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Rethinking the Violence in the Sasun Mountains (1893-1894)

Repenser les massacres du Sassoun (1893-1894)
Owen Miller
p. 97-123

Résumés

À la fin de l’été 1894, des soldats ottomans assassinèrent des milliers d’Arméniens dans les montagnes du Sassoun. Nous tentons ici d’analyser cette violence de masse dans le contexte plus large des efforts étatiques pour asseoir l’autorité impériale sur les régions montagneuses de l’empire. Ces efforts s’accompagnèrent de discours de légitimation de cette entreprise étatique de reprise en main. Reposant sur des sources très variées, depuis les récits des habitants de la région (y compris ceux des missionnaires), jusqu’aux comptes rendus des officiers ottomans, des consuls étrangers et des journalistes, cet article propose une analyse d’ensemble des violences de masse qui marquèrent les montagnes du Sassoun dans les années 1893-1894.

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Texte intégral

  • 1 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 373-74; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 162, 199-203.

1Sasun Mountains, August 25, 1894. True to its name (Kurdish: ‘Walnut Valley’), the village of Gelîguzan was made up of several hundred sturdy stone houses interspersed with walnut and oak trees at the eastern end of a long thin valley. For months, the melting snows from the surrounding mountains had nourished orchards of mulberry trees, figs, and fields of grain. Directly to the south of the village loomed the giant peak of Mount Antok, a place of refuge for the people of this valley in times of trouble.1

  • 2 Foreign Office (British), Confidential 6695, FO 424/182, Further Correspondence Respecting Asiatic (...)
  • 3 Ibid.

2This was such a time. Ten days before, the villages of Shenik and Semal had been burned. The culprits were said to be government soldiers dressed as Kurdish nomads. Khushman Agha, a Kurdish ally, had told the villagers that Ottoman regular soldiers were preparing to attack Gelîguzan and that “no quarter would be given – man, woman or child.”2 Already, many of the women and children of Gelîguzan had fled up the mountain. But some small children and elderly remained. Around three hundred of the villagers, both men and women, armed mostly with flintlock rifles, had elected to stay and make a final stand. For days, the villagers had watched the numbers of Ottoman soldiers grow, it seemed to one villager that “all of the soldiers in the world had come to fight us.”3 The attack came right before dawn. Shells from mountain guns set houses on one side of the village ablaze, their occupants were shot as they attempted to escape. Officers instructed the soldiers to pursue and kill all. One soldier recalled,

  • 4 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 2-4.

Out[side] the village the slope was covered with people running in every direction. Some were carrying goods, some had children in their arms, others were helping each other along. [...] The officers shouted [...] Don’t fire, don’t fire. Kill with the bayonet.4

  • 5 R. Kévorkian, 2001, p. 49-50; G. Sasuni, 1957, p. 580; A. Chalabian, 1994, p. 88.
  • 6 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 206; FO 424/184, p. 77.
  • 7 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 288-289.
  • 8 Ibid. p. 298-299.

3As the sun rose, the village of Gelîguzan lay in ruins, many of its inhabitants murdered. Over the next two weeks the killing continued. At the beginning of September, the commander of the Fourth Army, Mehmet Zeki Paşa arrived and ordered a halt to the violence. By this point, one to two thousand men, women and children had been murdered.5 Hammond Smith Shipley, a British consular officer who spent six months researching the violence as part of a Commission of Inquiry concluded that the villagers in Gelîguzan and elsewhere in the Sasun mountains, “were massacred without distinction of age or sex, and indeed for a period of three weeks”.6 The Ottoman State received a different story. According to the report of Zeki Paşa, the troops had successfully quelled a rebellion in the mountains and captured the “evil doer Hampartsoum.”7 There is no mention in this report of any violence against the civilian population. Instead Zeki Paşa wrote that, “I have myself witnessed that food and clothing and all kinds of help on humanitarian and Islamic principles have been provided.”8

  • 9 E. Uras, 1988, p. 731-733; see also C. Walker, 1990, p. 165-170; F. Dündar, 2010, p. 47.
  • 10 D. Quataert, 2006, p. 258.

4The narratives of Zeki Paşa and H.S. Shipley have remained for twelve decades the basis for two dominant and conflicting historical explanations for the violence. According to Zeki Paşa, this was a story of sedition. Zeki Paşa claimed that Armenian radicals incited the local Christian population of Sasun to commit violence against the Ottoman state. According to H.S. Shipley, on the other hand, what had occurred was a massacre carried out by the Ottoman military. This was a story of state oppression. Some scholars within Ottoman Studies today continue to embrace the “sedition” story. This academic subfield reflects the narratives developed from many dispatches sent by Ottoman bureaucrats of the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire, as well as by officers of the Ottoman military. Furthermore, it relies on earlier works, particularly the foundational work of Ahmet Esat Uras, itself based on documentation produced by the Ottoman state, including the Zeki report.9 Scholars working within Ottoman Studies tend to situate the historical camera in Istanbul and assume that sources in the Ottoman archives are closest to the truth.10 Yet, Zeki Paşa’s account of the Sasun violence, along with accounts found in other state sources, diverges from the story of massacre found in all other accounts (Italian, American, British, French and Russian consular reports, missionary documents, Armenian-language memoirs, the investigations of journalists and travel accounts). Why is the Zeki Paşa report so radically different from all the other available sources? There seem to be two possibilities.

  • 11 J. McCarthy et al., 2014, p. 2.
  • 12 Ibid. p. 23; C. Walker 1991, p. 139.

5Some scholars have suggested that all the other sources are false and based on some sort of conspiracy. For instance, in Sasun: A History of an Armenian Revolt, Justin McCarthy, Ömer Turan and Cemalettin Taşkıran argue that the Armenian revolutionaries were feeding missionaries, consuls and journalists misinformation.11 However, such an immense effort would surely indicate an awe-inspiringly well-organized operation. It would have had to direct a complex web of propaganda across six independent missionary stations in different cities around Sasun. The problem is that the Hunchak revolutionary society had by all accounts only a very small number of adherents at this time in the mountains.12 There is no way they could have coordinated such a massive misinformation campaign. This leads us to the second possibility: the misinformation campaign was not outside of the Ottoman state but within it. As this article will show, after the violence there was a concerted effort made by both local and central Ottoman authorities to cover it up. The Zeki Paşa report was part and parcel of this cover-up. And yet, for decades, the Zeki Paşa report has been employed uncritically.

  • 13 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 207; FO 424/184, p. 77.
  • 14 O. Miller, 2015, p. 250-258, 282-288, 443-457.
  • 15 R. Suny, 2001, p. 1-4, V. Dadrian, 2001, p. 5-39.

6The sedition story can be contrasted with a story of oppression. H.S. Shipley wrote that what happened in Sasun was not “the suppression of a pseudo-revolt” but “the extermination, pure and simple” of two districts in the Sasun mountains.13 This story of oppression can be supported with material (both published and unpublished) from the international Commission of Inquiry held to investigate the violence. Over the course of six months, from the end of January to the middle of July 1895, the commission held over a hundred sittings and interviewed over 190 witnesses. The consular delegates composed a sixty-page “Joint Report” based on hundreds of pages of eyewitness testimony.14 The Joint Report of the Consular Delegates has been emphasized in the broader field of Armenian Studies and is part and parcel of a larger story of Ottoman state oppression. This story is based on memoirs and oral histories produced by Ottoman Armenian communities, and supported by British, French, and Russian reports from consuls based in the Ottoman East.15 While both narratives, sedition and oppression, acknowledge that violence occurred, the blame is placed on different parties. The narrative of sedition focuses on the culpability of the Armenian radicals in the violence that ensued; the narrative of oppression focuses on the culpability of the Ottoman state.

  • 16 J. Verheij, 1998, p. 238-246; Id., 1999, p. 81-84; Id., 2012, p. 94, fn. 27.
  • 17 M. Polatel, 2016, p. 179-198; E. Gölbaşı, 2015, p. 140-163.
  • 18 R. Cole, The Missionary Herald, September 1892, p. 374; FO 424/184, p. 435-436.

7There have been various attempts over the years to bring together sources from the Ottoman archives with sources from outside the state. Instead of focusing only on the culpability of outsiders, scholars such as Jelle Verheij have emphasized instead the numerous local actors involved.16 Recently, a new generation of scholars has begun to examine the history of the Sasun massacre and the broader Hamidian violence of the 1890s using both Ottoman archival and consular records.17 This article will build on these efforts with two additional, albeit interconnected, types of source: American Board missionaries and investigative journalists. By the 1890s, the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM) had been operating in the Ottoman East for decades. Most of the missionaries were locals like Simon Tavitian. Others, like George and Grace Knapp, might be considered “American-Ottomans”. Born in the region and speaking the local languages fluently, they often identified themselves with the communities their parents had endeavored to proselytize. Too often in the prevailing scholarship, missionaries are drawn in broad-brush strokes that suggest all were outsiders, rather than local or localized. There is little basis for the claim that the ABCFM missionaries were working with Armenian nationalists such as the Hunchaks. Ample evidence reveals the American Board missionaries and the Hunchaks might be better understood as competing networks.18

  • 19 W. Lately, Everyman, September 19, 1913; K. Rafter, 2013, p. 91-105.
  • 20 O. Miller, 2015, p. 369-376, 410-411.

8A similar simplification of the past has been used to suggest that journalists either fabricated stories to support the sale of newspapers or were woefully ignorant of local languages or histories (or both). This sort of typecasting, often employed by the Ottoman state to cast aspersions on all journalists, has been revitalized by some Ottoman historians. Some journalists did their utmost to compile the available evidence from survivors and perpetrators and convey narratives to a reading public. Others were far less careful. However, rather than judging all “correspondents” with the same brush, it is necessary to investigate the broader record of each journalist. Special correspondents who reported on the Sasun massacres included the fluent Turkish-speaker Frank Scudamore of the Daily News, the scholarly Emile Dillon of the Daily Telegraph, E.A. Brayley Hodgetts of the Daily Graphic, and Henry John Cockayne Cust, the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette. Emile Dillon was the Seymour Hersh of the 1890s and early 1900s, with an astonishing record of detailed investigative reporting.19 Although not as accomplished, Frank Scudamore was also widely accredited. Both interviewed survivors and perpetrators.20 While further work is needed in how investigative journalists of the nineteenth century operated, there is ample evidence that both Scudamore and Dillon conducted careful investigative reporting, often in conjunction with British and Italian consuls.

  • 21 Ibid., p. 61-62.
  • 22 J. Sheil, 1838, p. 85; H. Southgate, 1840, p. 263-264; W. Ainsworth, 1842, p. 249-251; F. Millingen (...)

9It is critical to resituate the violence in a broader story of the efforts of the Ottoman state to centralize its control of its territory during the nineteenth century. From this perspective, the violence in the mountains of Sasun in 1894 was not exceptional but instead part of a near continuous six-decade history of violence faced by the mountain population throughout the Ottoman Empire.21 For the local inhabitants in the eastern reaches of Ottoman Anatolia, the process of centralization inaugurated under Sultan Mahmud II from the beginning resembled a conquest.22 From the 1830s to the 1850s, the Ottoman state conquered the lowland areas using a conscript-military and a strategy of divide and rule. Over the next four decades (1850s-1890s), the Ottoman military made its way into the mountains, pushing the frontier of state-controlled areas – where taxes and conscription were exacted – ever higher into the mountains. By the end of the century, only a few areas (such as Dersim) remained outside of the reach of the state. The violence of Sasun must be understood in this longue durée conquest of mountain communities. As the Ottoman state monopolized the legitimate use of violence, it also increasingly sought to monopolize the legitimate use of narrative. Through tight control over the medium of print technologies, the state attempted to limit the spread of narratives it deemed dangerous or seditious. Just as any attempt to resist the state’s forceful intrusion was “rebellion” so too was any attempt to challenge the single-minded state’s narrative. These trends of the monopolization of both force and narrative help explain why the violence in Sasun took place, how it happened, as well as how it was remembered.

Why did the violence happen?

  • 23 W. Jwaideh, 2006, p. 74; J. Brant, 1841, p. 348.
  • 24 Foreign Office (British), Confidential 6583, FO 424/178, Further Correspondence Respecting Asiatic (...)
  • 25 U. Bayraktar, 2016, p. 159-178; W. Jwaideh, 2006, p. 54-74.

10Until 1849, the plains of Muş and the neighboring trade city of Bitlis was ruled by the Alaaddin family.23 It is interesting to observe that the Kurdish Emirate of Bitlis, which had been more or less independent for centuries, was ruled in a manner reminiscent of the old nakharar system of the Bagratuni Armenian dynasty. In the early nineteenth century, the Alaaddin family parceled out the rule of various domains to different brothers, although one of the brothers was regarded as the head of the family. It was in the late 1840s that Ottoman armies under Osman Paşa destroyed the independence of the House of Alaaddin and banished the surviving descendants to far flung areas of the Empire. The fates of these exiles were myriad. At least one, Süleyman Bahri Paşa, the son of a younger brother of the last Emir of Bitlis, was taken to Istanbul and raised within the walls of the Ottoman palace. He would one day become the trusted mutasarrıf, or governor of the Istanbul municipalities of Pera and Scutari and the governor-general of Adana. Despite becoming in many respects “an Ottoman” he still spoke the Armenian and Kurdish languages of his youth.24 The fate of the House of Alaaddin was part of a broader process across the Ottoman Empire as local rulers were replaced with a combination of bureaucrats, military officers and local elites.25

  • 26 M. Weber, 1946, p. 78.
  • 27 J. Brant, 1836, p. 189.
  • 28 C. Clay, 1998, p. 19.

11If asymmetrical access to technologies of force is key to understanding the ability of the Ottoman state to conquer vast spaces within its own hinterland, the technologies of transportation and communication represented by the steamboat and the telegraph would have similar far-reaching consequences. These technologies (alongside others, such as quinine and quarantines) enabled the reach of the state to be far more dramatic than ever before. To extend Max Weber’s famous dictum, “the State was the monopolization of legitimate force,”26 these advances in transportation and communication allowed the Ottoman state to strive for a monopoly of legitimate mobility and legitimate narrative in ways that had been scarcely possible before. While firearms allowed the Ottoman state to conquer and rule vast amounts of territory during the nineteenth century, the advent of steam-powered shipping was a critical factor in transforming the socio-economic fabric of the Empire. The introduction of steam-technology facilitated the influx of cheap manufactured goods from Europe (mostly from Great Britain). In turn, this influx of cheap manufactured goods, along with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, wreaked havoc on older textile manufacturing economies in Diyarbekir and Bitlis.27 At the same time, as Christopher Clay has shown, the availability of steam-powered travel via the Black Sea coast, especially after the 1860s, made it far easier for seasonal migrants to travel from remote areas like Sasun and Muş, seeking work in Erzurum, Trabzon, and as far as Istanbul.28

  • 29 Ibid. p. 9.
  • 30 H. Barsumian, 2007.

12The processes of labor migration and centralization occurred hand-in-hand. Or to put it another way, the advent of telegraphs and steam-power re-oriented the political and labor structures of the Kurdish Emirates away from older political and manufacturing centers like Bitlis and Diyarbekir and toward Istanbul. By the early 1890s, huge numbers of young men from the provinces, many from Muş and Sasun, worked as seasonal laborers, porters, and artisans in Istanbul. It is worth noting here that a large proportion of these laborers were Armenian. As Christopher Clay has noted, this can be partly explained by the heavy toll that military conscription had on young Muslim men.29While some Armenians from the provinces, such as those from Agn were enabled through communal connections to find work as bankers,30 most Armenian migrants from the provinces found only menial work as porters and in construction.

  • 31 V. Artinian, 1988; M. Ueno, 2013, p. 93-109.

13The deluge of Armenians from the provinces transformed the politics of the Armenian community in Istanbul. For instance, when the Armenian National Assembly was first set up, its attention (and even representation) was heavily focused on the concerns of the metropolitan Armenians of the Ottoman Empire. 31 As a large number of Armenians continued to arrive from the provinces, priorities shifted to focus on the travails of those Armenians who lived in the provinces. This shift might be best exemplified by the selection of Mgrdich Khrimian as the Armenian Patriarch in 1869. Khrimian, a native of Van and former bishop of Saint Garabed Seminary in Muş, shifted the energies of the Patriarchate from its previous focus on the upper class Armenians of Istanbul to the plight of the poor agrarian laborers of the east. By 1878, the former Patriarch Khrimian, was charged with the task of representing the Armenian Patriarchate at the Berlin Congress. According to many scholars, it was at the Berlin Conference that the ‘Armenian Question’ as an international issue was born. According to article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin:

  • 32 J. Hurewitz, 1956, p. 189-191.

The Sublime Porte engages to carry out without further delay the ameliorations and reforms which are called for by local needs in the provinces inhabited by Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and the Kurds. It will give information periodically of the measures taken for this purpose to the Powers, who will watch over the execution of them.32

  • 33 S. Astourian, 2011, p. 55-81; L. Etmekjian, 1976, p. 38-52.

14The underlying demographic transformation of large swaths of Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus was well documented by the Armenian Patriarch, which received hundreds of petitions in the 1860s by the newly opened Armenian National Assembly.33By the end of the 1860s, the problems of the provincials now became the active concern of the comfortable Istanbul Armenians who dominated the assembly.

  • 34 O. Miller, 2017a, p. 287-308.
  • 35 A. Chalabian, 1994, p. 104.

15In the spring of 1889, the case of Gulizar, an Armenian girl from Muş who was kidnapped and raped by a local warlord, refocused the attention of many in Istanbul on the plight of those in the Ottoman East.34 To protest against this kidnapping, a deputation of inhabitants of Muş demonstrated in front of the Kum Kapı Cathedral, the seat of the Armenian Patriarchate. The news of this protest in early May 1889 was swiftly carried over telegraph lines to London. In the spring of 1889, newly formed Armenian exile organizations, based in London as well as sympathetic Liberal MPs, began to work together to broadcast the tribulations of the people of Muş in mass circulated newspapers and in the British Parliament. Partly in response to this outcry, Sultan Abdülhamid II ordered that Musa Bey be brought to Istanbul to stand trial on charges of murder, rape and larceny. But the Musa Bey trial, held over three days in November, was a farce of justice. Many in the Ottoman Empire became convinced that certain factions of the palace were protecting Musa Bey, a loyal servant of the Empire in the east. The acquittal of Musa Bey radicalized a number of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. It was partly due to frustration and anger with the Musa Bey acquittal that a number of young students at the Royal Medical School help organize an Istanbul-based branch of the Hunchaks along with exiled intellectuals from the Russian-controlled Caucasus. (It is interesting to observe that the Committee of Ottoman Union (İttihad-ı Osmanli Cemiyeti), an early iteration of the Committee of Union and Progress was founded at the same medical school (Mektep-i Tıbbiye-i Şahâne) in the same year).35

  • 36 Daily News, August 4, 1890.

16In July 1890, medical student Hampartsoum Boyadjian, along with Mihran Damadian and other activists, helped to organize another demonstration against the Armenian Patriarch Ashikian at the Cathedral of Kam Kapı in Istanbul. Ever since the death of Patriarch Nerses Varjabedyan in 1884, many within the Armenian community of Istanbul had grown frustrated with the cozy relationship of the Patriarchate and the rest of the Ottoman state. Unlike Varjabedyan, Ashikian had never publicly raised the issue of Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin, and did not focus on the plight of the Armenian population in the provinces. By 1890, one estimate suggested that one-half of the population of the Armenian population of Istanbul was composed of labor migrants from the distant regions of Muş and the Van Basin.36 The demonstration at Kum Kapı represented the demands of the people of Muş for protection against warlords such as Musa Bey and his allies in the local Ottoman government. After exile in Athens, both Hampartsoum Boyadjian and Mihran Damadian would make their way to the Sasun mountains.

  • 37 Rouben, 1963; S. Pteyan et al., 1962; A. Yarman, 2010; A. Kévonian, 2005; A. Gürbüzel, 2008, p. 73- (...)
  • 38 [E. Dillon], The Contemporary Review, vol. 68, p. 171-172; Foreign Office (British), Confidential 6 (...)
  • 39 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, April 20, 1895; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 68; FO 424/182, p. 71.

17Reactions to the Musa Bey trial exemplified many of the broader relationships in the age of telegraph. Just as with mass agitation over Bulgarian massacres in 1876, the fervor over Musa Bey politicized and internationalized a local struggle. The commotion over the Musa Bey affair alarmed many within the Ottoman upper echelons of power. Over time, various factions within the palace understood the cries for humanitarian intervention either as a ploy of Armenian exiles abroad to contest the state or as part of a greater power struggle over geopolitical ends. Back in the plain of Muş, a veritable small war broke out between the retainers of Musa Bey and the local Armenian peasantries.37 Until 1889, at least in the plain of Muş, the Armenians peasantries had been allowed to bear firearms. After the Musa Bey affair, the Ottoman authorities began to collect guns and ban access to saltpeter deposits in the plain.38 The situation worsened in 1891 when Hasan Tahsin Paşa was appointed vali or governor-general of Bitlis. Tahsin Paşa used the Armenian issue for his own pecuniary ends.39 Wealthy Armenians were threatened with imprisonment for sedition unless they paid up. Anyone who protested against the corruption risked imprisonment, as did anyone who bore arms in self-defense. To entrench his rule, Tahsin Pasa arrested schoolteachers, priests and bandits. It was in prison cells where many were radicalized further.

  • 40 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 160-161; O. Miller, 2015, p. 144; M. Polatel, 2016, p. 180.

18Meanwhile, the Ottoman state was slowly exerting its authority over the mountain spaces that had previously been outside of its control. Until the early 1890s, many of the villages in the mountains were simply not taxed by the central state. Instead, older forms of tribute, known as hafir continued to hold sway. Villagers paid this tribute to the Kurdish tribal nomads who spent their summers in Sasun. In the 1890s, Tahsin Paşa began to use certain Kurdish tribes (Bekiran, Reşkotan and Badıkan) as auxiliaries to reduce the autonomy of the mountains. The arrival of these tribes in the mountains of Sasun precipitated violence between the pastoralists and the mountaineers. When Tahsin Paşa described this violence as part of an organized rebellion against the state, the palace ordered the destruction of the “bandits” (eşkıya) in “such a way that they are left with an extraordinary terror (bir dehşet-i fevkalâde iras edecek).”40 The willingness of Colonel Ismail to interpret the orders in the most violent way possible led directly to the massacres in the Sasun mountains in August-September 1894.

How did it happen?

  • 41 Foreign Office (British), Confidential 6654, FO 424/181, Further Correspondence Respecting Asiatic (...)
  • 42 Foreign Office, 1896, p. 73-74.
  • 43 FO 424/182, p. 70.
  • 44 Ibid.
  • 45 M.S. Gabriel, 1895, p. 8-9.

19There are several accounts of how violence erupted in late June 1893.41 All the accounts agree that the violence had begun between the Armenian villagers of Talori, high in the Sasun mountains, and nomads from the Bekranlı and Badikanlı tribes. However, three sources give different explanations that dwell on varying degrees of misunderstanding, conspiracy and opportunism. According to the acting British vice-consul Thomas Boyajian, writing from Diyarbekir, the violence emanating from a personal quarrel between members of the Reşkotanlı and Bekiranlı tribes was unjustly blamed on the Armenian communities in the mountains. It was magnified into mass violence when the powerful Nakşibendi Sheikh of Zilan got involved.42 Subsequently, the Ottoman state became convinced a rebellion was afoot in the mountains. This account stressed misunderstanding. Alternatively, according to George Perkins Knapp, a Bitlis-born and Harvard-educated missionary, the Ottoman state was convinced that “Armenian agitators” had taken root in the mountains.43 To deal with this perceived threat, the Ottoman authorities “in the winter of 1892-93 called together a number of Koordish [sic] chiefs […] and practically ordered them to attack the Armenians in the spring, promising them all the booty they could get, and taking upon itself the responsibility of those they might kill.”44 This account stressed conspiracy. Finally, according to Vartan Dilloyan of Talvori, the violence was over increased demands for tribute. Dilloyan reported that unusually large numbers of armed men arrived in the spring of 1893 “with demands still more exorbitant than ever before.” Dilloyan was convinced that the Ottoman authorities had “incited them to demand more, to plunder and to kill.”45 This account stressed opportunism.

  • 46 FO 424/182, p. 70.
  • 47 E. Hodgetts, 1896, p. 90.
  • 48 A. Chalabian, 1994, p. 160.
  • 49 G. Sasuni, 1992, p. 183.
  • 50 A. Chalabian 1994, p. 161; FO 424/182, p. 51-52.
  • 51 A. Chalabian 1994, p. 160.
  • 52 Ibid. p. 161; G. Sasuni 1992, p. 184-185; M.S. Gabriel, 1895, p. 10.

20It is worth pointing out that these three explanations are not mutually exclusive. Viloyan and Knapp both indicate that the Ottoman state was increasingly concerned with political “agitation” in the mountains. In May 1892, Mihran Damadian, one of these suspected “agitators”, was arrested and brought to the city of Muş.46 Damadian’s arrest dramatically raised tensions throughout the Bitlis-Muş-Sasun region. According to an interview that the Daily Graphic special-correspondent Edward Arthur Hodgetts conducted with men from Gelîguzan, “the Kurds asked [the people of Talori] to give up Murath [sic], an agitator educated at Geneva, who had lived with them and was supposed to be stirring them up to rebellion, but they refused, and for that reason they were attacked.”47 All accounts agree that the June 1893 violence was no ordinary raid over livestock. The inhabitants of Talori sent for aid to other villages in the Sasun mountains.48 According to Garo Sasuni, a native of the Sasun village of Aharonk, different villages had been riven by divisions and feuds, and outsiders like Mihran Damadian and Hampartsoum Boyadjian were able to help organize a self-defense network linking the communities, and perhaps aided the communities in securing gunpowder and weaponry. Also according to Sasuni’s account, this alliance between the various mountaineers was also probably facilitated by a sense that the situation in the plains was deteriorating as conflict between the house of Musa Bey and the villages of Çukur Bulanık spiraled out of control.49 For the next four days fighting continued with increasing intensity as mountaineers from other parts of Sasun reinforced the inhabitants of Talori50 and additional pastoralists arrived to aid the Bekranlı and Badikanlı.51 Although the defenders of Talori were severely outnumbered by the Kurdish tribesmen, they had at least one advantage over the attacking force: intimate knowledge of the mountainous terrain. While the numbers of combatants and the casualties52 vary considerably in accounts of the violence composed by locals and outsiders, the general consensus is that the Kurdish tribesmen were conclusively defeated by the mountaineers.

  • 53 Foreign Office, 1896, p. 74.
  • 54 Ibid. p. 74; E. Hodgetts 1896, p. 91.
  • 55 FO 424/182, p. 71; M.S. Gabriel, 1895, p. 10; E. Ötke, 1989, doc. 11.
  • 56 Foreign Office, 1896, p. 74.

21After the outbreak of violence between the Kurdish tribesmen and the Talori Armenians, Mustafa Paşa, the mutasarrıf of Genç, arrived in Talori with Ottoman soldiers.53 Mustafa Paşa reported to his bureaucratic superior, the vali of Bitlis Hasan Tahsin, that the Armenians of Talori were in revolt.54 A battalion of troops from Erzurum with mountain guns and ammunition was promptly ordered into the mountains above Muş to quell the “rebellion”.55 Additional violence seemed impending. However, Sırrı Paşa, the vali of Diyarbekir, contradicted the claim made by Mustafa Paşa that the Armenians were rebelling against the state. It was because of this divergence of official accounts that Mustafa Paşa was eventually removed from his office.56

  • 57 G. Sasuni, 1956, p. 573.
  • 58 H. Selvi, 2007, p. 41 f.n. 69 citing BOA Y.Mtv 2006/33.

22According to Garo Sasuni, the leaders of the mountain communities of Sasun met in the autumn of 1893 to plan their next move. Since the closure of the saltpeter fields north of Muş a few years earlier, gunpowder was one of the few things that the inhabitants couldn’t make themselves. The notables pointed out that they didn’t have sufficient military supplies to continue to defend their semi-autonomy. Locals used muleteers to transfer gunpowder and bullets from Farkhin to Aharonk and from there to Talori and Shenik.57 Some of these weapons likely came from Russia via Qajar Iran, others were apparently bought from the Hamidiye, the irregular soldiers of the Sultan. Vali Hasan Tahsin was informed of the increase in weapons and war material being transferred into the country and on April 16 1894, he alerted the palace to this fact by telegraph, warning ominously that troublemakers had “organized themselves in the same way as the Bulgarian committees.”58

  • 59 FO 424/181, p. 192-198; J. Verheij, 2012, fn. 26; H. Lynch 1901, p. 429.
  • 60 FO 424/182, p. 267-268, [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 21, 1895.
  • 61 FO 424/181, p. 194.
  • 62 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 199
  • 63 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 374.

23The winter of 1893-1894 was a time of anxiety for the inhabitants of Gelîguzan and the surrounding villages of the valley of Kavar, around six hours by horseback to the south of the city of Muş in the Sasun mountains.59 The villages nestled in the valley of Kavar were almost entirely composed of Apostolic Armenians, although several families of Muslims lived in Gelîguzan. Unlike the villages of Talori further south into the mountains, the villages of Kavar were closely tied to the economic and political structures of the plains below. The villages of Kavar and those in the nearby valley of Shadakh also served as a pastoral pantry for the city of Muş, keeping the city supplied with products from the myriad flocks of sheep in the alpine meadows.60 The villages of Kavar were widely considered to be the wealthiest in the mountains.61 These villages paid tribute to nomadic and settled ağas in a dense web of protection obligations. The inhabitants paid a hafir to the tribes of Bekranlı, Bakikanlı, Xoşekanlı, Garzanlı and Xiyanlı.62 If the hafir wasn’t paid, the ağa might attempt to levy the flocks by force. However, unlike many of the Armenian peasants in the plains below, many of the villagers of Sasun bore arms. The inhabitants of Kavar wielded axes, swords, and flint firearms. When their flocks were seized by outsiders, the people of Kavar were accustomed to counter-raiding and using violence.63 This sort of raiding was especially frequent in the summer months.

  • 64 FO 424/181, p. 209; E. Ökte, 1989, p. 98-99.
  • 65 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 94-95.
  • 66 FO 424/181, p. 224.

24In late June 1894, while the Bekranlı Ağas were collecting their hafir from the villages of Kavar, two companies of Ottoman troops from the 31st regiment of Muş arrived in the mountains.64 These two companies had initially been assigned to go up to Talori, to “protect the peace” (‘âşayişi muhafaza eylemek için’) as the tribes from the south moved up from their winter grazing grounds.65 Allied Kurds brought rumors to the people of Kavar that the presence of the soldiers foreshadowed violence.66

  • 67 Ibid. p. 225.
  • 68 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 180, 199; E. Bliss, 1896, p. 374; FO 424/182, p. 48.
  • 69 FO 424/182, p. 48.
  • 70 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 374-375.
  • 71 M. Nersisian, 1966, p. 26; Ministère des Affaires étrangères, 1897, p. 22; FO 424/178, p. 311; FO 4 (...)
  • 72 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 112-113.
  • 73 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 201.
  • 74 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 118-119.

25The violence began at the end of July when cattle and sheep were stolen from the villages of Shenik and Semal. The villagers responded by forming an armed band and attacking a group of nomads.67 In these pastoral raids and counter raids, two or three nomads were killed.68 The nomads took their dead companions to the commander of the regular troops camped in the Sasun mountains.69 The commander of the troops ordered the Velikanli to take the dead bodies to Muş in the plains below. When the dead were brought down to the city, according to one observer, “a great tumult resulted”. Rumors quickly spread that the Armenians of Sasun, armed with rifles and cannons, had rebelled and had massacred the Muslim inhabitants.70 According to Russian, French and British consular reports, the vali of Bitlis Tahsin Paşa packaged these rumors as truth and reported to the palace (Mabeyni Hümayun) that the Armenian “bandits” in the mountains were in revolt.71 On August 7, Süreyya Paşa, the head secretary of Sultan Abdülhamid (başkatip), ordered that if “the Armenian brigands exhibited the smallest transgression they should be immediately obliterated.”72 Meanwhile, the captain of the two companies of Ottoman soldiers, Hacı Musatafa, began to hear rumors that the Kavar Armenains were planning on attacking his soldiers. Hacı Mustafa recalled that he understood this was the intent of the local Armenians because, “a Kurd of Sasun sent one warning through a zaptiye [gendarme] advising us not to go to sleep that night, we remained alert until morning.”73 Hacı Mustafa’s account of what he believed was an averted night attack was relayed up through the military hierarchy but at some point the underlying message was changed. By August 11, the müşir of the Fourth Army, Zeki Paşa reported that the soldiers were going to be attacked – a rumor reported as a fact. In a dispatch to the makam-ı seraskerî (general staff of the military), Zeki Paşa reported that a considerable number of the “armed malicious Armenians” had intended to assault the two companies that were previously stationed at the village of Shenik.74

  • 75 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 166.
  • 76 FO 424/182, p. 48; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 199.
  • 77 FO 424/182, p. 48; [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 3.
  • 78 FO 424/181, p. 209, 224; 424/182, p. 49.
  • 79 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 386.
  • 80 FO 424/181, p. 209; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 216.
  • 81 FO 424/182, p. 48.
  • 82 Ibid., p. 209; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 216, 293.

26In the middle of August, members of the Bekranlı tribe, allies of the slain nomads, attacked the villages of Shenik and Semal.75 Villagers of Gelîguzan, some two hours distant, heard of the plight of their neighbors and joined the fray.76 After three days of skirmishes between the villagers and the nomads, the Bekranlı approached the Ottoman soldiers for aid.77 The soldiers first passed ammunition to the Bekranlı and then, according to many eyewitnesses, joined the battle dressed as nomads.78 When inhabitants of Shenik and Semal saw that the Ottoman state was participating in the violence, many fled. Some escaped to the larger village of Gelîguzan, others to the heights above the villages.79 Not everyone was able to escape. According to survivors, many of the elderly and young were left in the village and died when the soldiers burned their houses.80 While the villages of Shenik and Semal were burning, larger numbers of soldiers were arriving in the mountains.81 The villagers organized a system to move the women, children and elderly of Gelîguzan to Mount Antok, the giant of the Sasun mountains, directly to the south of the village.82

  • 83 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 160-161.
  • 84 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 3.

27On August 24, the military reported to the palace that the number of “Armenian sowers of discord” approached four thousand on Antok mountain. These numbers were taken with a grain of salt by the military which indicated that the numbers may be exaggerated (‘eşkıya-ı merkumenin mikdarının bu derecesi mübalağalı’). This rumor was received as fact at the palace, and Sultan Abdülhamid II instructed, through his head secretary Süreyya, that the “bandits” be destroyed “in such a way that they are left with an extraordinary terror.”83 The sultan’s order was read to the Ottoman troops. According to Süleyman, one of the soldiers who participated in the mass violence in the Sasun mountains, the commanding Colonel Ismail Bey brandished the paper and said, “This the Firman of the Padishah.” Süleyman recalled that the firman said that, “the Armenians were in rebellion against the Sultan’s authority, and that they were to be punished with blood. They were to be made an example to others.”84

  • 85 FO 424/181, p. 209l; [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 2-4.
  • 86 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 3.
  • 87 FO 424/182, p. 49; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 199; E. Hodgetts, 1896, p. 97.
  • 88 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 3; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 369.
  • 89 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 370, 372, 374, 376.
  • 90 Ibid., p. 293, 367-369, 370, 372, 375, 377; FO 424/181, p. 2-4, 225-226, 267-268; FO 424/182, p. 21 (...)
  • 91 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 21 and March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 4, 74; ABCFM, Reel 694, p.  (...)

28In the recollection of both the survivors and the perpetrators, the Ottoman attack on Gelîguzan was carried out with great violence.85 The Ottoman troops murdered the remaining villagers and burned the village. The soldiers set up their camp in the ruined village. Over the next few days, Süleyman and other soldiers were ordered to kill the survivors who had scattered in the oak forests surrounding the camp. The soldiers used petroleum to set fire to the forests, burning one patch after another, and killing those who attempted to escape from the flames.86 According to most accounts, most of the killing was done by regular Ottoman soldiers.87 After a few days of unrestricted killing, Süleyman recollected, Colonel Ismail ordered that the troops bring Armenians alive and unmolested to the village.88 On August 28, about a hundred villagers from Semal led by their priest Der Ohannes arrived at the soldiers’ encampment in the burned village of Gelîguzan.89 The women and men were separated. Many of the women were taken to a church and raped.90 After questioning, the men and older boys were told to dig a pit and then murdered.91

  • 92 R. Graves, 1933, p. 144-145; Foreign Office, 1896, p. 168; FO 424/172, p. 80.
  • 93 FO 424/178, p. 304; FO 424/182, p. 80.
  • 94 FO 424/178, p. 304.
  • 95 FO 424/182, p. 81.
  • 96 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 7; FO 424/178, p. 321.
  • 97 S. Wasti, 1996, p. 28, fn. 38.
  • 98 FO 424/178, p. 386.

29A number of Ottoman officials resisted the Palace orders to “destroy and leave a legacy of terror.” Some, like Ibrahim, the mutasarrıf of Akhlat, at the edges of the Sasun mountains, passed on reports of the great violence to the British.92 Others, like Celaleddin Bey, the mutasarrıf of Muş, relayed their criticism to the Interior Ministry. According to confidential British reports, Celaleddin Bey wrote a report documenting the violence and suggesting that as many as ten thousand inhabitants had lost their lives.93 In this report, according to Ambassador Currie who sent a special copy to London, Celaleddin “protests against the employment of armed forces against the Armenians, refuses to share responsibility of such action, and begs, if he is not listened to, to be relieved of his duties.”94 Celaleddin admitted to Vice-Consul Hallward that some of the Ottoman soldiers were guilty of committing atrocities.95 For speaking truth to power, Celaleddin was transferred first to Kirkuk and then removed from office entirely.96 Finally, some officials, like Ferik Edhem Paşa,97 refused to carry out the orders that were sent from the palace.98

How was it remembered?

30There is very little evidence that the violence in the Sasun mountains in the summer of 1894 stemmed primarily from an attempt by villagers to rebel against the Ottoman state. Nearly all of the non-Ottoman documentation about Sasun presents a different story. These accounts are similar in broad strokes, yet possess distinct variations, which suggest multiple viewpoints. All the missionary accounts, published and confidential consul documents, investigative journalist reporting and Armenian language memoir accounts stress that the Ottoman military committed indiscriminate killings of unarmed mountaineers in Sasun based on faulty – and likely intentionally faulty – information from the vali of Bitlis, Tahsin Paşa. While there is a lot of variation in the details – on how people were killed, and how many – there is very little variation on the basic underlying story.

  • 99 R.M. Cole, 1910, p. 243.
  • 100 Ibid., p. 245-246.

31The Bitlis-based missionary Royal M. Cole described in his unpublished memoir how a general context of suspicion had enabled Tahsin Paşa to exaggerate the situation in the mountains and thereby attain an imperial order for the destruction that took place in the late summer of 1894. If Tahsin and the Ottoman State had taken the “trouble – or the courage – to investigate they might have found perhaps a score of well-armed desperate Armenians” bent on organizing the mountaineers into self-defense bands.99 When Zeki Paşa, the commander of the Fourth Army at Erzincan, reached Sasun at the beginning of the September, he strongly berated Tahsin Paşa for exaggerating the threat posed by the Sasun mountaineers to the Ottoman government. According to Cole, Zeki Paşa “assailed fiercely the Bitlis Gov. Gen. Tahsin Paşa for calling up so many troops & instituting such a slaughter on so small a pretense. ‘Are these few so poor, abject-looking Armenians I see about, such a menace to our government? Absurd!’ But the Nero of a Governor had betaken himself off to Bitlis without confronting the commander.”100

  • 101 S. Sonyel, 1987, p. 160; J. Salt, 1993, p. 74; J. McCarthy et al., 2014, p. 33-37.
  • 102 E. Ötke, 1989, no. 28.
  • 103 Ibid., p. 288-289.
  • 104 FO 424/178, p. 264-265; United States Department of State, 1895, p. 718.
  • 105 New York Times, December 12, 1894; [A. Webb], 1895, p. 57-58; E. Uras, 1988, p. 731-732; London Tim (...)
  • 106 E. Uras 1988, p. 731, 733
  • 107 FO 424/178, p. 240; T. Erbengi and E. Kutluğ, 2005, p. 87; New York Times, December 12, 1894; [A. W (...)
  • 108 J. McCarthy et al., 2014, p. 33-37.

32Most of the Ottoman documents that are printed and widely reproduced trace back to a single report produced by Zeki Paşa. Subsequently, many modern accounts of Sasun can also be traced back to this pivotal report.101 When scholars follow a single self-affirming line of documents the result will be a written history that doesn’t question these sources, but simply reproduces them. Mehmet Zeki Paşa wrote his report on September 16 1894 – six days after the cessation of violence. Zeki Paşa based his report on the word of Ibrahim Kamil Paşa, an official with a notorious reputation for corruption,102 and on his own cursory investigation. Zeki’s account travelled along telegraph lines to the palace.103 From there it was sent, in various forms to the Ottoman legations of Washington D.C. and London.104 It was published in various forms in Ottoman newspapers, the London Times and the New York Times.105 Abdülhamid II ordered the report to be edited together with other documents to form an “official history” of the Sasun events from the perspective of the state. Since the publication of Esat Uras’s Armenians in History and the Armenian Problem (Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi) in the early 1950s, the Zeki report has been endlessly and uncritically reproduced.106 It is possible to follow the wide reproduction of the Zeki report by tracking the errors and the numbers. For example, in the original report it was noted that Hampartsoum Boyadjian had gone to Genoa, instead of Geneva.107 The errors in the Zeki Paşa report were reproduced within the Ottoman state apparatus, and taken at face value by some historians to this day.108

  • 109 FO 424/178, p. 389; V. Dadrian, 2001, p. 32.
  • 110 FO 424/181, p. 40.
  • 111 R. Morris, 2001, p. 79-112.
  • 112 R. Graves, 1933, p. 144; The Morning Post, January 10, 1895; FO 424/178, p. 240; Safir Efendi, 1895 (...)

33Once Abdülhamid II realized that the orders sent to “leave a legacy of terror” could be traced directly to his head secretary Süreyya109, a broad empire-wide effort was made to control the narrative. The palace employed a number of different censorship strategies to prevent the dissemination of any narrative it deemed illegitimate. These strategies included: (1) prohibitions against all special correspondents110 and any newspapers that differed from the ‘resmi tarih’ (official history); (2) a six-month long Ottoman state commission that routinely pressured witnesses to conform to the legitimate narrative of Zeki Paşa;111 and (3) arrangement for correspondents such as Safir Effendi and Saturnino Ximénez to convey broadly the accounts preserved in Ottoman state documents.112 None of this behavior is that unusual for authoritarian states which attempt to monopolize legitimate narrative.

  • 113 ABCFM, Reel 694, p. 354; [F. Greene], The Review of Reviews, January 1895, p. 48; F. Greene, 1895, (...)
  • 114 The Hartford Seminary Record, June and August, 1895; FO 424/182, “Report of Sassoon Affairs by a Re (...)
  • 115 O. Miller, 2017b.

34The view from the imperial center is in stark contrast with the local ABCFM materials. Ten days after Zeki Paşa composed his report, the missionaries of the American Board station in Bitlis began to record eyewitness accounts of the violence.113 In late September, George Perkins Knapp composed the first ABCFM reports of the Sasun violence. Basing his investigation on interviews with survivors and soldiers, Knapp shared information with Hallward when the vice-consul came to stay with the Coles and the Knapps in Bitlis in October. Knapp continued to gather stories of Sasun and in the spring of 1895, his research on the violence and its cover-up was published anonymously in the Hartford Seminary Record and over the course of four days in the London Times.114 Knapp’s account of the massacres is probably the most detailed and extensive account of the Sasun massacres that was composed at the time. It brought to bear years of experience in the region, immersion in local knowledge networks, fluent knowledge of both Turkish and Armenian, and extensive research.115

  • 116 ABCFM, Reel 694, p. 355-356; New York Herald, November 27, 1894; [F. Greene], Review of Reviews, Ja (...)
  • 117 Daily News, November 12, 1894.
  • 118 E. Pears, 1916, p. 12-24.
  • 119 FO 424/178, p. 262-264; London Times, November 17, 1894; Standard, November 17, 1894.

35By October 31, news of the Sasun massacres had reached the ABCFM missionaries in Istanbul.116 It is very likely that within the course of the next few days, the missionaries shared their information with Edwin Pears, the longstanding correspondent in Istanbul for the Daily News.117 Pears, a lawyer by profession, has usually been credited as the first journalist to write about the massacres that took place at Batak. Pears received an initial report about Batak from the former ABCFM missionaries and Robert College professors George Washburn and Albert Long.118 This report received little attention in Great Britain. However, by mid-November the news of the Sasun massacres was published in the London Times and the Standard.119 The article in the London Times was based on a letter sent by Rev. Royal M. Cole to another missionary, a letter that was itself based on accounts collected by the missionary-information network from both survivors and soldiers. The Standard’s first account was composed by the former British consul Ardern George Hulme Beaman. Beaman likely had maintained his connections with the British Embassy in Istanbul as the account contained details that only someone closely connected to the consular network would know.

  • 120 The Editor and the Publisher, August 3, 1918; F. Scudamore, 1925, p. 147-157.
  • 121 M. Gabriel, 1895, p. 16

36Other newspapers in Great Britain quickly seized on the story. Dozens of special correspondents left London to report on the massacres, but only a few were able to make it through to Erzurum and to the Russian-controlled Caucasus.120 The writings of Scudamore and Dillon in particular reached a very large audience. Their interviews with survivors and soldiers were widely reproduced in other newspapers, and thus brought narratives of the Sasun massacres to a growing reading public around the world. Correspondents from the London Times, Glasgow Herald, and Reuter’s Agency also reported long-form accounts from Istanbul and the Caucasus. Although hyperbolic, it is striking that the former Prime Minister Gladstone credited Emile Dillon’s reporting in the Daily Telegraph as the primary reason why the British public cared about Sasun.121

  • 122 FO 424/178, p. 237; FO 424/182, p. 81; F. Riedler, 2011, p. 165.
  • 123 The Literary Digest, February 2, 1895, p. 422-423.

37The dramatic uptick in news coverage of the Sasun massacres ignited a cycle of news and repression. The more that stories of the massacre appeared in newspapers abroad, the more the Ottoman state clamped down in order to maintain a particular public image. The dramatic escalation of news about Sasun had unintended consequences for the Armenian peasantries of the Ottoman East. After news of the massacres reached Europe, the Ottoman government clamped down on all networks of information. Between the fall of 1894 and the spring of 1895, the Ottoman state banned journalists from entering Anatolia122, censored Ottoman newspapers,123 and attempted to prevent any newspapers that reported on the violence from circulating. The Ottoman state also strove to prevent Armenian laborers from leaving their villages in the east by setting up an internal passport regime. The attempts of the state to monopolize legitimate violence was now paralleled with efforts to monopolize movement and narrative. Despite these draconian tactics, news of the Sasun massacres spread far and wide. News of the massacres radicalized Ottoman Armenians abroad. Within the Ottoman Empire, news of Sasun convinced many Armenian communities that it was necessary to arm themselves in case the state visited violence upon them. In Zeytun, another mountain community that had remained semi-autonomous, plans were made to resist through force of arms. And in Istanbul, a year after the massacres, thousands convened to protest against the plight of Armenian communities throughout the Ottoman East. A central rallying cry in the Bab-ı Ali protests was the lack of justice for those murdered in Sasun a year before. These protests were violently suppressed. Over the course of the next year, as the cycle of news-suppression-protest continued, state violence would spread like a contagion across the Ottoman Empire, leaving tens of thousands dead in the process. The underlying patterns of Ottoman centralization – the divide and rule tactics, the extraction of resources, corruption, impoverishment of communities, imprisonment of those who challenged the status quo, and terroristic violence – left hundreds dead in the mountains of Sasun in 1894. The same processes help to explain the subsequent violence in the 1890s and the Armenian Genocide twenty years later.

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Notes

1 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 373-74; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 162, 199-203.

2 Foreign Office (British), Confidential 6695, FO 424/182, Further Correspondence Respecting Asiatic Turkey, 1895. The National Archives, London [abbreviated FO 424/182], p. 49.

3 Ibid.

4 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 2-4.

5 R. Kévorkian, 2001, p. 49-50; G. Sasuni, 1957, p. 580; A. Chalabian, 1994, p. 88.

6 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 206; FO 424/184, p. 77.

7 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 288-289.

8 Ibid. p. 298-299.

9 E. Uras, 1988, p. 731-733; see also C. Walker, 1990, p. 165-170; F. Dündar, 2010, p. 47.

10 D. Quataert, 2006, p. 258.

11 J. McCarthy et al., 2014, p. 2.

12 Ibid. p. 23; C. Walker 1991, p. 139.

13 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 207; FO 424/184, p. 77.

14 O. Miller, 2015, p. 250-258, 282-288, 443-457.

15 R. Suny, 2001, p. 1-4, V. Dadrian, 2001, p. 5-39.

16 J. Verheij, 1998, p. 238-246; Id., 1999, p. 81-84; Id., 2012, p. 94, fn. 27.

17 M. Polatel, 2016, p. 179-198; E. Gölbaşı, 2015, p. 140-163.

18 R. Cole, The Missionary Herald, September 1892, p. 374; FO 424/184, p. 435-436.

19 W. Lately, Everyman, September 19, 1913; K. Rafter, 2013, p. 91-105.

20 O. Miller, 2015, p. 369-376, 410-411.

21 Ibid., p. 61-62.

22 J. Sheil, 1838, p. 85; H. Southgate, 1840, p. 263-264; W. Ainsworth, 1842, p. 249-251; F. Millingen, 1867, p. 19.

23 W. Jwaideh, 2006, p. 74; J. Brant, 1841, p. 348.

24 Foreign Office (British), Confidential 6583, FO 424/178, Further Correspondence Respecting Asiatic Turkey, 1894, The National Archives, London [abbreviated FO 424/178], p. 300; G. Bell, April 23, 1905, Diaries (1877-1919), Newcastle University; A. Kırmızı, 2007, p. 69, 75-76, 89, 230.

25 U. Bayraktar, 2016, p. 159-178; W. Jwaideh, 2006, p. 54-74.

26 M. Weber, 1946, p. 78.

27 J. Brant, 1836, p. 189.

28 C. Clay, 1998, p. 19.

29 Ibid. p. 9.

30 H. Barsumian, 2007.

31 V. Artinian, 1988; M. Ueno, 2013, p. 93-109.

32 J. Hurewitz, 1956, p. 189-191.

33 S. Astourian, 2011, p. 55-81; L. Etmekjian, 1976, p. 38-52.

34 O. Miller, 2017a, p. 287-308.

35 A. Chalabian, 1994, p. 104.

36 Daily News, August 4, 1890.

37 Rouben, 1963; S. Pteyan et al., 1962; A. Yarman, 2010; A. Kévonian, 2005; A. Gürbüzel, 2008, p. 73-84.

38 [E. Dillon], The Contemporary Review, vol. 68, p. 171-172; Foreign Office (British), Confidential 6447, FO 424/175, Further Correspondence Respecting Asiatic Turkey, 1893, The National Archives, London, p. 139; FO 424/182, p. 80.

39 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, April 20, 1895; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 68; FO 424/182, p. 71.

40 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 160-161; O. Miller, 2015, p. 144; M. Polatel, 2016, p. 180.

41 Foreign Office (British), Confidential 6654, FO 424/181, Further Correspondence Respecting Asiatic Turkey, 1895, The National Archives, London [abbreviated FO 424/181], p. 22; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 70; E. Hodgetts, 1896, p. 90; A. Chalabian, 1994, p. 160; FO 424/182, p. 71; [G. Knapp], Hartford Seminary Record, 1895, p. 251-279; [G. Knapp], London Times, March 29, 30 and April 13, 1895.

42 Foreign Office, 1896, p. 73-74.

43 FO 424/182, p. 70.

44 Ibid.

45 M.S. Gabriel, 1895, p. 8-9.

46 FO 424/182, p. 70.

47 E. Hodgetts, 1896, p. 90.

48 A. Chalabian, 1994, p. 160.

49 G. Sasuni, 1992, p. 183.

50 A. Chalabian 1994, p. 161; FO 424/182, p. 51-52.

51 A. Chalabian 1994, p. 160.

52 Ibid. p. 161; G. Sasuni 1992, p. 184-185; M.S. Gabriel, 1895, p. 10.

53 Foreign Office, 1896, p. 74.

54 Ibid. p. 74; E. Hodgetts 1896, p. 91.

55 FO 424/182, p. 71; M.S. Gabriel, 1895, p. 10; E. Ötke, 1989, doc. 11.

56 Foreign Office, 1896, p. 74.

57 G. Sasuni, 1956, p. 573.

58 H. Selvi, 2007, p. 41 f.n. 69 citing BOA Y.Mtv 2006/33.

59 FO 424/181, p. 192-198; J. Verheij, 2012, fn. 26; H. Lynch 1901, p. 429.

60 FO 424/182, p. 267-268, [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 21, 1895.

61 FO 424/181, p. 194.

62 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 199

63 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 374.

64 FO 424/181, p. 209; E. Ökte, 1989, p. 98-99.

65 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 94-95.

66 FO 424/181, p. 224.

67 Ibid. p. 225.

68 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 180, 199; E. Bliss, 1896, p. 374; FO 424/182, p. 48.

69 FO 424/182, p. 48.

70 E. Bliss, 1896, p. 374-375.

71 M. Nersisian, 1966, p. 26; Ministère des Affaires étrangères, 1897, p. 22; FO 424/178, p. 311; FO 424/181, p. 23, 26; Papers of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in the Near East 1817-1919, The Houghton Library, Harvard, Cambridge, MA [abbreviated ABCFM], Reel 694, p. 355-356; F. Greene, 1895, p. 12-13; FO 424/178, p. 258.

72 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 112-113.

73 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 201.

74 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 118-119.

75 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 166.

76 FO 424/182, p. 48; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 199.

77 FO 424/182, p. 48; [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 3.

78 FO 424/181, p. 209, 224; 424/182, p. 49.

79 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 386.

80 FO 424/181, p. 209; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 216.

81 FO 424/182, p. 48.

82 Ibid., p. 209; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 216, 293.

83 E. Ökte, 1989, p. 160-161.

84 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 3.

85 FO 424/181, p. 209l; [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 2-4.

86 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 3.

87 FO 424/182, p. 49; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 199; E. Hodgetts, 1896, p. 97.

88 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 3; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 369.

89 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 370, 372, 374, 376.

90 Ibid., p. 293, 367-369, 370, 372, 375, 377; FO 424/181, p. 2-4, 225-226, 267-268; FO 424/182, p. 211-212.

91 [F. Scudamore], Daily News, March 21 and March 29, 1895; FO 424/182, p. 4, 74; ABCFM, Reel 694, p. 410-412; Foreign Office, 1895, p. 222.

92 R. Graves, 1933, p. 144-145; Foreign Office, 1896, p. 168; FO 424/172, p. 80.

93 FO 424/178, p. 304; FO 424/182, p. 80.

94 FO 424/178, p. 304.

95 FO 424/182, p. 81.

96 Foreign Office, 1895, p. 7; FO 424/178, p. 321.

97 S. Wasti, 1996, p. 28, fn. 38.

98 FO 424/178, p. 386.

99 R.M. Cole, 1910, p. 243.

100 Ibid., p. 245-246.

101 S. Sonyel, 1987, p. 160; J. Salt, 1993, p. 74; J. McCarthy et al., 2014, p. 33-37.

102 E. Ötke, 1989, no. 28.

103 Ibid., p. 288-289.

104 FO 424/178, p. 264-265; United States Department of State, 1895, p. 718.

105 New York Times, December 12, 1894; [A. Webb], 1895, p. 57-58; E. Uras, 1988, p. 731-732; London Times, November 17, 1894; Daily News, November 17, 1894; FO 424/181, p. 5-6.

106 E. Uras 1988, p. 731, 733

107 FO 424/178, p. 240; T. Erbengi and E. Kutluğ, 2005, p. 87; New York Times, December 12, 1894; [A. Webb], 1895, p. 57.

108 J. McCarthy et al., 2014, p. 33-37.

109 FO 424/178, p. 389; V. Dadrian, 2001, p. 32.

110 FO 424/181, p. 40.

111 R. Morris, 2001, p. 79-112.

112 R. Graves, 1933, p. 144; The Morning Post, January 10, 1895; FO 424/178, p. 240; Safir Efendi, 1895, p. 48-56

113 ABCFM, Reel 694, p. 354; [F. Greene], The Review of Reviews, January 1895, p. 48; F. Greene, 1895, p. 10-11.

114 The Hartford Seminary Record, June and August, 1895; FO 424/182, “Report of Sassoon Affairs by a Resident of Bitlis”; London Times March 29, March 30, April 13, 1895.

115 O. Miller, 2017b.

116 ABCFM, Reel 694, p. 355-356; New York Herald, November 27, 1894; [F. Greene], Review of Reviews, January 1895, p. 48; F. Greene, 1895, p. 12-13; FO 424/181, p. 114; The New Outlook, vol. 50, December 8, 1894, p. 975; The Churchman, vol. 71, March 23, 1895, p. 425.

117 Daily News, November 12, 1894.

118 E. Pears, 1916, p. 12-24.

119 FO 424/178, p. 262-264; London Times, November 17, 1894; Standard, November 17, 1894.

120 The Editor and the Publisher, August 3, 1918; F. Scudamore, 1925, p. 147-157.

121 M. Gabriel, 1895, p. 16

122 FO 424/178, p. 237; FO 424/182, p. 81; F. Riedler, 2011, p. 165.

123 The Literary Digest, February 2, 1895, p. 422-423.

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Owen Miller, « Rethinking the Violence in the Sasun Mountains (1893-1894) », Études arméniennes contemporaines, 10 | 2018, 97-123.

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Owen Miller, « Rethinking the Violence in the Sasun Mountains (1893-1894) », Études arméniennes contemporaines [En ligne], 10 | 2018, mis en ligne le 10 septembre 2018, consulté le 20 septembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/eac/1556 ; DOI : 10.4000/eac.1556

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Owen Miller

Union College

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