TURKEY AND THE ARMENIAN ATROCITIES
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POLITICS AND MASSACRE AT CONSTANTINOPLE.
Investigation at Sassun — Mr. Gladstone on the Situation — Disturbances in Constantinople-Joint Notes by the Embassies — Plan of Reforms — New English Government — Massacre in Constantinople — Decisive Action of the Embassies — Signing of the Reforms — Subsequent Acts of Defiance — Breach Between England and Russia — Collapse of English Influence.
The report of the massacres in Sassun aroused a storm of indignation throughout Europe. The British Consul at Van made investigation, confirmed the report of the massacres, which was again confirmed by the local military commander. The British Ambassador at Constantinople sent special officials to make public inquiries, with the result finally that the Turkish Government was informed that prompt, efficient steps must be taken to secure better government in Eastern Turkey, or she would join with European Powers in such intervention as would secure peace and justice for the Armenians. Meanwhile Czar Nicholas had come to the throne, and just what course would be taken by him was not yet evident. There were indications that he would pursue a different policy from his father, more in the line of general liberty and toleration, and there was a widespread feeling that the English demand was practically supported by Russia. A Turkish investigating commission was appointed, but its
[page 385] A COMMISSION APPOINTED.
personnel was such as to make it open to grave suspicion, and the British Consuls at Erzrum and Van were instructed to watch its course carefully. This suspicion was increased by the fact that the Turkish commander was decorated, and notwithstanding the repeated efforts of the Turkish Government to prevent the spread of news, the worst reports as to the massacres were confirmed all over the empire. At the same time the Turkish Government invited an American representative to attend the commission. President Cleveland declined to do this, but after negotiations with England decided to send, as an independent investigator, Consul Jewett, of Sivas. To this, however, the Turkish Government objected, and refused to give him the traveling papers.
As matters became more clearly understood, reports were spread of a separate commission to represent England, Russia, Austria, France and probably Germany, entirely apart from the commission appointed by the Turkish Government. This general intensity of feeling on the part of Europe aroused considerable anxiety among the Turks, and the result was that a commission was at last appointed with regular representatives of the different European Powers to attend it and insure that its investigations were carried on in an impartial and thorough manner. The anxiety, however, was by no means confined to the government. Throughout the empire word had been spread among the Moslems that the Christians, backed by the European Governments, were planning the overthrow of the Sultan. At the same time the Huntchagists redoubled their efforts. They evidently felt that a point had been reached at which they might make a strike. The result was that disturbances were reported from the whole region of Western Turkey, especially in the
[page 386] NEW PLAN OF GOVERNMENT.
vicinity of Zeitun, Marash and Adana. Destructive fires were started in several cities. The Moslems charged it upon the Armenians, the Armenians retorted the charge upon the Moslems, and the situation rapidly grew more intense even than it had been before. The next step of the Turkish Government was to announce that a new plan of government had been adopted for the districts of Erzrum, Van, Bitlis and Mush. These four were to be made a single province with a Mussulman governor appointed for five years, to be succeeded by Christians, who, however, were not to be Armenians. The gendarmerie were to be recruited from the district and commanded by a general named by the Sultan; local revenues were to be retained by the provinces except one annual contribution to the Porte; judges were to be elected and local ministries of education and public works were to be formed. This was largely as the result of the intense feeling roused in England, which was expressed by Mr. Gladstone in response to a deputation of Armenians from Paris and London on his eighty-fifth birthday, December 29, 1894.
“ The history of Turkey has been a sad and painful history. That race
has not been without remarkable, and even in some cases, fine qualities, but
from too many points of view it has been a scourge to the world, made use
of, no doubt, by a wise Providence for the sins of the world. If these tales
of murder, violation and outrage be true, then it will follow that they cannot
be overlooked, and they cannot be made light of. I have lived to see the Empire
of Turkey in Europe reduced to less than one-half of what it was when I was
born, and why ? Simply because of its misdeeds — a great record written
by the hand of Almighty God, in whom the Turk, as a Mo-
[page 387] GLADSTONES VIEWS.
hammedan, believes, and believes firmly — written by the hand of Almighty God against injustice, against lust, against the most abominable cruelty; and if — and I hope, and I feel sure, that the government of the Queen will do everything that can be done to pierce to the bottom of this mystery, and to make the facts known to the world — if, happily — I speak hoping against hope — if the reports we have read are to be disproved or to be mitigated, then let us thank God; but if, on the other hand, they be established, then I say it will more than ever stand before the world that there is no lesson, however severe, that can teach certain people the duty, the prudence, the necessity of observing in some degree the laws of decency, and of humanity, and of justice, and that if allegations such as these are established, it will stand as if it were written with letters of iron on the records of the world, that such a government as that which can countenance and cover the perpetration of such outrages is a disgrace in the first place to Mohammed, the Prophet whom it professes to follow, that it is a disgrace to civilization at large, and that it is a curse to mankind. Now, that is strong language.
“ Strong language ought to be used when facts are strong, and ought not to be used without strength of facts. I have counselled you still to retain and to keep your judgment in suspense, but as the evidence grows and the case darkens, my hopes dwindle and decline; and as long as I have a voice, I hope that voice, upon occasion, will be uttered on behalf of humanity and truth.”
Soon after came the formation of a commission, which was, however, so constituted as not to inspire the greatest confidence, the foreign representatives not being of high rank. However, it was better than nothing, and the general feeling
[page 388] DISCOVERIES BY THE COMMISSION.
was that its report would be awaited with interest. Meanwhile there came notices of disturbance elsewhere. There was a rising of the Christians in Albania, and considerable trouble in Bulgaria, where the Russian power was made manifest by the appearance upon the scene of Mr. Zankoff, who had been practically an exile for some time. The commission had started, and by the middle of February was thoroughly established in its work in Mush. On its way to that place it made some interesting discoveries. At the village of Bulanik some of the Armenian villagers came to the European members and reported that Turkish soldiers were at that time engaged in extorting money from villagers by threats of reporting them as rebels. The commission sent a polite invitation to the commander, asking him to come and answer a few questions. Instantly the whole body fled in every direction, evidently supposing that they would not be interfered with. This was a fair illustration of the kind of extortion carried on through the whole of Eastern Turkey. Those who made any difficulty were imprisoned, until it was said that there was scarcely a single Armenian of prominence in the city of Bitlis who was not in prison, while Armenian ecclesiastics of every grade were arrested. This fact also illustrates the nature of the charges of the government with regard to insurrection among the Armenians. At Khnus the commission found some genuine refugees whom they took along with them to Mush.
At the same time attention was diverted to the region of Marash, so far as appears, there was no special charge of insurrection, but a general uprising. The houses of the American missionaries were entered by force and searched for arms, which naturally they did not find. Complaint was sent
[page 389] MURDERS IN CONSTANTINOPLE.
to Constantinople and demands were made through the American Legation for protection. Similarly at Nicomedia a French Catholic complained that his domicile had been violated and that he himself had been arrested by the Turks. The French ambassador, standing firm upon the capitulations accorded to his government, demanded the removal of the governor, the punishment of the officers and a public apology to the priest. The Turks objected, but finally yielded. Even Constantinople was not safe. An American citizen passing through the streets, only a short distance from the Sultan’s palace, was stabbed and killed by a Turkish soldier, who had also seriously wounded sixteen others. A day or two later another Turk in a theatre got into a quarrel with an Englishman and endeavored to kill him. The Englishman escaped, but a student friend who rose to defend him, was struck down with a single blow of the Turk’s knife. The chief value of these incidents was that the government made every effort to excuse the criminals, and would give no punishment except under pressure. The official statement as to the man who murdered the American was, that the soldier had got into a quarrel with one of his comrades and merely stabbed the sixteen Christians on the supposition that they were trying to catch him. The absurdity of this is evident from the fact that one of them was an Armenian girl, standing on the steps of her own home; another was a milkman, whom the soldier asked, “Are you a Christian or a Moslem ? ” and on being told that he was a Moslem let him go.
For some weeks there was no special change in the situation, though the relations between Turks and Christians were constantly more serious, so that the council of the Armenian Patriarchate at Constantinople presented a memorial to the
[page 390] INSTANCES OF ILL-TREATMENT.
Sultan, urging him to cease the constant ill treatment which the Armenians suffered at the hands of the Turkish officers. It was not surprising that the memorial was returned with a request that it be modified in form. How needful it was, however, was manifest from the following facts reported from a city a short distance from Constantinople. An Armenian pastor and teacher were arrested and imprisoned on the charge of having seditious letters, which letters, when read, were shown to be simply private correspondence. One man was imprisoned for two weeks because his name suggested a similarity to an address to which a telegram was sent saying, “ Come at once.” An Armenian was forced to sell his house at only a trifle over half value, because a pasha wanted it for one of his wives. A traveler happening to meet an official on the road was turned back and imprisoned for a week on no charge whatever, and released only on the payment of three Turkish pounds. These are but illustrations of what was going on near Constantinople. In the region of Dersim, north of Sivas and Harput, the Kurds seemed to have made special effort to search for proofs of sedition. In two villages papers were found stating that a certain order for arms had been filled and -; forwarded. No weapons were discovered, however, and subsequently a Turk confessed that he had himself forged the papers. Notwithstanding this, fifty people, thirty from one village, were imprisoned, of whom a number died. Everywhere throughout Asia Minor the Christians were in constant fear of the Turks, who were stirred by their priests to provide themselves with arms in order to be ready for any emergency, which the priests assured them would come as the result of the efforts of the Christians, supported by European powers,
[page 391] PRESSURE FOR REFORMS.
to overthrow the Turkish Government. For a time there seemed to be hope of better things. The Turkish Government revoked some of its appointments of notoriously unfit men, and the commission at Mush were making increasing reports of the situation, which aroused repeated and indignant protests throughout Europe. It became apparent that the moral sense of the Christian Powers was awake, and the Porte understood very well that that could not be ignored. The British Government had definitely announced its intention to secure protection for Christians throughout the empire. At the same time United States cruisers arrived on the coast, and in interviews with the Turkish governors made it very apparent that protection to Americans must be secured. The immediate result of this was the release of a large number of ecclesiastics who had been confined in various fortresses, and who, though for some time under surveillance in Constantinople, were practically at liberty. The summer thus passed by with a generally better condition and there were strong hopes that reforms would actually be instituted, especially as reports came that Great Britain, France and Russia had united in a joint note to the Porte, stating the reforms which they insisted upon for the better conduct of the government in the interior. A complete statement of these reforms is hardly necessary here. In the main they followed the line of the different promises that had been made previously. Among the most important provisions were the following:
“A High Commissioner, appointed with the assent of the Powers, is to have general supervision over the whole empire, with the assistance of a commission sitting in Constantinople; the provinces of Eastern Turkey are to have Mohammedan
[page 392] ANSWER LONG DELAYED.
or Christian governors, according to the preponderance of population, the vice-governor to be of different faith from the governor; taxes are to be collected by local and municipal agents instead of by soldiers or treasury agents, and the provinces are to retain enough funds for their own administration, and send the balance to Constantinople; there is to be a general amnesty for crimes and offences other than those against the common law; pending political trials are to stop and the prisoners are to be released; imprisonment without special warrant is forbidden and speedy trial assured, together with release in case of acquittal; the number of Christian judges is to be increased in proportion to the Christian population; Christians are to serve equally with Moslems in the gendarmerie; conversion to Islam by force is forbidden, and general freedom of religious confession is to be secured; the powers of magistrates are to be extended, and the local courts are to be under the supervision of a delegation from the Court of Appeals.”
The position taken by the Ottoman Government with regard to these reforms was not such as to inspire much of hope. Answer was long delayed; furthermore, there was a change of ministry, the new Grand Vizier being one well known as anti-English in his policy and warmly supporting Russia. The one selected as Minister of Foreign Affairs was also president of the commission to investigate the Sassun massacre.
Meanwhile trouble had arisen in Arabia, there being attacks upon the English, French and Russian Consuls at Jeddah. The whole Moslem world seemed to be on the verge of an outbreak. The British Government was strengthening its garrisons in the Mediterranean and in Egypt, and there was a very general belief that it was ready to take ex-
[page 393] SITUATION EXTREMELY UNCERTAIN.
treme steps, even to the extent of occupying the Dardanelles, and perhaps the Bosporus in case of necessity. At last the reply of the Turkish Government came, acceding to the general principle of control by the Powers of the plan of reforms, but asking that the period be limited to three years. As if, however, to complicate matters still more, reports came of an uprising in Macedonia. Bulgarian emissaries had apparently been at work among their brethren under Turkish rule, ex. citing revolt and urging annexation. The result was manifest in incursions across the mountains, and notice was given by the Bulgarian Government that it might be compelled to take decisive action with regard to the disturbances. Underneath all this there was generally recognized to be Russian, and perhaps Austrian influence, so that the general situation was uncertain in the extreme.
Just at this time, in July, came the overthrow of the liberal government in England, and the return of the conservatives to power. Hitherto the conservative policy toward Turkey had always been aggressive, and every one expected that tradition would be respected. In anticipation of this, the Sultan’s Government sent conciliatory answers in regard to reforms, stating that they proposed to apply them to the entire empire; appoint Christian assessors to assist provincial governors; make the selection of under-officials from both Mussulmans and Christians, improve prisons, check the excesses of Kurds, etc. In Tarsus a mob attacked the building of St. Paul’s Institute, and in other portions of the country there was manifest a great deal of tension of feeling. The Huntchagists again stirred themselves, and in Marsovan murdered two prominent Armenians, one a Protestant, the other a Gregorian. They also committed various murders in Constanti -
[page 394] HOSTILITY TO THE GOVERNMENT.
nople, and threatened the life of the Patriarch because he refused to endorse their scheme for absolute independence. About this time also became increasingly manifest the bitter feeling on the part of the Turks themselves against their own government. Reports spread for the past year by the Moslem priests that the Sultan’s rule was in danger, and that the Christians were planning to overcome the Moslem power, combined with the increasing taxation and the great injustice from which in many sections of the empire Moslems suffered not less than Christians, stirred the Young Turkey Party to an increasing degree of bitterness. Just to what extent this party was organized it has never been possible to learn; that remains for the future historian. It is, however, a fact that everywhere throughout the empire there was hostility not merely against the Christians, but against the Turkish Government for its failure to do justice to the Moslems even at the expense of Christians. Just at this time came Mr. Gladstone’s famous address at Chester, in which he summed up very clearly the situation; under the treaty of 1856 the Powers of Europe had a right, clear and indisputable, to march into the country and take the government of it out of the hands of the Turks; England had a special right under the treaty of 1878 (the Cyprus Convention) and a special duty, from the fact that the making of promises in treaties carries with it the obligation to compel the keeping of the promises; the whole situation, therefore, he summed up in the three words: coercion, must and ought. The last he claimed had absolutely no meaning; must, he said, is fairly understood, but the first is the one that is thoroughly appreciated.
One of the first manifestations of spirit of the new English Government was the sending of an English fleet to the vicin-
[page 395 - illustration]
[page 396 - illustration]
[page 397] ENGLAND’S FIRM ATTITUDE.
ity of the Dardanelles and there was a general feeling that aggressive action would be taken. Here, however, appeared a new phase. Having practically accepted the principle of European control, the Sultan now denounced it, saying that it was derogatory to his dignity and that it would endanger his own control over his empire. In this connection also he made complaint to France and Russia of the position taken by England. They indeed did not give him encouragement, but from this time it became questionable whether the concert of the three Powers which had been supposed to be firm was really so. Meanwhile relief work had been going on and a special commission had been sent into Eastern Turkey to manage the question of relief. This will be referred to later, but reference must be made to it here to show the peculiar situation in which England was placed. She was manifesting her deepest sympathy with the Armenians, was apparently taking steps to coerce the Sultan and had made, or was on the point of making, propositions for his deposition. So far as appears, she was doing all that could possibly be expected. The next step was equally strong. It was asserted that, in an interview with the Turkish ambassador at London, Lord Salisbury had announced that the refusal on the part of the Turkish Government to execute Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin would be the signal of the dismemberment of the empire. This was indeed denied the next day, but it was generally believed to be virtually true, and the immediate issuing by the Sultan of a note stating the concessions he was willing to make with regard to the administration of the eastern provinces of his empire indicated that some extra pressure had been brought to bear upon him. Those concessions were not of remarkable char-
[page 398] INCREASING UNEASINESS.
acter, merely in the line of what had repeatedly been said and repeatedly promised. It was evident, however, that there was increasing uneasiness throughout the empire. Next came reports that Russia and France had intimated their acceptance of the Sultan’s proposals, while Great Britain insisted that they were incomplete. Fresh outrages were said to have started up throughout the empire. Despatches from the region of Erzingan spoke of a band of brigands attacking a company of Turkish soldiers, whereupon the authorities decided that the assailants were Armenian revolutionaries, and sent a force of 1,000 Turks to the Armenian village of Kemakh, the result being that five villages were pillaged, several thousand persons rendered homeless, men tortured, women and children assaulted and four monasteries attacked. There were also reports of an organization among the Turkish minor officials to attack the Christians on every hand if the government should definitely accept the scheme of reforms. For a couple of weeks there was apparent quiet, when the civilized world was astounded by the report of a massacre in Constantinople itself. The long delay in effecting any result favorable to good order in Turkey from the negotiations respecting reform gave opportunity for the Huntchagists. At the same time the Turks were exasperated by the long continuance of the English fleet near the Dardanelles. The Armenians said that England and Russia had quarrelled. The Turks were inclined to believe also that there was weakness and fear on the part of the English, else the passage of the Dardanelles would be risked. Then came reports of all sorts. The Huntchagists circulated a story that the English Ambassador desired to have a few Armenians killed in the streets of
[page 399] TERRIBLE SCENES.
Constantinople in order to have an excuse for bringing in the fleet. On Monday, October 1st, a procession of Armenians was formed, including perhaps 200, some armed with revolvers, but the greater part entirely peaceable men, and even those who were armed were for the most part ignorant of the use of their weapons. They started to the offices of the Sublime Porte to present their petition for relief from the terrible oppression under which their nation was suffering. Such petition was entirely in accord with the time-honored customs of Turkey. It was, however, not difficult to give it an illegal appearance, and taken in connection with various threats, it is scarcely surprising that the Turkish Government was alarmed. The police were drawn up hastily and the Armenians were ordered to disperse. In some way or other firing commenced, the Turks say by the Armenians, the Armenians charge it upon the Turks. There was an attack upon the men by the police and a number of persons were killed before the procession was broken up. Once started, however, the disturbance was not easily stopped. It spread through different parts of the city. The Softas gathered from their Mosques and started on a riot through the streets armed with clubs. They attacked any Armenians they could find, knocking them down, wounding them severely and sometimes killing them; even attacking those who were already prisoners in the hands of the police. Through all that day and night and the next day this situation continued. During Tuesday night a number of attacks on Armenians in their lodging-places were made and from 70 to 80 were thus killed in cold blood. The whole number of killed is estimated at about 200 and most of them absolutely innocent of any action hostile to the government. The Turks, how-
[page 400] TAKING REFUGE IN CHURCHES.
ever, were thirsting for Christian blood and the Armenians were in a panic. The government sent for the Armenian Patriarch, but told him that none of his followers would be permitted to accompany him. He therefore declined the invitation and remained at his palace, where he was practically imprisoned, together with a large number of Armenians. In the main streets for two or three days there was apparently no difficulty, but on a side street it was not safe for an Armenian to be seen. The panic spread into the European quarter and 21 Armenian laborers at the glass works in Pera were killed. Multitudes took refuge in the churches, and in one case an effort was made to break through the walls, apparently to allow the Moslems free entrance to the church. Under the lead of the British Ambassador the foreign representatives acted promptly. The Dragoman of the English Embassy, under orders from Sir Philip Currie, visited the patriarchate to express sympathy with the Armenians. Sir Philip insisted upon the prompt acceptance of the scheme of reforms and demanded that every effort be made to restore order. For several days, however, it was impossible to persuade the terror-stricken Armenians to leave the churches where they were taking refuge, and it was not until the ambassadors sent their own officials to the churches, giving their personal pledges for safety, that the churches were cleared and quiet was re-established in the city. Just at this time there came a change in the government and Said Pasha gave place to Kiamil Pasha, one of the ablest statesmen Turkey has ever known, and who was identified with the best interests of the empire. This, however, was attended by the sending to the Softas from the Sultan’s palace of several hundred sheep and a quantity of delicacies as a
[page 401] RESULT OF THE DISTURBANCE.
reward for their loyalty. The flame once started in Constantinople, spread rapidly throughout the empire. The record of the massacres is contained in the following chapters. We confine ourselves here to a general survey of the political events following, until March, 1896.
The immediate result of the disturbance at Constantinople politically was the approval and signing by the Sultan of the scheme approved by the embassies for reforms in Turkey by the Sultan. This aroused great opposition among the Moslems in Constantinople and corresponding delight throughout the empire. It was not certain, however, what the general result would be. The Sultan claimed that it was done under compulsion and evidently cared very little about the reforms being carried out. At the same time came threats of the assassination of the Sultan on the part of the Albanian guards in the palace, and the general situation in the capital being serious, the embassies made a demand for additional guardships for their own protection and the protection of the foreign residents. Further than this there was no indication of positive action on the part of the European Powers, and the conviction grew rapidly that a breach had formed between Russia and England and that nothing practical would be done. With the constantly repeated reports of massacres throughout the empire and the increased demands of the foreign Powers came another change in the ministry. Kiamil Pasha was summarily and very harshly dismissed and ordered to Aleppo. He appealed for protection to the ambassadors and receiving some support was sent to Aldin, a more favorable post.
The most significant item in the early part of November was a speech by Lord Salisbury, at the Lord Mayor’s ban-
[page 402] CONDITION OF CHAOS.
quet, in which he expressed the hope that the Sultan would grant justice to the Armenians and secure their prosperity, peace and safety, but intimated very clearly that if he did not, it would be the ruin of his empire. The fact that this was coincident with the sending of the French Mediterranean squadron to the Levant and the massing of the Russian troops through the Caucasus, gave an impression that positive intervention was nearer than at any time before. It was asserted in the English papers that a joint ultimatum would be presented to the Sultan transferring the internal government to persons trusted by the Powers, and that in case of refusal the combined squadrons would advance on Constantinople. On the other hand, the Sultan was reported as terrified at the increasing bitterness against him on the part of the Turks; as improving every opportunity to decorate and advance men who had been identified with the outrages, and in general as holding an attitude of defiance. The time passed by, however, with no positive action. News came of massacres at Harput, Marash, Aintab and elsewhere, with increasing proofs of the complicity, to say the least, of the Turkish authorities. The man who was more than any other identified with the worst oppression in the province of Van was made governor of Aleppo, and there seemed to be on every side a condition of chaos. Some defended the Sultan, claiming that while he would be glad to stop the disturbances, he was powerless, the movement having become a popular movement and having gone clear beyond any ability of his to check it. The next phase was the discussion in regard to the admission of the guardships. The demand was entirely within the rights of the embassies, but the Sultan hesitated on the ground that it would exasperate
[page 403] FLIGHT OF SAID PASHA.
the Moslem communities, and the European Governments hesitated to press the point. The result was, that more and more it became evident that there was on the one hand no cordial, united action between the European Governments, and on the other that the disturbances throughout the empire were under the direct orders of the Turkish Government. A significant event was the fleeing of the ex-Grand Vizier, Said Pasha, to the British Embassy for protection, on the ground that his life was in danger. He was kept there for some time and only left on specific assurance from the Sultan himself. Meanwhile on every hand reports of the situation in the interior increased in seriousness, but the government persistently denied them and spread the most atrocious lies with regard to the whole state of the country; declared that in every case the Armenians had risen in defiance of the Turkish Government, and that where massacre had been reported there was simply a little disturbance.
The close of the year 1895 found everything in the empire in a state of uncertainty. The fleets had withdrawn, and there seemed to be no plan of action on the part of the various Powers, while the Turkish Government was doing its best by repeated falsehoods to arouse the Moslem populace to a high pitch of exasperation. At the same time the Turkish army was suffering from lack of pay, soldiers not receiving their wages and having no clothing or adequate food. A revolt of the Druzes in Syria called a large number of troops to the south, but it was difficult to secure military discipline among them. Meanwhile the widespread destitution resulting upon the massacres had called the earnest attention of Europe and of America, and appeals were made for assistance. This was at first refused by the Turkish Government, which would not
[page 404] REPORT OF THE COMMISSION.
even permit the Red Cross to enter the country, claiming that there was no war and no necessity; that the story of sufferings had been greatly exaggerated, and that the whole thing was the direct result of Armenian revolution. The month of January passed without any special change. The guardships were admitted, but the long delay had deprived the matter of any great significance. Then came reports of the secret treaty between Russia and Turkey, by which Russia would guarantee the Sultan’s Government and in turn receive free passage for her fleets through the straits, which would be closed by Turkey to other nations. These reports were officially denied, but it was generally believed that there was basis for them. Early in February the report of the commission investigating the massacre at Sassun were issued. The actual statements confirmed the story of the outrages, showed that no steps were taken by troops to stop the Kurds, that in fact the soldiers and Kurds alike were the authors of the burning of entire villages; they also showed that there was no proof of revolt on the part of the Armenians. In the middle of February, Parliament assembled, and in the speech from the throne, which sets forth the general policy of the government, was the following clause in reference to Turkey:
“ The Sultan of Turkey has sanctioned the principal reforms in the government of the Armenian provinces, for which, jointly with the Emperor of Russia and the President of the French Republic, I have felt it to be my duty to press. I deeply regret the fanatical outbreak on the part of a section of the Turkish population which has resulted in a series of massacres which have caused the deepest indignation in this country.”
This clause aroused very strong criticism by the liberals,
[page 405] RUSSIAN AND FRENCH OPPOSITION.
but Lord Salisbury claimed that it was impossible for the government to have done more, and intimated distinctly that Russia and France had refused to co-operate, and had distinctly said that they would resist any attack on the part of England to bring coercion to bear on the Turkish Empire.
Table of Contents
| The Cover, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright
Introduction | Preface | Turkey in Asia (map) | Table of Contents (as in the book)
List of Illustrations | 1. The Turkish Empire | 2. Population and Languages | 3. Religions
4. The Turks | 5. The Kurds | 6. The Armenians | 7. The Greeks | 8. Other Oriental Churches
9. Rise and Decline of Ottoman Power | 10. Turkey and Europe | 11. Russia and Turkey
12. Mahmud II | 13. Reform and Progress | 14. Treaties of Paris and Berlin
15. Condition of the Christians | 16. The Turkish Government | 17. Protestant Missions in Turkey
18. The Armenian Question | 19. General Situation in 1894 | 20. The Sassun Massacre
21. Politics and Massacre at Constantinople | 22. Massacres at Trebizond and Erzrum
23. Massacres in Harput District | 24. Aintab, Marash and Urfa | 25. Character of the Massacres
26. Religious Persecution | 27. Relief Work | 28. Partition of Turkey | 29. America and Turkey
30. General Survey | Alphabetical Index
Bliss, Rev. Edwin Munsell . Turkey and the Armenian Atrocities.
Edgewood Publishing Company , 1896
J. Rendel Harris
& B. Helen Harris, Letters
from the Scenes of the Recent Massacres in Armenia