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Revista Universidad y Sociedad

versión On-line ISSN 2218-3620

Universidad y Sociedad vol.12 no.5 Cienfuegos sept.-oct. 2020  Epub 02-Oct-2020


Artículo Original

A vision on Armenian-Turk conflict during the beginning of XX century

Una visión sobre el conflicto armenio-turco a principios del siglo XX

Aliyev Zaur Bilal Oglu1  *

1 Institute of the History of Science. Azerbaijan


When World War 1 started, in Eastern Anatolia, Armenians join Russia betraying Turkey and killed hundreds of thousand Turkish people. Later Turkey applied on them a forced migration and more than 400,000 Armenians emigrated to Syria, Lebanon and other countries however a portion of them stayed in Turkey. In World War 1, Armenian deads are counted less than from 300,000 but Turkey lost are above 3 000 000 people being the majority civilians. Total 518,000 Turks were killed by Armenian rebels (Hynchak and Tashnak gangs). In short, 1915 events were not genocide, this was a war and there was a reciprocal slaughter. In this article it is analyzed the escalation of the conflicts from an historical point of view, showing that the conflict of Armenian and Turks wasn't a genocide but a confrontation during a civil war.

Keywords: Armenian genocide; Armenian-Turk conflict


Cuando comenzó la Primera Guerra Mundial, en el este de Anatolia, los armenios se unieron a Rusia traicionando a Turquía y mataron a cientos de miles de turcos. Más tarde, Turquía les aplicó una migración forzada y más de 400.000 armenios emigraron a Siria, Líbano y otros países, sin embargo, una parte de ellos se quedó en Turquía. En la Primera Guerra Mundial, los muertos armenios se cuentan menos de 300.000, pero Turquía perdió más de 3 000 000 de personas, siendo la mayoría civiles. Un total de 518.000 turcos fueron asesinados por rebeldes armenios (bandas de Hynchak y Tashnak). En resumen, los hechos de 1915 no fueron un genocidio, esto fue una guerra y hubo una masacre recíproca. En este artículo se analiza la escalada de los conflictos desde un punto de vista histórico, mostrando que el conflicto de armenios y turcos no fue un genocidio sino un enfrentamiento durante una guerra civil.

Palabras clave: Genocidio armenio; Conflicto armenio-turco


The number of Ottoman Armenians present in year 1916 in North Syria after the exile had been quoted as 486,000 in the official letter sent to American Ambassador of Istanbul, Henry Morgenthau by American Consul of Aleppo.

The letter also mentions that this number had been verified by the Armenian Patriarch Vahran Tahmizian. This number of 486.000 is qouted only for the Ottoman Armenians exiled to North Syria and the letter continues to mention about the aid and care provided by the American charities to the Armenians in the region.

Today many political events and unexpected decisions are used as game thing of different forces. Some countries especially countries which have big economic and military potential interfere to the internal affairs of nations that has no relation to them, analyzing historical events unilateral for their own interests, put aside their participation in mass slaughters try to keep their dominancy on competitors in order to get position. For this they mostly use falsified Armenian genocide claims.

This genocide claims that threat Turkish world turned into the main arm of Armenia that established based principles on terrorism and turned the terrorism to the part of their state politics. The falsified Armenian genocide is the pretension that claims in the beginning of XX century, to be exact in 1915 year Armenians who lived in Ottoman Empire territory were mass and systematically slaughtered. As if, Armenians during the First World War were killed intentionally due to the special orders of leaders of Ottoman state which was the inheritance of today’s Turkey and about 1.5 million Armenians were killed as a result of that genocide. But what realities the history whispers us? What is the real face of those events claimed to be “Armenian genocide”? Let’s look through to the history of those events.

At the end of XIX century some revolts began in territory of Ottoman Empire. As the international relations were sharpened in that period and as a result of enmity politics of European countries especially tsar Russia against Ottoman state revolts began in Balkan, Middle East and Eastern Anadolu against Turks. By provokes of Serbs and Bulgarians in Balkan, Armenians in Anadolu, English in Arabia, Syria, Iraq revolts began against the government. As Armenians lived in neighborhood and inside the same territory of Turks like “faithful” and “oppressed” nation Turks had frank relationship to them. Then this belief worked against Turks and for Armenians. So, Armenian chauvinist ideologists living under the “Big Armenia” imagination and church figures choosed a way of striking Ottoman from back in Russian-Turk war; beginning mass revolts making chaos and disturbance in the country and making them to recognize as an independent country. For these aim Western countries, especially Tsar Russia helped them financially and morally.

On December 6, 1876, the Armenian patriarch in Istanbul wrote a letter sent to the English ambassador Elliot where he said that "if riots and riots are needed to attract interference and the interest of Europe in this matter, it is not so difficult to do it (İsmet, 2007). It shows that the Armenians were ready for a long time and intentionally realized their plans. The letter from the English ambassador in Istanbul to the British Foreign Office on May 28, 1894 proves this. So the first glow started with the Musa bey event in history. Let's look at the chain of Armenian revolts before the First World War.

Before the Qumqapi armed diversion organized in Istanbul by Hncak committee, terror organization used Musa bey event for propaganda in Europe. This event begins with the screams for the purpose to swell the security of Armenians in Turkey. As if the complains about the Musa bey was the reason of beginning of those screams Armenians claimed that: “Musa bey participated in some robbery and tortures as an organizer but no measures were done for this and government did not look through complains.

Especially, as the nephew of the abbot from Mush city named Gulzar was kidnapped and brought to the home of Musa bey. She was raped by Musa, then brother of Musa repeated the same things and in the efforts to make her to accept Islam, tortures were done to the girl. That was the reason that Gulzar and a group of men went to Istanbul to protest. Included Gulzar 58 Armenians complained to the Prime Minister but did not get any positive answer. In reality Musa bey was called to Istanbul to be judged, but after he was interrogated by questioning in front of more than 60 witnesses but as there was not any fact he was declared innocent. However Musa bey event turned into the strong propaganda source for Armenians and photos of Armenian girl Gulzar and his uncle abbot were taken and sent to all press organizations of Europe with the aim of using Christian fanaticism in their favour.

Ersurum event happened on 20th June 1890. That time Samih pasha and some responsible officials were informed that Armenians brought guns from Russia and they keep them in Sanasaryan School, in church.

During July police wanted to make research in churches, but as Armenians were informed beforehand they rested against of this. After the first order, Armenians from committee fired to the soldiers; as a result, they killed 3 militaries and a police. Only after the Armenians were rendered harmless the searches in the churches were continued.

One of the most important events that Armenians used for propaganda and provocation is Qumqapi sabotage. The well-known historian of Turkey Esed Uras writes that, on 15th July 1890 two Armenians were chosen to make armed sabotage in Qumqapi. On the event day telegraph lines were cut and the lists of Hncak were delivered among nation. Armenians made the abbot making religious ritual in the church to go with them to the Palace. Armed Armenian gangsters occupied the cloister and abbot Ashikyan was obliged to go to the Palace with the gangsters. In the Armenian mass that gather in front of the Palace terrorist hncaks shouted “Long live Armenians, Long live independent Armenia”. Turkish soldiers and Police went to disperse the protests, but Armenians shot at them.

Also in July of 1895 in Zeytun province Hncak terror organization organized the revolt of Armenians. Five members of Hncak terror organization went to Zeytun to incite Armenians to make revolts, telling that English will support them. Esed Uras writes: “On 16th September 1895 100 gangster group joined in “Dark Valley” and made revolt. All telegraph lines were cut. About 4 thousand armed Armenians made sabotages in all territories of the region. About 600 captives were taken. Many captives were killed by Armenian women but after the commandant Remzi Pasha sent help, revolts again were oppressed in Zeytun. Though it was hard to submit Armenians who used modern guns, Turkish army cleaned the territory. As little was left to destroy armed rebels, ambassadors of European countries in Istanbul interfered, suggested peace and the movement stopped.


Historian Kamran Gurun notes that, after the revolt ambassadors mobilized their consulates in Heleb for the escape of rebels. The consuls of 6 countries went to Zeytun in 1896 and on January 28th peace was signed. Due to the terms of agreement arms were handed, the sabotage group of Hncak was deprived out of country on February 13th going to Marcel on March 12th. (7). This time again party made Armenians to revolt with bloody agitation and made belief in them to the establishment of big Armenia and many Armenians, Kurd and Turk were killed as a result.

In 1890 one of the members of Hncak named Mehran Damadyan was taken to Istanbul for interrogation when Armenians informed the police after he made propaganda for 3 years but then was freed. The revolt afterwards was organized to realize the interference of foreign states by Hncak committee and began by Murad Boyaciyan. E.Uras writes that, in order to go to Sasun, Murad passed Caucasus and got support from Dashnaksutyun. When he arrived to Sasun he gathered Armenians and shared his revolt plan with them. About 3000 armed Armenians found shelter in Antaq Mountain and attacked to peaceful Turkish settlements and villages. They killed hundreds of woman, children, and old men. Armenian gangsters attacked to the Kurdish regions and killed Kurds too. The religious beliefs of all Muslim captives were insulted. Many women were raped. Killings were realized with special cruelty. All property of the peaceful population they attacked were robbed and burnt. Armenian gangsters wanted to attack to Mush and occupy it but Turkish garrison situated in Mush prevented this. All Muslim population exposed to attack were made to kiss cross and accept Christianity. Who did not want were killed with special cruelty.

Armenians who used to hide the cruelties they made in history with lie, tried to put the responsibility on Turks in Sasun events. American researcher Samuel Wins noted about this in his book about Armenians: British captain Norman was accepted on 19th September 1895 and made report based on Armenian manifesto addressed to Armenians living in Adana region. It is written in manifesto: “Armenian arm for fight! Let’s draw the swords and attack to enemy!” Norman told that, British journalists were insulted by Armenians. He added that, the stories that they throw their children from Antaq Mountain and as women throw themselves too in order to keep honor are legends. About the count of Armenians he told that “as they increase the count of their victims, they exaggerate everything”.

We can see this also in the results of researches done by Sasun investigation Commission in 1894 by Ottoman government to value the problems Armenians rose. There were also English, French and Russians in the commission besides the Muslim members. Commission decided that, Armenians are as guilty as Turks because they attacked to each other. But in spite of this, British representative prepared another report. He noted that, “the mass slaughter of Armenians by Turkish soldiers, especially the cut of Armenian women in Qeliquzan Church and the destroy of woman cloister in Talari has no bases”. (Uims, 2004)

The consul of England in Van Holward wanted to go to Sasun to see the situation but as Ottoman government saw him as one of the agitators of revolt, they did not let him. After some time, as a result of pressure to government, Russian, English and French consuls gathered in Erzurum and discussed the issue. A Special Commission was established and as a result of 6 months of intense investigations about 108 meeting were held, more than 190 witnesses were interrogated.

On August 23rd the leader of the revolt Murad was arrested. This revolt had special importance for Armenians because due to them the revolt waves in Sasun would give a chance to Europe to move. So the Armenian imagination would come true. After intense fights and lost the revolt ended. The “New York Herald” newspaper of America wrote about this event: “Commission defined that, Ottoman government used the most legal right to send troops against the rebels. Those soldiers could win Armenians after bloody clashes. However Muslim people were killed, robbed and insulted. Many Muslims were made to accept Christianity and kiss cross after their eyes were pulled out; ears were cut and were insulted.

Turkish behaved to women, children, old men and invalid people due to Islam and human law. Died Armenians are who did not want to accept capitulation and who fought against the legal government of the country.

Van revolt began on 15th June 1895. General Mayevski who was consul of Russia in Van for 6 years and in Erzurum wrote in his memories: in 1895 Van saboteurs began big movement to attract the attention of Europe to Armenian issue. Letter with death threats were sent to rich Armenians to make them support this movement. Some crimes were realized by Van sabotage committee. The most important crime among them was the killing of abbot Bogos on January 6th, in the big holiday day while Armenians went to church. After the spring came the revolt preparations became rapid and the talks increased about the people that were killed and how their bodies were torn aside the city. Saboteurs saw that oppressions and deep investigations were not done against such crimes and they became brave. While they became braver, the patience of Muslim decreased. (Ura, 1985)

It is noted in province reports, especially in the report of Seadetdin Pasha who was sent to Van as the commander of troops, that about 418 Muslim and 1715 Armenians were killed while 363 Muslim and 71 Armenians were wounded. Also head consul of England in Ottoman nation Williams told his thoughts about the revolts. Diplomat notes: Dashnaks have about 400 members in Van and they provoke their nation to make terror with 50 hncaks, incite Muslim nation against them with their craziness and do not let to make reforms. If they can be silent, then I am sure that the prevention which prevents the peace in the region will go out.

After the failure of Sasun revolt on 8 August 1895, dashnaks tried to strike the second stab in 1897. Dashnak gang bands entered to Turkey from Iran and Caucasus by Van way. But Mazrik Kurd sect on the way prevented them. To annihilate that sect forever, committee members attacked to the tents of sect with 250 gangs in Honasor but failed and went back. Then dashnaks realized their activity in Sasun and Mush. At that time, Andronik Ozanyan got the leadership of all bands. He was born in 1866 in Eastern Qarahisar and entered to the terror organizations when he was young. He was arrested because he killed a Turk. Then he run from prison by the help of terror organization committee and was sent to Batum. In the end of 1903, revolt waves wrapped the all Sasun. Troops were sent to suppress the rebellion on 13th April 1904 and the revolts were pressured. In spite of failure Andronik could escape by running to Caucasus.

According to the book of Kudulyan published in Beirut in Armenian in 1929 named “Andronik Fights” 1132 Turk were killed in those revolts while only 19 Armenians were killed. It seems from the counts given by Armenian author, though Armenians were killed, in order to describe them as the nation that kill peaceful nation, they are described contrary (Gürün, 1983).

One of the nasty activities of Dashnaks in Turkey is the conspiracy against sultan Ebdulhemid. Christopher Mikayelyan, Vram Shabuj Kendiryan, Joris and his wife, Silvio Ritchi, Lipa-Rips, Ardash Kaptanyan, Chris Fenerchiyan, Ashot (Karlo Yovanovich) and other Armenians that came from Caucasus and from different countries of Europe, gathered in Istanbul and organized a conspiracy plan. First they tested 12 bombs in Polonez village and in Ibrahim Pasha Circle. As Mikayelyan had Russian Jewish passport, due to the recommendation he got from Russian Embassy, went to the meeting of Sultan a few times and planned to throw bomb on Sultan.

Armenian historian Levon Panos wrote about the Dabagyan conspiracy even. In January of 1904 in congress of Dashnaksutyun party gathered in Sofia important decisions were decided and due to the plan organized by that decision mass terror activities would be realized in Istanbul and Izmir and sultan Ebdulhemid would be killed. Two terrorists named Hajak and Hrach were the leaders in spread and strengthen of Dashnak committees in regions. They made terror actions in Izmir in 1887 and made Armenian rich people to give tributes and killed those who were against them. Now they had new targets and their plans were the robbery and destroy of banks, custom offices, stations, bridges. One of the formers of Dashnak Christopher Mikayelyan was leading the saboteurs. His target was Ebdulhemid khan.

Due to the Armenian historian, though the plan of sabotage against Sultan II Ebdulhemid was decided in Sofia congress, main plan was prepared in Sweden with Zionists… After the sabotage plan was looked through repeatedly, the terrorist leader of dashnaks Ch. Mikayelyan passed to Tbilisi then to Greece. After an Armenian woman named Zare met them, two women named Mari Anchkova and Rubina participated in organization committee. After the needed substances for bomb were bought from Greece and Bulgaria Mikayelyan who went to Istanbul took Mari with him, prepared false documents for her and himself (Rubina Fayn for her and Samuel Fayn for himself) and entered to Istanbul under the name of Russian Jewish (Levon, 2001).

Then in the celebration in the 15th day of Ramadan month, a plan of gun attack by two men over the Sultan was carried out. Men waited with guns on the way however that day Sultan went to Ciragan Palace by passing Star garden and made the plan of gangs fail. The plan was putting bombs on the places where foreign guests were, or making the automobile explode. 120 kg bomb were arranged on the place of driver and 42 second timer bomb was ready. The drive of automobile was given to 45 years old Armenian killer Zare Hachikyan. On Fridey 18th July 1905 when Sultan was back from the greeting ceremony to the Palace a bomb was expoted. He survived only because he met with sheikhulislam after he left mosque and he was late for some moments. The sabotage failed and because of the event, Austrian Eduard Joris was sentenced to death. After some time, Joris who was brought to the prison was appointed as an agent against Armenians and was sent to Europe.

One of the Armenian revolts organized intentionally is Adana events. The events went out of the control as two Turkish youth were killed and murder was not handed to government. Turkish diplomat and writer Gürün (1983), wrote: Muslims and Turks fought for three days without a break. Government draw troops to Adana and Armenian revolts were suppressed. In some sources it is said that 17000 Armenians and 1850 Muslim were killed in events. Though Armenian patriarch told that 21300 Armenian were killed, it was not approved yet. Ottoman government gave Armenians and Muslim to the court.


As we see, the beginning of the events so called “Armenian genocide” started before I World War. Armenians carried out the events showed before and killed ten thousand Turks. There is no doubt that, though the internal affairs of the country were hard and in intense fight condition, also by support of tsar Russia, the country met with the perfidy of Armenians.

Ottoman state watching how the population was being slaughtered, showed resistance and as a result Armenian gangs also had loss. But the reality is that Armenians exaggerated loss and tries to deceive the counts. Also it is notable that, most of killed Turkish people in slaughters were peaceful people, old men, children, and women, however Armenian loss were mostly armed gangs.

As it was analyzed they inflicted Ottoman population but also did not answer capitulation call of troops, showed resistance to the state leaning to the support of Russian army. Therefore, the historical true of this conflict is that more than a genocide is a civil war started by Armenians aspirations of become an independent nation.

Bibliographic references

Gürün, K. (1983). Armenian report, TTK-Basımevi. Ankara. [ Links ]

İsmet, B. (2007). Ermenilərin türklere yapdıkları mezalim ve soykırımın arşiv belgeleri. Ankara. [ Links ]

Levon Panos, D. (2001). Sultan Abdulhamit and Armenians, İst. pp,59 [ Links ]

Uims, S. A. (2004). The secrets of Armenia terrorist “Christian country”. Baku. [ Links ]

Ura, A. (1987). Armenians and Armenian issue in history İst. [ Links ]

Received: May 03, 2020; Accepted: July 20, 2020

*Autor para correspondencia. E-maıl:

Los autores declaran no tener conflictos de intereses.

Los autores han participado en la redacción del trabajo y análisis de los documentos

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