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Adana Massacre

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Adana massacres, April 1909: "Armenian children whose flesh was ripped off with cotton-chopping tools and whose knee tendons were severed,"

The Adana massacre occurred in the city of Adana, in the Ottoman Empire, in April 1909.

In 1908, the Young Turk government had taken power through a bloodless revolution.

In 1909, Armenians started demonstrating in support to the new government's policies of more rights and freedom, provoking Abdul Hamid loyalists and bureaucrats eager to maintain their positions. They organized massacres, known as the “twin massacres” forming what is known as the Adana massacres (April 1/14-April 14/27, 1909). The Grand Vizier Hilmi Pasa criticized these events: “the reactionary, criminal scoundrels who were bent on massacring and plundering the Armenians through a surprise attack.”

According to one source, when news of a mutiny in Istanbul started arriving in Adana, rumours started to circulate among the overheated Muslim population of an imminent Armenian insurrection. By April 14 the Armenian quarter was attacked by the mob, and many thousand Armenians were killed[1]

Another source, however, states that a "skirmish between Armenians and Turks on April 13 set off a riot that resulted in the pillaging of the bazaars and attacks upon the Armenian quarters." Two days later, more than 2,000 Armenians had been killed as a result.[2] The outbreaks spread throughout the district and an estimated 30,000 Armenians were reported killed. [3]

The government of Turkey, as well as some Turkish writers, dispute this version of history, stating that Armenian uprisings, instigated by revolutionaries in Adana and elsewhere, resulted in the deaths of many Muslim Turks.[4][5]

England, France, Italy, Austria, Russia, Germany and the United States had warships stationed at Adana's port city Mersin. They have witnessed Armenians burned en masse without intervening, leaving thousands to be consumed by fire.

The Ottoman government sent in the Army to keep peace, but it largely supported the old regime and both tolerated the violence and participated in it. Adana being one of the few places where Armenians had not been targeted in the 1894-1897 massacres, the new government profited a lot, by reducing the Armenian economical presence from the area. This can be disputed as taxes would have been reduced as a result, the Muslim population didn't have the contacts or the expertise to trade.

See also


  1. Mantran, Robert (editor); Histoire de l'empire ottoman (1989), ch. 14.
  2. AG Chapter 3 - The Young Turks in Power
  3. Adana Massacre - Encyclopedia Entries on the Armenian Genocide
  4. Armenian issue allegations-facts, Armenian rebellions and massacres
  5. The Armenian Issue Revisited - Excerpts from THE ARMENIAN QUESTION, 1914-1923 By Mim Kemal Öke

External links