After more than a century of the Armenian massacres during the Ottoman time and the aftermath period of its toppling still the greater part of Armenian people has been convinced that the Kurds as general were played an influential role in what happened to the Armenian people which included the huge persecution, forced deportation, and massacres of nearly 1.5 million Armenians. Hundreds of academic scholars, historians, analyzers, writers and different research centers worldwide were focused on this huge crime from several aspects and still attempts on unveiling the causes and reasons behind this genocide are ongoing. Many of those were mentioned and pointed out to the normal relationship between the Kurds and Armenians of the Ottoman Empire, who lived together, peacefully, in the Eastern part of the Empire called the six provinces (Vilayati sitta) by the Ottoman authorities and included Diyarbakir, Erzurum, Betlis, Van, Sivas and Kharput (former name was Ma’amuratul Aziz), Western Armenia by the Armenians and North Kurdistan by the Kurdish population. Both nations lived beside each other as neighbors from the ancient times of nearly 1000 B.C, through which the Armenian established their ancient kingdom in Anatolia and Cilicia before the migration and occupation of the Turkic nomad tribes from the deserts and plateau of Asia and Mongolia. Later when the Armenian lost their last kingdom, they have been under the ruling of Romans, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, and Ottoman Turks until the end of the First World War, the genocide acts of the Armenian people and lately the Kurds.
Both Kurds and Armenians lived together for many centuries without any big tensions beneath the Ottoman ruling regime and under the ruling princes of the Kurdish Emirates such as Botan, Betlis, Diyarbakir, and others in the North Kurdistan Provinces (Vilayats). The political system of ruling in the Ottoman Empire was feudalism which was based on collecting unjust taxes from the entire population of Empire, especially farmers and animal owners. The process of tax collection was full of persecution, robbery, and inhumanity toward the productive population of the empire, through a harsh and corrupted network of the State agents. Through this way, a huge amount of wealth was poured in the Sultan treasury to ensure his comfortable life in a hand to cover his wars with the surrounded empires and states, especially Persia, Russia and Eastern European States in another hand.
As we mentioned both of Kurds and Armenians were lived together or as neighbors in the villages, towns, and cities of the eastern Anatolia with other ethnic minorities of Turks, Assyrians, Circassia, Lazes, Arabs and etc. but most of the population were Kurds and the second were Armenians. Although their religions were different, for Kurds were mostly Sunni Muslims and the Armenians were the most ancient Christian nation in the Middle East area (from 301 A.D), but due to their long living together across a very far period of time they were accustomed on semi traditions, cultures, habits and even they were too close in their wearing clothes, music, songs, dances, folktales, housings, and so many social and economic issues. They were even respecting the special religious rituals of each other, but this was not banning them to pay visits to the worship and holy places of each other, such as mosques and churches, in the religious and social occasions. The Kurdish princes of the different Emirates of the Northern Kurdistan or Western Armenia, who enjoyed their autonomy and a kind of freedom and independence from the Ottoman Empire, were dealing with Kurds, Armenians and other ethnic or religious groups as same. But according to the feudal system of the entire Ottoman State, all the farmers and people who were raising animals (sheep, goat, cattle, and horses) have to pay their taxes to the feudal lords or the landowners, princes and finally to the Ottoman government and the sultan himself. So without any doubt, this chain of gathering the different kinds of the taxes was full of corruption and unjust attitudes of the tax collecting agents who followed different manners of persecution and hurting the poor farmers, even they were Kurds, Armenians. It should be said that the religious discrimination towards the poor Armenian peasants was followed by the feudal lords and their tax collector agents in order to apply some additional taxes on them, which differed from one Kurdish, Turkish or even some Armenian landowner to another in the rural areas. In the other side it should be mentioned that a considerable part of Kurdish population at that time were nomad tribes and herding their livestock (mostly sheep, then goats and cattle) according to the seasons of the year, whom they brought their animals to the hills and high lands in spring and summer seasons and live in their traditional tents while herding their animals, but for the winter season they brought back their animals with their dairy production to the villages of the settled villagers, Kurds or Armenians, to shelter them with their animals through a kind of social and tribal relationship whom they paid some of their animal production to their villager friends who were forced to shelter them during the cold and snowy winter season. This relation between a nomad Kurd and an Arminian villager was called “Kriv” (means close friend) through which the Kurdish guest has considered himself to protect his Armenian friend from any threats by another nomad tribe. Anyhow the nomad Kurdish tribes were unwelcomed groups by the Armenians or Kurdish village population, for their old unacceptable social habits, such as stealing, revenge, robbery or abducting young women.
Since the ancient times of history, the relationship between Kurds and Armenian people was a complementary role to each other. The majority of the Armenian people were town dwellers, who worked as bankers, merchants, craftsmen, tailors, ironsmiths, goldsmiths, silversmiths. While the majority of Kurds were living in the rural areas were engaged in agriculture and raised animals and a considerable number were nomad tribes herding animals. The Kurds were selling their agricultural and dairy products to the town trades and shopkeepers, who were mostly Armenians and bought what they need of foods and necessary tools from them, in addition, the Armenian city dwellers merchants or shopkeepers were owing money to the Kurdish farmers and animal owners whom they were paying it back an agreed surplus during the production or harvest season. In this manner, every Kurdish Villager or animal raiser had an Armenian trader, craftsman or shopkeeper friend in the town whom they trust each other and put his money, jewelry and his precious property within him to be protected from thieves or tribal invasion in his area or owing money from him. At the end of the year, he was obligating himself to sell his product to that friend, not anyone else. At that time an Armenian neighbor or friend to a Kurd was the symbol of truth and trust. They were known as the loyal people “Millati Sadiqa” everywhere in the Ottoman Empire1. The excellent relationship between the two nations was rarely found such similarity among the other nations. They were the complementary of each other to a level that the Russian scholar and orientalist, Vasiliy Nikitine, regarding the Kurdish feudal landowners, whom with their fighters protect the Ottoman state border against the Iranian attacks, says that “they put all their financial and commercial business under the responsibility of the Armenians, and if the ideal hope of a Kurd is to be a Pasha the ideal hope of an Armenian is to be a banker for that Pasha, so that they were complementary to each other”2. The visit of the Turkish Wonderer Avlya Chalabi to the Kurdish region in 1655 who wrote his own notes, which supported that “the Armenians of the Kurdish Emirates were enjoying a stable and peaceful life and they are wealthy and better than the majority of the Kurds, except the families of the princes and landowners”3. Also the Armenian historian Garo Sasuni has pointed to the Kurdish respect to the Armenian religious institution “really the Kurds as general are wholly respecting it and consider the Armenian Church as holy places due to their respects of religions and due to their respects to the Armenian nationality” 4.
It should be mentioned that by the mid of nineteenth century the Ottoman state invaded the entire Kurdish Emirates and ended their autonomy and semi-independence, under the pressure of the great powers who were dealing with the Ottoman government and the Sultan as their pet. It started to rule the area directly which the consequence was a worse political, economic and social situation which led to several Kurdish revolts and uprisings against the Ottoman rule and marked indications of tensions and unwanted attitudes between the two nations: Kurds and Armenians, after a stable and peaceful life for more than four centuries, a period which the Kurdish Emirates were the factor of good relationship between both nations.
The Armenian Question and the Kurds
The entire non - Turkish nations, especially non - Muslims, and different ethnic -religious groups, who were suffering hard from the unjust rule of the Ottomans had struggled to survive from their persecution and reactionary rule. During the late 18th and by the mid of 19th centuries the majority of the Eastern European nations of Balkan were liberated from the Ottomans through their uprisings and revolutions and strong support of the Western European great powers, especially Britain, France, and Russia. The last one was Bulgaria which has been liberated by the direct Russian interfere. This issue enhanced the Armenians to struggle hard to liberate from the Ottoman rule and to establish its independent state in the six Provinces that they considered as the original land of Armenia, under the leading role of their religious Institution resembled as the Patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul) and the one of Echmiadzin Cathedral in Yerevan, the East Armenia, which was under the rule of Russia. It must be mentioned here that great powers of European Countries, especially Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, and Italy, in addition to the USA, were strongly interfering in the all Politics, economic, military forces, administration and all aspects of life in the Ottoman Empire. They engaged in a hard competition to ensure their interests in the Empire that took its steps towards his death and derived its quite proper name of the “sick man”. They have opened their consulates in every city of the empire and sent a network of missionaries with big financial institutions to be engaged in an enormous spy and intelligent under the umbrella of religious and humanitarian activities. In brief, the great powers’ embassies, consulates, and the missionaries were practical and real rulers of the State. They were working for their own agenda and interests in the weak empire and each one was trying to get more benefit and a big piece of the cake at the end of the empire. For this purpose, they exploited the Armenian case and pretended that they will support the establishment of the Armenian state. This environment has caused to revive the hope of the Armenian people to fulfill their legal dream for liberation and independence and to get rid of the long occupation and sufferings of Turkish Ottomans, especially when they have witnessed the freedom and liberation of the majority nations of Balkan region.
The hope was getting closer than ever when Russia won its war of 1928 - 29 with the both the Ottoman and Persian empires and Eastern Armenia and went towards its west part and controlled a large area of it, including Kars and Erzurum cities. This new event has pushed most of the Armenians to build a great hope on Russia to support their hard struggle for their own independent state in the region of the six Provinces or West Armenia which they considered their ancient historical land, while most of its inhabitants were Kurds and considered it as Kurdistan. Henceforth the normal and traditional relationship between Kurds and Armenian people was to be tensed and henceforth the ottoman regime began to exploit the both of them and to increase the enmity between them, for it was accused Armenians that they were loyal and agents of Russia, working against the Ottoman Empire and considered them as traitors.5
The period from the late 18th century to the mid of 19th century witnessed the appearance of too many factors affected badly on the relationship of Kurds and Armenians that caused huge tensions, which finally led them to fight each other in the late time of 19th century. The first factor was that Kurdistan had fallen under the impact of the political interests of both Great Britain and Russia for the first time in the Middle East. In the arrival of Russia to the borders of Armenia and Kurdistan, some of the Armenians behaved like supporting Russian policy and Russian army too early, in order to support them for the establishment of a homeland on the common area of the both, West Armenia and in the same time North Kurdistan. They ignored Kurds and behaved as they were alone in this area. This event has frightened Kurds and caused deep tensions, especially after the Russo – Turk war of 1928 – 1929.
The second factor that caused a complicated relationship between Kurds and Armenians was the works of foreigner missionaries in the Ottoman state and the existence of the foreign state's officers in Kurdistan with the opening of consulates in the most of its cities, in addition of their interferes in Kurds and Armenian affairs. Their aim was to attract the Christians to their sides and to enlist them under the circle of their effects and interests, especially the Armenians. The appearance of the missionary work in the region was not only the cause of creating enmity between the Kurds and Armenians but also among the Armenian themselves. Regarding this change of minds Hagop Shahbazian, who was an Armenian intellectual of the Ottoman State of a high certification in law and witnessed the events of that period and was aware of the Kurdish role in them, mentioned in his book “The History of Kurds and Armenian” that “until this war there was not any enmity between Armenian and Kurds, except some tensions were occurred here and there”.6
In general, the period after the Russo – Turkish war of 1828 – 1829 till their another war of 1877 – 1878, which the Ottoman forces also defeated, has marked a confusion and foggy situation towards Russian and Ottomans among both Kurds and Armenians, that some Kurds and their leaders were affiliated with Russia and some others with the Ottomans. This issue somehow was also true with Armenians. But in the war of 1877, Sultan Abdul Hamid (who came to the throne in 1876), called for the (Holly Jihad) to all the Muslims of the empire to stay against the (infidels) of Russia. The majority of the Kurdish religious leaders as Sheikhs and Sufis have obeyed the call. After the treaties of San Stefano and Berlin in 1978, the Ottoman State was obliged reactive the reforms of 1839 which called (Tanzimat) in the different aspects to renew the management of the Ottoman society, including the prepare to an autonomy rule for the Armenian people in the before mentioned six provinces, due to the interfere and pressure of the great powers, and to protect them persecution of Kurds and other Muslim ethnic groups whom forced to migrate to Turkish areas and fled from Russia, Balkan and fled the Christian persecution, like Circassia, Lazes, Albanians, etc. Those groups were mostly have been resettled by the Ottoman government in the neighborhood of the Kurds and Armenians, who became later, due to the enhance and encourage of the Turkish Ottomans, the bitter enemies of the Armenians, as a Christ people, during the later periods of the massacres. The consequences of the Berlin Treaty were more hate towards the entire Armenians people in the entire empire lands by the Ottoman government and personally sultan Abdul Hamid himself. Finally, the government obeyed unwillingly to fulfill some points of the Treaty, under the monitory and interfere of Great Britain and other countries of great powers, in addition to the ambiguous role of the network of missionaries in the country. Finally the most items of the Treaty had been neglected and the Ottoman government was hurrying in its steps to revenge from the Armenians as total and their propaganda was broadcasted towards the length – width, North-South of the Empire that the Armenian Christian people are “Gavurs – Infidels”, agents and spies of the foreign Christian states and disloyal to their own country, so they have to be punished, perished and slaughtered by the sharp swords of the real Muslims. That was the real meaning of the “sacred jihad” which tells the Muslim to take his way to Paradise over the killing and beheading other people. Also the “fatwa” announcement of Ottoman Empire’s Sheikhul Islam, the chief Islamic leadership and other notable religious Imams, Sufis and Sheikhs played the important role, due to the Ottoman government’s incitement. On the other hand, they were actively worked to deepen the valley of Kurdish – Armenian relationship and to increase the tension, hate, and enmity between them. So they have succeeded cleverly to exploit both of them, for they were practiced such experience since they came to rule so wide areas and so several nations, ethnic and religious groups, and even among themselves when one sultan was poisoning and slaughtering his brothers and his close families to stay alone on his chair without any competition7.
By the mid of the 1800s, the both Nationalist Liberation Movements of Kurds and Armenians were emerged simultaneously, getting ideas and experiences from similar movements in Western European countries. They both have many ideal thoughts to serve their people and to fulfill their nice hopes and dreams to liberate their nations from the reactionary and corrupted Ottoman rule, who was kept generation after generation of them under a worse occupation to suffer bitter sufferings and torments. But both movements were born with their own faults, mistakes and short sights. The Kurdish one has led the religious leaders or the feudal landowners and was not able mostly to be the real hope of the poor and marginalized classes of the Kurdish people. It surrendered to the enemy after each revolt or uprising without achieving anything for the advantage of the people and even caused to bring more sufferings and deprives to its people, and the effects of the intelligentsia were mostly weak.
As for the Nationalist Liberation Movement of the Armenian people, it was organized much better than the Kurdish one, for there were much more literate and intelligent people than Kurds due to the factors that the majority part of the Armenians were city and town inhabitants and was able to get a better education. Also, the Armenian religious institution was helpful and supportable to the education process, In addition to the network of the missionaries’ institutions which have opened hundreds of schools for the benefit of Armenians. Also, there is a reality that the Russian occupied part of Armenia or East Armenia was much better civilized than the part under the occupation of a reactionary and backward state like the Ottoman. Besides, the international networks of the different Christian Church played a great role in this situation. In general, when we come to comparison with Kurds at that time, the Armenians people were more civilized due to the above factors.
Like Kurds, the Armenians also formed many committees, clubs, associates and parties to serve the achievement of their aims towards freedom and the establishment of their autonomy and independent state. It should be said that till the late 19th century the national leadership of Armenian was the hand of their patriarchate, but the emergence of political parties that adopted liberal - nationalist or communist – socialist thoughts encouraged the Armenians to change their minds towards them to struggle seriously for a national homeland. So in this period of time, three parties were formed: Armenakan party, established in 1885 but without a considerable effect, Hunchaks which was established in 1887 with the Marxist thoughts and Dashnaktsutiun (Armenian Revolutionary Federation ARF) which established in 1890. All the three parties were involved actively in the nationalist struggle, including the formation of the armed militia called (Armenian fedayi) or Armenian militia – irregular units, against the formal institutions of the Ottoman Empire and its agents. Sometimes they directed their activities towards the Kurdish land owners and agents whom they accused them of the persecution or murdering the Armenians. The word fidayi is Arabic and means sacrifice, like the Word Peshmarga, guerilla the names of the militant forces in the Kurdish national liberation movement. Finally, the Dashnak or ARF party stayed infield and it was known as an extremist national party, who engaged in many attacks against the Kurds as an act of revenge that they were persecuted Armenians.8
Both national liberation movements tried to cooperate sometimes before and after the massacres. There were many examples of their temporary relationship, but it appears that the Turkish policy to exploit and segregate them from each other and to cultivate doubt, mistrust, and hesitation was successful. Otherwise, The Armenian political and religious leaders in their dealing with the Kurdish nationalist leaders were mostly short - sighted and the programs of the three parties were not comprehensive and complimentary for the region an ignored the national rights of the Kurds. It was necessary that they should think of a suitable political enclave for the Kurds in their agenda of struggle against the Ottomans for a common State on a common land instead of insisting that they have the absolute right in this land for establishing the Greater Armenia state, while the same area was the Kurds’ land also. This non - logical insisting pushed the Kurds and their nationalist liberation movement to react and hesitate towards the Armenian nationalists, while they were yet on the beginning of a long road. At that time some of the Kurdish leaders were satisfied to establish two states for Kurds and Armenians when they liberate their common land from the Ottomans, but this idea was a kind of taboo for the Armenian nationalist leaders and they were still accusing Kurds that they are tools in the hand of Sultan Abdul Hamid.9
Hamidiye cavalry regiments and the first massacres of the Armenians
The Ottomans and Sultan Abdul Hamid personally were working seriously to exploit both nations, and from 1880s were focusing on the Kurdish feudal landowners, especially those who were harmed by application of Ottoman reform for the advantage of the Armenians, as a part of its obligation of the Berlin Treaty. So those feudal who were supported by the Sultan have influenced badly on the Kurdish - Armenian relationship, for their bandits began to rob Armenian properties in some areas and killing them or abduct their daughters in other areas. But the Kurds as general were discomfort and angry with such kind of behaviors. As per the Armenian farmers in this period of time Lazarev mentioned in his book, The Kurdish Question, “the Armenian farmers and craftsmen were not persecuted by Kurdish people but by the Kurdish feudal lords in cooperation with the Turkish officers and the Armenian import traders. It must be mentioned that the Kurdish farmers who settled and lived in the villages, were living peacefully with their Armenian neighbors and there was not any considerable hostility between them”.10
In 1890 Abdul Hamid has issued a decree to form regiments from the Kurdish tribesmen, under the leadership of their chiefs who were the feudal landowners at the same time. There are many thoughts regarding the formation of this tribal force. Some said that the Sultan intended to use them for his next probable war with Russia and use them to play the role of Kazzak in the Russian army and some others thought that they must be used as a second army to control Kurdish and Armenian revolts. This idea was more logical, for they have been used widely during the first Armenian massacres of 1894 - 1896.
The Armenian rulers were not able to find a proper solution to the Armenian problem, and at the same time, they were frightful to lose Armenia from their grip, as happened with the Balkan previously. This was the original cause of the massacres which some few numbers of the Kurds had been exploited and became the ottoman tool of the implementation, even in the first stage of the last decade massacres of 19th century, that Sultan Abdul Hamid and his government tried hard to throw their responsibility on the Kurds, for there were clear documents proved that the Sublime Porte has arranged these massacres and they were responsible for those huge disasters and tragedies.11
The formation of the Hamidiye Kurdish regiments began from 1891 and completed in 1894 with a number of nearly 35 to 40 thousands of Kurdish cavalry tribal fighters. They have continued their attacks on the Armenian inhabitants and other opposition Kurds. People have submitted their complaints to the government but without response, and after any tension or event it was accused Armenians of their responsibility and starting to arrest many of them.
In conjunction with the formation of the Hamidiye cavalry in Kurdistan, the Armenians, under the leadership of their revolutionary parties, entered a non – proclaimed war with Ottoman Turks and each side was trying to enlist the Kurds for its benefit without any real interest of the Kurds from each side. The Armenian parties, who took in their agenda the armed struggle against the Ottomans, inside and outside the country, believed that by escalation of their violent retaliation will bother the Sultan and push him to react angrily and decide a comprehensive revenge against the Armenians so that the European countries probably rush to interfere the case, as happened with the Bulgarian question in the 1870s. There are too many examples of such actions during the period of 1890 – 1894, in order to attract the attention of European public opinion. On the other hand, the Ottoman authorities were reacting too much fiercely in their revenge acts and widely agitating the religious feelings of the Turks and Kurds against the Christians. The tension has culminated to a dangerous condition which finally caused a real tragedy for the entire region, wanted by the Armenians, as to be said, and then the Turks with their known extreme cruelty in dealing with any opposition movement by any ethnic group within the Ottoman Empire. If the Turks were exploited the Kurds, through the formation of Hamidiye cavalry, to attack the Armenian national liberation movement, otherwise the Armenian parties from their own pushed them towards this way of robbing and killing the Armenians, who they did not take positive steps to bring them to their side while the Kurds were the majority in the region.12
Regarding the intent of the Hamidiye formation, Peter Balakian, in his book, The Burning Tigris: Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, (translated into Kurdish), wrote about E. J. Dillon’s reports to Daily Telegraph and Contemporary Review while he was in disguise investigating the Armenian conditions in Turkey during that period of time and mentioned that “the narrations of Dillon suggestively told that ‘killing, looting, robbing, rapes, and torments’ were destroyed Armenia, and also clearly performed that the ‘Constantinople Government’ was responsible for such situation. Sultan has prepared the Hamidyie Kurds to occur that destruction, side by side with the Turkish militaries, police, gendarmeries and tax collectors”.13
Finally, the Ottoman policy towards the both Kurds and Armenian came to its harvest and in summer of 1894 caused to the horrible crisis in Sasun area, near Mush, with a majority of Armenian farmers who have enjoyed a kind of autonomy and lived peacefully with their Kurdish neighbors for too many centuries without big problems. During that year the area became suitable for some political activists of Hunchak party, with socialist ideas who persuades the Armenian farmers to stop paying the traditional taxes to their Kurdish and Armenian landowners and to oppose such slavery life, according to their Marxist ideas and beliefs. So they gave excuses to the Ottomans to encourage some Kurds, especially the feudal landowners and the Muslim religious leaders in cooperation with the Ottoman military forces, to attack the area and to perpetrate horrible massacre against Armenians in general, while the Ottoman rulers showed themselves as wise mediators to solve the crisis.
Many scholars, among them Armenians, studied the massacres of Sasun and accused the Armenian political activists of their role to destroy the historic traditional relationship with the Kurds that led to the massacres, in addition to the cheating role of the Ottoman Turks which caused that large number of innocent victims.14
1895 – 1896 The Second period of the Armenian massacres
The situation after the Sasun crisis was not stabled, but it was the beginning of a series of fights and Armenian massacres in the whole Anatolia. The Ottoman government began to follow the Armenian activists and arrest them and both Ottoman and Armenian sides started an extreme and violent media war. The Armenian Question became more familiar in the European media and press.
In North Kurdistan / West Armenia the situation became more complicated, for the Armenian parties (Dashnak & Hunchak) were still attacked the Kurdish tribes, especially the nomad ones and the local Ottoman authorities were encouraging some Kurdish tribes to attack the Armenian villages. The most factors that increase the tension between the Kurds and Armenians was the spreading of those rumors by the Armenian revolutionary parties that Sultan Abdul Hamid was agreed with the European countries to grant the autonomy to the Armenians in the six Provinces. From the other side the Ottoman government was agitating Kurds that this region is their land so how they can let it to the Christian Armenians, for the Sultan cannot put out the Armenians from the Muslims’ land due to the international pressure, but the Kurd can do that for they were the real owner of the land, while the political parties of the Armenian national liberation movement had increased tension more and more through diffusing rumors that their independence became close and close. The crisis began from Istanbul and then spread soon in all villages and towns of the entire Anatolia and the Armenian demonstrations were covered Istanbul and most of the cities and towns of the Ottoman State, demanding the acceleration of the reforms but the government repressed them and several massacres and violence took place. Some of the references told that the Armenian massacres were perpetrated in 41 sites through three years from 1894 – 1896. Three considerable events happened in the last year of this period, the first was the Armenian movement in Van city, which the Ottoman forces attacked the Armenian quarter, by artillery, after it has been controlled by Armenian parties and perpetrated a horrible massacre. The second event was the attack on the Ottoman bank by a group of Dashnak members. The third one is the Armenian movement in the Zeitoun area near the town of Mush, an Armenian semi-autonomy area, like Sasun and they did not pay taxes to the Ottomans.15
In reference to the Kurdish historian, Kamal Mazhar Ahmad, in his book, Kurdistan During the First World War, he brought, according to his deep studies, examples of the numbers of Armenian victims in the massacres of 1890s and mentioned that in Istanbul nearly 5,500 were killed in only two days and according to Faiz Al- Ghusain, the Arabic diplomat in the Ottoman Empire at that time, in his book, The Massacres of Armenia, this number was 15,000 victims. Also, K. M. Ahmad mentioned that refer to the French yellow book that in November 1895, 3,000 Armenians were slaughtered just in three days, 120 villages were destroyed and hundreds of young women were raped, in addition to a large number of injured ones and most of their shops were looted. These were just a few examples and the consequences of those cruel events were at least 50,000 orphaned children. While the massacres of Adana city in 1909, which held by the new regime of the Union and Progress caused to the murder of 30,000 innocent Armenians.16
While Peter Balakian, the author of, The Burning Tigris, mentioned that the number of Armenians lost in the mass killing bloody period of Sultan Abdul Hamid was nearly 250,000 due to French diplomat documents. And according to Johannes Lepsius, a German cleric, who achieved an investigation trip in Armenian areas after the massacres of that period of time that those who directly killed were 100,000 Armenians but some other similar numbers perished as a result of injuries, starvation, and disease. As per the information collected during the spring of 1896, the massacres of Abdul Hamid also led to the consequences below: 2,500 towns and village were wholly destructed, 645 Churches and monasteries were ruined, 559 Armenians were forced to convert to Islam including those 15,000 Armenians in Erzurum and Kharput. In addition to 328 Churches turned to be Mosques, 508 other Churches and monasteries were looted, 21 Protestant Priests and 170 Apostolic ones were killed and 546,000 Armenians became homeless. The journalist Timothy Pitkins, after a visit to the Armenian areas and staying for a long time there, who renamed the Sultan Turkish Nero, wrote that Hamid was personally planned for the “Armenians’ extermination” while in the same time he continued in the denial and accusation of the victims. Pitkins asserted that “this was a shameful lie through which the Sultan wanted to satisfy the entire world that the Armenian themselves were responsible for what happened to them”.17
Also, in this regard the Kurdish scholar Hogr Tahir Tofiq, in his unique PHD thesis, The Kurds and the Armenian Question, said that the number of the massacred Armenians in the events of 1894 - 1896 was different according to the different resources. It is hard or even impossible to get the true or accurate number of the victims, as in the other Genocides happened in the world. For example, Louise Nalbandian has mentioned that the number of the killed Armenians was from 50,000 to 300,000 while Richard G. Hovanissian that the number was between 100,000 to 200,000 and some other Armenian statistics gave the number of 300,000 – 400,000. However, the Ottoman State gave the number as only 14,000 Armenians killed and nearly 30,000 have migrated to the Caucasia18. It should be mentioned that there is no any statistics regarding the Kurds who murdered during the first Armenian massacres and especially the one in 1915, either by the attacks of the armed force of the Armenian national liberation movement parties, in name the ARF, or later by the Ottomans and the CUP government or the Turkish nationalist military forces led by Mustafa Kamal.
The Responsibility of the Armenian massacres
This is a big question of the scholars and historian: who bears the responsibility? Sultan Abdul Hamid the second, whose surname was (The Great Assassin or the Read Sultan), with his government, his local authorities and his military forces, or the Armenian revolutionary organizations, especially Hunchaks and Dashnaks, who set a strong uprising against the Ottomans in the areas of Armenian inhabitants, or the responsible were Kurds, Lazes, Circassia and Albanians whom were accused that they were the Sultan’s tools for perpetrate the massacres or the biggest responsible were the Great Powers, especially Britain and Russia, who took the area of North Kurdistan as a field of their power and authority? We have before pointed out to this topic briefly. Regarding the international policy towards the Armenian Question, it appears that operation was bigger than a fight or combat between Kurds and Armenians or a national Armenian movement against the Ottoman State, but the region as the total was entered the circle of the international struggle and competition for influence and control. For that reason, the British and Russian responsibility was not less than the Turkish responsibility regarding what happened to the situation of Kurdistan during the Armenian crisis of 1894 - 1896. When you study the details of this colonial fight you realize that no Kurd and no Armenian had the role in that crisis, for it was as total a part of the comprehensive imperialists and colonialists’ fight for areas of influence and authority in Asia that their victims were the Armenians first and secondly, the Kurds.19
As for the Kurds and their contribution to the massacres in that period of time, we are dividing them into two groups:
The first group was the nomad tribes, who were small in number and their participation was for robbery and looting properties because of the hard- economic condition of Kurdistan at that time and they were far from killing in general or to retaliate from the acts of the violent acts of the Armenian revolutionary units.
The second group was almost the majority of Kurdish people in North Kurdistan, who were bearers of the high Kurdish morals and values they did not participate in those events, and even the Armenians’ experiences proved that only the Kurds, among other nations in the region, tried to rescue them. Ironically, a considerable number of the Hamidiye cavalry regiments were among the rescuers, contrary to the Armenian and Western references.20
1897 – 1908 The Change of Armenian strategy towards the Kurds
The consequences of the first massacres were disastrous on the Armenian society and its economic situation, so their political parties and the Armenians as general began to review the condition. They were satisfied first to rebuild the good relationship with the Kurds, for it was hard or impossible to win the fight with Abdul Hamid and his authority in the area without that, and second was the change in their war strategy from comprehensive uprisings and revolution to the partisan style against the Ottomans in the years 1897 - 1908, through which they recorded several heroic fights. Later they knew their big mistake by lacking Kurdish supports in their struggle against the Ottomans and even they pushed some of the Kurds to the Turkish side in their fight, for they were convinced that their independence was about to be achieved with the aid of the European countries. So they supposed they did not in need of the Kurdish alliance for they considered Armenia without the Kurds is better than with them, the same idea of a Russian prince once he was saying that we want Armenia without the Armenians!
During this period of time, only the Dashnak party stayed to lead the military operations against the Ottomans and the other two parties had lost their roles due to many splits inside their members. As per the Kurds, the Dashnak party followed some procedures in the above mentioned period, such as retaliate from those Kurdish lords (aghas and begs) who collaborated with the Ottoman government during the massacres of 1894 - 1896 and try to obtain those ones of the Kurds who did not worked with the Ottomans or helped the Armenians or stayed neutral at the time of the massacres, to their side, and establish good relationship with the intellectual Kurds who were involved the opposition activities against the Ottomans to unify their solidarity and common efforts.
During this period of time, many political leaders and military commanders of Dashnak party have met different Kurdish Leaders and chiefs and there were close and friendly relationships between Armenians and Kurds and even many Kurds joined in Dashnak party and worked with the Armenian fedayis or helped them in their activities and sheltered them while the government forces were following them, even so many stories and songs were told by the Kurds on the heroic struggles of the Armenian fidayis and called the Armenian commanders and Andranik Pasha (Turkish surnames)for their courageous acts in the region. Many historians have written about that cooperation and told too many examples, as Rubin who was one of the Armenian commanders told about the Kurdish efforts to ensure logistic needs to the Armenian fedayis during the partisan battles “when the fedayis are going to a village they will not leave it hungry because its Kurdish and Armenian inhabitants compete each other to supply them with foods”. 21
On the other hand, a relationship was occurred between the Kurdish elite intelligentsias’ opposition in European and the Armenian political parties, especially Dashnak, in the late of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century.
Nevertheless, the Kurds were often doubtful with the Armenian intents in their efforts to establish the Great Armenstan (Great Armenia) and from the Berlin conference the Kurds were occupied in their mind by an idea that the Armenians will change Kurdistan into Armenstan, who from their own did not show any intention to meet some of Kurds’ rights in this regard and they did not bear even the word of Kurdistan and thought that it was a Turkish trick. Related to this issue a scholar called Mayvsriy wrote: “a large number of the Kurds were not under the Ottoman authority and more than half of them hated the Ottoman Administration. These points were of the interest of common work of both Kurds and Armenians at that time but the short sights of the Armenian leaders and their nonsenses caused them to lose their opportunity and were not able to take use from the diverge between Kurds and Turks and If the union between Armenians and Kurds had happened the results of demonstration and revolt movements were to be something else. The issue that connected these two nations was their common hate to the Turks, but it was too late for them to come close to each other when the Armenians went far with Europeans and the Armenian organizations and groups caused the issuance of legal decisions against the Kurds, especially after the Armenian crises which led to heavy losses by the Kurds.”.22
1908 – 1914: The Kurds in the period of Turkish Armenian Alliance
The Armenians under the leadership of their nationalist and revolutionary parties, the Dashnak party in the top, were allied with the “Young Turks” or “Committee of Union and Progress CUP – Jamiiaty Ittihad u Taraqqy” from the 1890s, so due to the negative attitudes of the of the great powers the Armenians put their hope on the necessity of agreement with liberal Turks who began to organize themselves in European against the regime of Sultan Abdul Hamid. In 1908, CUP succeeded in a coup to bring back the constitution of 1876, and the Armenians announced their support to them.
The entire Ottoman nations and ethnic groups supported the coup, in a hope to get rid of the tyrannical rule of Abdul Hamid. The result of the coup was changing roles between the Armenian and the Kurds, concerning their relationship with the Ottomans and Turks in general. It was known that the Kurdish feudal lords were the masters of authorities in the entire Kurdistan of the Ottoman state throughout of the rule of Abdul Hamid because their interests were converged in some cases, chiefly the Armenian question and not interfering in their tribal affairs.
The Armenian rebel parties announced the cease-fire of armed partisan operations, and the Dashnak leadership told that “our important duty is to protect the Ottoman regime ant to work for the union of the Ottoman nations and cooperate with the party of CUP”23. In 1909 they signed an agreement to work together, then the party transferred its chief headquarter to Erzurum with big parties took place in the most cities and town of Armenian inhabitants and pretended themselves as they were the practical rulers.
In Istanbul, the elite of the Kurds who opposed the rules of Sultan Abdul Hamid established the first political society under the name “Kurd Ta’aun u Taraqqy –Kurdish Solidarity and Progress” and opened their own headquarter.
During this period of time the Armenians in cooperation with the CUP tried to strike the Kurdish feudal lords who have controlled all aspects of life in Kurdistan during the past centuries. Their plans were towards two sensitive questions, the first one strike the Hamidiye cavalry regiments and disperse their strength, which their number has been reduced with the change in their structure and its name turned to be the tribal force, second return back the lands that belonged to the Armenians in the past, from the Kurdish feudal lords and begs whom they took over at the last decade of 19th century. The case of the ownership of the land was a very complicated issue, so it remained without proper solution.
The first event that shook the Armenians - Turks alliance was the massacre of Adana in 1909, that its victims were nearly 30,000 Armenians. The crisis was accelerated towards the accusation of each other the responsibility of more deterioration of their relationships. It was clear that the situation will not be controlled and there was no big difference between the period of Abdul Hamid and the new rulers of CUP. With the results of Balkan war and increasing of the Turkish – Armenian situation and appearing of some indicators of changing the Turkish policy towards the Kurds in the Kurdish – Armenian areas convinced the latter getting their autonomy under the Turkish rule was to be something impossible, so it was their opportunity to bring back the attention of the great powers to their question, that without their support they cannot get the independence.24
It should be mentioned that in the period of their alliance with the CUP, the Armenian nationalist parties went back to their old behaviors to diffuse propaganda and rumors against the Kurds inside and outside, especially with the foreign embassies, consulates, missionaries and perform them as wild people, savages, abductors of young women and always involved in looting, robbery and thefts, while they have no morals and heartless killers of the Armenians. In contrary to this tendency and direction which were practiced by the Armenian political parties there was another direction among other Armenians pointed out to the good relationship between the both people, who assured on the necessity of the friendship with the Kurdish people and direct the Armenian hate and enmity to the Ottoman government and its corrupted management in the North Kurdistan. Although these attitudes are rare but the history has kept some of them like the Bishop of Mush, Nersis KhuraKhunian, when he gave a speech on October 1912 and said “It is vain and useless to accuse Kurds and Circassia or others, because the roots of evil and treachery are the Turkish government and there is no difference that who are heading it even Unionists or others”.25
But the Kurdish reaction was obverse of the Armenian movement. While the Kurdish nationalist liberation movement that developed much better in consequence of Balkan war was against the Turks and the Persians, but not Armenians. For example the uprising of Sheikh Ubedulla Nahri caused by the first Armenian reforms in North Kurdistan in 1879, but it was directed against Persians and Turks and not against Armenians.26
Even though the roles of the CUP and Armenian parties were bad in differentiation between Kurds and Armenians which agitated enmity but there were indicators that the Kurdish - Armenians relationship was still bearing positive dimensions, for example, what transferred by the correspond of (Mishak), the Armenian newspaper, that “when the Kurds fled the governmental troops from Betlis to the mountains were consigned their women, children, and properties to their Armenian neighbors”27. Others were talked about the positive attitudes the Armenian press during the Kurdish uprising of Betlis against the Turkish government and their defense of the Kurdish liberation movement objectives as and goals, told by Jalili Jalil, the Kurdish historian from Armenia, who refers to the articles of the Armenian journalist P. Navasardian on his concern of his long experience of study the Kurdish situation and pointed out that the Kurdish uprising of Betlis was against the Turks and mentioned in his article (Kurdish Uprising or Armenian massacre?) that “the Kurdish movement was an uprising against the Young Turks. It was not directed against the Armenians”. Again regarding this issue, G. Arakilian, the editor - in - chief of the famous Armenian newspaper, told that “It gradually became clear for us that the real Kurdish national movement has the political nature and its origin is not looting, and religious fanaticism or robbing peaceful inhabitants as some people were still alleged, but its content is aiming of the Kurdish national entity with its autonomy”.28
Kurds and Armenians in the first year of World War 1
In November 1914, the Ottoman government announced the war with Russia and the allied countries and rushed with most of its military forces towards the Caucasian front, for the first goal of the CUP was to occupy Central Asia and communicate with the Turkic ethnic groups in order to annex them to the Ottoman State to establish the greater Turkish homeland (Turan). Here the third army of the Ottomans was destroyed and defeated in the crucial battle of Sarikamish with the Russian army which advanced strongly towards the city of Van and controlled a wide area of North Kurdistan and West Armenia. The Armenian forces who took the Russian side in the war and accompanied the Russian army perpetrated a huge scale of the massacres against the Muslim inhabitants of those occupied areas, especially the Kurds who were the majority population and thousands of them were killed, especially males, hundreds of women were raped and killed and hundreds of the villages were burned in addition to the looting of their animals and properties. These massacres of the non - combatant people were continued everywhere of the battles. For example, some reports told that when the Russian forces with the Armenian units advanced in the Beyazid – Aleshkird region in December 1914, the entire 140 thousands of the Muslim inhabitants just 10% of them were saved from slaughter, by the Armenian military units. It should be mentioned that the Armenian and Russian slaughter against the Kurds in North Kurdistan did not stop throughout 1915 in the Caucasian front. So it appears that the first sparkles of killing and massacres in the First World War perpetrated by the Armenian volunteer teams against the Kurds in Alashkird, Bayazid and south of Van and not the Kurds, as wrongly believed by some, began that with the starting of the war, for they did not intend to resist the Russian but to welcome them but those behaviors were led to change their minds radically. There are too many examples explaining those events in detail. One of these examples is what happened in the Armenian uprising of Van in April – May 1915 and how most of the Kurds of the city and its vicinity were killed by the Armenians, as told by the neutral references. Ironically, at the same time, the Turkish forces also were not hesitating to destruct what remained from the Russian and Armenian troops.29
Many of the scholars and historians were agreed on one reality that in the beginning of the First World War in the Caucasian front the Kurdish stance was against the Turks and did not trust them. Concern this issue the Armenian historian Garo Sasuni wrote that most of the Kurds in the third Army were killed in the battle of Sarikamish and transferred a saying from Anwar Pasha after his defeat that “we can consider ourselves victorious in Sarikamish, for we left along the distant road to Erzurum tens of thousands of dead bodies of young Kurds”30. David McDowall also supported this reality and told that “thousands of enlisted Kurdish soldiers were killed in the third army in the battlefronts of Sarikamish and other areas…”.31
So the reason behind turning faces of the Kurds towards the Turks was because those massacres that perpetrated the Russian armies and their accompanied the Armenian militant units along the Russian - Ottomans and Persian - Ottomans, while they welcomed them and even wanted to be on their sides. This means that they were intended to annihilate the Kurds and not expel them from the region to create a suitable situation the six provinces with East Armenia and establish a pure Greater Armenia for only the Armenian nation. In this Regard the Russian prince Boris Shakhovsky, who was in the position of the head of relationship with the Kurds at the command headquarter of the Caucasian army, supported the idea and said “After that massacres of the Armenians against the Kurds, at the beginning of the war, they reviewed themselves and biased to the Turks and fought beside them. Also many of Hamidiye cavalry chiefs had the desire to fight with us against the Turks, so when the Armenians killed some of them and insulted some others they wrote us a letter and told that: we believed that the Russian are governing the Armenians, but now it became clear that in contrary they are governing the Russians”.32
The Culmination of the Armenian Massacres and Deportation
The government of CUP, especially the minister of war Anwar Pasha and the Interior Minister Tala’at Pasha, after their defeat in the battle of Sarikamish and the Armenian Uprising in Van the necessity of the solution for not only the Armenian and Kurdish questions but to reorganize the ethnic map in North Kurdistan and the solution in their point of view was the migration of the disloyal ethnics in the region and to resettle them in the West Anatolia so as their ratio must not exceed 5% to 10%. The second plan was to bring the Turks and other Muslim ethnics whom they were migrated from Balkan region fleeing from the Christian oppression during wars of 1912 - 1913.
Regarding the deportation of the Armenians, the CUP government issued the law of temporary deportation “Tahcir Qanunu”. They pretended that Armenians from the war areas will be temporary migrated to the Syrian deserts and resettled there until the end of the war. Like any of the genocides that later perpetrated against the Jews by Nazi Germany or the genocides of Tutsis in Rwanda, Cambodians, Darfur, Kurds in Turkey and Iraq, etc. the Armenian genocide which mostly here I mention it as a massacre, was covered with denials, euphemism, and very big lies. Although it was a known issue for the Armenians since 1894 or before, the one of this time of 1915 was done under the excuse of war. This time the leaders of CUP, the extreme nationalists of Turks, were prepared everything for their last campaign, depended on their own past experience, In addition of the long years of Sultan Abdul Hamid experience in this aspect. A narrow circle of the Unionist leaders has supervised the secret affairs of this unique crime, under the direct orders and instructions of Tala’at Pasha, the prime minister and the Interior Minister at the same time. The operation started at the night of April 24, 1915, with a campaign of arresting nearly 250 Armenian community leaders and notables of Istanbul, whom they were famous writers, intellectuals, religious leaders, businessmen etc. in order to strike the Armenians and to cause a sudden shock for them. They were transferred to Yozgat area, near Ankara and killed them there, except few ones were saved33. The same campaign was followed in the other cities and then they started the procedures of deportation step by step. Properties were to be listed and collected in the warehouses so as to be returned back after the war but really confiscated by the government. They were sent by caravans or train carts to their last destination, but a very little number of them had reached. The CUP leaders formed an apparatus called Special Organization or in Turkish “Tashkilat i Maxsusa” to run a very savage and inhumane murdering process in the mountains and valleys while they were pushed forcibly to march on foot to reach Aleppo, Der-el-zor and some other places in Syria and Mosul Vilayat. Hundreds of thousands of them, even women and Children, were murdered or thrown from the top of the mountains to the deep valley, or pretended to be transported by the ships or boats in the black sea and then were thrown down in the mid of the sea to be the foods of sea creatures. All the criminals were released from the prisons in Ottoman Turkey to participate in this savage and wild process. All the Ottoman military troops, police, gendarmeries, bandits of thieves, looters, criminals, tribes and even the Muslim leaders under the religious concept of holy jihad were pushed to this festival of killing innocent souls. Besides that, a large number of them, especially women and children, perished from starvation, tiredness, and disease, in their way to the destination sites. Sorrowfully some Kurds, as individuals, governmental military agents, Hamidiye cavalry regiments, tribal revengers or robbers, hungry and poor people have participated, but as general the Kurdish people did not participate in this genocide act, but in contrary to the intensive propaganda several Kurds were subscribed their Armenian neighbors in a big aid even they were under the hard threaten of the government punishments (later we will refer to this issue).
Kamil Badirkhan was a notable Kurd who worked with the Russian military forces against the Ottomans, wrote a detail report in September 1917 about the issue of the Armenian massacres and deportation and the Kurdish positive role, although of the violent behaviors of their armed militia that “many of the Armenians found a refuge among the Kurds during the massacres, while I think that there was no one of the Kurds has been saved from the Armenian side during their armed attacks. There is also an important issue should be mentioned: that in the pure Turkish areas, without Kurds inhabitants at all, the Armenian were entirely exterminated, while in the Kurdish areas a large number of them found refuges among the Kurds and were protected from the massacres”.34
Tala’at Pasha mentioned to the American ambassador Henry Morgenthau (1913 - 1916), about the cause of the Turkish government decision to deport the Armenians “There are three questions that we disagree with the Armenians: first, they made themselves rich upon the harm of the Kurd, second they wanted to govern us and began to establish a State, third, they started to help our enemies, for the assisted the Russian in Caucasia, so we can say that our loss in Sarikamish was mainly because of them, for these reasons we have decided to keep them weak till the end of the war”.35
There are obvious differences between the historical references and the historians of Armenian genocide about their victims of that ordeal. The Armenians said that nearly 1.5 million were killed in that massacre, and some scholars and historians were satisfied with numbers 800,000 and 600,000 while the Turks did not accept even this last number, for example, the historian Salahi Sonyel says that the total number of the murdered Armenians in the First World War was between 300,000 – 400,000 and even some of them like Yusuf Halacoglu reduced the number to 18,000 due to the bandits’ attack on them as recorded by the Ottoman documents! While there are others estimated the number of the victims based on more studies and accurate comparisons, like the Russian academic scholar F. Tarlea, who gave the number of the Armenians victims on its minimum level as such: 182 thousand fled to the Caucasian areas and the Russian borders, 4,200 were fled to Egypt, quarter of a million converted to Islam and nearly one million were killed. Some other references even gave a higher number of the lost, for professor Nersissian, based on hundreds of the historical documents has given the below numbers: 300 thousand were killed during the massacres of Sultan Abdul Hamid, 1,5 million during the massacres of the CUP Government and nearly 800 thousands refuged to Caucasia and some Middle Eastern countries.
The most reasonable documents to accuse the Ottoman Turkish regime about the Armenian mass extermination of 1915 is the book named “The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire”, which documented by the British Scholar Arnold Toynbee, who depended on the narration of 150 Armenian eyewitness. The second is the book of Henry Barby, the French correspond in the Russian army, named, (In the Country of Horror: The Martyred Armenia) “Au Pays de L’Armenie Martyre”, in addition to some other publications, including the story of the American ambassador, Henry Morgenthau, under the title of “The Murder of a Nation”, who paid the great attention to the Armenian genocide and later he published it in 1918.36
The Kurdish Role in the Armenian Genocide
This title is bearing two different meanings, the first one is the Kurdish role of killing the Armenians and the second is the Kurdish role of rescuing them. If you look at the Armenian references and the pro - Armenian foreigner ones that depend on the Armenian eyewitness, whom mostly members of Armenian committees and religious people reports you will find mostly the first meaning of the Kurdish role in the Armenian massacres, while if you look at the events of World War 1 in North Kurdistan / West Armenia that the Armenian armed regiment perpetrated massacres against the Kurds at the beginning of the war and the west part of the region which the Ottomans ordered and arranged for the Armenian massacres and deport them from their origin areas, and then to look also the few Kurdish or other neutral reports of such aspect at that time, you can find the overcome the Kurdish role in the Armenian rescue, especially in 1915, and not its reverse, as shown by the Armenian propaganda, which were largely influenced on the European and American public opinions at that time that probably the positive Kurdish role will exceed too much on their negative one.
As we mentioned before that the Kurds were not participated in the Armenian massacres as general or as a nation, as they were described by several references of that period of time as “Kurdish bandits”, for example, who attacked an Armenian caravan, robbed them the killed them entirely. What happened were the actions of individual Kurds or others, so it not reasonable to accuse all the Kurds of participation in that massacres. There are too many beautiful examples that represented the real face of the Kurds during the dark times of such days. Here we mention some of them as bright stances of the Kurds during the massacres of the 1890s and later we will talk about their role of 1915.
Dr. Kamal M. Ahmad is a Kurdish scholar of history and his historical researches known as neutral and scientific. He mentioned in his famous book “Kurdistan During the First World War” that “although the history of these massacres contains too dark and negative papers regarding some Kurdish circles, but at the same time it contains positive and bright papers with glorious attitudes, especially from the farsighted Kurdish nationalist movement who assigned early many reasons of the Armenian massacres and evaluated correctly its expected consequences. So it tried hard and on different levels to prevent the exploitation of the Kurds so as to be the tools of achieving such dirty duties. For this reason, “Kurdistan” Newspaper, which was the only paper of the Kurdish circle opposed the reactionary Ottoman regime was published detail articles, devoted for Kurdish - Armenian relations and uncovered the Ottoman efforts to exploit the Kurds and agitate them against the Armenians following the notorious policy of ‘divide and hit’. Also the newspaper pointed out to the Attitude of the notable Kurdish leader, Sheikh Ubedulla Nahri during the 1870s to be a tool in the Ottomans’ hands in their bad intention to hit the Armenians and other non - Muslim groups in the area”.37
It was natural for the simple Kurds, to take glorious stands towards the victims of the Armenian extermination and the majority of the Kurds were to be scribed as neutral because of the Ottomans’ threats about acute punishments for anyone who offers even a minimum help to the afflicted Armenians. Despite that most of the Kurds expressed their resentment towards such cruel massacres and were blow up to help the Armenians to save them from their ordeals and to rescue hundreds and thousands of them from starvation and death. For example, V. A. Gardlevski wrote “everywhere there were friends of the Armenians among the Kurds saving them from the Turks’ hands in their ordeals. It was such even in the late of the 19th century or during the First World War, and mostly showed me Kurds who rescued Armenians”38. There are so many documents regarding such kind of Kurdish reliefs which let a Kurdish notable like Abdul Aziz Yamulki to announce that “If there are Armenians in the Anatolia who saved from the Turkish swords, I can say that ¾ of them rescued by the aid of the Kurds”.39
On the other hand Ibrahim Pasha of Milli tribe was known as a very loyal person to Sultan Abdul Hamid, with a very active role in the formalization of Hamidiye cavalry regiments and despite that he took a positive stand during the first period of the massacres and was able to save nearly ten thousand Armenians, for he was in good relationship with them40. In a book issued in Moscow and published in Russia under the title “The Brotherhood Aids to the afflicted Armenian of Turkey”, especially Paid attention to the Kurdish aid to them and their friendly attitudes and said “there are too many lords (aghas & begs or beys) were saved several Armenians, for example, during the massacres of Urfa (in the last two days of 1894), while nearly 2,500 Armenians, mostly women and children, sheltered to a Church to protect themselves, the mobs poured oil on them and ignited the Church, which caused to burn all of them except 50 persons, whom three brothers, Mustafa Agha Rajab (Recep) with his couple brothers Haider and Khalil, managed to save them, and, in addition to that, those three Kurdish brothers were able to protect all the Armenians in their neighborhood and other areas of Urfa and rescued them from the death. Also another Kurdish lord, Mahmudzade Baitulla Beg, who was known with his noble stances, rescued the entire Armenians of Muks area from the massacre, through fighting and expelling the tribal men (means the Hamidiye cavalry), who were on their way to attack the Armenians, besides that he donated, last year (means 1895), a sum of 300 Liras to them, in addition to other helps”41.
In several regions, the Kurds assisted the Armenian to flee their murderers to hide themselves and even in some other areas the Kurds were joined, with their rifles, the combatant Armenians and resisted the governmental forces to stop the massacres. The Kurds of Dersim area were the obvious example of this attitude, who were sheltered more than five thousand Armenians and rescued them from the death (while other historians or scholars talked about more than 20 thousand). Also, the Yazidi Kurds, whom they suffered greatly from the Ottoman oppression, have supported the Armenians with the deep feelings of solidarity. During the first massacres hundreds of Armenians, through Der-el-zor, were took refuge with the Yazidis who sheltered them and did not surrender them to the Ottoman authorities despite all the pressure and threats.42
It was proved that the majority of the Kurds, including the tribal Kurds also, did not participate in the Armenian massacres, but they have protected them. The references mention that no others, except for the Kurds had initiated in rescuing the Armenians from the Ottomans who were behind most of the robbery, looting and finally slaughtering of the Armenians. One of the eyewitnesses mentioned that the Armenians inhabitants of Mardin were saved by some strong Kurdish tribes who were respecting the missionaries whom they cooperated with them. Perhaps the report of the army General Russe Mayewski, who was the Russian council in Van and Erzurum for seven years during the 1890s, under the name of “Statistics of Van & Betlis provinces - Statistique des provinces de Van et de Betlis” was one of the most neutral and valuable reports. He submitted it to the Russian Chief of Staff after the Armenian crisis of 1894 - 1896. The report speaks in detail the relations between Kurds, Armenian and the Ottomans and accused the Armenian revolutionary organizations as a chief cause of the Armenian crisis through English support. Finally, he has reached the reason that the Armenian farmers were suffered from bad consequences of the Armenian question. In the end of his speech regarding the relationships between the Armenian and the Kurds, he says “During the year of 1895, when we reached Mosul they were in good relationship and in many regions of Turkey these two nations were living friendly, but this relationship changed in 1895 and the Kurds were incited against the Armenians, and in 1897 they realized that it was because of their revolutionaries. Then after that, the relation between them became better while who are managing the Armenian issues were trying to get the Kurdish bias towards their question”.43
The role of the Kurds in the massacres of 1915 will be clear if we know that those Kurds who participated in the massacres as Ottoman police and military forces were mostly the prisoners and the criminals who were released from the jails of Betlis, Mush and other places after the Ottoman defeat in Sarikamish and the Armenian uprising in Van, that not all of them were Kurds, whom according to some references their number was not exceeding 12,000 persons and those who participated in the massacres, after they have been released and trained in special teams called in Ottoman Turkish “Tashkilat i Maxsusa”, with the Circassia and Lazes regiments, who bore the implementation of these crimes under the direct supervision of CUP leaders, especially Dr. Bahadeen Shakir, Dr. Nazim and the minister of Education Shukri Beg. The scholar David Gaunt wrote about one aspect of that saying “the Lazes and Circassia were the preferred ethnics to be exploited as bloodthirsty killers who were perpetrated destructions and massacres during the deportation time”44. They were Muslim refugees and forced to be expelled from their areas in the European regions during the Balkan wars. Regarding this issue, the British historian and the researcher of international history Arnold Toynbee also commented and said: “when the deported Armenian caravans arrived at the mountains the gangs of thieves and robbers’ attacked”. He was satisfied with the impossibility of perpetrating such kind of crimes by a normal person unless he would be trained and stripped from the whole human feelings and has previous experience. The unionist leaders, in their secret meetings, studied this issue and reached the reality that only those prison inmates, who stayed in jail for a long time and have their own experience, can dare to perpetrate such brutal acts. For this reason, the Ottoman government released them and enlisted in special teams to carry out the Armenian massacres, in addition to the Muslim ethnics in Anatolia who were previously expelled from the European regions and were persecuted there by the Christians.45
During the Armenian forced emigration of 1915 and the perpetration of a huge massacre against them, large rescue operations were taking place by the Kurds. So in any operation of the Kurdish participation in the Armenian massacre – due to the missionaries and the foreigners’ consulates – we can find a Kurdish rescuer. The majority of the Armenian narrations that filled books like “The Armenian Treatment in the Ottoman State” and others, we will find the Armenian narrator himself, after accusing the Kurds, mentioned that he or she was saved by a Kurdish family or a Kurdish religious man or a Kurdish agha, etc. even one of the most known examples was the Armenian young man, Soghomon Tehlirian, who assassinated Tala’at Pasha in Berlin on 1921. He was rescued by a Kurdish family during the Armenian emigration and the massacres of 1915, whom they hid him nearly a month after he had escaped the massacre after the mass killing of the entire Armenians in a deported caravan, including all of his own family members. The family took care of him and gave him Kurdish clothes to wear and disguise himself until he has found his way to Caucasia.46
Another bright example, when the Russian forces controlled the areas of Mush and Sasun in 1915 they found too many Armenian families were hiding in the mountains under the protection of the Kurdish tribes. In a letter to the Russian army from the escaped Armenians in the Kurdish village of Khatsu, they mentioned that the Kurds of Mohammad Agha tribe had sheltered the Armenians for a long time and engaged in armed resistance with the gendarmerie and Turkish military forces who tried to migrate them and share them their food, despite the hunger of themselves. Henry Barby has published this letter in his book “In the Country of Horror: martyred Armenia”, that bore the date of August 1916. Its content was the demand of a big group of Armenians, who were under the protection of Mohammad Agha since the beginning of Armenian massacres in Sasun area, from the Russians to quicken in their occupation to those areas, for the Kurds had yet no more foods to be shared with the afflicted Armenians, in addition to the continuous threats of the Ottoman army to them and without defense of Mohammad Agha they were all to be killed. Some witnessed that the total Armenians who saved by this Kurdish tribal chief were nearly ten thousand persons, who later assisted them to reach the safe haven across the Russian borders.47
Most of the neutral scholars were agreed that the Kurdish tribes did not participate in the Armenian massacres of 1915, and more than that the majority of the rescued Armenians from the massacres were on the hands of those Kurdish tribes. As the example, Garo Sasuni says “regarding the massacres I have personally experienced the reality that in the years of 1915 - 1917 many of the Kurdish tribal chiefs were put the Armenians under their protection and disguised them in the Kurdish clothes, so because of that they were later penalized by the Ottoman government”48. Even one of Kurdish Chiefs, called Kor Husain Pasha and surnamed “Savage” by the British and Armenians in the late 1890s, was arrested by the Ottoman government in the mid of 1915 because of his relationship with the Armenians and rescuing them from the Turks. The only notorious name of the Kurdish feudal lords which related to the Armenian massacres was Musa Beg, as mentioned by Lazarev, who studied the Kurdish history during World War 1. He mentioned that “the main apparatus weapons to exterminate the Armenians, in 1915, was the regular Turkish military troops and the local police forces, but besides pursuing and hunting the deported Armenians across the Kurdish regions, the Ottomans succeeded here and there to incite the Kurdish feudal lords, so in the Mush valley, for example, too many Armenians were perished by the hands of Musa Beg”. The latter was fighting the Armenian regiments that accompanied the Russian army and was assisted the Ottoman troops in the Armenian emigration operations.49
In the aftermath of the end of World War 1 there too many Armenian refugees in the remote villages or the tents of the nomad tribes in Kurdistan, and after Mudros Armistice a delegate of Kurds was visited the British representatives in Aleppo, who bore a letter to them regarding the Armenian whom they sheltered during their deportation campaign. They have written in their letter that: “there are in our villages and tents a number of 650 Armenians, most of them are women and children. In our neighboring Kurdish fellows, there are more than 3,800 Armenians. They took refuge to us and we have sheltered, fed and protected them from them the Ottoman forces for more than four years, so we do not wish to lose our bread vainly and want to surrender them to you safely. Also, we have information related to other 6,800 Armenians within our friend tribes, who inhabited the eastern areas and we cannot contact them easily, for they are far distant from us”50. Those Kurds have shown in their letter that they were ready for any essential help to look for the survived Armenians, who were scattered and refuged here and there, to collect them. It should be mentioned that hundreds of the Armenians who somehow fled the Ottoman massacres were found safe shelters in the Iraqi and Iranian parts of Kurdistan and ensured their lives and futures.
This was again one of the positive attitudes of the tribal Kurds in both Provinces of Mosul and Aleppo, where the Kurds and Arabs were neighbors to each other. Of course, there were good and bad behaviors by both of them towards the afflicted and deported Armenians. Here the rescue operations were detailed in the memoirs of Setrak Bghdoyan, as quoted by Rubina Peroomian, in her unique book “And Those Who Continued Living in Turkey after 1915”: “After the war, when Mosul was under the British occupation, English authorities there were engaged in collecting survivors who had somehow reached the region. What we know for certain is that they were only a handful compared to the thousands lost. The number of Armenian refugees who were sheltered by Arab tribes, including children who were adopted and girls who were taken as wives, is unknown. Stories and random reports show that these survivors mostly converted to Islam and adopted Arab identities. Ironically, heads of Arab tribes who sheltered Armenians – who did not kill them but Islamized them – were honored in Yerevan, Armenia, on the occasion of the Ninetieth Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, as altruistic saviors of Genocide survivors”.51
If you look at the above paragraph, you will be astonished of such paradox. The Armenian generation of the modern time has honored the heads of Arab tribes, whose ancestors were rescued and sheltered the Armenians and took their girls as wives, whom also were tattooed due to the Bedouin (nomad Arab tribes) habits, while the tribal Kurds had rescued and sheltered thousands of the Armenians, in the same area and at the same time of the history (1915), except of their rescue campaign in the entire Kurdistan region, were to be mentioned as saviors, and honored, like the Arab heads, but paradoxically accused, totally as the perpetrators of the Armenian massacre, in addition to describe them as bandits (chete), looters, robbers, rapists, savages and too many other notorious surnames. Surely this hostility will serve neither Armenians nor Kurds, in their both fair questions.
There are too many examples, documented by Richard Hovanissian, the Armenian historian and the brilliant expert of the Armenian Question, concern the rescue operations, by the Kurds, Turks and others in that period of time. In some of these examples, there were Armenians who paid money to the Kurds in order to save and bring them to the safe haven areas and some others due to just humanitarian reasons. One of these examples, in addition to Hovanissian, was mentioned also by Peroomian, in her above - mentioned book. These are some few paragraphs of one of those examples: “…Harutyan has continued his own story and told of an honorable family who adopted him. So when the massacre began his mother took him to the house of a Kurdish agha who undertook with his wife, Qudrat Khatun, to prepare some papers of permitting to adopt four Armenian children, including a small girl. So she has kept us in her house, and was treating us very well like her children, even I did not feel the separation of my mother and before of my mother’s departure she was told by Qudrat Khatun; your son is mine, if you come back he will be your own and if no be sure that I will take care with him as my own son…”.52
Another example of that heavy ordeal and tragedy of the Armenians was the “despaired mothers were begging the Kurdish women to take their children so that at least the children could survive. In these moments of absolute despair and agony, the physical survival of the child was of utmost importance, regardless of the circumstances threatening the child’s racial and religious identity. Siranush was one of these children. Her mother’s plea had been so sincere and emotional that a Kurdish woman took Siranush in her arms and promised to care for her like her own daughter. How-many babies and little children grew up like Siranush in Turkish or mostly Kurdish families with no recollection of their ancestry?’’.53
After all of those altruistic and humanitarian attitudes, and in the end of his research Hovanissian aimed of additional studies to clear the environments of 1915, and said there were many thousands of Turks and Kurds, were opposed the Armenian persecution and some of them tried to interfere, while at the same time the testimonies of the victims have confirmed the kindness of those people in such cruelties and sufferings, so this means that the human sublime spirit cannot be deactivated or suppressed. There were a number of the ottoman governmental administrative staff from the Kurdish origin were not satisfied with the campaigns of the deportation and massacres of the Armenians, among them were Rashid Pasha, Jalal Beg and Sulaiman Nazif, who opposed such operations. The both of them, as the Ottoman Governors, were delaying the Armenian deportation week after week in order to get a reasonable decision from the higher CUP authorities to stop their intention. Also, so many other Ottoman high officials, including Turks, Kurds, and others from ethnic and religious origins had refused to obey the State genocidal orders towards the Armenians due humanitarian morals and conscience and lost their high position jobs or punished for this reason.54
It should be mentioned that the Kurds of Dersim had a major contribution to process of saving Armenians, some told that only Dersim has saved more than twenty thousands of them. But regarding the total number of the rescued Armenians by the Kurds in the period of the First World War, there are no accurate statistics or independent studies of this regard, while Keeling, the English writer told in his book “Adventures in Turkey and Russia”, which published in London at 1924, that “the Kurds were rescued thousands of the Armenians”. Also, some is talking about 50 thousand and 165 thousand, while the number is rising to nearly 200 thousands by the Soviet time scholar of Kurdish affairs, K. A. Chachian, during the above mentioned time. Perhaps the narration and stories of the Armenians rescued by the Kurds will not be ended, which means that this was the role of rescue the Armenians and not the opposite one, so according to such data and information this issue can be considered as “the greater operation of save and rescue a nation by the aid of another nation in the modern period of time”.55
Rubina Peroomian, in her book “And Those Who Continued Living in Turkey after 1915” refers to several examples of those young women and Children who were, as she told, “rescued, bought or kidnapped and forcibly a Turkified ; they continued their lives submerged in Turkish society, formed families and raised children”. This is a doubtful idea for while the Ottoman government, especially the Unionists, involved in the Armenian massacres and emigration, through a network of its apparatus of army, police, gendarmerie, bandits criminals of special regiments ‘Tashkilat i Maxsusa’, and different tricked populace, under the direct orders of Tala’at Pasha and the other CUP leaders, there were in the same time so many altruist individual, groups and tribes of Turks, Kurds, Arabs, etc. who rushed to save Armenians due their humanitarian, conscience, religion or other incitements although of the State threats for severe punishments. So how can we find a reasonable explanation to the huge number of the children who, as she mentioned in her book “entrusted to a Turkish or Kurdish neighbor” to be rescued, in the despair of their emigrated families, they might be killed and not reached their last destination in Syrian deserts, and while those “Turkish or Kurdish families” were living under the starvation situation of the World War 1, or they were voluntarily converted to Islam to avoid the death march, due to the Ottoman policy of those dark days, through which several Armenians were saved, but lost their own ethnic and religious identities.56
The story of Haji Ibrahim, who lives now in Germany, may be an example of thousands of Armenians, who survived the massacres but absorbed inside the Ottoman society, mostly Kurdish or Turkish. He now, after nearly a century of the calamity, describes his identity as: “My mother tongue is Kurdish, I feel as a Kurd. I am Armenian by origin. My parents are true Armenians. I grew up in a Kurdish village and don’t know a word of Armenian… And when the Germans ask my identity and my nationality, I answer, I am from Turkey. My mother tongue is Kurdish, my identity is Armenian and my religion is Islam”.57
Kemal Yalcin (Yalchin) is a Turk of Armenian origin and the author of a book titled “You Rejoice my Heart – Seninler Guller Yoraghim” on those who have the Armenian roots, is telling this story, Haji Ibrahim, the son of an Islamized couple, recounts his experience as a marginalized “Muslim”. Yalcin sought out this Kurdish - Armenian in Koln, Germany. His search for hidden Armenians in the interior of Turkey, where he had heard they were many, bore no result. He was more successful outside Turkey, in Germany, and to some extent in Istanbul. He knew nothing on his origin. At the age of nine or ten, in a child street fight with a neighborhood child, he was cursed as a gavur (surname of infidel). His father had to admit to him that they really were gavurs; they were of Armenian origin. After Ibrahim had come face to face with the truth, his father began to trust him and talk to him about the past. Under the impact of the tales of horror he heard from his father, and the collapse of the comfortable illusion in which he had lived, Ibrahim grew up a timid man, always afraid to stand up for his rights. Now in Germany, he told Yalcin his father’s story, a gruesome story that he had adopted as his own.
Ibrahim’s father, Shimaver (Shimavon), was a small boy when the massacre of 1915 began. In his family of six siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, he was only one who survived the unspeakable ordeal. Finally, a Kurdish family took him in, but unable to cope with that intolerable hardship, he ran away and took refuge with an Armenian family. Shemavon was a grown - up, self-made man when he married an Armenian girl who was also a survivor of the Genocide. Later and due to constant harassment, he and his family converted to Islam and was renamed Ali, but that did not spare them from the wealth tax (varlig vegisi) imposed on the non - Muslims in 1942. Ibrahim was born to them in 1943. Later Ibrahim migrated, with his family, to Germany and still had to keep his identity secret. It took Ibrahim a long time to talk about his Armenian origin. In fact, it was a Kurdish cleric, Mala Chelabi, who encouraged him to reveal his true identity now in Germany. However, Mala Chelebi has a different conception of Haji Ibrahim’s identity. For him, Ibrahim is a Kurd whose religion is Islam and whose origin is Armenian, and that is nothing to hide. How many Kurds and Turks of Armenian origin are aware of their roots and are willing to acknowledge that? More importantly, how many are those in whose identity the Armenian element overwhelms to the extent of pushing them to come forward and identify themselves as Armenians, that is, Muslim Armenians?58
Sultan is another example. Now in Germany, she defined herself and her husband: “We speak Kurdish at home, that is our mother tongue, and we are Armenians but we don’t know Armenian”. Sultan belongs to the group of hidden Armenians who have cast off the cover of Muslim rituals and returned to their ancestral faith.59
Nowadays, in Turkey there is a kind of tendency, from those whose ancestors were Armenians, to reveal the secret of more than a century, as happened with Seher / Heranoush when she confessed to her grand - daughter Fathiyya Chatin about her Armenian origin after seventy years of keeping this secrecy. This issue incited Chatin to be the most activists of this issue and to author her famous book “My Maternal Grandmother”. Hrant Dink, the editor - in - chief of the bilingual newspaper, Agos, which issued in Turkish and Armenian, was assassinated, in 2007, due to undertaking a campaign encouraging Turks (and others) to discover their Armenian ancestry. He believed that while there are about 70,000 Turkish citizens who identify themselves as Armenians, there are more than a million others with Armenian roots, an Armenian grandparent or great - grandparent. This was a challenge to the supposedly homogenous make - up of Turkish society that could not be tolerated.60
Regarding the perpetrators of the Armenian massacres, Peroomian concluded it as below:
“The history of the Armenian Genocide documents the participation of the populace, Turks as well as Kurds, in the carnage. It also speaks of the chete, criminals, criminals released from prison to carry out the extermination of Armenian deportees. In historical memory were alive in the Turks and Kurds today, if the memory of all atrocities that committed has transmitted, the new generations could ask questions. The proud Turk, of the generation born to the heroes of the war of independence, would himself / herself as the grandchild of a criminal, a murderer, a rapist, a looter. In that case, perhaps absolute denial of any wrongdoing would be more beneficial”.61
It is a very odd issue to understand history as such, and how can you imagine that the generation of today is responsible for the wrongdoing of the past and how can you accuse a whole nation to perpetrate the Armenian massacres, and to generalize the entire Turks and Kurds for the “wrongdoing in the past”, while the Ottomans and the CUP government implemented such crimes against Armenians and Kurds at the same time and later by the pan Turkish nationalist movement of Mustafa Kamal, through the State apparatus, including all of those whom you have mentioned of the exploited groups and individuals, While thousands of Turks, Kurds, Arabs, and other ethnic groups did their best to save of Armenians, especially women and children. It is a great mistake of the Armenian side to look at the Kurds and even Turks the perspective of prison released criminal bandits, chete, thieves, Tashkilat i Maxsusa, or even Kurdish landowners or Turkish high officers or CUP supra nationalist members, while the Turks, the nationalists, and Kurds, except a few numbers of feudal landowners and some other religious exploited, were in the other valley oppressed by the tyrannical Ottoman rulers. Though the Ottoman tribunal itself, in 1919 - 1920, to the CUP leaders after they have been toppled, witnessed the reality of how the ordinary people, as general, were against the crimes of the Unionists and the narrow- minded nationalists. As per the Kurds and Armenians, they were early realized that the Ottomans tried to exploit both of them and somehow succeeded to create a kind of hate and enmity between them. For this reason they tried to unify their both efforts in Paris Peace Conference of 1919, through the agreement of their both negotiation delegates to the conference, under the leadership of Boghos Nubar Pasha (1851 - 1930) from the Armenian side and Sharif Pasha (1865 - 1951) from the Kurdish side, but the interests of the great powers and their new political affiliation, in addition to the new situation in Turkey, finally led to abolishing the treaty of Sevres in 1920, which granted some minimum rights of both Kurds and Armenians. Both delegates submitted a common memorandum, on 20th November 1919, to the Chairperson of the Conference, as below: “We, the signed representatives of the both Armenians and Kurds’ nations, have the honor to inform the peace conference that both of our people have the common interests, looking forward to the same objectives and realize both of their freedom and independence, especially for the Armenians and their liberation from the cruel oppression of the Ottoman government and the Committee of Union and Progress. We are all agreed to demand from the Peace Conference to take the decision of creation united independent Armenia and the independent Kurdistan, with the support of one of the great powers”.62
Refer to this agreement Arshak Safrastian was briefly commented as such: “diplomats, political experts and following them the journalists, of different ideas, were surprised of such agreement between the Armenians and Kurds, while throughout nearly the past half century they claimed that these two neighbor nations are enemies and they will not work together at all”.63
Peroomian was understandably referred to a sensitive issue when she writes “Moreover the Turkish people are led to believe that the Diaspora Armenian Identity is constructed on hostility toward the Turks”. Or in another place of her above-mentioned book she concluded that “In any event, the Turkish people are taught to deny any wrongdoing in the past and to absolutely deny the Armenian Genocide. Their national or rather nationalist identity is constructed around the denial of the Armenian Genocide, and this state-sponsored denial is pushing Turkish society further and further along a road with no return”.64
Once again every scholar or historian knows that the plan of the Armenian Genocide was taken by the Ottoman Government, after the Russo - Turkish war of 1877 - 1878. From 1894 till 1908, Sultan Abdul Hamid and his government were responsible for the details of the Armenian massacres, through the state apparatus of implementing the plan, as mentioned before. From 1908 till the end of the Genocide, the Committee of Union and Progress CUP government was responsible, again through its apparatus, led by the three Pashas: Tala’at, Enver and Jamal, Whom Tala’at was the Prime Minister (Sadri A’azam) and Interior Minister in the same time. So CUP government, under the command of Tala’at, was responsible for the second stage of the Armenian massacres, after 1908. Regarding this concern, Henry Morgenthau, who was the ambassador of USA in the Ottoman Empire, in the period of 1913 - 1916, was the eye witness of massacres, either himself or through the American consulates and others across the Ottoman Turkey and later he collected most of those bloody events in a book named “The Murder of a Nation”. Many pages of the book describe in details horrific scenes of the deportation of the Armenians and their massacres. Here, I quote two paragraphs of his story of that time, especially the top of the massacres and deportation in 1915, just as an example: “it is absurd for the Turkish Government to assert that ever seriously intended to ‘deport the Armenians to new homes. The treatment which was given the convoys clearly shows that extermination was the real purpose of Enver and Tala’at. Village after village and town after town was evacuated of its Armenian population in the conditioned mentioned above. According to the verified data during the six months about 1,200,000 people started on this journey to the Syrian deserts”.65
Morgenthau, as the American ambassador, has paid several visits to the CUP leading officials to give them the formal protests of his country. In one of these visits to Tala’at Pasha he transferred him his countries discomfort and even the strong anger to him concern the violent treatment against the Armenians. During their conversation, Tala’at, in one of his answers told that “Now the protest is useless, till now we have finished ¾ of them and in Betlis, Van, and Erzurum we did not keep any of them. Presently the hostility between the Turks and Armenians has reached a level we cannot stop to end them and if we don’t do so they will revenge from us in the future”. Then Morgenthau told him “but you are doing a big mistake” and repeated this phrase three times. After a moment of silence, Tala’at answered him “maybe this is a wrongdoing issue, but,”, while he was biting his lips and shaking his head “but we are not regretful at all”. Then after a while of silence, Tala’at has proudly told the ambassador that “what I was able to achieve in three months to solve the Armenian problem, Abdul Hamid was not able to achieve it in thirty years”.66
In our point of view, the intellectuals and policymakers of Armenians, in their dealing with the case of Genocide and its history should be more accurate and to avoid the accusation of the all Turks or the all Kurds in participate of the perpetration of the Armenian Genocide, for they are in need to get friends and supporters among Turks and Kurds. They have to look at them from the attitudes of Nazim Hikmat, Orhan Pamuk, Yashar kamal, Taner Akcham, Elif Shafak, Ismail Beshkchi, Changiz Chandar and thousands or even millions of good Turks, who form intellectuals, moderate, democratic, communist, leftist politics, in addition to the Kurdish national liberation movement, who all refuse the nationalist and pan Turkism idea of those Turks who still sank in their utopic dreams of Turanism thoughts to unify all the Turkic ethnic groups of central Asia, from Turkey to Mongolia under an expanded empire, or to revive the “glory” era of the Ottoman Empire. Regarding the Kurds, they consider themselves the parallel to the Armenian Question, with the same aims, objectives and national fates.
The examples of the Armenian rescue by the Kurds are just a few samples of so many recorded and mostly not recorded or covered by the widespread propaganda of the world great powers of that time and the missionaries to served their countries’ agenda more than their religious or humanitarian jobs, as they pretended, and finally some of Armenians themselves were played negative roles in their exaggeration of accusing the Kurds, much more than the reality on earth, while they were too much in need, in the past and especially in the present time, of the friends, like Kurds, who performed such bright stances, as a nation and nowadays are ready to more solidarity. The recognition of the Armenian Genocide and participation of some Kurds in it, due to several reasons of that period of time, by the Kurdish parliament in exile, which established in the last decade of 20th century, was considered as the intent of the Kurds towards the Armenians to start a period of common understanding and common struggle towards the rehabilitation of their historical relationships. Again I repeat that both of us have to get lessons from our lethal mistakes, from that dark past that both of the Armenians and Kurds were exploited from Ottoman Turks regime and from the colonial great powers, whom they, up to date, substituted all our fair rights and interests with their own benefits. The smell of petrol has its great effect on International relationships, from the beginning of the 20th century and it is continuous to our time of today. And for this reason, they have turned their faces from the Armenians, Kurds, and other ethnics after the World War 1, kicked the Sevres, Lausanne treaties and all their decisions in their “World Peace Conferences’. Simply they followed their “Open Door” diplomatic policy, which Peter Balakian named it “dollar diplomacy” and ran hurriedly towards their fatty pieces of the cake which secretly gained from the divided nations and regions of the toppled Ottoman legacy. They paid friendly smiles to the new Republican Turks and forgot what they promised to the Armenians, Kurds, Arabs, and other ethnics. Then soon they forgot everything related to the oppressed and slaughtered Armenian an also Kurds, whom the survivals were scattered worldwide as refugees and then scattered as the diaspora. The left who remained from both nations in despair and miserable condition with a very deep wound in our souls and consciences, that ought to be cured soon, but again I agree with you not just on the base of “forgive and forget”, but also not on the basis of exchanging accusations. Let me Just I tell one bright example of those Jews who survived the Nazi Germany holocaust that they did not forget those different individuals from different religious and ethnic backgrounds whom they saved one or more Jews, during the Holocaust time. Today the Jews’ State, Israel, is honoring them, either alive or dead through their descendants, by the famous Holocaust museum and memorial of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. They call them “the righteous among the Nations” and gain excellent privileges from Israel and the Jews and till now more than 25 thousand people have been honored. May be this issue is a good lesson for all of us.
The British, Russian and French documents proved that to the appearance of the Armenian Question in 1877, there were no hostilities or conflicts between the Armenians and the Kurds, for they were in a good relationship in the most villages and towns that they were inhabited. This situation has astonished the foreigner politics and councils in the Ottoman Empire. This issue was mostly reflected in their reports. The origin of the Armenian Question was seeming to “protect Armenians from the Kurds and Circassia”, but essentially was just Armenian propaganda for the purpose of the establishment on the area of the six provinces, North Kurdistan from the Kurdish point of view or West Armenia from the Armenian point of view, and to expel Kurds from it, while its appearance, internationally, was just another field of the fight between the great powers to assert their control and occupation of the world.
Concern the Turkish relation with each of the Armenians and the Kurds, it has appeared that they did not ally with the Turks against the Armenian Question unless for their interests. Later it appeared that the Kurds have understood the Turks much far than the Armenians, for they defended the independence of their Emirates, throughout four centuries against the Turkish interfere. The essential difference between them was that Kurds were ever wanted from Armenians to be their supporter in the future Kurdish state (Kurdistan), and even to surrender them the areas with the majority inhabitants of the Armenians, but they had refused that suggestion and wanted the entire area to be only for the Armenians themselves. So the Ottoman Turks have exploited this issue and worked hard to deepen the hostility between them, while the Armenian parties of the national liberation movement played a very negative role against the Kurds.
“Overcome the hates” was a call announcement by the Kurdish scholar Siamand Zaid Osman, the Kurdish filmmaker Yilmaz Gunay and the Armenian political and historian Gerard Libaridian, that this issue should be considered in the Kurdish - Armenian relationship instead of mutual accusation of the responsibility for this event or that. We have to take lessons from what occurred in the past. But the too many mutual accusations, especially from the Armenian side and to bear every newly born Kurdish the sin of the Armenian massacres, as in the Christian religion saying that (While a man is born he is bearing all the sins and iniquities of his father Adam). This issue will not pour in the advantage of both sides, especially it appeared that the different stages of the Armenian Question were the cornerstone of the great powers’ fights in the world and it became clear that the accusation directed to the Armenians is less than the one which directed to the Kurds.67
Regarding the Armenians and the Kurds, they were both the victims of Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman regime concern the Armenians and the Ottomans plus Turkish Republican series of governments concern the Kurds. Both were suffered from bitter massacres and forced deportation. For the Kurds, Genocide has not left behind but still works hard. The denial of both Genocides is still in force. The only way for the Armenians and the Kurds, to win their common future as two ancient neighbors from so far period of time, is to build or to renew their historical relationships and to unify their efforts on rational bases. They must learn from their past faults and mistakes. They are not enemies of Turks, Arabs and other nations of this region, otherwise the real interest of the entire nations of the region is to solidarity each other, is to give up hates and hostilities, on the basis of admit the rights of each nation and to offer the consequences of these rights, including the recognition the Genocide perpetration against Armenians and Kurds with the reasonable moral and material compensations, in addition to cure and rehabilitate the historical wounds of all aspects, by those regimes who are nowadays heirs and successors of the past. We should realize that the policy of “forgive and forget”, as some have called for cannot be accepted without given up the “denial” policy and recognition of the Armenian Genocide, with its legal, moral and material consequences and rights. Also, the same thing is right for the Kurds, for their Genocide was simultaneous with one of Armenians and continued up to date. In this regard I can fully agree with Peroomian when she says:
“The change in Turkey should come from within Turkish society, as the current opposing movements of Islamists, moderates, modernists, and others, as well as the revived Kurdish Question, are suggestive of that possibility and as the Turks themselves feel the need to dig into their past, beyond the era of the Republican Turkey”.68
Regarding the questions of Genocide, Democracy, Human Rights, Social justice and so on issues, in Turkey we should think that the whole Turkish nation and its intelligentsia, except those of extreme nationalist Turks and a minority brainwashed people, are thinking of the Armenian Genocide, like this poem of Nazim Hikmat (1902 - 1963), the famous modern Turkish poet, who spent a great part of his life in the prison, under the title of “Evening Walk”, as proof of the Turkish intelligentsia treatment of the Armenian issue. He writes:
The grocer Karapet’s lights are on.
This Armenian citizen has not forgiven
the slaughter of his father in Kurdish mountains.
But he loves you,
Because you also won’t forgive those
Who blackened the name of the Turkish people? 69
Now the time is coming to cure that wound, as one of the courageous Turks wrote in the 81st anniversary the Genocide:
“The history is waiting for that honorable Turkish leader one day to recognize such huge crimes, that his previous leaders have perpetrated. Thus he will demand the Armenian people’s forgiveness and will try as far as he can able to ensure their material and moral compensation, in front of the whole world”.70
Last and not the least, I’ll end this article with a poem by the Armenian poet Varters Karagozian, titled in Armenian “Mets mayrige” (The grandmother), published in the early of 1960s, in which the plight of four generations is depicted, yet direct expression is avoided, but it reflects all the torments, nostalgia and despair of the Genocide survivals of the Armenian people, who somehow spared their lives and stayed in Turkey “the sword leftovers” and Islamized and hid their real identities under its umbrella, live with their nightmares and their bitter nostalgia, as showed and depicted by the exiled Kurdish writer Mehmed Uzun, in his essay “The Pomegranate Flowers”, or scattered hither and thither as diaspora in the world, East and West. They became like “the flour in the thorns” as the Kurdish proverb tells us.
She was a girl, still a blossom
They took her father away
She sat and wept with
She became a bride, a young bride
They took her husband away
She sat and wept with her son
She was the guardian of her orphan son
They took her son too
She sat and wept with her daughter-in-law
Now there is no fear
No massacres and no war
But they took her grandson too
What was that – she sat and wept.71
1. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, The Kurds And The Armenian Question 1877 - 1920, Al- Farabi Publishing House, Beirut & Aras publishing House, Erbil, 2014, p. 64. Reference: Richard G. Hovanissian, the Armenian Question, 1878 - 1923, 1925, P. 31.
2. Ibid. p. 38, quoted from B. Nikitine, The Kurds: A Sociologic and Historical Study, translated into Arabic by Noori Talabani, Duhok, 2008, p. 125 - 126.
3. Ibid. p. 34, The Travel of Avlya Chelebi to Kurdistan in 1655, translated into Arabic by Rashid Fandi, Duhok, 2008, p. 99.
4. Ibid. p. 47, quoted from: Garo Sasuni, Kurt Ulusal Hereketleri ve Ermeni - Kurt Iliskileri , Stockholm, 1986, S. 38 , Kamal Mazhar Ahmad, Kurdistan During The First World war, p. 268.
5. Ibid. p. 61 - 65, quoted from: Hagop Sahbazyan, Kurt - Ermeni Tarihi, Ermenice-den ceviren: Ferit M. Yuksel, Ikinci Basim, Ankara, 2005, S. 48.
6. Ibid. p. 136, 138, quoted from: Hagop Sahbazyan, A. G. E., S. 84 - 85.
7. Ibid. Op. Cit. p. 140 - 143.
8. Ibid. p. 186 – 193, Kamal M. Ahmad, p. 284.
9. Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 284 – 285.
10. Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit. p., 301, quoted from: M.S. Lazarev, The Kurdish Question 1891 - 1917, translated into Kurdish by Akbar Ahmad, Kurdistan Center for Strategic Studies, Sulaimaniya, 2001, P. 212, 421.
11. Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 284.
12. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 215 - 226.
13. Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris: Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, translated into Kurdish by Rizgar Omar Ali, Sulaimaniya, 2009, p.227.
14. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 273 - 294.
15. Ibid. p. 318 – 322.
16. Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 259 - 261.
17. Peter Balakian, Op. Cit., p. 208, 209, 234.
18. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 323, quoted from: Salahi R. Sonyel, Minorities and the Destruction …, p. 292 - 293.
19. Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 308, 368.
20. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 339.
21. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 382, 383, quoted from:
- Jalili Jalil, The National and Cultural Revival of the Kurds in the End of 19th Century and the Beginning of 20th Century, translated into Arabic by Bavi Nazi, Beirut, 1986, p. 94.
- Garo Sasuni, Kurt Ulusal Hereketleri ve Ermeni – Kurt Iliskileri, Stockholm, 1986, S. 121.
- Roubin Der Minasian, Armenian Freedom Fighters, the Memoir of Roubin Der Minasian, translated and edited by: James G. Mandalian, Boston, 1963, p. 90 - 95.
22. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 391. Quoted from: Mayevsriy V. T. Yuzyild Kurdistan’in Sosyo – Kulturel Yapisy: Kurt - Ermeni Iliskileri, Osmanlicaya tercume eden, Mehmet Sadik, Sipan, Istanbul, 1997, p. 128.
23. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 451. Quoted from Fatih Unal, Reflection of the Second Proclamation of the Ottoman Parliamentary System on Eastern Anatolia and its Effect on the Armenian – Kurdish Studies, Vol. 4, No. 10, 2006, p. 53.
24. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 450 – 453, Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 280 - 281, quoted from: M. S. Lazarev, Kurdistan and the Kurdish Problem 1891 - 1917, Moscow, 1964, P. 71, 388.
25. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 501, Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 301. 26. Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 299.
27. Jalili Jalil, The National and Cultural Revival of the Kurds in the End of 19th Century and the Beginning of 20th Century, translated into Arabic by Bavi Nazi, Beirut, 1986, p. 209.
28. Ibid. Op. Cit., p. 222 - 223.
29. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 542 - 544, quoted from:
- Ahmad Rustem Bey, The World War and the Turco - Armenian Question, Berne, 1918, p.96.
- Erdal Ilter, Armenian and Russian Oppressions, 1914 - 1915, testimonies of Witnesses, Ankara, 1999, p. 97 - 98.
Also Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 296 - 297, The Annihilation of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, Documents and Materials Collected under the Supervision of Professor M.G. Nersissian, Yerevan, 1966, p. 209 - 210. (Later we refer to it as “The Genocide of the Armenians …”).
30. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 554, quoted from: Garo Sasuni, Op. Cit. p. 145.
31. Ibid., p. 554, quoted from: David Mcdowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, translated into Arabic by Raj Al Ahmad, Beirut, 2004, p. 181.
32. Ibid., p. 563, quoted from: Kirizoglu M. Fahrettin, Atrocities Committed by the Armenians in Kars and its Vicinity 1918 - 1920, Ankara, 1999, p. 105 - 107.
33. Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris: Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, translated into Kurdish by Rizgar Omer Ali, Sulaimaniya, 2011, p. 371 - 375.
34. Afrasiaw Hawrami, the Kurds in the Russian and Soviet Archive, Erbil, 2006, p. 14 - 15. (in Kurdish).
35. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 594, quoted from: Recep Marasly, Ermeni Ulusal Demokratik Hereketi ve 1915 Soykirimi, Peri Yayinleri, Istanbul, 2008, S. 14.
36. Ibid. p. 595, Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 264 - 265, quoted from:
- Yusuf Halacoglu, Facts on the Relocation of Armenians 1914 - 1918, Turkish Historical Society, Ankara, 2002, p. 84.
- Kemal Cicek, Ermenlern Zorunlu Gocu 1915 – 1917, Ankara, 2005, S. 88 – 274.
- Major General James G. Harbord, Conditions in the Near East: Report of the American Military Mission to Armenia, Washington, 1920, p.7.
- Arnold J. Toynbee, Armenian Atrocities: The Murder of a Nation, with a Speech Delivered by Lord Bryce, London - New York, 1915.
- F. Tarlea, Europe in the Period of Imperialism, 1871 - 1919, Moscow, 1928, p. 388 - 393.
- M. G. Nersissian, The Genocide of the Armenians …, Yerevan, p. XI - XII.
37. Kamal M. Ahmad, Op. Cit., p. 299.
38. Ibid. p. 302, quoted from: V. A. Gardlevski, Selected Works, Vol. 111, History and Culture, Moscow, 1962, p. 122.
39. Ibid. p. 302, quoted from: Abdul Aziz Yamulki, Kurdistan ve Kurd Ikhtilalleri, Vol. 1, Tehran, 1946, p. 62.
40. Ibid. p. 302, quoted from: Mark Sykes, The Caliph’s Last Heritage, A Short History of the Turkish Empire, London, 1915, p. 324.
41. Ibid. p. 303, quoted from: M. G. Nersissian, The Genocide of Armenians …., Yerevan, 1966, P. 100 - 101 and 105 - 106.
42. Ibid. p. 304, quoted from:
- M. S. Lazarev, Kurdistan and the Kurdish Problem 1891 – 1917. Moscow, 1964, P.57, 67, 68, 315.
- Nuri Dersimi, Kurdistan Tarihinde Dersim, S. 112 - 114.
- Harry Charles Luke, Mosul and its Minorities, London, 1925, p. 129.
43. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 357, quoted from: General Russe Mayewski, Massacres by The Armenians Against The Turks, Edited by Prof. Dr. Azmi Suslu, Ankara, 1991, p. 16 - 31, 91.
(Note: Here Suslu has substituted the words ‘Kurd’ with the ‘Turk’, in every page of this book, as Professor Kamal M. Ahmad mentioned).
44. Ibid. p. 600, quoted from: David Gaunt, Massacres, Resistance, protectors: Muslim - Christian relation in Eastern Anatolia During World War 1, Georgia’s Press, New Jersey, 2006, p. 58.
45. Ibid. p. 601, quoted from: Arnold J. Toynbee, Op. Cit. p. 60.
46. Ibid. p. 603. The Case of the Armenians’ Extermination in front of the Tribunal, translated into Arabic by Ghassan Na’asan, Sulaimaniya, 2008, p. 61 - 63, 99.
47. Ibid. p. 605, quoted from: - Henry Barby, Au Pays De I’Epouvante: L, Armenie Martyre, Paris, 1917, p. 103 - 107.
48. Ibid. p. 598, quoted from: Garo Sasuni A. G. E., S. 153.
49. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p.598 - 599, quoted from:
- M. S. Lazarev, The Kurdish Question …., p. 440.
50. Kamal M. Ahmad, p. 305, quoted from: E. H. Keeling, Adventures in Turkey and Russia, London, 1924, p. 209.
51. Rubina Peroomian, And Those Who Continued Living in Turkey after 1915, Yerevan, 2012, p. 62.
52. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 606, quoted from: Richard G. Hovanissian, Intervention and Shades of Altruism During the Armenian Genocide, via at: www.teachgenocide.org.
53. Rubina Peroomian, Op. Cit. p. 62.
54. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 607, quoted from: David Gaunt, Op. Cit. p. 306.
55. Ibid. p. 607, quoted from: E. H. Keeling, Op. Cit. p. 68.
56. Rubina Peroomian, Op. Cit. p. 19.
57. Rubina Peroomian, Op. Cit. p. 83.
58. Ibid. p. 153 - 156.
59. Ibid. p. 188, 189.
60. Ibid. p. 131- 134, 41, 137, 211.
61. Ibid. p. 220.
62. Kamal M. Ahmad, p. 306, quoted from: Arshak Safrastian, Kurds and Kurdistan, London, 1948, p. 77.
63. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 689, quoted from:
Ahmad Othman Abubakr, Kurdistan in the period of Peace, (After the First World War), Erbil, 2002, p. 187 - 188.
64. Rubina Peroomian, Op. Cit. p. 220.
65. Henry Morgenthau, The Murder of a Nation, 1918, Published by Doubleday, Page and Company, p. 149, 150.
66. Peter Balakian, Op. Cit. p. 471, 472. (the Kurdish translation).
67. Quoted from: Hogr Tahir Tofiq, Op. Cit., p. 736.
68. Rubina Peroomian, Op. Cit. p. 222.
69. Rubina Peroomian, Op. Cit. p. 34, Peter Balakian, Op. Cit. p. 667.
70. Peter Balakian, Op. Cit. p. 667.
71. Rubina Peroomian, Op. Cit. p. 113.
1. Kamal Mazhar Ahmad, Kurdistan During the First World War, translated from Kurdish into Arabic by; Mohammed Mala Karim, Beirut (Al- Farabi Publishing House), Erbil (Aras Publishing House), 2013, 3rd edition.
2. Hogr Tahir Tofiq, The Kurds and the Armenian Question 1877 - 1920, Beirut (Al- Farabi Publishing House), Erbil (Aras Publishing House), 2014, 1st printing. 1st edition.
3. Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris: The Burning Tigris: Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, translated from English into Kurdish by: Rizgar Omer Ali, Sulaimaniya, 2011, 1st printing.
4. Rubina Peroomian, And Those Who Continued Living in Turkey after 1915, Yerevan, 2012, 2nd edition.
5. Mohammed H. Tofiq, Armenian Genocide and the Role of Kurds, Published by Galawezh 20th Festival, Sulaimaniya, 1916, 1st printing. (Kurdish).
6. The Case of the Armenians Extermination in front of the Tribunal, translated by: Ghassan Na’asan, Sulaimaniya, 2008, 2nd printing.
7. Arnold Toynbee, The Armenian Genocide, translated from Farsi into Kurdish by: Abubakr Khoshnaw, Sulaimaniya, 2008.
8. Yair Auron, The Armenian Genocide: Forgotten and Denied, translated from English into Kurdish by: Mahabad Qaradaghi, Erbil, 2018, 1st printing.
9. Kristina Koivunen, The Kurds - A Nation of Genocides, Kirkuk, 2013, 1st edition.
10. Justin McCarthy, Asa’ad Arselan, Jamaladdin Tashkiran, Omar Turan, The Armenian Rebellion at Van, translated from Arabic into Kurdish by: Ahmad Said Ali Barzinjy, Sulaimaniya, 2013, 1st edition.
11. Human Rights Watch / Middle East Watch, Genocide in Iraq - the Anfal Campaigns Against the Kurds, translated from English into Kurdish by: Mohammed H. Tofiq, Sulaimaniya, 2013, 3rd edition.
12. Joost R. Hiltermann, A Poisonous Affair - America, Iraq and the Gassing of Halabja, Sulaimaniya, translated from English into Kurdish, Sulaimaniya, 2008, 1st edition.
13. Hazhar Aziz Surme, The Kurds and Genocide: The Attitude of the International Law, Erbil, 2006, 2nd edition. (Kurdish)
Note: For this article mostly I refer to the books from 1 to 8, and the other books were useful as general information for the structure of the article.
Written by Mohammed Hamasalih Tofiq