The Kind Of Armenians A Turk Knows -nyt19151018a
THE KIND OF ARMENIANS A TURK KNOWS
They Betray Their Rulers, Take Refuge in Christian Missions, and Have to be Dealt With as Dangerous Rebels
By ZIA MUFTY-ZADE BEY
OCTOBER 18, 1915
New York, Oct. 15, 1915 To the Editor of THE NEW YORK TIMES: The campaign led by a few interested persons trying to stir up American public opinion is regard to the so-called Armenian massacres has lately taken such proportions that I consider myself obliged to put forward a few considerations. I do this much to my regret, as, first of all, I amid of the opinion that in public life, as well as in private life, everybody ought to mind only his own business.
Be that as it may let me put one question to those using freely the term "Armenia," mentioned even in the official communiqués of the Red Cross Society and other institutions. Where is Armenia? If they intend by this term all the provinces and cities sheltering a number of Armenians, Armenia must then include not only all the territory comprised between India and Greece but also New York City, where a large number of Armenians are residing. But the trouble is that in none of these territories has the Armenian population a reasonable majority. Just as in New York there are represented many other nationalities, so in the above territories are also millions of Persians, Russians, Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Syrians, Bulgarians, &c.
If they mean by Armenia the territory contiguous to the Russian border, where the Armenian settlement is thicker, then this term ought also to include all the neighboring Russian provinces of the Caucasus, where said population is thickest. Of course, this is not to be thought of, as in such case a resurrection of Armenia would deprive of a few provinces the Russian "Little Father," whose purity, broad-mindedness, love of freedom and equal rights have allied Russia to the western powers, champions of small nationalities:
The truth of this is that there is no constituted Armenia, and the Armenians in Turkey are just Ottoman citizens, as they are Russian citizens in Russia or American citizens in the United States and therefore are expected to able by the laws governing these countries. Let us now consider the national characteristics of the Armenians. It is fair to say that no matter where they are settled, be it in Turkey, in Asia, in Europe, or in America, they constitute an ungrateful element whose dealings in business have largely contributed to give a reputation of unsoundness to all the Orientals. Thus far from being the quiet and peaceful race they are depicted to be in order to aggravate the treatment they are receiving at the hands of the Turks, the majority of them are recognized to form an undesirable element by whoever comes in contact with them in any part of the world.
Before passing a definite judgment on the acts of the Ottoman government in this sad occurrence, judgment which to use Mr. Lansing's own words, "would greatly endanger the friendly feelings between the people of the two countries," I want the American public to remember the photographs published broadcast in some American and many European papers. One of the last issues of the Outlook is reproducing them anew. These pictures show "Armenian volunteers entrenched and firing on the Ottoman troops." I want the American public to consider what they would think if they saw "Armenian volunteers entranced and firing on American troops," if part of the American Armenians chose this line of conduct in a time when America was at war with a foreign power.
The accounts, given out in the British Parliament and quoted as originating from Tiflis, a Russian City, as well as the accounts given by the Commission of Inquiries presided over by Lord Bryce, are to say the least, grossly exaggerated. The unsoundness of accounts given by our enemies who are vitally interested in showing us under a bad light is so evident that there is no need to dwell any longer on it. The accuracy of the inquiries reported by Lord Bryce's Commission may well be put in doubt when one stops to think that said commission inquired on acts supposedly committed at a distance of several thousand miles inside the border of a country at war, and therefore in a place materially impossible to reach.
The only accounts that may give a base for consideration are those given by American missionaries who have lately came back to this country.
In this connection, to city only the declarations of one of the most recent eyewitnesses, let me quote the words of Dr. Yarow, member of the American Board for Foreign Missions, as given out and published in THE NEW YORK TIMES of Oct. 6. Dr. Yarow says: "For twenty-seven days 1,500 determined Armenians held Vap against 5,000 Turks and Kurds."
Now, mark my words: Van is an Ottoman city, and therefore, the act of the determined Armenians was nothing else than an act of open rebellion and had to be dealt with accordingly by organized and legal force. Queerly enough, Dr. Yarow makes it a crime that the Turks were led by a German officer and used a howitzer to quell the rebellion, as if any legally instituted Government was expected to act in a different way to smash the revolt of a certain number of its "determined" citizens.
Queerly enough, Dr. Yarrow makes it also a crime that the Turks deliberately fired at the mission buildings which flew five American flags and a Red Cross flag "as protection" (sic), though according to his own confession he admits the illegal use of said flags by confessing the active support he and colleagues of the mission gave to the rebellious Armenians when he says: "And during the siege WE not only had to fight the Turks but almost every known contagious disease as well," thus manifestly showing that their first and main object was to "fight the Turks" and so manifestly admitting the misuse of the American flag. Is it surprising that under those conditions the Turks deliberately fired at the mission buildings? I would venture to say that of the American missionaries in Van or any other part of Turkey, instead of "fighting the Turks," had rather contented themselves with preaching and professing brotherly love and general Christian principles, for which work they were presumably sent to Turkey by the American Board, the properties of the missions in the Ottoman Empire would have been immune and secure from and attacks.
If there has been any purposely committed crime on women and children we are the first ones to deplore it deeply and sincerely, but with my knowledge of the country and people I consider myself in a position absolutely to deny the existence of a concerted general movement implying massacres and atrocities. If women and children have been killed in the fray I again deplore it, but I want to point out that similar accidents to happen daily even supposedly civilized nations are at war. It must therefore, be considered as an unfortunate but inevitable evil of warfare.
As for the expulsion " en massae" and the driving away of the Armenians from those parts of the Ottoman Empire which are or may be threatened by a foreign invasion, I see the justification of this act of the Ottoman government in the aid the Armenians gave to the Russians. It is well to notice that only in Van and its neighborhood, where the internal revolt of the Armenians took effect, did the Russians succeed in invading Turkish territory. It stands, therefore, to reason that a legally constituted Government, having been deceived by the treason of a certain element of the population will take necessarily severe measures to prevent the repetition of a similar treason, and the consequences it would have in any other part of the country, by concentrating in a place easy to control, all and every member of such a turbulent element.
Of courses an expulsion on such a large scale as bound to create miseries, sicknesses, and even illegal and immoral actions. This is again evidenced by the results noted on the Belgian refugees in England, Holland and other countries. It is most deplorable that similar miseries had to fall on the shoulders of a race included in the Ottoman family as well, but the Armenians have only themselves to blame.
ZIA MUFTY-ZADE BEY
A hard copy of this article or hundreds of others from the time of the Armenian Genocide can be found in The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts From The American Press: 1915-1922