In April 1915 the Ottoman government embarked upon the systematic decimation of its civilian Armenian population. The persecutions continued with varying intensity until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. The Armenian population of the Ottoman state was reported at about two million in 1915. An estimated one million had perished by 1918, while hundreds of thousands had become homeless and stateless refugees. By 1923 virtually the entire Armenian population of Anatolian Turkey had disappeared.
The Ottoman Empire was ruled by the Turks who had conquered lands extending across West Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe. The Ottoman government was centered in Istanbul (Constantinople) and was headed by a sultan who was vested with absolute power. The Turks practiced Islam and were a martial people. The Armenians, a Christian minority, lived as second class citizens subject to legal restrictions which denied them normal safeguards. Neither their lives nor their properties were guaranteed security. As non-Muslims they were also obligated to pay discriminatory taxes and denied participation in government. Scattered across the empire, the status of the Armenians was further complicated by the fact that the territory of historic Armenia was divided between the Ottomans and the Russians.
via Armenian Genocide.
2/21/1914 Time line
A Turkish boycott of Armenian businesses is declared by the Ittihadists. Dr. Nazim travels throughout the provinces to implement the boycott.
The police spy David notifies Reshad Bey, Chief of the Political Section of the Constantinople Police Department that he is providing the names, biographies, pictures, and speeches about reform, as well as other data, of two thousand leading Armenians.
Parliamentary elections held in Turkey with only candidates approved by the CUP winning seats.
The Ittihadist Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda, the vice-governor of Seghert, is appointed governor-general of Bitlis Province.
Negotiations are started between the Turkish and German Imperial governments.
Germany declares war on Russia. Beginning of World War I.
A secret treaty of alliance is signed between Turkey and Germany virtually placing the Turkish armed forces
under German command.
The Turkish government
sends sealed envelopes containing a general mobilization order to district and village councils, with the strict instructions that they were not to be opened until further notice. A fortnight later, with the approval of the Ittihad Committee, instructions are issued to open the envelopes.
Censorship of all telegraphic communication is announced by the government.
Looting is reported in Sivas, Diyarbekir, and other provinces, under the guise of collecting war contributions. Stores owned by Armenian and Greek merchants are vandalized.
1,080 shops owned by Armenians are burned in the city of Diyarbekir.
The male population between the ages of 20 and 45 is conscripted by the Turkish armed forces.
Turkish troops are garrisoned in Armenian schools and churches in Sivas Province. In the city of Sivas, 56,000 soldiers of the 10th Army Corps are quartered in and around the Christian districts.
The Turkish government abrogates the Capitulations (the commercial and judicial rights of the Europeans in the Ottoman Empire).
The Armenian National Assembly
, composed of civil and religious representatives, meets in Constantinople and advises Armenians in the provinces to remain calm in the face of provocation.
The Dardanelles Straits are closed to foreign shipping.
News reaches Constantinople about the demand made by the government of the Armenian population in Zeitun to turn in its weapons, including all types of knives.
The government distributes arms to the Muslim residents of the town of Keghi in Erzerum Province on the excuse that the Armenians there were unreliable.
All foreign postal services in Turkey are closed on government order.
Nazaret Chavush, the most notable Armenian leader in Zeitun, is murdered on the order of Haidar Pasha, governor of Marash.
News reaches Constantinople of looting under the guise of war contributions in Shabin-Karahisar.
News that ‘the war contribution’ looting of Armenians was continuing in Diyarbekir Province.
In Zeitun, all the Armenian notables are called to a meeting. About three score attend and are immediately arrested.
News of requisitions imposed on Armenian businesses as ‘war contributions’ reaches Constantinople from every province.
News reaches Constantinople of starvation and the spread of disease in Sivas Province because of the desperate conditions created by the ‘war contributions’ campaign conducted against the Armenians.
Bands of chetes begin looting, violating women and children, and large-scale murdering in Erzerum Province
Leaders of the Armenian nationalist Dashnak party organization in Erzerum are arrested.
Enver authorizes the combined German-Turkish navy to carry out a stealth attack on Russia without declaration of war.
Hostilities are opened between Turkey and Russia with the shelling of the Russian Black Sea coast by Ottoman naval vessels under German command.
Russia formally declares war against the Ottoman Empire.
News from the interior of Turkey reaches the Armenian community of Constantinople that persecutions already exceed earlier actions against the Armenians.
A Proclamation of Jihad, directed against England, France, and Russia, is issued in Constantinople legitimating the formation of the chete organizations.
Unfounded accusations are launched against the Armenians that they had revolted and were preparing to join the Russian forces.
The village of Otsni in Erzerum Province is attacked at night by chete forces. The local Armenian priest and many other Armenians are killed. Every house is looted. The first attacks by chete forces on the Armenian villages of Erzerum are reported.
The Jihad Proclamation is read in all the provinces of the Ottoman Empire.
Mass executions of Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army takes place in various public squares for the purpose of terrorizing the Armenians, while with voluntary contributions, Armenians were building several hospitals for the use of the Turkish army through the Red Crescent Society.
Orders are issued from Constantinople instructing the provincial administrators to oust all Armenian functionaries in the service of the Ottoman government.
In Mush, Ittihadist agents distribute arms to the Turkish population after arousing them with false stories of Armenian outrages.
Previously undisturbed Armenian schools and churches in Sivas Province, together with many private residences, are requisitioned by the Turkish army for use as barracks. The carts, horses, and other travel equipment of the Armenian villagers in the provinces are confiscated.
Robbery and looting on a large scale is reported in Van Province.
The War Ministry distributes explosives, rifles, and other equipment to the irregular forces of the Special Organization (Teshkilati Mahsusa).
Enver’s uncle, Halil Pasha, the military governor of Constantinople, begins organizing Special Organization units in Constantinople by enrolling criminals released from prison.
Halil Pasha instructs the governor of Izmid (Izmit) to identify leaders for Special Organization units and to release criminals from prisons to join these bands.
The vice-governor of Izmid (Izmit) arms the Special Organization with weapons supplied by the War Ministry.
Chete forces consisting of intentionally released convicts are armed by the government in Van Province. In the region of Van requisitions take the form of open robbery and looting.
Having completed his job organizing the Special Organization in Artvin, Behaeddin Shakir is instructed to move on to Trebizond.
The central command of the Special Organization sends instruction for supplying the chete bands with money, vehicles, and others equipment.
The beginning of a series of isolated murders to terrorize the Armenian population.
Reports reach Constantinople that raids by irregular chete forces on the Armenian villages of Erzerum Province are continuing.
Turks loot the properties of subjects of Allied nations.
The Ittihad Inspector of Balikesir sends a message to Dr. Nazim of the central committee of the Special Organization via Midhat Shukri, the Central Secretary of Ittihad, that the Interior Ministry and the Ittihad Committee, in accordance with issued orders, are busy organizing the irregular chete bands.
Reports continue reaching Constantinople that chete raids on the Armenian villages of Erzerum Province are continuing.
Armenians are put to use as porters of army supplies in Erzerum, Trebizond, and Sivas Provinces under the worst of cold winter conditions for the purpose of letting them die of overwork and illness.
The Turkish Cabinet charges Enver with command of the offensive on the Caucasian front and assigns Talaat the position of Acting Minister of War while retaining his position as Minister of the Interior.
An attack by the Ottoman Third Army corps opens the Battle of Sarikamish on the Caucasian Front.
Foreign missionaries abandon the interior of Turkey as crosses on missions are broken by the Turks and replaced by crescents.
Sahag Odabashian, the newly appointed Prelate of Erzinjan, while traveling from Constantinople via Sivas to Erzinjan, where he was to be installed in office, is slain in the village of Kanli-Tash, near Shabin-Karahisar, by six chetes organized by Ahmed Muammer, the governor-general of Sivas Province.
The Ancient Armenians
For three thousand years, a thriving Armenian community had existed inside the vast region of the Middle East bordered by the Black, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas. The area, known today as Anatolia, stands at the crossroads of three continents; Europe, Asia and Africa. Great powers rose and fell over the many centuries and the Armenian homeland, when not independent, was at various times ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Mongols.
Despite the repeated invasions and occupations, Armenian pride and cultural identity never wavered. The snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat became the focal point of this proud people and by 600 BC Armenia as a kingdom sprang into being.
The First Christian Nation
Following the advent of Christianity, Armenia became the very first nation to accept it as the state religion. A golden era of peace and prosperity followed which saw the invention of a distinct alphabet, the flourishing of literature, art, commerce, and a unique style of architecture. By the 10th century, Armenians had established a new capital at Ani, affectionately called the ‘city of a thousand and one churches.’
Under Muslim Rule
In the eleventh century, the first Turkish invasion of the Armenian homeland occurred. Thus began several hundred years of rule by Muslim Turks. By the sixteenth century, Armenia had been absorbed into the vast and mighty Ottoman Empire. At its peak, this Turkish empire included much of Southeast Europe, North Africa, and almost all of the Middle East.
But by the 1800s the once powerful Ottoman Empire was in serious decline. For centuries, it had spurned technological and economic progress, while the nations of Europe had embraced innovation and became industrial giants. Turkish armies had once been virtually invincible. Now, they lost battle after battle to modern European armies.
As the empire gradually disintegrated, formerly subject peoples including the Greeks, Serbs and Romanians achieved their long-awaited independence. Only the Armenians and the Arabs of the Middle East remained stuck in the backward and nearly bankrupt empire, now under the autocratic rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid
Armenian Refugees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide
An Armenian woman kneeling beside dead child in field “within sight of help and safety at Aleppo.”
Armenian refugees marching across the Syrian desert.
Near East relief a common sight among the Armenian refugees in Syria
Near East Relief 5,000 children from Karput en route on donkey back and foot
This iconic photo, taken by the German medic Armin Wegner, shows Armenian refugees marching across the Syrian desert
Image via Wikipedia
Turkish ‘Cancer Village’ Relocates Residents – TIME Healthland.
The caves, rock houses and fantastical stone formations in Turkey’s Cappadocia draw tourists from around the world. Nestled among the natural wonders, however, lies a village where the earth is believed to deliver death rather than rewards.
Nearly half the deaths in this impoverished village and two others nearby are from a rare cancer known as mesothelioma — which can be caused by a mineral that’s found in abundance in the area. Local authorities are so alarmed that a relocation of all residents is under way.
“The plan is to demolish the old village, bury it in 1 1/2 meters (yards) of earth and plant over it,” Mayor Umit Balak said.
Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2010/11/05/turkish-cancer-village-relocates-residents/#ixzz14Xkczms1
Image via Wikipedia
Turkey: Walking ancient paths on the Lycian Way – Telegraph.
via Turkey: Walking ancient paths on the Lycian Way – Telegraph.
The sea looked tantalisingly close, but to reach it involved a scramble down a cliff with fixed ropes where, according to the guidebook, “a fall could be fatal”. We took the easier option, joining the gathering group of walkers nursing beers at the cliff edge of Butterfly Valley, as the sun made its descent into the shimmering waters off the Turkish coast.
Our goal was to walk four days of the Lycian Way, Turkey’s first long-distance route, a trail of 316 miles that starts at Ovacik, near Fethiye, and ends at Antalya.
The walk is a classic journey through history. Among other things, it follows ancient paths and goat tracks Alexander the Great traced on his march through Lycia more than 2,000 years ago. Along the route are rock caves and tombs, relics of ancient civilisations and opportunities to stop at former strategic cities such as Xanthos and Patara, still home to staggering ruins of tombs and amphitheatres. Our walk would climb into the Babadag mountains, which follows the Teke peninsula (formerly Lycia) with the Taurus Mountains behind. South across the Mediterranean are views of the Greek island of Meis and on a clear day you can see the island of Rhodes.
We were six women of varying stages of fitness, accompanied by our “fixer” Suha and his friend Ahmet, both friends of Di, who organised our trip and who visits Turkey so often she is a virtually a resident of Kalkan. That first day combined all the components of adventure: dramatic weather (a hail storm), historic landmarks, breathtaking scenery, exhaustion and elation.