Armenian Leaders Answer Djelal Bey -nyt19151017

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ARMENIAN LEADERS ANSWERED DJELAL BEY Call Turkish Consul's Denial of Atrocities Mass of Inaccuracies


Say Christians There Acted in Self-Defense---Protest Meeting Today at the Century Theater

OCTOBER 17, 1915

Dr. M. Simbad Gabriel, President of the Armenian General Progressive Association, the leading Armenian organization in the United States, and Arshag D. Mahdesian of the Society of Armenians in America, issued replies yesterday to the statement made to THE TIMES last week by Consul General in New York, who branded as a fabrication the report made by the American Committee on Armenian Atrocities, and added whatever measures the Turks had been compelled to take against the Armenians were due to the hostile activities of the latter.

Mr. Mahdesian said that the Consul General's statement was a mass of inaccuracies, and was "a feeble effort on the part of Djelal Bey to prove his countrymen guiltless of the most terrible atrocities committee against a whole race of people in centuries."

"One statement that Djelal Bey makes," said Mr. Mahdesian, "and which he knows to be inaccurate, is when he refers to a visit to Van made by Noel Buxton visited the city of Van after present war started and, as he put it, attempted to start a revolution against the Turkish Government. The visit he so cleverly cites as a justification for what has happened occurred many months before the war started in the early part of 1914, and nobody knows that better than does Djelal Bey. Of course Mr. Buxton never tried to start any uprising before the war, during the war or at any other time.

Why Names Were Not Made Public.

"Then again Djelal Bey asks why the committee, on which are such men as Bishop Greer, Cardinal Gibbons, Rabbi Wise, Oscar S. Straus, and Cleveland H. Dodge, did not give the names of the people who had reported to them concerning the atrocities the Turks are now committing against the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Well, I will tell him. It was because the committee knew that if they did Djelal Bey would cable all the names to Turkey, and that would mean the death or the torture of every person named.

Horrible as were the disclosures made in the report of the Atrocities Committee it did not disclose by any means all of the horrors of the present situation. For instance, it did not tell of the mutilation of young girls, the cutting up of their bodies, and the stringing up in the market places of the poor remains of their bodies, with signs on the limbs and torsos marked 'bir metallik' per pound. A metalik is one cent in America. This is one of the frightful things they have resorted to terrify the Armenian people, and it has happened in Harput, in Hadjim, in Malltieh and other places. This information comes to us from absolutely trustworthy sources.

"And furthermore that report did not state that the Turkish order to bombard the 'dirty Armenian' quarter of Van was signed by an officer with a German name and that the bombardment was directed principally against the Armenian section and the reservations of the American missionaries, and that during the bombardment five American flags were riddled by the shots directed by the officer with the German name."

Dr. Gabriel, who was one of the Ottoman delegates to the International Red Cross Congress held in Washington in 1912, said:

"It would seem that the Turks have only 'killed' Greeks, Manorites, Bulgars, Armenians, but never massacred them. The Turks have killed them when they have rebelled against Turkish rule. The Armenians in Van, says the Turkish Consul, had risen with arms in hand against Turkish authority, and therefore they could not be regarded otherwise than rebels, and the Turkish troops, after the recapture of the city, could not be expected to treat these revolutionists with glove hands.

"Such is the Consul's argument. It would be worth listening to if it were not horribly twisted to suit his case. The fact is that the Turks had already inaugurated the new reign of terror and massacre in the province of Van, and Van was compelled by the course of 'harrowing events' to resort to self defense. Other towns and villages had surrendered their arms, believing in the pledges if Turkish authorities that they would not be molested, and had been put treacherously to the sword. The Armenians of Van, warned by the experience of others, refused to hive up their arms, but took absolutely no revolutionary steps until the Turkish troops began to attack them and bombard their quarters, not sparing even the houses of the American missionaries.

"If some Armenians in city like Trebizond were of the 'suspected elements' they might be removed 'into the interior of the country' to such provinces as Sivas and Harput which are situated in the very interior of Asia Minor, but why should all the 10,000 Armenians, of Trebizond be evicted from their houses, and even then why should they be men, women, and children, dumped into the Black Sea? The Italian Consul was an eyewitness of this inconceivable savagery. Who dares to deny it? Ambassador Morgenthau telegraphed from Constantinople that the majority of the Armenians in Turkey have been killed. Would the Ambassador say so if he was not convinced of the certainly of the fact?

"How many does that majority mean? At least 800,000. That is the number mentioned in the latest reports and is a very conservative figure. Everything leads to believe that the number of victims is over one million."

Delegation from more than a thousand churches and religious organizations will attend the means meeting to be held today at the Century Theatre as a protest against the massacre of Armenians by the Turks. They will represent all denominations.

It was announced yesterday that Cardinal Farley had officially designated Mgr. Lavelle, rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral, to represent him at the meeting. Some of the speakers are missionaries and travelers who have just arrived from the scene of the massacres. Other speakers will be W. Bourke Cochran, Rabbi Stephen S. Boston. Hamilton Holt will preside.

The doors of the theatre will be open at 8 o'clock. No tickets are required.

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