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Middle East Critique

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The Relocations (Tehcir) of Armenians and the Trials of 191516

Yusuf Sarinay
a a

State Archives, Ankara, Turkey

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To cite this article: Yusuf Sarinay (2011): The Relocations (Tehcir) of Armenians and the Trials of 191516, Middle East Critique, 20:3, 299-315 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19436149.2011.619768

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Middle East Critique Vol. 20, No. 3, 299315, Fall 2011

The Relocations (Tehcir) of Armenians and the Trials of 1915 161

State Archives, Ankara, Turkey

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The ethnic and religious layers of Armenian identity, as well as the social and cultural traits of the Armenian community, came to be preserved and, to a certain extent, ourished under the centuries-long Ottoman rule. However, by the second half of the nineteenth century, the currents of nationalism gained strength among the Armenians who found support for their cause in American and European missionary circles and among European diplomats. These nationalist notions were transformed into movements of autonomy under the leadership of the Armenian Church.2 After the Berlin Treaty of 1878, which put an end to the Russo-Turkish War of 1877 78, the Armenian question gained an international character and the European states and Russia, each with vested interests in the region, came to play the Armenian card in all ventures against the Ottoman Empire. Having taken the Bulgarian, Greek and Serbian independence movements as their role models, the Armenian nationalists, emboldened further by European support, rst wanted to achieve autonomy and then independence in Eastern Anatolia. Unlike the Serbs or the Greeks, however, the Armenians lacked demographic concentration across Anatolia.3 Thus, what one could see as the material bases for establishing an Armenia (e.g., a predominant population in a region with dened boundaries) did not exist in the case of Armenians in eastern Anatolia. Accordingly, in order to realize the goals of a nationalist movement that lacked such material bases, some Armenian nationalists chose terror as their method for struggling against the Ottoman state. This tactic served two objectives: to intimidate the Muslim population of the region where the Armenian nationalists wanted to carve out an autonomous state and force the Muslims to leave the region so that the Armenians could achieve the demographic majority; and second, to propagate in the West the Muslim retaliatory incidents in eastern

Correspondence Address: Yusuf Sarinay, General Director, State Archives, Ofce of Prime Ministry, Ivedik Caddesi no. 59, Ankara 06170, Turkey. Email: y.sarinay@gmail.com 1 I wrote this article in Turkish and am grateful to Ramazan Hakki Oztan for translating it into English. 2 For an analysis of the reasons why Armenian nationalism emerged, see Kamuran Gurun (1983) Ermeni Dosyas (Ankara: NP), pp. 2953; Bayram Kodaman (2001) Ermeni Meselesi (Tarihi ve Siyasi Bir Degerlendirme), Yeni Turkiye (Ermeni Sorunu Ozel Says I) 37 (Oct.Sept.), pp. 200212. 3 For information on the Armenian population under the Ottomans, see Hikmet Ozdemir, et al. (2004) Ermeniler: Surgun ve Goc (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu yay), pp. 5 52. ISSN 1943-6149 Print/1943-6157 Online/11/030299-17 q 2011 Editors of Middle East Critique http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19436149.2011.619768


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Anatolia as Armenian massacres, in hopes of securing Western military and political intervention in the region. Accordingly, the Armenian nationalists established a number of political parties and associations in and outside the Ottoman Empire, with most of these groups ignoring violence initiated by Armenian extremists while stressing acts of violence against Armenian civilians. Especially after 1890, there were increasing incidents of armed struggle between some Armenian nationalists and Ottoman security forces.4 Between 1890 and 1914, for example, Ottoman authorities implicated Armenian nationalists as responsible for more than 40 instances of rebellion and terrorist activity in the regions from eastern to southern Anatolia, from central Anatolia to Istanbul.5 The Western powers not only used these rebellions as pretexts to pressure the Ottoman Empire for further reforms favorable to the Armenians, but also supported the Armenian nationalists in diverse ways. The Western pressures for reform continued up until the outbreak of the First World War.6 As a result, having yielded to the Western pressures, the Ottoman Empire at last signed a treaty on February 8, 1914, that extended reforms largely benetting the Armenians of the eastern Anatolia, even providing for their eventual autonomy.7 After the start of the First World War, the Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers, a development that Armenian nationalists perceived as providing an opportunity to realize their goal of independence. The Armenian guerrilla groups, who had been provided with arms until the outbreak of the war, sided with the Allied Powers, particularly with Russia, in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire. After a defeat of the Ottomans by the Russians in Sarikamis, and in parallel with the British and French campaign at Gallipoli, Armenian komitadjis started their armed rebellion against the Ottoman Empire with the particular goal of disrupting the supply routes of the Ottoman army. A nine-month period had passed since the mobilization of the Ottoman army and, faced with an armed uprising by Armenians in eastern Anatolia, Ottoman ofcials believed it necessary to take decisive steps to address the problem. A Ministry of Interior memorandum, dated April 24, 1915, ordered the shutting down of all Armenian committees and the arrest of their leaders, as well as the other Armenians who were known to be complicit in revolutionary activities. Accordingly, 235 Armenians who were members of these committees were arrested in Istanbul on April 24 and 25. The Armenian committees were closed down, and numerous arms and ammunition were seized. The wave of arrests continued in the Anatolian vilayets, where 321 Armenian committee

On the Armenian committees, see Basbakanlk Devlet Arsivleri (2001) Ermeni Komiteleri (18911895) (Ankara: Devlet Arsivleri Genel Mudurlugu yaynlar); and Esat Uras (1987) Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi, revd 2nd edn (Istanbul: Bask, Belge Yaynlar), pp. 421457. On the Armenian rebellions, see Azmi Suslu et al. (1995) Turk Tarihinde Ermeniler (Ankara: NP), pp. 148 153; Uras, Tarihte Ermeniler, pp. 458531; and Gurun, Ermeni Dosyas, pp. 126 176. For detailed information, see Munir Sureyya Bey (2001) Ermeni Meselesinin Siyasi Tarihcesi (18771914) (Ankara: Devlet Arsivleri Genel Mudurlugu yaynlar); Ercument Kuran (2001) Ermeni Meselesinin Milletleraras Boyutu, Yeni Turkiye, 37, (Oct.Sept.), pp. 235244; and Ali Karaca (1993) Anadolu Islahat ve Ahmet Sakir Pasa (18381899) (Istanbul: NP). On this reform project that ended due to the outbreak of the First World War, see Zekeriya Turkmen (2003) ttihat ve Terakki Hukumetinin Dogu Anadolu Islahat Mufettisligi Projesi ve Uygulamalar (19131914), I Ermeni Arastrmalar, 9, Spring, pp. 4175.

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members also were arrested.8 However, these arrests failed to halt increasing insurrectionary activity by the Armenians, their growing cooperation with the Allied Powers and a major rebellion in Van. The growing sense of alarm among Ottoman ofcials about the war and the security situation in eastern Anatolia prompted discussion of strategies that on May 27, 1915, resulted in the law to relocate the Armenian population from the war zones. The central government communicated the legislation, entitled Temporary Legislation on the Measures to be Taken by the Army for the Deers of Government Authority During War Time (Vakt-i seferde icraat- hukumete kars gelenler icin cihet-i askeriyece ittihaz olunacak tedabir hakknda kanun- muvakkat),9 to the local administrators with a detailed explanation as to how the relocation was to be carried out. Documents demonstrate that the Ottoman government put great effort into making sure that the Armenians were relocated to their destinations safely.10 The 1915 relocation legislation was not a preemptive measure that anticipated an Armenian rebellion in eastern Anatolia, but rather a reaction to the very real Armenian armed struggle and collaboration with the enemy Allied Powers. Therefore, the relocation of the Armenians was not preplanned and political in nature, but rather a decision reective of security concerns and of military necessity. The relocation process lasted almost a year, ending on March 15, 1916, following a directive sent to the vilayets (provinces) and mutasarriyyas (autonomous districts).11 As other articles in this special issue show, the actual implementation of Armenian relocation resulted in considerable human suffering. However, there is no evidence that ofcials in Istanbul foresaw any of the dire consequences that ensued, nor did the Ottoman government approve the violence. On the contrary, as will be discussed below, the Ottoman government actually set up tribunals to prosecute some of those who perpetrated violence against Armenians during the relocation process.

Provisions for Armenians during the Relocations The Ottoman government put great effort into providing for the needs of the Armenians during the relocations and their aftermath. The Cabinet (Meclis-i Vukela) Resolution dated May 30, 1915, detailed the position of the Ottoman government in this respect: adequate food and water were to be provided for the Armenians during the relocations, and the expenses for provisions were to be met from the Allocation for the Muhacirs (settlers); properties and lands in the new locations were to be provided for the Armenians in accordance with their former economic and nancial standings; and seeds and agricultural equipment were to be provided for Armenian farmers.12 The government believed both the

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For detailed information, see Yusuf Sarnay (2008) What Happened on April 24, 1915?: The Circular of April 24, 1915, and the Arrest of the Armenian Committee Members in Istanbul, International Journal of Turkish Studies, 14, 1 2, pp. 75101; and Yusuf Sarnay (2006) 24 Nisan 1915 Ermeni Tutuklamalar, Hacettepe Universitesi Cumhuriyet Tarihi Arastrmalar Dergisi, 2, 4 (Fall), pp. 2335. This legislation was published on June 1, 1915, in Takvim-i Vekayi, no. 2189. BOA, Meclis-i Vukela Mazbatas, No. 198/24; BOA.DH.SFR.Nr. 54/10; DH.SFR. 54/9, DH.SFR.No. 54/162. (BOA is the standard acronym for the Prime Ministrys Ottoman Archives). BOA, DH.SFR.No. 62/21. After this directive, only one convoy was sent out from Maras in April 1916; BOA, DH.SFR. 516/93; and BOA, DH.SFR. 517/10 BOA, Meclis-i Vukela Mazbatas, No. 198/24.


Y. Sarinay

orders issued during the relocation and the monetary allocations met the needs of the relocated Armenians. Subsequent regulations, dated June 10, 1915, reiterated the provisions of the Cabinet Resolution.13 Further regulations issued by the Ministry of Interior on October 7, 1915, detailed how the needs of the relocated Armenians were to be met:14 (1) To facilitate the steady execution of the relocation order and the corresponding supply of provisions for the relocated, an organization was to be created, comprised of a general director and a number of public servants who would serve in their respective localities. (2) Sufcient subsistence was to be provided and civil servants were to be placed on the relocation routes and in the relocation stations. (3) Only robust and young individuals were to be transferred on land, and each convoy of Armenians was not allowed to exceed 1,000 people; a sufcient number of guards were to be provided, as well as donkeys, mules or camels, in line with the number of women and children in each convoy; and each convoy would be supplied with food and water at four-day intervals. (4) At each relocation station or center, and particularly in Aleppo, a storehouse for our was to be established so that the relocated Armenians would not suffer from hunger. (5) Necessary funds were to be allocated for the supply of these storehouses with our and bulgur. (6) For the provision of bread, bakeries were to be established immediately in each relocation station and center. If the establishment of bakeries was not possible in a given locality, 100 iron baking sheets, as well as a sufcient amount of salt, were to be provided. (7) Upon arrival at the relocation centers/stations or the location of a storehouse, each person was to be provided a half okka15 of bread; and it was necessary that each nal destination for the relocated had arable land and an adequate supply of water. (8) In addition to food and water, the relocated were to be provided accommodations; rapid and long marches were to be avoided; places for accommodations were to be established in one out of three relocation stations where health ofcers would treat the sick. (9) In each relocation station and center, a civil servant responsible for relocations and 10 guards were to be present to meet the needs of, and provide security for, the relocated. The necessary funds to implement these regulations during the relocations, as well as to provide for the needs of the Armenians during their resettlement, were secured from the Allocation for the Muhacirs. The Allocation for the Muhacirs, available in each vilayet, rst were used to cover the expenses of what proved to be a costly

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Arsiv Belgeleriyle Ermeni Faaliyetleri (19141918) (Ankara: Genelkurmay Baskanlg Yaynlar, C.I, 2005), pp. 430 431. For the full text of this Regulation with its 56 articles, see BOA, DH.EUM.VRK. 15/71. An okka was an Ottoman unit of weight equaling 1,283 grams.

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operation,16 and as a result of increasing expenses, Istanbul started providing direct funds to cover the expenses. Accordingly, in September 1915, Istanbul wired 300,000 piasters (kurus) to the vilayet of Adana, 400,000 to Konya, 300,000 to Ankara, 300,000 to Aleppo, 100,000 to Syria, 150,000 to the sanjak of Izmit, and 200,000 to Eskisehir, stressing in the accompanying order that the Armenians were not to suffer on any account.17 Also, it was decided that the mutasarriyya of Zor was to receive 4,000 lira regularly each month.18 On September 5, 1915, 5,000 lira was sent to the vilayet of Aleppo, with an order that the funds be spent for the steady and immediate relocation and subsistence of the Armenians; it was ordered that if the funds fell short of the expenses, a new request for funds was to be led.19 In its efforts to meet the needs of the Armenians, the Ottoman government offered to either cancel or defer the debts of Armenians. Accordingly, the mutasarriyya of Maras ordered the cancellation of the debts of the Armenians on June 1, 1915.20 Regulations dated August 4, 1915, and dispatched to all vilayets required the deferral of all debts incurred by taxation. In light of the worldwide epidemics of typhus, typhoid, cholera and plague, the Ottoman government took measures to protect Armenians.21 Further funds were also made available in later days and months of the relocation of the Armenians. For instance, 10,000 lira were provided to each of Sivas22 and Zor on September 20, 1916,23 and 2,500 lira to the mutasarriyya of Urfa on October 1917.24 Other allotments after the relocation ofcially had ended included 1,000 lira to Mamuretul-aziz (Elazig),25 2,000 lira to Aleppo,26 2,000 lira to Adana,27 5,000 lira to Syria,28 3,750 lira to Mosul29 and 2,500 lira to the mutasarriyya of Maras.30 The Ottoman government not only allocated necessary funds for the subsistence needs of the relocated Armenians and assigned lands and housing for them in the nal destination for relocation, but also in some instances paid a per diem rate to the relocated. For instance, the Armenian settlers in Konya were given 20 paras for each person, regardless of age, on May 16, 1916. In another instance, an encrypted telegram, sent to the mutasarriyyas of Corum and Yozgat, ordered that the per diem rate of two piasters, for adults, should be increased to three piasters; the per diem rate of one piaster, for juveniles, should be increased to 60 paras; and that clothing should be provided for the needy.31
16 17 18 19 20 21

22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

BOA, DH. SFR. No. 53/152. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 55/A/17. BOA, DH. IUM. No. 41/9. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 55 A/77. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 53/200. For a detailed study on the epidemics, see Hikmet Ozdemir (2005) Salgn Hastalklardan Olumler (19141918) (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Yaynlar). BOA, DH. SFR. No. 55 A/135. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 68/73. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 80/73. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 80/78. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 80/80. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 80/82. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 80/86. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 80/88. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 80/95. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 70/18.


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Measures Taken for Protection of Real Estate and Belongings of Relocated Armenians The Ottoman protection of the relocated Armenians also included a set of measures for protecting property belonging to them. This was the case from the beginning, as the May 30, 1915, relocation order guaranteed the safety of the relocated, the protection of their property, and promised the return of belongings to their owners. As for real estate, the state emphasized that these properties were to be registered in trusts so that payments later would be made to the owners. All these rules were to be set out in later regulations.32 The rst such regulation was dated June 10, 1915, and included 34 Articles, which are summarized below:33 (10) The real estates belonging to relocated Armenians were to be sealed. (11) These belongings were to be stored in proper places after the registration of the owners and a determination of the value, amount, and type of the property were completed. (12) If the exact ownership of a property in question is unknown, the property to be protected was to be registered to the ownership of the village. (13) Perishable chattels, as well as livestock, were to be auctioned by the commissions and the revenues held in trust so that payments later could be made to the relocated owners. (14) Immovable property was to be registered in trust in the name of the owner. (15) The produce from the immovable properties were to be auctioned by the commissions and the revenues held in trust so that payments could be made to the relocated owners. (16) Refugees were to be settled with temporary documentation in villages that were empty after the relocation. (17) The revenue from renting and auctioning of property belonging to the relocated was to be held in trust so that it could later be paid to the owner. (18) Responsibility for the realization of these goals of protection, registration and administration of the properties of the relocated was assigned to the Commission for the Properties of the Deserter/Deceased (Emval-i Metruke). The Ottoman government was quite sensitive about the orderly implementation of these regulations and wanted to avoid any misuse. For example, an encrypted telegram of June 9, 1915, communicated to the vilayet of Erzurum, ordered the auction of Armenian properties in the owners names because the government would pay the relocated Armenian owners the proceeds of sale.34 Similarly, an encrypted telegram of June 27, 1915, to the Mutasarriyya of Kayseri embodied the same line of thought.35 The order of July 5, 1915, to the vilayet of Trabzon underlined the necessity to conform to the June 10 regulation.36 Another encrypted telegram, dated August 11, 1915, ordered all vilayets,
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34 35 36

BOA, Meclis-i Vukela Karar, no. 198/24. For the full text of this regulation, see Arsiv Belgeleriyle Ermeni Faaliyetleri (19141918), vol. I (Ankara, 2005), pp. 435 438. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 53/303. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 54/226. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 54/310.

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mutasarriyya and every directorship of the Commission for the Properties of the Deserter/Deceased that: (19) Where properties belonging to relocated Armenians had been sold off cheaply, the sale contract must be terminated and the property re-auctioned for its real value. (20) No stranger or suspicious person be allowed to enter the evacuated zones. (21) Relocated Armenians be allowed to take any of their portable possessions that they wished. (22) Perishable immovable property be sold and non-perishable immovable property be registered in the name of the owner. (23) Any practice that violates an existing lease or mortgage deal on any property should be terminated.37

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In an attempt to prevent abuse, the Ottoman government forbade its civil servants to buy the properties in question, although later they were allowed to buy residential property from the Armenians on condition that the cost of the property should exceed its real value and payment should be made before taking possession of the property.38 During the rst months of the relocation, Armenian property was protected by regulations, but legislation dated September 26, 1915, provided the legal basis for these measures. Entitled Interim Legislation Regarding the Properties, Debts, and Aforementioned Claims of the Persons Relocated to other Locations (Ahar mahallere nakledilen eshasn emval ve duyun ve matlubat- mezkuresi hakknda kanun- muvakkat), the temporary legislation, composed of 11 articles, stipulated that both chattels and immovable properties belonging to the relocated were to be preserved and registered, and the revenues derived from the auctions were to be kept in trust in the name of the owner.39 Based on this temporary legislation, a 25article regulation dated November 10, 1915, detailed the implementation of the measures.40 Accordingly, Clearance Commissions for the Properties of the Deserter/Deceased (Emval-i Metruke Tasye Komisyonlar) were to be established in each location where there were properties belonging to the relocated; in addition, auxiliary commissions and civil ofces that would help the Clearance Commissions were to be established. The duties of these commissions ranged from detailed registration of the properties belonging to the relocated to safeguarding the revenues from the auctions of perishable goods and livestock. While the Ottoman government implemented these measures, it also prosecuted and at times dismissed civil servants who either disobeyed or abused the regulations. The Abuses During the Relocations and the Corresponding Prosecutions While the relocation of Armenians was in progress under difcult wartime circumstances, the Ottoman government also took measures for the protection of each convoy of the




Osmanl Belgelerinde Ermeniler (19151920) (Ankara: Basbakanlk Devlet Arsivleri Genel Mudurlugu Yaynlar, 1994), pp. 76, 371. For the encrypted telegram sent to the vilayet of Hudavendigar on August 19, 1915, see BOA, DH. SFR. No. 55/107. For the full text of the legislation, see BOA, Kavanin Defteri, No. 28.s.245246; and Takvim-i Vekayi, 14 Eylul 1331, No. 2303 For the full text of the Regulation, see Takvim-i Vekayi, 28 Tesrin-i Evvel 1331, No. 2345


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relocated. The May 30, 1915, Cabinet Resolution, as well as the regulations communicated to the local administrations by the Ministry of the Interior, speak to the extent of the measures: the lives and property of the relocated Armenians were to be protected during the relocation and if there were any instance of abuse, the civil servants and gendarmes who were responsible for the mishandling of the relocated were to be dismissed immediately from public service and referred to courts martial.41 After an Armenian convoy of 500 persons, traveling between Erzurum and Erzincan, had been massacred by the Kurds, a Ministry of Interior directive, dated June 14, 1915, ordered the vilayets of Erzurum, Elazg and Bitlis to protect the Armenian convoys on the relocation routes, to prevent local involvement in relocations, to take necessary measures to avoid any possibility of bilateral clashes, and to punish those who attempted to kill, or to extort from, Armenians.42 A similar set of instructions was communicated in a June 26 directive to the vilayet of Elazg, ordering the continuation of measures that were breached by the attacks of Dersim bandits on Armenian convoys.43 An August 28 directive to the vilayet of Trabzon ordered the punishment of the looters and bandits.44 The August 29 directive to the vilayet of Ankara ordered the protection of all Armenians, regardless of whether they were affected by the relocation orders. The directive also ordered the suspension of the relocation until the safety of the Armenians was guaranteed; and, where the directive was breached, the referral to the courts martial of civil servants who were responsible for the safety of the Armenians.45 The issue of safety of the Armenian convoys was greater in certain regions of the empire. After the news of massacres and robbery had reached the Ottoman capital, the government increased its protective measures. Following the massacre of 2,000 Armenians traveling between Aleppo and Meskene and the robbing of 2,000 Armenians who were relocated from Diyarbakr to Zor and from Suruc to Aleppo,46 a directive ordered that the convoys should not proceed without guards, that the number of guards be increased and that the attackers be brought to justice. In this respect, the Commander of the Gendarmes of Tokat was put under investigation; Hamid Bey, the Qaimaqam of Aziziye (Pnarbas), and Cemil Bey, the Qaimaqam of Tenos (S arksla), were removed from their posts and brought before courts martial.47 The gendarmes who guarded the Armenians convoys but abused their authority in the region of Urfa were also brought before courts martial.48 The routes of relocation from Urfa, that is, the ones through Resulayn and Nusaybin, were changed to prevent attacks on the Armenian convoys.49 With reference to reports that a gendarme whipped the relocated Armenians in Karaman station, the encrypted telegram of September 18, 1915, ordered that the vilayet of Konya start an investigation of the gendarme in question, as well as the civil servants who overlooked the violence.50
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BOA, Meclis-i Vukela Mazbatas, No. 198/24; and BOA, DH, SFR. No. 54/9; 54/156, 54/162; 55/292. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 54/9, 54/10. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 54/162. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 55/266. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 55/290. Yusuf Halacoglu (2001) Ermeni Tehciri ve Gercekler (19141918) (Ankara: TTK Yaynlar), pp. 5960. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 57/105; 57/116. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 57/309. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 57/277. BOA, DH. SFR. No. 56/64.

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In another instance, after investigations into the alleged ill-gotten gains of Nazim Bey, the Inspector of the Committee of Union and Progress in Elazg, he was court martialed.51 Similar examples can also be found in other cases: the Qaimaqams of Elbistan and Gurun also were also court martialed on the grounds of misconduct during the attacks on the Armenians of Gurun.52 The Qaimaqam of Besni, Edhem Kadri Bey, was rst dismissed from his post, then court martialed for collecting goods from the Armenians without providing them any compensation.53 The former Mutasarrif of Malatya, Resit Bey, the Qaimaqam of Hsn- Mansur (Adyaman), Mehmet Bey, and the Qaimaqam of Kahta, Hakk Bey, were all sent to courts martial because of misconduct during the relocation of the Armenians.54 The examples of misconduct and violation of government policies by some civil servants during the relocation of the Armenians led the Ottoman government to analyze the situation nationwide and take action to punish those responsible. Accordingly, after Minister of Interior Talat Pashas memorandum dated September 28, 1915, the Cabinet decided to establish three investigatory commissions. This important decision reected the position of the Ottoman government: the clear evidence of misconduct and deance of the law on the part of some civil servants and local citizens during the relocation required creation of these commissions, each of which was tasked to investigate local conditions, identify the responsible people and refer them to courts martial. Hulusi Bey, the head of the Court of Appeals (Temyiz Mahkemesi) presided over the rst commission, the other members of which were Seyyid Hasim, a member of the Council of State (Suray- Devlet), and the gendarme major (binbas) Galip Bey. Its mandate was to examine the circumstances of relocation in the vilayets of Hudavendigar and Ankara, the sanjaks (liva) of zmit, Karesi, I Eskisehir, Karahisar- Sahib, Kayseri and Nigde. Asm Bey, head of the Court of Appeals presided over the second commission, the other two members of which were were Qaimaqam Huseyin Muhyiddin, Regional Inspector of the Izmir Gendarme, and Muhtar Bey, Civil Inspector (Mulkiye Mufettisi) of Ankara vilayet. The second commissions mandate was to examine the vilayets of Adana, Aleppo and Syria, and the sanjaks (liva) of Maras, Urfa and Zor. Mahzar Bey, the former governor of Bitlis, presided over the third commission (the other two members were Nihad Bey, the Attorney General of Istanbul (Istanbul Bidayet Mudde-i Umumisi) and the gendarme major Ali Naki Bey), which was charged with examining the situation in the vilayets of Erzurum, Trabzon, Sivas, Mamuretulaziz, Diyarbakr and Bitlis and the sanjak (liva) of Canik.55 Even before the decision by the Cabinet, the government had ordered the members of each commission to prepare for the responsibility, an indication of the extent of its sensibility about reports of failure of some local ofcials to prevent a breakdown of law and order during the relocations.56
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BOA, DH.SFR. 54/A 348-1. BOA, DH.SFR. 57/416-1; and BOA, DH.SFR. 492/70-1. BOA, DH.SFR. 60/61; BOA, DH.SFR. 61/165; BOA, DH.SFR. 507/105-1; and BOA, BEO. 330271-1. BOA, DH.SFR. 58/277-1; BOA, DH.SFR. 58/278; BOA, DH.SFR. 59/146; and BOA, DH.SFR. 59/235 BOA, Meclis-i Vukela Mazbatas, no. 199/35; on the grounds of medical conditions, Ismail Hakk Bey, member of the Council of State, was appointed as replacement for Seyyid Hasim Bey. BOA. DH. SHR. no. 58/38; the establishment of four commissions is mentioned in Alpay Kabacal (ed.) (1994) Talat Pasann Anlar (Istanbul: NP), p. 83. On this subject, Muhtar Bey, the Civil Inspector of the vilayet of Ankara, and Mahzar Bey, the former governor of Bitlis, were informed in an earlier communique; see BOA, DH. SFR., no. 56/179; 56/186.


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These commissions were given jurisdiction to investigate the gendarme, police, administrative chiefs and civil servants. If evidence indicated anyone might be guilty of a crime or there were signs of abuse of authority, the responsible individuals were to be referred to courts martial.57 These courts martial, also known as the Customary Courts Martial (Divan- Harbi Or Mahkemeleri), were military courts that had jurisdiction in the regions where martial law had been declared. During the war, these courts prosecuted any activity that endangered the internal and external security of the Empire, any rebellious activities including but not limited to rebellions, insurrection and banditry, and any instances of deance of laws, regulations and decrees coming from Istanbul.58 Based on the reports prepared by these investigation commissions in the regions where the Armenians were subject to relocation, decisions were made to dismiss many Ottoman ofcials and refer them to courts martial. These martial law courts differed from the courts established after the 1918 armistice since the latter were established because of the pressures of the Allied powers. Signicantly, the pre-armistice courts martial prosecuted Ottoman ofcials on the basis of evidence provided by the reports of the commissions for investigation. Based on encrypted telegrams, dated February 19, March 12, and May 22, 1916, from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Exterior, we can prepare a list of the courts martial prosecutions in 12 vilayets:59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amasya, 2 Ankara, 148 Bitlis, 29 Canik, 89 Diyarbakr, 70 Eskisehir, 29 Halep, 56 Hudavendigar, 21 zmit, 28 I Kayseri, 146 Konya, 16 Mamuretulaziz, 249 Nigde, 8 Sivas, 579 Suriye, 27 Urfa, 170

A total of 1,673 individuals were prosecuted for illegal behavior during the Armenian relocations. Of these 1,673 who were taken into custody to face charges in courts martial, 528 were from the military, police and intelligence (Teskilat- Mahsusa). These personnel included people with high ranks such as captains, lieutenants, rst and second lieutenants, commanders of gendarme squads and police superintendents. Additionally, 170 civil
57 58


BOA, DH. SFR, no. 56/267. For detailed information, see Osman Koksal (1996) Tarihsel Sureci Icinde Bir Ozel Yarg Organ Olarak Divan- Harb-i Orler (18771922), PhD thesis, Ankara University. BOA, HR. SYS, no. 2882/29; according to Gurun, Ermeni Dosyasi, pp. 221 222, the number of courts martials prosecution is 1,397.

The Relocations (Tehcir) of Armenians and the Trials of 1915 16


servants were prosecuted, and they represented diverse public service ofcials, such as medical managers (shhiye muduru), tax collectors, qaimaqams, mayors, district managers (nahiye muduru), clerks, relocation ofcials (sevk memuru), property managers (mal muduru), land register ofcials (tapu memuru), mukhtars, telegraph managers, population ofce clerks (nufus memuru), chief clerks and the manager of the Commission for the Properties of the Deserter/Deceased (Emval-i Metruke Komisyonu reisi). The remaining 975 defendants were either gang members or ordinary men who took part in pillaging and attacking the Armenian convoys during the relocations. A number of charges, such as murder, wounding, damaging the properties of Armenians, stealing, usurpation, bribery, pillaging, pickpocketing, unsanctioned marriage with Armenian girls and misuse of public ofce, were brought against the above individuals. According to the documents that I have been able to study, up through mid1916, of the total charged, 999 individuals had been or were in the process of being court martialed. Of this number, 67 defendants were convicted of capital offenses and sentenced to death (although, as discussed below, the extant records do not indicate how many actually were executed). Another 524 defendants52 percent of the totalwere convicted of other serious crimes and sentenced to prison terms of varying lengths. The crimes of 68 defendants were deemed to merit harsher sentences such as forced labor (oar),60 monetary punishment, imprisonment in a castle (kalabendlik), shackling or exile. A total of 227 defendants (22 percent) were acquitted, while four were minors who were remanded to their guardians. By mid-1916, the courts martial of 109 defendants were still in process, while those for the remaining 674 defendants had not begun. Even though the cases underway and the trials that had not begun were not reected in the documents under scrutiny, it is reasonable to expect similar results in the later courts martials, i.e., a conviction rate of 75 to 80 percent among defendants and an acquittal rate of 20 to 25 percent. The above-cited documents provide considerable details about the defendants and the crimes of which they were accused. For example, Sirozlu Cerkez Ahmet and his friend Dersaadetli Halil were accused of being active in the gang that attacked and killed Armenians and pillaged their belongings. The gang also was held responsible for the murder of two members of the Ottoman Parliament, Krikor Zohrab and Seringulian Vartkes, who were bundled off to Diyarbakr. Sirozlu Cerkez Ahmet and Dersaadetli Halil were held in custody in Konya and the Ministry of the Interior ordered their imprisonment to prevent their escape until Cemal Pasha demanded them for court martial proceedings.61 After having been sent to Syria, they faced the charges in the Syrian court martial, where Sirozlu Cerkez Ahmet was convicted, sentenced to death and accordingly executed in Damascus.62 Dersaadetli Halil, however, was sentenced to imprisonment in a castle. Cemal Pasha, the commander of the Fourth Army, did not endorse this decision, but instead returned his dossier to the court martial.63 In a second trial in the Syrian court martial, Dersaadetli Halil also was sentenced to death64 and accordingly executed in

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61 62 63 64

According to articles 19 21 of the 1857 penal code, the legal term kurek is used to describe the major punishments for serious offenders, particularly forced labor (hidemat- sakka) and shackling. BOA, DH. SFR, no. 55 A/177. BOA, DH.SFR, no. 492/107-1; BOA, DH.SFR, no. 493/106-1; and BOA, HR.SYS. no. 2882/29-25. BOA, DH.SFR, no. 493/158-1. BOA, HR.SYS, no. 2882/29-25.


Y. Sarinay

Damascus.65 Likewise, Lieutenant Nuri, the commander of the gendarme squad of SivasSarksla, who was accused of being responsible for the deaths of some Armenians, was sentenced to death and executed.66 Clearly, these three individuals were executed in accordance with their sentences, but there is no tangible evidence as to the fate of other convicted persons. Among the latter were those charged with extortion of properties and murder of Armenians (gasb- emval ve katli nufus), and who were tried, and sentenced to death; they included Ali el-Hamd from the village of Abdul-gayre in the Sanjak of Deir ez-Zor; Bezkade bin Omer ed-Dervis from the village of Hicce; in the Sanjak of Rakka, Hamd el-Hamd el-Halub, Ali el-Hasan el-Ibrahim, Hzr el-Yusuf, Abdullah bin Hamd el-Haluye, Nime el-Hac, Habb el-Esved from the village of Telsemn, Ali el-Halef and Hamd bin Halef es-S from the village of Kesra, Hamud el-Hamdi from the village of ehr Hulv, and Huseyin bin Abdulisa from the village of Fatise.67 Individuals who extorted goods from the Armenians, and therefore were convicted of plunder and accordingly were sentenced to execution, included Kucuk Ali bin Osman from the village of hsaniye in the Kaza of Odemis;68 Imam el-Berho, Hamd es-Selmo, I Cedan el-Hamd, Abdullah el-Isa, Dal el-Isa, and Ibrahim es-Semade in the village of Seyhyakup in Urfa; Mehmed Gulo, Ali bin Ali Dudu, Ahmed bin Abdi, Elves Haso, Ahmed bin Ahmed Abdi, Mehmed Ali bin Ali, Seyito bin Ismail, Mustafa bin Ramo, Bekir bin Ismail,69 Sahin bin Muslim, Dervis bin Muslim, Gazzal bin Ali Sultan el-Mani, Ibrahim er-Rapul, Mehmed bin Hamus, Omer bin Iskender, Seyho bin Ramazan, Seyho bin Abdi, Bojo bin Mehmed, Halef bin Abdullah, Ibrahim bin Ali, Osman bin Haso, Muslim Kahya bin Molla Eyyub, Ahmed bin Abdi, Halef bin Dervis, Hamus (the uncle of Mehmed Bojo), Mehmed (the son of Hamus), Puzan (the son of Bektus), Said bin Ramo, Mehmed (the son of Molla Ibrahim), Hallo bin Akdar, Mahmud bin Bekir, Osman (the son mam (the son of Alo), S of Huseyin), I eyhganl Hami Uso, Hami Seyito, Ahmed Surik, Mamo (the son of Seyito Yekso), Ali (the son of Ayo-y Bero), Hasan (a relative of Seyido-y Mamo), Huseyin bin Abdi,70 Boran bin Ahmed Abdi, Boji Ayo, Seyh Mustafa bin Ali, Seyito bin Ibo, and Hami bin Hamus all from the village of Karapnar in the Nahiye of Kabahaydar of Urfa; and Efsuslu Hac from the Village of Cicek in Elbistan.71 Individuals who were tried for extortion and theft of property belonging to Armenians and of abduction and abuse of Armenian girls, and therefore sentenced to forced labor (oar), were Colak Osman oglu Hac Bekir from the Haraza quarter of Malatya;72 Hac Ali oglu Abdurrahman and Halil oglu Berber Ibrahim73 from the town of Mucur in Krsehir; Odabasoglu Hamza and Kor Ali from the Yukar quarter in the Nahiye of Cubuk;74 Sirozlu Ilyas bin Suleyman and Sirozlu Idris bin Yusuf (members of brigand groups), Salih bin Mustafa Muslim from the village of Seyrekli in the Kaza of Odemis of
65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74

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BOA, DH.SFR, no. 497/64-1; and BOA, DH.SFR, no. 497/95-1. BOA, DH.SFR, no. 605/65-3. BOA, HR. SYS, no. 2882/29_26_4a. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_14_1b. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_26_3a. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_26_3b. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_26_4a. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_5_3b. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_13_4a. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_13_4b.

The Relocations (Tehcir) of Armenians and the Trials of 1915 16


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the Sanjak of Manisa; dris bin brahim from the village of Selendi in the Sanjak of I I 75 Manisa; Omer bin Hac Mehmed Fennun (from the Bab gendarme);76 Sekbanoglu Hasan (from the Kavak gendarme); Kamil bin Sadullah (from the Havza gendarme); u Abdullah oglu S kru of Giresun (from the gendarme in the Kaza of Carsamba); Imam drisli in Kavak;77 Seydi bin Mehmed from the Molla Mehmed from the village of I village of Demircik in Urfa; Imam bin Molla Eyyub from the Yusufpasa quarter of Urfa; Hamza bin Ahmed from the Dergezenli quarter of Urfa; Salyan bin Eyyub (the custodian of the Molla Eyyub Han in Urfa);78 as janitors in the Zara Hospital and also as privates, Izmirli Ismail Cavus, Divrigili Kemal oglu Mehmed, Zaral Yusuf oglu Hafz Mehmed, Zaral Hzr oglu Hzr, Kurd Hasan (from the village of Topallar in Zara), and S kru u (from the village of Goleris in Zara); Mustafa oglu Mahmud (the porter of Mulazm Yusuf Efendi from the Second Depot Battalion of the 88th Regiment);79 Hac Mehmed oglu Huseyin Husnu from the Third Squad of the Erbaa gendarme;80 brahim oglu Kerim I from the Labor Battalion;81 Huseyin oglu Alihan from the village of Beypnar; Manzur oglu Haydar from Buyukkoy; Huseyin Ismail from Eskiharman; Ali oglu Veli from Buyukkoy;82 Saban oglu Ali and Ahmed Kahya oglu Hasan Niyazi from the Nahiye of Gemerek;83 Mehmed oglu Mehmed and Huseyin oglu Ali from the Hamurkesen 84 Ranch. Individuals who were tried on charges of abuse of authority during the relocations of the Armenians and accordingly sentenced to prison included Mahmut Efendi (the telegraph ofcer in Birecik), Ali Cavus (from the Urfa gendarme) and Antepli Ahmet Onbas;85 Cemal Efendi (wakf clerk) and Ibrahim Efendi (gendarme second lieutenant);86 Davutoglu Recep (gendarme private in Palu), Eginli Mehmet Ali oglu Ahmed (gendarme private in Elazg), Arapkirli Mehmet oglu Rza (gendarme private in Keban), Elazgl Yusufoglu Mevlud, Huseyin oglu Ismail, Omer oglu Ismail, Cemalzade Huseyin oglu Ali (the relocation ofcer responsible for the Palu procession), and Elazg merkez muhafaza bolugu askeri Osman oglu Ali (a private in the Central Elazg Guard Squad);87 Tevk and Huseyin (mobile gendarme sergeants in Fatsa);88 Hasan oglu Ahmed, Mustafa oglu I Huseyin, Mehmed oglu brahim (three gendarme privates in Erbaa); from the Yozgat gendarme, Ali oglu Hasan, Bekir Hafz oglu Sukru, Ali oglu Sukru, Hac Ishak oglu Sevket, Hac Omer oglu Ali, Yusuf oglu Salih, Debbag oglu Durak; from the Zile gendarme, Mustafa oglu Nuri, Mustafa oglu Hac Suleyman, Kalelioglu Hac Emin,
75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88

BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_14_1b. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_15_1b. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_25b. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_26_4a. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_22_1b. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_22_2a. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_22_2b. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_22_4a. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_22_4b. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_22_7b. BOA, HR.SYS, 2882/29_24_1. BOA, HR.SYS, 2882/29_29_2. BOA, HR.SYS, 2882/29_19_2_8. BOA, HR.SYS, 2882/29_31.


Y. Sarinay

Hasanoglu Ahmed; from the Amasya gendarme, Mehmet oglu Zeynel, Havzal Huseyin Cavus, and Ismail oglu Hasan.89 The documents provide a list of military personnel/civilians who were referred to courts martials and faced charges, but do not indicate any the nal verdicts. These include in the Kaza of Mucur, Yuzbas (captain) Kadri, the Chief of the Military Branch, Mulazm (second lieutenant) Mehmet Efendi, sergeants Halil and Ahmet, and 38 privates, all of whom were referred to the courts martial on charges of provoking massacre, robbery, assault and murder of the Armenians during the relocation.90 The following ofcials were charged with misuse of power, extortion of property, robbery, assault and misdemeanor: Hamid Bey (Qaimaqam of Aziziye), Suayb Efendi (Qaimaqam of Gurun), Alaaddin Efendi (second lieutenant in the Divrigi gendarme), Hafz Kemal (the clerk in the Ofce of Population Affairs), Sakir Efendi (the mayor of Gurun), Yahya Efendi (the Assistant to the Chief of Police in Gurun), Ali Efendi (the Property Manager of Gurun), Kamil Efendi (the Commander of the Gendarme Squad of Gurun), Mehmet Faik Efendi (the Head of the Commission for the Properties of the Deserter/Deceased in Aziziye) and Ahmet Cavus (the Commander of the Central Gendarme Station in Tonus). Yuzbas Rfat Efendi and his entourage, Bascavus (sergeant major) Huseyin in the Tonus gendarme, and numerous gendarme privates were referred to the customary courts martials of Sivas.91 Resid Bey (the former Mutasarrif of Malatya), Mehmet Bey (Qaimaqam of Adyaman), Tevk Bey (Qaimaqam of Egin), Turhan Efendi (the head of the Nahiye of Samsad), Neset Efendi (the head of the Nahiye of Hasancelebi), Muhyiddin Efendi (the head of the Nahiye of Hekimhan), Abdullah Efendi (the Police Captain of Malatya) and 18 police ofcers, Kolagas Hamdi Efendi (the Commander of the Gendarme Battalion of Malatya), Mulazim- Sani Tahsin Efendi (the Commander of the Central Gendarme Squad of Malatya), Mehmet Faik Efendi (the Commander of the Gendarme Squad of Poturge), Nazmi Efendi (second lieutenant of the Malatya gendarme), Emin Efendi (second lieutenant of the Adyaman gendarme), Yuzbas S evket Efendi (the Commander of the Gendarme Squad of Malatya), Yuzbas Edhem Husameddin Efendi (the Commander of the Gendarme Squad of Araplar) and 68 gendarme privates, were referred to the courts martial of Elazg on the charges of abuse of authority, extortion and robbery.92 In the region of Bursa, Ahmed oglu Ibrahim, Ali oglu Koca Ibrahim, Berber Ali oglu Mehmed (gendarme privates), Hac Tevk Bey (the Assistant to the Chief of Police), Rustem Zihni, Ahmed Rek, Huseyin Husnu Bey (police ofcers) and Abdullah and Akif Efendi (tax collectors) were charged and tried for abuse of authority against the Armenians.93 In Eskisehir, Yuvanaki Efendi (Qaimaqam of Mihalcck), Mehmet Nuri (the qadi of Mihalcck), Suat Efendi (the property manager of Mihalcck), Mihalcck Belediye Reisi Sukru Efendi (the mayor of Mihalcck), as well as some civil servants and gendarme privates faced charges of misuse of authority during the relocation of Armenians.94 Rfat Bey (the former Qaimaqam of Uluksla), Yuzbas Hasan Efendi (the
89 90 91 92 93 94

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BOA, HR.SYS, 2882/29. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_26_8. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_34_35_36. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_19_2_8. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_32_1_2. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_6.

The Relocations (Tehcir) of Armenians and the Trials of 1915 16


former Commander of the Gendarme Squad of Uluksla) and ve gendarme privates also 95 were referred to the courts martial. In the region of Izmit, Ermenilere ait emvali gasbla suclanan Mehmed Cemal (the Captain of Karamursel), Salih (the gendarme sergeant) and Onbas smail (the corporal) were referred to the courts martial for trial.96 I As for the Diyarbakr and Bitlis regions, Mulazm Hasan Efendi (the Commander of the Gendarme Squad of Lice), Emin Efendi (the clerk in Lice, Tahrirat Katibi), Rasim Efendi (the telegraph manager), Osman Bey (the Commander of the Gendarme Regiment of Bitlis), the police ofcers Abdulgaffar, Abdulhadi, Ismail, zzet, Yasin Bey, and Baha Bey I (the medical manager of Bitlis), and the gendarme privates of Lice, Mustafa, Husnu, and Rustu Efendi (the mayor of Lice) also were referred to the customary courts martial to face charges.97 These 1915 16 courts martial were organized by the Ottoman government on its own initiative and reect a willingness to punish criminals. In this respect they contrast with the special courts martial that were established after the end of the First World War. While these latter courts obviously deserve a separate study, their creation reected the pressures by the Allied powers on the Ottoman government after the Armistice of Mudros. For the Ottoman government in charge, these courts were means of obtaining favors from the Allied powers, taking revenge on the former ofcials and capitalizing on political benets during the Allied occupation. Thus, these courts metaphorically put the previous decades on trial. The defendants who faced charges in the post-war courts martial were determined on the basis of names provided by the representatives of the Occupation in Istanbul. Accordingly, the Ottoman government arrested those named on the lists and put them on trial. The course of justice in these courts was more reective of the post-war political alignments between the Allied Occupation and the Ottoman representatives, which left a power vacuum in the Ottoman capital, than any manifestation of legality. For instance, Nemrut Mustafa Pasa, the chair of the customary courts martial, highlighted this fact, saying: a court martial that works under foreign rule functions on the basis of emotions rather than conscience. Such a legal process is underway as a result of an order from the top. Also relevant in the postwar trials was the lack of most procedural rights for the defendants, who were not given lawyers for their defense and whose trials were conducted behind closed doors. The judges also functioned as public prosecutors and their decisions were condential. An interesting turn of events took place with the transfer of government from the cabinet of Damat Ferit Pasa to the cabinet of Tevk Pasa. On December 1, 1920, those who faced charges in these postwar courts martial were given the right of appeal. Accordingly, the Military Court of Appeals examined the courts martial verdicts and found a number of abuses of processes during the legal process. For example, after a careful examination of the les, the Military Court of Appeals found two different verdicts for Nusret Bey, the Mutasarrif of Urfa, who was found guilty and executed on August 5, 1920: one verdict for imprisonment and a second for execution. In the end, the Military Court of Appeals canceled nearly all the sentences given by the customary courts martial from April 23, 1920. Thus, it seems that the verdicts given by the customary courts martial during the
95 96 97

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BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_12. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_30. BOA, HR. SYS, 2882/29_8.


Y. Sarinay

Armistice were reective of political pressures and calculations.98 Additionally, during the period of the Armistice, the British put 144 Ottoman statesmen on trial in Malta for charges from war crimes to various offenses during the relocations. Yet, no evidence existed to punish these statesmen held under British custody.99 Conclusion The Ottoman government took necessary measures to secure the lives of, and provide subsistence, shelter and guards for, the Armenians who were relocated during the First World War. The government also attempted to register, protect and maintain the property of the relocated, which was to be returned to their owners after the relocation. It is important to note here that these measures were taken before the start of the relocations, that is, they were preemptive measures and thus not simple reactions to developments during the relocations. The decision to relocate the Armenians was a reaction to the increased revolutionary activity by armed Armenians groups in areas of Anatolia that had been invaded by Russian forces who encouraged Armenians to rebel against the Ottoman government. During the relocation of the Armenians, those suspected of abusing their duties or defying the law and regulations or simply committing crimes against the Armenians, be they military personnel, civilian men, gang members or public servants, were prosecuted and convicted of various crimes by the courts martial. These trials were reective of the Ottoman governments sensitivity to the safety of the Armenians. The prosecution of ofcials suspected of harming Armenians during the events of 1915 16 raise the question of whether it is possible that Ottoman government was guilty of mass murder and attempted genocide of the Armenians, as some critics have argued over nearly 100 years. With respect to this point, it is notable that the Ottoman government sent two aide memoires in February 1919 to the nations that had remained neutral during the First World War, namely, Denmark, Holland, Spain and Sweden, asking them to investigate the allegations of mass murder and massacres of the Armenians, establishing an investigatory commission and appointing two legal experts.100 This initiative was left unanswered as a result of British pressures.101 In 1919 the victorious Allied Powers prevented an impartial investigation of such allegations by an international commission. The initiative to set up an international investigatory commission demonstrated the self-condence of the Ottoman government during the relocations of the Armenians. References
Ata, F. (2005) sgal Istanbulunda Tehcir Yarglamalar (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Yaynlar). I Basbakanlk Devlet Arsivleri (1994) Osmanl Belgelerinde Ermeniler (19151920) (Ankara: Basbakanlk Devlet Arsivleri Genel Mudurlugu Yaynlar).

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99 100 101

For detailed information on these prosecutions between 1919 and 1920, see Feridun Ata, Isgal Istanbulunda Tehcir Yarglamalar. For detailed information, see Bilal Simsir (1985) Malta Surgunleri, 2nd edn. (Ankara: Bilgi Yaynevi). BOA, HR.SYS. No. 2569/2. Basbakanlk Devlet Arsivleri, Osmanl Belgelerinde Ermeniler, pp. 592597.

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Basbakanlk Devlet Arsivleri (2001) Ermeni Komiteleri (18911895) (Ankara: Basbakanlk Devlet Arsivleri Genel Mudurlugu Yaynlar). Eldem, V. (1994) Harp ve Mutareke Yllarnda Osmanl Imparatorlugunun Ekonomisi (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Yaynlar). Genelkurmay Baskanlg (2005) Arsiv Belgeleriyle Ermeni Faaliyetleri (19141918) (Ankara: Genelkurmay Baskanlg Yaynlar, C.I.). Gurun, K. (1983) Ermeni Dosyas (Ankara: NP). Halacoglu, Y. (2001) Ermeni Tehciri ve Gercekler (19141918) (Ankara: TTK Yaynlar). Kabacal, A. (Ed.) (1994) Talat Pasann Anlar (Istanbul: NP). Karaca, A. (1993) Anadolu Islahat ve Ahmet Sakir Pasa (18381899) (Istanbul: NP). Kodaman, B. (2001) Ermeni Meselesi (Tarihi ve Siyasi Bir Degerlendirme), Yeni Turkiye, 37 (Jan.-Feb.), pp. 200212. Koksal, O. (1996) Tarihsel Sureci Icinde Bir Ozel Yarg Organ Olarak Divan- Harb-i Orler (18771922), PhD thesis, Ankara University. Kuran, E. (2001) Ermeni Meselesinin Milletleraras Boyutu, Yeni Turkiye, 37 (Jan.-Feb.) pp. 235344. Munir Sureyya Bey (2001) Ermeni Meselesinin Siyasi Tarihcesi (18771914) (Ankara: Devlet Arsivleri Genel Mudurlugu Yaynlar). Ozdemir, H. et al. (2004) Ermeniler: Surgun ve Goc (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Yaynlar). Ozdemir, H. (2005) Salgn Hastalklardan Olumler (19141918) (Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Yaynlar). Sarnay, Y. (2006) 24 Nisan 1915 Ermeni Tutuklamalar, Hacettepe Universitesi Cumhuriyet Tarihi Arastrmalar Dergisi, 4(Fall), pp. 23 35. .(2008) What Happened on April 24, 1915?: The Circular of April 24, 1915, and the Arrest of the Armenian Committee Members in Istanbul, International Journal of Turkish Studies, 14(1 2), pp. 2335. Suslu, A. et al. (1995) Turk Tarihinde Ermeniler (Ankara: NP). Simsir, B. (1985) Malta Surgunleri, 2nd edn. (Ankara: Bilgi Yaynevi). Takvim-i Vekayi (1916) 14 Eylul 1331, No. 2303. Takvim-i Vekayi (1916) 28 Tesrin-i Evvel 1331, No. 2345. Turkmen, Z. (2003) Ittihat ve Terakki Hukumetinin Dogu Anadolu Islahat Mufettisligi Projesi ve Uygulamalar (1913 1914), Ermeni Arastrmalar, 9(spring), pp. 41 75. Uras, E. (1987) Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi, rev. 2nd edn. (Istanbul: Belge Yaynlar).

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