Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  Peter Balakian's "The Burning Tigris"  
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Major Players
Links & Misc.



Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

 I didn't study the 1909 period, and I'm putting up this information mostly for reference until I learn more. Peter Balakian tells us the reason why this conflict took place is because the Armenians of Adana were regarded as "pushy" and "considered provocative because they were asserting cultural pride and nationalism." True to form, the author makes no mention... in his usual attempt to portray the Armenians as innocent victims.... that the Armenians in Adana rose in revolt on April 14, 1909.

ADDENDUM, 9-06: By now I have learned a lot more about the Adana episode, and the latter part of this page will deviate from the Balakian book, with other Adana references.


1. Analysis of Balakian's Adana chapter

1. Kamuran Gurun's The Armenian File on Adana

1a. Did 20,000 Armenians die?

2. In 1909,During the Adana Massacres... (Armenian Mayor of Van)

3. A Typical Western Book Regarding Adana (Red Rugs of Tarsus)

4. Marmaduke Pickthall on Adana

5. Notes on Bishop Mushegh Seropian

6. Esat Uras's Extensive Look at the Adana Massacres



Analysis of Adana

The chapter outlines the revolting of soldiers in April 12, aided by religious zealots in Istanbul, and the counterrevolution getting put down in April 23 by the army of the Young Turks. Growing stronger, the author tells us the CUP would embrace a plan of Turkification known as pan-Turkism. The counterrevolution was felt throughout the rest of the country as well, and in Adana, the events led to the massacres of Armenians.

On April 12 or 13, the British dragoman in Adana, Athanasios Trypanis, reported to British vice-consul Doughty Wylie in Mersin that some Armenians had been murdered. What started the chaos was an Armenian named Ohannes who killed two Turks, as Wylie reported to Sir G. Lowther that the author failed to write about; it must have been an oversight.

Another telegram Balakian fails to mention is one from Sir G. Lowther to Sir Edward Grey on April 15, 1909:

I have received a telgram from His Majesty's Vice-Consul at Mersina reporting that disorder have been broken out at Adana in which a number of persons have been killed. British subjects are in no danger. So far Armenian quarter, which is armed, has not been attacked. Major Doughly Wylie thinks that the trouble is spreading and the situation at Mersina and Tarsus appears to him anxious. I am assured by the Porte that thay are doing all that is possible.

Wylie noted Armenians terrorized and killed by bashebozuks, who claimed the Armenians were rising up against the government (as reported in H. Charles Woods' "The Danger Zone of Europe," 1911), with the authorities doing little. Two American missionaries were killed by five Turks. Wylie was then shot and wounded by an Armenian, who thought he was a Turk.

Balakian notes some 2,000 Armenians were dead in the city of Adana in the first 48 hours. Young Turk regiments who arrived in Adana to restore order in April 25 contributed to the massacres with greater zeal. "The newly arrived soldiers claimed that they were fired on by Armenians," which the author notes was "a strategy the Turks and the Ottoman government had used before... to justify massacre."

(What an absurd justification. If the idea was to polish off the Armenians, why did the Turks stop? Just like in "!915." If the idea was to exterminate, how could one million Armenians have survived, as Peter Balakian himself conceded... Does that make sense? When soldiers are fired upon by rebels, the rebels can expect return fire. That's a "law" any country abides by. Yet when the Turks do it, it's murder.)

As the soldiers were going berserk, Balakian continues, and fires raged (as Doughty recorded in an April 26 consular report), 13,000 Armenians packed themselves in a Greek-owned factory, 5,000 in a German factory, and the girls at the American school were hidden in the British consulate. "As the weeks of April went by" (weeks? there were only four days left in April from this point in the story), surrounding villages were "razed and pillaged." In the northern part of the province, the Armenians in Hadjin and Dortyol "fought tenaciously in resistance, beat back the Turks, and saved themselves from total annihilation." "Some 200 villages were ... ravaged." Wylie noted the death toll may be estimated at between 15,000 and 25,000, where "very few, if any, can be Moslems."

 The Muslim Dead and Notes on Doughty-Wylie

The Western perspective, as always, is to solely consider the Armenian casualties. In Adana, 1,850 Muslims died, according to Jemal Pasha, along with 17,000 Armenians. As you can read in THE ARMENIAN FILE excerpt below, if the population ratio had been reversed (Armenians comprised one-tenth of the population), so too could have been the mortality figures. The Armenian representatives settled on around 21,000.

Soldier-Diplomat Charles Hotham Doughty-Wylie, nicknamed "Dick," (1868-1915) was the nephew of the Arabian explorer Charles Doughty. The Turks decorated Doughty-Wylie for his courage in saving lives during the Adana turmoil of 1909. Six years later, Doughty-Wylie led an invasion against the country which had celebrated him. As a staff officer during the Gallipoli landings, he reportedly saved the landing from disaster by leading a charge, clearing the Turks from Cape Helles. At the moment of victory. the report tells us, Doughty-Wylie ("who had led the attack armed only with a small cane") was killed.

Balakian informs us that punishments in the aftermath were "hollow and only for show." An Ottoman parliamentary representative, Hagop Babikian "died mysteriously." "Some Turks and even some Armenians were sentenced to death." (Only one Armenian was executed, along with forty-seven Turks; is that what Balakian considers "hollow" punishment?) The Governor was debarred, and the military commander was sentenced to three months in jail.

It was these events that inspired Siamento to write poems like "The Dance," where the poet "creates images" that would lead Ambassador Morgenthau to call the "sadistic orgies" of Turkish massacres. (Shades of The Forty Days of Musa Dagh... so it was this poetic fiction that influenced Henry's perception of Turkish barbarism, instead of verifiable history.)

As with the rest of the book, the author paints the picture of evil Turks and innocent Armenians, and the only reason for the attack is that the Armenians were "pushy," and "considered provocative because they were asserting cultural pride and nationalism." I would think the provocation extended to more... like the Armenian who fired the first shot by killing the two Turks. We know from the other telegram that the Armenians were armed, and I'd bet what the soldiers claimed was at the root of the problem... that the Armenians attacked first. (They must have been heavily armed, to have fought the Turkish army in Hadjin and Dortyol...."in resistance.") These armed Armenians were roaming about shooting at anything that moved... like the one who shot Wylie himself. Furthermore, at least there was an attempt to punish the authorities who didn't do enough to protect the innocent among the Armenians, and Turks were even executed.

Using Christopher Walker and a 1999 work by Aram Arkun as sources, we are told Armenians comprised less than 20,000 in the city of Adana (pg. 148). As the crisis was winding down by the time of Wylie's April 26 report, over 18,000 Armenians were tucked away uncomfortably, but safely. Since not every single Armenian in the city was stashed away in these factories and the British consulate, that equals pretty much the entire Armenian population of the city of Adana, doesn't it? How could there have been 2,000 Armenian dead in the first 48 hours? And that was before the arrival of the Young Turk regiment, where Balakian writes, "the killing was even more brutal and well organized," conducted as it was by the army. Which Armenians were being killed, if over 18,000... nearly the entire Armenian population of Adana.... were in these safe havens?

Were the Armenians at Adana attacked only because they were Armenians... or, as in the events of 1915, did the Armenians fire the first shot? Kamuran Gürün offers much needed historical perspective from THE ARMENIAN FILE (pp. 166-70):


7. The Adana incident and the end of attempts at reform

(a) The Adana incident

The years 1897-1914 constitute the most disastrous period of the Ottoman Empire. Within and outside the country, incidents were occurring every day, and the Empire was clearly disintegrating.

The regime within the country was now unbearable. The administration could no longer control the insurrections and rebellions, and followed such a policy that it seemed to vent its anger, arising out of its inability to control, on a silent community. As a result of this, secret organizations were founded inside and outside the country, working to put an end to this absolutist regime.

Although the Turco-Greek War ended in victory, the Ottoman Empire came out of the war empty-handed, owing to the intervention of the great powers, and had to recognize the autonomy of Crete. Moreover, France landed soldiers on Lesbos in 1901, the Macedonian rebellion occurred in 1902, and the Arabian peninsula was in turmoil.

The struggle which was begun by the Committee of Union and Progress (Ittihad ve Terakki Cerryiyeti), in the hope of putting an end to this process, ended on 24 July 1908 with the declaration of the Second Constitutional Government. However, this Government was unable to find any way of improving the condition of the Empire. On 5 October 1908, Austria occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the same day Bulgaria declared its independence, and on 6 October Greece annexed Crete.

The first Assembly of the Second Constitutional Government was opened on 17 December 1908 in this situation.

On 13 April 1909, the reactionary coup known as `the event of 31 March, aimed at abolishing the Constitutional Government, took place in Istanbul.

The next day a confrontation between Muslims and Armenians occurred in Adana, and the last bloody stage of the Armenian question began.

At this time, Adana was like a barrel of gunpowder ready to explode at any moment. The British documents clearly attest to this. We read as follows in the report of the British Embassy:

[After the proclamation of the constitution) nearly no one in Adana was really satisfied. The Turks hated the idea that they were no longer masters. The Armenian wanted to rush into Home Rule. The Greek mistrusted the constitution because he had not made it himself and because under it he seemed likely to lose certain facilities he had enjoyed under the old venal system. . . .

Under the constitution all men might bear arms. From the delightful novelty of the thing, many thousands of revolvers were purchased. Even schoolboys had them and, boy-like, flourished them about. But worse followed. The swagger of the arm-bearing Armenian and his ready tongue irritated the ignorant Turks. Threats and insults passed on both sides. Certain Armenian leaders, delegates from Constantinople, and priests (an Armenian priest is in his way an autocrat) urged their congregations to buy arms. It was done openly, indiscreetly, and, in some cases, it might be said wickedly. What can be thought of a preacher, a Russian Armenian, who in a church in this city where there had never been a massacre, preached revenge for the martyrs of 1895? Constitution or none, it was all the same to him. `Revenge,' he said, `murder for murder. Buy arms. A Turk for every Armenian of 1895.' An American missionary who was present got up and left the church. Bishop Mushech, of Adana, toured his province preaching that he who had a coat should sell it and buy a gun. (131)

It appears that the Governor and the Commander in Adana at the time were not capable of resisting an incident of any kind. In his memoirs, Jemal Pasha wrote:

A young priest who passionately sought authority, named Mushech, was at the time a member of the Adana Armenian Delegation, and was also one of the leaders of the Hinchaks.

Monsignor Mushech had begun to have rifles and revolvers brought from Europe to arm his men. He was publicly announcing that [Armenians were now armed, that they would no longer fear incidents such as the 1894 massacres and that should so much as a single hair on an Armenian's head be disturbed, ten Turks would be destroyed.]

It is here that the biggest responsibility of the Adana government begins. . . . To arrest and imprison His Excellency Mushech and his accomplices, to undertake legal investigation with regard to them, and even to declare a state of siege in the province was the best short cut.

Unfortunately in Turkey. . . such a government did not exist in 1908.

At that time, the province of Adana was administered by Governor Jevat Bey, who was a perfect example of a cultured gentleman. However, his lack of administrative talent could not be replaced by his culture. In short, he was not the man to serve as Governor of Adana at such a time.

As for the Division Commander, he was an old soldier named Ferit Mustafa Remzi Pasha.

The Governor of the Jebelibereket sanjak was Asaf Bey. I cannot understand how this faint-hearted man who was afraid of his own shadow could become a governor.

In the beginning of 1909 there were rumours circulating in Adana, that soon the Armenians would rebel and annihilate the Turks, that the European fteet would invade the province on this pretext, and that they would ensure the establishment of Armenia.

The Turks paid so much attention to these rumours that some of the notables attempted to send their families to safer areas.

In the month of April 1909, there was so much tension between the two sides, that nobody had any doubt that a confrontation would occur at any moment.

Finally, on April l4th, the [Adana incident] occurred, first of all with the Armenians' attacks on the orders of Monsignor Mushech.

Such horrible massacres had begun in Adana, Hamidiye, Tarsus, Misis, Erzin, Dortyol, Azizli, in short in every area where the Armenians were in a majority, that reading their details would afflict one with great hatred.

The Government, which was quite helpless in the provincial centre, demonstrated its stupidity to the extent of ordering a general insurrection to prevent attacks against the Muslim folk under its jurisdiction. When he was informed that the Armenians of Dortyol were advancing with an armed convoy to the town of Erzin, the centre of the sanjak of Jebelibereket, the sanjak governor Asaf Bey, without even leaving his office, sent telegrams to all the places under his jurisdiction, as well as to the neighbouring sanjak of Kozan, stating that it would be necessary (for every patriotic Turk to take his arms and rush to the aid of the sanjak of Jebelibereket, as the Muslims here were in danger of being massacred].

These are the reasons and causes of the first Adana incident. The second Adana incident occurred eleven days after the first, and was restricted to the city of Adana. It began when some Armenian youths opened fire on the soldiers' camp at night, and this in turn triggered worse massacres in the city of Adana.

In my opinion the sole responsibility for the Adana massacres lies in the person of the renowned author of Les Vepres Ciliciennes, Monsignor Mushech. The Adana government of the time, which realized the harm this individual was capable of, and did not take any preventive measures, is also responsible. (132)

We should bear in mind that the above statements are taken from the memoirs of Jemal Pasha, and therefore refiect his own version of these events. Recently the memoirs of Asaf Bey, who was the Governor of the sanjak of Jebelibereket at that time, have been published, and the picture he presents is somewhat different. As Asaf Bey was exonerated in the investigation which followed the Adana incident, at the very time when the government was looking for a scapegoat for these events, it may well be that the accusations of Jemal Pasha were somewhat subjective and exaggerated.

The British also shared Jemal Pasha's view of Bishop Mushech. The above-mentioned document also includes the following footnote:

Since writing the above on Bishop Mushech I got another view of him and his conduct, which may be of some interest. I was urging on one of the Delegates of the Patriarch the necessity of finding some modus vivendi between the two races. In the forefront of his conditions for peace he placed the pardon of this Bishop.

`He has done nothing,' he said, `nothing at all. It is true that he took bribes from Bahri Pasha. It is true that he was in the arms trade, and sold the people bad arms for good money. It is true that he preached to them to buy arms, and thereby made much money. It is true that he made foolish speeches. It is true that he used to go to the vineyards with a rifle and bandolier on his shoulder. It is true that he had himself photographed in the costume of the old chiefs of Armenia, But what of all that? It is nothing.'

At the time of the incidents, Mushech was in Egypt. Without doubt he would have taken an active part in the incidents, if he had been in Adana. The British Ambassador, in another report dated 4 May 1909, states that the Armenian Patriarch was responsible to a great extent for the incidents. (133)

The incidents spread when Armenians killed two young Muslims and refused to hand over the assailant, and Muslims and Armenians fought in the streets for three days.

The government immediately dispatched soldiers from Dedeaghach to Adana. Their arrival rekindled the incidents, but this time they were easily crushed. Jemal Pasha writes that in the Adana incident 17,000 Armenians and 1,850 Muslims were killed, and that, had the population ratios been in favour of the Armenians, the statistics would have been reversed. The inclinations shown by both sides during the fighting did not differ from one another.

The Patriarchate gives the number of dead as 21,300 based on the investigation it carried out. The Edirne representative, Babikian Efendi [See Box below] , had prepared a report to be submitted to the Assembly. He gave the number of dead as 21,001 in his report which was not discussed in the Assembly, as he died shortly after. (134) Because the figure given by Jemal Pasha pertains to the time after the trials, it can be accepted that the number of Armenians who died is closer to 17,000 rather than 20,000, as it is possible that some had returned after having fled during the incidents.


From Richard G. Hovannisian's 'Armenia on the Road to Independence,' 1967:

Hakob Papikian, member of Parliament of Inquiry, 21,000 victims, 19,479 of whom were Armenian [Adanay, eghere (The Atrocity of Adana), Const. 1919]
(The difference: 1,521)


Hovannisian revised his figure of dead Armenians to 18,660 in an
essay from a decade later. His source appears to be the same, spelled here as "Hagop Babiguian."

4-08: The breakdown included the following figures: 745 other Christians (Greeks, Syrians, Chaldeans), and 620 Muslims. (Total: 20,025.) This differs from the same "Agop Babikian" report, as presented by Esat Uras (see section below): 19,479 Armenians, and 1,522 other Christians (250 Greeks, 850 Syrians and 422 Chaldeans), for a total of 21,001. This version offered a Muslim toll of "zero."


Armenian historian Kevork Aslan:

"20,000 butchered"

Armenia and the Armenians From the Earliest Times Until the Great War (1914), 1920, MacMillan Co., NY, p. 130



After taking another look at the article including Hovannisian's essay (from the 5-07 addendum above), I noticed Stanford Shaw's criticism of Hovannisian's refusal to consult Ottoman sources, with the sole exception of this Adana report by the Armenian parliamentarian. Shaw commented: "...the parliamentary reports in question were in fact part of an effort to discredit the supporters of the recently deposed Sultan Abdülhamit II, and that they did not correspond with the actual investigation reports, which are found in the papers of the Anatolian Investigation Commission, file A-TFA in the Basbakanlik Arsivi. Our discussion also was based on Uras, Tarihte Ermeniler, pp. 557-577 and Ikdam, 28 February 1909/1324."

What Uras wrote followed the suspicions I had when I analyzed Balakian's book (above); pro-Armenian sources (which can be counted on to provide inflated figures) had the Armenian population of the city of Adana at 20,000, so how could some 20,000 have died? (That would have left "zero" Armenians. This is along the same lines as when pro-Armenians claim 1.5 million died in "1915," when their entire population was some 1.5 million, which would have similarly left "zero" Armenians.) Of course, we must take into account not just the Armenians of the city, but of the entire province (see next paragraph); yet still there is something fishy going on. Uras wrote:

As the total population in the province amounted only to 48,000 a death toll of, 21,000 or 30,000 Armenians would have meant that there were practically no Armenians left alive. But it is known that 25,000 fled to places unaffected by the disturbances, to return to their homes after order had been restored.

It's unfortunate no source was provided as to how it was "known" that 25,000 had fled. But even without accounting for the Armenians who had left, the parliamentarian's analysis implies practically all of the Armenians would have died, since it is highly unlikely for the Armenians to have exceeded 20,000 in an area housing 48,000 in all. (It is a fact that Armenians did not constitute a majority anywhere in the empire.)

The "48,000" points to not just the Armenian population, but the entire population, as clarified by the German newspaper account, "Terror in Adana," reproduced in Uras's chapter. (See below.) Here's what it said: "...The total population of Adana amounted to 45,000. Of this total 27,000 were Moslems and of the remainder, three quarters were Armenian and one quarter Greek."

If we perform the math, that means the Armenians amounted to 13,500 in the entire province! (Assuming the total was not 45,000 but Uras's 48,000, even if we should unrealistically allot the 3,000 difference strictly to the Armenians, the total would still amount to only 16,500. We can see it would have been impossible for some 20,000 Armenians to have died.

(Note that according to Gurun's The Armenian File, 1985, p. 95, the 1914 Ottoman census listed 57,686 Armenians for the Province of Adana.)

To give us an idea of the actual mortality, Uras wrote:

The official report issued by the governor's office put the number of dead at less than 10,000. According to the La Turquie newspaper the total number of the dead was 1,000. Of these, two hundred and fifty were Moslems.

Kamuran Gurun had read Uras's book, and still went along with the higher end, giving credence to Jemal Pasha's figure of 17,000 dead Armenians, as well as 1,850 dead Muslims, as you may have read just above this box. That could mean Gurun was suspicious about something, or it could mean he had too many other details to focus on.

Yet it was Gurun who convincingly discredited the bloated Armenian toll of 200,000-300,000 from the 1890s, demonstrating that the real figure would have barely reached 20,000. If he was correct, then how could the number of Armenians who died from "massacres" in the entire decade of the 1890s equal the
Armenian death toll from the Adana uprising that lasted just a few days?

The Adana incident appears as a case in which Armenians were responsible in so far as they engaged in provocation until it erupted, and the local government was responsible in that it was unable to control it once it happened. However, this was not in any way a case of one side massacring the other, as the Armenians and the Muslims both fought fiercely. As Jemal Pasha pointed out, if the Armenian population had been in the majority, instead of being one-tenth of the Muslim population, the numbers of dead might well have been reversed.

The British Ambassador, in the reports mentioned above, stated that it was not possible to make the two sides declare a cease-fire, and that the cease-fire which was obtained with the soldiers' intervention was disregarded as soon as the soldiers left the area.

After the incident, martial law was declared in Adana. The Armenian and Muslim culprits were sent to the military court martial. Jemal Pasha, who was appointed to Adana after the incident, wrote as follows:

Four months after I arrived at Adana, I had 30 Muslims, among the martial court convicts, hanged, only in the city of Adana, and 2 months later I had 17 Muslims hanged in the town of Erzin. Only one Armenian was hanged. Among the Muslims who were hanged, there were young members of the most established and wealthy families of Adana, as well as the mufti of the kaza of Bahche. This mufti had great influence on the local Turks. I regret deeply that I was unable to capture Monsignor Mushech as he escaped in a foreign ship to Alexandria, on the second day of the Adana incident. If I had captured this person, who was rightly sentenced to death in default, I would have hanged him opposite the mufti of Bahche.

The last incident of Adana was thus concluded.


131: F.O. 424/220, No. 48, enclosure

132: Jemal Pasha, Hatiralar (Istanbul, 1959), pp. 345-6.

133: F.O. 424/219, No. 83.

134: USNA, 353/43, No. 87, 4016/13

  In 1909, During the Adana Massacres...

 The Armenians were making mischief throughout the empire, despite the fact that it was only one year after the Young Turks had implemented reforms, giving the Armenians more freedoms than before. (It can be more accurate to say "because of" instead of "despite.") The revolutionary committees were not only targeting innocent Turks, as in Adana (hoping to set off a reprisal, thus allowing the European imperialists to intervene). They were also targeting loyal Ottoman-Armenians. In 1909, here is the fate of one such Armenian (Bedros Kapamaciyan), when he was elected mayor of Van.

A Typical Western Book Regarding Adana

Book Review
22 September 2006

A Woman’s Record of the Armenian Massacres of 1909

By Helen Davenport Gibbons
The New York Century Co. 1917
Published, April 1917

The Letters that a young teacher at St. Paul’s College in Tarsus (the predecessor of Tarsus American College) sent to her mother in the United States beginning with her arrival in Tarsus on her 26th birthday on Dec 2, 1908, and published as a book in 1917, is available on the ArmenianHouse.org website. (St. Paul’s Colege was established in 1888 by Col. Elliott Shepard on the persuasion of missionary Dr. Thomas Christie following his stop over in Tarsus on his way to Jerusalem.) For those interested in the early life at Tarsus American College and what happened in Adana and Tarsus in 1909, and how the incidents were made public in the US, this is a very valuable, nostalgic and easy to read book. It is interesting that the 194 page book (short pages) has been dedicated to the ‘’Memory of C.H.M. Doughty-Whlie, V.C., the Major of this book who was killed in action leading a charge on Gallipoli Peninsula, April 29, 1915.’’

The ‘’Book of Letters’’ opens with the young teacher wishing that her mother was with her on her first married birthday in front of the fireplace in her bedroom at St. Paul’s College, twenty years after its founding. Than, the author goes on describing her house and its contents, including a First Aid outfit given to her as a wedding gift. In the next chapter, she writes about her and her husband Herbert’s teaching their classes how to plan and construct an essay and describes the Christmas celebrations at night, referring to her cooking that she learned at Simmons College and Bryn Mawr as having prepared her for the adventure in a country which she refers to as ‘’god forsaken lands.’’

The teacher refers to Dr. Thomas Christie and also Daddy Christie several times, and writes about their Greek helper, Socrates, whose education they sponsor, and their Armenian friends, seldom mentioning Turks in the book, only referring to them as being indifferent to human suffering. There are also references to the activities of Mormon and British missionaries in the area. In pages 27-30, Helen writes about their trip to the Cave of Seven Sleepers, something that a Tarsus graduate also mentioned in his latest ‘’Ashab-i Keyf’’’ story, except Helen states that the seven men that fled from Tarsus slept in the cave for one hundred years rather than three hundred and nine years, and when they wake up, they learn that that the whole world was Christian.

On page 40, Helen writes about her weekend trip to Adana where they visit the family of Chambers who live in the heart of the Armenian quarter and run the Girl’s School of the Mission in Adana, a city of sixty thousand. The family also makes weekend trips to Mersina (present day Mersin) and Helen writes about the Christie family and how one day Dr. Christie purchases one hundred chickens with his Civil War pension when they run out of food.

Helen Davenport Gibbons

Helen Davenport Gibbons.
She was a missionary.

In her letter dated April 14, 1909, Helen writes about massacres starting in Adana where four Armenian women were killed followed by the hundreds, both Armenians and Turks, and how Armenians in Tarsus start coming to the school, looking for protection, food and shelter. Than, the teacher states: ‘’How would you like to live in a country where you knew your Government not only would not protect you, but would periodically incite your neighbors to rob and kill you with the help of the army.’’ On page 138, she writes about the death of Daniel Miner Rogers, one of the missionaries, in Adana, who was actually killed by a stray bullet, as noted in a recent message form one of our former teachers and Principals, which is not mentioned in the book. Daniel Miner Rogers was the husband of Mrs. Mary Christie Rogers Nute, whose grandchildren live in Pennsylvania, I believe.

Helen gives birth to a baby girl and the book ends with the departure of the teacher with her husband and new born baby to Egypt in April, 1909.

The author refers to the Adana incidents as if one day the Ottoman Turks decided to kill all the Armenians, without giving any background information on the causes and making no reference to the findings of the ‘’Commission’’ that was established by the Ottoman Government following the incidents which included an Armenian Deputy, Hagop Babikian, to determine the causes of the incident. (The Commission Report was prepared but not presented to the Parliament due to the death of Babikian the night before the scheduled debate, some even claiming that Babikian was murdered by some Armenians since he knew the facts, according to Salahi Sonyel’s book (1).) According to the memoirs of Talat Pasa, the purpose of the incidents was to provoke the people to riot, to attract European attention, and to establish an autonomous Armenian state in Cilicia. As presented in Salahi Sonyel’s book , bishop Mousheg was a ‘firebrand’ who was seeking to force the foreign Powers to intervene, with the ultimate aim of declaring himself ‘king of Cilicia’ as confirmed by secret British documents (p.71).

Much has been written about the incidents that took place in Adana and vicinity following the proclamation of Second Mesrutiyet in 1908 which provided equality among the different nationalities and allowed anyone in the Ottoman Empire to obtain guns freely. A 240 page book by Yusuf Ziya Bildirici (2) tells in detail the causes and the consequences of the incidents with full of references, documents and photographs. The proclamation gave the Armenian rebels the opportunity to accumulate huge arsenals of weapons and the Armenian bishop Mousheg, whose only aim in life was to be king, organized them in regular fighting forces who started the massacres of the Ottoman Turks, according to Salahi Sonyel. These facts, however, are not mentioned in ‘’The Red Carpets of Tarsus’’, described in many other books, including Guenter Lewy’s ‘’The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey – A Disputed Genocide" (3).

There are hundreds and thousands of books and articles written by the Armenians and their supporters about the Armenian issue, always referring to it as the ‘’Armenian massacres’’ and ‘’Armenian genocide,’’ when in fact, the issue was started by the Armenians and hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Turks were massacred by the Armenians who rebelled against their own government. In defense, the Ottoman Turks took to arms and killed Armenian rebels. Also, it was not only the Armenians and the Ottomans who were involved, but also the Russians, the British, the French, the Italians, the Armenian Patriarch and many organizations which are mentioned very little, although they bear the responsibility for this tragedy which resulted in the death of both the Armenians and the Ottomans.

For those interested, a photograph of Christie House in Camliyayla (Namrun) is given in the Attachment where photographs of Dr. Christie and his wife adorn the walls. Following a visit there two years ago, additional photographs were distributed to Tarsus American College alumni group (TAC) together with a suggestion that the House could be turned into a TAC Museum.

It is recommended that who ever reads the ‘’Red Carpets of Tarsus’’ should also look at the books given below and others in order to get a balanced view of the Adana incidents.

Yuksel Oktay, PE


(1) The Great War and the Tragedy of Anatolia, (Turks and Armenians in the Maelstorm of Major Powers), by Salahi Sonyel. Turk Tarih Kurumu, 2001 (In English)
(2) Adana’da Ermenilerin yaptigi Katliamlar ve Fransiz-Ermeni Iliskileri, by Yusuf Ziya Bildirici, KOK Sosyal ve Stratejik Arastirmalar Serici No. 15, Ankara, 1999. (In Turkish)
(3) The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey – A Disputed Genocide, by Guenter Lewy, The University of Utah Press. 2005

Marmaduke Pickthall on Adana

"The massacres at Adana in 1909 are ascribed to the Young Turks by Mr. Toynbee, as if there were no doubt about the matter. I was in Syria at the time, and fanatical emissaries landed at Tripoli, Beyrout, and Jaffa with the same purpose with which they landed at Mersin, of preaching massacre of Christians. But they were arrested by the local Committees of Union and Progress and deported, which does not look as if the Young Turks were the instigators. It is true that members of the local committee at Adana took part in the massacres, but that committee had been captured by disguised reactionaries. There are several other cool assumptions in this book."

Marmaduke Pickthall, in a letter exchange with Arnold Toynbee, The New Age, December 16, 1915, Vol. XVIII. No. 7. He thoroughly refutes Toynbee's propagandistic Blue Book, adding: "If the Turkish Government had really wished to exterminate the Armenians there was nothing to prevent its doing so that I can see." What sane person can argue?

Notes on Bishop Mushegh Seropian

Let's see what else we can learn about the holy man perhaps most responsible for what took place in 1909 Adana. The following excerpts are from Arpena S. Mesrobian's book, "Like One Family: The Armenians of Syracuse." (As presented by reader Kemal, who deserves thanks. The highlighting below is Kemal's.)

Proceeding with its own concerns, the church board apporached the Prelacy of the Armenian Church in Worcester, as indicated by a response dated July 6, 1914, handwritten on the Prelacy letterhead and directed to the chariman and board of the church of Syracuse. After acknolwedging the board's letter of July 2 requesting His Eminence Moushegh (Seropian) to come to conduct church services, the writer (the signature appears to read Bahrma Bartabed Nazarian) says that he has forwarded the request directly to the surpazan (term of respect) for response.

Moushegh Seropian was a controversial figure in Armenian Church affairs at that time. He had been bishop of Adana in Turkey, which was under the jurisdiction of the See of Cilicia. The Cilician See, with its Catholicos, had been in existence for many centuries in order to govern church affairs of Cilician Armenia. The Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia is coequal in rank to the Catholicos at Etchmiadzin, but with a circumscribed region under his jurisdiction.

Seropian escaped from the 1909 Adana massacres and arrived in the United States in late 1910. Although he had come without invitation from America and without the sanction of the Etchmiadzin See, under whose jurisdiction the American Diocese was governed, he waged a controversial, but successful, campaign to be elected Prelate. After a turbulent period he vacated the position and was succeeded by Arsen Bartabed Vehooni in late 1913. At the time he received the above invitation from Syracuse, he was no longer Prelate.

Seropian, who had known Azadian from Constantinople, responded quickly to the invitaiton to visit Syracuse. A telegram to H. Azadian dated july 14, 1914 announces: "I will come Friday. I will be at Syracuse seven o'clock p.m." It is signed "Mr. Serotian (sic) from Jamaica Plain."


As for Seropian, his close association with Azadian is evident from correspondence and photographs in the Azadian collection. A telegram from L. Frankeian, Binghamton dated April 1, 1915 and addressed to Archbishop Seropian at Syracuse, New York, reads: "Binghamton meeting postponed until after Easter." Seropian also apparently was alert to business opportunities. Acting on information provided in Seropian's letter of February 4, 1916, Azadian wrote to Mr. M. H. Johnson of Boston, Massachusetts, of whom nothing else is known, offering his factory's services for making shrapnel. Azadian's factory was by this time humming with activity producing arms for the war in Europe. Seropian's telegram to Azadian dated March 12, 1917 directs: "Please send me at once six hundred dollars." The reason for this peremptory request is not known.

Antaram Desteian remembered Seropian well. With Khachig Minasian as deacon, the Archbishop conducted services "many times" at the Episcopal Church Of The Savior on James Street. She did not remember Vartabed Behooni, but she stated that clergymen from out of town were always guests of the Azadians.

Seropian's story contains further adventures. An undated photograph in the Azadian collection shows him in military uniform, although he has inscribed it as "archbishop." Robert Koolakian has informed me that according to Antranig Chelebian, biographer of General Antranig, Seropian served as a volunteer in the Armenian army. Later photographs show Seropian in layman's dress and eventually with his wife and daughter. Sadly, Miss Desteian recalled that at his last visit to Syracuse, the dynamic former archibishop had lost his memory.


(Now, some information about Azadian from the same book: )

According to Azadian's biographer, Robert Koolakian, Azadian and Steinmetz shared in involvement in the development of ballistics and firearms. Steinmetz frequently visited the Azadians and often took Azadian with him on trips for business and pleasure to Schenectady and Niagara Falls. It may have been this association that led to Azadian's appointment to the consortium of technical advisors who served the United States War Industries Board headed by Bernard Baruch under President Woodrow Wilson's administration. This Board included Charles Steinmetz, Thomas Edison, George Eastman, Henry Ford, and other notable inventors and industrialists of the day.


For his part, Mr. Azadian appears to have entered into Armenian community life and especially the affairs of the Armenian Apostolic church, particularly during the second decade when the size of the community was growing rapidly. Some of those activities will be described later.

At first the Azadians attended the public meetings and programs sponsored by the organizations and political parties. The Azadians are included in the 1914 picnic photograph along with the Bayerians. Mr. Azadian presided at a 1916 memorial program for Armenians massacred in Turkey, and Mrs. Azadian opened a program that was held to encourage Armenian women to form an Armenian Red Cross unit. Later, however, they did not appear at events of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). Most of the men working for Azadian were "Tashnag" (members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation), but Mrs. Azadian "was against the Tashnags." It has been noted that Mrs. Azadian came from a wealthy urban family. Well-to-do Armenian urbanites tended to view the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, a radical party, with distaste, blaming its provocations for Turkish attacks against the Armenian minority populations.

In 1919 Mr. Azadian moved his factory to 241 West Adams Street, merging it with the Strandell & Metzger Machine Company which was at the site. He incorporated the firm under the name Azadian Instrument Corporation and continued there until his death in 1965.

(Pages 10-12 refers to the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia, as well as former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt's telegrams of support to Azadian.

Then on pages 66-67: )

The ACIA launched its public campaign with a dinner at the Hotel Plaza in New York City on February 9, 1919.

A photograph in the Azadian collection shows some of the 500 Armenians and friends in attendance, many coming from distant parts of the United States. Among them were luminaries such as former ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau, noted authors F. Scott Fitzgerald and Willa Cather, past and future United States presidents, members of the Edison family, the industrialist from Rochester George Eastman, Irving Berlin and his wife. Others at the head table included Joseph P. Tumulty, President Wilson's Secretary (perhaps representing the President, who was in Paris at the time), Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and others of equal distinction.


Esat Uras's Extensive Look at the Adana Massacres

The following is from pp. 810-829 of Esat Uras's THE ARMENIANS IN HISTORY AND THE ARMENIAN QUESTION; this classic work first appeared in the 1950s, and the "English translation of the revised and expanded second edition" came out in 1988.

After the Proclamation of the 1908 Constitution

The Adana Incident (27 March 1909) 9

The Armenians regarded as a sacred duty and a national ideal the resuscitation of the Rupenian kingdom of Cilicia and the creation there of the state of Lesser Armenia. From the very earliest times Cilicia had formed the subject of poems expressing Armenian nostalgia for this ancient land.

The Armenians were encouraged in this by the Russians, who had always wanted access to the Mediterranean, and the Armenians fell an easy prey to Russian political manipulation. Russia had long attempted to increase Armenian influence in the province of Adana and in regions such as Maras, Hacin and Sis. The advice given in a letter written by Loris Melikoff to the bishop Khoren Narbey during the Congress of Berlin to the effect that the Armenians could expect nothing in the Caucasus region and that they should concentrate their efforts further south, is an example of these Russian efforts to increase the population and influence of the Armenians in Cilicia.

Once the Armenians had been thus concentrated in Cilicia, it appeared no difficult matter to attain Russian national objectives by organizing a rebellion like that at Zeitun in an area made particularly vulnerable to foreign intervention by its proximity to the sea, its situation on the Baghdad railway and its vital interest for various foreign powers.

As we shall see later, certain powers won over the Armenians by offering them such hopes, and many Armenians volunteered for service in the armies advancing on this region. In the political discussions that took place after the war, the Armenian representatives continually insisted on their historical rights to Cilica and laid claim to the region as their own. The foundation of an Armenian homeland in this region was one of the topics of discussion.

Following the proclamation of the Second Constitution in 1908, there was a considerable increase in revolutionary activity in Adana. The proclamation of the constitution was at first followed by a lull, but the revolutionaries were quick to seize the opportunities offered by the movements in Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia and Crete, and the various local uprisings.The people had also taken advantage of the greater liberty they now enjoyed to arm themselves more efficiently. The internal revolts in the provinces had failed to attract the hoped. for European intervention, and the revolutionaries thought it best to exploit the state of confusion that was reigning in Turkey at that time. The Armenians were to rebel, there would be incidents, the Armenians would persist, the European powers would finally be forced to intervene, foreign warships would arrive in Mersin, troops would be disembarked, and Cilicia would be seized from the Turks and handed over to the Armenians. The most active instigator of revolt in Adana was the Armenian marhasa, Bishop Mushegh, a fanatical revolutionary in the guise of a man of religion. He was responsible for organizing all the operations, and was head of the revolutionary committee as far as its political activities were concerned. Taking advantage of Sultan Hamid's administration, he worked out a very careful plan while at the same time keeping in close touch with the governors of the provinces and exerting very great influence on the members of the bureaucracy.

Adana had remained perfectly calm during the Armenian revolts of 1895-1896. To incite rebellion here, it was necessary to wait for a more opportune moment.

The first important operation undertaken by Mushegh and his colleagues was to attempt to increase the Armenian population in Adana and, if possible, to ensure a strong Armenian majority. With this aim in view a number of Armenians were brought into the area from the eastern provinces, and from Maras, Zeitun, Van, Harput, Diyarbakir and Bitlis, and settled on empty lots squeezed between the Armenian houses in the country towns. All this is freely admitted by the Bishop himself in his book on the Adana massacres.10

According to official government statistics, there were often five or six families living in a single house, and, as a result of the operation referred to above, the Armenian population of the region increased by some 40% in the period between 1902 and 1909.

One of the most important tasks of the revolutionary committees was that of arming the people. This process had begun under Sultan Abdul Hamid and by the time of the Adana incident had reached the smallest villages in the most remote districts. For years, weapons and ammunition had been landed on the shores of the province and secretly distributed to the Armenians.

The import of arms reached even higher levels after the proclamation of the constitution. Bishop Mushegh toured the province, speaking in the villages and preaching in the churches, urging the Armenians to sell all they possessed and buy arms. Only by the use of arms could they ever hope to achieve their independence. In his book, Mushegh relates how for a month and a half he toured the Jebelibereket area and other parts of the province, urging the people to purchase as many weapons as they could afford adding that these were to be used in self-defence and the defence of the constitution. 11

On 23 October 1909 there appeared in the Armenian newspaper Goshnak an Armenian translation of an article by the American missionary Krilman in the New York Times which contains some interesting information on the subject of arms.

"It is true that in Adana and Mersin a number of crazed and emotional Armenians were, singing old Armenian war songs. It is also true that during a performance of Julius Caesar an Armenian stood up and shouted out: "Caesar may refuse the crown that is offered him, but. the future king of Armenia will not refuse the crown offered him by patriotic Armenians!" It is also true that at thesame time a boisterous, inexperienced young bishop 12 went wandering around the Adana plains urging the people to eat less, and sell their clothes to buy arms, and had himself photographed with a king's crown on his head. And it is also true that he made a profit on every weapon he sold. It is also true that about two hundred sworn Armenian warriors will kill Moslems to protect the Armenian quarter."

Apart from the weapons that were secretly brought in from Cyprus and Beirut, there were, according to official government records, over 12,840 rifles imported through the Mersin and Iskenderun customs in the period following the proclamation of the constitution.

By the time of the Adana incident the Armenian population was fully armed. Training in the use of weapons was carried out in fields and orchards, and even quite openly under the eyes of the authorities. In the country towns, disciplined bodies of soldiers were formed, with sergeants, corporals and privates, and there was a guerilla band of some two hundred men.

Taking advantage of the inefficiency of the local government administration, Mushegh began to hold meetings in Adana cathedral, to interfere in government affairs, to urge the people to refuse to pay government taxes and the military exemption money, to bombard the government with petitions on the most trivial subjects onbehalfofthe Armenians, to incite the people and to stir up feelings of hatred and hostility.

A club was opened in Adana for the first time by members of the Dashnaktsutiun Revolutionary Committee. Later, a similar club was opened by the Hunchaks. By threatening each party with excommunication, Mushegh succeeded in having the activities o! both clubs combined, thus establishing a very powerful centre of propaganda and sedition.

The lectures given on Armenian independence, the old Armenian kings, heroic Armenian rebels and bandits exerted a pernicious influence on the ignorant young Armenians to whom they were addressed.13

The old hatred and hostility were revived and intensified. The insolent, insulting and contemptuous behaviour towards the Moslems increased still more. One began to hear of the bleeding of old wounds, the impossibility of living side by side with the Turks, the fact that the authority of the Turks ended with the coming of liberty, and that their turbans would be twisted around their necks.

While this provocation continued in Adana, equally provocatory articles were appearing in the Armenian press in Istanbul.

The newspaper Ikdam gives the following summary of an article that appeared in the Arevelk newspaper on 28 February 1324:

General Action

— 28 February 1324

"Two days ago a long article appeared in the Arevelk newspaper under the heading "General Action" declaring that the same corruption and repression that existed under the despotism continue to exist under the constitution; that crimes and atrocities continue to be perpetrated; that there is still no security of life, property and honour; that nowhere have the confiscated lands been returned to their real owners; that murderers of Armenians are neither sentenced to death nor banished; that poverty and destitution reign throughout the whole of Anatolia; that in future it will be regarded as a crime to tolerate these conditions and that the time has come to rise in a general movement of revolt. 'Let there be no mistake,' the writer continues, 'By, "general action" we do not mean a national or communal revolt. We mean common action taken by the whole nation together. It should be conducted as follows:

1.-All work and meetings in the Patriarchate should be suspended, and the Patriarchate itself closed.

2.-All items on the agenda of the General Council should be set aside and all attention directed to the grievous condition of the Armenians in Anatolia.

3.-The deputies and members of the council should, either collectively or individually, appeal to the Sublime Porte to put an end to the intolerable condition into which the Armenians in Anatolia have fallen, and keep repeating this procedure until some result is obtained.

4.- The priests should also make such appeals and persist until something is done.

5.- Large meetings should be held in various parts of the capital, appealing to the government to put an end to the policy pursued during the period of despotism and which is still'being pursued under the Constitution. These meetings should be continued uninterruptedly for several days, or even for several weeks.

6.-While these peaceful demonstrations are continuing, all churches should be closed and the bells rung night and day as a symbol of the despair and mourning of the Armenian people.

7.-These demonstrations should also be held in the provinces in which the Armenians are in the majority, and authorities should be bombarded with complaints, appeals, requests and demands, until they are obliged to ensure the well-being and contentment of the Armenian people. If everything is to stay as it was, what is the point of the Proclamation of the Constitution?'"

Moreover, the programme of the The Party of Ahrar (Freedom Party), which had just been founded in Istanbul, proved of great advantage to the revolutionaries, who immediately exploited the anarchy existing in the government to make a fait accompli in Adana. On 4 March, Bishop Mushegh, having arranged things to his satisfaction in Adana, left for Egypt on the pretext of collecting money for a boarding agricultural school to be opened in Adana. Thus we finally come to the Adana incident. Omitting various details, the event may be summarized as follows:

On Friday 27 March 1325, two Moslem youths were murdered by an Armenian. The murderer refused to surrender to the authorities and the Moslems appealed to the government to remove him from Armenian protection. The Armenians then demanded the surrender of a Moslem who had some time previously murdered an Armenian. Otherwise they would refuse to surrender the Armenian assailant. As it was Easter, the Armenians were firing their weapons from their houses and taking part in processions and demonstrations, in the course of which an old gentleman greatly respected by the Moslem population was killed. The Armenian priests toured the Armenian districts of the city giving orders that all Armenian shops should be closed. Two Armenians riding through the streets in a cart opened fire in all directions, while near the bridge in the Armenian quarter an Armenian warrior riding past at full gallop hurled insults at the Moslems. A Moslem was killed by bullets fired from the house belonging to a person by the name of Asadur in Kuyumcular Street. This led to a street battle between the Armenians and the Moslems in which both sides fired from holes in the walls of their houses. Fires broke out, and any Moslems who happened to have remained in the Armenian quarter were seized and immediately put to death.

The government called the Karaisali reserve battalion to arms, but many soldiers belonging to this battalion were sent to their homes to protect their own villages and families. The street battles continued from 1 to 3 April but were finally suppressed.

On 11 April three battalions of soldiers brought from Dedeagac were fired upon by the Armenians. A second conflict broke out, accompanied by a number of fires, but after some bloody street battles the rebellion was crushed and peace restored.

A military tribunal was set up in Adana and, after prolonged investigations and hearings, fifteen people were executed, nine of them Moslem and six Armenian. Another six prisoners were sentenced to hard labour.

The Armenian revolutionaries informed European circles that 30,000 people had died in these disturbances. A delegation sent from the Patriarchate put the figure at 21,330. The official report issued by the governor's office put the number of dead at less than 10,000.

According to the La Turquie newspaper the total number of the dead was 1,000. Of these, two hundred and fifty were Moslems.

The Edirne representative, Babikian Efendi, prepared a report to be submitted to the Assembly putting the number of those killed in these disturbances at 21,001. He also drew up the following table:

    No. of Dead    
Adana and the neighbouring farms         9780    
Tanriverdi          1280    
Sari Gecit             850    
Ese Sacili          1558    
Osmaniye           1111    
Bostan Ciftlik           1277    
Korular           3623
        19,479   19,479
Greeks             250    
Syriac Christians             850    
Chaldaean Christians             422    
            1,522     1,522

As the total population in the province amounted only to 48,000 a death toll of, 21,000 or 30,000 Armenians would have meant that there were practically no Armenians left alive. But it is known that 25,000 fled to places unaffected by the disturbances, to return to their homes after order had been restored.

Let us now return to the causes of the Adana incident. The Armenians claimed that this incident was connected with the 31 March rebellion in Istanbul, and claimed that they were everywhere the victims of Moslem animosity.

According to one view, there is a connection between the Adana incident, which began on the 27 March and the 31 March uprising. This view would show the Moslems as reactionary and despotic and the Armenians as supporters of the Constitution. It was because of their bigotry and fanaticism that the hard-working Turks of Adana destroyed their own country, burned down their own city, and killed the Armenians, the defenders of the Constitution.

The Armenian revolutionaries based all their propaganda on this claim, and although the Ittihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti (Committee of Union and Progress) sent a representative to Adana, who, in speeches given in the Adana Ittihat ve Terakki Club and in front of the local government building, appealed to the people to live together in peace, the Armenians continued to insist on the alleged connection between the 31 March rebellion and the Adana incident. The Armenians used this to conceal their real aims, and constantly based their propaganda on this point.

The Agop Babikian report is a good example of this attitude: 14

"On the same day as the 31 March rebellion broke out in Istanbul, telegrams were sent to Adana concerning the events in the capital, and it was upon this that the Adana incident took place. The following Wednesday, the disturbances were transformed into a massacre which lasted for three days, coming to an end on 3 April. The disturbances recommenced on the evening the troops arrived from Rumelia (12 April) and continued until Tuesday. In order to understand the reason for these disorders it is necessary to go back in time to just after the proclamation of the Constitution.

The re-establishment of a constitutional regime dealt a severe blow to the Interests of a number of people who had obtained positions of power and influence under the old administration. These people cherished a bitter hatred and hostility towards the new constitution and the Armenians who were ready to die in its defence. They therefore regarded it as essential that in order to succeed in their attack on the constitutional government they should first of all exterminate the Armenian population. Taking advantage of the ignorance of the people, they disseminated calumny and slander against the Armenians that would arouse the wrath and indignation of the Moslem populations"

The Frankfurter Zeitung gives the following account of the causes of the Adana incident. 15

(from M. N. Vendiand)

Who can forget how, to the amazement of the whole world, on 28 July 1908, the constitution that Turkey had longed for so long was finally achieved without the shedding of a single drop of blood? The powers of the Caliph were reduced without any difficulty being encountered. The Committee of Union and Progress believed that the various races could now be united under a powerful state to form an organic whole.

This delightful dream was soon shattered. Signs of discord appeared with the first meeting of the new parliament on 17 December. The reason for this lay with the Christians, and the Armenians in particular. With a population of about one and a half million, the Armenians had 13 deputies; the Greeks;, with a population of three million, had 27 deputies, while the Moslems had 200. The Christians thus felt that they were under-represented. While on the one hand the deputy Zohrab, one of the finest orators in the assembly, was giving very clear expression to their dissatisfaction, on the other hand the cunning Abdul Hamid was engaged in organizing a government coup that was to astound the whole world.

A few weeks after the first meeting of the Assembly, Sultan Hamid began to incite the conservative deputies, who held a considerable number of seats in the house, against the liberals. The Armenians saw this as a threat to their own community, and the Armenians in Anatolia began to provide themselves with arms. This rather intemperate recourse to self-defence was viewed by the Turkish and Moslem population as an act of provocation, and articles beean to appear in the Istanbul, the newspaper of the Young Turks, referring to preparations for a confrontation on the part of the Armenians. At the same time, Abdul Hamid had his own supporters carry out extremely skillful religious propaganda among the Moslems in Anatolia.

We should add that the Armenians had spent a great deal of money in helping to achieve the Constitution in the belief that the proclamation of the Constitution would lead to a considerable increase in their political standing and influence. When this failed to materialize they resorted to intemperate attacks against the Moslems. But the instigators of these actions were very largely Armenians from abroad whose excesses had not been curbed during the period of the Young Turk committee and who had thus been the cause of the deaths of a number of innocent Armenians in Anatolia. In January a committee was set up in Adana, which began by encouraging the performance in the large Armenian school of historical plays dealing with the old period of Armenian independence. The great Armenians of the old days were applauded as heroes. This chauvinist revival was reported to the authorities by government spies. At that time the total population of Adana amounted to 45,000. Of this total 27,000 were Moslems and of the remainder, three quarters were Armenian and one quarter Greek. The Armenians were more advanced from the economic point of view, the Armenians in Asia Minor having grown rich on the labour of the Turks and Arabs, who knew nothing of trade or commerce. Thus there can be no question of religious fanaticism.

This was the situation in Asia Minor on 18 February, the first day of the Moslem religious festival of sacrifice. It was on that day that the Armenians embarked on serious disturbances in Adana itself and in other parts of the Adana province, thinking, quite rightly, that it was only during a religious festival that they had any real hope of achieving success. A report in the Adana Itidal newspaper openly calling upon the Governor Cevat Bey to summon military forces from Damascus to deal with a possible Armenian uprising or revolt shows how uneasy the Turks felt at that time. At the same time, the Armenians sent a delegation to the Governor declaring that if he was unable or unwilling to protect them they would be obliged to protect themselves. In order to placate the Armenian representatives, the Governor suggested that law and order should be preserved in the city by mixed patrols of Moslems and Armenians. A peaceful solution appeared to be in sight."

Further articles in the Frankfurter Zeitung describe the details of the disturbances from the point of view of a foreigner who has obviously little knowledge of the country and whose account bears little relevance to the true state of affairs.

In a book published on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Dashnaktsutiun, M. Varandiin gives the following account: 16

"The Adana incident is a measure of our self-knowledge and our self-understanding. The gaping, bleeding wound was further deepened before our very eyes. We realized more clearly than ever before the weakness of our aspirations, our endeavours, our cries and complaints. In the eight months after the July coup, the committee appealed to us to organize, to arm and to hold ourselves in readiness for possible incidents. These appeals echoed in vain like shouts in the desert. Adana was undoubtedly defended to a certain degree. Cokmarvan showed great heroism in. its defence. But there was great difference between the situation then and now. The arming of the Armenian people was as pitiful as its appearance was lamentable and wretched. When the Armenians were gathered together they still remained as isolated individuals, or in small groups and bands. The number who could resist with weapons was very small.

As soon as the disturbances began, the handful of heroes, most of them young, who had gathered in the wide and scattered territory of the Armenian nation, were forced by lack of weapons and proper preparation to abandon their country like a pack of cowards, to resort to shameful flight towards the coast, to escape to Egypt, and to scatter their tears and their woes to the four comers of the globe.

It was all the same old story.

The same ingenuousness, the same ignorance. On the arrival in Adana of the troops form Macedonia, they surrendered their weapons before the eyes of the consuls, thus allowing the normal barbarity to turn into a terrible catastrophe.

But this was not the real problem. Thanks to its geographical situation, Cilicia had always enjoyed particularly favourable conditions. Even the great massacre of 1895 had caused little injury to the Armenian population. At the moment, there were ample supplies of weapons for defence. More important, there were the horrifying memories of the past. There was also their real homeland, Armenia. The thought that the wave of massacres had reached Upper Armenia made us feel that a moment was approaching that would make the blood freeze in our veins. It seemed possible that it might break out in Adana and that there would be no help from any side. From Europe? Our simple, innocent people, without means of either attack or defence, would once again be slaughtered like sheep. It is very sad that in spite of our majority, things should still remain the same..."

And in another part of the same work:

"Adana has opened another wound in the body of the Armenian people. A writer in the Berliner Tageblatt writes as follows of Cilicia, now soaked in blood: 'The Armenians are opposed to the Armenian youth in their pursuit of an independent Armenia. They find excuses for the officials, soldiers and people responsible for the massacres." The Berliner Tageblatt blamed them for their irresponible behaviour, claiming that it was their provocative speeches, their plays, ther national flags and their nationalist resuscitation of the past that had inflamed the Turks. European newspaper correspondents favourably disposed towards the Armenians said the same thing.

In its reports on the incidents, the Frankfurter Zeitung, for thirty years a warm supporter of the Armenians, declares that the Armenians had aroused the fears and suspicions of the Moslems by their irresponsible behaviour, their performances of historical plays in their clubs and their shouts of "Long Live Armenia!"

This is a very serious accusation. In this can be seen one of the dangerous activities in which some of the Armenians indulged. It was essential that the Armenians should have been prepared for the consequences.

If our people, the whole population of Turkish Armenia, had remained indifferent to the necessity of the defence of its national integrity, and if our youth, the heart and soul of our nation, had remained apathetic and inactive, this would have indicated a clear deficiency in their culture and education.

There can be no doubt that the seed of the poisonous flower of racism and narrow nationalism was sown and carefully cultivated in the minds of the youth of Turkish Armenia. This is to a certain extent jutifiable. What nation in the world has been so trodden under foot, what nation has been so cynically scorned and insulted? It is a natural law that the stronger the action the stronger the reaction. There is nothing surprising in the fact that a certain section of Armenian youth should react against the intolerable injustices of the past, and that, when they finally dawned after sixty years of darkness filled with crimes and atrocities, hot-blooded Armenian youth should unfurl the flag of national patriotism and recreate in their plays and performances the glorious victories of the past. Pride and honour has been reborn in Cilicia, and memories of history shine more brightly and spectacularly than ever before.

It is also true that the Armenians of Cilicia are freer, more secure and less oppressed than ever before. As a result, national pride and honour are more carefully cherished. Unfortunately, this has also given rise to a rabid and delirious form of nationalism.

Armenian nationalism is in general a typically bourgeois form of nationalism. It appears in the form of inordinate pride and arrogance. This could be observed every day in the recent past. This pride was sometimes so extreme as to become positively ridiculous. Take, for example, the Istanbul orator who placed Armenian and French geniuses on the same plane! The Istanbul correspondent of a newspaper that acts as the mouthpiece of the Tiflis nationalists and is noted for its scandalous excesses, obviously found the most intense pleasure in indulging in the most irreconcilable scorn and hatred of the Turks. "The Turk is a cretin!" "The Turk is a mongrel!" "Wherever the Turk rules there is ruin and decay!" Egyptian newspapers are also full of such provocative animosity. 17

We can see the resentment aroused by this irreconcilable animosity both at home and abroad. Take the boasting and swaggering directed at their neighbours. Take their scornful and contemptuous behaviour. Some of the Istanbul newspapers are filled with this childish bragging and insolence. There is nothing surprising in this. A whole generation has been brought up in this way. A feeling of infinite superiority born in infinite shame and wretchedness and combined with intellectual barrenness, empty pretension and arrogance. Only Europe can provide the necessary diagnosis and treatment. But look at the attitude of the Turkish Armenians in Europe! During all their travels in the West all they have learned of democratic currents in Europe is confined to a knowledge, and that a very superficial one, of the thought and psychology of the Trumons and Millevoyes. That is all they have learned. They decide the fate of Armenia and the Turkish Armenians on the basis of a meagre culture and fatuous thought gleaned from a study of the literature of nationalism.

Their faithful followers are the children, the aged, the common people, the religious men, the hedge-priests and bishops of Cilicia. Once given a taste of freedom, these men begin ostentatiously flaunting their childish, provocative patriotism right and left. They shout of Haik, Aram and Dertad. They openly attack their cruel and repressive neighbours like so many Don Quixotes.

And they talk not only of the old heores, but also of the old kings, from Dikran to Leo, who, very probably, were as worthless executioners of their own people as all the other kings in history.

The patriotism of the priests exalts these kings to the skies, and is always ready to rekindle and revive the idea of kingship, which, amongst the ordinary people, has long been utterly extinguished.

This is one of our oldest delusions, one of our oldest diseases. It is because of this that the Caucasus has never been liberated. All activity is aborted by the vain beliefs, the swaggering and the empty nationalism of this worthless section of Armenian youth. And they themselves suffer as a consequence of all this."

The Droshak, the organ of the Dashnaktsutiun Revolutionary Committee, writes as follows:18

"Armenian youth is accused of ignorance and irresponsibility, of boasting, swaggering and provocative behaviour. It is true that, in giving expression to their feelings towards the constitution, their feelings of ardour and longing, young Armenians have perhaps gone to excessive lengths and acted in a somewhat undisciplined and irresponsible manner. Their impassioned plays, their flags and national symbols are all symptoms of an unbounded nationalist enthusiasm. All this intensified the hatred towards the Armenians that already existed among the more ignorant strata of Moslem society, and confirmed Moslem belief that for hundreds of years the Armenians had nursed feelings of animosity towards them. It also convinced them that the constitutional movements had been instigated by the Armenians themselves in order to obtain greater freedom of action, and that the power and influence they had thus acquired would be employed to root out and exterminate the Moslems.

We are continually coming across similar ideas in the columns of Western newspapers and in the conversation of Armenophile Europeans.

The Frankfurter Zeitung, whose every article is read with respectful interest by the whole intellectual world, has some very interesting comments to make on this topic. The three long articles on the Adana incidents present a very detailed and very horrifying picture of the events. These articles combine the sound interpretation of a careful and highly skilled writer with the feelings of genuine emotion and sympathy.

Referring in detail to the historical tragedies performed in the Armenian clubs, the ostentatious parades and the childish and ridiculous shouts of'Long live Armenia', the writer goes on to say: ' The Armenians indulged in irresponsible behaviour that would obviously provoke a strong Moslem reaction. The government soon became only too well aware of this chauvinist revival. While the Armenians were engaged in rampantly nationalistic demonstrations and in giving free vent to their feelings, government spies were carefully watching them from the shadows.'"

The Dashnaktsutiun has the following to add to the report by the German writer:

"Apart from these there were a number of boastful swaggerers who loved to exaggerate the nation's glorious past, its greatness and its superiority, while at the same time pouring contempt and scorn on people of other races. This chauvinist racism serves only to poison the atmosphere in even the most advanced countries in the world.

An end must be put to this stupid and dangerous mode of thought. Ever since the proclamation of the constitution and even before the Cilician tragedy foreign publications were already referring to examples of this pitiful psychological attitude. Now, however, the Armenians have thrown all restraint aside. Every conceivable insult is hurled at the Turkish people. "Dog" is the least offensive of the terms employed. And any deficiencies in this respect are made up for by their manifestos. Comfortably ensconced in comfortable armchairs in foreign countries, and representing no group or organization, they regard it as their right and duty to raise their voices on the subject of the 'calamities', boasting and swaggering at their neighbours, issuing challenges and uttering the wildest complaints and outcries. A futile flurry of hatred and revenge. Unfortunately, our young Armenians have long learned how to fill the fatuity of their thought and action with blustering sound and fury. They think they are achieving something worth while by their senseless ravings. But they should remember that it will be the ordinary people who will pay the price for their excesses.

The time has come for us to renounce this chauvinistic nationalism. We ought to lay aside these symbols of an excessive and fatuous national pride. These are things to be regarded with an amused pity in the modem world. This should all be replaced by a feeling of true patriotism that combines love of one's own community with respect and friendship for one's neighbours.

There is no point in exaggerating the greatness and excellence of our nation. There are many good reasons for our assuming a more modest attitude. Our nation is great in our own eyes, and in comparison with other communities in the region. But that is no matter for excessive pride.

Removed from this context, what are we? What does our nation, perched on the summits of the Vaspuragan and Daron mountains, represent? Nothing but ignorance and stupidity shrouded in medieval darkness."

From the above comments we can deduce the following:

1.The Armenians were responsible for the Adana incidents.

2. They exploited the slackness of the administration and trusted in the strength of their organization and their weapons.

3. They provoked and tormented the Moslem population.

4. The incidents are in no way connected with the 31 March insurrection.

Major Doughty, the British consul in Mersin, in a report sent to his government, criticizes the local authorities for not using the troops to crush the rioters. He himself went around in the streets during the disturbances and was himself wounded by a shot fired by an Armenian, while a Turkish soldier accompanying him was killed.

Further light is shed on the incidents by a report in the Nor Husank (New Trends) newspaper published in Istanbul.19

"If it had been possible, with the help of the new situation that arose after 11 July and the new constitutional principles and organization, to restrain or even entirely extirpate Armenian separatism, if there had been an indisputably constitutional government that could have responded to the political activities of the Turkish-Armenian revolutionary groups with intelligence and foresight, and if the revolutionary groups themselves had pursued a course of action designed to appeal to the logic and good sense of the people and had called upon them to throw aside their dangerous and perverted ideas and to unite in common progress and advancement, the city of Adana would not now be a mass of ruins."

The following statement on the incident was issued to the press by the Ottoman Embassy in Paris.20

"Certain accounts of the incidents in the province of Adana appearing in the newspapers and disseminated by the Armenian revolutionaries contain severe criticism of the actions of the Ottoman government. Although the official telegram sent by the governor and read out in the Assembly of Deputies announced that the number of deaths did not exceed four thousand, figures of twenty or even thirty thousand have appeared in the press. At the same time, attempts are being made to place all the blame for the incident on the Ottoman government. Yet the investigations carried out in Mersin and Adana by the leaders of the Christian communities show that the blame must be borne equally by both Christian and Moslem. One of the main reasons for the tragic turn of events was the fact that there were not sufficient trooops available and that they had to be summoned from the neighbouring provinces, thus arriving too late to prevent the disturbances. Nevertheless, no fault can be imputed to the local government or the Ministry of the Interior regarding the performance of their duty. Furthermore, in addition to the sum of thirty thousand liras requested for payment of compensation, without distinction of race or creed, for all those who had suffered loss in these events, an extra ten thousand has been sent to the governor for the care of the wounded and the provision of food and supplies.

A military tribunal composed of officers from Rumelia and thus quite unaffected by local prejudices, has been set up to investigate the causes of the incidents and to punish those responsible in an examplary fashion.

The National Armenian Assembly has welcomed the measures taken and given its full approval. We are convinced that, following these measures, all those who have been led by false information to condemn the actions of the Ottoman government will accept the truth of the situation.

24 May, 1909

The following statements in reply to the above appeared in Le Temps and in Droshak, the organ of the Dashnaktsutiun Revolutionary Committee.

"We are greatly grieved to find ourselves obliged to protest the statement sent to Le Temps newspaper on 24 May by the Ottoman Embassy in Paris on the subject of the various rumours concerning the causes of the Adana incidents. After declaring that the blame for the Adana incidents is to be borne equally by the Armenian and Moslem communities, the statement goes on to accuse our committee of staining the honour of the constitutional government.

It is quite incredible that, in spite of the fact that the newly appointed local officials quite frankly admit that the calamity was engineered before 12 April by Abdul Hamid and his functionaries, the government should still be seeking to place the blame on others and to point to Armenian instigation. Armenians attempting to defend their rights are met with violence. The Armenians are placed on the same level as those that have made evil their profession and hundreds are thrown into prison while the arms of the others are removed so as to render them defenceless. These events have aroused pain and bewilderment in Armenian circles. If, after so many calamities and after the burning and destruction of so many towns and villages by soldiers and mob directed by feeble-brained officials, blame is still to be placed on the wretched and defenceless, we should be failing in our duty to our people if we were to remain silent. The only thing that can restore life and health to our country and prevent the recurrence of such tragic incidents is the rigorous punishment of those responsible for these crimes, after a fair, just and impartial investigation and trial.


9. This incident is treated separately at the end of this section because of its importance and also because it took place after the Proclamation of the Constitution.

10. Bishop Mushegh, The Adana Massacres and their Instigators, Cairo, 1909 (Armenian).

11. ibid., p. 31.

12. Bishop Mushegh.

13. The Itidal newspaper contains the following account of a play performed by the Armenians in the Ziya Pasha Gazino in Mersin on 29 April 1352 (12 May 1909). "A play entitled Tamberlane and the Destruction of Sivas was performed by the Armenians in the Ziya Pasha Gazino in Mersin on Sunday, 29 March. Although the Mutasarrif and all the other Turkish officials were invited, none of them attended the performance. That evening saw the first step in the Armenian rebellion. The Ziya Pasha Gazino was crammed with Armenians, together with one or two Muslims and a few Greeks. The curtain rose. Tamberlane proudly proclaimed that he would not leave a single Armenian alive and gave orders for the complete extermination of the Armenian nation. There followed a fierce struggle with the Armenian King. Finally, the king, together with his servant and his daughter, fell into Tamberlane's hands. The king is seen sitting disconsolate and forlorn with his servant and his daughter, his hands fettered and a crown of thorns on his head. Just then, an angel arrives with a trumpet in his hand accompanied by two spirits risen from the dead and followed by several Armenian soldiers. The following dialogue takes place:
Spirits: It was for you we gave our lives. We died to protect you and Armenia.
Angel: Your Majesty, your imprisonment is the result of your failure to unite. I have come to call you to work together in unity.
King: All the Armenians are massacred. Who is left to unite?
Angel: Is there not a single Armenian left alive?
King: Not a single Armenian has survived save my servant and my daughter.
Angels: They are Armenians!
King: True.
Angel (smiling): That is enough. Fear not. Unity will restore the monarchy. You will regain your independence. Be of good cheer. Hold fast to the idea of unity. You will regain your crown.
King: Unfortunately.... Angel: Soon a star will arise, and flood all the mountains and plains of Sivas in its radiance. It is then that you will once again become king of the land of Armenia. As the end of this childish dialogue on kingship and independence, a bright star suddenly appears over the stage and slowly rises. On the appearance of the star all the Armenians begin applauding and shouting, "Long live Armenia! Long live the Armenian kingdom! Long live the Armenians!"

14. Agop Babikian, The Adana Massacre, Istanbul, 1919 (Armenian)

15. 13 June 1909 (German). Although in his first article the writer adopts a humane and impartial viewpoint, his later articles are strongly biased in favour of the Armenians.

16. M. Varandian, The Rebirth of a Nation and our Mission, Geneva, 1910 (Published on the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Dashnaktsution) (Armenian)

17. ibid. p. 144.

18. Droshak, No. 7, 1909; Leo, op.cit., p. 59-61.

19. Nor Husank, Vol. 1, No. 4.

20. Tanin 1325.


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