in this period. Such individuals, who bore the responsibility for having failed to guard the convoys, or for having physically mistreated the relocated Armenians, were sent by the Government to military courts, where most of them received sentences, which included the death penalty. [43]

‘Document’ No. XIV

This ‘document’ together with the ‘ciphered telegram’ No. 819 (which was discussed in the previous section), constitutes one of the ‘fundamental documents’ repeatedly introduced in support of their charges by a wide variety of Armenian circles. Andonian tells us that it is a ‘ciphered telegram’ sent by Talat Pasha to the Governor of Aleppo.

Below, we provide the translation of the Turkish ‘original’ of this ‘telegram’. It, too, was written on a post office telegraph form, in order that it might create the same effect as No. 819 discussed above. It consists of a ciphered version made up of three-digit number groups and a deciphered form as well:

To: The Governor of Aleppo;
Number: 1181;
Number of words: 176;
Date: 16 September 1331 [29 September 1915];
Date Received: 17 September 1331 [30 September 1915].

It has been previously communicated that the Government has decided on the order of the Cemiyet [Committee of Union and Progress], that all of the Armenians living in Turkey are to be destroyed and annihilated. Those who oppose this decision can have no interest in the continued existence of the State. Without taking into consideration the fact that they are women and children and disabled, their very existence will be ended, regardless of how terrible the means of destruction may be, and without being moved by feelings of compassion.

Minister of the Interior
Talat [44]
 
Both the French and English translations are more or less accurate renditions of the so-called Turkish ‘original’. There are, however, minor variations between the different versions. Where the Turkish ‘original’ and English translation are both dated 16 September 1915, the French translation is dated 15 September 1915. The reference number of 1181 on the so-called Turkish ‘original’ was somehow omitted in the French and English translations.

As is immediately apparent, the purpose behind this ‘document’ was nothing less than a ‘confession’ by Talat Pasha himself, in which he would acknowledge the ‘terrible means of destruction’ and create the impression that the ‘Turkish Government was clearly cognizant of its guilt’.

The analysis provided below demonstrates why these so-called ‘documents’, given in Andonian’s chapter ‘The Incitements’, are forgeries in the same manner as those discussed previously:

(a) The first of the forgeries introduced in this section of Andonian’s work was the alleged ‘ciphered telegram’ No. 544, which was dated 3 October 1331 (16 October 1915). It was claimed to have been sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo. There was an actual ciphered telegram sent from the Ministry to the Governor of Aleppo on this date; however, its reference number was 100. Unlike Andonian’s ‘document’, its subject-matter does not state that ‘legal prosecutions’ of individuals committing crimes against Armenians ‘are not necessary’. Quite the contrary, it orders the Governor of Aleppo to ensure the comfort of three Armenian families (Kaprashian, Hanikian, and Torian) in Aleppo. This fact is illustrated by the photograph of p. 26 of the Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Book for the year 1331, reproduced on p. 85.

(b) As for the second of Andonian’s forged ‘ciphered telegrams’ introduced in this section of his book, that which was given the reference number 1181, and dated 16 September 1331 (29 September 1915), here, too, there was an actual ciphered telegram sent to Aleppo by the Ministry on this date. However, contra Andonian, its reference number was 84 not 1181. Its message did not concern the destruction and annihilation of all Armenians in Turkey as alleged by Andonian; rather it provided for the temporary postponement of the transfer of Armenians employed as technicians in the administrative and construction sections of the Railways Office. A photograph of the relevant page (22) of the Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Book for the Year 1331 (p. 87) illustrates this fact.

(c) Despite the fact that Andonian’s forged ‘ciphered telegram’ No. 1181 is written primarily in three-digit number groups, lines 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of this ‘document’ contain two-digit number groups. This fact serves to demonstrate, once again, the carelessness with which these forgeries were concocted.

(d) In addition to the comments made earlier, we can add the following with regard to the cipher technique used by the Ottomans in 1915—16. The actual cipher system employed on 16 September 1331, the date when this forged ‘telegram’ was allegedly sent, bears no relation to the system used

Prime Minister’sArchives: Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Book for the Year 1331:p. 26

by Andonian, for at that period five-digit number groups were being used, rather than the three-digit system employed by Andonian. In order to demonstrate this point we publish here two actual ciphered telegrams sent by Talat Pasha on 13 August 1331 (26 August 1915) and on 28 November 1331 (11 December 1915) respectively (pp. 88—9). These documents are in the Chief of Staff’s Archives (Genelkurmay Ba?kanl??? Ar?ivi). By virtue of the fact that the dates on these two authentic ciphered telegrams span the date of 16 September 1331, i.e. the date on Andonian’s ‘ciphered telegram’, the blatant nature of his forgery becomes apparent, for all of the groupings in the actual ciphers are five-digit numbers, unlike the three-and two-digit groupings utilized by Andonian. Further, the real documents only use five-digit groupings, whereas Andonian, as we have frequently seen, used some two-and some three-digit groupings in one and the same ‘telegram’.

(e) An examination of Andonian’s forged ‘ciphered telegrams’ alleged to have been sent on 16 September 1331 (29 September 1915) and 7 March 1332 (20 March 1916) shows that both of these ‘documents’ employ the same cipher key, i.e. a specific ‘number’ group was used as the equivalent of a specific ‘letter’ group. This would mean that the same cipher key had been operative for five and a half months. Needless to say, no country at war has ever used the same cipher, without change, for such along period. As a matter of fact, the Ottomans frequently altered their ciphers in this period. To illustrate this fact, we reproduce (pp. 91—2) photographs of two archival documents from the Istanbul Prime Minister’s Archives. They are taken from the Outgoing Ciphers Copies File for the Year 1330.

The first of these two archival documents is the copy of a ciphered telegram of 16 December,1330 (29 December 1914), with the reference number 120. It was sent from the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Baghdad, and instructed this official to begin using the new cipher key, and to immediately cease using the previous key.

The second of these two documents is dated 68 days later than the first. It is the copy of a ciphered telegram, dated 22 February 1330 (7 March 1915), which was sent from the Ministry of the Interior to a variety of provincial officials, among whom was the Governor of Baghdad. This telegram orders that the existing cipher key be annulled and burnt.

On the basis of these two documents, it seems logical to suggest that the Ottoman cipher keys were changed, on average, once every two months.

(f) While we have amply demonstrated that the reference numbers on Andonian’s forgeries bear no relationship to the actual reference numbers used on the genuine ciphered telegrams sent from Istanbul to Aleppo in this period, we should also take note of the fact that the numbers placed by
 
Prime Minister’s Archives: Aleppo Section of the Outgoing Ciphers Record Book for the Year 1331: p. 22

The genuine ciphered telegram dated 13 August 1331 (26 August 1915), which was sent by the Minister of the Interior, Talat Pasha, to the Governor of the Sanjak of Kal’a-i Sultaniye (Çanakkale).*

The genuine ciphered telegram dated 28 November 1331 (11 December 1915), which was sent by the Minister of the Interior, Talat Pasha, to the Governor of the Sanjak of Karahisar?sahib (Afyon). *

Andonian on his forged ‘telegrams’ often contradict each other as well. As previously noted (p. 62), Andonian gave his forged ‘telegram’ of 3 September 1331 (16 September 1915) the reference number 502, and that of 29 September 1331 (12 October 1915), the reference number 537. On the other hand, his forged ‘telegram’ of 16 September 1331 (29 September 1915), a date halfway between his Numbers 502 and 537, is given 1181 as its reference number. Obviously, this is yet another sign of the carelessness with which these forgeries were concocted.

(g) Finally, it is obvious that the signature affixed to the forged ‘telegram’ No. 544 is not, as Andonian alleges, that of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey. A comparison of the signature on this forgery (the Turkish ‘original’ of which is given in Appendix I), with the actual examples of Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey’s signature presented earlier (p. 48), attests to this fact.


9. ‘Efforts to Justify’

The thesis advanced in this chapter of Andonian’s work is that even while the Turkish Government was ‘massacring all the Armenians’, it was also attempting to justify these ‘massacres’, via the compilation of ‘false documents’ aimed at supporting these attempts. This section of Andonian’s work repeats the statements made in his chapter on ‘The Premeditation’, such as ‘the Armenians had bombs and weapons in their possession’, etc.

Andonian, presumably because he had exhausted his ‘documents’ in the previous chapters of his work, only published the translations of two ‘documents’ in this section. As neither of the Turkish ‘originals’ was published, we shall not dwell on these forgeries.

As for his charge that the Turkish Government prepared ‘forged documents’ in order to substantiate their claim that the relocation of the Armenian population was justified, readers, on the basis of our analysis of Andonian’s ‘documents’, should be able to determine for themselves just who was preparing ‘forged documents’!

Also in this chapter, Andonian claims that there are a few ‘photographs, which ostensibly show the corpses of Kurds allegedly killed near Diyarbak?r by Armenian bandits. But in reality, these are the corpses of massacred Armenians, who were photographed in Kurdish costumes after their throats had been cut. . . .‘ [45] This claim represents nothing more than another facet of the varied forms taken by Armenian propaganda.


10. ‘The Second Act’

In this chapter Andonian advances the charge that those Armenians who had survived the first attempts of the Turkish Government’s ‘massacres’ were later subjected to a ‘second act’. He claims that by taking advantage of the retreat of
 
Prime Minister’s Archives: The File of the Copies of Outgoing Ciphers for the Year 1330
[File Number: 48; Rank Number: 191]

Prime Minister’s Archives: The File of the Copies of Outgoing Ciphers for the Year 1330
[File Number: 50]

Note: This ciphered telegram was sent from the Ministry of the Interior to the governors of the provinces of: Edirne, Erzurum, Adana, Ankara, Ayd?n, Bitlis, Basra, Ba?dat (Baghdad), Beyrut (Beirut), Halep (Aleppo), Hudavendigar (Bursa), Diyarbak?r, Syria, Sivas, Trabzon, Kastamonu, Konya, Mamuretilaziz (Elaz??), and Musul (Mosul). It also went to the Governors of the sanjaks of: Urfa, Izmit, Bolu, Canik (Samsun), Catalca, Zor, Karesi (Bal?kesir), Kudüs-i ?erif (Jerusalem), Kal’a-i Sultaniye (Çanakkale), Mente?e (Mu?la), Teke (Antalya), Kayseri, and Karahisansahib (Afyon).

the Russian armies of occupation and their Armenian forces, from Eastern Anatolia and on the pretext that Armenians were fighting in the ranks of the British forces, the Turkish Government set about ‘massacring’ the surviving Armenians.

In this section of his work Andonian presents only one ‘document’, a ‘telegram’ which he attributes to the Minister of War, Enver Pasha. Despite the fact that the Turkish ‘original’ of this ‘ciphered telegram’ (which allegedly was sent by Enver Pasha to all the units of the army) was not published by Andonian, we have included a translation of the text given in the French edition, in order to demonstrate the extremes to which Andonian was willing to go in concocting his forgeries.

‘Document’ No. XV

Ciphered telegram sent by the Ministry of War to all Military Commanders:

Due to the present situation, an Imperial Irade [Rescript] authorizing the complete extermination of the Armenian race has been issued. The following steps must take place in this respect:

(1) With the exception of children under five years of age, all the ‘ba??bozuks’ (who are not soldiers) but are Ottoman subjects, living in the country, and known as Armenian, must be removed from the cities and killed;

(2) All the individuals serving in the Imperial Anny must, without creating an incident, be separated from their units and secretly shot, out of the sight of indiscreet eyes;

(3) The officers serving with the armies will be incarcerated in their depots, until such time as a new decision relating to them is taken.

Forty-eight hours after the above-mentioned three clauses have been communicated to the Commander of each army, a new notice will be issued with regard to their execution. Consequently, aside from necessary preparations, no other steps are to be taken at this time.

Acting Commander-in-Chief and Minister of War
Enver [46]

Andonian claims that this ‘document’, which bears the date of 27 February 1918 in the English edition (but is undated in the French edition), was not obtained by Naim Bey, but rather by an Armenian, after a Turkish officer showed it to him. [47]

Our reply to this claim and the forged telegram concocted in support of it will appear with the genuine Ottoman archival documents published in Chapter III. However, the immediate question which comes to mind is: How could there have been Armenian officers and soldiers in the Ottoman armies as late as 1918, when Andonian tells us that the ‘massacres’ since 1915 had already killed all the Armenians?
 
Here, we must mention a few of the interesting points raised in this chapter of Andonian’s work.

Andonian mentions that in the course of the retreat of the Russian armies from Eastern Anatolia, reports of Turks being massacred by Armenians appeared in Turkish newspapers. In the course of acknowledging that there may have been an element of truth in these articles, he makes the following statement:

A retreating army seeks above all else its own security. All other considerations are second to this. Obviously, the retreat of the Armenians, especially among the Turks, could not be any different. [48]

If the Armenians were really slaughterers, would they have kept these Turks under their domination until the date of their retreat, especially in the light of the fact that they had such just accounts to settle with them? If they had really intended to massacre them, would they have waited until the hour of their retreat to do so? If they were forced on occasion to mistreat them, this was only dictated by a concern to protect themselves against the ambushes which they knew [the Turks] were preparing, having got wind of the advances of the Turkish army. [49]

It is obvious that, to Andonian, actions which were carried out by Armenians are excusable, whereas the actions when taken by Turks are inexcusable. If it is natural above all else for a retreating army to ensure its security, and to place this above all other considerations, then, is not the government or the army of a country invaded by enemy forces fully justified in relocating a portion of its population away from the war zone, when these citizens have betrayed their country by aiding and abetting the invading enemy army? If, in the words of Andonian, the Armenians ‘were forced on occasion to mistreat’ the civilian Turkish population, in order to protect themselves from ambush, is not the legal government of a country whose civilian population is being massacred, whose army is being attacked from the rear, whose army’s supply lines have been cut off, and whose security behind the front lines has been breached, allowed to take measures concerning its own citizens who are responsible for this situation?

Certainly, the Government of the United States of America felt justifled in ordering the relocation of its Japanese-American population following the attack of the Japanese on Pearl Harbor during the Second World War. Furthermore, it felt justified in its decision despite the fact that there bad not been a single instance in which a Japanese-American citizen had in any way breached the security of the United States. In contrast, the Ottoman Government’s decision to relocate its Armenian population away from the war theatre only occurred following massive desertions of Ottoman-Armenian politicians, officers, soldiers, and civilians to the camp of the invading Russian armies.
 
Andonian’s attitude in attempting to justify Armenian behaviour, while condemning the Turks, is equally shared by contemporary Armenian propagandist and terrorist circles.

In bringing our discussion of Andonian’s book to an end, we should also note that both the book and its ‘documents’ contain a variety of other minor errors which we have not taken account of. In other words, such minor errors have not been analysed separately, as they are not of great importance in establishing the nature of Andonian’s forged documents.

One final point of interest concerning Andonian’s ‘documents’ is that even within pro-Armenian circles there have been doubts expressed concerning their authenticity. Thus, even Gerard Chaliand and Yves Ternon, two well-known contemporary Armenian propagandists, when citing Andonian’s ‘documents’ in their 1980 work entitled Le Genocide des Armeniens, qualify their remarks by stating: ‘these telegrams, if indeed they are authentic [italics are ours], have a special significance’. [50] Despite their qualification, they then proceed to publish the texts of a number of Andonian’s forged documents!


11. The Malta exiles

We shall conclude this chapter with a discussion of the Malta exiles, a subject which, while not dealt with directly by Andonian, is closely related to his ‘documents’.

As we have discussed earlier, Andonian’s claim of ‘authenticity’ for his ‘documents’ rests upon the ‘signatures’ of the Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, which he alleges were appended to several ‘telegrams’ sent from the Ministry of the Interior in Istanbul to Aleppo. He further charges that the British occupation forces in Istanbul had exiled some Turks whom they had ‘determined bore responsibility for Armenian incidents’, to Malta, where they were held for trial; and that among these individuals was Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey.

The Entente Powers, in particular England and France, were quick to brand the relocation of the Armenians by the Ottoman Government as ‘massacres’. They had even stated as early as May 1915, i.e. prior to the implementation of this relocation, that they would punish those ‘guilty of these massacres’. Throughout the course of the First World War, England and France carried out extensive anti-Turkish propaganda, charging Turkish officials with a wide variety of ‘Armenian incidents’. Such propaganda was useful both for their own interests and for those of the Armenians.

In fulfilment of their 1915 promise, no sooner had the British occupation forces landed in Istanbul in the wake of the Mundros Armistice of 30 October 1918, than they began arresting Turks on a wide variety of pretexts. Among them were a number of officials ‘charged with responsibility for the Armenian incidents’.

The British High Commissioner in Istanbul assigned the task of determining such Turkish officials to a specially created body called ‘The Armenian-Greek Office’. The actual arrests were made on the basis of lists prepared in this office. Subsequently, the British shipped those who had been arrested to Malta, for trial.

Andonian, in a footnote which appears in the French edition of his book, states that he was aware of these developments: ‘At the very moment I am writing these lines, information has arrived in London which states that the British authorities in Constantinople [Istanbul], perhaps fearing that the trials [of the members of the Union and Progress Party which were going on simultaneously in Istanbul] will end and that all those criminals will be released, have deported them all to Malta on a special ship.’ [51]

Among the deportees was the former Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik (Renda) Bey, who was exiled to Malta by the British on 7 June 1920. He was given the ‘exile’ number: 2800. [52]

The Entente Powers reserved the right to try ‘Turkish war criminals’ under Articles 226 and 230 of the Sevres Treaty, which they had compelled the defeated Ottoman Government to sign on 10 August 1920. Among the categories of ‘Turkish war criminals’ specifically named in these articles were ‘those who were held responsible for the Armenian incidents’.

Despite the fact that a number of Turks had been arrested and exiled to Malta, serious doubts now arose as to the charges to be levied against them, and the evidence which was to be used in support of these charges.

Upon this development, the British High Commissioner in Istanbul forwarded the ‘evidence of their crimes’ to London on 16 March 1921. This evidence consisted of: (a) reports compiled by the Armenian Patriarchate; (b) statements by various Armenian ‘witnesses’; (c) press clippings of articles which had appeared in newspapers opposed to the Committee of Union and Progress; [53] and (d) charges made by British officers. [54] In a note which he appended to this ‘evidence of the crimes’ which he dispatched to London, the British High Commissioner, Rumbold, acknowledged that ‘the main source in the gathering of information was the Armenian Patriarchate’. [55]

When this ‘evidence’ was found insufficient by the British legal authorities charged with prosecuting the Malta detainees, both the British Foreign Office and their High Commissioner in Istanbul became worried. Efforts to gather additional ‘evidence’, both in Istanbul and in other regions of Anatolia, which were under British occupation, were stepped up. These efforts also included the confiscation of the relevant Ottoman Governmental Archives. Theirendeavours in this respect were fully supported by the Sultan’s Government, which in this period was co-operating fully with the occupation authorities. When, despite all these efforts, no evidence was uncovered which would enable the Malta detainees to be brought to trial, the British then turned to the United States authorities for assistance. This step was taken in the hope that the archives of the United States, which, after all, had not severed ties with the Ottoman Government during the war, and which consequently had maintained a presence in Anatolia, through its missionary and charitable activities, might contain useful ‘evidence’.

On 31 March 1921 the British Foreign Minister, Lord Curzon, dispatched a ciphered telegram to Sir A. Geddes, the British Ambassador in Washington, DC, instructing him to ‘ascertain if United States Government are in possession of any evidence that would be of value for purposes of prosecution’. [56]

Ambassador Geddes replied to Lord Curzon with a ciphered telegram on 1 June 1921. It reads:

Your telegram No. 314. I have made several inquiries of the State Department and today I am informed that while they are in possession of a large number of documents concerning Armenian deportations and massacres, these refer rather to events connected with perpetration of crimes than to persons implicated. Should His Majesty’s Government so desire, these documents will be placed at the disposal of His Majesty’s Embassy on the understanding that the source of the information will not be divulged. From the description I am doubtful whether these documents are likely to prove useful as evidence in prosecuting Turks conffined in Malta. [57]

The British Foreign Office reiterated its request in a second despatch to Ambassador Geddes, which was sent on 16 June 1921, wherein it wrote:

In reply to your telegram No. 374 of the 1st instant, I enclose, for your information, a list of names and brief particulars, of the Turks who are being detained at Malta with a view to trial in connection with the outrages perpetrated on Armenians and other native Christians. I shall be glad if you will ascertain if United States Government are in possession of any evidence that would be of value for purposes of prosecution. [58]

The reply of the Washington Embassy, signed by R. C. Craigie for Ambassador A. Geddes, was dispatched to London on 13 July 1921. It reads as follows:

My Lord:

With reference to your Despatch No. 775 (E. 6311/132/44) of 16 June 1921, I have the honour to inform Your Lordship that a member of my staff visited the State Department yesterday, the 12th instant, in regard to the Turks who at present are being detained at Malta with a view to a trial in connection with the Armenian massacres. He was permitted to see a selection of reports from United States Consuls on the subject of the atrocities committed in Armenia during the recent war, the reports judged by the State Department to be the most useful for the purpose of His Majesty’s Government being chosen from among several hundreds.

I regret to inform Your Lordship that there was nothing therein which could be used as evidence against the Turks who are being detained for trial at Malta. The reports seen, while furnishing full accounts of the atrocities committed, made mention, however, of only two names of the Turkish officials in question - those of Sabit Bey and Süleyman Faik Pasha — and in these cases were conffined to personal opinions of those officials on the part of the writer, no concrete facts being given which could constitute satisfactory incriminating evidence. I have the honour to add that officials of the Department of State expressed the wish, in the course of conversation, that no information supplied by them in this connection should be employed in a court of law.

Having regard to this stipulation and the fact that the reports in the possession of the Department do not appear in any case to contain evidence against these Turks which would be useful even for the purpose of corroborating information already in the possession of His Majesty’s Government, I fear that nothing is to be hoped from addressing any further enquiries to the United States Government in this matter. I only regret that the State Department did not see their way to make the position clearer at an earlier date. [59]

Thus, the British were also unable to find in the United States of America the ‘evidence’ they sought to use against the Malta detainees.

In spite of this failure, the British Foreign Office attempted to put pressure on the Law Officers of the Crown, stating that the punishment of the forty-two individuals ‘responsible for the Armenian incidents’, among whom was the former Governor of Aleppo, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, was ‘of utmost importance politically’. However, the Law Officers informed the Foreign Office in a communique dated 29 July 1921 that it would be impossible to bring anyone to trial on the basis of the ‘evidence’ at hand.[60] For once, justice triumphed over propaganda, the matter of the ‘Turks responsible for the Armenian incidents’ was thus closed, and the entire group of Malta detainees were freed.

One of the group of seventeen Malta detainees who arrived back in Turkey, aboard the ship Chrysanthemum, on 1 November 1921, was Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey.[61]

Subsequently, in 1927, Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, acting in concert with a group of the former Malta detainees, initiated an action for damages as a result of his detention on Malta, before the Turco-British Court of Arbitration, which had been established within the framework of the Lausanne Treaty. However, when this Court determined that it did not have jurisdiction in this matter, the case was dropped.[62]

At this point, the question in the reader’s mind may well be: why have we digressed from our primary topic to provide the above account of the Malta exiles? The answer is simple, and directly related to the focus of our investigation, namely, Andonian’s book. Andonian’s work was published in both France and England in 1920. This means that the book and its ‘documents’, which are claimed to be ‘authentic’, were freely available at the very time, when, as we have seen, the British were frantically scouring the archives of the world in their search for evidence to be used against the Malta detainees. As even a few of these ‘documents’ would have been more than sufficient to convict not only Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey, but several other individuals detained on Malta as ‘responsible for the Armenian incidents’, why were they not utilized by the British authorities? Quite simply, the British, too, knew that these ‘documents’ were forgeries which had been concocted by Armenian circles. Thus, Andonian’s ‘documents’ failed to meet their primary objective, and the fable of the ‘Turks responsible for the Armenian incidents’, and that of the ‘Armenian massacres’, was brought to an end.

A few of Andonian’s forged ‘telegrams’ resurfaced shortly thereafter in the 29 May 1922 issue of the British Daily Telegraph newspaper, as part of an article entitled ‘Turkish Atrocities in Asia Minor’. While this unsigned article does not mention the source of the ‘documents’ given, its introductory paragraph leaves no doubt as to the article’s intention. When we read: ‘the Armenian massacres are the most obvious example of the sinister and pitiless mentality of the modern Young Turks, who are presently active under the Kemalist mask’, it is evident that the author’s intention was to denigrate the Turkish Independence Movement, which at the time was engaged in a life-and-death struggle with the forces of occupation, among whom were the British. Indeed, the publication date of this article coincided with the preparations for what was to become the final campaign in this struggle, one which would end with the occupation forces being driven from the shores of Anatolia.

The British Foreign Office inquired of the Daily Telegraph as to the source of the information which had appeared in this article. The newspaper replied that its ‘reporter had obtained the documents from an official Armenian publication printed in Paris in 1920, by one David-Beg’.[63]

Thus, we return once again to Andonian’s book. The reader will recall that ‘David-Beg’ was discussed in Chapter I, as the individual who wrote the translator’s note for the French edition of Andonian’s book.



NOTES

[1] Justicier du Genocide, pp. 233—4.
[2] Andonian, Documents, p. 14.
[3] Up until the year 1316 (1900), the number of days added was 12.
[4] Andonian, Documents, p. 86.
[5] Ibid., p. 94.
[6] Ibid., pp. 149—50.
[7] This subject has been discussed in detail in the recent publication by Kamuran Gürün entitled: Ermeni Dosyas? [The Armenian File] (Ankara, 1983). See in particular pp. 193—211. (Hereafter cited as: Gürün, Ermeni.) This work has recently appeared in English as: Kamuran Gürün, The Armenian File (The Myth of Innocence Exposed). London (K. Rustem & Bro. and Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd), 1985. (Hereafter cited as: Gürün, File)
[8] A copy of this letter was published in the series of documents known as: Archives des Affaires Etrangeres de France, Levant (1918—1929), Armenie, Vol. I, pp. 294—5.
[9] Andonian, Documents, pp. 96—8.
[10] Ibid., pp. 95—6.
[11] Justicier du Genocide, p. 233.
[12] Ibid., p. 234.
[13] Andonian, Documents, pp. 104—5.
[14] Ibid., p. 99.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid., p. 100.
[17] Ibid., p. 22.
[18] Ibid., p. 21.
[19] Ibid., p. 100.
[20] Ibid., p. 6.
[21] Andonian, Documents, p. 103; Andonian, Memoirs, p. 54.
[22] Andonian, Documents, p. 106; Andonian, Memoirs, p. 54.
[23] Andonian, Documents, p. 142; Andonian, Memoirs, pp. 63—4.
[24] Andonian, Documents, p. 109.
[25] Ibid., p. 110.
[26] Ibid., p. 118.
[27] Ibid., pp. 116—17.
[28] Ibid., p. 117; Andonian, Memoirs, p. 58.
[29] Andonian, Documents, p. 124.
[30] Ibid., p. 122.
[31] Ibid., pp. 120—1.
[32] Ibid., pp. 122—3.
[33] Ibid., p. 111; Andonian, Memoirs, p. 55.
[34] Andoman, Documents, p. 123.
[35] Ibid., pp. 126—7.
[369 Ibid., p. 130.
[37] Ibid., p. 7; Andonian, Memoirs, p. 61.
[38] Andonian, Memoirs, between pp. 62 and 63.
[39] Andonian, Documents, p. 139. •
[40] Ibid., p. 106; Andonian, Memoirs, p. 54.
[41] Andonian, Documents, p. 112; Andonian, Memoirs, p. 55.
[42] Andonian, Documents, p. 143.
[43] Gürün, Ermeni, pp. 221—2, and Gürün, File, p. 148.
[44] Andonian, Documents, p. 146.
[45] Ibid., p. 152.
[46] Ibid., pp.157—8; Andonian, Memoirs, pp. 66—7.
[47] Andonian, Documents, p. 157. -t
[48] Ibid., p. 154.
[499 Ibid., pp. 154-5.
[50] Chaliand, Gerard and Ternon, Yves, Le Genocide des Armeniens, Brussels (Editions Complexe) 1980, p. 136.
[51] Andonian, Documents, p. 167.
[52] ?imsir. Bilal N., Malta Sürgünleri [The Malta Deportees] (Istanbul, 1976), p. 223. (Hereafter cited as: ?im?ir, Malta.)
[53] One of these newspapers was the Istanbul daily Sabah. As mentioned previously, Andonian conffirmed that the owner and publisher of this newspaper was an Armenian, named Mihran Bey (Justicier du Genocide, p. 233).
[54] ?im?ir, Malta, pp. 270—1.
[55] Ibid., p. 274.
[56] Ibid,, pp. 276—7.
[57] British Foreign Office Archives: 371/6503/E.6311 t Ciphered telegram of 1 June 1921 (No. 374).
[58] Ibid., 6311/132/44.
[59] Ibid., 371/6504/E.8519. Letter of 13 July 1921, with the reference number 722.
[60] Ibid., 371/6504/E.8745.
[61] ?im?ir, Malta, p. 460.
[62] Ibid., p. 461,
[63] British Foreign Office Archives: 371/7874/E.5516



* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 95 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 29 September 1331 (12 October 1915). Subject: the return of Kirkor Nalbantian, the brother of the Parliamentarian Nalbantian, to Kozan from Aleppo.
* Translator’s note: The Rumi calendar was a modiffication of the Muslim era (Hicri) calendar, which uses solar years, numbering them 584 years less than the Western or Christian calendar (i.e. 1984A.D. = 1400 Rumi).
* The original of this document is housed in the Prime Minister’s Archives [Ba?bakanl?k Ar?ivi] in the Ministry of the Interior’s ‘Cipher File’ No. 69/87 [Içi?leri Bakanl???, ?ifre Dosya No. 69/87].
* The original of this document is housed in the Prime Minister’s Archives [Ba?bakanl?k Ar?ivi] in Volume No. 257/909 of the ‘Imperial Rescripts and Minutes’ classiffication [Irade-i Seniye ve Resmi Görü?meler Tutanaklar?, Cilt No. 257/909].
* Prime Minister’s Archives (Ba?bakanl?k Ar?ivi), Ministry of the Interior (içisleri Bakanl???): e’ Security (Emniyet) — Preserved Aleppo File: 1331—3 (Halep H?fz Kutusu, 1331/1333).
* This ‘Register’ is housed in the Istanbul Basbakanl?k Ar?ivi (Prime Minister’s Archives).
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 78 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 3 September 1331 (16 September 1915). Subject: opening of water wells in various sections of the Sinai Peninsula. Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 79 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 5 September 1331 (18 September 1916). Subject: the appointment of the ‘Director of Immigrants’, ?ükrü Bey, to supervise the transfer of the Armenians to specific locations.
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 95 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 29 September 1331 (12 October 1915). Subject: the return of Kirkor Nalbantian, the brother of the Parliamentarian Nalbantian, to Kozan from Aleppo.
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 163 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 22 November 1331 (5 December 1915). Subject: a warship named Skaraonzo, which had been charged by the French Government with the destruction of petroleum tanks on the coast of Syria. Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 164 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 25 November 1331 (8 December 1915). Subject: order to survey the population residing in the eastern portions of the province of Aleppo.
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 153 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 10 November 1331 (23 November 1915). Subject: request for a clariffication from the Governor in regard to an earlier telegram concerning Doctor Richelieu. Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 154 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 10 November 1331 (23 November 1915). Subject: transportation of one Hampar Gizirian, an employee of the Ottoman Bank, who was in Tarsus.
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 150 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 5 November 1331 (18 November 1915). Subject: conffirmation by the Ministry of decisions taken in Aleppo by a Committee presided over by Cemal Pasha. States that transfers to the Provinces of Urfa, Zor, and Adana should continue, and that such arrangements should be made by communicating with Aleppo.
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 178 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 12 December 1331 (25 December 1915). Subject: a telegram sent by an individual named Sadik from Aleppo to the Iranian Embassy. Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 179 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 12 December 1331 (25 December 1915). Subject: request for evidence in support of the ‘bad behaviour charges’ which had been levied against one Osep Borborsian of Antep.
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 189 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 18 January 1332(31 January 1917). Subject: order stating that six English ladies who had been sent to Aleppo from Baghdad two months previously are to be exchanged for an Ottoman family. There fore, preparations are to be made to send them to Mersin within fifteen days.
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 190 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 26 January 1332 (8 February 1917). Subject: notiffication that an Afghan prince who will pass through Aleppo is to be shown special consideration.
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 100 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 3 October 1331 (16 October 1915). Subject: order to provide for the well-being of the Kaprashian, Hanikian, and Tonan families in Aleppo.
* Entry for the ciphered telegram No. 84 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Aleppo on 16 September 1331 (29 September 1915). Subject: an order tempor-arily postponing the transfer of Armenians employed as technicians in the administrative and construction sections of the Railways Office.
* The original of this document is flied in the Chief of Staff’s Archives (Genelkurmay Baskanl??? Arsivi), where it has the following classification: Number 1/60, File Number: 137; Index Number: 1/7.
* The original of this document is flied in the Chief of Staff’s Archives (Genelkurmay Baskanl??? Ar?ivi), where it has the following classiffication: Number 1/60, File Number: 137; Index Number: 1/20.
* Ciphered telegram sent from the Ministry of the Interior to the Governor of Baghdad, Süleyman Nazif Bey, on 16 December 1330 (29 December 1914), which has the reference number 120. Subject: orders that the new cipher key which is in the possession of Re?it Bey be taken from him, and that henceforth this key is to be used. Further, that under no circumstances is the earlier key ever to be used again.
* Text of the ciphered telegram No. 1067 sent by the Ministry of the Interior to Provincial officials on 22 February 1330 (7 March 1915). Subject: states that as the type three cipher key, which was previously used in correspondence between the Sublime Porte and the provinces, has been annulled and burnt, the recipients of this telegram are to have their copies of this key burnt in front of their eyes, and to notify the Ministry when this has been done.

 ----------------------
* -
- The Talat Pasha Telegrams
    Print    
   «  Back

 
 
ERAREN - Institute for Armenian Research

This site is best viewed at 1024 x 768 pixel resolution.