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History of the Ottoman Empire during World War I was shaped as one of the Central Powers that lost the war. It began participation with the conflict after the Russian declaration of war to Empire on Nov 1 1914 following Battle of Odessa (1914). Ottoman forces fought the Allies on Middle Eastern theatre of World War I, and Ottoman territory itself was in insurgency and rebellions for most of the war, except for a brief period in 1917 when Russian revolution occurred. A tight blockade imposed by the allies, and farming population being on the front caused severe food shortages in the cities, especially in the winter of 1916-1917.

Ottoman entry to warEdit

There is a separate article that explains Ottoman entry into World War I.

Military ActivitiesEdit

The Ottoman entry into World War I (28 July 1914) came in 11 November 1914, after three months and eight days of being neutral. The reasons for the Ottoman Sultan's entry is not entirely clear, not then, not after many years.[1] The Ottoman Empire was an agricultural state which had thrown itself into an industrialized war.[2] The economic resources of the empire were depleted by the cost of the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913

The great land mass of Anatolia was between the Ottoman army’s headquarters and many of the theaters of war. During Abdulhamit II reign civilian communications had improved, but the road and rail network was not ready for a war.[2] It took more than a month to reach Syria and nearly two months to reach Mesopotamia. To reach the border with Russia; the railway was only 60 km east of Ankara, and from there it was 35 days to Erzurum.[2] Army used Trabzon port as logistical shortcut to east. It took less time to arrive any of these fronts from London than from Ottoman War Department, given the poor condition of Ottoman to British supply ships.

The Empire fell into disorder with the declaration of war along with Germany. On 11 November a conspiracy was discovered in Constantinople against Germans and the CUP, in which some of the CUP leaders were shot. This followed the 12 November revolt in Adrianople against the German military mission. On 13 November a bomb exploded in Enver Pasha's palace, which killed five German officers but missed the Enver Pasha. These events were followed on 18 November with more anti-German plots. Committees formed around the country to rid the country of those siding with Germany. Army and navy officers protested against the assumption of authority by Germans. On 4 December widespread riots took place throughout the country. On 13 December there was an anti-war demonstration by women in Konak (Izmir) and Erzurum. Throughout December the CUP dealt with mutiny among soldiers in barracks and among naval crews. The head of the German Military Mission Field Marshal von der Goltz had a conspiracy against his life.

The military power remained firmly in the hands of War Minister Enver Pasha, domestic issues (civil matters) on Interior Minister Talat Pasha, and an interesting point, CernaI Pasha had the control over Ottoman Syria singlehandedly.[3] Rest of the governance, provincial governors, ran their regions with differing degrees of autonomy.[3] An interesting case is Izmir; Rahmi Bey behaved almost as if his region was a neutral zone between the warring states.[4]

Siege of MedinaBattle of al-SamnBattle of Wadi MusaBattle of AqabaCapture of YanbuBattle of Mecca (1916)Battle of Taif (1916)Urfa ResistanceShabin-Karahisar ResistanceMusa Dagh ResistanceDefense of Van (1915)Zeitun Resistance (1915)Zeitun Resistance (1914)Charge at HaritanBattle of Aleppo (1918)Battle of SharqatPursuit to HaritanCharge at Khan AyashCharge at KisweCharge at KaukabBattle of Jisr Benat YakubCapture of Damascus (1918)Charge at IrbidCapture of Damascus (1918)Battle of Nablus (1918)Capture of TiberiasBattle of SamakhBattle of Haifa (1918)Capture of JeninCapture of Afulah and BeisanBattle of NazarethBattle of AraraBattle of TabsorBattle of TulkarmBattle of SharonBattle of Megiddo (1918)Action of ArsufSecond Battle of AmmanCapture of Jisr ed DamiehThird Transjordan attackBattle of Abu TellulSecond Transjordan attack on Shunet Nimrin and Es SaltFirst Battle of AmmanBattle of HijlaFirst Transjordan attack on AmmanOccupation of the Jordan ValleyCapture of JerichoSecond Transjordan attack on Shunet Nimrin and Es SaltAction of Khan BaghdadiBattle of El BurjBattle of Jaffa (1917)Battle of Nebi SamwilBattle of Jerusalem (1917)Battle of Ayun KaraBattle of Mughar RidgeBattle of Mughar RidgeCharge at HujCapture of Wadi el HesiBattle of Hareira and SheriaThird Battle of GazaBattle of Tel el KhuweilfeBattle of Beersheba (1917)Southern Palestine OffensiveBattle of Buqqar RidgeBattle of Ramadi (1917)Stalemate in Southern PalestineSecond Battle of GazaFirst Battle of GazaSamarrah OffensiveBattle of IstabulatBattle of Jebel HamlinFall of Baghdad (1917)Battle of Tell 'AsurRaid on Bir el HassanaRaid on NekhlSecond Battle of KutBattle of RafaBattle of MagdhabaBattle of Bir el AbdBattle of RomaniSiege of KutBattle of KatiaThe Jifjafa raidBattle of DujailaBattle of HannaBattle of Wadi (1916)Battle of Sheikh Sa'adUmm-at-TubalBattle of Ctesiphon (1915)Battle of Es SinnBattle of Hill 60 (Gallipoli)Battle of Scimitar HillBattle of Chunuk BairBattle of Lone PineBattle of the NekBattle of Sari BairLanding at Suvla BayBattle of Krithia VineyardBattle of Gully RavineThird Battle of KrithiaSecond Battle of KrithiaBattle for No.3 PostThird attack on Anzac CoveSecond attack on Anzac CoveLanding at Anzac CoveLanding at Anzac CoveBattle of ShaibaFirst Battle of KrithiaLanding at Cape HellesNaval operations in the Dardanelles CampaignRaid on the Suez CanalBattle of QurnaBattle of Basra (1914)Fao LandingBattle of ErzincanBattle of BitlisTrebizond CampaignBattle of KoprukoyErzurum OffensiveBattle of Kara Killisse (1915)Battle of Manzikert (1915)Battle of DilmanBattle of ArdahanBattle of SarikamishBergmann OffensiveBattle of Odessa (1914)German Caucasus ExpeditionBattle of BakuBattle of KarakilisaBattle of AbaranBattle of SardarabadFirst Republic of ArmeniaTranscaucasian Democratic Federative RepublicHistory of the Ottoman Empire during World War I#Empire in home frontHistory of the Ottoman Empire during World War I#War with Britain and FranceHistory of the Ottoman Empire during World War I#War with RussiaHistory of the Ottoman Empire during World War I

War with RussiaEdit

WW1 TitlePicture For Caucasus Campaign

Top: Destruction in the city of Erzurum; Left Upper: Russian forces; Left Lower: Wounded Muslim refugees; Right Upper:Ottoman forces; Right Lower: Armenian refuges

Ottoman's entrance into the war greatly increased the Triple Entente's military burdens. Russia had to fight on the Caucasus Campaign alone and in the Persian Campaign along with the United Kingdom. İsmail Enver Pasha set off for the Battle of Sarıkamış with the intention of recapturing Batum and Kars, overrunning Georgia and occupying north-western Persia and the oil fields. Fighting the Russians in the Caucasus, however, the Ottomans lost ground, and over 100,000 soldiers, in a series of battles. 60,000 Ottoman soldiers died in the winter of 1916—17 on the Mus—Bitlis section of the front.[5] Ottomans preferred to keep the Caucasus militarily silent as they had to regroup reserves to retake Baghdad and Palestine from the British. 1917 and first half of 1918 was the time for negotiations. On 5 December 1917, the armistice of Erzincan (Erzincan Cease-fire Agreement) signed between the Russians and Ottomans in Erzincan that ended the armed conflicts between Russia and Ottoman Empire.[6] On 3 March, the Grand vizier Talat Pasha signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Russian SFSR, (#Battles of ideals, rhetoric, 1917). It stipulated that Bolshevik Russia cede Batum, Kars, and Ardahan. In addition to these provisions, a secret clause was inserted which obligated the Russians to demobilize Armenian national forces.[7]

Between 14 March – April 1918 the Trabzon peace conference held among the Ottoman Empire and the delegation of the Transcaucasian Diet. Enver Pasha offered to surrender all ambitions in the Caucasus in return for recognition of the Ottoman reacquisition of the east Anatolian provinces at Brest-Litovsk at the end of the negotiations.[8] On 5 April, the head of the Transcaucasian delegation Akaki Chkhenkeli accepted the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk as a basis for more negotiations and wired the governing bodies urging them to accept this position.[9] The mood prevailing in Tiflis was very different. Tiflis acknowledge the existence of a state of war between themselves and the Ottoman Empire.[9]

In April 1918, the Ottoman 3rd Army finally went on the offensive. In early May 1918, the Ottoman army faced with forces of Armenian National Council. The conflict led to the Battle of Sardarapat, the Battle of Kara Killisse (1918), and the Battle of Bash Abaran. On 28 May 1918, the Dashnaks of Armenian national liberation movement organized under Armenian National Council with the chairman Aram Manukian declared the Democratic Republic of Armenia. The new Republic of Armenia was forced to sign the Treaty of Batum.

In July 1918, Ottomans faced with the Centrocaspian Dictatorship at the Battle of Baku, with the goal of taking Baku on the Caspian Sea.

War in the Caucasus and Persia

Pervaya Armyanskaya Drujina 1 battalion 1914.png
1st battalion of the Armenian volunteer unit. It was under the command of the Andranik during Persian Campaign.[10]
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5th Infantry Regiment officers of the Battle of Sardarabad

War with BritainEdit

G.C. 18 March 1915 Gallipoli Campaign Article

February–April 1915, The Battle of Gallipoli

The British captured Basra in November 1914, and marched north into Iraq.[5] Initially Ahmed Djemal Pasha was ordered to gather an army in Palestine to threaten the Suez Canal. In response, the Allies—including the newly formed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps ("ANZACs")—opened another front with the Battle of Gallipoli. The army led by Ahmed Djemal Pasha (Fourth Army) to eject the British from Egypt was stopped at the Suez canal in February 1915, and again the next summer.[5] The canal was vital to the British war effort. The 1915 locust plague breaks out in the Palestine region, be exact the Ottoman military hospitals record the period as March–October 1915:

The expected, and feared, British invasion came not through Cilicia or northern Syria, but through the straits.[3] The aim of the Dardanelles campaign was to support Russia. Most military observers recognized that the uneducated Ottoman soldier was lost without good leadership, and at Gallipoli Mustafa Kemal realized the capabilities of his man if their officers led from the front.[11] The war was something from a different are, as the agrarian Ottoman Empire faced to industrialized forces, at silent predawn attacks in which officers with drawn swords vent ahead of troops and only the troops to shout their battlecry of "Allahu Akbar!" when they reached the enemy’s trenches.[11]

The United Kingdom was obliged to defend India and the southern Persian oil territory by undertaking the Mesopotamian campaign. Britain also had to protect Egypt in the Sinai-Palestine-Syria Campaign. These campaigns strained Allied resources and relieved Germany.

The repulse of British forces in Palestine in the spring of 1917 was followed by the loss of Jerusalem in December of the same year.[5] The Ottoman authorities deport the entire civilian population of Jaffa and Tel Aviv, The Tel Aviv and Jaffa deportation, pursuant to the order from Ahmed Jamal Pasha on 6 April 1917. The Muslim evacuees allowed to return before long, At the same period the Balfour Declaration was being negotiated (published on 2 November 1917) in which the British Government declares its support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. Ahmed Jamal Pasha effectively separates these groups. The Jewish evacuees returned after the British conquest of Palestine.[12]

The Ottomans were eventually defeated due to key attacks by the British general Edmund Allenby.

War in Mesopotamia, Sinai and Palestine and Gallipoli

Maude in Baghdad.jpg
British troops entering Baghdad March 1917
Mesopotamian campaign 6th Army field HQ.png
6th Army field HQ
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In 1917, Ottoman forces at the shores of the Dead Sea

Empire in home frontEdit

WW1 TitlePicture For Armenian Resistance

"Top:" The size of the stars show where the active conflicts occurred in 1915 "Left Upper:" Armenians defending the walls of Van in the spring of 1915 "Left Lower:" Armenian Resistance in Urfa "Right:" A seventy-year-old Armenian priest leading Armenians to battle field.

The war tested to the limit the empire’s relations with its Arab population.[13] In February 1915 in Syria, Cemal Pasha exercised absolute power in both military and civil affairs.[14] Cemal Pasha was convinced that an uprising among local Arabs was imminent.[13] Leading Arabs were executed, and notable families deported to Anatolia.[13] Cemal’s policies did nothing to alleviate the famine that was gripping Syria; it was exacerbated by a British and French blockade of the coastal ports, the requisitioning of transports, profiteering and — strikingly — Cemal’s preference for spending scarce funds on public works and the restoration of historic monuments[13] During the war, Britain had been a major sponsor of Arab nationalist thought and ideology, primarily as a weapon to use against the power of the Empire. Sharif Hussein ibn Ali rebelled against the Ottoman rule during the Arab Revolt of 1916. In August he was replaced by Sharif Haydar, but in October he proclaimed himself king of Arabia and in December was recognized by the British as an independent ruler.[13] There was little the Empire could do to influence the course of events, other than try to prevent news of the uprising spreading, prevent it to demoralize the army or act as a propaganda for anti-Ottoman Arab factions.[13] On 3 October 1918 forces of the Arab Revolt enter Damascus accompanied by British troops, ending 400 years of Ottoman rule.

The idea of an independent and united Armenia was the main goal of the Armenian national movement during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.[15] During the first year of the war Russia, armed Armenian insurgents fought against their own government in north-east Anatolia at the battlefield zone which were regarded as traitors.[16] The Armenians of Anatolia particularly exposed to Muslim resentment after Russian Armenians called on their Ottoman co-religionists to join the Russian army and "liberate" [lower-alpha 1] eastern Anatolia in November 1914.[18] The Ottoman government also faced difficulties on the home front (behind the battle zone), including Armenian rebellions in Anatolia (Zeitun, Van, Musa Dagh, Urfa, Shabin-Karahisar). In eastern Anatolia attacks on Ottoman government offices, on representatives of the government, and on Muslim civilians alike went on throughout the early months of the war and/with the war effort in peril on all fronts.[19] The Minister of the Interior Mehmed Talaat Bey with his order of April 24, 1915 requested arrest and detain at holding centers to be later court-martialed.[lower-alpha 2] Matters became alarming when in mid-May a Russian-Armenian army (not a reference to Russian Caucasian Army which had Tovmas Nazarbekian, Movses Silikyan, but the Armenian volunteer units that included Karekin Pastermadjian who was an Ottoman Deputy before the war [lower-alpha 3]) reached to city of Van (in the article Siege of Van) driving out the garrison and massacring the population before setting up an Armenian government (in article Republic of Van).[19] The Armenians declared their own state, and Armenians congregate[lower-alpha 4] in a large group.[21] On 27 May the government passed the ‘Deportation Law’ (in article Tehcir Law), whereby the military authorities were authorized to relocate the Armenians.[19] From 1 June 1915 to 8 February 1916 (deportation) of Armenians from the region. Most academics define the deportations as the Armenian Genocide.

Home front

Lt Col G Leachman as Bedu.jpg
Lt. Col. Gerard Leachman disguised as a Bedouin.
Soldiers of the Sharif of Mecca carrying the Arab Flag during the Arab Revolt of 1916–1918
Armenian resistance members from the Adapazari Armenian committee.jpg
Resistance members from the Adapazari committee, 1915.
Armenian Resistance -Mourat - Defense of Erzinjan 1916.png
Murad of Sebastia and his comrades fought at Sivas during 1915

Political ActivitiesEdit


The Constantinople Agreement on 18 March 1915 was a set of secret assurances, which Great Britain promised to give the Capital, and the Dardanelles to the Russians in the event of victory.[22] The city of Constantinople was intended to be a free port.

During 1915, British forces invalidated the Anglo-Ottoman Convention, declaring Kuwait to be an "independent sheikdom under British protectorate."

Capitulations and public debt, 1915Edit

10 September 1915 was an important date for Ottoman Economy. An institution that undermined Ottoman sovereignty was the Capitulations, or extraterritorial privileges enjoyed by foreigners residing in the Empire.[23] When the Capitulations were first established it was supposed that foreign assistance could benefit the Empire. Capitulations stipulated that the privileges were based on religion, and intercourse of the Christian world with the Muslim world was founded upon different principles. Privileges were based on religion is against free market values. The Muslim business was challenged against non-Muslim in international exchanges as the market was not free from any intervention by government.

Foreigners had secured many privileges or "capitulations" that they could not be brought under local jurisdiction, but were subject only to the codes of justice of their own countries, administered through their own consular courts.[24] As a result, almost all the business of the country was in the hands of non-Ottoman citizens – Armenians, Greeks, Jews, Italians, French, Germans, and English, which were under non-Ottoman (local) jurisdiction. Wherever mines have been developed, railroads or irrigation works constructed, foreign capital and foreign brains have been chiefly responsible. This system produced an environment in which the citizens of the Empire stayed poor, and the standard of education for this group never increased. And so it would, if it were not that foreigners occupy a privileged position in the country.[24] In fact, citizens of the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary were in many respects in a separate class from Ottoman citizens, whether Turks, Greeks, Armenians, or Jews. The Empire also perceived the capitulations as a reason for corruption. Officials, representing different jurisdictions, sought bribes at every opportunity, withheld the proceeds of a vicious and discriminatory tax system, ruined every struggling industry by graft, and fought against every show of independence on the part of Empire's many subject peoples. A citizen of any of the great powers was practically exempt from the payment of income taxes and several other kinds of taxes to which the Turk was subject. He was immune from search, could secure passports from his own consul, and could be tried in courts of his own nationality. All these special privileges together constituted a body of privileges known as "Capitulations."[25]

On 10 September 1915, Interior minister Talat Pasha abolished the "Capitulations". On 10 September 1915 Grand Vizier Said Halim Pasha annulled (Vizer had the authority on annuls) the Capitulations, which ended the special privileges they granted to foreign nationals. The capitulation holders refused to recognize his action (unilateral action).[2] The American Ambassador expressed the Great Power view:
The capitulary regime, as it exists in the Empire, is not an autonomous institution of the Empire, but the result of international treaties, of diplomatic agreements and of contractual acts of various sorts. The regime, consequently, cannot be modified in any of its parts and still less suppressed in its entirety by the Ottoman Government except in consequence of an understanding with the contracting Powers.[23]

Beside the capitulations, there was another issue which evolved under the shadow of capitulations. The dept and financial control (revenue generation) of the empire was intertwined under single institution, which it's board was constituted from Great Powers rather than Ottomans. There is no sovereignty in this design. In fact, the Public Debt could and did interfere in state affairs because it controlled (collected) one-quarter of state revenues.[23] The debt was administered by the Ottoman Public Debt Administration and its power extended to the Imperial Ottoman Bank (equates to modern central banks). Debt Administration controlled many of the important revenues of the empire. The Council had power every financial affairs. Its control even extended to determine the tax on live stock in districts. Ottoman public debt was part of a larger schemes of political control, through which the commercial interests of the world had seek to gain advantages that may not be to Empire's interest. The immediate purpose of the abolition of capitulations and the cancellation of foreign debt repayments was to reduce the foreign stranglehold on the Ottoman economy; a second purpose — and one to which great political weight was attached — was to extirpate non—Muslims from the economy by transferring assets to Muslim Turks and encouraging their participation with government contracts and subsidies.[26]


The French-Armenian Agreement of October 27, 1916, was reported to the interior minister Talat Pasha which agreement negotiations were performed with the leadership of Boghos Nubar the chairman of the Armenian National Assembly and one of the founder of the AGBU.


In 1917 the Ottoman Cabinet considered maintaining relations with Washington after the United States had declared war on Germany on 6 April. But the views of the war party prevailed and they insisted on maintaining a common front with their allies. Thus, relations with America were broken on 20 April 1917.

Diplomacy with new Russia, 1917Edit

The 1917 Russian revolution changed the realities. The war devastated not only Russian soldiers, also the Russian economy was breaking down under the heightened strain of wartime demand by the end of 1915. The tsarist regime’s advances for the security on its southern borders proved ruinous.[27] The tsarist regime desire to control the Eastern Anatolia and the straits (perceived as underbelly), but underbelly created the conditions that brought about Russia's own downfall. Unable to use Straits disrupted the Russian supply chain. Russia might survived without the Straits, but the strain was the tipping point for its war economy.[27] This question was left to Soviet historians: “whether a less aggressive policy toward the Ottoman Empire before the war would have caused Istanbul to maintain neutrality or whether Russia later might have induced Istanbul to leave the war,[lower-alpha 5] the outcome of tsarist future would be different.[27] Nicholas's inept handling of his country and the war destroyed the Tsar and ended up costing him both his reign and his life.

Enver immediately instructed the Vehib Pasha, Third Army, to propose a ceasefire to Russia’s Caucasus Army.[28] Vehib cautioned withdrawing forces, as due to the politics in Russia — neither Russia’s Caucasus Army nor Caucasian civil authorities give assurance that an armistice would hold.[29] On 7 November 1917 the Bolshevik Party led by Vladimir Lenin over threw the Provisional Government in a violent coup plunged Russia into multitude of civil wars between ethnic groups. The slow dissolution of Russia’s Caucasus Army relieved one form of military threat from the east but brought another one. Russia was a long time threat, but at the same time kept the civil unrest in his land at bay without spreading to Ottomans in a violent. On 3 December the Ottoman foreign minister Ahmed Nesimi Bey informed the “Chamber of Deputies” about the prospects. Chamber discussed the possible outcomes and priorities. On 15 December Armistice between Russia and the Central Powers signed. On 18 December Armistice of Erzincan signed. The Bolsheviks’ anti-imperialist formula of peace with no annexations and no indemnities was close to Ottoman position. Bolsheviks position brought a conflict with the Germany's aimed to preserve control over the East European lands it occupied and with Bulgaria’s claims on Dobruja and parts of Serbia. In December Enver informed the Quadruple Alliance that they would like to see the 1877 border (Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878)), pointing out that the only Ottomans lost territory and 1877 boarder was Ottoman territories inhabited by Muslims.[30] Ottomans did not pushed 1877 position too hard, scared to fall back to bilateral agreements. On the other hand, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria clearly stood behind on the pulling back the Ottoman and Russian forces from Iran.[31] Ottomans wanted Muslim Iran be under its own control. Ambassador to Berlin, Ibrahim Hakki Pasha, wrote: “Although Russia may be in a weakened state today, it is always an awesome enemy and it is probable that in a short time it will recover its former might and power.[30]

On 22 December 1917, the first meeting between Ottomans and the Bolsheviks, the temporary head Zeki Pasha, until Talat Pasha's arrival, requested of Lev Kamenev to put an end to atrocities being committed on Russian-occupied territory by Armenian partisans. Kamenev agreed and added “an international commission should be established to oversee the return of refugees (by own consent) and deportees (by forced relocation) to Eastern Anatolia. The battle of ideals, rhetoric, and material for the fate of Eastern Anatolia opened with this dialog .[30]

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk represented an enormous success for the Empire. Minister of Foreign Affairs Halil Bey announced the achievement of peace to the Chamber of Deputies. He cheered the deputies further with his prediction of the imminent signing of a third peace treaty (the first Ukraine, second Russia, and with Romania ), Halil Bey thought the Entente to cease hostilities and bring a rapid end to the war. The creation of an independent Ukraine promised to cripple Russia, and the recovery of Kars, Ardahan and Batum gave the CUP a tangible prize. Nationalism emerged at the center of the diplomatic struggle between the Central Powers and the Bolsheviks. Empire recognized that Russia’s Muslims, their co-religionists, are disorganized and dispersed to come out as an entity in the future battles of ideals, rhetoric, and material. Thus, the Ottomans mobilized the Caucasus Committee to make claims on behalf of the Muslims.[32] Caucasus Committee had declined Ottoman earnest requests to break from Russia and embrace independence. The Caucasian Christians was far ahead in this new world concept. Helping the Caucasian Muslims to be free, like their neighbors, would be the Ottomans’ challenge.[32]


In the overall war effort, the CUP was convinced that Empire's contribution was essential. Ottoman armies had tied down large numbers of Allied troops on various fronts, keeping them away from theatres in Europe where they would have been used against German and Austrian forces. Moreover, they claimed that their success at Gallipoli had been an important factor in bringing about the collapse of Russia, resulting in the revolution of April 1917. They had turned the war in favor of Germany and her allies.[33] Hopes were initially high for the Ottomans that their losses in the Middle East might be compensated for by successes in Causes Campaign. Enver Pasha maintained an optimistic stance, hid information that made the Ottoman position appear weak, and led most of the Ottoman elite believe that the war was still winnable.[34]

Diplomacy with new states, 1918Edit

Ottoman policy toward the Caucasus evolved according to the changing demands of the diplomatic and geopolitical environment.[35] What was the Ottoman premise in involving with the Azerbaijan and the North Caucasus? The Empire’s leaders, in the parliament discussions through out 1917, understood that Russia’s collapse presented a historic window of opportunity to redraw the map of the Caucasus. They were convinced, however, that soon enough Russia would recover and reemerge as the dominant power in the region and shut that window.

The principle of “self-determination” become the criterion, or at least in part, to gave them a chance to stood on their feet.[36] The Bolsheviks did not regard national separatism in this region as a lasting force. Their expectation was whole region come under a “voluntary and honest union” [lower-alpha 6] and this union bearing no resemblance to Lenin’s famous description of Russia as a “prison house of peoples.”[37] Lenin's arrival to Russia was formally welcomed by Nikolay Chkheidze, the Menshevik Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet.

Ottoman's did not see a chance of these new states to stand against new Russia. These new Muslim states needed support to be emerged as viable independent states. In order to consolidate a buffer zone with Russia (both for the Empire and these new states), however, Ottomans needed to expel the Bolsheviks from Azerbaijan and the North Caucasus before the end of war.[38] Based on 1917 negotiations, Enver concluded that Empire should not to expect much military assistance from the Muslims of the Caucasus as they were the one in need. Enver also know the importance of Kars—Julfa railroad and the adjacent areas for this support. Goal was set forward beginning from 1918 to end of the war.

The Empire duly recognized the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic in February 1918. This preference to remain part of Russia led Caucasusian politics to the Trebizond Peace Conference to base their diplomacy on the incoherent assertion that they were an integral part of Russia but yet not bound[35] The representatives were Rauf Bey for the Empire, and Akaki Chkhenkeli from the Transcaucasian delegation.

On May 11, a new peace conference opened at Batum. Treaty of Batum was signed in Batum between the Ottoman Empire and 3 Trans-caucasus states — First Republic of Armenia, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and Democratic Republic of Georgia on June 4, 1918.

The goal was to assist Azerbaijan Democratic Republic at Battle of Baku, then turn north to assist the embattled Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus and then sweeping southward to encircle the British in Mesopotamia and retake Baghdad.[36] The British in Mesopotamia already moving north, with forty vans (claimed to loaded with gold and silver for buying mercenary) accompanied with only a brigade, to establish a foothold . At the time Baku was under the control of the 26 Baku Commissars which were Bolshevik and Left Socialist Revolutionary (SR) members of the Baku Soviet Commune. The commune was established in the city of Baku. In this plan, they expected resistance from Bolshevik Russia and Britain, but also Germany, which opposed the extension of their influence into the Caucasus.[36] Ottoman's goal to side with Muslims of Azerbaijan and MRNC managed to get Bolsheviks of Russia, Britain and Germany on the same side of a conflict box at this brief point in the history.

Winding down toward the armistice, 1918Edit

İkdam, 4 Kasım 1918

İkdam on 4 November 1918 announcing Enver, Talat, Cevdet left the country.

Developments in Southeast Europe quashed the Ottoman government's hopes. In September 1918, the Allied forces under the command of Louis Franchet d'Espèrey mounted a sudden offensive at the Macedonian Front, which proved quite successful. Bulgaria was forced to sue for peace in the Armistice of Salonica. This development undermined both the German and Ottoman cause simultaneously - the Germans had no troops to spare to defend Austria-Hungary from the newly formed vulnerability in Southeast Europe after the losses it had suffered in France, and the Ottomans suddenly faced having to defend Istanbul against an overland European siege without help from the Bulgarians.[34]

Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha visited both Berlin, and Sofia, in September 1918, and came away with the understanding that the war was no longer winnable. With Germany likely seeking a separate peace, the Ottomans would be forced to as well. Grand Vizier Talaat convinced the other members of the ruling party that they must resign, as the Allies would impose far harsher terms if they thought the people who started the war were still in power. He also sought out the United States to see if he could surrender to them and gain the benefits of the Fourteen Points despite the Ottoman Empire and the United States not being at war; however, the Americans never responded, as they were waiting on British advice as to how to respond which never came. On October 13, Talaat and the rest of his ministry resigned. Ahmed Izzet Pasha replaced Talaat as Grand Vizier.

Two days after taking office, Ahmed Izzet Pasha sent the captured British General Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend to the Allies to seek terms on an armistice.[34] The British Cabinet were eager to negotiate a deal. British government interpreted that not only should Britain conduct the negotiations, but should conduct them alone. There may be a desire to cut the French out of territorial "spoils" promised to them in the Sykes-Picot agreement. Talaat (before resigning) had sent an emissary to the French as well, but that emissary had been slower to respond back. The British cabinet empowered Admiral Calthorpe to conduct the negotiations, and to explicitly exclude the French from them.[34] The negotiations began on Sunday, October 27 on the HMS Agamemnon, a British battleship. The British refused to admit French Vice-Admiral Jean Amet, the senior French naval officer in the area, despite his desire to join; the Ottoman delegation, headed by Minister of Marine Affairs Rauf Bey.[34]

Unknown to both sides, both sides were actually quite eager to sign a deal and willing to give up their objectives to do so. The British delegation had been given a list of 24 demands, but were told to concede on any of them except allowing the occupation of the forts on the Dardanelles as well as free passage through the Bosphorus; the British desired access to the Black Sea for the Rumanian front. Prime Minister David Lloyd George also desired to make a deal quickly before the United States could step in; according to the diary of Maurice Hankey:

[Lloyd George] was also very contemptuous of President Wilson and anxious to arrange the division of Empire between France, Italy, and G.B. before speaking to America. He also thought it would attract less attention to our enormous gains during the war if we swallowed our share of Empire now, and the German colonies later.[34]
The Ottomans, for their part, believed the war to be lost and would have accepted almost any demands placed on them. As a result, the initial draft prepared by the British was accepted largely unchanged; the Ottomans did not know they could have pushed back on most of the clauses, and the British did not know they could have demanded even more. The Ottomans ceded the rights to the Allies to occupy "in case of disorder" any Ottoman territory, a vague and broad clause.[34] The French were displeased with the precedent; French Premier Clemenceau disliked the British making unilateral decisions in so important a matter. Lloyd George countered that the French had concluded a similar armistice on short notice in the Armistice of Salonica which had been negotiated by French General d'Esperey, and that Great Britain (and Czarist Russia) had committed the vast majority of troops to the campaign against the Ottomans. The French agreed to accept the matter as closed.

On 30 October 1918, the Armistice of Mudros was signed, ending Ottoman involvement in World War 1. The Ottoman public, however, was given misleadingly positive impressions of the severity of the terms of the Armistice. They thought its terms were considerably more lenient than they actually were, a source of discontent later that the Allies had betrayed the offered terms.[34]

Inter-communal conflictsEdit

The Russians exploited inter-communal strife in the service of their goals.[39] At the onset of the war Russians were arming Armenians, Assyrians, and Kurds.[lower-alpha 8][39] Russians also tried to contain the conflicts. Vorontsov-Dashkov instructed the Caucasus Army all peoples in occupied territories are thread to itself equally.[39] Violence was to be directed only against armed formations.[39] Under the fog of war everything blurred. The boarder between Ottoman, Russian and Persian Empires were only drawn on paper and people moved in and out freely using high mountain passes. The vast territories were contiguous and populations overlapped. Kurds, Armenians, Circassians, Greeks, Tatars, Caucasian Turks, Assyrians, and Cossacks among others inhabited both empires and moved back and forth between them.[41] Aram Manukian was born in Russia, Russian Armenian, but in fact he spend most of his life in the Empire as activist and known as Aram Pasha. The boarder also became a security blanket in cases like Gugunian Expedition.

From the end of July to August 2, 1914, the Armenian congress at Erzurum convened. There was a meeting between CUP and Armenians. Armenian liaisons Arshak Vramian, Stepan Zorian and Khatchatour Maloumian and Ottoman liaisons Dr. Behaeddin Shakir, Omer Naji, and Hilmi Bey accompanied by an international entourage of peoples from the Caucasus discussed the situation. CUP requested to incite a rebellion of Armenians in Russia against the Tsarist regime in order to facilitate the conquest of Transcaucasia in the event of the opening up of a Caucasus Campaign.[42] Request declined. A representative meeting of Armenians assembled in Tiflis, Caucasus at the same time.[43] Tsar asked Armenian's loyalty and support for Russia in the conflict.[43] On 20 September, convinced that war with the Ottomans was inevitable, Sergey Sazonov approved Illarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov’s request to arm the Ottoman Armenians and “provoke their uprising at an opportune moment.” [44] Count Illarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov consulted with the Mayor of Tbilisi Alexandre Khatsian, the primate of Tbilisi, Bishop Mesrop, and the prominent civic leader Dr. Hakob Zavriev about the creation of Armenian volunteer detachments.[45] The Armenians living in Russia had already been drafted into the regular Russian forces and sent to European theatre of World War I, the volunteer units would make up of Armenians who were not citizens of the Russian empire or not obligated to serve. Russians provided 200,000 rubles to the Dashnaks (Armenian Revolutionary Federation, ARF).[44] The proposal was agreed upon and nearly 20,000 Armenians[lower-alpha 9] responded to the call (Armenian volunteer units also known as druzhiny), of which only 7,000 were given arms.[46] The Empire intelligence put the distribution of arms on 7 September 1914.[47] The Empire dismantled the Armenian reform package on December 16, 1914, a month and a half after the first engagement of the Caucasus Campaign the Bergmann Offensive. December 1914, Nicholas II of Russia visited the Caucasus Campaign. The head of the Armenian Church, George V of Armenia, along the president of the Armenian National Council of Tiflis in Tiflis Alexander Khatisyan received the excellence:
From all countries Armenians are hurrying to enter the ranks of the glorious Russian Army, with their blood to serve the victory of the Russian Army... Let the Russian flag wave freely over the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, Let your will the peoples [Armenian] remaining under the Turkish yoke receive freedom. Let the Armenian people of Turkey who have suffered for the faith of Christ received resurrection for a new free life...[17]
—Nicholas II of Russia


Armenian volunteer units were established by ARF (Armenian Revolutionary Federation, ARF). Unit commanders were ARF's most famous military operatives, such as Andranik Ozanian, Drastamat Kanayan, Armen Garo, Hamazasp Srvandztyan, Arshak Gafavian, Sargis Mehrabyan. Hunchaks (Social Democrat Hunchakian Party) opposed to the structure and belatedly formed Grigor Avsharian (Gagik Avsharian) legion of 1,500 men and Pandukht legion of 350 men.[47] The numbers were initial establishment values. The Armenian units were small, mobile, and well adapted to the semi-guerrilla warfare.[48] As units of semi-guerrilla warfare they blend to population when they were not in combat and did not have unique identification (uniform). The type of weapons (Russian military) separated Armenian volunteer units from Armenian fedayi which also operated in the same region. Armenian volunteer units began their operations earlier than Russian Caucasian Army. The Third Army intelligence reported “Russian-born Armenians who had military experience in the Russian army, were crossing over into the empire with money, maps, and weapons” (semi-guerrilla warfare!) in early October.[49] The 4th Reserve Cavalry Regiment uncovered a cache of "Russian rifles" hidden in Armenian homes in Hasankale on October 20.[47] Armed caches were not unique, but the reported size and type of rifles were unique. An Ottoman summary report correctly identified that the Armenians were moving into Mus, Bitlis, Van, from Erivan on October 23.[47] Size and location matches the Yudenich report, from Russian archives, who was traching Vorontsov-Dashkov plan and confirmed that Dro was positioned for operations against Dogubeyaz-Van and Vardan was toward the frontier (aim to cut the link to Van) opposite Van.[50] In the fall of 1914, Armenian national delegation chairmen Boghos Nubar was instrumental in coordinating with the British government regarding Alexandretta, Mersin or Adana. ARF theoretician Mikayel Varandian made similar overtures regarding “self-defense” structure (military branch) of ARF (Armenian Revolutionary Federation, ARF).[51] Armenians had volunteered to “support a possible disembarkation at Alexandretta, Mersin or Adana” and, moreover, promised “valuable assistance could also be provided by the Armenians of mountainous districts, who, if supplied with arms and ammunition, would uprise.”[51] The British consul at Aleppo reported that “... [they] welcome with joy a swift British or even French occupation,” on October 1914.[51] Winston Churchill's Dardanelles Campaign is widely known. British planed to invade amphibiously near Alexandretta before Dardanelles operation.[52] Idea originally presented by Boghos Nubar in 1914.[52] It was planned as a landing in the Alexandretta to severe Capitol from Syria, Palestine, and Egypt by Field Marshal Lord Horatio Kitchener. Alexandretta was an area with a Christian population and was the strategic center of the Empire's railway network — its capture would have cut the empire in two. On December 13, 1914, Vice Admiral R. H. Peirse, East Indies Station, ordered Captain Frank Larkin of HMS Doris to Alexandretta. At the same time, in the same area, Russian cruiser Ækoid and the French cruiser Requin were performing similar operations. Captain Frank Larkin began his operations on December 19 in which effectively destroyed communication lines, derailed trains (military-civilian) and most notably closing the junction “Duert Yol” assisted by “the Ottoman Armenian railway officials themselves smashing the electric batteries on the lines.” [53] These activities continued into 1915. Kitchener was working on logistics, local connections, intelligent development with local support, as late as March 1915. The Doris and her plundering were known by staff of the 4 Army, such that in some cases watched activities from a distance due to lack of available force to intervene. Ottomans combined these (Doris, Ækoid and Requin) with the internal reports about Armenian committee activities, which reinforced the notion that a significant threat existed to the vulnerable southeastern coast.[54] Plundering, destruction and cooperation, Allied special forces units accompanied by Armenians, in the coastal zone was also visible to local population (non-Armenian) who used these facilities to transfer their goods. Planning for Alexandre landing was also the beginning of Britain’s successful effort to start an Arab revolt. The reasons for Dardanelles landing replacement for the Alexandre landing is well argued position. Alexandria landing dropped from announcements beginning March 1915. Two main reasons cited; militarily the amphibious landing required more resources which France could not allocate, and politically France did not want British in their sphere of influence, which Britain agreed to this position in 1912.[55] Minister of Navy was dispatched to London to express the objection. Later in 1916 there was an French-Armenian agreement in which Armenians' contribution linked to Cilicia region being given to Armenians.


The disaster at Battle of Sarikamish left around 52,000 soldiers spread over a 600-km front[56] The Ottoman military activities seized under this dire fact. However General Viladamir Liakhov took a significant step in January 1915 by moving his forces against the small units left in the region, but he also ordered his Cossacks to kill Muslim natives on sight and burn every mosque and village, and reduced Artvin and the Chorokhi valley to a cinder.[57] Cossacks had Armenian militias along them.[57] Ottoman officials estimated that up to 30,000 Muslim males had been killed and thousands more women and children left without shelter in the winter.[57] The case also reported by David Lang which stated that the only in the Chorokhi valley 45,000 Muslims died, leaving just 7,000 alive.[57] Russia’s cabinet ministers, majority, backed the idea of deporting all Muslims from the provinces of Kars and Batumi and then stripping them of citizenship.[57] Vorontsov-Dashkov ordered the deportation of some 10,000 Muslims living along the border into the interior of Russia.[57] Later it was found that deportees were not ethnic Turks but in fact Ajars.[57] The report prompted an investigation.[57] The investigation found out that the deportees had not been guilty of hostile acts but, to the contrary, had been victims of Cossack and Armenian pogroms.[57] This case was not isolated as there were Muslim villagers and nomads alike fleeing from the east in front of Russians [that is regular army and volunteers] during the spring 1915 advance.[58]

On February 26, 1915, a series of events that end up being the first Armenian relocation. Alexandretta landing was not scrapped yet. Armenian insurgents were using a 34 kilometers strip along the railway from Alexandretta to communicate with the British navy. Ottomans acquired detailed operational information from the captured three Armenian insurgents on 12 February which were blended into the local population.[59] A military device “Heiostata” used by the Armenian insurgents, which required training in British military signaling. Ottomans reinforced the region with troops. Ottomans began to relocate the local Armenian population along 34 kilometers of the railway to prevent further incidents in early March.[59] The population relocation drastically limited the insurgency activity. Small-scale deportations of Armenians had begun in February.[59][60]

The Russia was unwilling to accommodate an Armenian establishment (sovereign Armenia), wanted Armenia without Armenians. in March 1915, Minister of Agriculture Krivoshein stated to Sazonov that Van, Erzurum, and parts of Bitlis (limits of to the Russian advance in 1915) were suitable for Russian colonists.[61] In April 1915, Nikolai Yudenich reported the following to Count Illarion Ivanovich Vorontsov-Dashkov:

The Armenians intend to occupy by means of their refugees the lands left by the Kurds and Turks, in order to benefit from that territory. I consider this intention unacceptable, because after the war, it will be difficult to reclaim those lands sequestered by the Armenians or to prove that the seized property does not belong to them, as was the case after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. I consider it very desirable to populate the border regions with a Russian element... with colonists from the Kuban and Don and in that way to form a Cossack region along the border.[62]
Russia, 1915, tried to prevent the return all but only 10,000 of the 250,000 Armenian refugees from Ottoman Empire who are at Caucuses.[63] The Russia did not only prevent Armenians, it uprooted, expelled, Kurdish villagers in the Ottoman Empire from their villages [63] Russian Army claimed expelling Kurds from their homeland was only on tactically significant locations. The Western historians did not classify the uprooting Kurds by Russians as reshaping of settlement patterns. All this population movements happened just into first half of the 1915. An Armenian priest who witnessed the destruction of his own people also witnessed the Turks and Kurds, “the survivors of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who had fled the Russian armies and the Armenian volunteer regiments”, he continued:[64]
Decimated by starvation and epidemic, these Muslims would die in the seventies of the coming winter. I passed through the Turkish neighborhoods along the river and came upon thousands of Turkish arid Kurdish refugees - women, girls, and children — on the flagstone pavements in front of the mosques. They were living ghosts, reduced by starvation to skeletons; for clothing they had only rags hanging from their shoulders, and the dirt that covered them rendered them unrecognizable. There was no visible difference at all between these refugees and Armenian exiles in the deserts of Der Zor.[65]

In March 1915, Entente questioned the size and shape of the Armenian forces inside the Empire. Armenian National Defense Committee produced a report in July “rely on 25,000 Armenian insurgents in Cilicia and could rely on 15,000 more from nearby provinces.”[66] The question responded by American Ambassador in Constantinople in May by a confidential report to Washington:
It would seem as Van Armenian insurrection to help the Russians had broken out at Van. Thus a former deputy here, one Pastormadjian who had assisted our proposed railway concessions some years ago, is now supposed to be fighting with the Turks with a legion of Armenian volunteers. These insurgents are said to be in possession of a part of Van and to be conducting guerrilla warfare in a county where regular military operations are extremely difficult. To what extent they are organized or what successes they have gained it is impossible for me to say; their numbers have been variously estimated but none puts them at less than ten thousand and twenty-five thousand is probably closer to the truth.[67]

In late April 1915, governor of Sivas Vilayet reportedly tracking the movements of large number of armed Armenian insurgents in the mountains for a while. Insurgents required food and supply, which they can't acquire legally. Governor's report to military stated that unguarded Muslim villages were under thread and they need assistance.[68] Diyarbakir erupted in a rash of bombings later in the month and another uprising broke out in Zeytun.[68]

On April 19, 1915, Ottoman fears were realized when the Armenians of Van Vilayet rose and seized control of the City of Van in a fierce urban warfare. The conflict between Ottomans and Armenians began on 15 April at surrounding villages in the Vilayet. A Vilayet was an Ottoman administrative unit, province, which had a city with the same name. The lightly equipped forces and gendarmes were unequal to the task of building security, forcing the Army to divert regular units from an offensive in Iran to invest the city.[69] The urban warfare in and around City of Van was merciless. While Ottoman regulars and Kurdish militiamen besieged the town, Kurdish tribesmen roamed the outlying areas. Inside the town the well-armed Armenians held the advantage, and they, too, gave no quarter, exacting retribution on Muslim women and other non-combatants.[69] Mixed population district called “old city” or downtown and Muslim quarters turned into rubble. The historical Ottoman military barracks and the Muslim architecture in the old city was dynamited. The rest of the Muslim quarters were burned down. The destruction in the Muslim part of the town File:Van_bird’s_eye_view_1915.png and mixed region File:Van_1915_bird’s_eye_view.png “old city” was pictured. The size of the destruction in the region reported by American investigative mission and Vilayet Van begins on page 1839 at File:Report of Niles and Sutherland - Investigation through Eastern Turkish Vilayets.pdf. Since then, the nature of this urban warfare is an hot debate.

The debate about whether the revolt at Van was an act of self-defense (Armenian) or collaboration (Ottoman) is thus pointless because it assumes that a meaningful distinction can be made between the two. Self-defense amounted to collaboration, whether intentionally or not. The relationship between Ottoman and Armenian fears was not static, but dynamic, and is better understood through the concept of the “security dilemma.”[60]

In early May 1915, Van conflict, the Russians were entering from the east, the British pushing on Baghdad from the south, and, most ominously, the British and French were storming ashore at Gallipoli. The simultaneous attacks on the military supply routes by insurgents stretched and faltered Ottoman army and brought military on breaking point.[60] The CUP , majority at the parliament, were debating how to handle the Van uprising, an Ottoman colonel pointed to Russia’s expulsion of Muslims into Ottoman territory and urged a reciprocal expulsion of the rebels and their families either into Russian territory or into the interior of Anatolia. He suggested also that, barring objections from others, Muslim refugees be resettled in and around Van.[60]

On July 29, 1915, governor of Adana Vilayet requested support. Provincial forces failed to subdue the activities of Armenians beginning early July at Ayvalik plateau which later joined forces from Zeytun and Hadjin. On August 1, 400 Armenians joined the previous group and fortified the village Fendejak. 4th Army engaged in an urban warfare at the Siege of Fendejak.[70]

On July 29, 1915, the famous as Musa Dagh conflict occurred at the southwest of Antioch of Hatay Vilayet. The conflict was highly reported by both sides.[71] The region has been reported to have 37 conflicts between Ottomans and Armenians in the last century, one of them being the Zeitun Rebellion (1895–96). The conflict at Van Vilayet began in the villages than extended to city of Van. The conflict at Hatay Vilayet began in three villages. Ottoman's report that village was so heavily fortified they failed to break it up on July 29, 1915.[71] Ottomans dispatched a unit specialized in counterinsurgency on August 7.[72] The dispatched unit of 400 infantry trapped between two Armenian trench lines. Unit retreated. On August 9 Ottomans used 870 infantry in two wings against 1500-1800 Armenian insurgents.[73] The fierce conflict occurred between 18–19 August. On 20 August conflicts subsided in the villages.[73] The fighting moved to the surrounding mountains from 20 August to 31 August. At the same time Ottomans were tracking French agents from Battleship Victor Hugo. The tracked French agents helped locating the Armenians forces in the Musa Dag on 7 September .[74] French also had naval demonstrations in the same region. French cruisers Guichen and Jeanne d'Arc picked up up the Armenians.[74] Ottomans left the same unit in the region until end of the war.[75]

During 1915, the Ottomans, the Russians, the Germans, the Americans, the Armenians themselves, and even an independent Venezuelan observer indicated that a large number of Armenians, who possessed large numbers of weapons, from ottoman perspective revolted in the eastern provinces of Anatolia in support of a Russian offensive.[68] The allies encouraged and supported the Armenian committees to revolt against the empire in the spring of 1915, and that the Ottomans believed that what happened in the Van vilayet was about to be repeated elsewhere.[68] Ottoman operations against the Armenian insurgency evolved into an operational existence over a six-month period from April to August. The fact that Armenian insurgency activities were sequential, rather than simultaneous, argues against the idea of coordinated effort.[76] However, reciprocally, the depth and resilience of the well-armed and well-organized Armenian fedayi cells and organizations, as well as their known links to external Armenian groups, one being Armenian volunteer units, fighting with the allies, argues for the idea of coordinated effort.[76]


In March 1917, there was an anti-Russian movement in the town of Erzincan by an Armenian officer named Devoiants. According to Prince Gadzhemukov, Armenians [ARF], under orders from their leadership in Moscow, using money given to them to ransom Armenian refugees, were using the money to bribe the Kurds in opposing to Russia.[63] The uncovered goal was to establish an “Armenian State,” or using 1917 terminology 'revolution'.[63] Several months earlier Boris Shakhovskoi filed a communicate summarizing a turn of events that can only happen in middle east. Aram Manukian and his group (later to be Armenian National Council (1917—1918)) communicating with the Ottomans about finding a settlement for post-Russian Caucuses. The Ottoman government assigned ex-governor of Van, Cevdet Bey to communicate (negotiate) with Aram Manukian, also known as Aram of Van.[77] In a month or so Boris Shakhovskoi, critic of Armenian elite, was arrested and prisoned with espionage charges. In May 1917, all the critics of Armenians elites were removed, which marked pro-Armenian shift of Russian Provisional Government.

In Erzincan, the Russian army worried about a major clash as Armenians and Kurds rushed back to reclaim their lands after Russian revolution.[78] Provisional Government in spring passed legislation allowing Armenian refugees, 150,000 did so, return to the Empire, where Russia occupied.[78] In May 1917, Provisional Government declared Van, Erzurum, Bitlis, belongs to Armenians, all the restriction of Armenian re-settlement lifted and Ottoman Muslims banned (forbade) to settle (return) in these regions.[79] The text used the word settle for Muslims, as the region already cleared from Muslims.

Following 1917 Russian revolution, another ongoing conflict, that was between Armenians (the Russian Army desperate for manpower in 1917, Russian conscripts were returning to their homes, the Armenian units were re-authorized) and Kurds, Armenian units had free rein and again began to target upon Muslims, especially Kurds, engaging in episodic slaughter and lesser outrages such as extorting “taxes,” expelling them from their homes, and settling others in their place.[80] In June 1917 the Russian army received reports that gangs of Armenians were pillaging Kurdish villages daily.[80] The population re-shaping come to high point in Kars through massacres of elderly Kurdish men, women, and children.'[80]


It was not only ARF was regrouping it's units before the end of the year 1917. The Azeri magnate Isa Ashirbekov had nearly 5,000 men just outside Baku. Ah Shikhlinskii, an Azeri and former tsarist general, had formed a “Tatar Regiment” from members of the Savage Division. Similarly, some Ottoman POW, released after removal of tsarist regime in Russian territories, had organized untrained locals into small militia groups.

1918, Inter-communal conflicts

Hunger Map of Europe- The New York Times Current History-May 1919.png
1918 was marked by food shortages and famine, which wreaked havoc on the Empire
Collection of Muslim corpses from Erzincan’s Armenian district on February 12, 1918 at Caucasus Campaign in WWI.jpg
Collection of civilian corpses from Erzinzan
Investigation Committee in Eastern Anatolia (destroyed by Armenians).jpg
General Assembly of the Ottoman Empire's investigation committee in eastern anatolia


  1. During December, Nicholas II of Russia visited the Caucasus Campaign. The head of the Armenian Church along the president of the Armenian National Council of Tiflis in Tiflis Alexander Khatisyan received the excellence:
    From all countries Armenians are hurrying to enter the ranks of the glorious Russian Army, with their blood to serve the victory of the Russian Army... Let the Russian flag wave freely over the Dardanelles and the Bosporus, Let your will the peoples [Armenian] remaining under the Turkish yoke receive freedom. Let the Armenian people of Turkey who have suffered for the faith of Christ received resurrection for a new free life...[17]
    —Nicholas II of Russia


  2. The original position was stated in the s:Circular on April 24, 1915: Armenian committees with their political revolutionary organizations (referring to Armenian national movement) ... The immediate closing down of the branches of the Nubar’s (referring to Boghos Nubar the chairman of the Armenian National Assembly and one of the founder of the AGBU), Hinjack and Tashnak committees as well as of the similar organizations in the capital and in other provinces, seizing of all the documents and the material without any loses, arresting of the leaders and the members of the committees, of the people who have taken part in the activities, of the Armenians who are well known by the police forces, gathering of the suspicious people in an area in the towns so as to prevent their escape, launching of researches for weapons in suitable places have been found appropriate. Furthermore, for any inconvenience that might arise the commanders should be consulted. The measures taken shall be realized justly; and should there be any arrests after the thorough investigations of the documents the criminals shall be sent to the military courts immediately. Should you approve, I hereby kindly request the issuing of the necessary orders. -signed Interior Minister Talat Bey
  3. Karekin Pastermadjian was also considered one of the masterminds of Operation Nemesis.[20]
  4. Throughout June and July, as Turkish and Russian forces battled to the north of the Van region, thousands of Armenians from Mush and other neighbouring provinces started flooding into the city of Van. There were as many as 250,000 Armenians crowded into the city.[8] This included people who broke away from the deportation columns as they passed the vicinity of the province on their way to Mosul.[8]
  5. Sazonov’s commitment to a two-front war and disregard for Yudenich’s warnings to seek peace with the Ottomans had overstretched Russia.[27]
  6. The reference "voluntary and honest union" realized with the Soviet Union, as the 11th Red Army had its virtually unopposed advance to the region on November 29, 1920.
  7. Hovhannes Katchaznouni was in city of Van until 1914. He was on the Armenian delegation that conducted peace talks at Trabzon and Batoum negotiations with the Empire.
  8. Garegin Pasdermadjian reports that Russian authorities distributed 24,000 rifles to the Kurds in Persia and the district of Van before they give it to Armenians.[40]
  9. For the size of the initial Armenian Volunteers the Washington Post article,The Washington post Friday, November 12, 1914, "ARMENIANS JOIN RUSSIANS" (image detail)


  1. Nicolle 2008, p. 167
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Finkel 2007, p. 529
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Nicolle 2008, p. 174
  4. Nicolle 2008, p. 178
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Finkel 2007, p. 530
  6. Tadeusz Swietochowski, Russian Azerbaijan 1905–1920, page 119.
  7. Hovannisian. "Armenia's Road to Independence", pp. 288–289. ISBN 1-4039-6422-X.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 (Shaw 1977, p. 326)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Richard Hovannisian "The Armenian people from ancient to modern times" Pages 292–293
  10. Aram, "Why Armenia Should be Free", page 22
  11. 11.0 11.1 Nicolle 2008, p. 176
  12. Friedman, Isaiah (1971). German Intervention on Behalf of the "Yishuv", 1917 , Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 33, pp. 23–43.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Finkel 2007, p. 537
  14. Finkel 2007, p. 531
  15. Ishkanian 2008, p. 5
  16. Finkel 2007, pp. 533–534
  17. 17.0 17.1 Shaw 1977, pp. 314–315
  18. Nicolle 2008, p. 1173
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Finkel 2007, p. 534
  20. Eminian, Sarkis J. (2004). West of Malatia: The Boys of '26. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. p. 3. ISBN 9781418412623. 
  21. Nicolle 2008, p. 173
  22. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations: A-E, Ed. Cathal J. Nolan, (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002), 350.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Kent 1996, p. 19
  24. 24.0 24.1 Reynolds 2011, p. 24
  25. Reynolds 2011, p. 24
  26. Finkel 2007, pp. 536
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Reynolds 2011, p. 253
  28. Reynolds 2011, p. 170
  29. Reynolds 2011, p. 171
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Reynolds 2011, p. 172
  31. Reynolds 2011, p. 173
  32. 32.0 32.1 Reynolds 2011, p. 190
  33. Kent 1996, p. 16
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 34.5 34.6 34.7 (Fromkin 2009, pp. 360–373)
  35. 35.0 35.1 Reynolds 2011, p. 217
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Reynolds 2011, p. 221
  37. Reynolds 2011, p. 192
  38. Reynolds 2011, p. 218
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 Reynolds 2011, p. 156
  40. G. Pasdermadjian (Armen Garo), Why Armenia Should be Free: Armenia's Role in the Present War, Boston, Hairenik Pub. Co, 1918, p.. 20
  41. Reynolds 2011, p. 46
  42. Richard G. Hovannisian, The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, 244
  43. 43.0 43.1 The Encyclopedia Americana, 1920, v.28, p.412
  44. 44.0 44.1 Reynolds 2011, p. 117
  45. Hovannisian "The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times " p 280
  46. G. Pasdermadjian (Armen Garo), Why Armenia Should be Free: Armenia's Role in the Present War, Boston, Hairenik Pub. Co, 1918, p. 20
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 47.3 Erickson 2013, p. 145
  48. Avetoon Pesak Hacobian, 1917, Armenia and the War, p.77
  49. Erickson 2013, p. 146
  50. Erickson 2013, p. 144
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Erickson 2013, p. 157
  52. 52.0 52.1 Erickson 2013, p. 159
  53. Erickson 2013, p. 158
  54. Erickson 2013, p. 160
  55. Eliezer Tauber 1993 The Arab Movements in World War I Routledge page: 22-25
  56. Reynolds 2011, p. 134
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 57.4 57.5 57.6 57.7 57.8 Reynolds 2011, p. 144
  58. Reynolds 2011, p. 151
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 Erickson 2013, p. 170
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 Reynolds 2011, p. 147
  61. Krivoshein to Sazonov, 28.2.1915 [13.3.1915], Razdel Aziarskoi Tonsil, ed. Adamov, pages 360-362.
  62. Gabriel Lazian (1946), "Hayastan ev Hai Dare" Cairo, Tchalkhouchian, pages 54-55.
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 63.3 Reynolds 2011, p. 161
  64. Reynolds 2011, p. 154
  65. Reynolds 2011, p. 155
  66. Erickson 2013, p. 167
  67. Erickson 2013, p. 166
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 68.3 Erickson 2013, p. 168
  69. 69.0 69.1 Reynolds 2011, p. 145
  70. Erickson 2013, p. 202
  71. 71.0 71.1 Erickson 2013, p. 203
  72. Erickson 2013, p. 204
  73. 73.0 73.1 Erickson 2013, p. 205
  74. 74.0 74.1 Erickson 2013, p. 206
  75. Erickson 2013, p. 207
  76. 76.0 76.1 Erickson 2013, p. 212
  77. Reynolds 2011, pp. 161–162
  78. 78.0 78.1 Reynolds 2011, p. 195
  79. Reynolds 2011, p. 162
  80. 80.0 80.1 80.2 Reynolds 2011, p. 194


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