Andranik Was Sure the Slogans of the Young Turks Were False

Andranik Was Sure the Slogans

In 1908, after the revolution of the Young Turks in Turkey, Andranik Ozanian did not feel any enthusiasm and did not trust the force that overthrew Sultan Abdul Hamid.

In 1909, with a fake passport, he crossed the Bulgarian-Turkish border and arrived in Constantinople (now Istanbul). Aknuni, Vardges, Ruben, Atom, Armen Garo, and others for 5 hours persuaded him that the Turks would no longer allow slaughter. But convincing Andranik was not possible.

He was absolutely sure that the political slogans of the Young Turks were false. Andranik explained it this way: “If the Turks are sincere, why don’t they disarm the 160 thousand Hamidiye? They are not disarming them in order to slaughter us at a convenient moment.”

Hamidiye (“belonging to Hamid” in Turkish) were well-armed irregular cavalry formations mainly consisting of Kurds, Circassians, and Karapapaks. They were established and named in honor of Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1890.

Hamidiye were created by Circassian Zeki Pasha following the example of Russian Cossack formations in order to patrol the Russian-Turkish and Turkish-Iranian borders. However, Hamidiye were more often used by the Ottoman authorities for persecuting and attacking Armenians in Western Armenia.

Edward Aknuni (born Khachatur Malumian, 1863-1915, a victim of the Armenian Genocide), a member of the Dashnaktsutyun party and one of the initiators of the cooperation between Dashnaktsutyun and the Young Turks’ party, told Andranik: “Dear Andranik, the blood of Armenians should not be shed anymore. Why are you so pessimistic?”

Vardges (Hovhannes) Serenkivlian (1871-1915, a victim of the Armenian Genocide) said: “If you (Andranik) stay in Polis (Constantinople), you will get a good position.” He offered to introduce Andranik to the police chief of Constantinople Ali Pasha. Andranik again refused.

“I asked, researched, and realized that this police chief is the same Ali Pasha who slaughtered the residents of the Zbosank quarter in Sasun Talvorik right in the church and then ordered to put it on fire. He battled against me three times. Today, they want me to put my hand in his bloodied hands and say, “We fought yesterday, but we are friends today”?

He, as usual filled with anger, wished them to “remain in peace” and left for Egypt.

In 1908, Andranik warned: “A time will come when they will break your heads and then the heads of the people.” In enthusiasm, no one listened to him.

Years have passed. Armen Garo Pastrmadzhian, a prominent figure in the Dashnaktsutyun party, serving as the representative of the Republic of Armenia in Washington, would say: “I confess today that Andranik was the only person who was not deceived by the promises of the Turks and was not seduced by high positions.”

“Andranik Zoravar and the Armenian Revolutionary Movement”, Andranik Chelepyan, Yerevan, 1990.

Arshaluis Zurabyan

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