Caucasus Campaign in WWI

Caucasus Campaign in WWI

Although completely wrong, during wartime, most belligerents consider every means to an end acceptable, which is usually for protecting their people. Wars can make reasonable and rational people unreasonable and irrational, while greed for victory or the quest to protect one’s own people can drive them to commit atrocities. This is what happened to the Turks and the Armenians as the two fraternal nations made a tragic mistake and turned against each other amidst the horrible background of WWI.

American historian and demographer Justin McCarthy reports that between 1821 and 1922, five million European Muslims were driven out of their homelands, and a similar number of them were massacred in the so-called independence wars, sponsored by Europe. This ethnical massacre of Muslims took place during the Serbian and Greek independence movements, during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78, the Balkan war in 1912, the Armenian riots in Central Anatolia, the Greek invasion and finally the Turkish War of Independence. In his report for Carnegie Endowment, Michael Mann writes that the ethnical massacre of the time was so shocking nothing of a similar magnitude had ever taken place before in Europe. (Mann, Michael, “The dark side of democracy: explaining ethnic cleansing”, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 113.)

Historian Maria Todorova similarly states that more than one million Muslims left the Balkans during the last three decades of the 19th century and relocated to Turkey.(Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 175)

Many of those Ottoman martyrs are not even known today. The British deep state’s plan to drive the Turks out of Europe into Asia brought about such shocking cruelty and savagery.

Some Armenians deceived by the British deep state became an important part in the plan to banish the Turks. Historian Justin McCarthy puts the number of Muslim deaths of the time at 260,000, while Kemal Karpat reports that the number of martyrs reached 300,000. Some Armenians supported by the British deep state became the biggest supporters of the campaign of the Russian army of the time in the Caucasus. The British deep state considered the breakup of the Ottoman Empire more beneficial for their interests, and therefore ‘got out of the Russians’ way’ before turning Turks-Russians and Turks-Armenians against each other. At the end of these horrible, brutal wars and massacres, the British deep state was always the only one that won.

  The Speech of Mesrob II Mutafyan of Constantinople

As British and French battleships launched their attack on Gallipoli in 1915, the Russian army had begun invading Eastern Anatolia. Collaborating with the Russian army, some Armenian groups were encouraged by the British deep state to attack the Ottoman soldiers. As a result, the Ottoman army had to fight not only regular armies, but also Armenian guerillas. When 80,000 soldiers of the 3rd Army became martyrs in Sarıkamış Erzurum in the winter of 1915, the Turkish defense weakened, enabling the Russian Army and the Armenian rebels to advance. The Dashnak, Armenakan and Hunchak parties, which were operating under direct control of the British deep state, were organizing the Armenian riots. According to New York Times report of November 14, 1922, the number of Armenians who fought on the side of the Allies reached almost 200,000.

The following instruction of the Dashnak’s leadership to its followers sheds a light on the policy some rebellious Armenians pursued during the war:

As soon as the Russians have crossed the borders and the Ottoman armies have started to retreat, you should revolt everywhere. The Ottoman armies thus will be placed between two fires: if the Ottoman armies advance against the Russians, on the other hand, their Armenian soldiers should leave their units with their weapons, form bandit forces, and unite with the Russians…(SOURCE)

The Armenian riot in February 1915 resulted in the martyrdom of almost the entire Muslim population of the city of Muş. According to the records of the Turkish Army, the number of martyrs reached 20,000. After this and many other big and small riots, the Ottoman Empire summoned the Armenian Patriarch, Armenian parliament members, and the leading figures of the Armenian community and asked them to make necessary efforts to end the riots.

  Regional Riots before WWI

However, instead of slowing down, things got worse. Especially in March 1915, the Mahmudiye, Saray and Perakal massacres in Van, as well as the Zeitun and Bitlis riots, made the situation in the region extremely volatile. However, what happened in Van was the final straw. In April, some 30,000 Armenians rebelled in the region and when the Ottoman soldiers failed to suppress the rebellion, the rebels handed the key of the city to Russian General Yudenich in May.

Nurse Käthe Ehrhold describes the incidents of Spring 1915, during which she was working at the orphanage run by Father Johannes Spörri and his wife Irene Spörri:

20 thousand people were then living in Van. As the Russian approached (April 20, 1915), the Armenians took up the arms they were hiding and started to fight. A big civil war, a war of brothers, burst out in the town. Street fights took place for days. When the Russians approached to the town further, the Turks decided to evacuate the city; both civilians and military had to leave the town in one night. Only women, elderly and diseased people remained. The other day, when the Armenian gangs and Russians seized the town, the Armenians massacred the women, elderly and diseased Turks, who were unable to escape. As devoted Christians, they had to thank God first for His granting them that victory day. But they did not do that; I regard the murders they carried out on the first day of independence as big sinfulness. The Armenians seized the remaining properties of Turks and started to use them as if they were their own properties. Now, instead of Armenian villagers, Turkish women from the neighboring villages started to come to my orphanage. We took those women gathered by Russians under protection in our orphanage. Otherwise those poor women would have been victimized by the first who encountered them. We were not able to help those women sufficiently, because maltreated and raped by the gang members, they were terribly trembling in fear.(SOURCE)

Hans Freiherr von Wangenheim, Germany’s Ambassador to Istanbul, reported the incidents to the German Foreign Ministry:

Armenians living in the Van province rioted and attacked Muslim villages and the fortress. The Turkish unit in the fortress lost 300 soldiers and days-long street fighting resulted in the loss of the city to the rebels. On May 17, 1915, Russians occupied Van, Armenians switched to enemy side and began slaughtering Muslims. At the moment, 80,000 Muslims are fleeing in the direction of Bitlis.(SOURCE)


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