Turkish Documents on the Armenian Genocide

Turkish Documents on the Armenian GenocideThe contents of the documents published below are the classified instructions of the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Ottoman Empire Talaat Pasha and the order of the Minister of War Enver Pasha on the extermination of Armenians residing in Turkey.

Besides, you will see two letters addressed to the representative of the Young Turks committee in Adana Djemal Pasha, which were quoted in the memoirs of the Turkish official Naim Bey, who held the position of chief secretary of the Committee on the deportation of Armenians in Aleppo (Syria) in those years.

Almost all the encrypted orders of Talaat are exclusively addressed to the governor of Aleppo. Through Aleppo, the Ottoman government has forcibly sent the Armenians to the desert of Deir ez-Zor.

In all classified documents dealing with deportation and massacres, the expression “mentioned nation” and alike were only used in relation to Armenians.

Document 1.

“Encrypted telegram of the Minister of War sent to the commanding officers of the army

February 27, 1915

Based on these circumstances, the imperial government issued an order to exterminate the entire Armenian nation. The following operation should be carried out in their regard. All Armenians of the country who are Ottoman subjects and are older than five years of age have to be sent out of cities and eliminated.

Without violating the usual order, separate all Armenians serving in the imperial armies from their divisions, take them to secluded places away from curious eyes, and shoot them. The Armenian officers in military service should be taken into custody in their regiments until further instructions.

Forty-eight hours after receiving these instructions, the regimental commanders will issue a special order to carry out the operation. You must not take any actions other than those necessary to comply with these orders.

Representative of the High Command and Minister of War

Enver.”

Document 2.

“To The Representative in Adana Djemal Bey

By order of the person in charge

February 18, 1915

The only force in Turkey capable of upsetting the political life of Ittihad is Armenians… If we examine the historical circumstances of the past in detail, we can conclude that all the unrest that made Jamiet’s (the Committee of Union and Progress were also called Jamiet) patriotic efforts difficult are a result of seeds of discord sowed by Armenians.

It is forbidden to help or patronize any Armenian. Jamiet decided to rid the homeland of the ambition of this accursed nation. For patriotic reasons, we are going to take responsibility for the shame that will vilify Ottoman history.

Unable to forget all the past bitterness full of hope for the future, Jamiet decided to eliminate all Armenians living in Turkey and gave the government complete freedom of action in this matter. Of course, the government will give appropriate instructions on the need of massacres to the governors.

Representatives of Ittihad will do everything to resolve this issue as soon as possible. By any means that the government will find suitable, the abandoned property will be temporarily withdrawn in order to be subsequently sold. The proceeds will then be used to rebuild Jamieta on a broader basis as well as for patriotic purposes.

In accordance with this, if you deem it necessary, demand explanations from the executive commissions that will be formed. If you find any problems with the administration, you can contact either the governor-generals or us.”

Document 3.

“To The Representative in Adana Djemal Bey

By order of the person in charge

March 25, 1915

Our common duty is the realization, on a large scale, of a noble project that is the destruction of mentioned elements that have been an obstacle in the progress of our state for centuries.

For these reasons, we must take full responsibility, come what may, and understand how great the sacrifice that the government has committed entering the world war is. We, therefore, must work so that the taken measures lead to the desired outcome.

As reported in our February 18 dispatch, Jamiet decided to destroy the various forces that had been a hindrance to its path for many years. To end that, it needs to resort to the most brutal measures.

We assure you that we ourselves were horrified at reflecting on these methods, but Jamiet sees no other way to ensure the sustainability of its ideas. Ali Riza criticizes us, calls for mercy. Such a degree of naivety is just idiotic.

Go to Aleppo. if you manage to persuade him, you will work together. If it is not possible, we will find a place for him where he would pour out his tender feelings. Unless actions against known persons [Armenians] bring desired results, one should not engage with others [peoples].

At present, it is considered possible to punish only eminent citizens by legal means, which will serve as a starting point for our operations in the future. I again remind you about the question of the property left behind. Do not allow its distribution to slip away from your vigilance, always check the balances and the use of the proceeds.”

Document 4.

“Although the destruction of the Armenian elements, which for centuries tried to destroy the reliable foundation of our empire (the danger that has now assumed a real form) was planned even earlier, circumstances did not allow us to complete this sacred goal.

Now that all the obstacles have been eliminated and it is time to rid our country of this dangerous element, I strongly advise you to not give in to the feeling of compassion at the sight of their miserable situation. Eliminate them all and try to in every possible way wipe out the name of Armenia from Turkey. The persons who you entrust the implementation of this task with should be patriotically minded and trusted people.”

This was an excerpt from a copy of Naim Bey’s telegram, so it is not known who sent it and who it was addressed to. Presumably, this telegram was also sent by Talaat to the governor of Aleppo.

Document 5.

“No. 502. To The Governor of Aleppo

September 3, 1915

We recommend that you carry out the operations in regard to the persons belonging to the said nation [Armenians], including women and children. Appoint reliable officials for this purpose.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 6.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

September 9, 1915

All the rights of Armenians on living and working on Turkish soil have already been completely taken away. Accordingly, the government takes full responsibility, giving instructions to not spare even infants.

The impact that this order had is evident in some provinces. Despite this, for reasons we do not understand, exceptions were made in regard to the mentioned nation. Instead of sending these people directly to the places of their exile, they were allowed to live in Aleppo, which creates additional difficulties for the government.

Do not listen to their arguments, drive away women and children wherever they are and whatever their condition is. Do not allow people to patronize them. Because of their ignorance, such patrons put material benefits above patriotic feelings and cannot understand big politics of government.

Instead of the indirect measures of elimination, one can now freely use direct methods without wasting time.

All army commanders have been informed of the unified order of the Ministry of War stating that they should not interfere with the deportation.

Tell the officials appointed to perform this task that they must implement our true intent without fear of responsibility. Be kind enough to send encrypted summaries of the results of your activities every week.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 7.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

September 16, 1915

You have already been informed that it was decided to completely eliminate the Armenians living in Turkey. Those who oppose this decision cannot remain in the official positions in the Empire. Regardless of how cruel the measures are, the nation [Armenians] should cease to exist. Do not pay any attention to age, sex, or remorse.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 8.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

September 21, 1915

There is no need for shelter. It is not the time to give vent to sentimentality and feed orphans, prolonging their life. Send everyone to the desert and inform us.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 9.

“No. 537. To The Governor of Aleppo

September 29, 1915

We learned that some people, including officials, marry Armenians. We strictly prohibit this and we strongly recommend those women to be singled out and sent away [to the desert].

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat. ”

 Document 10.

“№ 544. To The Governor of Aleppo

October 3, 1915

The reason for choosing Deir-Zor as the place of deportation is explained in the classified order No. 1843 of September 2, 1915. Since all crimes committed by the population against the Armenians will serve the ultimate goal of the government, there is no need to prosecute such cases. The necessary instructions are also given to the governors of Deir-Zor and Urfa.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 11.

“No. 603. To The Governor of Aleppo

November 5, 1915

We were informed that in some Muslim families, children of Armenians from Sivas, Mamuret-ul-Aziz, Diarbekir, and Erzurum are adopted. These children who have lost their parents are recruited as servants. You must collect and send those children to the location of the exile as well as give the necessary instructions on this to the relevant people.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 12.

“The purpose of expelling mentioned people is to guarantee the welfare of our motherland in the future for wherever they live, they will never give up on their rebel ideas, so we should try to reduce their numbers as much as possible.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat. ”

(Naim-bey does not indicate the date, but says that the telegram was received in November 1915)

Document 13.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

November 18, 1915

After the intervention recently undertaken by the American ambassador in Constantinople on behalf of his government, it became apparent that the American consuls have received some of our classified information. Despite our assurances that their [Armenians’] deportation will be carried out safely and with comfort, they are still not convinced of this.

Make sure that there are no attention-grabbing cases related to those people [Armenians] near cities or other public centers. From the point of view of this policy, it is more important that foreigners residing in these areas are convinced that their expulsion is really only a resettlement.

Therefore, polite treatment is important for a short time. The usual measures should be applied in suitable places. As a necessary measure, I recommend you to arrest the persons who gave out the classified information and hand over their case to the military authorities for trial by the military tribunal.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 14.

No. 691. to The Governor of Aleppo

November 23, 1915

Secretly eliminate every Armenian from the eastern provinces you see.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 15.

“It is necessary to punish those who want to ensure the existence of Armenians, who were a dangerous element for Turkey for centuries and recently tried to flood our entire country in blood. Send secret instructions to officials.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 16.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

December 1, 1915

Despite the fact that, first of all, it is necessary to destroy the Armenian clergy, it became known to us that the clergy was sent to such suspicious places as Syria and Jerusalem. This decision is an inexcusable omission. The final goal of the exile of such rebels is their elimination. I advise you to act in accordance with this.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 17.

“We heard rumors that some officials appeared before the military tribunal. They are accused of extortion and cruelty towards the known nation. Even if this was a mere formality, it could weaken the position of other officials. For this reason, I order you to not allow such investigations.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 18.

“Paying attention to all sorts of personal complaints coming from the mentioned people means not only delaying their exile to the desert but also creating an opportunity for a number of actions that can cause political hardships in the future. Therefore, there is no need to pay any attention to their statements. Officials involved in this matter should be instructed accordingly.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 19.

“No. 723. To The Governor of Aleppo

December 3, 1915

Armenians in the Aleppo region should be immediately sent to the location of the exile. Report on it.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 20.

“No. 745. To The Governor of Aleppo

December 9, 1915

There is nothing wrong with the fact that government agencies accept telegrams from Armenians expressing discontent and protest against the actions committed against them. But their consideration is an unnecessary waste of time. Tell these dissatisfied people that they will be able to make claims for infringement of their rights after they reach the designated places of exile.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 21.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

December 11, 1915

We learned that correspondents of Armenian newspapers traveling through these places have fabricated several letters and photographs depicting some criminal actions and handed them to the American consuls. Arrest and eliminate these dangerous individuals.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 22.

“No. 830. To The Governor of Aleppo

December 12, 1915

Collect and keep only those orphans who are unable to remember the painful deaths of their parents. Leave the others with the caravans.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 23.

“No. 762. To The Governor of Aleppo

Reply to the telegram of December 2, 1915

December 17, 1915

Tell those who wish to avoid general deportation by agreeing to become a Muhammadan that they can do this at their places of exile.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 24.

“No. 801. To The Governor of Aleppo

December 26, 1915

It was decided that all Armenians working on the railway or any other construction works should be sent to their places of exile. The Ministry of War notified the chiefs of the exile camps about this.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 25.

“No. 809. To The Governor of Aleppo

December 29, 1915

We learned that many foreign officers saw the corpses of the mentioned people on the roads and photographed them. Those corpses need to be immediately buried, not exposed.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 26.

“No. 820. To The Governor of Aleppo

January 4, 1916

All Armenians from the north should be sent directly to their places of exile. Do not allow them to pass through cities or villages on their way.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 27.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

January 15, 1916

It is reported that some of the newly opened shelters also accept Armenian children. Regardless of whether this is due to ignorance about our true goal or in spite of it, the maintenance of such children and any attempt to prolong their life will be considered an act completely contrary to the intentions of the government, since it views the existence of these children undesirable. I advise you to not take such children to any shelters and to not make attempts to establish special shelters for them.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 28.

“No. 840. To The Governor of Aleppo

January 16, 1916

We learned that there are approximately 40-50 thousand Armenians, mostly women and children, all along the way stretching between Intilli, Ayran, and Aleppo.

These people are causing a lot of trouble remaining on important military roads and should be severely punished. Contact the governor of Adana and immediately send these Armenians to Aleppo, not permitting them to go any further. I look forward to the results this week.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 29.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

Continuation of No. 840 telegram of January 16.

Do not resettle the Armenian workers left in Intilli and Ayran until the construction of the railway is completed. But since they are not allowed to live with their families, place them temporarily somewhere on the outskirts of Aleppo. Immediately send women and children to the desert in accordance with the previous telegram.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 30.

“No. 853. To The Governor of Aleppo

January 23, 1916

At a time when thousands of Muslim refugees and widows of our martyrs need food and protection, it is inappropriate to make additional expenses by feeding the remaining children of Armenians. That will not give us anything except for anxiety in the future. It is necessary to send these children from your vilayets to the places of exile. Those who have remained there must be also deported in fulfillment of our previous orders.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 31.

«№ 63

To the General Committee on the placement of exiled people

By continuing the deportation of orphans to their destination in the conditions of severe cold, we will provide them with eternal peace. Please send us the required report.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 32.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

February 20, 1916

The military authorities announced the necessity of using the mentioned men of call-up age in military forces. We consider their transfer to military zones inappropriate, and since there is no order on leaving them in cities, we allow you to use them outside the settlements in road construction works or any other necessary jobs, provided that their families are exiled. For this purpose, the Ministry of War issued special orders to the military authorities. Keep in touch with them and act in concert.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Document 33.

“To The Governor of Aleppo

March 7, 1916

Collect the Armenian children who by the orders of the Ministry of War were situated in one place and put under the care of military authorities. Take them out on the pretext that the Committee on Deportation will take care of them so that there is no suspicion. Eliminate them and prepare a report.

Minister of Internal Affairs

Talaat.”

Мемуары Наим-Бея об избиении армян (Memoirs of Naim Bey about the beating of Armenians)

Are “Talat Pasha Telegrams” real?


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2 comments

  1. Thanks for this…..I am currently reading the “Burning Tigris”..a History of the Armenian Genocide…just appalling..I am a retired teacher, but still do programs on Genocide.
    Best to you MB

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