How an Ottoman Pasha Paid Tribute to Mkhitar Sparapet

How an Ottoman Pasha Paid Tribute to Mkhitar Sparapet

In 1728, David Bek died from a long illness in Halidzor. He died at home in the town of Kapan in Syunik Province in peacetime after serving as commander-in-chief of Armenia for six years. After his death, the Armenian military leaders chose Mkhitar Sparapet as commander-in-chief of the Armenian troops.

In 1729, the Ottoman army laid siege to Halidzor again. Contradictions arose between Mkhitar Sparapet and another commander Ter-Avetis. The latter along with his supporters considered further struggle useless and tried to negotiate with the Turks.

Mkhitar sent Ter-Avetis to the Ottomans for peace negotiations. Ter-Avetis remained with the Turks, while the two Armenian soldiers who accompanied him were ordered to return and open the gates of the fortress for the Ottoman army.

Having learned about the betrayal and realizing that he no longer controlled the serf guards, Mkhitar secretly left the fortress at night. At dawn, the Turks entered Halidzor and massacred all the military and captured women and children. Mkhitar’s wife and sons were also captured. The Turks destroyed and razed all the fortifications of Halidzor and its fortified walls.

Despite the fact that Mkhitar assembled a new army and defeated the Ottomans several times, thus avenging his compatriots, he didn’t manage to recreate a united army in Syunik.

In some villages, Armenian meliks were interested only in the security of their own land and, fearing the Turks’ revenge, abandoned Mkhitar. The Sparapet (Commander) moved to Khndzoresk and lived there for some time. Local Armenians would try to convince him to leave from there to his fortress. But he would not listen to their exhortations.

In 1730, when Mkhitar returned to Khndzoresk after a victorious clash with the Turks, he was killed by his compatriots. They beheaded him and took his head to the Ottoman pasha in Tabriz.

The pasha was amazed by what he saw. Angered with their shamelessness, he said: “Oh infidels and atheists, how dare you absolutely in vain kill your master and such a brave man?” The pasha ordered to have beheaded all those who brought Mkhitar’s head to him, thus giving to them what they deserved.

After Mkhitar’s death, all his subordinates split up. Some joined the Prince of Gugark, others spread all over Armenia.

Arshaluis Zurabyan




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