Saturday, September 27, 2008

What Happened On April 24, 1915?

Case Study On The Circular Of 24 Apr 1915 & Arrest Of The Armenian Committee Members In Istanbul

This article, after a short introduction, shall try to examine the arrest of Armenian committee members in Istanbul in accordance with the 24 April 1915 circular and the prosecutions about them, with reference to the Ottoman archives. .

Although the most powerful and influential Armenian political organization, the socialist Tasnaksutyun, which had also nationalist tendencies, officially took in its last congress in 1914 the decision to remain neutral during the war, a significant number of the Committee members, including certain influential Armenian MPs, left the Ottoman lands when the war broke out to join the voluntary troops formed by the Armenians in Russian territories. As expressed in the Ottoman official document (see Appendix I), the “Armenian committees have been working to accomplish autonomy for the Armenians by means of political and revolutionary societies” and they saw the War as an opportunity to materialise their goal; this eventually led them to cooperate with the Allied powers, primarily the Russians, against the Ottoman government.

At the outset of the War, the Ottoman government preferred to warn the leading Armenians with a view to appease them. For example, Talat Pasha warned Vartkes Efendi, the Erzurum representative, and prominent members of the Dashnak (Dashnaksutyun, Tashnak, Tashnag) committee while Enver Pasha talked to the Armenian Patriarch, both pointing out that the Ottoman government would have to take severe measures if the Armenians inclined towards revolutionary activities. Despite these warnings, Armenian representatives Vahan Papazyan and Karakin Pastırmacıyan moved to the Caucasus and fought against the Ottoman army, as did a number of Armenian volunteers. Like the two, many Armenian soldiers within the Ottoman army fled to join the volunteer Armenian troops in the Caucasia. The reports by German consulate include armed threat by the Armenian soldiers within the Ottoman army during the Caucasian campaign. Equally important, the Hunchak (Hinchak) chief Sabah Gulyan organized an assassination attempt against Talat Pasha that was prevented by the arrest of the conspirators in Istanbul in October 1914.

The Circular of April 24, 1915 and the Arrests

In spite of all the precautions, however, discovery of a number of bombs and weapons as a result of security searches carried out on several provinces, the government convicted that the Armenian organizations were in preparation for an all-out rebellion. Thus, the Ottoman Army Supreme Military Command delivered an instruction on 27 February 1915, stating that the capture of weapons, bombs and ciphered documents demonstrated the preparations for a revolt and ordering that the Armenian soldiers in the army must be kept away from armed duties and the necessary precautions must be taken everywhere, but also adding that loyal Armenians would not be harmed. Following the Ottoman defeat by the Russians in Eastern Anatolia and at a time when the war on the Dardanelles intensified from 18 March 1915 and Istanbul was under serious threat, the armed Armenian groups expanded their activities as well. This period witnessed the Van revolt after those of the Zeytun, Bitlis, Muş and Erzurum, and the increase of the massacres aimed at the Turkish-Muslim population in these areas. Some writers like Dadrian and Akçam, insisting on pre-mediation as a key element, have evaluated the events above as counter-movements against the relocation to be implemented in the near future.
The Ottoman government, subsequent to mentioned developments, had recourse to some measures to prevent the activities of the Armenian committees by taking them under control. Following the disarmament of the Armenian privates, the Ministry of Interior sent out an order that asked for the dismissal of the disloyal or unreliable Armenian policemen and officials from the office or their exile to the provinces without Armenian populations. However, since these measures did not produce the consequences desired, the government decided to close down the committees that had armed the Armenians and incited them to revolt, and to arrest their leaders. For this purpose, on 24 April 1915, the Ministry of Interior sent the famous circular to 14 vilayets or provinces and 10 mutasarrıfliks or counties. This circular ordered the closing of the Armenian committees, namely, Hınchak, Dashnak and the like, the seizure of their documents, the arrest of the chiefs of the committees and the Armenians notorious for their dissident activities, and the gathering in appropriate places of those whose existence in their present places were regarded dangerous.

The circular emphasized strongly that the authorities should keep a close eye on their areas not to allow any kind of internal strife between the Muslims and the Armenians in the provinces such as Bitlis, Erzurum, Sivas, Adana, Maraş. 24 April 1915, the date the Armenian diasporas in many countries commemorate every year as the Genocide Day, is the date this circular letter was sent out by the Ministry of Interior. On April 26, 1915, Ottoman Supreme Military Command sent a similar circular to the Ministry of War and army commanderships, asking them to meet any kind of demands of aid by government officials.

After the above-mentioned circular of the Ministry of Interior, some of those identified as members of the Dashnak, Hınchak and Ramgavar were placed under arrest in Istanbul. British intelligence reports confirm that the arrested Armenians were not ordinary citizens but all of them were committee members. According to the information received by the British Military Office in Egypt from Dedeağaç; on the night of April 24, 1915, 1.800 Armenians, including three Armenian men of religion and the patron of the Puzantion, the Armenian newspaper, would be sent to Ankara after their arrest. It was stated that 500 of them were Dashnak, another 500 Hınchak and the rest being Ramgavar partisans. In addition, in the ciphered telegrams sent on May 20 and 21, 1919 to Admiral Caltrophe, British High Commissioner to Istanbul, it was noted that the Armenians arrested on April 24, 1915 were the volunteers who either had served for the Allied armies or had been responsible for “the massacre of Muslims”. Likewise, Wangenheim, the then German Ambassador to Istanbul, says in the report he submitted to the German Chancellor on 30 April 1915 that there had been explosive materials, bombs and weapons in many Armenian houses and churches, and that the Armenians would carry out bomb attacks on the Sublime Port and several official buildings on 27 April 1915, during the anniversarial ceremony of Sultan Mehmed V’s accession to the throne. For this reason, Wangenheim reports, “approximately 500 Armenians, among them were doctors, journalists, men of religion, writers and representatives, had been arrested on the night of 24/25 April and sent to Anatolia.” While an American document gives the number of arrests on this day as 100 , a telegram sent from Thessalonica to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France on 8 May 1915 states that 2.500 leading Armenians were arrested in Istanbul and a number of bombs and documents were captured as a result of police search in their houses, adding that the aim of the Armenian revolutionary societies was to kill Enver and Talat Pashas with the support of the Allied powers and to cause a panic among the Muslim people through assassinations by using dynamites. According to Esat Uras, of 77.735 Armenian settled in Istanbul only 2.345 were arrested for their participation in revolutionary movements, while the rest were occupied with their business in peace. Kamuran Gürün notes that upon the directive of the 24 April circular letter of the Ministry of Interior, 2.345 Armenian were arrested in Istanbul. However, in the English publication of the book, the number is given as 235. To Taner Akçam, 235 important personages of the Armenian community were arrested on 24 April 1915. This was followed by 600 further arrests. Akçam says that the Ottoman Government announced the arrest of 2.345 Armenians in Istanbul on 24 May. Similarly, Guenter Lewy talks about arrest of several hundreds Armenian committee leaders in Istanbul comprising deputies, politicians, ministers, journalists, physicians etc. Though the above-mentioned sources agreed on the point that those arrested in Istanbul were not ordinary Armenians but were committee members, they give very different figures regarding the arrests.
It is also noted that during the police searches carried out the aftermath of the 24 April circular the following arms were found in İstanbul: 19 Mauser guns, 74 Martini rifles, 111 Winchester guns, 96 maniher, 78 gıra, 358 filovir, 3.591 pistols and 45.221 pistol bullets. All these weapons were delivered to military warehouses in case that the army needed them.

Armenians Subjected to Compulsory Residence in Çankırı

Ottoman documents show that the number of the arrests increased from 180 to 235 between the dates 24 April 1915 and 24 May 1916. The ciphered message sent by the Ministry of Interior to the governorship of Ankara province on 25 April 1915 states that in the train numbered 164 to Ankara, about 180 Armenians, who were committee chiefs and whose stay in İstanbul was considered dangerous, would be consigned to Ankara that day accompanied by a task force of 75 men, including 15 policemen, 2 officers, 1 police superintendent and one 1 official. Some 60-70 of these Armenians would be imprisoned in the Ayaş military warehouse and about 100 of the rest would be sent to Çankırı via Ankara for compulsory residence. The dispatch of the Armenians subjected to compulsory residence in Çankırı continued at intervals at the end of April and during the first week of May. For instance, according to a document sent from Çankırı governorship to the General Directorate of Security on 30 June 1915, the number of the Armenians in Çankırı is given as 140. The same document also notes that the new-comers wandered about the town freely, that they were scattered into the houses as groups of three to five men, and that even some of them were residing in the summerhouses around the town which took half an hour walk from the town. The only thing that they did was to show up in the police station every twenty-four hours. The same document states further that the needy among the exiles in Çankırı were provided with daily payments from the funds allocated by the Ministry of Interior. To give an example, a document sent from the Kastamonu province to the Ministry of Interior, it was stated Arşak son of Mardiros applied for daily payment; if his request were to be accepted an investigation should be made about whether he was needy or not. Similarly, in yet another document, Arşak Diradoryan, an exile in Çankırı, asks for daily payment explaining that he was in need.

The Armenian subjected to compulsory residence as committee members in Çankırı themselves or their relatives petitioned to the Ottoman government claiming their innocence and asking for their release. Having examined these petitions carefully Ottoman central government set free those found innocent, the foreign nationals and the ill. For instance, upon the order of the Ministry of Interior, Vahram Torkumyan, Agop Nargileciyan, Karabet Keropoyan, Zare Bardizbanyan, Pozant Keçiyan, Pervant Tolayan, Rafael Karagözyan and Vartabet Gomidas were released and were granted permission to return to Istanbul. A monument was built in Paris in memory of Vartabet Gomidas, one of those in the first group set free. Gomidas’ compulsory dwelling in Çankırı was for 13 days. He became ill after his return to Istanbul and applied to the Ministry of Interior on 30 August 1917 to travel to Vienna for treatment. He was duly given the permission and went to Vienna in September 1917.
In another case, Diran Dilakyan, one of those exiled to Çankırı, was released on the condition that he would live with his family somewhere outside of Istanbul. Again, on 29 May Hayık Hocasaryan , on 27 June Agop Begleryan and Vartanes Papasyan were set free , while, released by the order of the Ministry of Interior, Serkis Cevahiryan, Kirkor Celalyan, Bağban Bardiz and 14 other prisoners returned to Istanbul. Furthermore, on 18 July three prisoners and on 10 August 1915 Apik Canbaz was granted permission for their return to Istanbul. In the same way, Vahan Altunyan and Ohannes Terlemezyan, exiled to Kayseri from Çankırı, were released and allowed to return to Istanbul.
Apart from those allowed to return to Istanbul, a Bulgarian subject, Bedros Manukyan, an Iranian subject Mıgırdıç Istepnıyan and a Russian subject Leon Kigorkyan were set free to to be expelled from the Ottoman lands. Besides, some Armenians such as Serkis Şahinyan, Ohannes Hanisyan, Artin Boğasyan and Zara Mumcuyan were pardoned on the condition that they would leave Istanbul for good. A member of Dashnak committee, Serkis Kılınçyan, having been pardoned and given permission to go to Eskişehir, first escaped to Istanbul; then, with the help of a German firm Grupi, he fled to Bulgaria, where he went on carrying out his activities. Some of the Armenians in Çankırı were sent to prison in Ayaş while some others were exiled to different places like Ankara, İzmit, Bursa, Eskişehir and Kütahya. The rest were dispatched to the relocation center of Zor.
On 31 August 1915, the governorship of Kastamonu sent a detailed report to the Ministry of Interior, including the list of the names of the Armenians exiled to Çankırı and the procedures regarding them. In this list, the total number of the Armenians subjected to compulsory residence in Çankırı between 24 April and 31 August 1915 is given as 155. Of these, thirty-five Armenians were decided to be innocent and, after having been set free they returned to Istanbul. On the other hand, twenty-five of the Armenians in Çankırı were found guilty and imprisoned in Ankara and Ayaş whereas fifty-seven Armenians were exiled to the Zor region. As for the seven foreign nationals, some were released to be deported from the Ottoman lands while others were kept under arrest. Most of the rest were pardoned and consigned to places like Izmit, Izmir, Eskişehir, Kütahya and Bursa.

The Armenians Imprisoned in Ayaş

As already touched upon, approximately 70 of the Armenians arrested as committee members in Istanbul were sent to the Ayaş military warehouse. Unfortunately, no document giving a complete list of them exists. However, the petition for pardon forwarded by Kris Fenerciyan, an Armenian prisoner in Ayaş, addressed to Ismail Canpolat Bey, the General Director of Security, shows that the number of the Armenian prisoners in Ayaş as 70. On the other hand, an examination of the petitions for pardon and giving power of attorney by the Armenian prisoners in Ayaş reveals their number as 60, while a different source, a list prepared by Istanbul General Directorate of Security, gives the names of 71 Armenian prisoners in Ayaş.
The inconsistencies regarding the numbers in these sources stems from the fact that some of the Armenians in question were sent to different provinces for trial while some were released. Also there were those dispatched from İstanbul, Çankırı and Ankara to be imprisoned in Ayaş. For example, in an official document written by the Ministry of Interior, the Bureau of Accounting was asked to transfer 2.897 kurush to the Governorship of Ankara to meet the transport expenses of the committee members to Ayaş and Çankırı. If we look at the details regarding these men we see that the Ministry sent Hamparsum Boyacıyan, the Kozan representative, to Kayseri , Marzaros Gazaryan, the director of the Yenikapı Armenian School, to Develi , A. Dağavaryan, the Sivas representative to Diyarbakır to be tried in the Court Martial , Haçik Boğusyan to Ankara for trial and Hırant Ağacanyan to Istanbul. Two of them, viz. Teodor Manzikyan and Akrik Keresteciyan were sent to Zor, while Şahbaz Parsih was exiled to Elazığ to be imprisoned there. Leon Şirinyan, a US citizen, was deported. In a rather different case, Viram Şabuh Samuelof and Rotsum Rostusyon were first released but later prosecuted. A certain Hayik Tiryakyan was arrested as he was taken for the owner of the Azadamard newspaper, his namesake, but when this was discovered he was released. In a similar case, Doctor Allahverdiyan, arrested mistakenly instead of his son, was also set free. In yet another case, Akrik Keresteciyan was sent to Zor where he was released soon.

It appears that, the Armenians dispatched to Ayaş were kept under arrest throughout the WWI for they all were members of the executive board of the Hınchak and Dashnak parties. Thus, Dikran son of Serkis Bağdıkyan, a Dashnak member, died on 9 March 1918 in Ayaş while Andon Ponasyan, a Dashnak propagandist, submitted a petition for pardon on April 8, 1918 asking for his return to Istanbul but not accepted. Only after the signing of the Mudros Armistice did Karnik Madukyan, Kirkor Hamparsumyan and Pantuvan Parzisyan have the chance to be discharged on 10 November 1918. The rest would be freed after the Allied Powers took control of the Ottoman Empire following the armistice.

Number of the Armenian Committee Members in Istanbul and Prosecutions About Them

It is clear that from the beginning of the WWI the Ottoman Internal Security Organization closely watched the activities of the Armenian committees and their members in Istanbul and prepared a very detailed list of them. Completed probably by August 1916 the list contained the names of some leading Armenians as committee members in Istanbul, their occupations and duties in their respective committees, and inquiries and/or prosecutions about them. According to the list, out of 610 Armenian committee members centered in Istanbul ; 356 were members of the Dashnak Party while the rest were members of the Hınchak (173 persons), the Ramgavar (72 persons) and other (9 persons) Armenian committees and communities.
As already mentioned, about 235 Armenias, whose names and addresses were listed as committee members beforehand, were dispatched in accordance with the 24 April 1915 circular to Çankırı and Ayaş following their arrest. Because most of the Armenians subjected to compulsory residence in Çankırı were released during the preparation of the list of the year 1916, only 60 of them were recorded to be in Çankırı and 71 in Ayaş. Most of those mentioned in the above-mentioned list could not be found in their addresses and it was established that some others had fled abroad. The number of those who had fled abroad appears to have been 44, and 14 foreign subjects were exiled from the country on the condition of no return. Of those arrested, 53 Armenians, most of them were in obligatory residence in Çankırı and Ayaş, and suspected of having ties with İzmit events, were sent to İzmit for interrogation and trial. Some of the rest were subjected to compulsory residence in Zor, Konya, Elazığ, Diyarbakır, Kayseri etc or would face trial at military tribunal.
For the first phase of the 24 April 1915 circular, 235 Armenian committee members were sent to Çankırı and Ayaş. The answering letter submitted by the Ottoman government on May 24 to the Allied powers as a response to the diplomatic note sent by them questioning the Armenian massacres states that 235 of the 77.735 Armenians living in Istanbul had been arrested for their participation in revolutionary movements while the rest were occupied with their business in peace. Therefore, the number of the arrests till 24 May 1915 must be accepted as 235. However, if the Armenians exiled out of Istanbul in the course of relocation (for example, the Ottoman Representatives Krikor Zohrab and Seringulian Vartkes were exiled to Diyarbakır) are also considered it is acceptable to claim that, between the dates 24 April 1915 – August 1916, approximately 290 Armenians were arrested as committee members and prosecutions carried out on them.

An elaboration of the sources shows that Esat Uras is the first one to suggest the number 2.345 for the arrests in Istanbul following the 24 April circular. Uras, however, do not give any reference to a source, but, the expressions he used seem to be quoted from Ermeni Komitecilerinin Amâl ve Harekât-İhtilâliyesi, İlân-ı Meşrutiyetten Evvel ve Sonra, (Istanbul, 1916, p. 242).

It is known that, similar with Istanbul, on several provinces and sub-provinces some Armenians were also arrested as in accordance with the 24 April circular , however, their ezamination remains outside the scope pf the present study which focuses only on the arrests in Istanbul.

Concluding Remarks

For the Armenians arrested on 24 April 1915 in Istanbul, Lewy says that end of those Armenians are not clear, that is, most of them seem to be massacred or exiled. Similarly, Akçam argues that some of them were died under police supervision because of torture, and most of the rest were hanged on places open to public to intimidate people. Nikolay Hovhannisyan also talks about arrest of 800 Armenians without an official accusation on April 24 and massacre of them all on the road of relocation or on their destination, without providing any evidence.
According to the Ottoman archival documents examined above, 38 of the Armenians arrested in Istanbul (35 in Çankırı 3 in Ayaş), were found innocent and set free. Some 300 others so released from trial because they could not be found at their addresses. Most of the Armenians under arrest were relocated on the centers like Zor, Konya, Elazığ, Bursa and Diyarbakır. Until the end of the WWI, 71 Armenians were kept under arrest as committee members in Ayaş; one of them, Serkis Bağdıkyan, died on 9 May 1918 in Ayaş prison.

The Ottoman government sent out commissions of inquiry to examine the improper treatments against the Armenians being relocated. For example, Military Court of Syria charged Sirozlu (Çerkez) Ahmed and his friend (Galatalı) Halil, for killing the Armenian deputies Krikor Zohrab and Seringulan Vartkes, who had been sent to Diyarbakır by the order of the Ministry of Interior, and subjected them to death penalty that were executed in Damascus. Charges during the relocation were not limited these. In the years 1915-1916 1673 individuals were trailed by court-martials for abuses against Armenians. Among them 528 were soldiers and policemen, 170 were official and the rest 975 were bandits. 67 of them were subjected to death penalty –two of them were executed, 524 were sentenced to prison, and 68 were subjected to several punishments like condemnation to galleys, fine and exile.
Military Court of Istanbul trailed a group of Armenians on June 5, 1915 for crimes of carrying out assassinations for their goals, an autonomous Armenia, and making attempts to dissociate some part of the Empire, among whom 20 Armenians - 2 of them by name only- were subjected to death penalty according to the 54th article of the Ottoman Criminal Code. These 18 Armenians who were hanged following the Sultan’s approval on June 15 consisted of not only the members of committees in Istanbul, but also ones in Tekirdağ, Samsun, Giresun, Bitlis, Kayseri, Kilis and Bilecik. For the other charges: Hamparsum Boyacıyan was subjected to death penalty, Sevariş Misakyan and Arakil Mike was sentenced to prison for 5 years, Ağnadyos Andonyan for 4 years and Samoil Tarpanyan for 3 years. Moreover, Leon Ersabanyan was sentenced to prison for five years, and Emirza Toros Ketenciyan and Aşud Tataryan were exiled to Bursa, Aranis (Agopof) to Zor and Istepan Asadoryan to Dimyat. Some other committee members, among them were Haçik Boğusyan, Hrant Ağacanyan, Armenak Leonyan, Parsih Şahbazyan, Nerses Zakaryan and Vavader Mikailyan, were also sent to the military courts to be charged, but there exist no decisive documents regarding the decisions relating to these charges.
To conclude, although the Ottoman government closed down the Armenian committees in question and arrested some of their members, the Armenian revolutionary activities and cooperation with the Allied powers continued during the war in different forms both in and outside of the Ottoman territories. Ottoman government’s decision to relocate entire Armenian population, who were living primarily within the war zone, to distant provinces was gradually expanded towards the Armenians of other provinces of Anatolia and Rumelia, the results of which are still a subject of heated debates among historians.


Dâhiliye Nezâreti
Emniyyet-i Umûmiyye Müdîriyeti

Müsta`cel, mahrem, bi`z-zât halli
Edirne Vilâyetine Urfa Mutasarrıflığına
Erzurum " İzmit “
Adana " Bolu “
Ankara " Canik “
Aydın " Karesi “
Bitlis " Kayseri “
Halep " Niğde “
Hüdâvendigar " Eskişehir “
Diyarbekir " Karahisar-ı sahip
Sivas " Maraş “
Trabzon "
Konya "

Ermeni komitelerinin Memâlik-i Osmaniye`deki teşkîlât-ı ihtilâliye ve siyâsiyeleriyle öteden beri kendilerine muhtâriyet-i idare te`minine ma`tûf olan teşebbüsleri ve i`lân-ı harbi müte`âkib Taşnak Komitesi`nin Rusya`da bulunan Ermenilerin derhâl aleyhimize harekete ve Memâlik-i Osmaniye`deki Ermenilerin dahi ordunun duçâr-ı za`fiyet olmasına intizâr ederek o zaman bütün kuvvetleriyle ihtilâl eylemelerine dâ`ir ittihâz ettikleri mukarrerâtları ve her fırsatdan istifâde etmek suretiyle memleketin hayât ve istikbâline te`sîr edecek hareket-i hâ`inâneye cür`etleri bi`1-hassa devletin hâl-i harbde bulunduğu şu sırada Zeytun ile Bitlis, Sivas ve Van`da vuku` bulan hâdisât-ı ahire-i ısyâniye ile bir kere daha te`yîd etmiş ve esasen merkezleri memâlik-i ecnebiyede bulunan ve el-yevm unvanlarında bile ihtilâlcilik sıfatını muhafaza eden bütün bu komiteler mesâ`isinin hükümet aleyhine olarak her türlü esbâb ü vesâ`ita mürâca`at suretiyle netice-i amalleri olan muhtariyeti istihsâl maksadı etrafında toplandığı ve Kayseri ve Sivas ile mahâl-i sâ`irede meydâna çıkarılan bombalarla ve Rus Ordusu`ndan gönüllü alayları teşkil ederek Ruslarla birlikte memlekete saldıran ve an-asl Osmanlı memleketi ahâlisinden olan Ermeni komite rü`esâsının harekâtı ve Ordu-yı Osmâni`yi arkadan tehdîd etmek suretiyle ve pek büyük bir mikyâsda alınan tertibat ve neşriyatları ile tahakkuk eylemişdir. Bi`t-tabi` hükümet kendisi içün bir mes`ele-i hayatiyet teşkil eden bu kâbil tertibat ve teşebbüsâtın temâdisine hiçbir zaman nazar-ı ağmaz ve müsâmaha ile bakamayacağı, menba`-ı mefsedet olan komitelerin hâlâ mevcudiyetini meşru` telakki edemiyeceği cihetle, bi`1-umûm teşkîlât-ı siyâsiyenin ilgâsına lüzûm-ı `âcil hissetmiştir. Binâ`en aleyh Hınçak, Taşnak ve emsali komitelerin vilâyet dahilindeki şu`âbâtının derhâl sedleri ile şu`be merkezlerinde bulunacak evrak ve vesâ`ikın kat`iyyen zıya` ve imhasına imkân bırakılmayarak müsaderesi ve komiteler rü`esâ ve erkânından müteşebbis eşhas ile hükümetçe tanılan mühim ve muzır Ermenilerin hemân tevkîfi ve bulundukları mahallerde devâm-ı ikâmetlerinde mahzûr görülenlerin vilâyet sancak dâhilinde münâsib görülecek mevâkı`da toplatdırılarak firarlarına imkân bırakılmaması ve icâb eden mahallerde silâh taharrisine başlanılarak her türlü hâl ve ihtimâle karşı kumandanlarla bi`1-muhâbere kuvvetli bulunulması ve icrâ`âtın hüsn-i tatbîki esbâbının te`mîn ve istikmâliyle zuhûr edecek evrâk ve vesâ`ikin tedkîki neticesinde tevkîf olunan eşhâsın divân-ı harblere tevdî`î Ordu-yı Hümâyûn Başkumandanlığı vekâletiyle bi`1-müzâkere tekarrür etmiş olmağla îcâb eden tedâbirin bi`l-etrâf istikmâliyle derhâl tatbiki ve tevkîf olunan eşhas adediyle icrâ`âtdan peyderpey ma`lûmât i`tâsı *(ve şu icrâ`ât sırf komitelerin teşebbüsâtına karşı bir hareket mâhiyetini hâ`iz olmasına binâ`en buna ahâlî-i- İslâmiye ile Ermeni unsuru arasında mukâteleyi intâc edeceği bir şekil verilmemesi) kemâl-i ehemmiyetle tavsiye olunur.

Fî 11 Nisan 1331

*İçinde bulunan ve üstleri çizilen cümle yalnız, Bitlis, Erzurum, Sivas, Adana, Maraş içün yazılacaktır


The Ottoman Government
General Directorate of Security
Urgent, secret

The Ciphered Letter to Edirne, Erzurum, Adana, Ankara, Aydin, Bitlis, Halep, Bursa, Sivas, Trabzon, Konya, Elazig and Van (Province) governorships, Urfa, Izmit, Bolu, Samsun, Balikesir, Kayseri, Nigde, Eskisehir, Afyon and Maras (Sub-province)governorships.

It is known that the Armenian committees have been working to accomplish political autonomy for the Armenians by means of several political and revolutionary societies. Immediately after the beginning of the War, the Dashnak committee got the Armenians living in Russia into action against the Ottoman Empire. Similarly, the Armenians within the Empire were waiting for the weakening of the Ottoman army to attack with all their might to raise a rebellion. They were making use of any opportunity and were so courageous for the treacherous activities against the existence and future of the country. Particularly, the last rebellious events that occurred in Zeytun, Bitlis, Sivas and Van at a time when the Empire is in war once again confirmed this attitude of Armenian. These Armenian communities, whose administrative centers are abroad and whose names conserve their revolutionary characters, acted in accordance with the target of obtaining the autonomy, their final aim, by causing whatever means at their disposal against the Ottoman government. Moreover, plans of the Armenians became clear with the help of several occurrences such as the bombs discovered in Kayseri, Sivas and some other provinces; the activities of the Armenian committee chiefs, who are Ottoman citizens in origin and attacked the country with the Russians by organizing volunteer regiments; threatening the Ottoman army from the back as well as a great deal of preparation and publication directed towards the above-mentioned target. Naturally, the government felt the urgent need of abolishing all these communities since it could no longer ignore such preparations and attempts against the existence of the Empire and that it could not recognize these sources of defeatism, namely the Armenian committees. Because of this reason, it is attentively recommended that the following measures determined in consultation with the Chief Command of the Imperial Army should be taken:

-Closure of the branches of the Hunchak, Dashnak and other committees in the provincial centers,

-Capture and confiscation of the documents found in the provincial branches of these committees without giving any opportunity for their loss and destruction,

-Immediate capture and arrest of the leading committee chiefs and the Armenians considered by the government as mischievous,

-Gathering of the Armenians whose existence in their present places is regarded dangerous in secure places of provinces and sub-provinces without leaving any room for them to escape,

-To search weapons in the places that seemed necessary and to be in a strong position by communicating with the commanders against any contingency,

-To provide the required conditions for the good management of the measures,

-To transfer the Armenians arrested as a consequence of the investigation through the captured documents to the courts-martial for trial.

These must be implemented immediately and reports regarding the number of the prisoners and the operations must be sent to the Ministry. Finally, because these measures are only taken against the attempts of the Armenian committees, they must not be applied in a way to cause mutual killings between the Muslim people and the Armenian community.*

April 24,1915


Kastamonu Province
Chief Secretary
About the Armanians in Çankırı

To the Ministry of Interior


His Excellency

This is the enclosure of the ciphered telegram dated August 6, 1915 with the number 443.

The record that was sent from Çankırı having the names of the Armenians in Çankırı and the procedure regarding them is given. And the command belongs unto him to whom all commanding belongs.

August 31, 1915 The Governor of Kastamonu

1. Puzant Keçyan Excused on May 8, 1915 and went to Istanbul
2. Yervant Tolayan “
3. Karabet Girobyan “
4. Zara Badizbanyan “
5. Agop Nargileciyan “
6. Vahran Torkomyan “
7. Komitas Vartabet “
8. Rafael Karagözyan “
9. Zara Mumcuyan Went to Istanbul under protection on May 27, 1915
10. Karabet Sarrafyan Went to Ankara under protection on May 27, 1915
11. Leon Badizbanyan Went to Ankara under protection on May 30, 1915 to be sent to Ayaş
12. Haçik Hocasaryan Went to Istanbul freely on 31 May 1915
13. Agop Topcıyan “
14. Hayk Tirakyan? Went to Ankara under protection on 8 May 1915 to be sent to Ayaş
15. Doktor Haçik Bogosyan Went to Ankara under protection on 22 June 1915
16. Agop Beğleryan Went to Istanbul freely on 29 June 1915
17. Vartanes Papasyan “
18. İstepan Tataryan Went to Ankara under protection on July 1, 1915 to be sent to Kayseri
19. Nişan Kalfayan Went to Istanbul freely on July 11, 1915 with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated June 29, 1915
20. Armenak Kantarcıyan “
21. Meklit Bükciyan “
22. Misak Serkis Cevahirciyan “
23. Armenak Topcıyan “
24. Bağnak Badizbanyan “
25. Aram Kalender “
26. Hayk Zabcıyan? “
27. Manuk Basmacıyan “
28. Bedros Yovanyan “
29. Karnik İnciciyan “
30. Avanis Zarifyan “
31. Avanis Barsamyan “
32. Doktor Kirkor Celalyan “
33. Asador Manyasyan veledi Haçik “
34. Karabet Beğleryan “
35. Parsih Dinamyan “
36. Bedros veledi Manuk “
37. Ohannes Mardiros Arslanyan Went to Ankara under protection on July 11, 1915 to be sent to Zor with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated June 29, 1915
38. Yervant veledi Ohan Sürenyan “
39. Agop Ohannes Asadoryan “
40. Arsak veledi Mardiros Muradyan “
41. Parnak veledi Kigork Marhanyan “
42. Mardiros veledi Ohannes Yazıcıyan “
43. Afrik Serkis Keresteciyan “
44. Ovakim veledi Harutyun veledi Agabeğyan “
45. Dikran Hamparsum Bogobelyan “
46. Arşen Agop Sadefciyan “
47. Dikrayel veledi İsrail “
48. Kirkor Mardiros Taşcıyan “
49. Haçik veledi Agop “
50. Berdoven veledi Agya? “
51. Hırant veledi Mıkır “
52. Arsak Mıgırdıç Hoşuryan “
53. Arsak Karabet Arakilyan “
54. Mihran veledi Agop Keçeciyan “
55. Vahan Arsak Çarıkcıyan “
56. Serab veledi Margos Tunyan “
57. Leon veledi Agya “
58. Frangül veledi Artin “
59. Aram Karabet Gedikyan “
60. Zenop Karabet Avakyan “
61. Artin (Namı diğer Koçu) veledi Haçator Arzumyan “
62. Kunduracı Manuk Mikayil Buracyan “
63. Ohannes Bedros Hacı Hamparsumyan “
64. Manuk veledi Kirkor “
65. Sehak veledi Karakin “
66. Ohannes Dertavidyan “
67. Manuel Karakeşişyan “
68. Ohannes Artin Hanisyan “
69. Serkis Keçeciyan “
70. Kurukahveci Kirkor Hazar Celalyan “
71. Serope Semerciyan “
72. Mıgırdıç Avadis “
73. Agyos Taşcıyan “
74. Leon Rakıcıyan “
75. Parsih Deveciyan “
76. Serkis Bağdasar “
77. Mikail Şerbetciyan namı diğeri Mike Kigork “
78. Karabet veledi Takover Hırabetyan Went to Ankara under protection on July 11, 1915 with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated June 29, 1915
79. Armenak veledi Bogos Sıvacıyan “
80. Kirkor veledi Ohannes Agobof “
81. Samuel Tohumcıyan “
82. Ermanak Parsihyan “
83. Leonik Serkis Daranbanyan “
84. Beznik veledi Artin “
85. Asator Serkis Arsenyan “
86. Serkis Kirkor Şahinyan “
87. Milkon Gülbenanyan Went to Istanbul freely on July 15, 1915
88. Mosis Bedrosyan Went to Ankara under protection on July 31, 1915
89. Apik Canbaz Went to Istanbul freely on August 12, 1915
90. Agop Bogos veledi Koryan Went to Istanbul freely on August 12, 1915
91. Ohannes Terlemezyan “
92. Vahan Altunyan veledi Agop “
93. Tatyus Köseyan “
94. Arastakiz İsrailyan Went to Ankara on August 19, 1915 to go to Bursa, with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated August 4, 1915
95. Mıkırdıç Basmacıyan veledi Mihran Went to Ankara on August 19, 1915 to be sent to Izmit
96. Leon Kigorkyan (Rus tebası) Sent to Ankara under protection on August 19, 1915 with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated August 4, 1915 as being a foreign citizen
97. Kigork Kigorkyan (Rus tebası) “
98. Mihran Kigorkyan “
99. Artin Kalfayan (İran tebası) “
100. Bedros Balyan “
101. Sehak Mosisyan “
102. Mıgırdıç İstepanyan “
103. Leon Agababyan Went to Ankara under protection on August 19, 1915 to be sent to Zor with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated August 4, 1915
104. Mihran Haçik Debbağyan “
105. Doktor İstepan Miskciyan “
106. Eczacı Agop Terziyan “
107. Eczacı Kirkor Miskciyan “
108. Nerses Aşafsor? “
109. Haçator Nacaryan “
110. Mihran Pastırmacıyan “
111. Aram Andonyan “
112. Vahram Altunyan “
113. Barob Arzumyan “
114. Kozmoz Beğlikciyan “
115. Nersis Derkigorkyan “
116. Aram Kirkoryan “
117. Bedros Beğleryan “
118. Kirkor Eseyan “
119. Diran Kelekyan Excused by the order of the Ministry of Interior dated August 4, 1915 and will go to the center of Izmir
120. Rahib Vahan Karabetyan “
121. Aram Papazbanyan “
122. Mikail Şamdancıyan “
123. Kasbar Hirant? “
124. İstepan veledi Ohannes Babinyan Will go to Bandırma with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated August 4, 1915
125. Yervant Çavuşyan Will go to Izmit with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated August 4, 1915 in the context of general amnesty
126. Vartas Atanasyan “
127. Rahib Kirkor Balakyan Will go to Ermişe Monestry through Izmit with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated August 4, 1915 in the context of general amnesty
128. Serkis Kılınccıyan Will go to Eskişehir through Ankara in the context of general amnesty
129. Doktor Emrize Ketenciyan “
130. Nişan veledi Agop Nehabedyan Will go to Izmit through Ankara in the context of general amnesty
131. Kigork Goncagülyan Will go to Eskişehir through Ankara in the context of general amnesty
132. Ohannes Güleyan? “
133. Kirkor Ohangiyan “
134. Aram Ohangiyan “
135. Leon Ohangiyan “
136. Karakin Ohangiyan “
137. Papaz Vartan Karagözyan Will go to Izmit through Ankara in the context of general amnesty
138. Azarik veledi Ohannes Bülbülciyan Will go to Eskişehir through Ankara in the context of general amnesty
139. Simon Milkonyan “
140. Haçik Haçatoryan “
141. Bedros veledi Andon Manuelyan Will go to Ankara in the context of general amnesty
142. Yervant Basmacıyan Will go to Kastamonu in the context of general amnesty
143. Nişan Gülistanyan “
144. Bogos veledi Agop Taniyelyan Will go to Izmit through Ankara in the context of general amnesty
145. Doktor Arsak Kızasyan “
146. Vahram Asatoryan “
147. Kirkor Saçyan Will go to Geyve in the context of general amnesty
148. Aram Saçyan Will go to Kütahya in the context of general amnesty
149. Papas Osik Kaçuni “
150. İstepan Pulcıyan Will go to Eskişehir through Ankara in the context of general amnesty
151. Rupen Çilingiryan Will go to Ayaş under protection with the order of the Ministry of Interior dated August 4, 1915
152. Vahan Kahyayan veledi Antaş? “
153. Onnik Mağazacıyan “
154. Danyel Çubukkıryan “
155. Artin Bogosyan “


No: Name, title and name of the father Connected Committee
1 Onnik Veled-i Sahak Mağazacıyan [Zirayir] Dashnaksutyun
2 Artin Hasakoryan Dashnaksutyun
3 Agop Küfeciyan Dashnaksutyun
4 Avram Bazcanyan Dashnaksutyun
5 A. Marzabet (the other name: Hazarosyan)
veled-i Manuk, Osmanlı Dashnaksutyun
6 Abraham Harikyan Dashnaksutyun
7 Artin Kondilyan veled-i Ohannes Dashnaksutyun
8 Ohannes Toryan Hunchak
9 Agop Avedisyan [Arzeroni] Dashnaksutyun
10 Ardaşes Ferahyan Dashnaksutyun
11 Ohannes Kılcıyan veled-i Tavid Hunchak
12 Aristaki Kasparyan Dashnaksutyun
13 Avram (the other name:Agop) Şahinyan veled-i Karabet Hunchak
14 İstepan Kürekçiyan Dashnaksutyun
15 Onnik Serabyan veled-i Kirkor Dashnaksutyun
16 Aram Hacıyan veled-i Mıgırdıç Hunchak
17 İskender Karaağaçlıyan veled-i Karnik Aleksadr Hunchak
18 Armenak veled-i Kigork Arakelyan Dashnaksutyun
19 Artin Kalenderyan veled-i Avadis Dashnaksutyun
20 Aram Hamparsumyan Dashnaksutyun
21 Bogosyan Haçik veled-i Karabet Hunchak
22 Bedros Bedrosyan [Safo] Hunchak
23 Bedros Kalfayan Dashnaksutyun
24 Yervant Palasyan (the other name: Emirza Malik Muradyan) Dashnaksutyun
25 Parsih Şahbazyan Dashnaksutyun
26 Partoh Çopukyan [Jirayir] Dashnaksutyun
27 Palancıyan H. Hunchak
28 Teodor Menzikyan Dashnaksutyun
29 Haçator Malimyan (Agatoni) Dashnaksutyun
30 Hayik Tiryakyan veled-i İstepan [Avram Şahin] Dashnaksutyun
31 Hamparsum Hamparsumyan Dashnaksutyun
32 Hamarasp Panosyan Dashnaksutyun
33 Harenet Gürciyan veled-i Melkon Dashnaksutyun
34 Haçik İdareciyan veled-i Avadis Dashnaksutyun
35 Dikran Çukuryan Dashnaksutyun
36 Dikran veled-i Ohannes Sıvacıyan Dashnaksutyun
37 Dağdaryan Nazret veled-i Nehabet Hunchak
38 Dinanyan Parsih veled-i Mosis Dashnaksutyun
39 Rupen Zartaryan Dashnaksutyun
40 Rostom Rostomyan Dashnaksutyun
41 Jak Saybalyan Dashnaksutyun
42 Serkis Minasyan [Emadoni] Dashnaksutyun
43 Serkisof veled-i Mosis Dashnaksutyun
44 Seçad Poradder Gazar Dashnaksutyun
45 Serupe Nevradonkyan Dashnaksutyun
46 Serkis Parsihyan Dashnaksutyun
47 Serkis veled-i Manuk Keçiyan Dashnaksutyun
48 Şavaraş Hrisyan Dashnaksutyun
49 Karakin Kayacıyan [Mıgırdıc] Hajak Dashnaksutyun
50 Karabet Paşayan Dashnaksutyun
51 Hosyan Karakin Veled-i Serkis Hunchak
52 Kris Fenerciyan Dashnaksutyun
53 Kigam Parsihyan Dashnaksutyun
54 Kigork Tercümanyan Dashnaksutyun
55 Leon Bardizbanyan Dashnaksutyun
56 Leon Larinç Veregozimal (Deregazima) Hunchak
57 Mühürtad Haykozon Dashnaksutyun
58 Mihran Artinyan Dashnaksutyun
59 Mosis Sahakyan Dashnaksutyun
60 Manuk Hanikyan veled-i Barnak Dashnaksutyun
61 Mıgırdıç Ohannes Şahinyan Hunchak
62 Mıgırdıç Karabet Karabetyan Hunchak
63 Nersis Papazyan Dashnaksutyun
64 Nersis Zakaryan Hunchak
65 Nişan Oryan veled-i Agop Hunchak
66 Nişan Padikyan Dashnaksutyun
67 Nişan Kalcıyan Dashnaksutyun
68 Viram Şabuh Samoilof Dashnaksutyun
69 Viram Şabuh Arabyan Dashnaksutyun
70 Harotyan Şahrikyan [Avram Şahin] Dashnaksutyun
71 Penodo Şahin Veled-i Aranos Dashnaksutyun

Assoc. Prof. Yusuf SARINAY

by Assoc. Prof. Yusuf SARINAY*