Genocide in Increments

Editorial, 15 February 2016

To the chagrin and anger of millions of people people around the world, a century after the 1915 Genocide of Armenians obdurate and cynical Turkey continues not only to deny it committed genocide but also minimizes the number of Armenian dead and alleges that Armenians were “deported” for their safety, because they sided with the Russians, because they wanted to tear apart the country, because…

The fact is the Genocide of Armenians wasn’t a one-time event. There were five Genocides of the Armenians. The first was the slow and prolonged Genocide which started in the early days of the Ottoman Empire and continued until Sultan Abdul Hamid II rose to the throne in the second half of the 19th century. During the centuries prior to the Abominable Sultan’s misrule, the Ottomans practiced a demographic engineering of their Armenian minority through massacres, forced Turkification, and other harassment policies which drove many Armenians away from their homeland. For example, in the 16th century Dersim (now tagged Tunceli by Turkey) was 70% Armenian. By the 19th century that percentage had shrunk to 30% through various modes of persecution.

Editorial, 15 February 2016

To the chagrin and anger of millions of people people around the world, a century after the 1915 Genocide of Armenians obdurate and cynical Turkey continues not only to deny it committed genocide but also minimizes the number of Armenian dead and alleges that Armenians were “deported” for their safety, because they sided with the Russians, because they wanted to tear apart the country, because…

The fact is the Genocide of Armenians wasn’t a one-time event. There were five Genocides of the Armenians. The first was the slow and prolonged Genocide which started in the early days of the Ottoman Empire and continued until Sultan Abdul Hamid II rose to the throne in the second half of the 19th century. During the centuries prior to the Abominable Sultan’s misrule, the Ottomans practiced a demographic engineering of their Armenian minority through massacres, forced Turkification, and other harassment policies which drove many Armenians away from their homeland. For example, in the 16th century Dersim (now tagged Tunceli by Turkey) was 70% Armenian. By the 19th century that percentage had shrunk to 30% through various modes of persecution.

The second Genocide was in 1895. The sultan’s Hamidiyeh brigands killed anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 Armenians. The third Genocide was in Adana (1909) when 25,000 to 30,000 Armenians were killed. The fifth Genocide stretched from 1916 to 1923. In other words, what the Young Turks did in 1915 was consistent with the traditional Ottoman policy of eliminating the Armenians.

During the 19th century there were a number of studies of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenians. Some were conducted by the government, others by the Armenians and by Europeans. One of the earlier studies was the Ottoman 1844 census which reported there were 2.4 million Armenians in the empire. French historian Jean-Henri-Abdolonyme Ubicini, author of the two-volume “Letters from Turkey” (1856) accused the government of understating the number of Armenians.

The next major study came from senior Ottoman official Mgrdich Bey Dadian. According to him there were 3.4 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1867. The government did not contradict the statistics.

In 1878—the year of the Berlin Congress—there were several census reports: G.G. Ghazarian of “Universal Annual” said the most-recent count was 2.5 million. About the same time Karekin Vartabed Srvantsiants stated the figure was 2 million plus. The 1878 Armenian Patriarchate’s census reported there were 1.3 million Armenians in the Six Villayets for a total of 2,600,000 in the whole country. Others said the number was between 2.5 to 3 million. Two years later (1880) identical numbers (2.5 to 3 million) were the accepted figures.

A 1914 government census said there were 1,300,000 Armenians. The Armenian population, according to the authorities, had declined from 2.4 million to 1.3 million between 1844 and 1914. An impossible 46% decline, even when the 1895 killings are taken into account.

While it would be understandable that Armenians might have inflated their numbers, the surprising fact is that the Armenian communities often minimized their numbers. They did so fearing increased taxes. German sources are also suspect because of their government’s pro-Ottoman policies. Thus German historian Herman Wambery (1896) reported there were 1,130,000 Armenians and the German Reich Post gave the figure as 1.8 million. British and French sources should be considered more objective because the United Kingdom and France were still friendly with the Ottomans. Scholars and observers from the two countries reported numbers which were close to what Armenians claimed. British geographer Henry Lynch said the Ottoman government undercounted the Armenians while Gen. Charles Wilson, who had lived in the Ottoman Empire for many years, said there were 2,500,000 Armenians in the country. In 1880 The Times of London, the unofficial voice of 10 Downing Street, said there were 3 million Armenians. Let’s not forget that two years earlier, at the Berlin Congress, the British government had forced Russia to give up its gains in the Russo-Turkish War and thus had hurt the Armenian drive for justice. French historian Jacque Morgan (“History of the Armenian People in Turkey”) said there were 2,300,000 Armenians while French journalist Maurice Berno calculated the Armenian population to be around 2.5 million. These are close to Armenian parliamentarian/writer Krikor Zohrab’s estimates of 2,380,000.

To go along the Turkish sources, let’s halve the Armenian population figures and say there were only 1.3 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. Let’s also agree that only 300,000 to 600,000 died, not forgetting that they were killed during “inter-communal fighting and war conditions” which saw “millions of Turks killed by the Armenians,” according to Ankara.

Deduct 600,000 (Turkish figures) Armenian dead from the 1.3 million (Turkish figures) Armenian population.

The result? 700,000 unaccounted for Armenians.

Where did the 700,000 Armenians vanish?

We know, through usually reliable source Recep Tayyip Erdogan that in the 17th century a wiz Turkish astronomer soared to the moon from his space centre along the Bosphorus. Perhaps the 700,000 unaccounted for Armenians took a similar vertical route and ascended to the Heavens, en masse, riding a Turkish dirigible commanded by the intrepid Capt. Nassredin Hoja.

4 comments
  1. Reliable Dutch Documents

    Dear Editor,
    According to very reliable Dutch documents, where the number of the Armenian population in every "vilayet" is mentioned separately and accurately, even to which church did they belonged to, for example (Armenian Gregorian or Apostolic, Armenian Catholic and Armenian Protestant).

    In the above-mentioned document the number of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire before the Armenian Genocide is estimated at 1,845,450 plus the statistics after the Genocide after the Armenian Genocide. Here are the numbers:

    Total                     Unharmed           Escaped        Butchered or Deported      
     
    1,845,450              204,700              244,400         1,396,350 

    For example, in the "vilayet" of Adana, there were 79,600 Armenians.

                  Gregorian                   Catholic                        Protestant
               
    Sis               9,000                                                           500
    Adana        35,000                       2,000                           900
    Hadjin        20,000                       1,000                           200
    Payas          11,000                              0                               0

    And so on.

    Nicolai Romashuk Hairabedian

     

  2. Dutch Document

    Nicolai,

    What an interesting document you make reference to. I had never heard of it as a primary source.

    That census comes from a party that was not involved politically and would have no reason to falsify the records while others may dispute the census put forth by the Patriarchate of Istanbul or Ottoman sources.

     

    1. Long List

      Dear Mr. Garabed,

      As you know, Keghart limits comments to a maximum of 200 words. Otherwise, it would have been a national responsibility for me to publish the whole list. It is sad interesting and accurate list.
       
      I pay mostly more attention to non-Armenian sources, because otherwise the enemies of the Armenian people will say these information comes from Armenian sources so they can be exaggerated or falsified.

      As you know, the Dutch stayed neutral in the First World War.

      The document I mentioned was published in 1918 through the help of eye- witnesses and the highest ranking officers of the Dutch government in 1918. For example, there are streets named after one of the witnesses–Minister of State Savornin Lohman. Prof. J. De Zwaan, C. J. Baron van Tuyll van Serooskerken,  G. W. Baron van der Feltz,. A. F. Baron van Leynden, etc. were others who provided information.

      Respectfully,
      Nicolai Romashuk Hairabedian
       

  3. Armenians in Anatolia.

    History tells us that the Armenian nation has been in Anatolia for over 3000 years. Has any one made a study to figure out why there were only 2.5 million Armenians at most, at the turn of the 20th century?

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