April 24 marks the Armenians' greatest religious holiday, the
beginning of their "genocide," even though what is meant by "genocide"
is the resettlement policy, a policy that was implemented a month later, after its first
serious consideration on May 2. The only
"deportation" that was being considered on April 24 was, ironically, one for the
Turks given that the Armenians were gaining the upper hand with their treacherous
rebellion in Van:
"Until now approximately 4,000 insurgent Armenians have been brought to the region
from the vicinity. The rebels are engaged in highway robbery, attack the neighbouring
villages and burn them. It is impossible to prevent this. Now many women and children are
left homeless. It is not possible nor suitable to relocate them in tribal villages in the
vicinity. Would it be convenient to begin sending them to the western provinces?"
Telegram dated April 24, from the governor of Van, Cevdet Bey, to the Ministry of the
24 April was also the day when U.S. President Woodrow Wilson received the following
telegram from Catholicos Kevork of Etchmiadzin:
Honorable President, according to the most recent information we have received from
Turkish Armenia, massacres have started there, and organized terror has endangered the
existence of the Armenian community. At this delicate time, I address to the noble
feelings of Your Excellency and of the great American nation, and request, in the name of
humanity and the Christian faith, that your great Republic interfere immediately through
its Diplomatic Representatives, to protect my people in Turkey left to the horrors of
Turkish fanaticism. 
As Kamuran Gurun wrote in "The Armenian File," "For the telegram to
be received on 24 April, it is necessary for the Catholicos to have learned beforehand of
the arrest, and to have sent the telegram before the 24th. As the American Ambassador [Morgenthau]
sent his telegram about the arrest on the 27th, the telegram of the Catholicos is
enough to point to the guilt of those who were arrested."
: Genelkurmay, 1/1, KLS 44, File 207, F. 2.
: USNA M-353/43, 867.4016/591/2, p. 658
: USNA M-353/43, 867.4016/58, p. 651
April 24 is designated as the date the
"genocide" began, even though no known massacres were committed on that
date. What we are told is this was the date when the intelligentsia and cultural
leaders of the Armenian community in Istanbul were arrested, in a diabolical attempt
to cut off the leadership of the Armenian community. Until very recently, it was not
unknown for Armenian propaganda to tell us these people were not only arrested but
massacred on the same day.
What Armenian propaganda makes sure not to tell us is that there was a full scale Armenian rebellion going on
throughout various cities of the Ottoman Empire. Somebody had to be planning these
rebellions. That somebody had to be Armenian leaders.
|How Many Were
The typical number of the Istanbul Armenians who were arrested
has been given as 235. This is the number Kamuran Gurun wrote, although some editions (and
other Turkish sources as well) have erroneously reported "2,345." Johannes
Lepsius testified in the 1921 Berlin trial of Talat Pasha's assassin that the initial
number was 235 as well.
Some writers like Peter Balakian of "The Burning Tigris" have rounded off
this figure to 250. It is important to keep in mind this was not the total figure,
particularly if we take into account the Armenian leaders who were arrested throughout the
country. We can never be sure of the exact number, because of the lack of documentation.
What are some other indications?
Since 2,345 has been mentioned in various Turkish sources, I fished around. Prof. Salahi
Sonyel is one of those who I'm told cited this figure, providing a document reference,
perhaps taking the word of another who had cited this reference. When Prof. Kemal Cicek
checked this document, the number of arrested Armenians was actually given as 100. (Not
very meaningful, because obviously the number surpassed that figure; perhaps this document
related to another arrest, or part of the main arrest. But what is meaningful is that
evidently no one has been able to document the mysterious "2,345" figure. What
probably happened is that an extra digit was accidentally added to the 235 figure, and
people just mindlessly keep repeating it.)
Ambassador Morgenthau is said to behind a report saying the number
of arrested Armenians in Istanbul on April 24 was 100. This is probably the source with
the "100" mentioned above.
There is also an English consular report which claims that 1,800 Armenian committee
members had then been arrested in Istanbul. Admiral Calthorpe is said to be behind this
one, and the source has been provided as (FO 608/78, (75631; WO 157/691/9), although it
looks like these figures may not all be correct. Whether it was reported to all be on
April 24 is yet to be determined.
The director of the Turkish archives, Yusuf Sarinay (whose report has apparently been
partially presented below; we'll now add extra information), has examined the internal
Ottoman documents and let's say it loud and clear:
The 2,345 figure was a
The number of arrested Armenians on "April 24" (Samantha Power wrote in her book that the process began in the night and went on until the next day, April
25) was 235.
Some zealous Armenian propagandists, from Dadrian on down, have taken this mistake and
repeated it ("2,345" arrested sounds a lot worse than "235"), but
other zealous genocidists, even Peter Balakian, have decided not to exploit this error,
rounding the number off to 250. But think about it: going door to door in one night
probably until the next day with what must have been not a terribly numerous police force,
and arresting over two thousand people isn't even reasonable. If we say the arrest period
was 24 hours, that would have meant (some 2,400 divided into 24) one hundred houses for
the police to travel to per hour.
As for the British report of 1,800, the latest "intelligence" tells us that it's
not known whether the 1,800 figure represented the total number of arrests throughout
the nation, or only Istanbul; it was most likely the former. A reading of the document
would hopefully clarify what the Brits were getting at.
The 235 were sent to Ayas and Cankiri prisons. The number of arrested increased in later
times, but they were imprisoned elsewhere. These prisons were not large enough to
accommodate a great number of prisoners.
The breakdown: 100 were sent to Cankiri, and the remainder (135) were sent to Ayas Prison,
located in a small town near Ankara. (The report below puts the remainder at 180; so
somebody is wrong.)
All of this information is from the Yusuf Sarinay report (archives director), which must
be the same as what has been reported below. (The latest source's title reads "The
Arrests of April 24.") This report has not been officially translated into
English yet. The information is coming secondhand, but there is nothing like checking what
the original has to say. Hopefully, the discrepancies will be clarified when this report
For those arrested on April 24, and sent to Ayas:
According to a documnent dated Apirl 25, 1915, Armenians who had been arrested on the
previous day were described as "leaders of the Armenian committees and those whose
residence in Istanbul poses danger to public security."
A May 8, 1915 dated document tells us Vahram
Torkumyan, Agop Nargileciyan, Karabet Keropoyan, Zare Bardizbanyan, Pozant Keçiyan,
Pervant Tolayan, Rafael Karagösyan and Vartabet Komidas were released on May 8, 1915 on
the order of the Minister of the Interior. (This parallels the information below, dated
May 7th, but here the first names have also been provided. So these eight Armenians spent
only two weeks in Cankiri Prison.
Others were also released later on.
According to a document dated August 31, 1915, (BOA.EUM. 2 S,ube 20/73), the number of
Armenians released between 24 April and 31 August had reached thirty-five.
25 Armenians were found guilty and imprisoned in Ayas and Çankiri after their trial, and
57 persons were "deported" to Derzor. Among the arrested were 7 Armenians with
foreign citizenship and these too were sent away to, presumably, Zor. The implied idea is
that Zor was not a prison, but a far away place where these leaders could not stir
trouble. What I would like to learn is how many officially got executed. No doubt the bulk
of these arrested Armenians faced a fate that wasn't pretty, the lot of traitors of any
Even if the majority were eventually killed, these Armenians went through a process of
law, and a respectable number was released. Once again, Armenian propaganda reveals
its ugly and deceptive face; they would have us believe all 235 were not only killed, but killed
the same day they were arrested.
happened on April 24, 1915"
A wonderful Turkish blog, "Mavi Boncuk," did the kind of work that is so essential;
actually translating some of these mysterious internal Ottoman reports. Remember:
these were internal reports, never meant to be publicized, and thus cannot be
construed as propaganda. From their web site:
What happened on April 24, 1915
On April 24, 1915 about 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were
arrested in Constantinople and sent to Çankiri/Chankri and Ayas/Ayash. Among them
the editors and staff of Azadamart , the
leading Armenian newspaper of Constantinople. The Armenian Patriarch of
Constantinople and Zohrab, Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, petition[ed]
the Grand Vizier, Said Halim, the Minister of the Interior Talaat, and the President
of the Senate, Rifat, on behalf of the arrested Armenians of Constantinople. Though
approached separately, all three give identical answers; that the government is
isolating the Armenian leadership and dissolving the Armenian political
The MAM translated documents below with sources indicated from the Ottoman archives
do not seem to be the documents of an administration "hell bent" for the
total annihilation of Armenians. This is why calling for discussion can not be
labeled as "Denial". Let the documents speak.
Due to Van uprising a document was issued to vilâyets ve mutasarrifliks (provinces
and counties) requesting the closing of Armenian Committees that facilitated the
arming of rebels, confiscation of documents, authorizing the arrest of their leaders
and other dangerous activists and their transfer to military courts. KG. ED, s. 213;
SO-SY. ETPATGY, s. 101, 102
Document requesting the diversion of transferees from Zeytun and Maras environs to
Halep, Zor and Urfa instead ok Konya (in the interior). BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/93
Document requesting that a portion of the180 Armenians transported by train from
Haydarpasa (Istanbul's Asiatic Terminus) to be [im]prisoned in Ayas and the transfer
of about 100 to Çankiri and their protection (muhafaza) at such location. BOA. DH.
SFR, nr. 52/102
Document requesting budget estimates for the settlement and daily expense cost of
Armenians transported to Konya and their numbers since a request for funds were made
to the Ministry of Finance to cover these costs. BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/235
Armenian civil servants of Ministry of Finance will be assigned to provinces with no
noticeable Armenian population or their employment will be terminated if they were
proven without doubt to be unloyal or had connections to Armenian Committees. BOA.
DH. SFR, nr.52/249
Permission issued for Torkumyan, Nargileciyan, Keropeyan,
Bardizbanyan, Keçiyan, Tolayan, Kargözyan and Komidas to return from Çankiri to
Istanbul. BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/255
Diran Kelekyan's request for return to Istanbul denied from Çankiri with permission
issued for residency in a province with no noticable Armenian population. BOA. DH.
SFR, nr. 52/266
Requesting documentation detailed in books (defter) of the names, professions,
places of birth and addresses in Istanbul of Armenian detainees in Ayas and exiles
to Çankiri. BOA. DH. SFR, nr. 52/297
(1. ) READ: ON THE ASSASSINATION OF VAN MAYOR
KAPAMACIYAN BY THE TASHNAK COMMITTEE Excerpt " Viramyan, one of the writers of
Azadamart newspaper published by the members of Tashak committee, Aram Manukyan,
inspector of Armenian schools and Van representative of Tashnak committee and some
of the notable Tashnak committee members were decided to be arrested as encouragers
for the murder of Mayor Kapamaciyan."
You will have to visit the Mavi Boncuk site to get the lowdown
on what they had to say regarding the good Mayor Kapamajian. Here is TAT's report on this loyal
Aram Manukian was the fellow the Russians rewarded with the Van governorship, in
appreciation of the traitor's role regarding the taking of the city and holding it
for the enemies of his country. Here is Le Temps, a newspaper in Paris,
France, August 13th, 1915:
"The Russian government made a decision which will be welcomed with pleasure
and enjoyment by all the Armenian circles : it chose Aram Manoukian, the leader of
Armenian revolutionary movement for governor of the province of Van. Aram Manoukian
was born in 1877, in the Caucasus, in the city of Chousta. (...) At the beginning of
this war, Aram took up arms and became the head of the insurgents of Van. Russia
which possesses at present this province named Aram governor for it, wishing to
satisfy the Armenian element which so brilliantly participated in the war against