What were the elements implemented for the 1915 Crisis that occurred in the Ottoman Empire with the beginning of the Great War?
These measures ought to be clarified prior to making of a legitimate historical evaluation of the issue.
I observe three major elements of deep controversy between the Ottoman Government and Armenians Committees in the creation of the 1915 Crisis:
(1) Armenian Volunteer Units.
(2) Organizations of Armenian Fedayeens.
(3) Naval Blockades and Bombardments.
The first two of these elements were thoroughly premeditated and put into action on the battlefield by the Armenian Committees and their accomplice allies.
The third is due to the conditions of war; hence it is coincidental and indirect.
The two premeditated elements, jointly employed by the Armenian Committees and the Entente Powers, placed the only obligatory decision on the agenda of the Ottoman Government to prevent the suddenly emerging crisis . .
The coincidental third element was effective in the widely acceptance of the relocation decision that was taken to prevent the crisis.
Now, I will try to explain my observations I made during my studies in the following order:
The two of the elements employed in creating the 1915 Crisis are: the armed “Armenian Volunteer Units (later Regiments)” at the Caucasus Front; and the “Armenian Fedayeens” fulfilling the military duties assigned by the Dashnak and Hntchaq Committees in various provinces of Anatolia.
The Entente Powers were generally well informed of the military and semi-military activities conducted by these two elements. The activities were thoroughly intentional and premeditated.
Due to the conditions of war, the Russian, British and French naval bombardments carried out along the shores of Black Sea, Marmara and the Mediterranean greatly affected the Muslim and Christian communities living in these regions.
The Ottoman Government had to take additional measures to prevent the clashes among civilian people and to neutralize the military activities initiated by the Armenians to help the Entente Powers.
In my studies, I came across documents proving the direct and indirect collaboration of the Armenian Committees and the Entente Powers.
I would like to keep my evaluations of those documents outside the scope of my present speech.
I believe an example will suffice:
90 days prior to the declaration of the Law of Relocations of May 27, 1915 by the Ottoman Government, Governor Varontsov-Dashkov of the Caucasus, in his telegram message – dated February 7, 1915 and numbered 1185 – wrote the following to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs:
“The representative of Zeytun Armenians has just come to the Caucasus Army Headquarters. The representative says that some 15.000 Armenians are ready to strike the Turkish transportation lines but that they do not have weapons and bullets. Therefore, it is extremely vital to send sufficient amount of weapons and bullets to Iskenderun due to particular importance of Zeytun located on the transportation lines of the Turkish army in Erzurum. (…) Since it is impossible for us to give the weapons directly, I believe that a contact should be established with the French and British administration concerning the sending of French or British made weapons and bullets found on the French and British (war) ships to Iskenderun.”
This message was appended to the telegraph dated February 9, 1915, numbered 708, and sent to Paris and London.
Here, I would like to clarify a point:
The relocation of civilian communities by the governments on grounds of security is the most frequently used method in wartime, and in the face of rebellions.
In the First World War, on grounds of security, the Russian Government relocated some civilian communities in West Russia, who were living near the operation area of German armies just at the commencement of the war.
A relocation measure similar to the measures taken by the Ottoman Government on grounds of security in the face of the bombardments along the Black Sea, Marmara, Mediterranean, and Syrian shores of Anatolia was implemented by the US President on the US citizens of Japanese origin during the Second World War.
Again in the Second World War, the USSR sent the communities of Turkish origin living in Crimea and Caucasus region to Central Asia through arduous voyages lasting for weeks.
And the Red Army in the Second World War took the Polish civilians away from their regions of settlement.