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The 19th Century’s Riots and the Looming War

The 19th Century’s Riots and the Looming War

Armenian riots in the Ottoman Empire were essentially organized by three rebel groups: Armenakan Party founded by Mekertich Portukalian in 1885, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnak Party) and Social Democratic Hunchakian Party (also known as Hunchak Party) founded by Avetis Nazarbekian. The Dashnak and Hunchak parties were leftist groups, and the Hunchaks especially based their principles on Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. While the Armenakan and Dashnak parties were based in the Ottoman Empire, the Hunchak was headquartered in London.

With a cold-blooded revolutionist mentality, the Dashnak Party directly instigated the Armenian riots. It was also responsible for the Sasun and Van riots, the Ottoman Bank raid in Istanbul as well as numerous massacres in Eastern Anatolia. They also founded the notorious ‘Black Cross Society’ to kill any Armenian that didn’t support their riots. The name was chosen because after the gang members killed their victims consisting of the peace loving Armenians, they would make a cross mark on the victim’s forehead. After the blood dried, it would look dark; hence the name. Furthermore, it was the Dashnak Party which organized the four brigades of Ottoman Armenians that fought for the Russian Army during WWI. After the Red Army took control of Soviet Armenia, upon Stalin’s orders, tens of thousands of Dashnakist Armenians were either killed by firing squads or exiled. As the readers have seen many times throughout the book, the British deep state brought death to whomever it touched and Armenians were no different.

The first Armenian riot that was started by British deep state sedition was the Zeitun riot of 1879. The selection of Zeitun as the location was particularly noteworthy as it was a mountainous area notorious for its gangs. It is important to note that the said gangs were lawless criminals, and definitely did not represent the peaceful Armenians that lived in the Ottoman lands.

Thomas Davidson Christie, an American missionary, wrote in his letter dated January 1879 that most of the Armenians that lived in Zeitun area were gangsters:

Zeitun has a population of 8–10 thousand. People in Zeitun are known for their brutality and ruthlessness… and they hate Turks. Twelve years ago (1867), when Mr. Montgomery first went to Zeitun, the Zeitun priest provoked people and missionary Montgomery and his companion were pulled down from their horses, beaten up and stoned. There was also another man in Zeitun who was beaten up because he converted to Protestantism. Zeitun thugs didn’t show good manners under Turkish rule either. Eventually they did surrender, but until that there have been times when they forced the Turkish soldiers to retreat. However, those riots were not for freedom. They didn’t want lawful freedom. Their leaders were crude gang leaders. They looted both Turkish and Christian property. They would always fight amongst each other as well, and these fights were always very bloody.(SOURCE)

Clearly, these rebellious thugs didn’t represent the pious and loyal Armenians who lived peacefully under Ottoman rule for centuries and were happily engaged in their arts and trade. Rather, these lawless and armed criminals provided the mercenaries the British deep state needed to use against the Ottoman Empire.

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Zeitun witnessed two big riots, one during the Russo-Turkish war (1877-78), and one right after the war in 1879. Izmir Armenian Church’s Pontiff claimed that an Armenian church was going to be established in Zeitun based on Berlin Congress resolutions and that the British would send them money and weapons for this purpose. This rhetoric played a role in the second riot. English Said Pasha, who was the Minister of the Navy at the time, wrote in his memoir that Patrick Henderson, British Consul at Aleppo, had been behind the riot.

During the Zeitun riot, armed gangs targeted Muslim villages and news of massacres kept coming regularly from the region. Some 600 local Muslims, who had enough of these attacks, set out to confront the rebels in an attempt to defend the Muslims in Zeitun. Seeing that a civil war was brewing, the Sublime Porte dispatched troops to the region to suppress the riot. To better understand what happened, let’s see what the thugs’ leader Babek wrote to Henderson, the British Consul at Aleppo. Maraş Governor Mazhar Pasha intercepted the letter, a valuable evidence.

To the British Consul at Aleppo;

His Excellency Consul, who came to Zeitun for exploration,

We are ready to rub our faces on the soil on your feet, and kiss your feet from here until there… Only God in the Heaven, and us on Earth know about the meeting we had with you. We are yet to benefit from the meeting minutes we have given to you in the chamber of Patriarch Serkis. We’re still waiting. We did everything you ordered. You also know that we never disobeyed your commandments. You said to us: ‘After I leave, let the gang members come and sit here freely, and not suffer in the mountains. If any government official comes and dares to catch them, you should resist and let me know so that I can inform others of your resistance.’ But as soon as our men leave Zeitun, they are being killed. Please send us an urgent reply. What should we do?…

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In your letter, you informed of the commissioning of a Christian district officer and that government officers would be chosen among us. However, according to what we heard, the new officers are going to be Muslims. If that is true, we shall make our preparations accordingly. We shouldn’t be left in the blind like before. Let us live according to your orders. May you live long. Please do something to get our arrested members released as soon as possible. We accept to pay whatever costs you will incur. All our surrounding villages and we are on the side of your nation… As you ordered, we have delivered the weapons that we got from the government to Patvili Effendi… Should we act like we did before, or keep a low profile? Please let us know urgently. (T.C. Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü, p. 28)

English Said Pasha‘s measures effectively ended the Zeitun riot. Furthermore, a general amnesty was declared to cover all Armenians, including leaders of the riot, while the state compensated all personal losses. It is noteworthy that the Pasha, responsible for the measures that led to the amnesty even for those that killed many people, had the nickname ‘English’. However, Said Pasha correctly guessed that it wasn’t going to be the end of these riots:

The Zeitun people are acting rebellious like this because Europeans constantly favor Christians and especially because British protects Armenians and sees Muslims at fault. It is clear from the letter that Mr. Henderson, who is the British Consul at Aleppo, sent to Zeitun gangsters that he encouraged the rebels. The Armenians around Van and in Aleppo rebelling and making complaints to foreign ambassadors; no doubt this is clearly for the purpose of building an autonomous Armenian province in the future. This is not going to happen overnight. However, if we don’t do something to prevent it now, Europe will ask us to appoint an Armenian governor to Van. Then, we will have to assign an Armenian governor there like we did in Lebanon and Crete. (Burhan Çağlar, İngiliz Said Paşa ve Günlüğü (Jurnal) [English Said Pasha and His Journal], Istanbul: Arı Sanat Publishing, 2010, pp. 58-59)

Pasha’s predictions came true. Bedros Kapamajian became the first Armenian mayor of Van in 1912, and in 1915 the Russians appointed Armenian Aram Manukian as the governor.

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Let us remember one more time at this point: We are always proud to have had Armenian governors. We have had many Armenian pashas and grand viziers throughout our history. The valuable members of our nation -Armenians, Kurds, Bosnians, Circassians among others- took important positions in the administration and Turkish people have always been proud of this. However, in this case, it was just a sly tactic employed by the British deep state, and this is the reason why they are being criticized here. (It should be noted that the Russians’ incitement of Armenian gangs was also a British deep state’s plan). Most of the appointed governors were employed as agents in an operation to tear away certain regions from the Ottoman Empire. This was a blatant plot and a trap. In addition, the Armenian rebels in question have never been loyal citizens of the Empire, but chose to be sycophants of the British deep state. Apparently, the British deep state had no trouble finding minions among the Armenian community, just like it didn’t within the Ottoman Empire.


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