Secret Instructions From Talaat And Enver On The Extermination Of Armenians In Ottoman Turkey

Thirty secret instructions from the Minister of Internal Affairs of Turkey Talaat Pasha and the order of the Minister of War Enver on the extermination of the Armenians living in Turkey are quoted in the memoirs of Turkish official Naim Bey, who at that time served as the chief secretary of the Committee for the Deportation of Armenians in Aleppo (Syria).

During his tenure in this position, Naim Bey accumulated a large number of documents, including coded orders and instructions by the Young Turkish Committee and the government on the extermination of Armenians. After the end of WWI and after painful hesitation, he agreed to provide all this material along with his memoirs to Armenian publicist Aram Antonyan, who would publish them in London in 1920.

In the same year, these memoirs together with the documents were published in Paris in French in the book of the aforementioned Aram Antonyan under the title “Aram Andonian, Documents officiels concernant les massacres Armeniens. Reproduction photographique d’un grand nombre de DocHments”. In 1921, this book was published in Armenian in Boston, the US.

Below are the contents of Document No. 1.

Coded Telegram of the Minister of War sent to the commanding officers of the army on February 27, 1915

(In the Turkish original, all dates are indicated in Hijri. In the English translation, they are converted to Gregorian.

The year of this document in the English translation is marked 1918. It’s a typo. Enver’s order was issued before the start of the mass deportation of Armenians)

Based on these circumstances, the imperial government issued an order for the extermination of the entire Armenian nation. The following operations should be carried out in relation to them:

All Armenians of the country who are Ottoman subjects older than five years should be taken out of the cities and destroyed.

All Armenians serving in the imperial armies should be separated from their divisions without violating the usual routine and taken to secluded places – away from prying eyes – and shot.

The Armenian officers in the military service shall be taken into custody in their regiments until further orders are received.

Forty-eight hours after the receipt of these instructions, the regimental commanders shall issue a special order to implement them. You must not take any action other than those necessary to carry out these orders.

High Command Representative and Minister of War Enver.

Documents of the Young Turkish Committee on the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey 1915-1916




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