Unique documents and photographs of the times of the self-defense of Ayntap have complemented the collection of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. In total, the new collection contains about 20 rare documents and more than 130 original photographs associated with the heroic resistance of Aintap Armenians in 1920.
The photographs depict episodes of battles, scenes of the construction of defensive structures, as well as the participants themselves, self-defense fighters. “The administration of the Museum-Institute expresses deep gratitude to our compatriot Harut Yagsyzyan for such a valuable donation,” noted the Museum-Institute’s director Hayk Demoyan.
Ayntap Armenians’ defensive battles against Turkish rioters have occurred in 1920-1921. According to the “Armenian Question” encyclopedia, after the Mudros Armistice of 1918, part of the Armenians deported from Ayntap in 1915 and Armenian refugees from Sebastia returned to the city – a total of about 18 thousand people.
However, as a result of the Turkish nationalist movement unfolding in the fall of 1919 and the two-faced policy of the French authorities occupying the city, the situation grew very alarming, and the population of the city began to prepare for self-defense.
After the French troops left Marash and partially Ayntap, the Turks attacked the Armenian population and the French garrison remaining in the city on April 1, 1920.
The Armenians resorted to resistance. The fights continued until the end of May. According to the ceasefire signed on May 30, 1920, in Ankara, the French troops were to leave Ayntap, thereby leaving the Armenian population to their fate.
However, the hostilities and encroachments of the Turks resumed on July 29 and again forced the Armenians to resort to self-defense which lasted until February 8, 1921. After the conclusion of a treaty between Turkey and France in October 1921 in Ankara, the Armenians of Ayntap were forced to leave their hometown and settle in various countries of the world.
Original Russian material prepared by Marina Grigoryan