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Source: DE/PA-AA/R14086
Publication: DuA Dok. 081 (gk.)
Central register: 1915-A-19743
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Date of entry in central register: 06/24/1915 p.m.
Embassy/consular serial number: Nr. 372
Translated by: Linda Struck (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 04/22/2012

From the Ambassador in Constantinople (Wangenheim) to the Reichskanzler (Bethmann Hollweg)


No. 372
Pera, 17 June 1915

The expulsion of the Armenian population from their homes in the East Anatolian provinces and their relocation in other areas is being carried out ruthlessly.

According to reliable information issued by the Catholicos of Sis, up to now 30,000 Armenians have been deported from his diocese alone. Zeitun and surrounding areas, Albistan, Dört Yol, Alabash, Hassan-Beyli and even some smaller places have been completely cleared. Here, the same as in other districts, the inhabitants are being scattered around the interior of the country and resettled with the Muslims, partly in areas which are far from one another, as for example the residents of Zeitun, who have been sent partly to the areas around Konia, partly to Der-el-Zor by the Euphrates river. The Armenians from Erzuum have been delegated to Terdshan (Mama Hatoun).

The exiles are forced to leave their homes either immediately or within a few days so that they have to relinquish their houses and a large part of their movable possessions. They are not even able to provide themselves with the necessary supplies for their transportation. On arrival at their destination they stand helpless and defenceless among people who are hostile towards them. In some places there have already been excesses during their march; the Armenians who were deported from Diyarbekir to Mosul are said to have all been murdered in the course of their journey. It is impossible to expect the government to support the exiles with money, food and other things; in Erzurum the Imperial Consul and the American missionaries have intervened in giving their help, in other places the local Armenian Patriarchate.

It has come to light that the banishment of the Armenians is not only motivated by military considerations. The Minister of the Interior, Talaat Bey, recently spoke about this without reservation to Dr. Mordtmann, who is currently employed by the Imperial Embassy. He said “that the Porte is intent on taking advantage of the World War in order to make a clean sweep of internal enemies - the indigenous Christians - without being hindered in doing so by diplomatic intervention from other countries. Such an undertaking will serve the interest of the Germans, the Allies of Turkey, which thus in turn could be strengthened."

A few days later the Armenian Patriarch explained to the same official that the measures of the Porte were intended not only to make the Armenian people temporarily harmless, but to expel them from Turkey or rather to eradicate them altogether. Deportation is just as bad as massacring and it would not be surprising if the Armenians finally retaliated, even if they had no chance of succeeding, “like a tormented animal that turns against its tormentors.” He appears to have given up hope of being able to bring about a change for the better with the Turkish government by taking certain steps. He did not reply to an intercession on our part in favour of the Armenians. He is still convinced - probably like all Armenians, provided they have knowledge of the occurrences - that the excesses, for which the government blames the Armenians, have been brought about by the action taken by the authorities.


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