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The Argus, 22 oktober 1915
Bron: National Library of Australia

Turkish Crimes in Armenia

Armenian Problem

Appeal to the United States


The "New York World" published the following message from Mr. John Reed, its Constantinople correspondent:—

SOFIA, Sept. 14 (smuggled from Constantinople, Sept. 7).— Ambassador Morgenthau has made an offer to the Turkish Government to raise £200,000 to transport the survivors of the Armenian people to America. He has cabled Washington, asking that a commission of prominent Americans be appointed by the President to handle the matter, and suggests five names; he won't tell who.

The Turkish Government accepted the offer on September 3, but Washington has not answered. In an interview Ambassador Morgenthau said:—

"The United States might be the Moses to lead the Armenian people out of bondage. They could be put in the unsettled region of the Western States, in parts of Washington, Eastern Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and California. They are a clean, industrious, intelligent race, the best class for immigrants, farmers, and labourers, eager for education."

ENVER AND TALAAT ACCEPT

"Two or three weeks ago I approached Enver Pasha and Talaat Bey (the Turkish Ministers of War and of the Interior, and the two virtual rulers of Turkey to-day), and suggested that if the wholesale deportation of the Armenians was merely a military measure, perhaps they would not object to their deportation to America. They finally acquiesced."

"By investigation I discovered that a Million dollar is not enough. Five hundred thousand Armenians need help – 110,000 in Constantinople alone. A hundred dollars a head is needed to equip and transport them."

"It is a magnificent opportunity for America to save an entire race, and get a fine element of citizenship. I suggest that the States needing settlers each raise a fund to equip a ship for Asia Minor. Perhaps £1,000,000 will be the needed total."

"In the Armenian oppression by the Turkish Government since April it is conservatively estimated that from 300,000 to 700,000 are dead from massacres, starvation and disease."

ENTIRE POPULATION SENT OUT

In the region bounded by Samsun Marsivan, Sivas, and Hajun, to the borders of Aleppo and Adanah, and the vilayets east to Persia and north to the Black Sea, the entire population was sent out.

Forced to pay 180 piastres (£1/15/) railway fare for a short distance, or walk, women, children and men, sick or well, were clubbed and whipped, 45 into a box car, where they spent five days without food, unless brought with them. Babies were born in the cars, people died in them. Many committed suicide, throwing themselves from the train.

Men were robbed and women violated by soldiers at every station. Entire trainloads went through towns screaming in vain for bread. Men who sent their women by railway and went on foot with other women and children too poor to pay were set upon by bandits from the hills and robbed of all they possessed. Of 15,000 who started for Aleppo on foot, 1,000 arrived.

Concentrated at Aleppo, Konia, Afion, and Kara Hissar, in shelterless camps on the plain, the miserable refugees were forced to sell what little remained to them for food and clothing. Girls and young women were taken for Turkish harems, boys were sold as slaves; the rest were driven out into the desert, where they had neither houses, water, nor food.

FEW OUTRIGHT MASSACRES

There were few outright massacres, but in plain to be seen that this subtle way was taken of destroying an entire race. Pamphlets have been circulated inciting the savage tribes and soldiers against the Christians, fanning the flames of the holy war.

The German Government forbids the publicity of the massacres but recently gave Enver Pasha the order, "Pour le Merite." Influential Germans, like Baron Oppenheim, now in Syria, are bitter against the Armenians. The Turks pretend that the Armenians are spies and revolutionists, and that they are transporting them for military reasons, but the Austrian Ambassador asked Enver Pasha himself why, and he answered: "Because it amuses us." In the Armenian schools at Birdizac the Armenian girls, students, and teachers were given their choice whether to become Mohammedans or not, but many were sent to the harems. In Harput, Armenian women were torn from the school, violated and butchered by the soldiers and the mob. At Marsivan the mob stormed a school, struck the missionaries, and deported 48 girls.

Two American women, Miss Gage and Miss Willard, went with them to protect their charges, and when last heard of were safe at Sivas.

MEN TEACHERS KILLED

Armenian men teachers at Afion were taken into a field and their heads smashed with axes. In the Kara Hissar school Armenian girls were deported and outraged.

The American missionaries and diplomats will not talk. I got most of my information from German doctors, missionaries, and correspondents, but you may refer to the American Board of Missions at Boston, where all the facts are known.

High Turkish officials told me that the Armenian massacres are part of a deliberate scheme of the Committee of Union and Progress to expell all aliens, cherished since the Balkan War, Greeks are marked next, then the Jews and Italians.

They say all Christians must go. They want the American school buildings and property, and then, when the war is finished, they will get rid of the Germans. There is much feeling against the Germans, but it is now suppressed. The Sheikh-ul-Islam says that the deportation of the Armenians is contrary to Mohammedan law and has threatened his resignation because of it since last May.

A subsequent message stated that the Sheikh-ul-Islam, who is the highest dignitary, next the Sultan, of the Moslem faith, resigned as a protest against the treatment of the Armenians.

Colofon