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Books out of Print

Chapter 6: the War of Independence

Kamuran GÜRÜN*
The Armenian File
 

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The War of Independence



1 The beginning of the National Struggle and its aims

Following the signing of the Mundros Truce Agreement the process of discharging and disarming the Turkish Army began, in accordance with the conditions of the treaty.

The duration of the Truce can be considered as having been between 30 October 1918 and 15 May 1919. During this period, the French occupied the province of Adana, and the British occupied Urfa, Marash, and Antep (later they would be transferred to the French). Italian soldiers were present in Antalya and Konya, and British soldiers were in Merzifon and Samsun. We no longer consider the provinces of Mussul and Syria, for they had been relinquished before the treaty.

We have previously examined the situation in the eastern front when the treaty was announced, and the new situation which arose following the treaty when the Turkish Army retreated behind the borders of 1914.

When the Greeks occupied Izmir on 15 May 1919, the period of the Armistice came to a de facto, if not de jure, end.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha (the name Atatürk had not yet been adopted) landed in Samsun on 19 May 1919, and thus began the period which we call the National Struggle.

The aims of the National Struggle were announced to the world for the first time with the resolutions adopted by the Sivas Congress on 11 September 1919. We quote below some articles of this decision, which are of interest to our topic by virtue of their historical importance:

1. The Ottoman Empire which is within the borders of October 30th, 1334 [1918], the date when the truce between the Great Ottoman State and the Allied States was signed, and every part of which has an overwhelming majority of Muslims, constitutes a whole, which will not be divided for any reason....

2. It is necessary that National Independence is made effective, and the will of the nation is made sovereign in order to ensure the integrity of the Ottoman community, the independence of our nation, the protection of the sublime office, and the inviolability of the Sultanate.

3. The principle of united defence and resistance to any interference and especially invasion of any part of the Ottoman Empire, and to any movement directed especially to the establishment of an autonomous Greece or Armenia within our country, as in the national struggle along the fronts of Aydin, Manisa, and Balikesir, has been accepted as legitimate.

4. Because all rights of the non-Muslim elements with whom we have been living for a long time in the same country are entirely protected, these elements will not be given privileges which infringe our political sovereignty and internal order.

Later, these principles were codified by a regulation during the last Ottoman Assembly which met in Istanbul on 28 January 1920. Because of its historical importance, we quote below the first article of this regulation, which is known in Turkish history as the National Pact.

1. Because it will be necessary to determine the fate of the areas of the Ottoman State, which are exclusively inhabited by an Arab majority, arid which were occupied by the enemy armies at the time of the conclusion of the truce dated 30 October 1918, through the votes of the inhabitants of these areas, the area inhabited by the Ottoman Muslim majority, within the aforementioned trucial border, united in religion and customs, saturated by feelings of sacrifice and reciprocal respect towards one another, and entirely respectful of their social rights and the conditions of their surroundings, is a whole which cannot be separated for any reason.

After Istanbul had been occupied by the Allies on 16 March 1920, the Assembly dissolved, and the deputies who had been arrested exiled to Malta, the Grand National Assembly which opened on 23 April 1920 in Ankara elected Mustafa Kemal Pasha as its President at its first session, and from that date onward the centre and nucleus of the National Struggle was Ankara.

Let us hear from Atatürk himself about the condition of the army within the borders of the truce when the National Struggle began.

.... Mainly two army inspectorships had been established in Anatolia. As soon as this truce became effective, the troops had been discharged, their weapons and ammunition had been taken away from them, some cadres lacking combative value had been formed. The situation of the troops belonging to the 2nd Army Inspectorship, whose base was in Konya, was as follows:

The 12th Army Corps Headquarters were in Konya; one division (41st division) was in Konya, and one division (23rd division) was in Afyon Karahisar. The 57th division in Denizli of the 17th Army Corps which surrendered in Izmir had been added to this Army Corps.

The 2nd Army Corps Headquarters were in Ankara, one of its divisions (24th division) was in Ankara, one division (11th division) was in Nigde; the 1st division which was in Izmir had been added to the 25th Army Corps in Istanbul. The 10th Caucasus division was in Istanbul.

The 61st and the 56th divisions, which were in the vicinity of Balikesir and Bursa, formed the 14th Army Corps, whose headquarters were in Bandirma, and which depended on Istanbul.

I was the Inspector of the 3rd Army Inspectorship. I had landed in Samsun with my headquarters. I would have directly under my command two Army Corps. One of them was the 3rd Army Corps, whose base was in Sivas... the base of a division (5th Caucasus division) belonging to this Army Corps was in Amasya, the base of the other division (15th division) was in Samsun. The other was the 15th Army Corps which was based in Erzurum.... One of its divisions (9th division) was based in Erzurum, and the other (3rd division) was based in Trabzon. Of the other two divisions of the Army Corps, the 12th division was at the border near Hasankale, and the 11th division was in Beyazit.

The 14th Army Corps which had two divisions in the vicinity of Diyarbekir was independent. It was attached to Istanbul. One of its divisions (2nd division) was in Siirt, and the other (5th division) was in Mardin.[1]

In his memoirs, Kazim Karabekir Pasha, the Commander of the 15th Army Corps, has stated that this Army Corps, which would execute the operation in the east, totalled 17,860 soldiers.[2]

The National Struggle began with these forces at hand. First the eastern front was cleared, followed by the southern front. Subsequently the western front was cleared, the enemy soldiers were driven out of the country, and the Struggle ended with the signing of the Mudanya Truce on 11 October 1922.

The Struggle, which began on 19 May 1919, and whose aims were announced on 11 September 1919, lasted for 3 years, 4 months, and 22 days. We shall now examine these three fronts in turn.



2 The eastern front

In my opinion the person who best knew the eastern front operation in Turkey was the late Kazim Karabekir Pasha, who led this operation from the first day to the last as a responsible commander. Because of this, the best way to explain this subject would be through quotations from his book entitled Our War of Independence. The documents which would leave no doubt in one’s mind would be the orders of the front. (We do not refer to communiques, but rather to orders given to the units.)

Colonel A. Rawlinson, of the British Army, had been charged with supervising the implementation of the truce conditions in the eastern front. We shall also quote from Rawlinson, who later published an account of his activities in the region.[3]

After the truce had been signed, Kazim Karabekir Pasha went to Istanbul. For some reason it was decided that he should return to lead his Army Corps, and he left Istanbul on 12 April 1919, arriving in Erzurum on 3 May, to resume his duty. On the day he arrived, Rushtu Bey, the Commander of the 9th division, who assisted him, showed him an order sent by Rawlinson. In this order it was stated that Lieutenant-Colonel Halit Bey, the Commander of the 3rd division was to be arrested and sent to Trabzon, because he had retaliated against the Georgians.

The first meeting between Karabekir Pasha and Rawlinson was interesting. We quote from p. 23 of his book. This meeting is significant in that it shows just how limited, in practice, was the power of an army corps commander in the east during the period of the truce.

Today Rawlinson, the British colonel, came to visit me. A summary of our discussion is as follows: I asked him what his duty was. He said that it was to supervise the implementation of the treaty conditions in the East. I asked why in that case he had written as if he was giving orders to the divisions and the Army Corps. We were speaking in French. He said that such situations would not recur from now on. Communicating through an interpreter was creating misunderstandings. I said, from now on you will tell me your wishes, but any decision will be implemented absolutely by an order from the Ministry of War. Your note stating that if Halit Bey, the Commander of the 3rd Army Corps, is not arrested, the Assistant to the Army Corps, Rushtu Bey, would go, created very negative reactions among the people. I only arrived yesterday, and many people and officials came to see me. I stated, if the situation is out of control on the first day, we both can be in danger. Rawlinson reflected for a while, and thought that my statements were reasonable. He said that from now on he would act more politely. I said “Mr Lieutenant-Colonel, if you wish, let me send an officer to accompany you. However, we do not have someone who speaks English. I will find someone who speaks French. Rawlinson was very pleased. (I sent an officer who also spoke English, with the instruction that he did not disclose that he spoke English, and I benefited a great deal from this. I would have been informed much earlier of the conversations and correspondence in his office.)

The next day he acted very sincerely when I returned his visit. He brought the conversation to the Bolsheviks. He stated that the situation was a difficult one because their administration was now in order. I mentioned that there was no reason to be concerned about the Caucasus, because the Cossacks supported the Czar. He said, unfortunately they, too, have changed. When I stated that the opposition would take care of the situation with a strong army, he said impossible, impossible, it is impossible to summon new forces, besides, the Bolsheviks have many armies, the thing to do is to prevent Bolshevism spreading to other countries, they are sending their propagandists everywhere. Today, Rawlinson did not mention Halit Bey or the arms. I felt that he was trying to push me to take action, claiming that the Bolsheviks were in the Caucasus, when I was making plans so as not to hand over a Commander or arms.

Rawlinson and Karabekir Pasha met again on 29 June 1919. We shall also quote this meeting (pp. 62—3):

June 29th was the Ramazan holiday. Rawlinson, a russian lieutenant-colonel from the Denikin Army, and an American lieutenant (he was one of the councillors of Admiral Bristol in Istanbul) came to visit me. It is apparent that the Russian lieutenant-colonel is searching for the materials of Russian armies, but emotionally he is very weak. When I returned the visit, the American was in Rawlinson’s room. At one time, Rawlinson, as a joke, touched slightly the American’s side pocket, and said: ‘The concern of Americans is to fill their pockets with dollars.’ The American replied somewhat seriously: ‘And the concern of the British is to swallow the entire world, what are you doing here?’ Rawlinson became angry, he stopped talking French, and said something in English. And the American replied. Their attitude made me think that Rawlinson said ‘You have acted improperly,’ and that the American replied: ‘You acted improperly in the first place.’

I also invited the foreigners to the Gymnastics Day at the Kars Gate on June 30th. The cheerfulness and agility of all Erzurumites filed our hearts. The foreigners watched with awe. After a while, the American requested permission to leave, stating ‘I will go tomorrow’. He was followed by Rawlinson who did not leave the American alone. We were alone with the Russian officers. The Russian colonel approached me. He stated that the Bolsheviks had also successfully occupied Lengeran (to the south of Baku on the shores of the Caspian Sea), and that it was true that Enver had arrived at Kerus. He seemed quite sincere. I realized this truth: the American and Russian officers were not pleased with the sovereignity of the British, especially in the East, and described the general situation to us in glowing terms. From this point I probed the Russian officer’s thoughts and I told him: ‘It is of no importance to us whether the Bolsheviks have come or not, whether Enver has come or not. The nation has made its decision. Turkey shall live independently. These areas, too, belong to the Turks. No one else may reside here.’ The eyes of the Russian colonel sparkled. His speech became more agitated. He aid: ‘What are these British doing here? Our governments are responsible for the mistakes. The sincere agreements between the Russians and the Turks should not have allowed these misfortunes to happen. At least from now on, this must be ensured and these men must be driven away. The British are very much afraid of the Bolsheviks, and they are gathering their soldiers from everywhere to Iran.’

The Russian officers have made statements here and there against the British. Rawlinson was informed, the men could not stay for more than one or two days, they went outside the borders. A few days later, when Rawlinson mentioned this, he grumbled and said, ‘Are these rascals also Bolsheviks? I brought them in order that they might do a useful job; that they find ammunition for the Denikin Army, but they are doing other things. The officers of the Denikin Army are only for show, they are not an army but a herd, the Bolsheviks are better then they are.’ It was stated in the information which arrived from the Beyazit Commander on June 30th, that because the Armenians had occupied the area of Nahjivan, and they wanted the Muslims to hand over their arms, the people had sent men asking what we can do. I had protested to Rawlinson. He had stated that there were no British troops left in the Caucasus, and that there was nothing he could do. I wrote the following coded order to the 11th division command in Van in Beyazit, to which he belonged:

‘The atrocities which the Armenians have begun in the area of Nahjivan are the result of their enraged actions, as they realize these are their last days. Consequently, they will gain time if the intelligent people of Nahjivan mediate and suggest to those Armenians who are reasonable, the point of view regarding the reconciliation of the Armenians and the forces which have come to Shush and Kerusi, and which includes Armenians. This would be very beneficial. However, the principle of any agreement should be not to hand over arms, and not to relinquish strong positions. This has been written to the Commanders of the 11th division and Beyazit. July 1, 1335, Kazim Karbekir.’

The American to whom Kazim Karabekir referred was Robert Dunn. He too, has written his memoirs.[4] The passage concerning the above-mentioned conversation is on p. 311 of his book. It is useful to record a conversation which took place before these two individuals arrived at Erzurum. Robert Dunn gives the account of this conversation on p. 309 of his book:

... Next I was drinking Scotch with British ‘I’ officers in Erzurum, in what had been an American mission school for girls. Now it housed Colonel Toby Rawlinson from Donsterville’s hush-hush army. They put me up and I heard, in Oxford English, more stories of Armenians murdering Turks when the czarist troops fled north. My hosts told me of their duty here: to keep tab on brigands, Turkish troop shifts, hidden arms, spies — Christian, Red or Tartar — coming in from Transcaucasus. Then they spoke of the hell that would break loose if Versailles were to put, as threatened, the six ‘Armenian’ vilayets of Turkey under the control of Erevan.

‘We sit on the edge of a volcano, Dunn,’ said Rawlinson.
‘So you want us to take a mandate over it all,’ I said, ‘as buffer to your Iraq.’
‘America’d never be so mad. I’ve been in America. Your people are too damned level-headed.’
‘If the President’s behind it—’
‘An Armenia without Armenians! Turks under Christian rule?’ His lips smacked in irony under the droopy red moustache. ‘That’s bloodshed — just Smyrna over again on a bigger scale. If you touch that business you’re bigger fools than I’ve ever taken you for.’

There are many interesting passages in Dunn’s book about the atrocities committed in the east by the Armenians. We shall not mention them, remaining loyal to the principle we have started at the beginning of our book.

On 3 June, Karabekir wrote as follows (p. 66):

Today the Information Department of the General Staff reported the following summary of the Istanbul newspapers: an Armenian delegation of twelve members has returned to our city from the Caucasus where they examined the Armenian demands and assertions. The said delegation will submit to the Peace Conference the report it has prepared based on documents whose rejection is unacceptable.

Summary of the report:
1. Because there is no Armenian population left, it is impossible that an important and extensive Government, as conceived by the Armenians, be formed.

2. The lack of money in Armenia is perceptible in that proportion. If there is no financial aid, the Government will not be able to survive for long.

The information we have received from Armenia is the following:
‘On July 5th and 6th, the Armenians attacked the town of Büyük Vadi (a large Turkish village) in the vicinity of Erivan, but retreated when they were defeated. It seems there were 800 dead and 1,200 wounded. The Turks seized much, including two cannons and six machine guns. A secret order given by the general charged with the operation was also obtained. It states that the Muslims will be destroyed and thrown into the Aras river. The Commander of the force which attacked was General Mayor Sholkonikof, who signed the order.’

Following the incident, two British officers came from Erivan. They stated that they would reconcile the Armenians and the Muslims, and that the cannons belonged to the British. They took the cannons and left. The Muslims later realized that these officers were two Armenians wearing British uniforms. The Armenians obtained reinforcements and again surrounded the town. This shows that despite the fact that Armenia, which has no money or population left, and has occupied the three provinces with the guidance of the British, is uncontrollably ambitious. The Armenians who are very much covered with the support of America, England, and France, became almost intoxicated with their own dream of conquering Sivas. It seems that the Armenians who have previously occupied our three provinces with the same trick wish to shake hands in Kizilirmak with the Greeks who have occupied Izmir, and that they dream of making the Kizilirmak flow red with Turkish blood. It seems that the Armenians and Greeks have sworn and are swearing in churches that they will drown the Turk. It seems that the civilized world will celebrate this red day.

The record for 8 July (p. 71):

On 8 July we received some information about the Armenians. Apparently they have begun to pillage and massacre the Muslim villages all along the border. Tonight Rawlinson was in Hasankale. The information was documented. Without any doubt, these attacks by the Armenians occurred with the order of the British. I told him on the telephone that he should immediately go to Sarikamish and see the situation for himself. I wrote to him as follows:

‘To His Excellency Rawlinson, the British Representative,1. Those individuals who have escaped in order to save their lives, have reported that the Armenians have begun to destroy by massacres the Muslim inhabitants of Kaghizman and its vicinity.

2. The Armenians have attacked Kurudere, have killed 5 men and 3 women, and have taken along 33 men, 1 bride, 1 girl, and 440 head of cattle.

3. It is known that on July 4th, they attacked four villages under the jurisdiction of Akchakale between Kars and Oltu, and have killed all the inhabitants of one, and have taken 60 men from each other village, and butchered them. The Armenians who attacked these villages made use of five cannons, and seven machine guns. The Commander of this force was someone named Arshak.

4. In the village of Yüzkush, the Armenians abducted the sister, wife, and daughter of a Muslim.

5. The Armenians are continuing to massacre Muslims in the vicinity of Karakut. I request that this distressing situation, which is occurring outside the border, and which is creating deep effects on the people in general, be stopped, that the responsible ones be punished, and that we are enlightened on this matter. Respectfully, Kazim Karabekir.’

On 26 July, Kazim Karabekir received the following telegram from Rawlinson (p. 85):

To the Commander of the 15th Army Corps.
You are not doing your best. The train is held in Sarikamish guarded by gendarmerie. The field train came to the border with the British guard officers. Your gendarmerie does not allow the passage of the train so it can pick up the cannon parts. The Commander in Ziyon does not assign soldiers to transfer the cannon parts through quarters where the road has been destroyed. Recently the individuals at hand have proved insufficient to clear the road. For this reason, if there is no other prompt means by which they may be transferred, it is my duty to inform the High Commission in Istanbul that the transfer of spare cannon parts they requested is being intentionally delayed by you.

Karabekir Pasha writes as follows concerning this telegram: ‘The Armenians are firing guns at the border. They are screaming “to Sivas”. At a time when everywhere there are attacks on my area, any person other than Rawlinson would realize the foolishness of his acts.’

On 27 July the Ministry of War in Istanbul requested information about the situation. The following correspondence took place (p. 94):

To the office of the Acting Inspector of the 3rd Army.
The General Gendarmerie Command informs us, basing on the communication of the Erzurum Gendarmerie Regiment Commander, that the Armenians in Sarikamish are gathering large forces, weapons, and ammunition, that they will attack with this force from the direction of Chakirbaba-Soghanli, and that they are destroying the Muslims in the area of Kars by seizing and arresting them. I request that I be informed of the situation.

To the Ministry of War.
The Armenians are inflicting all sorts of cruelties on the Muslims in the Caucasus, and are sending forces to quarters which resist them. To achieve this aim, they are sending forces to the areas of Nahjivan, Sherur, and the vicinity of Kaghizman and Oltu, and are constantly following the policy of destroying Muslims. We have been informed that recently approximately five hundred cavalrymen and infantrymen and four cannons have arrived in Sarikamish, as part of the reinforcement troops of the Armenians, that the Armenians are requisitioning from the inhabitants of Sarikamish and its western district military taxes together with carts and vehicles; and it was not assumed that they will engage in any operations against the Muslims in the direction of Oltu. The rumours spread by the Armenians that they will occupy the six provinces and that they will soon go to Sivas, and their activities and operations near the border, are having adverse effects on the people who are uninformed of the general situation and the political conditions, and are spreading all sorts of rumour and increasing existing fears. As long as we possess the arms which we have today, we are in a secure position against any attacks of the Armenians. Kazim Karabekir.

There are successive reports about the attacks made by the Armenian bands in the three provinces outside the truce borders. It is of course impossible to record every one of them. During this time, Kazim Karabekir Pasha was making preparations against any possible attack against the Truce border. He gives an account of the situation on 23 September (p. 284):

I was ready with my four divisions against an attack from any direction. One division (3) was aligned against the Pontic Greeks along the shore in the vicinity of Trabzon; two divisions (9 and 12) were against the Armenians in the valley of Pasinler, and ready against all sides; another division (11) was against the Armenians in the area of Van—Beyazit—Karaköse. My main plan was to attack the Armenians, in the event of the beginning of an attack, and thus eliminate the danger. I am spreading the rumour that my forces have a hundred thousand bayonets. The foreigners who come and go, the British officials, and even Rawlinson believed that I could gather such a force and that the people had this quantity of arms in their possession.

On 24 September the delegation of General Harbord came to Erzurum. On 25 September, Karabekir Pasha submitted a report to Harbord about the situation. The following passage concerns the Armenians (p. 292—304):

The weapons of the army which we had demobilized in Batum were placed in warehouses in Batum, guarded by officers and soldiers. These weapons have all been taken and given to the Armenians, the Greeks, and the Russians. They have confiscated the gasoline, kerosene and fuel oil we had purchased from the Government of Azerbaidjan in Batum, and they have seized the provisions and the railway cars brought by our troops.... After the Ottoman soldiers had retreated from the areas of Kars, Ardahan, and Kaghizman on January 1, 1335 [1919], following the truce, the Muslims, who constituted the great majority of this region, formed a national council in Kars. They began to administer the area. The council administered the said region and maintained public security and order in a praiseworthy way. During the administration of the council no incidents occurred. Peace and order were excellent. When the Ottoman soldiers had retreated, British soldiers arrived in Kars. The British representative accepted and approved the council and was pleased with the administration of the council. The council’s efficiency in maintaining public order was appreciated.

However, after a short period of time, the British occupied the Council in April 1335 with the troops they had brought, and exiled or arrested some of its members. They took control of the administration and one night they brought Armenian soldiers from Gumru to Kars without the knowledge of the Muslims. They increased the Armenian forces with the influence of the British, and handed power over to the Armenians. After the Armenians had settled in this manner in all parts of the region with the support of the British, they began to destroy the Muslims and thus were in a majority. They began to inflict much cruelty and oppression. For this reason tranquility and order in the area disappeared. Every day, the blood of hundreds and thousands of Muslims was shed. The support and protection of the British spoiled the Armenians, and increased the cruelties of the Armenians against the Muslims. The Armenians obtained Sarikamish, Kaghizman, and Ardahan from the British. They settled in this region with the support of the British. On September 5th 1335, a British officer, accompanied by Ahmet Bey, a member of the Kars National Council, and two Armenian officers, as well as eight Armenian gendarmes, visited Eyyup Pasha, the leader of a tribe in the vicinity of Bardiz, offered him the opportunity to surrender to the Armenians and threatened that they would be punished severely, because working against the British Government was a serious crime. Although they made suggestions that they submit to the Armenians, they did not say anything as they listened to the atrocities inflicted by the Armenians. As the Armenians attacked on July 5, 1335 several Muslim villages near Karakurt and engaged in massacres, the Muslims united and put up resistance. On July 7, 1335, a British officer came and ordered that cannon shots be fired on the Muslims (it is possible that this man was an Armenian officer wearing a British uniform). The British representative in Erzurum, Rawlinson, on the basis of the information he received on July 4, 1335 from the Kars representative, that 40,000 Muslim refugees had gathered in the area, and that it was possible for an incident to occur, stated that he was going to go to the area to examine the situation. And he went. As a result, he confirmed that the Armenians had committed atrocities and massacres against the Muslims in Kars, Sarikamish, and Kaghizman. On June 5, 1335, a British lieutenant came from Ighdir to Beyazit, accompanied by an Armenian interpreter, and met with the governor of Beyazit. They communicated that the area of Beyazit was given to the Armenian Government which was formed under the protection of the British Government, they notified that the Conference possessed this communication, that they would be bringing 15,000 Armenians, protected by Armenian soldiers, within one month. On the same day they left for Baku and Iran. The British representative Rawlinson has confessed that this officer wearing a British uniform was in fact an Armenian, and that this offer had no real basis.

Confirmation of these passages we have quoted from Karabekir Pasha’s report may be found on pp. 198—216 of Rawlinson’s book.

On 22 October news was received that the Armenians were preparing to occupy Oltu, and correspondence was found concerning Armenian preparations to unite with the tribes of the region. An Armenian named Hatchador Agha had sent letters to various tribal leaders, Hamit Bey, Ali Merze Bey, Ahmet Hasan Bey, and Yusuf Bey (pp. 344—5).

The following message sent by Mustafa Kemal Pasha to Karabekir Pasha on 22 January 1336 (1920) is important. as it concerns the Malta exiles (p. 426):

Should the British in Istanbul continue to fail to observe the truce, and arrest some persons among the ministers and deputies, particularly Rauf Bey, in retaliation, the British officers present in Anatolia will be arrested. Consequently, I request that measures be adopted to prevent the escape of Rawlinson in Erzurum. Mustafa Kemal.

Istanbul was occupied on 16 March. At that time Rawlinson was in Erzurum. We give below the texts of the order sent by Karabekir Pasha to the Commandant of the Erzurum Fortress, and the message he received from Rawlinson (p. 502):

To the Commandant of the Fortress.
It is possible that the people of Erzurum will become agitated and mistreat Rawlinson, the British representative here, because of events such as the seizure of the Istanbul Government by the British, and their arresting various persons. Consequently it is necessary that the residence of the aforementioned man be protected by soldiers and an officer, that the weapons and arms in his possession and in the possession of his staff are taken and placed temporarily in a suitable place, and that the attention of the said man is called to the fact that this procedure has the aim of protecting his life and honour. Kazim Karabekir.

My Pasha: I express to you my deepest regrets as I have been informed by you of the events. At the same time, my staff and I are at your orders. I regard it as a duty to present my gratitude in the face of your courtesy and your gracious and well thought treatment you have considered in the presence of this sinister situation. I request the acceptance of my feelings, my Pasha. Rawlinson.

Rawlinson was freed in exchange for the Malta exiles.The occupation of Istanbul, and the fact that the Assembly was closed, and the deputies were arrested, necessitated a different strategy. On 16 March, Mustafa Kemal Pasha sent the following telegram to Karabekir Pasha (p. 505): ‘We request, Sir, that we be informed about the time and place of the implementation of the idea which has been discussed for a long time concerning an attack in the East. In the name of the Representative Delegation, Mustafa Kemal.’On 16 March, Kazim Karabekir Pasha replied to the telegram (p. 505):

The situation in Istanbul and the form the Government will take have not been entirely determined. The Bolshevik armies did not arrive in the Caucasus mountains, and no communication has arrived from any front. The Bolsheviks will not be able to bring their fleet into the Caspian Sea via the Volga river before the end of April, and will not be able to begin any operations before that time. Because there is much snow within my area, and especially between Erzurum and Sarikamish, the realization of the serious operation will be quite difficult at the beginning and even before the middle of April. Kazim Karabekir.

Kazim Karabekir Pasha wrote on 22 March (p. 523):

With the occupation of Istanbul, the Armenians have increased their audacity. In the days preceding the occupation, the British were engaged in a world-wide propaganda effort claiming ‘the Armenians are being massacred everywhere’. Taking this as a good pretext, massacres of the Muslims began. I thought it was necessary that I write an official protest to the military commander of the Armenian Republic, and that the Representative Delegation send a letter of protest to the civilized states. I sent their texts to the Representative Delegation. It was considered appropriate and it was done. The letter I wrote to the Armenians:

‘The atrocities and massacres which have been committed for a long time against the Muslim population within the Armenian Republic have been confirmed with very accurate information, and the observations made by Rawlinson, the British representative in Erzurum, have confirmed that these atrocities are being committed by the Armenians. The United States delegation of General Harbord has seen the thousands of refugees who came to take refuge with us, hungry and miserable, their children and wives, their properties destroyed, and the delegation was a witness to the cruelties. Many Muslim villages have been destroyed by the soldiers of Armenian troops armed with cannons and machine guns before the eyes of our troops and the people. When it was hoped that this operation would end, unfortunately since the beginning of February 1336 (1920) the cruelties inflicted on the Muslim population of the region of Shuraghel, Akpazar, Zarshad, and Childir have increased. According to documented information, 28 Muslim villages have been destroyed in the aforementioned region, more than 2,000 people have been killed, many possessions and livestock have been seized, young Muslim women have been taken to Kars and Gumru, hundreds of women and children who were able to flee their villages were beaten and killed in the mountains, and this aggression against the properties, lives, chastity and honour of the Muslims is still continuing.... It is the responsibility of the Armenian Government that the cruelties and massacres be stopped in order to alleviate the tensions of Muslim public opinion due to the atrocities committed by the Armenians, that the possessions taken from the Muslims be returned and that indemnities be paid, that the properties, lives, and honour of the Muslims be protected. At a time when we were most threatened and weak, our Government and nation provided the Armenian nation, like all nations, with the right to exist, and with administrative freedom and self-determination. As you will remember the justice and compassion I showed to the existence of your nation when I was there with my troops during the operation which followed the recovery of Erzurum two years ago, I hope that this expession of my good faith will be received with sincerity. I present my respects. Kazim Karabekir.

On 28 March Kazim Karabekir Pasha sent the following telegram to Mustafa Kemal Pasha (p. 549):

1. The information is documented. The Armenians, who were very much confused during the recent victories which put an end to the survival of the Denikin Army in the Caucasus, have engaged in surprise attacks against the Muslims in the areas of Ordubad, Nahjivan, and Vedibasar since March 19th. These Armenian attacks have been repelled in these three Muslim areas, determined to defend their rights and honour with much courage and sacrifice, and the Armenians suffered many casualties. The Muslims in the area of Vedibasar have defeated the enemy of superior strength who attempted to attack them without any reason, and took as war booty four machine guns and other weapons. Later, they followed the defeated Armenians up to the mountain 7—8 km to the east of the city of Revan, which is the capital of Armenia, and approached the barbed wire on this mountain which the Armenians have fortifled to protect Revan. The Muslim forces which demonstrated their determination as they stayed one night on this mountain and cut the barbed wire with daggers and knives, returned victorious to their area. Kazim Karabekir.

Karabekir Pasha had prepared the operation plan on 26 April. He wrote (p. 624):

My plans against the Armenians. Because the weather was favourable I began to have the troops approach the border since April 26th. It is now possible to begin the operation against the Armenians in two weeks, that is in May. The weather and the terrain are propitious. Only there is a small British force in the area of Batum. But they lack mobility. Because the Georgians are in contact with the Bolsheviks, it is clear that they will be neutral in an operation we mount against the Armenians, if we do not attack them. If Greek troops land on our shores, and join the local Greek population of Trabzon which is already inflamed, they will suffer great material and moral damage. However, it cannot be expected that the Greeks who are engaged in occupations here and there in the west will be able to send significant forces to our eastern shores. But it is possible that detachments belonging to any one of several states will land on Trabzon when the Armenian operation has begun, in order to exert pressure and to have an effect on the morale of the army and the people. For this reason, I will evacuate our shores so as not to encourage them. Should our operation continue within Armenia, if I see any activities against us by the Georgian Army, the Bolsheviks having freed the Georgians, I will have the area of Oltu occupied by the 3rd Regiment, which is the strongest, and its two artillery batteries, and leave for the present the two regiments of the 3rd Detachment which is based in Trabzon, on the shores. I will gather the 9th and 12th divisions in the area of Horasan—Hortum, the border against the area of Sarikamish, I will also gather the regiments of the Army Corps, the Battery, and Cavalry and the regiments of several tribes in this area, and execute the operation with them. In the right wing I will gather the 11th division, which is based in Van, in the area of Beyazit. One detachment of this division will reinforce the local Turkish forces (the detachment of Captain Halil Bey) in the area of Shahtahti—Nahjivan and will threaten the direction of Erevan, and will draw some Armenian forces on themselves. I will gather another detachment which forms the nucleus of the tribal regiments in Karaköse. I will gather the tribal regiments of the areas of Beyazit—Karaköse and the south in Beyazit and Karaköse according to their distance. I will occupy the region up to Aras with the 11th division, and I will also threaten the direction of Erevan, and surprise the Armenians while engaged in fighting the Kars stronghold. This is a summary of my plan according to the most recent situation. With the occupation of Kars, we will recover the area up to our ‘93 [1878] border. The rest will be continued according to the condition of the Bolsheviks and the Georgians. I think that we will be engaged in three important battles, in the mountains of Soghanli, the line of Yeni Selim, and Kars, based on our experience of the past year and the nature of the terrain. Despite the fact that among these, Kars is the most important, because its barbed wire and fortifications are numerous and quite strong, I have great hopes that we will take Kars with manoeuvres against the Armenian army which we will weaken before then. To attack the Kars fortress would be the greatest error. As we have many mobile tribal regiments, I am convinced that we can destroy the Armenians by surprising them, by attacking between Kars and Armenia, and having my entire forces attack from east and north-east of Kars. Of course what will determine the final outcome of the Kars battle will be the Armenians’ activities. The battle of Kars will constitute the second stage of the Armenian war, and its last stage will be the battle to the east of Gumru. This is the stage shown by my experience of the past year.

Karabekir Pasha, in the telegram he sent on the same day, 26 April, to Mustafa Kemal, stated this situation and requested instructions:

The concentration of the Army Corps has begun. It is expected that it will be completed in two weeks. Our food supplies will not enable us to stay longer after the completion of the concentration.... I request permission again that military instructions be sent immediately. If it is considered inconvenient for the decision to be made by the National Assembly at such short notice, or if the National Assembly is unable at this time to take such a decision, I request that we have freedom of operation in order not to lose this last opportunity.

On 28 April he received the following answer (p. 627):

The message dated April 26, 1336 has been received. The copy of the instructions you have requested has been presented on April 26, 1336 after modification. We request that the situation be maintained. It is certain, Sir, that in any case the decision about the border operation will be communicated from here. M. Kemal.

The reason why the order to begin the operation was not given is found in this telegram to Karabekir Pasha, dated 10 May:

1. The point of view of the National Assembly is that a military operation outside the borders must not begin before contact has been made with the Bolsheviks and before a concrete agreement has been reached. For this reason, as has been communicated before, it is necessary that the operation is postponed until an agreement.

2. Bekir Sami Bey and Yusuf Kemal Bey will leave Ankara tomorrow in the direction of Erzurum. I request that the soldiers who will join them there are summoned. The president of the Grand National Assembly. Mustafa Kemal.

The opinions of the Army Corps Intelligence and Karabekir Pasha were stated in the circular sent to the units on 26 May (p. 750):

1. Wounded Georgian soldiers are constantly arriving at Poti. Bolshevik activities have considerably increased in the areas of Poti, Sohumkale, and Camciri. The Greeks are continuing to escape in motor boats.

2. An Armenian detachment formed of infantrymen, cannons, and machine guns, which wanted 3 million manat [local money] and 200 horses from the village of Chakmak to the northwest of Kars, has demolished the village, and has pillaged the properties and possessions of the inhabitants.

3. The Armenians demanded ninety thousand manat as ransom from twentyseven Muslim villages in total in the region of Yukari Kotanli, A?agi Kotanli, Oluklu, Kemerli, Tuzluca, Bocuklu, Subhanazat, Kars, Ighdir, Cavlak, Pasli, Karacayir, and said that if they did not give in, they would meet the same fate as the village of Chakmak.

4. The Muslims who are being oppressed by the cruelties of the Armenians are constantly asking our border commanders with the Malakan villages for help. They tell of the attacks and atrocities of the Armenians, which have increased considerably in recent times, and plead that their lives and honour be protected. It has been confirmed that they are making preparations to murder all the Muslims outside the border, and to pillage their properties. Kazim Karabekir.

After this date extensive correspondence took place concerning the beginning of the operation. It appears that Ankara did not consider it suitable to invade the borders of Brest—Litovsk again before making contact with the Russians. With this aim, the delegation of Bekir Sami Bey went to Moscow.

Finally, on 6 June, the following instructions for Karabekir Pasha arrived from Ankara (p. 727):

The suggestion dated June 4, 1336 of the Commander of the 15th Army Corps concerning the advance of the troops to invade the Soghanli passes in order to improve our defensive position, has been examined and approved by the Council of Ministers. Because the right to occupy the three provinces has been given by the Grand National Assembly to the Executive Committee, the Council of Ministers has decided that the suggestion be implemented, based on this authority. The necessary documents for the administration and announcement of the political aspect of the decision will be communicated to your Excellency. It is requested that until then no political attempt be made, and that we are informed as to when this operation may begin. Mustafa Kemal.

The following is Karabekir Pasha’s reply dated 7 June (p. 728):

I gave the order to mobilize the 305th through the 316th detachments of conscripts in order to double the forces available for the military operation. This mobilization will not affect all areas of the Army Corps, and is restricted to the areas of the provinces of Erzurum, Van, and the sub-district of Erzincan. On June 12th the rest of the headquarters will be transferred to the hills of Horum. I am having explorations made. It is requested that the operation begin according to the situation, not before the 16th of June. Kazim Karabekir.

As Karabekir Pasha was about to begin the operation, the operation was postponed by instructions that he received on the night of 22 June.

On 27 June, the Armenians attacked Tuzca near Oltu, but retreated because these areas were held by troops. On 30 June the Armenians fired cannons at Oltu. On 1 July there was an Armenian attack in the region of Bardiz; eight private soldiers died. On 8 July the Armenians organized two attacks on Dughun Tepe.

The Armenians developed their operations in the region of Nahjivan. On 22 and 23 July they attacked the area of Kaghizman, and on 9 September they began to invade the area of Kulp.

Finally, on 20 September 1920 Karabekir Pasha was given permission to begin the operation. He instructed the troops with an order dated 26 September 1920 that the operation would begin on 28 September 1920 at 3 a. m.

The matters we have recorded here in detail, which can be considered as unnecessary, were aimed at emphasizing one point: the Armenians often spread rumours that the Turks had in fact attacked them in the east throughout the two-year period from the time the truce was signed until 28 September 1920, when the actual offensive began. We can find a typical example of this in the French Archives. Aharonian, who went to Paris for the Peace Conference, stated in a letter dated 11 September 1919 which he sent to Clemenceau, the French Prime Minister, that:

The regular troops of Mustapha Kemal Pasha, the Turco-Tartar bands and the Kurdish hordes have begun to surround the Armenian Republic.

Our troops were forced to abandon the province of Nahjivan, after a fierce battle, because of a lack of ammunition, and retreat before the enemy forces which are numerically far superior.

Two divisions of Mustapha Kemal Pasha are attacking Sarikamish and Kaghizman....

In the presence of the advancing Turkish troops, the Armenian population of the Kars area and the Armenian refugees are escaping towards Erevan.

The occupation of this district by the Turks is imminent.

The letter ended with a request for intervention.

How can one reply to such a flagrant lie?
As can be seen, Karabekir Pasha did not find it appropriate to engage in an operation before the middle of April 1920, and waited until 28 September because he did not receive the order before then, and the Turkish soldiers did not attack the truce border. On the other hand, the Armenians created many sad incidents on the other side of the border.

We can now summarize developments after the beginning of the operation.
On the morning of 29 September, Sarikamish was recovered; in the evening Chalak, Divrik and the Bezirgan Pass were recovered. Merdinik was taken on 30 September. On 1 October Kaghizman was taken.

On 13 October the Armenians began their counter-offensive. They were driven away. Bashkaya and the outer localities were taken.

On 24 October, Karabekir Pasha announced the order to attack Kars. On 27 October the offensive began. The hills of Yahniler and the hill of Vezirköy—Üçler were taken. On 30 October, the day when the offensive against the Kars fortress was begun, the fortress and the city were recovered. Karabekir Pasha recorded the number of individuals who were captured on that day (p. 841):

The number of prisoners who were gathered in the station in my headquarters until the evening included: 3 generals, 6 colonels, 12 majors, 16 captains, 59 lieutenants, 16 civilian officials, 12 officers, 4 cadets. The number of captured soldiers was 1,150. The number of confirmed Armenian casualties was 1,100. There were 337 cannons, 339 cannons which needed repair, an abundant number of machine guns, all kinds of bullets and other war equipment, projectors, etc. Among the prisoners were Vekilof, the President of the General Staff, Aratof, the Minister of War, Primof, the commander of the Kars fortress, and a civilian minister.

The offensive I organized, using counter front strategy, gave us a great victory, and resulted in the defeat of an important part of the enemy army, and in return for taking a modern fortress we had few casualties: 9 dead and 47 wounded.

In my order to attack Kars, I had stated that ‘The aim of the offensive operation is to destroy the Armenian army within Kars and by pursuing them after Kars.’ As a matter of fact, my soldiers had showed that the Turkish Army was far superior in force to the most civilized armies, and more humane. Despite the fact that they attacked like lions such a modern fortress as Kars, they did not commit even the smallest cruelty against the Armenian inhabitants. This was witnessed also by the American delegation there and stated in the telegram they sent to Admiral Bristol on 31 October: ‘All the Americans in Kars are well and the Turkish Army gives us excellent protection and all consideration. We have permission as before to continue our organisation. The Turkish soldiers are well disciplined and there have been no massacres. Edward Fox, District Commander, Near East Relief. Kars.’

On 3 November the Gumru operation was begun. On 6 November the Armenians requested a truce. They were notified that their request would be accepted if they relinquished Gumru. On 7 November Gumru surrendered. On 8 November the terms of truce were communicated from Ankara to Karabekir Pasha, as follows:

1. The delimitation of the Turkish—Armenian border will be a simple matter of statistics and general vote. All inhabitants of the disputed areas will be invited to determine their own political destiny according to the principles announced by the Bolsheviks and by President Wilson, which stipulated that nations should determine their own destiny. This population will vote in full freedom for their right to form an independent government or to be subject to one government. We agree that the gendarmes of various governments shall be employed until the completion of the voting in disputed areas in order to ensure that the votes are given in absolute freedom. Of course the collection of the votes must be done as soon as possible. The Ankara Government is convinced that this solution is just, that it is in the interests of humanity and consequently conforms to the interests of the Turkish and Armenian groups and of the people who reside in the disputed areas. Unfortunately we are afraid that the Erevan Government refuses this solution in order to present a good image to the Western imperialist and especially to England. This situation will be in contradiction to the political principle applied by their western protectors to the people of Asia and Africa.

2. Turkey engages itself to take all steps within its power in order to provide the secure development and the complete independence of its neighbouring community. Within our powers, we shall help Armenia and the establishment of the economy of that country.

3. The Governments of both sides agree that they will not prevent the passage in absolute freedom of persons and possessions belonging to the other side, using their roads, and will in no way prevent transfer between any country or population centre of the other side.

4. Turkey is engaged to ensure that the Armenians who left their lands during the World War may return and resettle in their original places of residence, and that these people shall enjoy the same rights as minorities in the most civilized countries.

5. Turkey demands that Armenia give a guarantee for its security.
Our delegates expect the Armenian delegates authorized to take part in and sign the peace negotiations in Gumru.

6. The Commander-in-Chief of our eastern front will communicate to you the terms of truce which will end hostilities during the peace negotiations.

The Armenians announced on 10 November that they refused the armistice terms. On 11 November the operation began again. On 15 November, the Armenians were defeated in Shahtahti, and once again requested an armistice. A cease-fire was declared on 18 November, and on 25 November peace negotiations began in Gumru. Hatissian presided over the Armenian delegation. The Gumru Agreement was signed on 30 November.

Later, the regions which the Georgian had occupied after the Mundros Treaty were recovered. Ardakhan was taken on 23 February, Ahiska on 9 March, Batum on 11 March and Ahilkelek on 14 March.

On 16 March 1921 the Moscow Agreement was made with the Russians in Moscow. The first article of the Moscow Treaty determined the Turkish— Russian border. We give below the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 15th articles.

Article 1. Each of the contracting parties accepts as a principle not to recognize any peace treaty or any international contract which may be forced on the other party. The Federated Soviet Republics of Russia recognize by the term ‘Turkey’ all the areas which were announced on January 28th 1336 [1920] by the deputies of the Istanbul Assembly [National Pact] and which has been communicated to all the Governments and to the Press. Turkey is represented by the Grand National Assembly.... [Then the border line is designated as the present-day border.]

Article 2. Turkey agrees to relinquish to Georgia the right to rule over the city and harbour of Batum and the area which is to the north of the border set forth in the First Article of this Treaty, and which is part of the kaza of Batum, with the conditions set below....

Article 3. Both sides... agree that the area of Nahjivan constitutes a sovereign region under the protection of Azerbaijan, on condition that Azerbaijan does not relinquish this protection to a third state.

Article 15. Russia engages itself to ensure that the Caucasus Republics accept the articles which concern them in this Turkish—Russian Agreement, and in the agreements to be made between Turkey and these said Republics.

The Moscow Agreement was approved by the Grand National Assembly on 27 March. The certificates of this agreement, which was also approved by the Russians, were exchanged in Kars on 22 September 1921.

On 26 September the Kars Conference began, concerning the agreements to be made with the Caucasus Republics. The chief delegates were:

Ganetzki (Russian Soviet), Behhud Shahtahtinski (Azerbaijan), Ilyava and Shvanidze (Georgia), Muravian and Makinzian (Armenia).

We wish to record the speech made by Muravian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, when the Conference began (p.943):

The Republics of the Caucasus have entrusted me with the responsibility of submitting to you the feelings shared by our population and us, delegates, on the occasion of the first Conference in Kars between the delegates of the Government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the delegates of the sister Soviet Republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia of Transcaucasus.

We have not come here with antagonistic feelings, and we have no intention of presenting here the controversial issues which have been rejected because they created arguments, and which we have inherited from the former nationalist governments. No, now we are not concerned with these matters, and feelings of antagonism. We are only admirers of the brave struggle which the persevering people of Turkey engaged in. We carry a sincere wish, and we are absolutely convinced that a nation which defends its country will be victorious and the enemy will be defeated.

We are certain that this conference will strengthen the feelings of friendship of the Republics of the Caucasus in regard to Turkey, and that Turkey will learn that there are no enemies behind her, and that her neighbours are inclined to her in the struggle she engaged in against the imperialism which wanted to destroy the aspirations of the Turkish nation.

Honourable delegates! We have not come to this conference as victorious, or as vanquished. We have come to you, who are the representatives of a nation which has defeated Imperialism, and we are happy to give you the good news that our country will come victorious out of the struggle.

Great Russia was able to defeat her enemies, because the workers and the peasants who are interested in protecting the victories of the great November Revolution rose with great zeal in order to defend Russia. We are absolutely convinced that the revolutionary combat of the Russian nation constitutes a great example to the Turkish nation who will be able to defeat the paid mercenaries of the Allied Powers which fight now on Anatolian lands to serve their own interests and in order to destroy the Turkish nation.

The nations of the Caucasus are certain that this conference will prepare a solid foundation for friendship and sisterhood with the Turkish nation, and will be able to settle easily the disputed matters which are easily settled between the Soviet Republics. The Delegates of the three Soviet Republics who have deep and noble feelings for the Turkish nation salute the Conference.

The treaty negotiations ended on 10 October. The agreement was signed on 13 October at 2p.m. The 1st, 2nd, 4th (only the first paragraph), 5th, 6th (only the first sentence), and 15th articles of this agreement were:

1. The Government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the Governments of the Socialist Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia have annulled the agreements which were concluded between the governments which previously exercised their right of sovereignty in the area of the governments of the agreement, and which concerned the said area, and the agreements which were concluded with the three states concerning the Trans-Caucasian Republics. It is clear that the Turkish—Russian agreement which was concluded in Moscow on March 16, 1337—1921, is an exception to the content of this article.

2. Each of the signatory governments accepts the fact that they will not recognize any peace agreement or international contract which is forced upon the other. In accordance with this agreement, the Soviet Socialist Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia accept that they will not recognize any international contract which the National Turkish Government represented by the Grand National Assembly does not recognize.

3. The Government of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey accepts that it will not recognize any international contract which conerns Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia but which is not recognized by the Governments of the countries represented by the Councils of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

4. The border of North-Eastern Turkey is the border (according to the 1:210,000 verst scale map of the Russian War Staff) which begins in the village of Sarp on the shores of the Black Sea, which goes through the mountain of Hedismena and Shavshat mountains and the waters of Kanlidagh, and which continues until the former northern border of the sanjaks of Kars and Ardahan, and until the estuary of the rivers of Nijni Karasu Ashagi Karasu and Arpachay, and which follows the thalweg of the river of Aras.

5. The Governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan agree that the area of Nahjivan is an autonomous area, defined by enclosure No. 3 appended to this agreement, and protected by Azerbaijan.

6. With the conditions stated below, Turkey agrees to relinquish to Georgia the harbour and city of Batum, and the area which is to the north of the border which is set forth in the fourth article of this agreement, and the rest of the kaza of Batum.

15. The Governments signatory to the agreement are engaged in declaring a general amnesty restricted to the citizens of the other side about the murders and atrocities committed as part of the war in the Caucasian front, following the signing of this agreement.

The eastern front was thus eliminated.Kachaznuni reports as follows about the conclusion of this front.

The Turkish—Armenian war began at the beginning of autumn and ruined us totally. Probably it was impossible for us to escape this war. In 1918 Turkey was left alone for a period of two years. Measures which would take into consideration the fact of its defeat, and which would introduce new systems, were not taken. During these two years the Turks had been relieved. Their wounds had healed. Young, patriotic, enterprising officers appeared, and began to reorganize the Army in Anatolia.... Something cannot be refuted, that is we did not make any effort to avoid the war. There was a simple and inexcusable reason for this. We had no idea of the strength of the Turks, and we were too sure of our own strength. This was the main error. We were too sure of our own strength. This was the main error. We were not afraid of the war, because we were sure that we would win. Just as we had no idea of the strength of the Turks with the insensitivity peculiar to ignorant and inexperienced people, no preventive measures had been taken at the border. On the contrary we invaded Oltu, as if we were engaging in a duel. It was as if we wanted war. When confrontations at the border began, the Turks offered peace negotiations. We refused in a haughty manner. This proved to be a great error. The reason was not only that we were sure of our victory, but the fact that it was impossible for us to be reconciled. It might not have been realized, but it was not impossible. In spite of everything, we did have an opportunity to agree with the Turks.... We did nothing to avoid the war, on the contrary we gave a reason for the war. The fact that we had been unable to estimate Turkish strength and that we did not have a clear idea of our own strength were inexcusable errors. Our army. which was well clad, well fed and well armed, did not fight, it retreated constantly, it left its fortifications, it abandoned its arms, and scattered to villages.... When Karabekir Pasha arrived at Alexandropolis in the second half of November, the Bureau-Government submitted its resignation to Parliament. It had been defeated and humiliated, it could no longer stay in power. The peace negotiations would begin, and it was preferable that these negotiations be made by new individuals. After a short period of indecision, it was decided that a government should be formed with the social revolutionaries and the Dashnaks, under the leadership of U. Vrassian.... The Turks had occupied Alexandropolis. At the same time the Armenian Bolsheviks entered Ichevan and Telijan in the direction of Aghistaf led by the Red Army. Was there an agreement between the Turks and the Bolsheviks? At the beginning we believed such a possibility. But now I think that we were wrong, because no evidence to this effect has been found. It was probable that the Bolsheviks wanted to destroy our army from within, and an agreement with the Turks was not necessary for this.... On December 1st or on November 30th, our representatives signed an agreement with the Turks in Alexandropolis. The articles of this agreement were as harsh as in Batum. Again on December 1st, the Vrassian Government resigned and transferred power to the Bolsheviks.[6]

Because the events which occurred in the Republic of Armenia are outside our topic of discussion, we shall not report them.



3 The southern front

The Mundros Truce stipulated a withdrawal in the east of Turkey behind the pre-war borders. However, in the south it did not give the victorious powers the right to occupy areas to the north of the armistice line. It only stipulated the occupation of the Taurus tunnels, with article 10.

The fifth article of the Truce stated that ‘The troops which are in Hejaz, Assyria, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq will surrender to the nearest Allied Commander, and parts of the forces in Cilicia, which are more than the required amount for the maintenance of order, will be discharged.’

Mustafa Kemal Pasha, in the second article of a telegram dated 3 November 1918 which he sent to the Commander-in-Chief, stated that ‘While we recognize as the border of Syria, the north of the border of the province of Syria, it is necessary that we are informed if there is another point of view. There are no troops we have left in Syria, and with which we have contact. We have a campaign force in Hejaz. But we do not even have radio contact with it. Despite the fact that the region of Cilicia contains an important part of the province of Adana, its borders are unknown. It is necessary for this, too, to be specified.’

In the answer of the Commander-in-Chief dated 5 November 1918, it was stated that the border of Cilicia would be announced should it prove necessary.

The answer of Mustafa Kemal Pasha of the same date is a very clear example of far-sightedness:

... My humble intention in asking about the border of Cilicia was to explain that in the British map which officially recognized its border, Syria lies to the east of the region of Cilicia, while its northern border passes through the north of Marash, because there is no doubt that the British Government, which puts the name Cilicia instead of Adana, considers that the Syrian border extends to the east of the northern part of the Cilicia border.... For a few days the British have been talking about landing soldiers at Iskenderun, because in the map which shows the area of Cilicia, Iskenderun is on the borders of Syria and Cilicia. The aim is to invade Iskenderun, and to cut the line of retreat of the 7th Army which is on the Antakya—Diricemal—Ahterin line, by moving on the Iskenderun—Kirikhan— Katma line, and to put this army in a position which would not enable it to refrain from surrendering, just as was done in Mussul. The fact that the British have incited Armenian bands to act today in Islahiye strengthens this opinion.... I ordered that the British, who may attempt to send soldiers with whatever reason and pretext to Iskenderun, are opposed with fire, that the equipment of a very weak advance outpost be left to the 7th Army, and that it draw the main part within the Cilicia border in the direction of Katma—Islahiye.

The answer sent by the General Staff, again on 5 November, stated:
‘Although the Armistice provisions do not give the British the right and authority to invade Iskenderun.... the fact that they wish to use the harbour of Iskenderun is a justifiable request....‘

Thus the British were granted the right to land on Iskenderun.

After this, the French and the British did not pay any attention to the Armistice conditions, and began to occupy the south.
On 11 December 1918, a French battalion formed of 400 Armenians entered Dörtyol.... ‘On December 17, 1918 a French unit led by Lieutenant Colonel Romieu landed in Mersin. In the 1,500-man unit there were only 150 French soldiers. The others were Armenian legions. On December 18, 1918 General Hamlin, the Commander of the French Occupation Army of Syria, entered Adana in great pomp.’[7]

The British occupied Antep on 1 January, Marash on 22 February, and Urfa on 24 March. These areas were actually areas which had been given to the French through secret agreements. Because of this, serious disputes arose with the French, and finally an agreement was reached and these provinces were given to the French on 15 September 1919. We shall not dwell on the British—French disagreements. The interested reader may refer to the books mentioned in the previous chapter by Lloyd George and Evans.

Let us summarize how and for what reasons the southern front appeared from the work of Kasim Ener, who has written the history of this front (pp. 30—40):

The Turkish people were left face to face with the Armenians under the administration of an administrator without any influence, because the Ottoman Government had not sent someone to replace the governor Nazim Bey, who had resigned. However, General Hamlin, too, was worried about the situation of the legions and the revolutionaries, because the French soldiers, who were numerically few, had succumbed to luxury. Armed confrontations occurred first in Iskenderun, then in Belen, because of the Armenians’ exuberances and their harmful activities. The Armenian detachments who were on leave were attacked by the Turks in Ozerli on January 1, 1919. The Armenians began to kill any Muslims they could lay their hands on, to avenge those who were killed. On January 10, 1919 they attacked the farm of Abdo Agha near Kahyao?lu (Shehitlik). They killed Abdo Agha and 14 of the workers. During the confusion, one of the workers hid inside an oven, and escaped death. The next day he came to the city and told of the atrocity. A few Armenian soldiers were arrested, but were later freed. On February 10, 1919 the Armenians pillaged the Turks’ shops. On February 25, the house of a money-changer named Vanli Ahmet Efendi in the Saracan quarter was pillaged during the night by his neighbour Agop and Kamvorlar. The poor man’s body was full of bayonet wounds. The Muslims were agitated. Suphi Pasha, the former deputy of Adana, went to the Government, and was promised that the aggressors would be punished. Although Agop and his companions were jailed, they were pardoned as it was claimed that they were innocent. On March 14, 1919 Dellal Ahmet was found dead in his house in the orchards. Of course the assailants were not found. Similar incidents occurred in our other bujaks, counties and villages. Facing this situation, the Turks began a guerilla war beginning from the area of Kirikhan-Kilis, following the cities which began to implement defensive measures. Upon this, Commander-in-Chief General Allenby divided the areas under French occupation in two. He gave the civilian administration to the French, and the military control to the British. He appointed Colonel Bremond as the governor-general of the Northern area, its centre being Adana.... The attitude of Bremond, who told the Armenians that he brought the greetings of Bogos Nubar Pasha, encouraged the revoluntionaries further.... According to Allenby’s instructions, the officials who were appointed would have to be approved by the British general headquarters. For military aid, one would refer to the Cilicia occupation command. But Bremond went even further and:

1. He appointed officers who were not on the permanent staff to the gendarmerie, he confiscated the depots.
2. He dismissed the Turkish teachers, officials whom he considered patriotic.
3. He changed the uniform of the police and the gendarmerie. The crescent on the caps was removed.
4. Teaching of the German language was forbidden in schools. The command language was changed to French.
5. He forced travellers to obtain a travel document, and to pay for their train tickets with silver and gold coins.
6. He had the Cilician seal put on the Ottoman postage stamps.
7. He subjected letters and telegrams to severe censorship.
8. He transferred the sentences given by the Adana courts to the court of appeal in Beirut.
9. He forced the Turkish people to obey his orders. He severely fined those who did not.
10. He gave all the contract rights to the French. In this manner he tried to enrich even the lowest-ranking French officers through official and private means. The Armenians who were encouraged by Bremond’s attitude increased their pillages and aggressions....

On February 15—18, 1919, 3 infantry regiments, 1 Indian cavalry regiment, and 1 British regiment arrived led by the British General W. S. Leslie, and fears were dissipated. On February 19, 1919 the war committee met and decided that part of the Armenian legions should be discharged. In return, General Leslie, in response to Bremond’s insistence, had Hashim Bey, the Gendarmerie Commander, arrested with the approval of Marshal Allenby, in his office on March 3, 1919. Hashim Bey was sent to Egypt.... Captain Luppe was appointed as the gendarmerie inspector. Armenians were brought in to replace the Turkish gendarmes. On March 8, 1919 Captain Taillardat and First Lieutenant Suby were sent to Kozan, and Captain Arrikhi was sent to Ceyhan. They were followed by the forces of occupation. The Armenian refugees were encouraged by this, and began to torture the Muslims of that area. They shot Yunus Hoca in Ceyhan, as he was reciting the ezan [call to prayer]. On April 28, 1919, Bremond announced this communication: ‘Within the next 24 hours, everybody will surrender their weapons to the Government. At the end of this deadline, all the houses will be searched, and if we find any arms, the owner will be hanged.’

A day after the announcement was published, the houses were searched. Sherif the quilt-maker, Mustafa the police-man, and Imam Ziya were beaten because meat knives were found in their houses.... During those summer months the Turks were able to go to their orchards and summer camping grounds, thanks to the Muslim Indian soldiers, but then the scene changed.... During the discussion which took place in London, it was decided that French soldiers should replace the British. As a result, two infantry battalions arrived in Adana on July 13, 1919 led by First Lieutenant Thibault. Other French troops landed in Iskenderun. Thus the French forces had settled in Cilicia, the command of Colonel Piepape was established, and trust began to disappear again, because many soldiers of these two infanty battalions were Armenians wearing French uniform.... Marshal Foch reserved the 156th division led by General Dufleux for Cilicia, in accordance with the agreement of September 15, 1919. Major Hassler was the Chief-of-Staff of the division....

When the British forces left Chukurova, the French had three infantry battalions and two cavalry detachments there. The situation was critical for the French administrators, owing to the fact that they had few forces. Their situation was improved when the Algerian soldiers led by General Dufleux arrived in Adana on November 1, 1919. They were followed by the Senegalese regiment. Thus the Eastern First Division led by General Dufleux was modernized in regard to weapons and equipment. The headquarters, the band company of this division, its 21st and 22nd regiments, its cannon regiments, its heavy cannon battalions, and its fortification battalions were in Adana. Moreover, the headquarters of the 7th cavalry regiment, and the cavalry, tank, and aeroplane detachments were also there. They had also armed the legions as well as the civilian Armenians.

After having ensured absolute security in the centre, the French began to organize their activities. Colonel Piepape was entrusted with replacing the British units in Urfa, Antep, and Marash.

General Gouraud, who was appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Near East, came to Adana on December 11. 1919. When he was passing through the Turkish quarters, he asked ‘Doesn’t anybody live here?’ as he saw that everything was closed. Bremond then replied, ‘My General, the Turks live in these quarters, but they do not leave their houses as they are wild in comparison with the Christians.’ The shrewd general realized the situation when he saw that the students refused to applaud for him when he visited the Boys’ High School, and they refused to sing the French national anthem in spite of pressure to do so, and at that time he understood that the situation in Chukurova was a hopeless one for them.... On November 12, 1919 General Gouraud concluded his inspection and left Adana, and, as Du Veou stated in his work La Passion de la Cilicie, ‘he left Bremond alone with the hundred thousand Armenians he had settled in Chukurova’. Again Du Veou informs us that of these Armenians, 70,000 had been settled in Adana and in its villages, 12,000 in Dörtyol, 8,000 in Saimbeyli, and the rest in Osmaniye, Kadirli, and Kozan. Moreover, 50,000 Armenians were brought in from Istanbul and Anatolia to Antep, Marash, and Zeitun.

Before we give any information about the strength of the southern front, it is necessary to look at the French documents.
G. Picot, the French High Commissioner who was in Cairo at that time, sent the following telegram to his Ministry on 19 November 1918: ‘The commander-in-chief to whom I insisted, on the instructions of Your Excellency, that the Armenians be entrusted with ensuring the occupation of the Taurus passages, assures me that his intention was to send them to this area as soon as possible. The measure seems to me very urgent as they have recently provoked most unfortunate incidents in Beirut.’[8]

The following note submitted by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs to his Prime Minister on 19 November 1918 is also significant.

... I consider, like you, that there is good reason to anticipate that the Armenian forces which are at the present time in Persia will be gathered in Armenia, or more exactly in the three Turkish provinces of Bitlis, Van, and Erzurum. However, one must take into account the fact that among the Armenian volunteers who are under Andranik’s command a large part are originally from little Armenia, that is from the northern districts of Cilicia. As this region is within the French sphere of influence according to our agreement with Great Britain, it would be advantageous if the volunteers who are from Cilicia can be sent to Antep and incorporated in the Armenian battalions of the Eastern Legion.

There is good reason for these contingents to be officered by energetic European officers, in order to prevent the hatred which has accumulated by their sufferings driving the Armenian volunteers to make reprisals. If they feel that they are under surveillance, it is probable that they will behave as civilized men.

It is not possible to determine as of now the boundaries of an Armenian nation. Even before the massacres of 1895, the Armenians were not in a majority in the so-called Armenian provinces. In the provinces of Bitlis and Van, they formed compact communities, but the statistics, which were not based on any serious census, varied from the real numbers to double the actual total, in accordance with the inclinations of their authors. In the three other provinces of Diyarbekir, Elaziz, and Trabzon, the Armenian population was much less dense, and constituted only a meagre percentage of the population.

We can therefore conceive of the unification of the provinces of Van, Bitlis, Erzurum and Trabzon, with the districts separated from Elaziz, and Diyarbekir, and maybe also the district of the Russian Transcaucasus around Mount Ararat, in order to found a state of mixed nationalities, which would enjoy autonomy under the guarantee and supervision of the Allies....

As the region of Ottoman Turkey, which has fallen under French influence, will extend up to the borders of this heterogeneous state, it would be natural that France should receive the mandate from the Allied Powers to ensure the maintenance of order and good relations. The French possessions would then border the petroliferous regions of the Caspian Sea, where French capital has already been invested, and Persia, in order to attain the districts of the Transcaucasus and profit from their diverse resources.[9]

As can been seen, the French did not conceive of establishing an Armenia in Cilicia, but were planning to border with an Armenia which would be established in the east (that is in regions which were once relinquished to Russia), and to exert their influence in that area. In 1920, when the Armenians claimed that they were promised an Armenia in Cilicia, referring to Bogos Nubar Pasha, the French openly accused Bogos Nubar of lying. Let us look at the following letter sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the President of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the French Senate on 28 December 1920:

... You have asked me whether in 1916, or since that date, the French Government had engaged itself in regard to Armenia, to constitute an autonomous Cilicia.

... I have the honour of informing you that no engagement of this nature ever took place.

... Bogos Pasha claims that M. Geroges Picot assured him in London that France had engaged herself to give, after the victory of the Allies, autonomy to Cilicia under her protection.

This so called engagement was apparently the counterpart of the recruiting of the Armenian legion, which had been formed at the suggestion of M. Georges Picot, to help to drive the Turks from Cilicia.

To strengthen his claim, Bogos Pasha cites a telegram he sent to his son in Cairo, through the mediation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to take the necessary measure for the establishment of the Armenian legion. He adds that Commander Romieu, charged with this formation, confirmed to the Armenian notables the agreement reached in London, and read them a letter written by M. Briand, who was then the President of the Council, in which he declared that he was in agreement with the national Armenian delegation.

M. Georges Picot has never informed the Ministry of the discussion he had with Bogos Pasha in London. As a matter of fact, he had no authority which would permit him to engage the French Government.

The telegram sent by Bogos Pasha to his son only states ‘the official assurance that the national aspirations of the Armenians be satisfied when the Allies are victorious’. The department would not have sent this telegram if it had concerned Cilicia. Cilicia was not mentioned in this telegram. The sentence which is quoted could only refer to the establishment of an Armenian state within the limits determined by the Powers. This is exactly what was done by the Treaty of Sevres.

There is no evidence in the Archives of the Foreign Affairs indicating that M. Briand wrote a letter to Commander Romieu.
There is no document of any kind which confirms the claim made by Bogos Nubar Pasha that M. Georges Picot assured him that ‘France would create an autonomous Armenia, after she conquers Cilicia, within the limits of the 1916 agreement’.[10]

This letter continues by proving that Bogos Nubar Pasha made unfounded claims. We have included this letter here, in order to indicate to what extent Bogos Nubar Pasha, who took upon himself the right to speak on behalf of Armenia, can be trusted.
Let us now continue our topic of discussion. High commissioner Picot, in a telegram he send on 26 December 1918, stated that ‘The best way for us in order to found our influence among the Armenians on solid grounds, is to form the nucleus of their army under our flag.[11]

Picot ended his telegram dated 30 January 1919 with the following statement: ‘As to the indiscipline of the Armenians, it is nearly impossible to remedy.[12]

The report dated 27 June 1919 sent by General Hamlin to the Ministry of War is even more interesting. This report concerns nineteen non-commissioned officers, corporals, and privates, belonging to the Armenian legion, who were sent to the military court because of their undisciplined behaviour. General Hamlin wrote:

Two death sentences have been announced. The execution of the decision has been postponed, because the two convicts submitted a petition for appeal and a petition for pardon.

But it seems to me necessary to point out to you once again on this occasion, the inauspicious action exerted by the Armenian committees on the legionaries who are serving under our flag.

The report of the Commissioner Reporter mentions this action, of which my information service was already informed.

My telegrams of 166/G dated February 3rd, and 378/G dated March 10th, pointed out to you the difficulties which the Armenian committees had created for me.

On April 13th in 514/G I informed you that Armenian indiscipline in Cilicia was partly caused by provocation by the Committee of the National Armenian Union, and also by letters sent from Egypt.

This state of affairs had driven me to lay the matter before the British General Headquarters, which had intervened to the Armenian committee in Egypt, in order to put an end to this situation.

Since then the Commander of the 1st battalion of the Armenian legion wrote on May 1st that M. Epremian, the delegate of the Committee in Cairo, had visited his unit. Further, very recently, on May 29th, the colonel, commander of the French troops in Cilicia, sent me a copy of a telegram sent by the committee in Paris, signed by ‘Nubar’ to Epremian. In the telegram information was requested about ‘the legionaries who were freed’; this showed that the mission of the delegate of Cairo had been sent in agreement with the committee in Paris.

Finally, examination of the correspondence sent to the Armenian legion continues to reveal provocations to indiscipline and against France, directed to the legionaries by the Armenian notables in Egypt, and even by various members of the Armenian National Union.

It is indisputable that there was a time when we benefited from the Armenian committees, but at the present time their influence is pernicious, because it feeds political agitation among the troops, whom it encourages to indiscipline....[13]

Picot’s telegram dated 16 July 1919: ‘Colonel Bremond informs me that various Armenian elements which were recently still favourable to France, have now turned against us. The Protestant American propaganda of M. Damadian against France has increased...[14]

The situation indicated by these telegrams was as follows.
First of all, the Armenians’ aggressive behaviour towards the Muslim community continued. This was expected by the French, who thought they could nevertheless prevent it. As to the actions against France, the Armenians were aware that if this region were to fall into French hands, they would not be given autonomy. This period covers the days when the negotiations concerning the transfer of the region from the British to the French were continuing. For this reason, attempts were made to create an anti-France climate. Were the British involved in this? We cannot affirm anything. Moreover, the Istanbul Patriarchate was making great efforts to concentrate as many Armenians as possible in the region. This was because there was no Armenian population left in the east, and even if an autonomous Armenia was established there, it would be quite difficult to gather the entire population, which had dispersed, owing to the difficult living conditions. Furthermore, as there were no occupation forces in the east, the Armenians would not be able to move about freely.

On the contrary, Cilicia was a comfortable and secure region for various reasons. In addition, an Armenian concentration here increased the possibility of autonomy in this region.

Proof of our statements may be found in the French Archives.
The report sent by the French High Commissioner in Istanbul to M. Pichon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, on 27 September 1919[15] stated the following points:

During the journey which he has just completed, Lieutenant Dubreuil has established that the Armenians of the region of Kayseri are leaving the region; this exodus was not motivated by any sudden fear felt by the Armenians, as they have attested to the security which reigns at least at the present time in the province, but rather by the advice and exhortations which are given to them by their coreligionists and by their bishops who reside in Constantinople, in other cities of Turkey, and even in Europe....

In the enclosed report Lieutenant Dubreuil stated the following:

I have the honour of informing you that the Christians of the region of Kayseri are abandoning their region en masse... at the present time, the Catholic bishop of Kayseri, who is in Istanbul, is one of the main organisers of this exodus, through the advice he provides. The policy followed in Cilicia which aims at making Adana a province solely populated by Armenians, is certainly one of the factors behind this departure en masse... Colonel Bremond, affected by this exodus which he did not understand, which I think may be one of the involuntary factors, has suggested the immediate occupation of Kayseri by the Allies. After having listened to me, Colonel Piepape, commander of the Cilician troops, sent a telegram to Beirut concerning the exaggeration of the interpretation of this situation. I hope that Colonel Bremond’s request will not be approved.

As can be seen, the explanations given by the Church and Bremond for this exodus stated that the Armenians were being oppressed there.

Finally, a telegram dated 21 October sent by Picot ends like this: ‘It is agreed that our troops will arrive in Urfa, Marash, and Antep, before the departure of the British troops, in order to avoid the return of the 11,000 Armenians to Adana, whose arrival would further complicate a situation which is already complex.'[16]

These quotations that we have taken from Turkish and French sources as to how and why the National Struggle in Cilicia began make the same point.

Now let us examine the forces which took part in this struggle. In the above discussion we have seen the condition of the Turkish forces on 19 May 1919, as narrated by Atatürk himself. The strongest of the units at hand was in the east. The others had been weakened. It was impossible even to conceive of sending soldiers to this region. The issue was discussed first in Sivas. Kazim Karabekir Pasha wrote:

Today, Mustafa Kemal Pasha, Ali Fuat Pasha, Selahhatin Bey and I read, in the office of the 3rd Army Corps Command, the drafts of instructions concerning the national operation in the regions of Adana, Marash and Antep. The government which followed the Armistice made the mistake of evacuating the province of Adana, and the subdiyisions of Antep, Marash and Urfa. Taking advantage of this, the British occupied this area. Recently it has become apparent that in that area which the French settled in as the British left, attempts were made to bring about a substantial Armenian population. The activities and the British Press indicated that the intention of the French was to establish a great Armenia in Cilicia, united with the actual Armenia. The British newspapers mentioned that this was impossible. Thus in order to free our people who were conquered unjustly, and whose future appeared hopeless, the national struggle would begin with the assistance of the 20th, 13th, 3rd, and 12th Army Corps.[17]

Of the Army Corps which would assist, the 20th was in Ankara, the 13th was in Diyarbekir, the 12th was in Konya, and the 3rd was in Sivas. The divisions of these Army Corps were in various provinces. Assistance was limited to sending a few officers who would be able to set up a resistance organization which would be formed locally. Because equipment aid was only furnished by the 41st division of the 12th Army Corps in Konya, the national forces in the south were considered as part of this division.

According to Kasim Ener, the total of the national local forces was 1,500 men. He provides us with the following information with regard to this: ‘We are informed by the dossier No. 5/801 and No. 8 and file no. 706 of the Archives of the War Department, that on July 2, 1920, the National Forces had in their possession, during the siege of Pozanti, a mountain cannon which was left by the 11th division, and 2 small cannons of 5.5 obtained from the French as war booty in Karboghazi. There were 10 usable machine guns. Most of them were again obtained from the French as war booty. On August 11, 1920, two cannons of 10.5 were brought to the Kurttepe front. But the cannons had little ammunition or gun powder.’

The condition of the French forces during the same period was as follows:
According to information received from the 41st division on August 13, 1920, the French units were formed in the following manner: One division, four regiments; each regiment had four battalions; one was motorized and the other three were infantrymen. Each infantry battalion had four companies, one of them equipped with an automatic machine gun.

Each cavalry battalion was formed of four companies, three of which were armed with sabres and the fourth with automatic rifles.

Although no information was received about the battalion which was equipped with a machine gun, it appeared that there were four companies according to the number of arms.

The total of each infantry company was, on average, 140 soldiers and 11 automatic guns.The total of each company equipped with a machine gun was 150 soldiers and 8 machine guns.In Adana there were 4 infantry regiments and a fortifications company with the headquarters of the cavalry regiment. One infantry battalion had been reserved to defend Misis. General Dufleu had under his command 20 cannons, a large number of machine guns, 5 armoured cars, tanks and aeroplanes. Moreover, they were assisted by the thousands of Armenians who had been armed.[18]

The struggle on the southern front occurred between these two forces. On 7 January 1920, Mustafa Kemal Pasha sent the following telegram to Karabekir Pasha:

Georges Picot, the French High Commissioner of Syria and Armenia, who has left Syria to attend the Paris Peace Conference, has arrived in Sivas in order to acquire information about our national actions, and in order to exchange views with the Representative Delegation. In the special meeting which took place, it was explained to him that the nation’s goal is included in the declaration of the Sivas Congress, and the occupation of Cilicia, Urfa, Marash, and Antep, which was contrary to the armistice, was objected to strongly. The brutalities inflicted by the Armenians in these areas and the insulting treatment of Ottoman officials by the French Government was strongly denounced, and he was informed that the nation demanded the annulment of these unjust occupations, and that it was determined to recruit all its material and spiritual forces with this aim. Picot’s reply: he had ordered before he left that the Armenian troops retreat from the areas which had recently been occupied. He stated that the French recognized the independence of the Ottoman Empire, and that they wished to ensure it. He said that it was probable that the French would evacuate Marash, Urfa, Antep, and Cilicia in return for obtaining economic concessions in Adana. It was also probable that attempts would be made at the Peace Conference to annul the occupation by the other powers. He brought these points forward for discussion on condition that they were his personal observations and that they be confidential. And he requested from us that no rebellion occur against the French, while we continued with establishing our national organization in Adana, Urfa, Marash, and Antep. We told him that we would take steps to ensure that the Muslim community did not commit any aggression as long as the Armenians did not provoke them, but that the responsibility would be theirs, should they provide any reason for it. It is very important that this detailed request be confidential. Based on the above discussion, we are convinced that the French consider an action in favour of Turkey in the east, for their interest. Georges Picot’s intention was to gather definite information about the national point of view when he went to Paris. Consequently it is necessary to make efforts with even greater ardour for the development of our national organization in the occupied areas and that any armed attacks are prevented until further notice. Strong protests by the Government, as well as the people, at any actions contrary to the treaty, such as interference by the police and the gendarmerie with our internal affairs, will be most favourable to our political aims today. Mustafa Kemal.[19]

However, this conversation did not produce any results. In the south the national forces began their activities through hit-and-run band fights. But the most significant confrontations began in Marash on 20 January 1920, and the French were forced to evacuate Marash.

Because the southern front was not a regular battle ground, but was the scene of isolated confrontations with the occupation forces in Marash, Urfa and Antep, we shall not examine each one of them. However, this first confrontation was reported in Europe with such exaggerations that we think it is necessary to record it.

First of all, on 6 February, Zaven, the Armenian Patriarch in Istanbul, sent a telegram to Nubar Pasha, stating that 2,000 Armenians had been massacred in Marash.[20] On 25 February, the Reuter news agency announced this figure as 70,000.[21]

At that time the peace negotiations were being held in London. During the session on 18 February 1920, Lord Curzon stated that, according to the information he had received from Bogos Nubar Pasha and from the British admiral in Istanbul, 20,000 Armenians had been massacred by the forces of Mustafa Kemal Pasha. Suggestions such as deposing the Sultan and arresting the Grand Vizier and ministers were discussed.[22]

As a result, information was requested from Istanbul. The following reply came from General Gouraud, the military commander in Beirut:

Study of the Marash incidents and examination of all the information which I received concerning the organization of the movement which continues to threaten Cilicia, confirm that the aggression of the nationalist Turks was caused mainly by the protection we have granted to the Armenians. In some cases, this protection of an entity, which is itself aggressive and more capable than the Turks of circumventing European officers and agents, has been too conspicuous.

Your Excellency may have been aware of my concern to stop this grief of the Turks through many of my telegrams, and through the instructions sent to General de Lamothe by courier.[23]

This following telegram sent by Millerand, the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, to London is even more interesting:

.... I am surprised that London should possess information which no one here is aware of, and is able to document.

As a result, it has been impossible until now to determine exactly that Armenians have been massacred in any area. There is much talk about it, but no one was able to give me certain and exact information. In particular the Armenian losses in Marash appear to be absolutely false. Apparently, the Armenians took part in the struggle of our troops in this city, and had casualties like all the fighters.

A serious study of the figures shows that these Armenian casualties do not exceed 1,000...[24]

The following telegram dated 12 March, sent by General Gouraud, is worth mentioning:

.... The total of the Armenian legion includes 1,496 soldiers.... Increasing these units would only increase trouble and difficulties, and would constitute a most inauspicious political measure. We can consider employing these Armenian units only in an area where they would not be in contact with the Turks. Syria would be the only place. However, the Armenians have inflamed such hatred in that area, that they asked the General to save them from these people...[25]

It would be very useful to evaluate the claims of the Armenian massacres, keeping in mind the telegrams of General Gouraud, and especially of Millerand.

Atatürk reported the Marash incidents during the 1 May 1920 session of the National Assembly:

With your permission, let me talk about the Cilicia front. When we discuss this front we can talk about Antep, Marash, Urfa, the so-called three provinces. Gentlemen, like everywhere else, the Entente powers have occupied this area contrary to the armistice. Later, they made an agreement among themselves, and England broke it. England left Cilicia, Antep, Marash, Urfa, and the whole of Syria to the French, and the French occupied these areas.

The central Government took no measures against this aggression, it did not even protest. You are all aware of this.
However, these areas are included within the borders we have drawn in the main programme we have accepted, and it is necessary that these areas are freed from the enemy.

However, at the same time, we were always careful not to give cause for any confrontations so as not to force the enemy to fight. But the French, after they unjustly occupied this area, acted very aggressively, and committed harmful acts against the Muslim community, and they entrusted the Armenians wearing French uniforms with these actions. It can be stated that, for whatever reason, various bloody incidents have occurred in this country between the Armenians and our nation. These two nations have against each other, and especially the Armenians have against our nation, a great deal of hostility. Consequently, to incite the Armenians to attack us, to attack the Muslim community, was a great error, because the intention of the Armenians is to destroy the Muslim people in Cilicia, Antep, Marash, Urfa, and wherever they are present, especially since they have been protected. Our poor brothers living in those areas were subject to great atrocities. They ask the help of the entire nation for the protection of all sacred things. But they remain unheard. Unfortunately the central government has given no assistance. For many reasons, it was unable to take any definite steps.

Thus the inhabitants of Cilicia and other areas, who abandoned all hope and who were convinced that they were sentenced to die, were driven to rush forward in order to protect their own existence. It would not have been right to be a mere spectator of these people, especially for the neighbouring Muslim community.

In fact, within the country and especially from Sivas, conscientious patriots rushed forward, entered these occupied areas, united with their brothers there, and were in the same ranks with them in their struggle for honour, sacredness, and existence.

The struggle is continuing. The first confrontation occurred in Marash, and the result has been to the advantage of the righteous.

After this, confrontations occurred in Urfa and in the Silifke region. Here too, we were the victorious ones; at the present time the enemy is being chased in the direction of Arappinari.

In Antep the skirmishes which were caused by the Armenians’ aggression are continuing. From various sides troops have arrived to reinforce the enemy forces. But they were paralyzed by the national forces. Enemy forces have remained only in Misis and in some other localities.

If we are to go more to the West, the enemy forces have been defeated near Bozanti, and that area too is controlled by the national forces.

During the Cilicia incident, the inhabitants of Silifke showed great courage and patriotism. Some of our forces, which we can call the Silifke forces, have recovered the area up to Mersin, with the exception of Mersin itself.

In Mersin too, they are superior to the enemy. Just a few days ago some of our companions arrived from Mersin. They state that the French forces in Mersin are few and nervous. I have presented the last stage of the operation in the Cilicia front.
Until we determine the policy we shall adopt together, we thought that to wait was a more favourable measure, and in the last instruction it was ordered not to go any further, and for this reason the city of Mersin was not occupied. However, we control it and we can conquer it whenever we wish to.

Now gentlemen, the French, as a result of this pressure, have felt the necessity to come into dialogue with those people who have put this pressure.

Today an individual named Monsieur Albert Sarrault has arrived here from France in order to discuss with us.[26]

Atatürk included the meeting which took place with the French in his great speech:

National forces had been organized in the area of Adana against the French, in the areas of Tarsus, Mersin, Islahiye, and in the vicinity of Silifke, and they had begun a most courageous operation. The heroic acts of Captain Osman Bey who operated in the region of southern Adana, under the title Tufan Bey, are worthy of recording. The national detachments have secured their control up to the gates of the cities of Mersin, Tarsus and Adana. In Pozanti they defeated the French and forced them to retreat.

Serious combats occurred in Marash, Antep, and Urfa. As a result, the occupation forces were forced to retreat from these areas. I regard it as a duty to mention here the names of Kiliç Ali Bey and Ali Saip Bey who were the dominant figures in obtaining this victory.

The national forces were being more and more organized in the areas of French occupation and its fronts. The national forces were reinforced by the regular troops. The forces of occupation were pressed strongly from all directions.

Gentlemen, since the beginning of May 1920, the French have sought negotiations and dialogue with us. First of all, a major and a civilian arrived in Ankara from Istanbul. These persons had first gone to Beirut from Istanbul; Haydar Bey, the former Van deputy acted as a guide for them. No significant result came out of our discussions. However, towards the end of May, a French delegation, presided over by Monsieur Duquais who was acting on behalf of the High Commissioner of Syria, arrived in Ankara. We made an armistice for twenty days with this delegation. By temporarily ending hostilities, we were aiming at beginning the evacuation of the region of Adana.

Gentlemen, the impression I had of these discussions was that the French would evacuate Adana and its vicinity. I presented my opinion to the Assembly. As a matter of fact, although the French attempted to show that the ceasefire was limited to the region of Adana, by occupying Zonguldak before the end of the armistice, we considered this action as the annulment of the armistice. Our agreement with the French was delayed for some time.[27]

The struggle with the French continued until March 1921. On 4 September 1920, Bremond, who had been acting as a symbol of wickedness, was dismissed from office. The southern front was concluded legally with the Ankara Agreement of 20 October 1921. Atatürk described the making of this agreement in his great speech.

Gentlemen, the Ankara Agreement constitutes our positive relations with the west after the victory of Sakarya. This agreement was signed in Ankara in October 1921. Let me explain a point here, in order to give you a general explanation.

For various reasons, it was clear that the French, who occupied, besides Syria, these provinces I have mentioned, were inclined to reach an agreement with us. Despite the fact that the agreement which was made between Bekir Sami Bey and Monsieur Briand, and which was unacceptable to our nation, had been rejected, neither the French, nor we, wanted to continue the confrontation. For this reason both sides sought an agreement. France had sent Monsieur Franklin Bouillon, a former Minister, first unofficially, to Ankara. I negotiated with M. Bouillon, who arrived in Ankara on 9 June 1921, for two weeks, in the presence of Yusuf Kemal Bey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Fevzi Pasha.

I stated that our starting-point was the contents of the National Pact of 1920.M. Bouillon stated that it would be difficult to discuss principles, and that the Sevres agreement existed as afait accompli. He added that it would be favourable to accept in principle the agreement made in London between Bekir Sami Bey and M. Briand, and to discuss the contents of this Agreement where they were in conflict with the National Pact. In confirmation of this suggestion he remarked that our representatives who had gone to London had not mentioned the National Pact, and that the National Pact and the national movement had not even been approved in Istanbul, let alone in Europe.

I replied: ‘A new Turkey was born of the old Ottoman Empire. This must be recognized. This new Turkey will have its legality recognized, like every independent state. The Sevres Agreement is such an inauspicious death sentence for the Turkish nation, that we prefer not to hear it from a friend. Even during our discussions I would not wish to mention the Sevres Agreement. We cannot engage in negotiations based on the principle of trust, with nations who do not erase the Sevres Agreement from their minds. In our view, this agreement does not exist. If the President of our delegation, which went to London, did not mention this, then he did not act on the instructions we gave him. He did wrong. It appears that this error gave rise to adverse effects on European and especially French public opinion. If we were to act like Bekir Sami Bey, we would commit the same error. It is impossible that Europe is not aware of the National Pact. It is possible that Europe has not understood the meaning of the term, National Pact. However, Europe and the entire world who saw that we have been shedding our blood for years must certainly reflect on the causes of our bloody struggle. The statement to the effect that Istanbul is unaware of the National Pact and the national struggle is not accurate. The population of Istanbul, like the entire Turkish nation, is aware and supportive of the national movement. The individuals and citizens who stand against the national movement are few and are known to the nation.’

When I stated that Bekir Sami Bey had acted without authority, Franklin Bouillon asked whether he could mention this. I told him that he could mention my statement wherever he wanted. Bouillon gave many excuses so as not to be removed from the agreement of Bekir Sami Bey, and repeated that Bekir Sami Bey had not mentioned the existence of a National Pact, and that he could not go beyond its boundaries; that if he had mentioned it, it would have been possible to act and discuss accordingly, but that now the matter was complicated. The public will ask, why haven’t the Turks mentioned this before through their representatives? Now they are creating more complications.

Finally, after much negotiation and discussion, Bouillon suggested postponement of the discussions, until he had read and understood the National Pact. Following this, the discussions were begun, as we read the articles of the National Pact one by one from beginning to end.

Gentlemen, we exchanged views for days with M. Bouillon on these important matters. I think that, as a result, we were able to understand one another. However, it was necessary that more time pass to be able to determine deffinite points of agreements between the French Government and the national Turkish Government. What was expected? Very likely the confirmation of the national Turkish existence with a greater victory after the victories of the First and Second Inönü battles. In fact, the Ankara Agreement, which M. Bouillon approved and signed, is a document which was established on 20 October 1921, thirty-seven days after the bloody battle we won at Sakarya.

With this agreement, we have liberated the valuable parts of our country from occupation, without sacrificing any part of our independence from an economic, political, or military standpoint. With this agreement, our national aspirations were approved by a member of the Western states.

Following this, M. Franklin Bouillon came to Turkey a few times more, and sought opportunities to manifest the feelings of friendship which were established in Ankara during the first days of our discussions.[29]

The text of the Ankara Agreement was as follows:

Article 1. Both sides will announce that the war between them has ended, after they have signed this treaty. The armies, the civil servants and the population will immediately be informed of the state of affairs.

Article 2. After this treaty has been signed, all the prisoners of war of both sides, all Turkish and French individuals who were arrested or imprisoned, will be freed; each side will pay the travel expenses of these individuals and will send them to the nearest designated place.

Article 3. At most within two months after this treaty has been signed, the French troops will retreat to the south of the line established in Article 8, and the Turkish troops will retreat to its north.

Article 4. During the period mentioned in the 3rd article, a joint commission will be formed, which will determine the procedure for the implementation of this article.

Article 5. Both sides will announce a general amnesty in the evacuated area, following the occupation of this area.

Article 6. The Government of the Turkish Grand National Assembly announces that it will support the rights of minorities, as openly recognized in the National Pact, based on the principles included in the agreements which were made concerning this matter, between the friends and the enemies of the allies.

Article 7. A special administrative system will be instituted for the area of Iskenderun (Hatay). The Turkish inhabitants of this area will enjoy all kinds of organizations for the development of their culture. In that area the Turkish language will be the official language.

Article 8. The line which was mentioned in article 3 will begin in Payas in the Iskenderun bay, will go to the Meydani Ekbez-Kilis-Choban station, and will reach Nuseybin from Choban Beyli, on condition that the railway remain within Turkey. Payas and the stations of Meydani Ekbez and Choban Beyli will remain in Syria. Within one month of the signing of this treaty, a commission formed by members of the two sides will determine the aforementioned line, and will supervise the procedure of determining.

Article 9. The mausoleum of Suleiman Shah, the grandfather of Sultan Osman, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty, which is is located in the Caber castle, and which is known by the term Turkish tomb, together with its annexes, will be the property of Turkey, and Turkey will place guards there and will raise the Turkish flag.

Article 10. The Government of the Turkish Grand National Assembly accepts that it will give the right to operate the departments in the province of Adana, of the Baghdad railway line between Pozanti and Nuseybin, to a French group designated by the French Government, as well as all matters concerning the commercial and transportation affairs of this railway. The Government of Turkey will engage in military transportation by railway in Syria from Meydani Ekbez to Choban Beyli.

Article 11. After this agreement has come into effect, a joint commission which will be chosen will put in order matters concerning customs between Turkey and Syria, and until this operation has been completed, both countries will act freely.

Article 12. Turkey and Syria will equitably benefit from the Kirik stream. The Syrian Government will be able to take water from the Turkish part of the Euphrates, and the expenses will be met by the Syrian Government.

Article 13. The sedentary and semi-nomadic people residing on both sides of the line established in Article 8 will benefit from the pastures in this area, and those who possess lands and immovable property will continue to use their rights as hitherto. These persons will be able to transport their animals, tools, seeds, and plants freely, without giving any pasture toll, customs, or any other fee. It has been decided that they shall pay the corresponding taxes to the country they reside in.

Kasim Ener has written about the subject of the evacuation of the south by the French.

In response to the signing of the Ankara Agreement, the Armenian community in Adana organized a demonstration. The Armenians closed their shops. But the French military administration re-established order. General Dufeux invited prominent Christians to the government office, explained the principles of the agreement, and stated that martial law was in operation. He added that no excessive acts must be committed, no flags raised, and that there was no reason for any one to be afraid. Meanwhile Ferit Bey, our representative in Paris, arrived in Tarsus. He was met by Lieutenant-Colonel Sarrous, and they both went to Mersin. There Sarrous stated that he did not doubt that the Grand National Assembly of Turkey would act justly, and that individuals who disrupted public order during the process of evacuation would be delivered to the Ankara Government.

General Dufleux was not pleased with the Ankara Agreement. His military pride could not accept the fact that the French had delivered Cilicia to the Turks. Because of this he avoided the discussions, and did not want to be present during the evacuation. As a result, on 24 November 1921 he left Adana with his headquarters, and before he left he visited the French cemetery. He expressed his grief in his speech, which began: ‘0 French soldiers, we shed your blood for nothing.’

The Armenian revolutionaries were very worried because of the unbelievable atrocities they had committed during the occupation. We have included the letter written by the Sis Catholicos on 29 November 1921 in Iskenderun, to the national Armenian delegation in Paris, in order to elucidate this subject further.

The Catholicos stated: ‘No decision was taken in the discussions which occurred with the representatives of the cities of the entire occupied region, as the Armenians panicked after the Franklin Bouillon Agreement. The reason for this is that people are afraid of a massacre should the Kemalists arrive. We discussed the subject that the Armenians must not be miserable, thinking where they would go and what they would do. Flowever, the Kemalists did not expect and wish an emigration en masse. Thus they informed us from Bozanti, through their representatives in Adana, that they wished to meet our religious leaders. The Kemalist representatives in Adana were the following: Suleyman Vahit Efendi, Gergeli Ali Efendi, Müçteba Ramazanoghlu Efendi, and Mustafa Efendi. These representatives brought to our leaders a letter signed by Suphi Pasha of Adana and Mehmet Fuat Diblan, the mayor. In this letter Suphi Pasha and Fuat Diblan Bey wrote that they wanted to discuss with us in Kelebek or Dikili, and invited us there. The French authorities wanted us to accept this invitation, and they provided cars for our representatives to go there. Monsignor Elyse, Monsignor Keklian, Haruttionian, the Protestant priest left. They took with them an Armenian, a Greek, and a Turk (Assyrian) named Chukur Aslan, and on 15 November, 1921 they were taken to Kelebek by Kemalist agents.

After a while the Kemalists arrived. Suphi Pasha was the first one to talk. He stated that he could not speak on behalf of the Ankara Government as he had no official title, and that he considered it as a duty to meet and discuss here, because he was a child of the country and had feelings towards his fellow countrymen. He added that he thought of taking a decision to prevent the migration of the Armenians. He continued, and stated that the Kemalist Government was a very just and good government, and that Turkish laws would be equally implemented for Muslims and Christians. Dr Eshref Bey and Diblan Bey repeated this. Our spiritual leaders stated that the Turkish-French Agreement did not have a clause which protected Christians’ lives, and that, as the Turkish delegation did not have an official title, it could not constitute a guarantee, despite the fact that they believed in their honesty. They promised that they would do everything possible, and left. As to the Armenians they prepared their evacuation.

Facing this situation, the French, at the insistence of Hamit Bey (he was the Kemalists’ governor in Adana at that time), Muhittin Pasha, and especially Colonel Sarrous, invited our representatives to meet the Turkish delegates in Yenice, on 22 November. On the same day Franklin Bouillon and the representatives of Tarsus and Mersin arrived there. A meeting was held, at which he presided. Hamit Bey and the new French Consul Laporte took part in this meeting. The same statements were made and again it was insisted that the Armenians should not leave.

On 23 November, Franklin Bouillon invited our spiritual leaders to his house (in the old station) and told them that the Kemalist Government had very good intentions and that it would protect all our rights; however, this was not an official guarantee. Because of this, the Christian community (Armenian-Assyrian) lost hope, and fled to the harbours using every possible means of transportation. Only officials and the sick remained in Adana. The schools were closed.

As we were unable to help the Armenians, a telegram was sent to General Gouraud through General Dufleux. We requested that the French transfer the orphans and the sick, and that the rest be transported from Dortyol to Iskenderun. On 23 November, we received an answer from General Dufleux. He notified us to conclude our preparations in order to leave on 25 November and said that he would meet us.

On 29 November 1921, Franklin Bouillon sent the French Consul to Iskenderun. We had a long meeting with the Consul. A summary of our discussion is as follows. The Government which will be formed will be a just one, and will protect the rights of minorities. For this reason, we must save the emigrants from misery and from endangering their properties. Because of this, those who have left must return. Your desire to leave this area will destroy the Armenian community’s trust in the Turkish-French Government. At the same time your action will be considered disloyal to the French Government. He stated, the French sacrificed 5,000 of their children on this land for you. And he mentioned the honesty of Hamit Bey. In answer to these statements made by the Consul Laporte, I said:

“Yes, when he was in Diyarbekir, Hamit Bey really acted honestly. I know him and I trust him, However, we should not endanger the Christians’ lives by trusting a man. We remember in gratitude what the French did for us. But since the armistice 30,000 Armenians have died for the French.” Thus I concluded the subject.’ (The Catholicos left Adana on 25 November to go to Iskenderun.)

When the above statements are examined carefully, it will be seen that the fact that the Armenians fled in spite of all the promises was due to their fear of the innumerable murders committed by the revolutionaries called Ganavors, as we have mentioned previously. As a matter of fact, the Greeks remained like the Jewish minorities, as they did not take part in such occurrences. In the meantime, General Gouraud had sent a message to the Armenians through General Dufleux, and had advised them that they should stay in Adana, and that they should trust Turkish justice.[30]

On Wednesday, 1 December, 1921, the ceremonies of handing over the administration took place in Adana with the French, and the front was concluded. In his work Hatiralarim, Damar Arikoglu gives interesting information about this front (pp. 72—86, 103—35).



4. The Western Front

During the War of Liberation the western front was the Greek front, in which the Armenians acted with the Greeks. We are informed by the Bristol report that the Armenians even took part in the excesses which occurred on the day Izmir was occupied by the Greeks, and which resulted in the death of many Turks.[31] In the 22nd paragraph of the chapter of this report entitled ‘Expose des Faits survenus depuis l’occupation qui ont ete etablis au cours de I’enquete entre le.12 aout et le 6 octobre 1919’ we see that there were two Armenians among the people who were sentenced by the military court established by the Greek Command in Izmir, because of the incidents of 15—16 May. We also find the following statement in the report dated 23 May 1921 of the commission formed by the commission of the allies for the incidents of Yalova and Gemlik: ‘The members of the Commission consider that, in the part of the kazas of Yalova and Gemlik occupied by the Greek army, there is a systematic plan of destruction of Turkish villages and extinction of the Moslem population. This plan is being carried out by Greek and Armenian bands, which appear to operate under Greek instructions and sometimes even with the assistance of detachments of regular troops.’[32]

It is known that from the beginning of 1921 the Greeks recruited Christians who were Turkish citizens, and of course Armenians too, in the regions they occupied. Because of this, when the Greeks retreated from Anatolia, the Armenians of that area left with them. During the Lausanne Conference, Ismet Pasha openly stated this fact, and no one offered any objection. We shall quote Ismet Pasha’s statement when we discuss the Lausanne Conference.

For these reasons we thought it necessary to mention the western front briefly.

As a matter of fact, it would also have been useful to talk about the Istanbul Front, and mention the relations of the Patriarchate and the Armenians, and also of some untrustworthy Turks with the British Embassy and especially with Mr Ryan, the chief interpreter of this Embassy, who was famous for his hostility to the Turks. But we do not think this is necessary.



5. The Treaty of Lausanne

The War of Independence ended on 11 October 1922 with the Mudanya Armistice. The peace negotiations began on 20 November 1922 in Lausanne.

Just as there was not one word in the Mudanya Agreement about the Armenians, neither did the Lausanne Agreement mention them.
When the War of Liberation was still in progress, the Allied Powers made two proposals for peace. In both there was a clause about the Armenians. The first came after the Inönü victory, and a meeting was held in London on 21 February. During this meeting it was suggested that the stipulations of the Sevres Agreement be improved to some extent, and concerning the Armenians it was requested that Turkey accept the right of the Armenians to establish a homeland on the eastern borders of Anatolia, whose borders would be determined by a commission chosen by the League of Nations. The second proposal came in written form in March 1922. In this the Sevres conditions were further improved, and it was requested that an Armenian homeland be established in the East, and that the League of Nations intervene in this matter. This proposal, too, did not bear fruit.

When it became clear that a conference was to be held in Lausanne to reach a peace agreement with Turkey, the spokesmen of the Armenian cause began a campaign with the aim of being invited to this conference or of having their opinions heard. Among those spokesmen were such individuals as Aharonian, Hadissian, Noradukian, and Leon Pashalian.

Hadissian sent a letter to each of the governments of France, Italy and Britain, on 18 August 1922, asking whether he could take part in a preliminary commission which would organize the eastern issues; he was informed on 21 August that his request had been refused.

On 18 November 1922, Hadissian sent another letter and repeated his request. Despite the fact that, as a result of these efforts, the four individuals mentioned addressed the Subcommittee for Minorities in Lausanne, they did not take part in the discussions.

Aharonian and Hadissian had come on behalf of the Armenian Republic. However, the Kars Agreement had been made with Armenia, and this issue had been concluded. But it was of no consequence whether the agreement existed or not. What was important was to take advantage of opportunities when they arose.

Surprisingly, this time the Armenians did not claim that they had been belligerents during the war and that this aspect should be recognized. They had asserted this point of view in order to be able to attend the Sevres negotiations. They had proved that during the war they had been combatants, but they had not abandoned their accusations against the Turkish Government of massacres, concerning the justiflable measures taken against a combatant community.[33]

When the Conference met, the Armenians presented a note. In his book, Esat Uras has quoted this note from Hadissian.

.... This war has taken a very heavy toll of the Armenians.Of the 2,250,000 Armenians of Turkish Armenia, 1,250,000 have been destroyed. 700,000 have emigrated to the Caucasus, to Iran, to Syria, to Greece, to the Balkan States, and to other places. At the present time there are only 13,000 in the villages of Turkish Armenia, and 150,000 in Istanbul. And these are constantly ready to emigrate....

Three different decisions for the establishment of the national home had been taken:

1. The decision taken by the honourable President of the USA, acting as an arbitrator, which concerns the setting apart of an area of land for the Armenians.

2. To extend the borders of the Erevan Republic, by extending some parts of the Eastern provinces, and by providing a harbour at the sea.

3. To add to this homeland part of Cilicia which had been relinquished to Syria with the Sevres Agreement, and which was later given to Turkey with the Ankara Agreement.[34]

The United States of America took part in the Lausanne Conference as an observer. Because there had been no war between the USA and Turkey, there was no need for peace between them. The written instructions of the USA delegation to the conference included the following point about the Armenians: ‘The question of the homeland of the Armenians may be raised. It is possible that upon the return of more settled conditions in Russia, the Russian Caucasus may offer the best refuge for Armenians from Turkey.’[35]

In the general session of the First Commission of the Lausanne Conference about minorities on 12 December 1922, chairman Lord Curzon brought forward the Armenian question and said:

It is necessary to bear these in mind, especially because of the promise given to them concerning their future. Now, in the old Russian province of Erevan, which is now a Soviet Republic, there is a so-called Armenian State, which, according to what they told me, has a population of 1,250,000, which is saturated with emigrants who have come from all directions, and which is unable to accept a larger population.

On the other hand, the Armenian population of Kars, Ardahan, Van, Bitlis, and Erzurum has been nearly destroyed. When the French evacuated Cilicia, the Armenian population of this province panicked, and left with them. Now they are dispersed in the cities of Iskenderun, Aleppo, Beirut, and all along the Syrian border. I believe that of the Armenian population of nearly 3 million, in Asiatic Turkey, a mere 130,000 has remained. Hundreds of thousands of them have scattered and taken refuge in the Caucasus, Russia, Iran, and neighbouring regions....

And thus, as it was often affirmed, Turkey must find a region within which to settle the Armenians, in one part of its land in Asia, be it in the north-eastern provinces, or in the south-eastern part of Cilicia and on the Syrian borders.[36]

Ismet Pasha, who gave a speech about the minorities in Turkey at the same meeting, also mentioned the Armenian question. After he had given a general account of the history of this issue, he focussed on the present-day situation:

.... It would be correct to state that there is no longer a minority which is capable of establishing an independent state within the Ottoman Empire which is now formed of only Turkish provinces. Until such time as the principle of nationalities is equitably applied everywhere, the trend to give independence to those parts of the Ottoman Empire which include significant non-Turkish elements, the existence of separatist trends, might have been shown as justifiable. At the present time the situation is entirely different. Just as it cannot be conceived logically that the Greeks who have settled in Marseilles should establish an independent Greek state there, or that they should annex this city to their mother land, the Greeks or the Armenians of Turkey will not have the right to make similar demands.

.... In fact the friendly and good neighbourly relations which were reinforced by the agreements made between Turkey and Armenia have removed the possibility for the Armenian State to engage in any kind of provocation. On the other hand, among the Armenians, those who have decided to remain in Turkey must have realized the necessity of living as good citizens....

After Ismet Pasha, M. Venizelos spoke, and as he talked about the Greek minority, he also mentioned the Armenians. Later, Mr Child, the USA representative, spoke, and indirectly talked about the subject of the Armenian homeland.

The last to speak at the meeting was Ismet Pasha; he stated that he reserved the right to reply to the statement by Lord Curzon, and replied to Venizelos, making the following remarks:

.... Without any doubt, M. Venizelos pretends not to see that the occupation of Asia Minor has been a source of new miseries for the Armenians. This poor community was forced to enlist and to join the ranks of the Greek army.... The Armenians were sent to the front and were forced to shoot at the Turks. After the defeat many pillages occurred. Moreover, the Greek authorities engaged in propaganda to attribute these offences to the Armenians. Later, when the Greeks left Asia, they dragged the Armenians along. It is necessary to accept that the last government in the world which can have the audacity to pity the Armenians in front of everybody is the Greek Government which has directly created these misfortunes for the Armenians.

During the meeting which took place on 13 December, Ismet Pasha stated that there was not one inch of land in the Turkish motherland to be given to the Armenians. He added, ‘today there is no obstacle for the Armenians who are in Turkey to live comfortably, in harmony with their fellow citizens’. During this meeting Lord Curzon spoke again, and asked how the Armenian population of 3 million in Asia Minor had been reduced to 130,000 and why 60—80,000 Armenians had fled after the French, when the French left Cilicia.

The meetings continued on 14 December. This time, Ismet Pasha stated that in no period of Turkish history were there 3 million Armenians in Turkey, and that even in the whole world, according to foreign statistics, there were not so many Armenians. After he had asserted that the Armenians who left Cilicia had been forced to flee by the threats of the agents of revolutionary committees, and that this was known to the whole world, he said: ‘.... What happened to the Armenians who are missing today should be sought in recent wars and in the wars which were forced on Turkey. The Muslim population in the eastern provinces which was 4 million has fallen below 3 million, in the western provinces from 3.5 million to 2 million. Those who are missing, that is 2.5 million people, are the victims of the war years. Lord Curzon asked whether a place could be reserved for the Armenians in such a large country as Turkey. I remind you that there are States much larger than Turkey.’

After this the Armenian question was discussed in the 15 December meeting of the Subcommittee for Minorities. The Italian Montagna, chairman of the commission, said that the Subcommittee could examine the issue of the Armenian homeland, but Riza Nur Bey stated that he refused to discuss such an issue. During the 22 December meeting of the Subcommittee, M. Montagna suggested that they should hear the representative delegation of minorities. Riza Nur Bey replied that sessions in which such delegations were heard would not be considered official sessions of the Subcommittee, and that the Turkish delegation would not attend such sessions.

The Armenian delegation spoke on 26 December, in the Subcommittee, which was not attended by the Turkish delegation. The Armenian delegation included Noradukian, Aharonian, Hadissian, and Pashalian. The delegation made the same statements as those which had been expressed in the note they had submitted previously. In his speech, Noradukian suggested that it should be permitted to enlist soldiers in the Armenian land, that every Armenian should be allowed not to do his military service, and that the Patriarchate should be independent. He stated, ‘His Excellency Ismet Pasha does not see the necessity for us to form an Armenian land, he thinks it is sufficient for peace to allow the return of our refugees who are in foreign countries.’ The other new point was the following statement made by Aharonian: ‘They tell us that the Armenian Movement of Liberation occurred because of influences which came from Great Britain and Tsarist Russia. I will affirm here that the government of Tsarist Russia and the Sultan were of the same opinion, to destroy all movements which aimed at abolishing the absolutist regime. All the Caucasian bands who were formed so that they could rush to the help of their brothers in Turkish Armenia were destroyed along the border by the Russian Army, because the Tsarist Government did not want to create a Bulgaria in the southern part of its borders.’[37]

During the 30 December session of the Subcommittee, the American representative read a note with regard to the establishment of a national homeland for the Armenians.

The Subcommittee held its last session concerning minorities on 6 January 1923. When the procedures were concluded in this meeting concerning the articles which would be included in the agreement about minorities, M. Montagna spoke and read a note on the subject of the Armenians. He expressed his wish for the establishment of an Armenian land. Then Sir Horace Rumbolt, the British representative, spoke and read a note on the same subject. Although it was the turn of the French representative to speak, Riza Nur Bey spoke, stating: ‘The Allied States had the right to be present to listen to the notes which were just read, because they have taken upon themselves a moral obligation in regard of the Armenians. In fact, it was the Allied Powers who used these people as a political tool to have them attack Turkey. Under these conditions the Turkish representative delegate considers these notes as invalid. The Turkish Delegation is of the opinion that it is better to leave the session, instead of listening to such statements’ ,[38] and left the meeting without listening to the French representative.

The USA representative, Joseph Grew, reports this scene as scandalous in his memoirs, and adds: ‘As regards the National Armenian Home, the privately expressed views of the Allied representatives are that it is not possible to formulate any concrete plan which will be wise even for the welfare of the Armenians themselves. The creation of these little new segregative areas, autonomous or otherwise, is not regarded favourably, and confldentially Curzon, Barrere and the Italian delegates say so.’[39]

It is useful to read Riza Nur’s own account of the incident which occurred in the Subcommittee:

Towards the end of the sessions of January 6, 1923, Montagna turned to the question of the Armenian homeland. He began to read what he had written on this subject. I saw that it was quite long. I had never been wrong about Montagna. It was as if I knew what he was going to say. I saw that he was adding things that had not come to my mind. For example they had previously heard the Bulgarians. We did not go to that session. Their statements were not included in the minutes. He said, ‘Unfortunately the Turks did not attend the session. I will communicate their demands by proxy to the Turkish delegation.’ That was the last straw. I objected, he would not listen. I said ‘We cannot listen, was it supposed to be like this?’ He didn’t care.... He just continued. As if the man was deaf from birth.... He finished, Rumbolt began to speak. I objected again. I requested to speak. They did not listen.... They continued.... They read for a long time, their faces were red, they were worried. Apparently they were afraid that an impropriety would occur. I requested to speak. He finished, the French delegate began to speak. This time I repeated my request more harshly. I got up. Like Montagna I said, ‘I will say a few words.’ I began to speak before the French.

I said: ‘The Allied Powers made the Armenians a political tool for them, and forced them to open fire. They made them rebel against their government. As a result they were punished. They were destroyed as a punishment with epidemics, famine, and emigration. The entire responsibility for this does not fall on us, but on the Allied Powers. If a reward must be given to the Armenians, you give it....

‘That the Armenians were unfortunate. That they must be given a home land, independence. We are certain of this. However, there isn’t only one unfortunate nation in the world. Egypt so many times, and only yesterday, has been bathed in its blood for its independence. India, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco want their independence, their home land. For how many centuries, how much blood have the Irish shed for their homeland, for their independence?... Give these people their home land, their independence... What you have read is out of order. Under these conditions we cannot stay here. I am leaving the session.’
I got up. My statements were harsh. They were all red as beets. Rumbolt especially was now red, then purple.

In my opinion, England had never heard such harsh and accusing statements in diplomacy. At a time when they were at the apogee of their might and power, it was very hard for these proud British to hear these statements from a Turkish delegate.
They did not include in the minutes these last parts of my statements. They falsified the minutes as they pleased. What forgery.... However, my statements were reported exactly by the newspapers of the time. A few days later the Irish revolutionaries wrote me a letter and said: ‘We thank you for having included the Irish among the oppressed nations who want their independence.’[40]

The Subcommittee brought the report to the 9 January 1923 meeting of the First Commission. Lord Curzon mentioned the subject of the national homeland, and Ismet Pasha stated that there was nothing he would add.

After this date the Armenian question was not discussed during the Lausanne talks and no article was included in the agreement.

The Armenian representatives again sent letters to the powers, but received no answer. A significant point here was that a telegram was sent to Chicherin, Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Union of Armenian friends, and that the following remarks were made:

The Union of Armenian Friends knows that Soviet Russia saved the Armenian Republic of Caucasus....

The Russians may make a special agreement with the Turks, concerning the extending of the border of the Caucasus Armenia towards the areas of Van and Bitlis. In this way the Russians will have solved the Armenian question with the Turks and with the Allied powers who were put in a difficult position as the Turks opposed the attempts to establish an independent Government within their borders.

After the anti-Russian declaration in the Subcommittee, this letter is naturally quite interesting, but even more interesting was Chicherin’s answer dated 25 January:’.... Now I inform you that the Governments of Russia and Ukraine have proposed to take within their borders the Armenian deserters, whose number will be correctly determined. I request that my information be communicated to the authorities.’

Esat Uras has included these telegrams on pp. 740—1 of his book, as quoted by Hadissian.

This exchange of telegrams is also reported by Kachaznuni. We summarize below what he has written on this subject:

In 1922 the cause of the Turkish Armenians was in its death-throes. At the London Conference the term ‘Homeland” was used officially for the first time. The Sevres Agreement had been entirely forgotten. Neither the independent Armenian State nor the independent provinces were any longer a matter of discussion. There was talk of a disputable national homeland in some other’s home.

This was the last concession given by Ankara for the sake of peace. The demand for a homeland would be obligatory for Turkey, and the homeland would be independent from the administration of Turkey. This was the situation in March.

At the end of the year, the situation in Lausanne had somewhat changed. The demand for a homeland was not made. It was presented as a simple matter, as a favour of the friendly feelings and good intentions of the Turks. A dialogue, worthy of operettas, was established. The Turks stated that they were quite sad, but that they could not accept this friendly offer, the Allied Powers asserted that there was nothing else they could do for the poor Armenians.... Then they went on to the matter of ‘Coupons’.

But here, comrade Chicherin spoke on behalf of Soviet Russia, and suggested that an area be given to the Armenians in Crimea, on the banks of the Volga, and in Siberia. The State changed into the homeland, and the homeland was modified into colonies....[41]

The Armenian delegation, who could do no more in Lausanne, left the city, after having submitted a letter of protest to the Powers, on 2 February 1923.

The Lausanne Agreement was signed on 24 July 1923. There was no clause in it concerning the Armenians. Articles 37—44, which concerned minorities, would naturally apply to the Armenians as well. When the Turkish Civil Law was published, the Armenian community officially declared that they did not want to have for themselves the status of a minority. They preferred to live in Turkey like any other citizens. Since that day, not the slightest harm has been inflicted on the Armenians.

With the ‘deciaration and Protocol’ concerning the general amnesty annexed to the Lausanne Treaty, a general amnesty was declared for individuals who could be considered as having committed offences by their activities during the war. It was declared that of these individuals, only 150 would not be allowed to reside in Turkey, and the list of these 150 persons was announced. (Later, they were pardoned.)

It was decreed that people who resided in those countries that were separated from Turkey by the 31st article of the Lausanne Agreement, and who had automatically gained citizenship of that country by article 30, would have the right within two years to choose Turkish citizenship. Through these decrees, all the Armenians who were at that date outside Turkey, and who had retained Turkish citizenship, and those Armenians who were in those countries which separated from Turkey, obtained the right to return to Turkey if they wished.

We do not know whether any Armenians have returned to Turkey. But if they have, they are included in the community which lives in Turkey today.

Let us report here the answer given by Atatürk to a question asked by the American journalist Clarence K. Streit, on behalf of his newspaper, about the Armenians, on 4 February 1921:

Aside from the exaggerations claimed by those who are making antagonistic accusations, the question of the relocation of the Armenians actually consists of this.

Whwn the Russian Army had begun its great offensive against us in 1915, the Armenian Tashnak Committee, which was at the service of the Czarist regime, drove the Armenian community, which was behind our military units, to rebellion. Because we were forced to retreat, in face of the superiority in numbers and equipment of the enemy, we considered ourselves constantly as being between two fires. Our convoys of supply and wounded were massacred without mercy, the bridges and roads behind us were destroyed, and in the Turkish villages terror reigned.

The bands who committed these murders, and who took all the Armenians capable of bearing arms into their ranks, took advantage of the immunities given to them since peace time, though the capitulations, by some great powers, and they made all their transfers of arms, ammunition, and supplies, of which they had been successful in collecting large stocks, through the Armenian villages.

World public opinion, which was quite indifferent to the treatment of Ireland by Great Britain during peace time, and away from the war area, cannot make a justifiable accusation against us concerning the decision we were obliged to take regarding the relocation of the Armenian community.

In refutation of the accusations directed to us, those who were relocated are alive, and most of them would have returned to their homes, if the Allied Powers had not forced us to engage in war again.[42]

Article 6 of the general amnesty declaration which was signed in Lausanne stated: ‘The Turkish Government, which shares the desire for general peace with all the Powers, announces that it will not object to the measures implemented between 20 October 1918 and 20 November 1922, under the protection of the Allies, with the intention of bringing together again the families which were separated because of the war, and of returning possessions to their rightful owners.’ It is apparent that this article concerned the individuals who had been forced to emigrate, and who returned to their homes during the period of armistice and occupation. At that time, Turkey announced that these procedures, which were made under the control of the occupation powers, would be maintained without modification.

The 65th article of the Lausanne Agreement stipulated that the pos-sessions of individuals who had foreign citizenship when the war started, and whose possessions in Turkey had been confiscated, would be returned to them. The 95th article gave a deadline for inquiries on this matter.

Finally, articles 46—63 stated the liquidation of the debts of the Ottoman State. (The process of liquidation has ended.)

Today, no one has the right to make any kind of demand from Turkey about the events occurring before the signing of the Lausanne Treaty.
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ERAREN - Institute for Armenian Research

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