In April of 2005, the
Turkish newspaper Hurriyet published a series of articles based on
Talat Pasha's "Black Book." I was ambivalent about the legitimacy of
the goings-on (particularly after getting the opinion of a historian that I
greatly respect), and aside from a note of the numbers in TAT's
"census" page, decided against highlighting the information.
However, a reader assures me the information appears to be on the up and up
(and certainly the 702,905 figure is convincing; this was the number (702,900,
actually, from a Dec. 7, 1916 report) that Kamuran Gurun used in his book, "The
Armenian File," to indicate the total of Armenians relocated;
Ara Sarafian, through his research in the Ottoman archives, announced the
figure was a mistake, and actually pertained to Muslims moved. The Talat Pasha
black book material uses the same figure for the Muslims, as you can see from
the first article); on that basis, let's feature this information, at least as
a point of reference.
The reader tells us that Murat
Bardakci, the historically knowledgeable Hurriyet journalist, has other
documents that used to belong to Talat Pasha. "He has also published
letters written by Talat Pasha to his wife and family, also letters and
telegrams of the Ittihat Terakki [CUP] officials. He wrote that he took some
of these documents from Talat Pasha's wife Hayriye Talat Bafrali in
What these documents demonstrate is that the CUP officials "never sent
orders to kill Armenians, they only moved Armenians, and also Muslims to other
parts of the empire." The reader mentions that these documents have been
a matter of debate in Turkey, "mostly because the number of moved
Armenians (924.000) is two times bigger than the 'official' numbers (which is
about 400.000)." Bardakci is said to have written that he has compiled
documents from the families of other CUP members, principally the
granddaughter of Talat Pasha (Aysegül Bafrali), and that he refrained from
making this information public earlier because of his reading of Turkey's
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1) "1915-1916 saw the
displacement of not just Armenians but 702,905 Turks"
2) "Here is the Truth in the Black Covered
3) "The Series Continues in 2006" (Published
April 23, 2006)
4) "The Details of the 1915 relocation for every
5) Relocation Centers [Map]
saw the displacement of not just Armenians but 702,905 Turks"
(This article appeared in the English version of Hurriyet, April 27, 2005. The
bold text follows — more or less — the original Turkish version, in an effort to
be true )
By Murat Bardakcı
Ottoman Grand Vizier and Interior Minister Talat Pasha, in black books that he kept from
the period he was in office, recorded that in the years between 1915 and 1916, not only
Armenians but hundreds of thousands of Turks were displaced from their homes in eastern
The notebooks show that up to 800,000 Turks from provinces under invasion threat from
Russian forces took to the road as "emigrants," and that a corridor stretching
from Izmit to Halep was used to resettle up to 702,905 Turkish citizens. The area most
emigrated to was Mosul, with 150,000 resettled, and the least emigrated to was Icel (Mersin), with only 426 people.
The so-called "black books" from the archives of Grand Vizier Talat Pasha
record not only the migrations that took place from the European side to Anatolia during the
Balkan War, but also lists of citizens displaced by the Russian invasion of eastern
provinces during World War I. The lists of people removed from their homes and out of the
way of fighting between Turkish and Russian forces reveal that while Armenians were moved,
Turks were also moved.
In its English edition, Hurriyet apparently only translated the first
three paragraphs. Below is the rest of this article (here is the original Turkish),
with great thanks to the translation of N. S. Sevilir; the first paragraph conforms to the
third one above.
In Talat Pasha's book (Talat Pasha was the "Sadrazam" and the internal
affairs minister) there are other informations such as the number of refugees during the
Balkan War (from Balkans to Anatolia) and also, as stated above, the number of people who
have left eastern Anatolia during the Russian invasion in the WW1.
In December 1914 the Turkish forces were literally destroyed in Sarikamis. After this the
cities in eastern Anatolia were invaded by the Russians one by one. First Van, then Erzurum,
Bitlis, Mush, Trabzon and Erzincan were taken over by Russian and the control of Van was
given to Armenians.
According to Talat Pasha's book, an area of over 140.000 km2 had been invaded and
within this area 1,800,915 people had lived. It is written that 800,000 people were "deported"
to another region, however it states that only 702,905 deportees could be relocated.
When one reads this list one can clearly see that during 1915 and 1916 Armenians weren't the
only people who were deported but rather thousands of Turks were too.
(A part explaining the meanings of words such as "tehcir"
has been skipped.)
"Ittihad and Terakki"'s leaders had fled Turkey and went to Europe after
the Turkish defeat in the World War.
Talat Pasha (with the pseudonym "Ali Sai") had also fled to Germany with his wife Hayriye
Talat Hanim, and started living in Berlin. The Pasha spent his days in Europe with
"organizations (of Turks)", travelling from one country to another.
Talat Pasha wrote a letter to his wife just 20 days prior to being murdered by
Armenians. The letter contained information about his future prospects:
"My dear wife,
I finally arrived in Berlin. Yesterday I had a dinner with Baha Bey (one of the leaders of
İttihad and Terraki, Bahaeddin Şakir Bey).. Hadice Hanım is renting a house
in Potsdam and she'll give us a room there.. We can stay in Munich for a week and then we
can go back to Berlin and then maybe to Dresden or Baveira. I will be going to Halle
tomorrow. My friend will meet me there. I will write to you from there.. Tell Nazım Bey
(also a leador of İttihad and Terraki) to come to me urgently. If you are bored there,
you can come with him or wait for me there.
Calal Bayar not only had Talat Pasha's memoirs published, but was behind the bringing of
his remains back to Turkey
Talat Pasha wrote his memories during his exile in Germany but never published it.
The Pasha's memories were only published in 1946 by Celal Bayar (who was also an old
İttihat and Terraki member). The book's foreword was written by Hüseyin Cahid
The following are the letters of Celal Bayar to Talat Pasha's wife, Hayriye Talat
Hanım. He always had shown a great respect towards her as "my boss' wife."
In these letters one can read Celal Bayar's suggestions to bring back the Pasha's coffin to
Turkey and to publish his memories.
Dear Hanım efendi,
Thanks for sending me Pasha's memories. The content was really interesting, he had said in
the foreword that these were written to protect İttihad and Terraki's politics.. I
would really regret it, if these won't get published. Therefore since it's written in
German, we will have to get it translated.
You probably know the Pasha's old friend Rahmi Bey? We here have decided with Rahmi Bey that
Talat Pasha's coffin should be brought here and be buried in Turkey. Rahmi Bey will take
care of the processes.
With best regards, and awaiting your reply.
(The second letter is as follows):
Dear Hanım efendi,
I have received your letter dated 27.11.1942
I would like to publish all of his memories, not less. They are in German so I would like to
know if there is a Turkish text? It would really be good if you can find the Turkish text as
they will be in Pasha's style of writing. However if the Turkish version doesn't exist, then
we will have to get it translated. The copyright will be yours.
As for the bringing of his coffin: Turkey has officially asked the German authorities for
With best regards.
(The third and the last letter):
Dear Hanım efendi,
I have received your letter dated 9.1.1943. I was late to answer as I had an illness. We
have yet to receive any dates for the bringing of the coffin. We are still waiting for an
answer from Germany.
Currently I am getting the memories translated.
With best regards.
Holdwater wonders: The process of translation means Mr. Bayar
was only able to obtain Talat's memoirs in German. But why would Talat have not written his
memoirs in Turkish? (Perhaps a friend of his took the originals and translated to German at
one point, and the original Turkish version got lost over the years.)
Furthermore, I have reluctantly come to accept the "Posthumous Memoirs of Talat
Pasha," printed in a 1921 edition of the New York Times, as genuine. (After
reading Guenter Lewy's book, primarily.) But the above exchange with Talat's wife makes it
seem as though Talat's memoirs were to be released for the first time.
is the Truth in the Black Covered Book"
From a series appearing in the Istanbul daily Hurriyet,
25 April 2005 (The original page, in Turkish)
By Murat Bardakci
Prime Minister Talaat Pasha had carefully recorded the post 1915 population movements
and statistics in a 10x15 cm size notebook, kept with care to this day by his wife
Hayriye and Talaat’s granddaughter Aysegul Bafrali.
According to Talaat Pasha’s notes, the number
of Armenians subjected to mandatory deportations in accordance with the “Temporary
Deportation Law” issued on 27 May 1915 is 924,158. The city where the exile was
enforced the most extensively was Sivas with 141,592 people, while the province of
Konya was the least with 4,381 people.
The figures about the Armenian deportations make up the third section of Talaat Pasha’s
black covered notebook. The Pasha first notes the number of Armenians that were
subjected to mandatory deportations on the pages devoted to the deportations. Then, he
provides a list of how many Armenians and the provinces of the Empire against which
the Law of Deportations were enforced.
Later in the notebook, the breakdown of Armenian orphans not deported is given per
province, followed by a summary of the buildings, real estate, farms, mines and
franchises left behind by or expropriated from Armenians.
According to Talaat Pasha’s notes, the number of Armenians subjected to mandatory
deportations in accordance with the “Temporary Deportation Law” issued on 27 May
1915 is 924,158. The city where the exile was enforced the most extensively was Sivas
with 141,592 people while the province of Konya was the least with 4,381 people.
However, it can be seen that the Pasha shows 270 fewer deportees in one of the
THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT OF THE DEPORTATIONS
Being a primary document on the Armenian deportations, the above list appears in the
black covered book of Prime Minister Talaat Pasha as shown. After this page comes a
breakdown of the orphans and a summary of the buildings, real estate, farms, mines and
franchises left behind by the Armenians.
Talaat Pasha Joins the Debate 90 Years Later
The Prime Minister “the Minister of the Interior and the architect of the
Deportations” Talaat Pasha, is speaking today for the first time since the events of
1915 exactly 90 years ago and taking part in the deportation discussions with
documents in his private archive that haven’t been published up to now!
Yesterday, I had written the following on my page in my introduction of the article
series as well. The deportation numbers and other information found in this series are
based upon a 10x15 cm size notebook I took with the intention of publishing from
Talaat Pasha’s wife Hayriye and Talaat’s granddaughter Aysegul Bafrali that
belonged to the Pasha and other documents of his that have been with me for years. The
black covered book in which the Pasha had the post 1915 population movements and
statistics recorded has three parts: the Muslim refugees, the Armenian deportees,
those Greeks and Arabs that likewise have been deported for anti-state activities and
the real-estate that was left behind by the non-Muslims.
At the very start of the series, I must draw your attention to one matter:
Due to the lack of essential, realistic studies on these subjects up to now, the
numbers in the black covered notebook of Talaat Pasha and his other documents may
sound very strange or even high to some of us. However, with every single one of them
being a primary source, these numbers are like defense exhibits against the ˜genocide”
accusations full of exaggerated figures.
Let the willingly ignorant among us who say, “We not only slaughtered the Armenians
but the Kurds too. Let us apologize for the genocide we perpetrated and let the issue
be settled” cast no shadow and let our academics lay the shallow “we didn’t kill
them; they killed us” aside and take a learned approach.
Let Leylegian rest assured. We turned Talat Pasha’s tomb into a dump.
You must have seen it in the newspapers: the president of the organization based in Brussels
called ˜European Armenian Federation”, Laurent Leylegiyan, made some strange demands last
week from the Turkish government.
Evidenced by his demands that betray a complete harmony between his name and his mindset,
Mr. Leylekyan wanted the demolition of the mausoleum of Talaat Pasha in Istanbul, and a
change to street names named after ˜Talaat” and “Enver”; and the closing of the
museums showing the Armenian crimes against the Turks; and the laws banning the mention of
After reading Leylegian’s drivel, I remembered an old Iranian saying, 'Divane ra kalem
nist', in other words, “˜the fool will not be charged for sinning” and laughed.
However, what I saw in the vicinity of Sisli turned my smile into a bitter grimace and I
thought we had already carried out some of Leylegian’s demands on our own.
mausoleum in less dumpy days
Yesterday morning I went to photograph the tomb of Talaat Pasha on the
Hill of Eternal Liberty at Sisli for the purpose of using the pictures in the series and
instead of a tomb, I came across a dump! As if a new revolt had taken place at the site
where the mausoleums of Talaat, Enver, Mahmut Sevket, and Midhat Pashas along with the
martyred soldiers in the revolt of March 31 are found. The lock of the mausoleum below the
monument was broken and the tomb downstairs had now become the destination for drunkards.
The tombs in the park were being used as beer cases. In short, everything was heart rending.
The same place was in the same shape days before the reinterring of Enver Pasha’s ashes
from Tajikistan. After I had brought the situation to light, it was hastily cleaned up but
following the funeral of the Pasha, all had returned to the same routine.
Let the president of European Armenian Federation, Laurent Leylegian, rest assured and not
go through the trouble of making such demands of the Turkish government. As long as the
Metropolitan Municipality which is in charge of the Hill of Eternal Liberty maintain its
indifference, there will not remain a any evidence of the tombs “ not only Talaat Pasha“
but also those martyrs who are in their eternal sleep here, unless the site is turned over
to the Military!
He was a Postal Clerk but Became a Prime Minister
You must surely know of Talaat Pasha, for whom we have been naming boulevards, streets,
neighborhoods and schools, but let me briefly remind you anyway.
His full name being Mehmed Talaat, Talaat Pasha was born in Edirne on 20 August 1874. He
lost his father at a young age and entered the Postal and Telegraphic service to feed his
family. He became a founder of Ittihad & Terakki. He was arrested for his activities
against the regime of Abdul Hamid and was jailed for 25 months and then was exiled to
Employed as a mailman here, Mehmed Talaat was elected to Parliament from Edirne after the
proclamation of the Second Constitution in 1908. He was made Interior Minister in the
cabinet of Hussein Hilmi Pasha, and Minister of Postal and Telegraph Service in the cabinet
of Kucuk Said Pasha. Talaat was one of the planners of the raid on the Sublime Porte on 23
January 1913, and one of the three top leaders of the Ittiahad & Terakki Party together
with Enver and Jemal Pashas. He became the Interior Minister once again in the cabinet of
Said Halim Pasha created on June 13, and personally oversaw the Armenian deportations in
1915. He was made prime minister on 4 February 1917 and received the title “pasha”.
Having resigned on 8 October 1918, upon our defeat in WWI, Talaat Pasha left Turkey with the
other Ittihad & Terakki leaders during the night of 2 November on a German submarine. He
first went to Russia, then to Germany.
Talaat Pasha was declared as the “greatest enemy” by Diaspora Armenians because of the
measures he took in the Armenian events in Anatolia during the war years, and was murdered
in Berlin in the morning of 15 March 1921, by an Armenian partisan called Sogomon Tehlirian
with a bullet to his neck. Tehlirian was acquitted in the German court where he was tried.
The ashes of the Pasha were brought to Istanbul from Berlin on 25 February 1944, 24 years
after the murder and were interned at the Hill of Eternal Liberty with great military
Holdwater: The above translation comes courtesy of "The
Genocide Archive Project," based in the "Armenian country" of Massachusetts,
and headed by that tireless "professional Armenian patriot," David Davidian. (A
taste of the fellow's intellectualism, from his intrusion into a Google usenet group for
culture, March 19, 1990 entry: "Soghomon Tehlerian was not a 'fanatic'. He was
person performing a duty to humanity. Talaat Pasha was the chief architect of the Turkish
genocide of the 1.5 million Armenians.") While faithfully rendered, the translation
understandably has a slight "pro-Armenian" slant; for example:
"Deportations" has been used for the word "Tehcir." The word
"deportation" is incorrect, because Armenians were moved within the
country, and not out of the country... and ultimately allowed to return to their homes.
Kamuran Gurun spells out the difference, from The Armenian File:
The term tehjir (relocation) is Arabic and derives from the root hijret
(emigration). It is used in the sense of `having one emigrate. This word has no connotation
of putting one in a concentration camp, but indicates 'changing one's location'. For this
reason, the term "deportation" used by the British and French is incorrect.
Deportation has the connotation of forcing one to settle in a place under custody, that is,
having one exiled. The individual who is exiled, who is deported, is not free in the place
he is sent to. He lives in a specific place, in a prison, fortress, or camp, without any
contact with the outside world.
(Let us add that deportation, to my mind, best means banishment outside a country's borders.
For example, Russia's innocent Muslims were cruelly booted out forever from their
centuries-old homes during WWI, as were the Balkan Turks, a few years earlier. These people were truly
In addition, as a point of reference countering the Turkish text, Jemal Pasha, in his own memoirs, claimed that Talat was never a postman.
Furthermore, it was established in the Tehlirian trial
that Talat was shot in the back of the head, and not in the neck. (To nitpick, the original
Turkish article described Tehlirian as a "committee member" (komitaci), that is, a
member of the revolutionary committees, and not as a "partisan." At this stage,
Tehlirian was more than a mere party member; he was a hit man, serving the Dashnak
assassination squad, Nemesis.)
Finally, let's hope the "dump" of Talat's resting place should come as a lesson to
the genocide nuts, up in arms as they can be over Turkey's neglect in the upkeep of Armenian
churches. (They never talk, of course, about the upkeep of Turkish mosques in Armenia,
probably because Armenia got rid of all the Turkish mosques.) If Turkey is neglectful of an
important leader's tomb, then it's not as though the negligence of churches should be
regarded as a sign of "cultural genocide."
Series Continues in 2006
On April 23, 2006, Mr. Bardakci
announced that he would be releasing new "Talat" information in the next
three days of his newspaper, Hurriyet. Here is the original page in Turkish, for the first installment, below. (The
first installment mainly provides an introduction and background; it's the later ones
that are interesting, as we get information that Armenians were relocated in a number
of places throughout the empire, and not just the "desert.")
Thanks again to the translation of N. S. Sevilir.
I am publishing the documents of Talat Pasha for the first time
after 91 years.
I will publish a three day series about the 1915 events in Hürriyet called “The
Documents of Talat Pasha.”
In the series, I will publish documents that I took from the relatives
of the Minister of Internal Affairs (Dahiliye Nazırı) and Sadrazam Talat
Pahsa about the 1915 events, some letters of important Ittihat Terakki officials,
crypted telegrams, and other documents about their actions after WW1. I hope this
series will open a new window for people who work on the subject.
A new episode of a play which has been staged by Armenians for LONG years starts
tomorrow. The diaspora Armenians will make a lot of propaganda, meetings, open new
genocide memorials all around the world and foreign politicians will join the chorus
in the “genocide day” of April 24.
It is clear today what these genocide accusations have accomplished. The debate about
what happened in 1915 goes on but what happened is turned into “genocide”
and “the Turks killed 1.5 million innocent Armenians” by the Armenian
diaspora; and they are about to convince the world that “their version of truth”
is true. But we still ignore the Armenian propaganda and do not try to show the world
what really happened, instead we try to inform only the Turkish public.
As the Armenians tell people that millions of Armenians were killed all we do is try
to tell people that these numbers are smaller and we are unable to tell the world that
the Ottoman Empire did what it did in self defense and we insist on not publishing
some of the official documents. Another bizarre thing is this “Armenian issue,"
which has so many dimensions is turned into a simple count of the dead, as if we were
WE CLOSED OUR EYES
While today it is a crime in some countries to say that the genocide accusations are
false, all we are doing is saying things like “actually they killed us,” or
“yes we relocated some Armenians but in later years Armenians came back in
greater numbers.” And we also see what people, who think that they have to
insult every national or holy value to be an intellectual do: They accept everything
the diaspora accuses us with, organize Armenian conferences, and say that "Turkey
is guilty" in these conferences although they never went into the archives;
and they keep on saying, “if we accept that we are guilty and apologize
everything will be fine”!
Perhaps you will remember: The first publication about the documents of Talat Pasha
about the 1915 events was in my column last year, with the headline, "Talat
Pasha's Black Covered Book." According to the pasha’s documents, the number
of relocated Armenians was 924,158 and the first reaction to what I published came
from the official researchers who worked on the 1915 events, as this new number was
twice as big as the official number. There were people who even said that Talat Pasha made
a mistake or that these documents, which are first hand information, are false.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A PRIVATE ARCHIVE
After 1 year I will publish in Hurriyet another 3 day series about the relocation of
Armenians in 1915: “Talat Pasha’s relocation documents,” which will
include unpublished documents that I took from Talat Pasha’s family that give us
detailed information about the relocation in every city.
I will shortly tell you the story of these documents in case you are curious: I had
written about these earlier; my first contact with the memory of Talat Pasha
was about 25 years ago, when I first met his wife, Hayriye Talat Bafralı,
who was alive at the time. When I published Hayriye Hanim's memories in “Milliyet”
newspaper as “My Husband Talat Pasha” in 1982, during the days of active
ASALA terror, it became very popular.
Hayriye Talat Hanım got married again after her husband was murdered by an
Armenian terrorist in March 15, 1921, but she was so loyal to her dead husband’s
memory she named one of her children from her second marriage "Talat."
While travelling country by country In her exile years, she carefully preserved the
documents of Talat Pasha and gave them to me shortly before she passed away.
I preserved these documents for a quarter-century. I never published them as I wouldn’t
have been able to even talk about their existence in the political climate of those
years. But during these 25 years my archive got richer and richer as I took more
documents from the relatives of the CUP, mostly from Hayriye Talat Bafralı’s
granddaughter Ayşegül Bafralı.
WE DID NOT DO ETHNIC CLEANSING
And this new series that I will begin tomorrow called “The Documents of Talat
Pasha” is only a part of all the documents that I have gathered in 25 years.
When one analyzes the documents of Talat Pasha properly, it becomes clear that the “tehcir”
was not done to “clean Anatolia of Armenians” and was a major “relocation”
for security. As an example, some of the Armenians in Van were sent to İzmit,
some of the Armenians in İzmit were sent to Kütahya, and some of the Armenians
in Kütahya were sent to Afyon, and these relocations were recorded. We can also see
that the Armenians were not “sent to the deserts” as they claim, and that
the relocations only meant to divide the densely settled Armenians for security
When I started my series about “The Black Covered Book of Talat Pasha” last
year, I wrote that I wished the series to open a new window for the people who worked
on the subject.
I wish the same before I publish this series and I hope that "The Documents of
Talat Pasha" would help end the futile discussion between the two sides.
ALL OF THE DETAILS OF THE RELOCATION ARE HIDDEN IN THESE DOCUMENTS OF THE PASHA
The base of the series that I will start to publish tomorrow is the number of
relocated people in every city.
These lists were prepared by the “Directorship of Housing, Immigrants and Tribes”
("İskan, Asiretler ve Muhacirler Müdürlügü”) which was controlled by
the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Talat Pasha. In these lists we see the numbers of
23 provinces: local Armenians, Armenians who were sent to these provinces or elsewhere
from these provinces, are all provided in detail. I will try to publish them all if I
have enough space in my column.
In the series, I will include telegrams and letters that were written by the pasha and
CUP officials, as well as some information about their lives in exile.
It's necessary to respond to some rumors here about the series from last year:
I was planning to make a three day series about the "Black Covered Book"
last year, but after the series there was a rumor about the “series being longer
and that the government stopped the series.” These rumors also said that one of
the reasons of the cancellation of the rest of my series was that I was going to
publish documents and lists about “Armenian buildings." After the series
ended, one of my close friends even telephoned to express relief that the
matter was over, and others still mention that it's a good thing I did not get into
trouble over the matter.
The truth: The series was planned for three days, the series ended as planned, but the
oversight was on my end, as I forgot to say “the end” after the third day!
The reason I did not publish the list of "Armenian buildings" was
also very simple: The pictures were too big for my column.
I will finish what was left incomplete from last year, and the "Armenian
buildings" that were rumored to have been "stopped" will be
published in two days.
|The Details of the 1915 relocation for every city
Here we go with the installment for April 24, 2006. (The original, in Turkish.)
The Grand Vizier and Minister of Internal Affairs Talat Pasha, the architect of the 1915
relocation made the “Directorship of Housing, Immigrants and Tribes”( "İskan,
Asiretler ve Muhacirler Müdürlüğü”), which was part of the Ministry of Internal
Affairs, prepare lists about the results of the relocation and took a copy for himself.
I took these documents that are being published for the first time from Talat Pasha’s wife
Ms. Hayriye Talat , who was alive at the time, in 1982. I’m sure these numbers that I took
from the documents will seem higher than what most of my readers have estimated. The reason
for this is that we never prepared an academic publication concentrating on the numbers,
only responding to the accusations of the Armenian diaspora in regards to their propaganda
to the Turkish public. Therefore “Talat Pasha’s relocation documents” is not proof
that Turkey is guilty, but proof that the state acted in self defense; the Armenian
rebellion made things very difficult for the Turkish soldiers fighting on the borders during
the world war.
NOTE: The last
column, "Total Pop." is
the 1914 population of Armenians.
The documents of Grand Vizier and Minister of Internal Affairs Mehmed
Talat Pasha are being published 91 years after the 1915 relocation and 85 years after
the murder of Talat Pasha by an Armenian terrorist in Berlin, for the first time in this
I took these documents from Ms. Hayriye Talat, the wife of Talat Pasha, who died in
January 1983, in the autumn of 1982 and I preserved these documents for a quarter-century.
In the political climate of the time, you couldn’t even mention these documents, let alone
publish them. I added more and more documents to my archive during these 25 years, which I
took from the relatives of leading Ittihat Terakki officials and Aysegul Bafralı,
Ms. Hayriye Talat’s granddaughter. I will try to publish as many of the Pasha’s
documents as I can in this series if I have enough space.
This is first-hand information
These numbers that I took from these documents will seem higher than what most of my readers
have estimated. The reason for this is that there has not been a realistic academic
publication about the 1915 relocation, and that we only reacted to Armenian accusations and
propaganda which gets more and more active with non-scientific arguments like “We did
not kill the Armenians, they killed us,” or “we sent a small number of
Armenians to other places and a greater number returned” instead of academic answers
As I publish these documents of the architect of the 1915 relocation Talat Pasha, which are first
hand information, for the first time in this column, I hope that these documents will
lead to other scientific research. It is necessary for me to provide an important reminder:
Proof of self-defense
Relocation is a self-defense right that the state used because Turkish soldiers were hit
from behind by rebels and because there was internal disorder. As you can see in these
pages, the 1915 relocation was not a “genocide”; Ittihat Terakki never thought of a “Nazi
model” solution to the Armenian issue, they only temporarily relocated some of the
Armenian population living in different parts of Anatolia to other parts of the empire but
they never completely emptied any residential areas.
Therefore “the relocation documents of Talat Pasha” is not proof that shows
Turkey is guilty, it is proof of “self-defense” of the state against a rebellion
that made everything very hard for our troops during WW1.
How many went, how many stayed
Talat Pasha, the architect of the 1915 relocation, made the “Directorship of Housing,
Immigrants and Tribes” ("İskan, Asiretler ve Muhacirler Müdürlüğü”),
which was part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, prepared lists about the results of the
relocation and took a copy for himself.
There are details about the numbers of the local Armenian population, and numbers of
Armenians who went from or came to the 23 administrative areas of the Ottoman Empire in the
list, which are called "vilayet", "mutasarrıflık"
and "liva" in the list .
These lists that are being published for the first time since the 1915 tehcir (relocation)
show us that the event was clearly a relocation. The aim of the relocation was sending the
population in the areas where rebellions took place to other areas. For example, some of the
Armenians in Van were sent to Izmit, some of the Armenians in Izmit were sent to Kütahya
and some of the Armenians in Kütahya were sent to Afyon, so that the Armenian population in
areas where rebellions took place would decrease. But relocations of small numbers of people
from one city to another had another aim: In these areas there were no big rebellions so the
people causing problems were sent away but the Armenian population mostly remained
Some administrative centers were listed with their old names: "Dersaadet"
İstanbul, "Mamüretülaziz" Elazıg, "Karahisar-i Sahib" Afyon,
"Ayntab" Gaziantep, "Kengiri" Çankiri, "Tekfurdagi" Tekirdag,
"Hüdavendigar" Bursa and surrounding areas, "Kal'a-i Sultani" Canakkale,
"Canik" Samsun area, "Karesi" Balikesir area, and "Mentese" is
I re-organized the lists and translated the lists into modern Turkish so it would fit the
column and will be understandable for the readers.
Under the names of the administrative areas which are the “Vilayet, sanjak and liva” we
see the number of the local Armenians (Yerli Ermeniler) which are the Armenians that stayed
after the relocation. ”Yabancı Ermeniler” are the foreign Armenians who came to the
area from other areas, and “genel toplam” ("All Armenians") is the number of
all Armenians in an area after the relocation. At the last column we see the 1914 number of
Armenians in the area, 1 year before the relocation.
We often see "Armenian Genocide" maps, such as the one below, showing us
where the Armenians were relocated from and/or to; the dots are often described as
"massacre sites," or "centers of annihilation and deportation."
(Note the big dot in the middle lining with the arrow is Sivas,
corresponding to the number "9" below.)
Let's examine the difference, based on the information we are being given from Talat
Pasha's Black-Covered Book; the dots here strictly represent where the Armenians were
being relocated to, as described in the series of articles from 2006:
The numbers correspond to the following
(And outside Turkey):
So what does this mean?
It means that obviously not all the Armenians were being "marched off into the
desert to die," as Armenian propaganda loves to tell us. A number of Armenians
were actually transported in the opposite direction, and never left the interior of
The rest will be included, as soon as the pages are
translated; stay tuned.
Let's put up the tables from the next two installments, in the interim; remember, the last
column, "Total Pop.," reflects the 1914 number for Armenians. And to review:
"Local Armenians": the original Armenians who stuck around after the
relocation. ”Foreign Armenians": the ones who were brought in from other areas,
and "All Armenians" represents the number of all Armenians in an area after