English :: en de
Home: www.armenocide.net
Link: http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1915-09-05-DE-001
Source: DE/PA-AA/R14087
Central register: 1915-A-27887
Edition: Genocide 1915/16
Embassy/consular serial number:
Translated by: Robert Berridge (Translation sponsored by Zoryan Institute)
Last updated: 03/23/2012

From the Correspondant of the "Kölnische Zeitung" to the Foreign Office

Constantinople, 5 September 1915
Strictly confidential information!

The Armenian side informed me of the following facts with regard to the persecution of the Armenians. By and large, they are surely correct. On the other hand, there are very few Turks with whom one can speak openly about the Armenian question; anger immediately breaks out, even in people who are otherwise well-educated and sophisticated, which lumps everything together and always ends with the same refrain, "All Armenians should be exterminated; they are traitors!" Naturally, I have had the most important facts on the account of the Armenians confirmed by other parties; only the view remains subjective.

The Voluntary Armenian Corps were, of course, founded on Russian and not on Turkish ground, by committees, which have existed for decades and openly strived for Armenia's separation from Turkey. When Enver Pasha visited the Armenian theatre of war in December, he found that the Turks had to fight against the Armenians as well as the Russians. Despite this, the Armenians only withdrew from the fortress of Erzurum many weeks later, proof that the (Turkish) Armenians on this side had behaved perfectly correctly for a long time. The influx from Turkish Armenia to Russia only began in March when weapons were confiscated among the Armenians in Van (I was not able to determine whether this was a preventive measure or carried out after treason had occurred). Also in March, various Armenian notables, among them Wramian, the Member of Parliament for Van, and Papasian, the Member of Parliament for Bitlis, were then arrested. When their friends opposed this and protested, the mass deportations and atrocities began in Van and the villages of the Vilayet. An open revolt only then developed and numerous Armenians joined up with Russian gangs. During the violent battles, which lasted about two months, the Armenians stormed Van several times, which changed owners no less than five times after having recently – and naturally this was again kept secret – been in the hands of the Turks for a short while (8 days) and then lost.

The arrests in Constantinople began on 24/25 April as a result of the Armenians' storming of Van. 850 people, both Orthodox as well as Protestants and Catholics, were deported at that time, among them the most highly respected Member of Parliament for Constantinople, the notary public Sorab, the deputy of Erzurum, Wartkes (who got on very well with Talaat Bey), about 10 bishops, 40 doctors, 10 lawyers, but also many people from the lower middle classes and the proletariat. 250 of those arrested were sent to Ajasch in the Vilayet of Angora, the rest to Dschangere in the Vilayet of Kastamuni. On the evening of 24 April, during a house search of the offices of the newspaper, "Asadamart", which means "fight for freedom" (they are also the meeting place of the "Tashankzutionists" Club), all of the politicians, journalists, etc., were arrested and the correspondence confiscated. Despite its revolutionary name, the newspaper had existed for five years and was well-respected by the government; it was even part of an entente with the Young Turk Committee.

At the same time that these people were being arrested in the capital, the order was given in the Vilayets of Erzurum, Sivas, Diyarbekir, Harput, Bitlis and Trebizond to begin with the mass deportations. Since then, the systematic persecution of Armenians everywhere has continued without interruption. This results in different pictures for the individual vilayets and towns, so it is best to divide them into four series:

I. Constantinople: Understandably, the Turkish government was until now most cautious here. The unmarried men (those from the Anatolian Vilayet up to the frontier of Sivas in the east) were first arrested and deported, then all the married and single men whose homes were in the Armenian provinces, the former with their families. Until now, about 2000 men and 50 families have been deported. I do not need to go into the cruelty, which lay in the short period, often only a few hours, without the possibility of putting their financial and family matters in order. Valuable household items were often dumped at incredibly low prices. Until now, the government attempted to present the measures in Constantinople as if this concerned only political suspects. This is simply ridiculous. The most harmless people among the population were deported, in fact according to a very definite system. For 2 weeks; during these 2 weeks and in a municipal district there are, for example, as in my house, two janitors: one of them is taken away and disappears today, the other in a month; who knows where! A policeman on the street calls the passersby wearing a fez over to him, has them show him their "vessika" (residence permit) and, if it's an Armenian, he has to accompany him right away; everything happens without any warning in the form of a police arrest. Day and night you can see policemen on patrol everywhere in town, each accompanied by two gendarmes and searching for Armenians, and today (Sunday) the police even took up their position in front of the church doors of the Catholic-Armenian Church in Pera and carried out passport controls. This may indeed give the impression of a search for suspects, but based on authentic information I can assure you that this is being carried out indiscriminately and the number of deportations is only restricted because, taking into consideration the ambassadors here, they do not dare to carry out measures to the same large extent as in the provinces. They want to get things sorted out there first before moving on to the capital; this is the general impression in those circles, which are quite friendly towards the Turks.

II. The following have been completely cleared of Armenians and the scene of full-blown massacres, atrocities of all kinds, defilements, conversions by force, etc.:

The Vilayets of Erzurum and Trebizond (a part here have been converted to Islam) as well as the towns of Sivas, Harput, Kaisaria, Yozgad, Amasia, Mersifan, Marash. The deportees are sent to Urfa, Biredschik, Der-el-Zor, etc., i.e. in very remote and in part Arabic areas where, torn away from their surroundings, they will no doubt begin to perish. In certain towns the men are kept in prison while the women and children are deported alone in misery, without supervision or any kind of care. The distinction between only one or several towns in some vilayets being treated in this manner, while in others this happens to the entire vilayet, can be explained by the different characters of the governor generals (Valis), who have a completely free hand. One example of this is Angora which, due to the massacres, which occurred last Sunday, is sadly current. Armenians told me that, despite repeated requests by the Central government, the Vali there, Masar Bey, had refused to extend the rigorous measures indiscriminately and summarily to the entire Armenian population, and he was then dismissed. And now it is just in Angora that really dreadful things have happened, even though as a large town situated along the railway line it is in daily contact with Constantinople, and as the main town in the Vilayet and the seat of high court instances it still offered the Armenians relatively reasonable living conditions, and which is situated far enough away from the eastern theatre of war that the thought of suspecting large parts of the male population can be ruled out completely. Most of the Armenians in Angora are Catholic. It is in the nature of things that they are regarded somewhat less badly by the Turkish government than the Orthodox, because there is less suspicion of the formers' irredentist views, while having their eyes on Russia. The moderations supposedly promised by Talaat Bey refer mainly to the Catholics among the Armenians. In the beginning, only Orthodox men were deported from Angora for this reason, while among the Catholics only a few arrests were carried out. But a week ago last Sunday the new Vali, Atif Bey, a minion of Dschambolat, the Chief of Police in Constantinople, who fanatically hates the Armenians and is a Nationalist, arrested the Catholic Armenians and started or permitted a huge massacre among the women, whereby all kinds of dreadful deeds, including the sexual assault and kidnapping of young girls, were carried out. This was confirmed by all the sources I spoke with. In their desperation, the women hurried to the train station, 20 minutes away, only to fall into the hands of the Turks along the way. The railway employees, for the most part Armenians, had fled on a train to Erkischai and rail traffic to Angora was interrupted. There are rumours here of 6000 Armenian victims. This is probably exaggerated many times over for the town of Angora, but not for the Vilayet.

III. A simple clearing of Armenians without any particular cruelties took place in the Vilayets of Adana, Konia and Brussa, in Sandshak, Ismid and in the town of Adapazar. These deportations date back one or two months. I heard of particularly drastic examples from these areas of valuable household goods and possessions being dumped. Singer sewing machines were supposedly to be had for a few Medshidieh (at 20 piastres). On the part of the Armenians, they only admit that about 300 to 400 Mausers were found among the Armenians in Adapazar, but they deny any kind of revolutionary movement in connection with the present war as Adapazar is situated even further from the theatre of war than Angora. The existence of weapons is explained as a constantly necessary protection against an oppressive, non-Armenian population, which tends towards attacks. No weapons of any kind were found in Angora.

IV. Zeitun (a vilayet in Adana) presents a special case: already six months before the world war, a systematic eviction of the (here particularly powerful and, under Abdul Hamid, never really subjugated) Armenian population was put into action by pulling apart entire families and scattering them in all directions. During the war, the eviction was carried out completely. An important connection must not remain unmentioned here. Scherif Pasha, residing in Paris and a mortal enemy of the Young Turks and, incidentally, a sad individual, is known to have attempted for years to institute assassinations against the Young Turks. He also managed to make use of some of the supporters of Sabachkulian, who also live in Paris, the so-called "Hindjakists", a revolutionary Armenian Committee analogous to the Tashnakzutunits. Talaat Bey was a particular target. At that time, almost 20 Armenians, most of them Hindjakists, were hanged on the Bajarid Square in May, even though the conspiracy was as yet only on paper and, in accordance with Turkish law and contrary to our laws, the attempt is not, under certain circumstances, as punishable as the action performed. The severity of the punishment is due to the things, which have happened in particular in the Armenian theatre of war. This extremely loose, just ostensible connection is the only connection between Sherif Pasha's plans, which must be described as a purely Turkish intrigue, and the Armenian movement. But the Turkish government used the "due punishment" of the Hindjakists, as all lawfully thinking Armenians call it, as a welcome occasion to publish a communiqué – the only one that has ever been published in the Armenian question. My own, as well as the dispatches of the other correspondents was very wisely kept back until the official communiqué appeared and, taking advantage of the fact that the Hindjakist Club is striving for an autonomous Armenia, deliberately mixed the facts of both things to present the matter in such a way so as to incite against the Armenians and to justify the cruel measures against the Armenian population. The truth was that the Armenians hanged, victims and tools of an inner - Turkish intrigue, had nothing at all to do with the occurrences in Armenia even though they happened to be Hindjakists. This is how the Turkish government works. So much for the facts.

But much more important than the weal and the woe of the Armenians, who are not at all a very nice kind of people, are the great political connection and background of the Armenian question, as well as the future prospects which are pinned on them. For if everything in Turkey was the way we must wish it to be from a German point of view, one could, in the end, even overlook the suffering of the Armenians in the general great woe and misery of the world war. Unfortunately, things are completely different. Although with regard to the persecution of the Armenians we have a very systematic attempt ahead of us to completely dissipate and gradually exterminate the entire Armenian part of the population, which has been undertaken rather abruptly and obviously out of anger against the military losses suffered at the hands of the Armenian legions fighting together with the Russians, but which has long gone beyond the measure of reprisals against treason and certainly beyond the measure of prudent disciplinary action against this. The Armenians themselves say, "Despite Abdul Hamid having caused massacres against us, we were able to get along with his government again from time to time; now much worse things than massacres are being carried out. The entire Armenian nation is being murdered and slowly ruined by tearing the families apart and planting them separately in completely foreign ground, divested of everything they own. We could understand it if several hundred men were hanged as a warning for every act of treason and espionage; we could understand it if thousands were massacred at the Armenian theatre of war out of anger against the events which took place there, just as during the reign of Hamid. But we do not understand what is being done to harmless families in Anatolia, far away from the war. Every massacre out of anger could be understood, but not this cunningly slow, well thought out policy of deportation”. And they are quite right! Even in the influential German circles which are pro-Turk there is the impression that they [the Turks] have it in for the Armenians as a whole. And some people say that after the Armenians it will be the turn of the Jews and the Greeks. And some probably think to themselves, and in the end they'll even hound the Germans out of Turkey! Unfortunately, despite having begun my task here with sufficient optimism towards the Turks, after only a very short while I, too, cannot resist this feeling! My confidence, which I expressed in the reports before Gallipolis, is in the military field and is based on the present situation: Germany as a Turkish ally. One thing is sure: the Turks will survive, no matter how long it takes. I had to make some concessions to the Turkish censors in my articles or, as I never give the articles to the censors, to the Turkish government.

People will know how to abstract from this. If I have said, for example, Enver Pasha gets on well with the German military mission, then this is correct, for Enver needs the Germans; without them, the Dardanelles would long be forced. It was also supposed to be a denial of the very inconvenient remarks made by the enemy during the war, that there were disagreements. I do not believe that Enver liked my article (I) from Gallipolis. I place such great value on the Armenian question, to get back to this matter, because I consider it to be a clear, at present perhaps a drastic symptom of the predominant Turkish spirit. The German embassy has reproached the Turkish government often enough in a friendly, but definite manner concerning the persecution of the Armenians. What is so atrocious is that, despite the relationship of the Germans and Turks as comrades in arms and their close alliance, and although the Turks need us as desperately in this war as they need air to breathe, the government does not find it necessary to fulfil the German demand at least by and large – even though the Germans only want the Turks' best, for all of the Armenian spies have long gone over to Russian territory or been hanged, and further destruction of the progressive Armenian element of the population only means heavy economic damage which Turkey should now particularly avoid since the war has emptied Anatolia. But no: things are going on as they always have done; the promises are vague and no one believes them, and despite all of the promises things have been happening lately which are a slap in the Germans' faces. As I have been told often enough, the Armenians are naturally convinced that, considering the position Germany holds today in Turkey, an energetic step would be sufficient to cause a change. They cannot understand that no change is taking place; they go after the American ambassador who, for his part, has also suggested very sensible measures to the Turks to relieve the Armenians' need and taken energetic steps several times against the persecutions. Thus, after Turkey refused to accept his interference, the American ambassador also knows how to influence the entire neutral world through his country so that in the end everyone believes in a German-Turkish entente in the Armenian question, and the result will be a campaign against the German barbarism. And yet the embassy leaves nothing undone in order to achieve an improvement in this question! But this disregard for well-meant German advice is highly remarkable for two reasons: first of all, it is proof that the Turks are determined to gradually create a purely Turkish national state (whereby they will dig their own grave!), and secondly, all this is just one of the many symptoms of an awakening Turkish arrogance.

In the first case, I refer to the judgment of people from the most influential circles who know the Orient, while in very good standing with the Young Turk government, attempt in vain to achieve a less pessimistic opinion on Turkey's future immediately after the war. It is easy to understand that the Turks first lay hands on the Armenians; let's be honest: they've not only given them reason for doing so, but they are also the weakest among the non-Turks, those who can defend themselves least. The others are the Jews, the Greeks and the Europeans. Temporarily, the Turkish government considers it opportune to give those positions that the Armenians have lost and to which they cannot appoint Turks, to Jews. Thus, for example, all of the Armenian employees of the Oriental Railway were replaced by Jews. Naturally, the Greeks, who also profit greatly from the persecution of the Armenians, were of no use along this stretch, used by the entire military service heading for the Dardanelles, because of their political unreliability. On the other hand, the administration of the Anatolian Railway has thus far successfully resisted the dismissal of its Armenian employees. The dismissal of the Armenians can be explained by the military importance of such sections as the Oriental Railway; but it is incredible how far Salonika has sunk economically since becoming Greek, and how the Jews, streaming in from there, knew how to settle into the administration and even into politics. The Jews are taking over the positions of the Armenians to the same extent that the latter are disappearing. A great many Jews are already to be found among the editorial staff of the "Hilal" (H. means "half-moon" and the newspaper, almost a French version of the Tanin, is just as much a governmental gazette as this one!)! The Turks permit the Jews to spread themselves out, because they can suppress and get rid of these defenceless people whenever they wish to do so. Temporarily, they need the Jews to replace the Armenians as a result of their own lack of intelligence and business sense. Naturally, the Jews are also politically more reliable – or, to be more correct, colourless – for on 18 March they all put on their hats and began to speak French; now they are wearing the fez again and speak increasingly more German! They are hoping to get the Greeks at a later point using a real Turkish policy when, by means of our victory, Turkey has become so strong that a small country such as Greece can do nothing more against the harassment of the Greek population in Turkey. In the meantime, the Armenians are the victims. At the same time, the Turks are cowardly in their policy of oppression. This is best proved by their conduct towards the Kurds. Under Abdul Hamid, the Kurds were treated quite well, held high positions and were let loose against the Armenians from time to time. However, the Kurd influence was eliminated by the Young Turks; the Committee Government made many deadly enemies among the Kurds (such as the well-known Abdurressak family which turned to the Russians), while at the same time the Russian ruble began to work successfully among the Kurds and the only seemingly suppressed Kurd revolts of the previous year (I believe the spring of 1914, when Taha, the Kurd leader, placed himself under Russian protection, was proof!) and a part of the Kurds even reached an agreement with the Armenians whom they had previously massacred. Naturally, Russia is attempting to stir up all of Kurdistan against Turkey, and a large number of the Kurds in the Armenian theatre of war did the same as the Armenians and joined the Russians. But there was no talk whatsoever about any reprisals in Kurdistan. The Turkish government is simply afraid of the Kurds.

The innermost reason for the oppression of the Armenian people is again under the imprint of Enver Pasha, the reclamation of Adrianopol, the victories in the Dardanelles and so on, nationalism which is flaring up and Mohammedan fanaticism. Because the Turks are aware that the Dardanelles will be forced eventually and Turkey will lose the war, and in order to save as large a part of Asia Minor as possible for themselves at the peace negotiations, friends of the entente here naturally also claim that the great powers, especially Russia, will be presented by Turkey with a fait accompli in order to say that all of those provinces are purely Turkish and no Armenians are to be found there. This is why they were presently being cleared from all non-Turkish parts. Although criticism of this opinion is superfluous, it does prove that the short-sighted Turkish policy of destruction is met with derision. Something else, however, must be recognised as a real factor in the Turkish calculations. Until now, i.e. before the temporary, strong increase in Jewishness!, the Armenians, this highly intelligent, busy and adaptable element of the population, were definitely the group which had the most contact with government circles. There were even Armenian ministers. The Greeks who, in this war, despite their unanimous enmity against Turkey based on great Hellenic irredentism, almost always knew how to get themselves out of even the general scent of espionage (only the banks of the Bosporus River were cleared of Greeks for purely military reasons, but without atrocities), were always considered by the Turks as being a definitely foreign element. This was not the case with the Armenians, who were considered to be a real part of the Ottoman Empire and did not have any reason for irredentist endeavours because there was no free and independent Armenian people across the border. (Nor does the Armenian see Russia as being an ideal, because he knows that the geographical position of his country robs him of any hope of independence, and if, today, he gives his blood to assist the Russians in conquering Turkish positions, then this is only proof for the terribly bad Turkish government which suppressed him despite all of the reform projects!) This is why, from an Old Turk point of view, the Armenian is a far more dangerous opponent and competitor, because circumstances have made him much closer, and he must be gotten rid of first. His extermination must start during the war; he must be laboriously deported to all of the furthest parts of the country, while the numerous Greek population will migrate of its own accord to Greece at the right moment, i.e. when Greece can no longer do anything to a strong Turkey because of a single arbitrary measure which will cripple its trade. The government does not want to wait until a growing German influence after the war will make the expulsion of the Armenians more difficult, which is why it is doing its best now; but in times of war it cannot simply give the Armenians an expulsion order, because first of all there is a lack of travel connections abroad, and secondly it does not want so many people to leave Turkey who know everything that is happening in the interior, and in this way carry news of this to enemy foreign countries. This is why the arduous (for those affected as well as for the government!) and cruel system of deportations is preferred. For a while, women and children were permitted to leave the national Turkish territory; then (at the beginning of August), this permission was also withdrawn.

I do not want my statements to be understood as if tension were to break out at any moment between Germans (or any Europeans) and Turks or had even done so. Generally, thank God, we are still in control of the situation, and everything will be all right as long as the war goes on. Pessimists do, however, see a hint in Enver Pasha's harmless words, such as in the passage in his telegram to the crown prince in which "he hopes to be able to throw the enemies into the sea soon", that he would prefer to cope with the enemy himself and would now already like to take precautions against German troops being sent here after the road through Serbia has been opened. Certainly the Turks would prefer to have ammunition and weapons and sold warships rather than actual troops being sent, but despite this I cannot endorse the exaggerated mistrust on the part of the Germans, which goes that far. It seems to me to be a fact, however, that the Turks are fairly sick of us Germans, although not yet from a military point of view, because they still need us. The Turk, a true Oriental, will soon permit himself to be influenced by the French nature after the war; of course, it is quite a different question whether the French influence will be worth mentioning from a material point of view. The period of true tension with us Germans still lies far ahead in the future; its point in time also depends on what we will want in Anatolia and so on. The entire purpose of my confidential reports of today is to issue a warning against optimism, both in the question of a Turkish upswing as well as German-Turkish relations. I consider it necessary to issue such a warning at this time, because the state of censorship, which will continue, no doubt, for a long time, will forbid me and others to publish those things in the newspaper, which are the whole truth; thus, the wrong impression could easily arise. Now, at the end of my long epistle, I would just like to add a few small things which I consider to be symptoms of this awakening Turkish spirit: I found it remarkable that this spirit was immediately noticed by Prince Hohenlohe, the ambassador in extraordinary mission. When he received me shortly after his arrival, just long enough to have picked up the most important impressions, but at the same time long enough to be able to have a clear picture, he immediately replied to a question of mine in which there was absolutely no trace of my own impression, "It will be very interesting to see how Germany comes to terms with the arising Turkish nationalism!" (I would request that this statement is treated in particularly strict confidence!) This impression seemed to outweigh all others, which the ambassador had.

The fact that the Turks abolished the capitulations so suddenly was already a clear symptom of the reigning spirit. Precisely by means of this abolition, which was the most difficult first step along this way, they are in a position to change the entire relationship with the Europeans as quickly as they wish to do so. We Germans have absolutely no reason at all to be pleased about the complete suppression of all company signs in French which Talaat Bey decreed in June. Under the pretext that French was an enemy language, the first step was taken by abolishing the real official European language in the Orient by force, while at the same time making Turkish company signs obligatory. It should not be believed, however, that the number of German company signs thus increased in any manner. Most of the German firms, knowing what was planned, restricted themselves to Turkish signs, and today it is very difficult to find one's way about in Pera. For the time being, Greek, Armenian, Hebrew were kept, because they are of secondary importance. The thrust was to strike the Europeans, and it did so in the French language, and us Germans with it! And now I would just like to point out an article from Hilal (dated 31 August), which, in my opinion, is outrageous and presumptuous. This organ of the Young Turk Committee writes in an editorial entitled, "Devant l'ère nouvelle", "… C’est la renaissance militaire et politique aussi bien que morale et intellectuelle de notre pays … Le pays a prouvé qu`il peut, le cas échéant, se passer économiquement du concours étranger, se suffira à lui-même pour ses besoins stricts qu`il conserve intact son génie d’organisation, qu’il est richement doué de forces productrices. Nos hôpitaux ne le cèdent en rien aux meilleurs établissements similaires de l`Europe » … etc. And in the same article, Hilal made a cutting remark against the German professors who were employed by the Turkish Ministry of Education to work here by saying that the most important thing of all was the question of language and here it was to be regretted that those teachers employed had been given an undetermined period of time in which to learn Turkish, instead of binding them by contract to learn it within a predetermined period!

These may appear to be unimportant details. But they show the way in which things will go. And, to repeat myself, I merely wished to intimate that I am far from falling into a rosy optimism. Unfortunately, censorship forbids reporting on things that are often really quite harmless; it holds back telegrams, even those which are very important and which contain favourable facts, for an unreasonably long time so that one often prefers not to send a telegram at all so as not to throw away money, knowing that W.T.B. [Wolff’s Telegraphic Bureau, the German news agency] prints practically everything which the Turks consider fit to be reported. But I am following the developments attentively and once the draconian war censorship is lifted I will, no doubt, often find an opportunity to speak openly. Until then I must restrict myself to confidential reports, but, having seen that this works, these will now arrive regularly.

Constantinople, 6 September 1915

Strictly confidential.

I had hardly completed my report yesterday when the "Hilal" gave me pleasure with its editorial entitled, "Our Mission in the Orient", from which the megalomania and chauvinism of modern Turks leaps out of almost every line. Today, I will restrict myself to including the article, appropriately underlined!

Further to what I said yesterday, I have now learned that in many cases they have begun to make the German companies in Turkey Turkish. It starts with small things; together with company signs, the numbers and signs on the employees' caps become purely Turkish, and the entire correspondence is to be carried out in the Turkish language. (Legal regulations exist with regard to this which are about three months old and which escaped my notice previously; I will collect them and send them in.) It is well known that older German directors are no longer in a position to suddenly learn Turkish; in this manner, they will be hounded out for they will then no longer be able to control their own business correspondence; a larger percentage of Turkish or Turkish-Jewish employees will have to be hired, etc. The only way to work against this tendency is for German business people to start learning Turkish well in Germany, although this is very difficult, (writing,) but essential, if the Turks continue in this way. For the same reasons, influential circles consider the employment of German professors, who will already arrive here on 1 October, as turning into a disaster. As just one, but drastic sign of the chauvinistic Turkish attitude towards the position of Europeans in Turkey I would just like to report in the strictest of confidence that I heard from a higher official at the local Austrian consulate general that the Turks recently had the nerve to send tax assessment notices to the officials at the German consulate! Naturally, the bearer in question was thrown out. At any rate, the chapter on the abolition of capitulations will also have to be discussed very seriously after the war! It is becoming more and more clear that among the Jews at least the "Dönmes" class (i.e., those Jews from Salonika who have converted to Islam) take part especially enthusiastically in Turkish nationalism. Such articles as the one in "Hilal" are written by "Dönmes". Talaat Bey, the Minister of the Interior, who also comes from Salonika, is supposed to be a Dönmé himself. I have now heard the opinion in quite anti-Semitic German circles that Germany should not neglect this Dönmé class, but rather curry favour with it, for it is gaining ever more influence in the Young Turk Committee and through it much can be achieved in Turkey. I myself am of another opinion, not for anti-Semitic reasons, but because of a feeling that this Committee group with its Jews does not really represent the Turkish people and that Germany, if it stands up very forcefully after the war, will reach its goals without and despite it and even much better. It is clear that we must place the highest value on Turkey after having unfortunately lost such a large part of our overseas economic interests, which we must first arduously win back. But in Turkey, Anatolia and everything which joins it in the east (Armenia, Persia, the Arabian regions, etc.) is the main thing, and the simple Anatolian really loves Germany; he who of all people most sheds his blood in the Dardanelles is our true friend, and it is a pleasure to be with these good men. And like him, all the other peoples of Asian Turkey: the Armenians now being so cruelly persecuted, the Syrians who, despite all official phrases, are still unreliable, etc., will happily accept German cultural activities, they will be very easy for us to handle and will offer us strong support in the economic work in these countries with such a promising future, once we have put across the main point to the Turkish government. This is why I propose a strong position rather than flattery towards the Committee group located in Istanbul (and all my warnings and my pessimism are aimed at this group and not at the real Turkish people!), and I most certainly cannot justify currying favour with those Jews who feed from the Young Turkish hayrack.

[From the German Foreign Office to the Embassy in Constantinople (No. 738), 30 September]

The enclosed reports by the correspondent of the Cologne Newspaper there, which are not meant for publication, are to be respectfully sent to the Ambassador for his confidential attention with the request that they be returned.

Copyright © 1995-2024 Wolfgang & Sigrid Gust (Ed.): www.armenocide.net A Documentation of the Armenian Genocide in World War I. All rights reserved