Armenian Revolt

The following is an analysis of excerpts and video scenes from the critically acclaimed Armenian Revolt Documentary, we highly recommend that you buy the DVD yourself and examine the arguments and discussions conducted in them to make up your own mind.

The Armenian Revolt DVD can be purchased for approximately $10.99 from the American Turkish Association of Houston! You may also view most of the documentary in low quality on YouTube at the bottom of this article.

In this part of the documentary of the Armenian Revolt, the background information of the Ottomans were discussed along with how Armenian society grew in the Ottoman Empire; this was an important introduction to put the Ottoman history into it's proper context.

Contextual Background and Environment of the Ottoman Empire

Dr. Norman Stone a world renowned Ottoman historian on World War I, talked about what kind of a minority the Armenians were in the Ottoman Empire. Dr. Stone talked about the Armenians having ambassadors and even foreign ministers and other high ranking government officials in the Ottoman Empire. He also mentioned that the Armenians were known as the most loyal of Ottoman Christians, which made the Greek Christians envious of their loyalty and millet ranking

Dr. William Ochsenwald of Virginia Tech and author of "The Middle East: A History", talked about how the religious freedoms and civil liberties granted by the Ottomans for centuries started to work against the Ottomans. The allowance of thousands of Christian missionaries to start schools, churches, and hospitals were dividing the people of the Ottoman Empire from each other. The side effect of this was the Armenian Nationalist Movement and the spread of an ideology for Armenians to rule their own nation, a Christian nation.

The documentary then introduces the Hunchaks (Hunchak Socialist Party) established in 1887 and the Dashnaks or Tashnaks (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) established in 1890, and how they were both created with an ideology to rebel against the Ottoman Empire.

Dr. Yusuf Halacoglu, president of the Turkish Historical Society, talks about how the ARF and Hunchaks were exactly like the terrorists of today, and he compares them to Al Qaeda since they both killed civilians and caused terror in the Middle East for political means.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation

The documentary then mentions British Ambassador Phillip Curry reported from Istanbul that the "aim of the Armenian revolutionaries is to stir disturbances, to get the Ottomans to react to violence, and thus get the foreign powers to intervene."

Dr. Justin McCarthy of the University of Louisville, also talks about how the conflict became so intense that both sides forced all the neutral parties to pick a side, and thus the conflict became inevitable.

Dr. Sina Aksin of Ankara University, talks about the viscous cycle of revenge and violence that occurred as a result of Armenian revolts, which provoked local Muslims to seek revenge against the Armenians, not distinguishing between who is a rebel and who is an innocent Armenian. Thus more people had to choose sides and many innocent people died on both sides. Dr. Aksin tells us that for the Europeans however, the importance was the massacres of the Armenians, and the massacres of Muslims were ignored.

Ottoman Army

Dr. Mehmet Saray of Istanbul University, talks about how the local Muslims in the region felt betrayed by the Armenian revolutionist activities even though they had lived together for centuries in peace.

Russian Diplomat General Mayefski wrote:
the unarmed Armenian villagers were forced to help the rebels at the cost of their blood.

The documentary then talks about how the Armenians were left with no choice, since the Armenian revolutionaries killed Armenians who would not help the Revolutionary cause as well.

The idea is, if a stranger attacks you and steals your money, you would be very angry, but imagine if that stranger was once your best friend? The pain is doubled, and this is what the locals felt when the Armenians they were treating equally began to attack their neighboring villages and fellow Ottoman citizens.

The Provocation Ideology of the Revolutionaries

This part of the Documentary talks about how the ARF and Hunchaks planned to provoke violence by attacking Kurdish villages and other Muslim inhabitants, who were armed and when they found their fellow tribesmen and villagers killed, they were more than prepared to strike back viciously.

The Hunchaks and ARF leaders of whom many lived in Europe, immediately received the reports which were then delivered to European diplomats, consuls, and newspapers and other publications to promote anti-Turkism and the hope that these acts of violence would compel the Europeans to defeat the Ottomans.

They conducted this method of provocation because the rebels knew that the Armenian revolutionaries themselves cannot easily overthrow the Ottomans, even though they tried several times to assassinate government leaders and governors including Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

This part of the documentary talks about the Ottoman Bank Robbery of Istanbul which was perpetrated by Armenian rebels seeking international attention for the independence of Armenia. The Robbery resulted in riots in which Muslims attacked Armenians in the city because of the actions of the Armenian revolutionaries. The rioting was stopped but the Armenians did grab the attention of the Europeans, who pressured the Ottoman Sultan. The Sultan actually pardoned all the robbers and sent them to Europe under protection.

One would highly doubt that the Ottomans sought to kill off the Armenians, because it wouldn't explain the many incidents in which mercy, exception, and good deeds were done to the Armenians.

Dr. Secil Karal Akgun from the Middle Eastern Technical University, talked about how the missionary schools and churches had begun to be used as warehouses for military weapons and became the tools of the Armenian revolution.

This is similar to the terrorists of today in Iraq using Mosques and other locations of innocence to hide weapons and attack the U.S. troops, and when U.S. troops attacked, they would be recorded or photographed and spread as propaganda material to convince others to join the fight against the Mosque-destroying American forces. Similarly, Armenians used witnesses, photographs, and rumors to talk about the evil Turks who were supposedly attacking Churches or schools when they were simply searching for weapons, which many times, they did find.

Dr. Yusuf Sarinay, director of the Turkish National and Ottoman Archives, talks about the archival evidence of Armenian revolutionaries being armed and trained to rebel against the Ottomans. In addition to the smuggling in of weapons by Armenians which all seemed to be organized by European nations that were planning to divide the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman government was then overthrown and the Committee of Union and Progress (Young Turks) took over and kicked out the Sultan. They reinstated the parliament and constitutional monarchy. However, in 1912, the Balkan wars broke out interrupting the new reforms. The Balkan territories began to fight against the Ottoman armies in Europe and were very successful. The Balkans became a desolate place of massacre, famine, and warfare resulting in many refugees that traveled to inner Turkey.

Dr. David Fromkin author of the book "A Peace to End All Peace" talks about how the Ottoman Empire wasn't even suppose to be a part of the World War, as it was a European war, not a Middle Eastern one. However, with the efforts of the incompetent Enver Pasha, who began to bombard Russian cities in the Black Sea and march 90,000 troops into Russian territory the Ottomans had entered the war with the help of the Germans. This fatal mistake resulted in the Battle of Sarikamis where Russian forces counter-attack left only 18,000 out of 90,000 survivors to retreat to Erzurum in January of 1915.

Dr. Norman Stone comments that when this shadow of an army of 18,000 passed through Van the Armenian revolutionaries must have thought to themselves "Let's rebel now, the Turks are finished". Dr. Stone notes that the British found out that the Ottomans were quite strong even at their weakest in the Battle of Galipoli on April 25th 1915, which resulted in a defeat even though British leaders thought they would be in Istanbul in half an hour. Both side had lost a quarter of a million soldiers, but the British forces were driven back.

Historian Louis Nalbandian noted that the rebel committees found the perfect time to create a general rebellion in Eastern Anatolia when the Russian forces were marching through Eastern Anatolia and were actively funding and arming the Armenian rebel committees.

Dr. Omer Turan of the Middle Eastern Technical University also talks about the Van Rebellion and how the revolutionaries saw Van as their new capital and center of the Armenian state.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation Dashnaks Tashnaks

On May 17th, 1915, the small Ottoman forces made up of Gendarmes (National guard) and policemen defending the city led by Jevdet Bey the governor of Van had been defeated and driven out of the city by the Armenian rebels who fought for a month to take it over. When the Russian army had come to aid them, the Armenians set fire to the Muslim Quarter of Van as a celebration of victory.

According to German observer Yohannes Lepsius, the Armenians immediately began to slaughter the remaining Muslim civilians in the city.

When the Russians arrived in Van on May 19th, they were horrified to find the streets filled with corpses of Muslims, and with the exception of 2 mosques the entire Muslim part of the city was completely destroyed.

Dr. Stone explains that the theory behind ethnic cleansing that was being conducted by the Armenian rebels, the massacres of Muslims was meant to terrify the local Muslims and send them running away, spreading the news of the horrors and thus allowing more and more Muslims to retreat from those lands, which made it easier for Armenians to settle in and create their own nation and mark larger amounts of territory.

The Relocations

After the rebellions, massacres, and ethnic cleansing conducted by the Armenian rebels, the Ottoman government ordered to relocate Armenian populations around the war zone because they were damaging the Ottoman war effort. However, Istanbul made it clear that Armenian lives and property was to be protected, but that Armenian rebellions should be crushed.

According to Armenian political leader Bogos Nubar of the 500,000 Armenians that were relocated, about 390,000 of them arrive safely at their destination in the Ottoman Aleppo territory.

Dr. Justin McCarthy explains that after counter attacks by the Ottomans, the Russians were defeated and forced to withdraw their forces. He explains that the Armenian communities and rebels also had to withdraw with them because the survivors felt that there would retaliation by the Muslims since they had attacked the Muslims. The result was more devastation and death of the Armenians. In their hurry to get away from the Ottomans and Muslims that were coming back to the lands they had recently fled, they did not prepare for their journeys adequately and thus many died to starvation, dehydration, exhaustion, and disease.

Dr. McCarthy is a demographics expert and says that Armenian propagandists make the claim that starvation and disease were forced onto them by the genocidal Ottomans; Dr. McCarthy explains that the Turks, Kurds, and the Armenians were dying to the same causes and in mostly the same percentages of death. Dr. McCarthy explains that if there was an Armenian Genocide the demographic evidence would show it clearly and it would not be refutable.

Armenian Revolt Documentary Videos

Armenian Revolt Part 1

Armenian Revolt Part 2

Armenian Revolt Part 3

Armenian Revolt Part 4

Armenian Revolt Part 5

Armenian Revolt Part 6