Exploring the Local Roots of Genocidal Policies in Antep


Theatres of Violence on the Ottoman Periphery: Exploring the Local Roots of Genocidal Policies in Antep

by Ümit Kurt  |  Polonsky Academy, Van Leer Jerusalem  Institute, Jerusalem, Israel
This article explores how and  why deportation and elimination of
the  Armenians of Antep were carried out  during  World War One
(WWI). In particular, it scrutinizes the political and social context in which local authorities, provincial elites, and ordinary Muslims radicalized   their    views   and    policies   against    Armenians.   It
highlights  the  crucial role played  by local elites  and  actors  who prospered through  acquisition  of Armenian property  and  wealth.
In this  respect,  the  article  argues  that  the  Committee  of Union and  Progress  (CUP)’s  genocide  and  deportation decision  enjoyed a certain  level of social support  through  the  practice  of effective
power and control mechanism(s) at the local level.
The Armenians of the Ottoman Empire experienced  calamity of the greatest degree during World War One (WWI). Many males, including youths, were executed  outright, while the rest – men,  women,  children, and  the  elderly – were  deported to the  barren  lands  of modern-day  Iraq and  Syria. Those deported were subjected  to every manner  of misery – kidnapping,  rape, torture,  murder,  and  death  from exposure,  starvation,  and  thirst – by every possible adversary, ranking from Ottoman  gendarmes,  Turkish and Kurdish irre- gulars, and tribespeople to the Ottoman army. Those who escaped  deportation, primarily women and children, were forced to convert to Islam, as a Muslim identity was considered a cornerstone of the new nation-state.1 Principally perpetrated by the Committee of Union and Progress (İttihad ve Terakki Cemiyeti; hereafter CUP) elite, which largely controlled the Ottoman  government at the  time, these  events  constitute  what  we now know as the Armenian genocide.
Existing studies demonstrate the relevance of the mass destruction of Armenians within the broader context of world, European, and Ottoman history. This contextualization  tells the story of the annihilation of Armenians primarily from the perspective  of the perpetra- tors (central political elites) and global political actors (the Great Powers: Britain, France, and Russia) rather than local agents.2 With a few exceptions, the current aforementioned scholarship lacks the focus on the local level or the periphery.3  The existing research also suffers from an important  empirical problem: a lack of sources from ethnic groups  sub- jected  to  violence. Some works reconstruct  the  history of violence solely through  the prism of the Ottoman  archives, while others  rely only on  European  sources; both  are deficient  in terms  of Armenian sources. Using materials from as many  of the  involved parties  as possible  provides  us with a better  understanding of the  factors that  led to the eruption  of violence in localities and its culmination in the massacres.
The genocidal process is guided  equally from the locality as it is from the centre. Any orders  from above  are subject  to be accepted or rejected  by local powerbrokers  – the social and political elites.4  The relationship  between the central and local powerbrokers is symbiotic: the central authorities  need  the local actors to carry out their orders, while the local actors need the central authorities to “legitimize” their actions, in turn solidifying their social standing. I focus on the Ottoman district of Antep, modern-day  Gaziantep, fifty- five kilometres to the west of the Euphrates and forty-five kilometres to the north of the modern Turkish-Syrian border, to exemplify and substantiate how these dynamics consti- tuted  and shaped the Armenian genocide  at the local level.
The southeastern Ottoman provinces of Greater Cilicia were – much like the rest of the Empire – composed of various ethnic groups. It was the same for the centre of this study, the  Antep  district within the  Aleppo province.  Christians and  Muslims seemed  to  live together,  while knowing that  the latter had the upper  hand  in an imperial-monarchical structure. Yet, beginning  in the second  half of the nineteenth century, the Armenians of Antep  went  through   various  social,  political,  socio-cultural,  and  economic   changes. These changes  became  evident in several areas: the economy, trade, education,  and reli- gious institutions.  The advancement of Antep’s Armenian population  in all these  areas altered this imperially hierarchical structure.

Having realized these skewed socio-economic, socio-political, and socio-cultural devel- opments,  the Muslim community unsuccessfully attempted to keep pace with the Arme- nians and  in doing  so generated a sense  of inferiority among  themselves.  This feeling,
David Gaunt, Massacres, Resistance, Protectors: Muslim-Christian Relations in Eastern Anatolia during World War I (Piscat- away,  NJ: Gorgias  Press,  2006); Mark Levene,  The Crisis of Genocide,  vol. I, Devastation. The European Rimlands 1912–
1938 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), esp. 95–172.
3  For some important local studies, see Hilmar Kaiser, The Extermination of Armenians in the Diarbekir Region (Istanbul: Istanbul  Bilgi University Press, 2014); Kaiser, “‘A Scene from the Inferno’: The Armenians of Erzerum and the Genocide,
1915–1916,” in Der Völkermord an den Armeniern und die Shoah: The Armenian Genocide and the Shoah, ed. Hans-Lukas
Kieser and Dominik J. Schaller (Zurich: Chronos, 2001), 129–86; Uğur Ümit Üngör, “Explaining Regional Variations in the
Armenian Genocide,” in World  War  I and the End of the Ottomans: From the Balkan Wars to the Armenian Genocide, ed. Hans-Lukas Kieser, Kerem Öktem, and Maurus  Reinkowski  (London:  I. B. Tauris, 2015),  241–61;  Üngör,  The Making of Modern Turkey: Nation and State in Eastern Anatolia, 1913–1950 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); Üngör, “Diyar- bekir (1915–1916):  Young Turk Mass Killing at the Provincial  Level,” Sciences  Po: Mass Violence and Resistance-
Research  Network,  25   March  2009,  www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/document/
diyarbekir-1915-1916-young-turk-mass-killings-provincial-level  (accessed 9 January 2018); Kevork  Yeghia Suakjian, Genocide in Trebizond:   A Case Study of Armeno-Turkish Relations  during the First World War (Lincoln: University  of Nebraska Press, 1981). The major setback of these studies is the lack of sufficient primary and secondary Armenian materials. But Raymond Kévorkian’s work constitutes an exception in this regard. See Raymond Kévorkian, Le Génocide
des Arméniens (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2006); Kévorkian, The Armenian Genocide: A Complete  History (London:  I. B. Tauris,
4  Tomislav Dulic, Utopias of Nation:  Local Mass Killing in Bosnia and Hercegovina, 1941–42 (Uppsala: Uppsala University
Library, 2005);  Ann Lee Fujii, Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence in Rwanda (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009); Victoria M. Esses and Richard A. Vernon, eds., Explaining the Breakdown of Ethnic Relations: Why Neighbors Kill (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008); Wendy Lower, Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine  (Chapel  Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005). Also see Üngör, The Making of Modern Turkey, 105.

combined with the rejection of equality with the Armenians, caused the relatively “harmo- nious coexistence” between the two groups to become antagonistic. Reform programmes also upset  many Muslims with their rhetoric of inter-religious equality. The Muslim com- munity’s envy and resentment played a central role in the hate-mongering atmosphere. The aforementioned asymmetries  provided  an “ideal” background  that upset  the fragile balance  and  created  a social climate that  nurtured  the  utilization of tools of violence. The momentum of this violence first became  evident  in 1895 and  resurfaced  again  in
1909, but it was not fully put into action for various reasons.
The Armenians of Antep greatly benefited  from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908. It gave them  greater  political power at the expense  of Muslims, who previously held con- siderable  cultural and  political capital. A  career  in the  military, civil service, or politics was no longer  off-limits for Armenians. Muslims, representative of the  dominant  com- ponent  of the  Empire, had  difficulty accepting  this new political reality. It is likely that being considered  an equal citizen with the “inferior” Armenians angered  many Muslims. The Turkish-Muslim community  was already jealous of the Armenian minority’s “unjust” economic  success and dominance in the  mercantile  professions  of business, trade, and commerce   with  the  Ottoman  economy  as  well as  their  economic  prosperity.  Being equal  with them  at the  political and  citizenship level further aggravated this feeling of anger, grievance, and resentment. These sentiments  hardened ethno-economic identities and  resulted  in antagonism between the  Armenian minority and the  dominant  Muslim community. Previously ossified ethnic and economic affiliations and the ensuing antagon- ism were amplified further during the Ottoman  Empire’s political and economic  decline. These groups  thought they  were  being  deprived  of their  ruling nation  status  and  felt degraded.
Finally, in 1915, violence  erupted.  Unequivocally, local dynamics  had  a remarkable impact on the application of mass violence in 1915. Given the above-mentioned features and the considerable number of the Armenian population, as well as availability of various sources, particularly Armenian materials, Antep is an ideal candidate  for a case study, as it shows the impact of local factors on the development of different implementation pro- cesses of mass violence.
Drawing upon  primary sources from Armenian, Ottoman-Turkish, British, and  French archives, memoirs, personal  papers,  and  testimonial  accounts,  this article explores how the process of deportation and destruction of Antep Armenians was carried out. It explains the mass violence inflicted upon Ottoman Armenians in the district of Antep during WWI by scrutinizing the political and social context in which local authorities, provincial elites, and ordinary Muslims radicalized their views and policies against  Armenians. As Hilmar Kaiser and Uğur Ü. Üngör successfully did in the case of Diyarbekir, with a particular con- centration on local dynamics and the role of local actors, I will  build on their work but with one  difference,  by using  as-yet  undiscovered  Armenian materials. This enables  me  to provide  a complex  picture  of the  relations  not  only between central  and  local actors but also among  themselves.
I highlight the crucial role played by the local elites and actors who prospered through the acquisition of Armenian property  and wealth. In this respect,  I argue  that  the CUP’s decision to engage  in genocide  and deportation had a significant level of social support through  the practice of effective power and control mechanism(s) at the local level. The sheer  scale  of actions  constituting   genocide   could  not  be  carried  out  with  a  single
order from the central government. Therefore, local/peripheral dynamics played an extre- mely important  role in this destruction.  As Jan T. Gross eloquently  remarks, the  partici- pation  of the  local populations  is “a necessary  condition  to ensure  the  effectiveness  of genocidal  policies.”5  The CUP relied to a considerable  extent  on the cooperation  of the local administrations  and elites, political institutions, and ordinary citizens in Antep.
Antep  in 1914  had  an  Armenian  population  that  probably  numbered somewhere between 36,000 and  40,000 people.6  It is estimated that  the  number   of Armenians deported from the  city was approximately  32,000. In the  following sections,  I  will first explain the foundation  of the CUP branch  in Antep and then  draw a general  picture of Armenian deportation.  Subsequently,  I  will explore how the  deportation process  in the city took place and  examine the  role of provincial notables  and  local CUP elites in this process.
Antep  Branch  of the  CUP and  Its Formation
After the  Young Turk Revolution of 23 July 1908, new  political currents  and  empire- wide political changes  resonated strongly in Antep. Lieutenant Yahya Bey of the military reserve battalion  stationed  in the city began  organizing meetings  with other  officials in order to establish the CUP branch. At least eighteen representatives of the city’s Muslim elites took  part  in its foundation.7  Prominent  figures from Antep’s  Armenian commu- nity,  such  as  Zenop   Bezjian, one   of  the   directors   and   professors   of  the   Central Turkey (American)  College,  Hrant  Sulahian,  and  Hovsep  Kendirdjian  (big  land  and farm  owners),  also  participated   in  the  foundation   of  the  CUP branch  and  became active members.8
Although Yahya Bey had founded the branch, he believed it would be more appropriate to have a civilian leader. Therefore, Ali Cenani Bey was elected president. Taşçızâde Abdul- lah Effendi was the vice president.9  Among its permanent members,  Bulaşıkzâde Müftü Hacı  Arif Effendi (Mufti) was  the  General  Secretary.10   Two other  founding  members, Rüştü Attaroğlu  and  Mahmut  Çitçi, served  on  its administrative  board.11   Immediately
5  Jan T. Gross  with Irena Grudzińska Gross, Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust  (New York: Oxford
University Press, 2012), 83.
6  These figures reflect Armenian, British, and French sources. Turkish sources reduce these numbers to 20,000–30,000. Population figures for the Ottoman Empire have always been controversial, and the rich literature for these estimates is
too extensive to list here. See, among others: Yervant Babaian, ed., Badmo’wt’iwnt Ah’nt’abi Hah’o’c [History of Aintab
Armenians], vol. III (Los Angeles, Union of the Armenians  of Aintab: April Publishers,  1994), 11–12; Nor Aintab 13 (1972):
33–5; Kemal Karpat, Ottoman Population (1830–1914): Demographic and Social Character  (Madison,  WI: University  of
Madison Press, 1985), 176; Arşiv Belgeleriyle Ermeni Faaliyetleri  1914–1918,   vol. 1 (Ankara: Genelkurmay  Basımevi,
2005), 655.
7  Attendees included Cenanizâde  Ali Bey (a deputy from Aintab), Taşçızâde Abdullah Effendi, Tuzcuzâde Hafız Ahmet
Effendi, Ahmet Muhtar Bey, Kethüdazâde  Hüseyin Cemil Bey, Bulaşıkzâde Müftü Hacı  Arif Effendi,  Mahmut Çitçi, Rüştü Attaroğlu,  Hacı Hanifizâde  Abdullah  Effendi, Iztırapzâde  Şefik Bey, Cenanizâde  Rıza Bey, Nizipli Hacı Mehmet
Effendi, Battal Beyzâde  Tahir Bey, Mennazâde Mustafa,  Iztırapzâde  Celal Kadri Bey, and Daizâde Hasan Sadık Bey. See “Celal Kadri Barlas’ın Dilinden, İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti Nasıl Kuruldu?” Gaziantep’i Tanıtıyoruz 2, no. 2 (1963):
8  Ibid., 16.
9  Ibid. Upon  Ali Cenani  Bey’s election as the deputy of Aleppo, Taşçızâde Abdullah Effendi became the president of the CUP branch.  Ömer Asım Aksoy, “Arkadaşım Faik Taşçıoğlu,” Gaziantep  Kültür Dergisi 5, no. 56 (1962): 173. Bibliothèque arménienne Nubar, Paris (hereafter  BNu)/Fonds A. Andonian, P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, “The Deportation  of Armenians in
Antep,” 11–17.
10  Gaziantep’i Tanıtıyoruz 3, no. 2 (1968): 3.
11  “Çitçi ve Arsan ailelerinden yetişen On Fikir ve İş adamı,” Gaziantep  Kültür Dergisi 8, no. 88/89 (1965): 16–17; Gaziantep
Kültür Dergisi 2, no. 20 (1959): 181.
the new club began  to operate  vigorously, organizing various conferences, and as part of its activities, founding branches of the nationalist organizations Türk Yurdu (Turkish Home- land) and Türk Gücü (Turkish Power).12 These organizations, and their distinguished  mem- bership,  legitimized what  was to follow. All those  named  as members  of Antep’s CUP branch  played  pivotal  roles  in the  massive  deportation of Armenians  and  organized plunder,  confiscation,  and  despoliation  of their  properties  in 1915–17. They were  the main profiteers of the destruction  of the city’s Armenians.
The Deportations Begin
The deportation of Antep Armenians began in early August 1915, which was rather late in comparison  to eastern  regions. The first incidents broke out in the towns of Dörtyol and Zeitun in the Cilicia region in mid February 1915. Dörtyol, on the shores of the Mediterra- nean  Sea, was a critical location in terms  of military landings.13  Using the  pretext  that Armenians were in collaboration with foreign submarines, Cemal Pasha, the commander of the  Ottoman  Fourth Army, Governor of Greater Syria, and  the  Minister of the  Navy, ordered  an operation  against  the  Armenians of Dörtyol, leading  to the  arrests of 1,600 men.14   After this  operation,   fighting  broke  out  with  Armenian  draft  dodgers   from Zeitun  who  had  taken  refuge  in  the  mountains.15   As these  clashes  continued,   in  a coded  wire dated  26 February 1915, Cemal made  a proposal to Minister of Interior Talat to deport  Armenian families from these  two locations. In his response,  dated  2 March, Talat ordered  the  Armenians  to  be  “sent to  the  locations  that  had  been  set  for this purpose,” adding:
It is necessary not only to let develop conditions that might lead to revolution or revolt, but also to act forcefully and speedily in areas where Armenian operations and activities increase, and to extinguish every incident, with effective and definitive methods, together with the local causes that have caused the incident.16
The first formal decision for deportation was issued on 8 April 1915, following an exchange of coded telegrams between Enver Pasha (the Minister of War), Talat, and Cemal.17 Essen- tially, it was Cemal Pasha himself who ordered deportation for Zeitun and who dictated to Talat the relevant instructions. Stating in his telegram  dated  8 April 1915 to the Interior Minister that  the rebels in Zeitun were “harb-i şedid ile kahr [violently suppressed]” and were now “kuzu gibi [like sheep],” Cemal Pasha ordered the deportation of certain families to Konya.18 In order to resolve the Zeitun issue once and for all, he requested more than
12  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 1.
13  Fuat Dündar,  Crime of Numbers: The Role of Statistics in the Armenian Question (1878–1918)  (New Brunswick, NJ: Trans- action Publishers, 2010), 72.
14  Raymond Kévorkian, “The Extermination of Ottoman Armenians by the Young Turk Regime (1915–1916),” Online Ency- clopedia of  Mass Violence,   3  June  2008,  https://www.sciencespo.fr/mass-violence-war-massacre-resistance/en/ document/extermination-ottoman-armenians-young-turk-regime-1915-1916-Regime  (accessed 9 January 2018).
15  Arşiv Belgeleriyle Ermeni Faaliyetleri,  55.
16  Başbakanlık Osmanlı  Arşivleri (hereafter BOA). Dahiliye  Nezareti  (hereafter DH). Şifre Kalemi  (hereafter ŞFR) 50/141, Ministry of Interior/Public Security Directorate (hereafter EUM) to Adana, 2 March 1915; Akçam, Young Turks’ Crime against  Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univer-
sity Press, 2012), 175.
17  James Bryce and Arnold Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman  Empire, 1915–1916: Document Presented to Viscount Grey of Falloden by Viscount Bryce (Princeton,  NJ, Gomidas Institute:  Taderon  Press, 2000), 636.
18  BOA.DH.ŞFR 467/29, 26 March 1331 (8 April 1915). All foreign  language sources were translated by the author.
one-third  of Zeitun Armenians to be sent to Konya and settled  in its Muslim-dominated neighbourhoods.19
In a telegram  sent to Enver, Cemal Pasha said, “The transfer to Konya, of those whose residence in Zeitun and Marash is deemed to be harmful, is absolutely necessary,” because “otherwise the  enemy’s landing” in this area would “make it necessary  to station  many troops in this area.”20 The deportations from Zeitun started on 8 April 1915, with the depar- ture of thirty-four Armenian notables  and  their families.21  These deportations were not carried out  for the  purpose  of extermination;  rather,  they  were strategically motivated and the result of political and military concerns.22 The transition from strategic to genoci- dal deportations occurred  during  the  Van uprising on 19 April 1915. Due to Armenian resistance and the fear of enemy landing in Gallipoli, the final destination  of deportations was changed  from Konya to quasi-desert areas of Syria on 24 April 1915.23  Because “a col- lective presence” in a place like Konya, where the Armenians of Zeitun and Marash had been exiled, “would after a while lead to a coordination of activities with local Armenians,” orders were issued “not to send other Armenians to that area [Konya] in addition to those sent  up  now.” Instead,  “those, whose  expulsion  from  places  like İskenderun, Dörtyol, Adana, Hacin, Zeitun, or Sis [was] deemed necessary” were to be sent to the  southeast of Aleppo, as well as Deir ez-Zor and  Urfa.24 On the  same  day, house  raids and  arrests of leading  Armenians began  in Istanbul and  then  spread  to other  provinces. Including many  Hunchak  and  Dashnak  members  – as  well as  cultural, intellectual,  educational, and  church  leaders  – these  arrestees  were sent  to central Anatolia, where  the  majority of them  were killed.25
In early May, deportation in the region of Cilicia gained momentum. In fact, on 9 May, orders  were  sent  for the  deportation of all Armenians from Zeitun, as well as Furnuz, Kaban, and  Alabahçe.26   Meanwhile, Armenian resistance  in Van followed by the  arrival of the  Russian army on 19 May led to the  widening  of the  scope  of the  deportation.27
Once Van had been  controlled by the Russian forces, “the distinction between innocent and  ‘guilty’  Armenians was rendered meaningless  both  ideologically and  practically in
19  Ibid.
20  For the 9 April 1915 coded telegram, see the Archive of Turkish General Staff Directorate of Military History and Stra- tegic Studies (ATASE) cl.2287, ds.32-12, n.1-37, Documents sur les arméniens  I, Présidence du conseil direction générale de la presse et de l’information, cited in Dündar, Crime of Numbers, 71–2.
21  Askeri Tarih Belgeleri Dergisi 81 (1982), doc 1823, Cemal Pasha to Enver Pasha, Jerusalem, 10 April 1915, telegram 3108,
cited in Hilmar Kaiser, “Regional Resistance  to Central Government  Policies: Ahmed Cemal Pasha, the Governors of Aleppo, and Armenian Deportees in the Spring and Summer of 1915,” The Journal of Genocide Research 12, no. 3–4 (2010): 180; The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)/General Records of the Department of State
(RG 59)/867.00/761, Report from United States Consul in Aleppo,  J. B. Jackson,  to Ambassador Morgenthau, dated
21 April 1915, in United States  Official Records on the Armenian Genocide, 1915–1917, ed. Ara Sarafian (Princeton,  NJ: Gomidas Institute, 2004), 10; Kevork  A. Sarafian,  ed., Badmutyun  Aintabi Hayots, vol. I (LA:  Union of the Armenians of Aintab, 1953), 1019.
22  Bloxham, The Great Game of Genocide, 80–2.
23  Dündar, Crime of Numbers, 75.
24  BOA.DH.ŞFR 52/93,  EUM to Cemal Pasha, 24 April 1915.
25  BOA.DH.ŞFR 52/95,  EUM to all governors, 24 April 1915. Two days later, Enver Pasha gave orders to the commanders that all Armenian organizations had to be closed; see ATASE cl.2287, ds.32-12, f. 12-1 in Documents Sur les Armeniens,
v. 1, Presidence  du conseil direction generale de la presse et de l’information, 75–87, cited in Dündar, Crime of Numbers,
26  BOA.DH.ŞFR 52/286, coded telegram from  EUM to the Provincial District of Marash, 9 May 1915 and also see NA/RG59/
867.4016/95 from Henry Morgenthau American Ambassador, Istanbul to the Secretary of State, 20 July 1915, in United
States Official Records, 98; for the number of Armenians deported from places like Hacin and Dörtyol, see BOA.DH.ŞFR
52/338,  EUM to Adana, 12 May 1915.
27  Bryce and Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians, 100.
CUP eyes.”28  For the  CUP, the  Van rising was a realization of “a prophecy  of Armenian treachery.”29 As Türkyılmaz notes, Van was “the site in the Ottoman Empire where the gen- ocidal intent of the Young Turk government first materialized.”30 In the same vein, notable historian Donald Bloxham hints that the “Van episode contributed to the exacerbation  of existing CUP policy and the unleashing of its most extreme tendencies.”31  Indeed, in May
1915, the Ottoman government embarked  on a deportation policy that would evolve into an empire-wide  programme ultimately targeting  the Empire’s entire Ottoman  Armenian population.  On 23 May 1915, new regions were added  to the deportation list. According to the list of instructions received by Cemal Pasha, the Armenian population  was to be removed  from:
(1)  The provinces of Erzurum, Van, and Bitlis.
(2)  Besides the provinces of Adana, Mersin, Kozan, and Cebel-i Bereket, the population  of the cities of Adana, Sis, and Mersin.
(3)  The provincial district of Marash, besides the population  of the city of Marash.
(4)  The town  and  villages inside  the  counties  of İskenderun,  Bilan, Cisr-i Şuğur, and
Antalya, besides the central county of the Aleppo province.32
The large-scale deportations of 24 April 1915 and 23 May 1915 “signified an intensifica- tion of the  anti-Armenian measures,  escalating  in the  summer  of 1915 into genocidal destruction.”33  On 24 May, As a result of Russian attempt to warn the Ottoman  Empire, the   Entente   (Britain, France,  and   Russia) issued  a  declaration   “promising  to  hold Ottoman leaders and officials accountable  for atrocities against Christians.”34 Nevertheless, the  atrocities  intensified  still further  on  the  very next  day.  On  26  May, Talat Pasha requested permission  from  the  Grand  Vizier to  issue  a  temporary  deportation law.35
This was  the  “official  legal  cover  for  the  deportation  of  Armenians  to  the  Syrian desert.”36 The execution of the deportation programme rested with the Ministry of Interior and especially with the ministry’s İskan-ı Aşair ve Muhacirin Müdüriyeti (Directorate for the Settlement of Tribes and Immigrants; IAMM). On 21 June, the CUP government issued new orders to deport “all Armenians, without exception” from Trabzon, Diyarbekir, Canik, Sivas, and Ma’muretü’l-aziz.37 However, Antep did not become an “area of displacement” until at
28  Donald Bloxham, “The Armenian Genocide of 1915–1916: Cumulative Radicalization and the Development of a Destruc- tion Policy,” Past and Present, no. 181 (2003): 188.
29  Ibid., 189.
30  Yektan Türkyılmaz, “Rethinking Genocide: Violence and Victimhood in Eastern Anatolia, 1913–1915” (PhD diss., Duke
University, 2011), 23.
31  Bloxham, “The Armenian Genocide  of 1915–1916,” 190–1.
32  BOA.DH.ŞFR 53/94 coded telegram from Minister of Interior Talat to the commander of the Imperial Fourth Army, 23
May 1915.
33  Üngör, “Diyarbekir (1915–1916).”
34  Dadrian, History of the Armenian Genocide, 239; Bloxham, “The Armenian  Genocide  of 1915–1916,” 179–80.
35  Takvim-i Vekayi no. 2189, 19 May 1331 (1 June 1915). The precise name of the law is Vakt-i Seferde İcraat-ı Hükûmete
Karşı Gelenler İçin Cihet-i Askeriyece İttihâz Olunacak Tedâbir Hakkında Muvakkat Kanun (Provisional Law on Steps to be
Taken Militarily Concerning Those Who during Campaigns Oppose the Actions of the Government).  Also see Üngör, The
Making of Modern Turkey, 71.
36  Üngör, The Making of Modern Turkey, 71.
37  BOA.DH.ŞFR 54/87, 21 June 1915;  BOA.DH.ŞFR 54-A/97, 24 July 1915;  BOA.DH.ŞFR 54-A/100, 25 July 1915. On 20 July
1915, Talat Pasha asked all governors  and mutasarrıfs (district governors) to prepare maps and statistical tables of the ethnic composition of all villages and neighbourhoods. See BOA.DH.ŞFR 54-A/51, 21 July 1915. In the well-known “Black Book of Talat Pasha,” Talat Pasha provided detailed figures for cities in every province and provincial district on the numbers of Armenians.  This book was published by Turkish journalist  Murat Bardakçı in 2008. See Murat Bardakçı,
least July 1915.38  In fact, in a coded telegram sent by Talat to Cemal Pasha regarding  the deportations,  Antep Armenians were not specified among other Armenians who would be expelled from Aleppo.39  Yet Antep was ultimately included in the deportation scheme at the end of July.
The Road to Deportations in Antep
In late March 1915, Aleppo Governor Celal Bey reported  to Cemal Pasha that some Arme- nians living in the Muslim quarters  of Antep were discretely moving their belongings  to the Armenian quarters; this news created  great concern  among  the Muslim population, who feared  the  Armenians could revolt. Cemal informed  the  Ministry of Interior, which in  response   ordered   the  Aleppo  province  to  make  the  following  announcement  in Antep on 29 March:
No Armenian shall be allowed tebdil-i mekan [change of place]; those who have done so shall return to their prior neighborhood; the properties, lives, and honor of the population  loyal to the Government shall be protected against any attacks, and the slightest assault by the Muslim population  against any Armenian, even if they were revolutionaries or rioters, shall be subject to immediate  disciplinary action.40
Aram Andonian, an Armenian journalist and intellectual, noted that by taking advantage of the  incidents  in Zeitun and Marash as early as March and presenting the  Armenians of Antep as a harmful element, the leaders of Antep’s CUP – led by Ali Cenani, the parliamen- tary deputy for Antep, Fadıl Bey, the former district governor of Kilis, and Hacı Mustafa Bey, a prominent  Kilis notable  – repeatedly  appealed to Istanbul, hoping to obtain a deporta- tion decision for the Armenians of Antep and Kilis.41 However, Şükrü Bey, the Antep district governor, and Hilmi Bey, the Antep military commander,  notified the central government that there was no valid reason for deportation.42 As a response to Şükrü and Hilmi’s oppo- sition, Ali Cenani, Fadıl, and Hacı Mustafa organized  provocations  with the assistance  of their  Marash counterparts.43  They sent  telegrams  to  the  central  government  claiming that  Antep  Armenians  had  attacked   mosques   with  weapons,   killed Muslims, raped Muslim women, burned  down Muslim houses, and plundered their properties.44
Hilmi Bey asked Cemal Pasha to punish  the  provocateurs,  whereas  Unionists argued that  Hilmi was  an  Armenian  sympathizer.45   Celal Bey  reported   that   this  situation
Talat Paşa’nın Evrak-ı Metrukesi: Sadrazam Talat Paşa’nın Özel Arşivinde Bulunan Ermeni Tehciri Konusundaki Belgeler ve
Hususi Yazışmalar (Istanbul: Everest Yayınları, 2008), 76–7, 89–94,  101–4, and 108–45.
38  Arşiv Belgeleriyle Ermeni Faaliyetleri, 152; Azmi Süslü, Ermeniler ve 1915 Tehcir Olayı (Ankara: Yüzüncü Yıl Üniversitesi
Yayınları, 1990), 112.
39  BOA.DH.SFR 53/94, Coded telegram from interior minister Talat to the commander of the Imperial Fourth Army, 23 May
1915; Arşiv Belgeleriyle Ermeni Faaliyetleri, vol. 8 (Ankara:  ATASE Yayınları,  2008),  3.
40  BOA.DH.EUM.II.Şube 68/34 and 466/92, Aleppo Governor Celal to Ministry of Interior, 29 March 1915.
41  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 3.
42  Ibid., 3; Krikor Bogharian,  Orakrutyun  Darakiri Gyankis [Diary of My Life in Exile], in Tseghasban  Turke. Vgayutyunner
Kaghadz Hrashkov Prgvadzneru Zruytsneren [Genocider Turk: Testimonies  Composed  from the Accounts of Armenians
Who Miraculously Survived] (Beirut: Shirag, 1973), 121–2; Sebuh  Aguni, Milion mı Hayeru Charti Badmutyunı [History of the Massacre of One Million Armenians]  (Istanbul: H. Asaduryan  Vortik, 1920), 310.
43  In fact, Wolffskeel, chief of staff to Fahri Pasha, confirmed that certain circles in Marash sent a blatantly “made up tele- gram” to Istanbul in which they affirmed that the Armenians had “occupied a mosque” and “began to kill the Muslims.”
Hilmar Kaiser, ed., Eberhard  Count Wolffskeel Von Reichenberg,  Zeitun, Mousa Dagh, Ourfa: Letters on the Armenian Gen-
ocide, Letter to his wife, 24 April 1915 (London: Gomidas Institute, 2004), 14.
44  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 4.
45  Ibid., 4.
caused  great panic among  Antep Armenians, who, in light of his investigations, feared umumi kıtal (general  massacre).46   Upon these  developments, Cemal Pasha sent  Fahri Pasha, the second  in command  in the Fourth Army, to Antep in April 1915 so that  he could investigate in person. Police searches  of the Armenian neighbourhoods failed to provide confirmation of these  accusations.47  In fact, the  American Consul in Aleppo, Jesse B. Jackson, noted  that Fahri Pasha announced to Antep’s leading Muslims, in the presence  of Christians, that  “if any Muslim frightened  Christians [Armenians] or in any way treated  them  unkindly, he would himself hang  him even if the  offender  were his own brother.”48  He also conversed  in a very friendly way with the Christian leaders in the city.
After Fahri left Antep, the situation worsened.  Ali Bey, a ranking member  of Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa  (the  Special  Organization;  SO)49  and  bandit  leader,  was  summoned  by  Ali Cenani and arrived in Antep in late April with a squadron  of bandits, who organized plun- ders and committed the first murders  outside  the city.50  On 30 April 1915, the first raids took  place  inside the  city.51  To obtain  the  supposed weapons  and  “harmful” writings, houses   of  prominent   Armenians,  including  Dashnak  and   Hunchak  members,   were raided,  but  nothing   incriminating  could  be  found.52    Nevertheless,  many  Armenians were arrested.  Another wave of house  searches  was conducted on 1 May, and ten men were  arrested   and  brought   before  the  court-martial  in  Aleppo.53   Additionally, thirty leading political figures from the Armenian community were sent to Aleppo for interrog- ation. Eighteen were sent back to Antep following their questioning.54 Ultimately, no incri- minating evidence  was found, and all were set free. House raids and individual arrests of intellectuals peaked with the collective arrests of 200 people on 12 May.55 Celal Bey helped to release most of those apprehended.56 Some detainees were released on the same day, and others were freed after a few days.57
46  BOA.DH.ŞFR 52/48, Ministry of Interior to Aleppo Province, 20 April 1915;  BOA.DH.ŞFR 468/54; BOA.DH.ŞFR.II.Şube 10/
89, 21 April 1915.
47  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 4.
48  NA/RG59/867.00/761, Report from United States consul in Aleppo,  J. B. Jackson,  to Ambassador Morgenthau, 21 April
1915, in United States Official Records,  12; “Miss Frearson’s Experiences and Observations in Turkey,” The American
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) Papers,, 1817–1919, Houghton Library Microfilm Reel
670-7.1.20, Unit 5, Vol. 2, Part 1, 10.
49  The SO officially existed  from 13 November  1913 to 30 October 1918. Its operations included “the recruitment, training, and supervision of armed groups tasked with conducting asymmetric warfare to weaken enemy morale and fighting strength.” See Polat Safi, “History in the Trench: The Ottoman Special Organization – Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa Literature,”
Middle Eastern Studies 48, no. 1 (2012): 89. Units of this organization played a role in executing the deportations, boy-
cotts, and massacres directed at Ottoman Christians during WWI. See Ryan Gingeras, Heroin, Organized Crime, and the
Making of Modern Turkey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 38–9.
50  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 5.
51  Ibid., 5; Aguni, Milion mı Hayeru Charti Badmutyunı, 310.
52  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 5.
53  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1020; Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 121–2; Nerses Tavukjian, Darabanki
Orakrutyun [Diary of Miserable Days], ed. Toros Toramanian (Beirut: High Type Compugraph – Technopresse, 1991), 66,
69; Aguni, Milion mı Hayeru Charti Badmutyunı, 310; Kevork Barsumian, Badmutyun  Aintabi H. H. Dashnaktsutian 1898–
1922 [History of the Antep Armenian Revolutionary Federation  1898–1922] (Aleppo: Tigris, 1957), 49; Kévorkian, The
Armenian Genocide, 606.
54  Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 122; NA/RG59/867.4016/95, Henry Morgenthau American Ambassador, Istan- bul to the Secretary of State, 20 July 1915, in United States  Official Records, 98.
55  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1020; Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 121.
56  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 6.
57  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1020–21.
Antep  Deportation
The Armenians of Antep  witnessed  the  individual and  small-scale deportations before their own collective exile. As house  raids and  police searches  continued,  they  saw the first convoy comprised  of 300 women  and  children from Zeitun pass through  the  city on  3 May.58  These deportees had  suffered  greatly on  their  way to  Antep. Some were injured, their wounds  infected and their clothes in tatters.59 Miss Frearson, a missionary, noted  that Armenians managed to create a relief committee  for the deportees.  The prin- cipal of the Central Turkey College, Dr Merrill, and Dr Hamilton from the American hospital, along with the hospital’s nurses, also made great efforts to aid the exiles, many of whom – children included – were suffering from serious knife wounds.60 More deportees followed. The US Consul in Aleppo, Jackson, observed:
From Zeitun, 350 families, or about 2,000 persons, have been sent to Marash and from there to Aintab, and are expected  to arrive in Aleppo about  May 1915, to be sent to Meskené, while about  250 or more families are expected  to follow before 20 May to report to the Governor of Aleppo.61
Convoys of deportees from Zeitun, Marash, Elbistan, Gürün, Sivas, and Furnuz filled Antep until June–July 1915.62  From Antep, they were sent south towards Syria.63 All deportees were in a similar destitute condition.  En route,  Armenian girls and  boys had  been  kid- napped; women’s belongings and money had been plundered; they had been raped pub- licly with the active complicity of gendarmeries and government officials.64 All deportees were kept  in the  Kavaklık neighbourhood, fifteen  minutes  from the  city centre,  near  a spring where they had to pay gendarmeries a quarter of mecidiye (five piasters, the smal- lest denomination of Turkish currency; 1 piaster = 15 pfennigs) per glass of water.65   By bribing these  gendarmeries,  Antep Armenians tried to supply themselves  with food and water. Although they bore witness to this distress, they did not consider the  possibility that  they could face a similar fate.66   Gulesserian, an eyewitness, described  this state  of mind in this striking passage:
In spite of everything that was happening around us and in spite of all the facts standing right in front of our eyes, the number of those who buried their head in the sand like an ostrich was not small. These people convinced themselves  that they were happy, and they were trying to
58  Ibid., 1019; Sarkis Balabanian,  Gyankis Dak u Bagh  Orerı: Ayntab,  Kesap, Halep  [Hot and Cold Days of My Life: Antep, Kesap, Aleppo] (Aleppo: Atlas, 1983), 54; Kévorkian, The Armenian Genocide, 606.
59  Balabanian, Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı, 54–5; Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 122; Stina Katchadourian,  Efronia:
An Armenian Love Story (Princeton,  NJ: Gomidas  Institute Books, 2001), 126.
60  Report by Miss Frearson, a missionary in Antep, written in September 1915 after her departure from Turkey, in Bryce and Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians, 541–50; James L. Barton, Turkish Atrocities: Statements  of American Mission-
aries on the Destruction of Christian Communities in Ottoman Turkey, 1915–1917  (Ann Arbor,  MI: Gomidas  Institute,
1998), 107.
61  NA/RG59/867.4016/72, Jackson to Morgenthau, Aleppo, 12 May 1915, No. 276, in United States  Official Records, 41.
62  Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 122; Tavukjian, Darabanki  Orakrutyun, 65; Balabanian, Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı,
63  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1019–20.
64  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 9; Balabanian,  Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı, 63; Karnig Panian, Goodbye, Antoura:  A Memoir  of the Armenia  Genocide  (Stanford,  CA: Stanford University Press, 2015), 39; NA/RG59/867.4016/
80, from Henry Morgenthau American Ambassador,  Istanbul to the Secretary of State, 26 June 1915, in United
States  Official Records, 68–9.
65  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 9; Balabanian,  Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı, 55–6.
66  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1020; Balabanian, Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı, 56.
deceive themselves  into believing that a similar deportation was not possible for Aintab and that nothing  bad would happen to them.67
Previously, Armenians had relied upon the honesty  and kindness of Celal Bey, Şükrü Bey, and  Hilmi Bey, hoping  to  continue  to  be  exempted from the  deportations.68  Finally, though,  this period of self-deception  passed  when Cemal Bey, Katib-i Mesul (Responsible Secretary) of the CUP in Aleppo, arrived in late June, accompanied by a few propagandists. The Unionist cadre had apparently embraced the mission of convincing the local notables to repeat their requests for a deportation order. Thus, Cemal Bey succeeded in persuading and encouraging  local CUP members and other Muslim leaders to send new slander letters to Istanbul.
On 21 June 1915, Walter Rössler, German consul in Aleppo, reported  that  Celal Bey would be removed  from his post due to his refusal to deport  Armenians.69  On 30 June, in a reshuffle of governorships,  Bekir Sami Bey became  governor  of Aleppo, while Celal Bey was appointed governor  of Konya.70 On 5 July, Celal left Aleppo. On 17 July, Şükrü Bey informed  the  Ministry of Interior that  no  Armenian  had  harice çıkarılmadı (been deported) from Antep.71   Dissatisfied with the  state  of affairs in the  city, Talat replaced Şükrü with Ahmed Bey on 26 July 1915.72  Around the  same  time, military commander Hilmi also resigned from his post.73 Ahmed Bey’s appointment to Antep as a district gov- ernor and his close relations with local elites caused a change  of attitude  towards Arme- nians on the  part  of various local individuals and  groups.  During his term  in office, he cooperated with these  local notables  and their allies in the extermination  of Armenians. Thus, his newly won allies were able to shape  the execution  of government orders. In a sense,  Ahmed  served  as an  interface  between the  central  authorities  and  local elites. Extensive reports submitted  to the Ministry of Interior by him and other high-ranking offi- cials provide a sound basis for a detailed  account  of the forced removal and slaughter  of Antep Armenians.
On 29 July, a “positive” reply was received from the central government, and Antep was added  to the deportation list.74  By the time Ahmed Bey reached  the city on 26 August, deportation  had   already   begun.   Once  they   received   the   news,  the   local  Young
67  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1020.
68  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 7.
69  Auswärtigen Amt - Politisches Archiv, Berlin Konsulat Aleppo, Paket 1, Vol. 1, J. No 1311, Rössler to Embassy, Aleppo, 21
June 1915, telegram 9, cited in Kaiser, “Regional Resistance,” 193; Rössler to Embassy, Aleppo, 21 June 1915, J. No. 3790, AA-PA Konstantinopel 169 telegram 9; Rössler to Embassy, Aleppo, 21 June 1915,  J. No. 3799,  AA-PA Konstantinopel
169 telegram 10, in Kaiser (in collaboration with Luther and Nancy  Eskijian), At the Crossroads of Deir ez-Zor: Death, Survival, and Humanitarian  Resistance in Aleppo, 1915–1917  (Princeton,  NJ: Gomidas  Institute Books, Taderon  Press,
2001), 15.
70  Kaiser, “Regional Resistance,” 193.
71  BOA.DH.ŞFR 480/53, 17 July 1915.
72  BOA.DH.ŞFR 54A/113, 26 July 1915. Together with Ali Cenani, Ahmed Faik Erner (1879–1967) was the main organizer of the deportation of Armenians from Antep. He played a major role in the liquidation of the movable and immovable properties of Armenians and created a fortune by acquiring those properties.  BNu/Fonds A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 11–3. He was notoriously known for his cruel policies against Antep Armenians. Ahmed Bey was particularly
chosen and trusted by Talat to carry out the deportation in the city. He was appointed Director-General of Police at
Istanbul, replacing Bedri Bey in late May 1916. He stayed in this position until his appointment to Sivas as a governor, see BOA.DH.ŞFR 520/18, 17 May 1916; The National Archives, Public Record Office, Foreign Office Archives 371/6500, “Ahmet Bey,” Malta No. 2724,  Interned 02/06/1919, Native of Bursa, Appointments.  For detailed information about
Ahmed Bey, see Nermidil Erner Binark,  Şakir  Paşa Köşkü:  Ahmet  Bey ve Şakirler (Istanbul:  Remzi  Kitapevi, 2000);
İhsan Birinci, “Akan Kan Benimdir,” Hayat Tarihi Mecmuası 2, no. 7 (1966): 63–6.
73  Aguni, Milion mı Hayeru Charti Badmutyunı,  310; BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 4.
74  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 7.
Turks held  an emergency  meeting  and  prepared  the  list of Armenians who would  be deported.75  On 31  July, in his report  to  the  Imperial Chancellor  Bethmann  Hollweg, Rössler stated  that deportation would be
particularly unjustified and especially hard for the town of Aintab, in which a large percentage of educated and relatively wealthy families live, because  urban dwellers are even less used to the hardships of the road than people  living in the country.76
Additionally, he underlined  that Antep was situated  neither  in a war zone nor along the military road.  Subsequently,  he  notified  his superiors  the  next  day  that  the  order  to deport  Armenians from Antep and Kilis “had just been  issued.”77 The American represen- tative passed  this news along to his ambassador  a few days later, adding  that the order also applied to Antakya, Alexandretta, and Kesab.78
Meanwhile in Beşgöz, between Antep  and  Kilis, the  people  of the  village were  dis- cussing  the  fact  that  deportation was  to  commence in Antep  the  next  day. After a while, a well-dressed  gentleman,  by his appearance a Cherkess, wearing  partly civilian and  partly  officer’s clothing,  joined  the  people  and  inquired  from  which  part  of the town  people  would  leave,  which  road  they  would  take,  what  kind  of  people   they would  be,  and  what  one  could  possibly  pilfer  from  these   people.79   When  one  of those  present  asked  him if he  was a civilian or a member  of the  military, he  grinned slyly and  questioned rhetorically, “Is  there  a more  opportune moment  to  be  a soldier than  the  present  one?”80   At the  same  time,  on  29 July, all the  prominent   members of  the   Armenian  community   gathered  in  CUP Armenian  deputy   Hrant  Sulahian’s house  to  discuss the  deportation decision.81   In this meeting,  Dashnaksutiun  was rep- resented  by  Armenag   Maksudian,  Toros  Merjenian,  and   Arshag  Kalusdian;  Dikran Sebouh  Tchakmakdjian represented Huncakian. Barsumian, a Dashnak supporter,  took notes  of this meeting:
Our suggestion  was that we should defy the order and take up arms; but unfortunately our call was not heeded and in the end we were forced to remain silent … Towards the end, Avedis Kalemkerian82  said that weapons  must be taken out of their hiding places and people  must get  ready  to  resist. The attendees of the  meeting  put  pressure on  him  and  he  had  to succumb  to their decision.83
75  Ibid., 7.
76  1915-07-31-DE-002, cited in The Armenian Genocide: Evidence from the German  Foreign Office Archives, 1915–1916,  ed. Wolfang Gust (New York: Berghahn  Books, 2014), 276.
77  Telegram from the German consul in Aleppo, Walter Rössler, to the embassy in Istanbul, 30 July 1915, in Archives du
génocide des Arméniens, doc. 125, ed. Johannes Lepsius, 119–20, cited in Kévorkian, The Armenian Genocide, 606–7.
78  Letter from Consul Jackson to Morgenthau, 3 August 1915, in United States  Official Records, 169.
79  1915-09-03-DE-002, cited in The Armenian Genocide: Evidence, 351.
80  Ibid., 351.
81  Barsumian, Badmutyun Aintabi H. H. Dashnaktsutian,  49, 204–6; Vahe N. Gulesserian, ed., Hushamadian Avedis Kalem- keriani [The Memoir of Avedis Kalemkerian] (Beirut: Dıbaran Der Sahagian, 1965), 58. In his memoirs, Avedis Kalemker- ian, who was one of the participants in this meeting, gave 28 July as the date of this meeting.
82  Given a vesika (certificate) by Cemal Pasha’s order, Avedis Kalemkerian and his family were safely sent to Damascus.
Cemal Pasha personally knew his father and protected him. On 1 December  1917, Avedis Kalemkerian was hired in a construction factory in Damascus, again by Cemal’s order. He obtained a “military certificate” and worked in this factory until the British occupation of Damascus. In his memoirs, Avedis himself gave credit to Cemal Pasha for his
effort to protect his family from being sent to Deir ez-Zor. Gulesserian,  Hushamadian   Avedis Kalemkeriani, 58–63,
70; Barsumian, Badmutyun Aintabi H. H. Dashnaktsutian,  49.
83  Barsumian, Badmutyun Aintabi H. H. Dashnaktsutian, 49–50, 204–6. Balabanian attended this meeting and attested Bar- sumian’s remarks; see Balabanian,  Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı, 58.
On 30 July, fifty Armenian families were ordered  to leave Antep in the next twenty-four hours,84  and the deportation began on 1 August 1915.85  At first, however, only the depor- tation of Orthodox Armenians was decided. The categories of the victims were determined according to their population  number. In this regard, Orthodox Armenians were followed by Protestants  and Catholics.
Deportation of Orthodox Armenians
At first, only Orthodox  Armenians were deported.  On 1 August, fifty families (approxi- mately  four hundred  Armenians)86   departed with light belongings,  locking their doors and leaving behind  nearly all their assets.87   The first convoy was not given any time to take their money and valuables. According to the instructions, each family was expected to immediately pack a few of their belongings,  and they would be allowed to take food, bedding, jars, clothes, and blankets with them.88 The testimony of Yervant Derentz, a sur- vivor from Antep, vividly recollects this very first day of deportation:
Children, elders, were all on the road. Our neighbors, the Turks, were singing from their homes, we could hear them: İt yola bindi … İt yola bindi … İt yola bindi [The dog is on its way … the dog is on its way … the dog is on its way].89
On the same day, rumours started  to spread: this exile was only for three or four months; the deported people would be sent to places like Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, and Homs; no one would be managing  the convoys; and only individuals suspected of subversive politi- cal activities would be deported.90
The first convoy,  consisting  primarily of  notable  and  affluent  families along  with members   of the  deportation relief committee,91  left  the  same  day  for Aleppo,  after which it continued  on to Hama. Walking in a line, these  deportees proceeded to Akça- koyunlu, the  railroad station  closest to Antep, with their carts, hired camels, and  other draught   animals.  Essentially, Akçakoyunlu was  a  transition  camp  for many  Armenian deportees.   According  to  the  directions   of  IAMM,  they  were  initially transferred   to Aleppo and then  distributed  to various districts and towns of Syria. At this station, they were housed  in tents  under  close surveillance, only nine hours from the  desert  area to which they would be sent.92  In charge  of the  convoy, Mehmet  Yasin Bey (Sani Kutluğ) accompanied them from Akçakoyunlu to Aleppo. He was responsible for attacks on depor- tees in Sazgın village and Akçakoyunlu station. After WWI, he escaped  to Ankara, joined
84  Sarafian,  Badmutyun  Aintabi Hayots, 1022; Tavukjian, Darabanki  Orakrutyun, 70; Gulesserian,  Hushamadian Avedis
Kalemkeriani, 56; Balabanian,  Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı, 58.
85  Different dates are given in memoirs regarding the exact beginning of deportations of Antep Armenians. See BNu/ Fonds A. Andonian,   P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 7; Bogharian,  Orakrutyun  Darakiri Gyankis, 122, 126–9; Elie H. Nazarian,
ed., Badmakirk Nazarian Kertasdani  (1475–1988)  [The History of the Nazarian  Family 1475–1988]  (Beirut: Zartonk
Press, 1988), 184; Kersam Aharonian, Hushamadian  Medz Yegherni [Memoir of the Great Crime] (Beirut: Atlas, 1965),
46; M. Arzumian, Hayasdan,  1914–1917 [Armenian, 1914–1917]  (Yerevan: Hayasdan, 1969), 438.
86  Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 123; Tavukjian, Darabanki  Orakrutyun, 71.
87  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1023.
88  Ibid., 924.
89  Interview conducted with Yervant Derentz, USC  Shoah Foundation, Visual History Archive Online,  Armenian  Film
90  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1023; Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 122.
91  Report by Miss Frearson, written on 11 April 1918, in Bryce and Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians, 543–4; Boghar- ian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 136.
92  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1026.
Kemalist-nationalist forces, and became  a deputy for Antep.93  As this convoy was making its way from the western side of the city, bands – comprised of 400 men and led by Ali Bey, Yasin Bey, and Hacı Fazlızâde Nuri Bey – set off from the east side, intending  to assault them  in  the  nearby  Sazgın  village, where  deportees would  spend  the  night.  İsmail, nephew  of Hacı Fazlızâde Nuri, helped  his uncle as chief of bands; Hacı Hamza, mukhtar (village head)  of Sazgın village, was the  chief of the  other  bands.94  Fortunately, these bands  departed later than  the  first convoy and  missed  most  deportees.  However, they were able to catch  Nazaret Manushagian,  a member  of the  municipal council who fell behind  the convoy, whom they murdered.95
Two days after the first convoy left the city, another  wave of house raids took place. On the grounds  that Armenians had connections  with people  outside  the Empire’s borders, many  houses  and  shops  were  turned  upside-down;  consequently,  seven  people  were arrested  and  sent  to prisons in Birecik and  Aleppo.96   On 7 August, the  second  convoy of fifty Armenian families was deported.  On the same day, bands  – this time formed by peasants  from the  villages of Tılbaşar, Mezra, Kinisli, Kantara, Ekiz Kapı, Bahne Hameyli, and  Sazgın – carried  out  attacks  on  deportees.   They were  led  by  Emin Effendi, the manager of Ziraat Bankası (Agricultural Bank).97 The second convoy was systematically pil- laged  by chetes (bands) less than  a day’s march from Antep.98   Assigned to protect  the deportees,  Kurd Hacı Nuri collaborated  with these  bands  and  beat  Nazar Nazarian, a wealthy Armenian and permanent member  of the city council, to death.99 As deportees from  this  second  group  were  able  to  take  their  valuables  with  them,  the  attackers looted  a  huge  amount   of  money  and  jewellery.  On  8  August,  the  second  convoy reached  Akçakoyunlu, setting up tents to wait for the train.
Following the  departure of the  first and  second  convoys, discrimination  against  the remaining  Armenians prevailed in the  city. An Armenian jeweller disappeared, and  her body  was found  in a well a few days later.100   No official investigation  was conducted. Two Armenians  from  Muş and  an  Armenian  from  Antep  were  killed at  the  mill of deputy Ali Cenani. The politically motivated  public prosecutor  selected Armenians as sca- pegoats and found them guilty of the crime. Women were raped and then taken to harems in the city. The mukhtar of Antep’s Tılfar village murdered six Armenian children by throw- ing  them  off a mountain.101  During this  time, bands  formed  by surrounding  Kurdish
93  Yasin Kutluğ was also a member of the kuvay-ı milliye (nationalist  forces) in Halfeti, a town of Urfa, in April 1920 and played an active role in the war between Antep nationalist forces and French military units in 1920–21.  Yasin Kutluğ, “İstiklal Savaşı’ndan Hatıralar,” Gaziantep  Halkevi Mecmuası 25 (1940): 12; Başpınar Aylık Edebiyat ve Kültür Mecmuası 31 (1941): 7, 8, 13.
94  Krikor Guerguerian  Private  Archival Collection, Folder number: 22, File name: Turks (List) Responsible,  File no. 46. I
would like to thank Taner Akçam for allowing me to use this collection.
95  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 8; Tavukjian, Darabanki Orakrutyun, 71.
96  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1023.
97  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 8; Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 123.
98  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 8; Tavukjian, Darabanki Orakrutyun, 72; Balabanian, Gyankis Dak u Bagh
Orerı, 57; NA/RG59/867.4016/148,  Letter from the Consul Jackson to Morgenthau, 19 August 1915, in United States Offi- cial Records, 207. In another report to Morgenthau on 3 August 1915, Jackson notes: “Now all Armenians have been
ordered deported from the cities of Aintab,  Mardin,  Kilis, Antioch, Alexandretta,  Kesab, and all the smaller towns in
Aleppo province, estimated at 60,000 persons.” NA/RG59/867.4016/126, Letter from the Consul Jackson to Morgenthau,
3 August 1915, in United States  Official Records, 169.
99  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 8; Bogharian,  Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 123; Tavukjian, Darabanki
Orakrutyun, 72.
100  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 8.
101  Ibid., 9.
villages operated on a regular basis between Antep and Nizip, robbing and murdering  all deportees who crossed their path.
Meanwhile, the third convoy departed on 8 August. This convoy was composed of 100 families from the Kayacık and Akyol neighbourhoods.102 Similar to the deportees from pre- vious convoys, these  people  headed out with carts, camels, and  other  draught  animals early in the morning. After spending  the night at Sazgın village, they were led to Akça- koyunlu.103  The fourth convoy was led from Antep on 11 August.104  This convoy consisted of more than 100 families, many of them well-off, from the Kayacık, İbn-i Eyüp, and Kastel Başı neighbourhoods.105  The fifth convoy set off on 13 August.106   This was a convoy of over 120 families (approximately  1,200 people)  from Eblahan and  Akyol.107  When the fifth convoy  arrived  in  Akçakoyunlu, Krikor Bogharian,  one  of  the  deportees in  this convoy, described  the scene he witnessed  in his diary:
The fourth convoy and deportees from other regions were gathered here, waiting for the train. Therefore, our convoy had to wait for these people to be sent away first. We stayed in tents but the heat was scorching; dust and straw were everywhere. We had food to eat but our water was limited … We were waiting for the train. But the train never returned  from the East with empty wagons.108
Around 20 August, part  of the  Young Turk Committee  in Antep, upon  hearing  a false rumour that  an armed  hoard of Armenians was marching  towards the town, wanted  to start a panic and  call for a massacre.109  On 23 August, the  sixth convoy reached  Akça- koyunlu.110  There were around  120 Armenian families from Kayacık, the neighbourhood of Surp Asvadzadzin (St. Mary) Church, Eblahan, İbn-i Eyüp, and Kastelbaşı. Unlike other convoys, those  who  came  from Antep  included  men,  women, and  children  over  ten years old.111   From Akçakoyunlu, the  first two groups  were sent  to Damascus.  The rest were held in a transit camp surrounded by barbed  wire while waiting to be loaded  into stock  cars  for transport   to  Aleppo.  These  deportees were  later  sent  on  foot  to  the region of Deir ez-Zor.112  Surprisingly, Aleppo Governor Bekir Sami Bey in a telegram  to the  Ministry of Interior claimed  that  deportees from  Antep,  Kilis,  and  the  province’s border  regions  were  sent  only to  Hama, partly by train  and  partly overland.113  As of August,  to  prevent   them  from  fleeing,  all  Armenians  were  prohibited   from  leaving Antep unless a deportation order was issued for them.114
102  Sarafian, Badmutyun  Aintabi Hayots, 1025; Tavukjian, Darabanki  Orakrutyun, 72. Kayacık and Akyol were two neighbour- hoods in which the majority of the Armenian population resided.
103  Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 123.
104  Ibid., 124.
105  These were neighbourhoods in which most of the Antep Armenians resided.
106  Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 124.
107  As in Eblahan, Armenians and Muslims resided together in Akyol. However,  the Armenian population was higher in number within this neighbourhood.
108  Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 124–5.
109  1915-09-03-DE-002, the Consul in Aleppo to the Imperial Chancellor, cited in The Armenian  Genocide: Evidence, 344.
110  Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 128.
111  NA/RG59/867.4016/148, Letter from the Consul Jackson to Morgenthau, 19 August 1915, in United States Official
Records, 207.
112  Sarafian, Badmutyun  Aintabi Hayots, 1026; BNu/Fonds A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 9.
113  BOA.DH.ŞFR 486/7, 29 August 1915.
114  FO 371/4241,  Governor of Aleppo to the district governor of Antep dated 21 August 1915, No. 4410, Code No. 25.
Deportation of Catholic  and  Protestant Armenians
On 3 August 1915, Talat Pasha ordered  that Protestants  and Catholics be exempted from deportations.  A week later, he annulled  the exemption  for Armenian Catholics in Adana and  Aleppo provinces  and  ordered  their  deportation.115  However, with a general  and secret regulation  dated  19 August, Catholics and Protestants  were again exempted from deportation. This regulation also stated that they would be deported if they behaved  sus- piciously or if they lived in areas with very high concentrations of Armenians.116   These exemptions were invariably cases of placating Western powers. Both the initial exemption order of 3 August and this subsequent reinstatement resulted from German and Austrian pressure  combined  with international  public opinion.117 Nonetheless, these  groups were also deported.118 As of 24 August, the population  of Protestant  Armenians in Antep was approximately  5,100119  and that of Catholic Armenians around 340–370.120  The new dis- trict governor, Ahmed Bey, launched  the deportation process for Catholic and Protestant Armenians immediately after his arrival on 29 August. He was “a harsh man who spread terror  all around” and  held  “radical opinions  towards  Armenians.”121  It was during  his term  that  the  route  of the  deportation was  changed   from  Aleppo–Hama–Hauran  to Meskené–Deir ez-Zor.122
According  to  Talat  Pasha,  Antep  was  still the  centre   of  activity  for  Armenians, referred  to  as  “Little  Armenia”  and  considered   to  present   a  serious  threat.123   Thus, the  deportation of Catholic and  Protestant  Armenians was also deemed necessary.124
Only  after  the   Orthodox   Armenians  were   expelled   did  the   authorities   issue  the order, on 19 September,  to deport  a few hundred  Catholics from Antep, which consti- tuted   a  significant  percentage of  the  small  community.  On  the  same  day,  another announcement was made:
(i)  No Armenians shall stay in Aintab;
(ii)  Among Protestants, only the notified shall leave, i.e. those with a Protestant  husband or an Armenian wife shall stay. Those with an Armenian husband  or a Protestant  wife shall leave;
(iii)  Vesika [certificate]  holders  who  are  exempt  from  deportation  must  have  them approved;
(iv) Those issued with a deportation order but still remaining in Aintab shall be deported; (v) The government shall only help the poor.125
115  Kaiser, “Regional Resistance,” 200.
116  BOA.DH.ŞFR 55-A/23, 2 September 1915. See also  BOA.DH.EUM.V.Şube 15/19, 14 July 1915 and BOA.DH.ŞFR 55/92, 29
August 1915. This telegram reports: “Protestant and Catholic Armenians are not to be deported.”
117  Akçam noted that orders to the provinces that “they [Catholic and Protestant Armenians] not be touched were pro- duced for German consumption and quickly rescinded  by follow-up cables.” Akçam, Young Turks’ Crime against  Human-
ity, 375.
118  For example, this was the case in Erzurum, where Catholic and Protestant Armenians were also deported soon after the main body of Apostolic Armenians were sent away. See BOA.DH.EUM.II.Şube 10/23, 6 L 1333 (18 August 1915).
119  BOA.DH.ŞFR 485/48 and BOA.DH.EUM.II.Şube  73/18, 11, Aleppo Governor Bekir Sami Bey to Ministry of Interior, 24
August 1915.
120  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1026; BOA.DH.EUM.II.Şube 73/69,  17 Kanunuevvel 1331 (30 December 1915).
121  Katchadourian,  Efronia, 131; BNu/Fonds A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 9.
122  Bogharian,  Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 125; BNu/Fonds A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 5.
123  BOA.DH.ŞFR 488/33, 8 September 1915.
124  BOA.DH.ŞFR 55-A/174, 9 September 1915.
125  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1026.
The implicit addressee of this announcement was the Catholic Armenian community and  its  leader,  Der  Vartan  Vartabed  Baghchedjian.  In  late  September   1915,  Father Vartan and his community were taken to Akçakoyunlu. At the station, Father Vartan was visited by a delegation  of Armenian Catholics from Aleppo. The delegation  hoped  to take him to Aleppo, but he refused to leave with them, saying, “I set off with my congrega- tion and I will  accompany them to death.”126 A report sent by American Consul Jackson in Aleppo to Henry Morgenthau, American Ambassador in Istanbul, on 29 September  noted:
In Aintab, before the deportation,  there were seventy-five Catholic families; after the deporta- tion there were none! Twenty of them were located in Aleppo; fifty-five in Bab. The situation of Catholic Armenians in Aleppo was fair, whereas in Bab, it was miserable.127
Eventually, all of Antep’s Catholic Armenians were sent to Deir ez-Zor.
By late September,  three-quarters of the Armenian population  had been  deported.128
After the  official announcement  of  Protestants’  exemption   from  deportation,129 the majority of the Protestant  community  carried on with their normal lives. They even held a thanksgiving service, at which a Protestant  Armenian leader stated:
Now that we are permitted to stay in our city we must be very careful to give no occasion of complaint  to the  Government.  If they  ask for our sons as soldiers, we must  give them  up without murmuring; if for money, or goods, or clothing for the soldiers, let us give as if we appreciated the  privilege of staying in our homes.  Let us show them  that  we are loyal to the  country. Let no one  take into his home  a child or any one  else who has been  told to go, whether  they be of those  passing through  the city as refugees  or from among  our own friends and relatives in the town. Let us show to the Government  that we will do all that is
asked of us.130
However, in early October, Ahmed Bey and his henchmen organized  raids on Protestant houses and made numerous  arrests.131 This entire process gradually weakened  Protestant Armenians’ belief that they would not be deported.  Around mid October, he mobilized the remaining Armenian men between the ages of sixteen and twenty and assigned them to a labour battalion that was put to work on the Bagdadbahn (Baghdad railway) construction site in Rajo.132  He had eight Armenian young men executed  in the town square  on the grounds  that  they were involved in “perfidious activities” against  the  government.133  It became  apparent that he enjoyed a remarkable degree  of freedom of action in executing central government orders.
On 20 November, Protestant  pastors  were arrested  and  house  raids increased.134  All
coffeehouses  and other places where people  congregated were shuttered and a curfew
126  Ibid., 1026–7; A. Gesar, Aintabi Koyamardı [Antep Self-Defence]  (Boston, MA: Hayrenik, 1945), 26–9; Bogharian, Orakru- tyun Darakiri Gyankis, 125; Aguni, Milion mı Hayeru Charti Badmutyunı, 311.
127  NA/RG59/867.4016/219, 29 September 1915, in United States  Official Records, 314.
128  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1027.
129  On 15 August 1915, the Ministry of Interior requested data on the number of deported and remaining Armenian Pro- testants. Osmanlı Belgelerinde Ermeniler (1915–1920) (Ankara: BOA Yayınları,  1995),  75–6;  BOA.DH.ŞFR 55/20, 15 August
130  “Miss Frearson’s Experiences and Observations in Turkey,”  ABCFM, 1817–1919, Houghton  Library Microfilm Reel
670-7.1.17, Unit 5, Vol. 2, Part 1, 7.
131  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1028; Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 125; Balabanian, Gyankis Dak u Bagh
Orerı, 66.
132  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1028.
133  Harutun  H. Nazarian, Yeghernen Verabroghi Husher [Memoir of a Survivor of the Genocide] (Aleppo, 2009), 14.
134  Hay Aintab 7 (1966): 32.
was imposed.135 Circumstances deteriorated further when Colonel Galib Bey, commander of a  military reserve  battalion  from Urfa, arrived  in Antep  on  30 November.136  After meeting  with Ahmed, he gathered Armenians around  the Armenian cemetery  and kept them   there.137   Central  Turkey College  was  emptied   on  2  December.138    Positioning armed troops and cannons to elevated vantages in Antep, he ordered his soldiers to deci- mate the Armenian neighbourhoods that were still inhabited.139 Galib held certain Antep Armenians responsible for the October Armenian rebellions in Urfa and aimed to use this as a pretext  for the  deportation of Protestant  Armenians. However, Askerlik Şubesi  Reisi (Draft Office President) Yusuf Effendi, military commander Osman Bey, and Mayor Sheik Mustafa Effendi disagreed  with Galib Bey’s plan.140
Despite this disagreement, on 15 December, the officers registered the names of Arme- nian Protestants  who would be deported.141  On 19 December, the first convoy was sent via Akçakoyunlu to  Deir ez-Zor.142   It was  followed  by  the  second,  third,  and  fourth convoys,  lasting  until  23  December.143   Antep’s  Protestants   had  ample  time  to  learn what deportation to Deir ez-Zor meant  and did not hesitate  to mobilize all their means to be deported through  the Homs–Hama–Damascus route instead.144  On 24 December, it was announced that  deportations would be suspended until 1 January 1916 because of  Christmas.145    They recommenced  on  4  January  when  the  fifth convoy  was  sent away.146  Of 600 Protestant  families in Antep, 200 were deported,  the majority of whom were  annihilated  in Deir ez-Zor.147   In toto, the  number  of Antep  Armenians who  had been  exiled exceeded  20,000 by January  1916.148   Appointed  to  the  post  of Director- General of Police in Istanbul, Ahmed left Antep on 23 March 1916. Talat promoted him due to his “success” in deporting Antep’s Armenians.149
Main Perpetrators
The extermination  of Antep Armenians was carried out with the active participation  and strong support of Muslim local elites. They helped to create the “necessary” socio-political atmosphere to convince central authorities  and facilitate the deportation of Armenians. The prospect  of obtaining  Armenian riches was one  of the  key factors that  prompted them  to  take  part  in this genocidal  process.  During 1915, these  elites propagandized against   Armenians,  presenting   them   spuriously   as   a  rebellious   threat.   Once   the
135  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1030.
136  Hay Aintab 7 (1966): 32.
137  Balabanian, Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı, 73.
138  Hay Aintab 7 (1966): 32.
139  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1033; Balabanian, Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı, 73.
140  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1033.
141  Hay Aintab 7 (1966): 34.
142  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 1035; Balabanian, Gyankis Dak u Bagh Orerı, 73.
143  Hay Aintab 7 (1966): 35.
144  Report by Miss Frearson,  written on 11 April 1918, in Bryce and Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians, 546–9.
145  Hay Aintab 7 (1966): 35.
146  Yervant Kuchukian, Haryur Jam Ayntabi: Husher yev Dıbaivorutyunner [100 Hours in Antep: Memories and Impressions] (Beirut: Shirag, 1958), 21.
147  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 548, 552. Sarafian stated that out of 5,500 Protestants in Antep, 2,450 survived.
148  BOA.DH.EUM.II.Şube 73/73, Governor-General of Aleppo Mustafa Abdülhalik Bey to the Ministry of Interior, 10 January
149  BOA.DH.ŞFR 520/18, 17 May 1916. Before being appointed to Istanbul, Ahmed Bey was recommended to Cemal Pasha by Talat for the position of Assistant Governor of Syria province. BOA.DH.ŞFR 62/190 and 62/194, 1 April 1916.
deportations began,  local elites were  well positioned  to  appropriate Armenian goods, properties, and businesses either directly or – via the good offices of the abandoned prop- erty commissions  and  liquidation  commissions  – indirectly through  the  state.  The CUP functionaries  of Antep, including  Ali  Cenani, Ahmed  Bey, and  Müftüzade  Arif Effendi, people  in good standing  with them, and war veterans  were those  most likely to receive monies, businesses, and properties,  or lease them  for nominal fees.150
It is important to underscore that the deportations organized in Aintab were supervised by a Sevkiyat Komisyonu (Deportation Committee), presided  over by the district governor Ahmed Bey. In the  Deportation  Committee,  every branch  of respectable Aintab society was represented: the district’s parliamentary deputy and his brother; the head of the pro- vincial cabinet and a local prefect; a variety of municipal officials, including the president of the municipality; its financial officers, including the head of its treasury, two officials in the tax department, and  two  secretaries  in the  finance  department; a census  officer; two judges, a magistrate,  and the first secretary of the court. Law enforcement was also pro- minent,  including  two  gendarmerie commanders,  a sergeant  in the  gendarmerie,  two police lieutenants,  and  a prison warden. The military was there,  including a regimental commander,  a member  of the general staff, a regimental  secretary, and the commander of a chete squadron  of 400, along  with several religious leaders  – a former mufti, two imams, two ulema, two sheikhs, and  the  secretary  of a religious charity. A physician, a lawyer, the  director  of an orphanage, and  the  director  of the  agricultural bank, as well
as local leaders of the CUP, were also on its rolls.151
The list points to the breadth  of social support that underpinned the regime’s genocidal policies in Antep. Perhaps more importantly, men such as these legitimized the process of genocide.  No member  of these  local worthies did anything  to protest  the deportations, hide  the  vulnerable,  or stop  the  convoys. Many of them  benefitted enormously  from the  deportations and  expropriations.  There  were  6,000 residential  homes  and  7,000 parcels  of land  that  belonged to  Antep  Armenians.152   It is possible  to  divide  seized landed  properties  into four categories:  (1) major immovable  properties  of the  wealthy families,153  (2) middle-  or second-class  immovable  assets,154  (3) public properties,  and (4) national properties  or properties  owned  by religious institutions.
Families in the first category had numerous  properties  in and outside of Antep, includ- ing villages, farms, pistachio  groves, fruit orchards, fields, vineyards, inns, coffeehouses, houses,  shops, and watermills. In the  second  category, people  owned  relatively smaller properties such as fruit orchards, fields, lands, inns, hotels, and shops. In the third category, there  were 700 Armenian families. One hundred  of these  families did not own a house; they  had  landlords  or lived with other  people.  The remaining  600 families resided  in
150  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 11–7.
151  For the full list of names of those who were responsible for deportations and plunder in Aintab in 1915–17, see BNu/ Fonds A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 11–7; and Krikor Guerguerian  Private Archival Collection, Folder number: 22, File name:  Turks (List) Responsible,  File no. 46. Also see Aguni, Milion mı Hayeru Charti Badmutyunı, 312; Kévorkian, The
Armenian Genocide, 609.
152  Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 928.
153  Some Armenians who fell under this category were Hanna Kurkjian and his children; brothers Nigoghos, Harutyun, and
Garabed Nazaretian; Hovsep and Minas Kendirdjian; Garabed Barsumian and his children; Adour Niziblian; and Bedros
Aschjian. Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 927–8.
154  In the second category, there were Kalusd Ghazarian  and his sons, Avedis Parseghian,  Hovhannes  Jebejian, Sarkis Krajian, Garuj Karamanougian  and his sons, the Matossian brothers, the Khachaturian brothers, and the Birecikliian brothers. Sarafian, Badmutyun Aintabi Hayots, 927–8.
their own houses. Among them, there were also low-income families who possessed  two to five orchards. The properties  within the fourth category belonged to Surp Asvadzadzin and  other  churches.  These included  buildings  surrounding  these  churches,  twenty-five shops, two mills owned  by Armenian Catholics and Protestants, the  library, which bore the  name  of Niziblian, a coffeehouse,  the  Millet Inn building  (as well as several other inns), and the buildings of the Vartanian, Atenagan (along with six shops inside), Nersesian, Haygazian, Hayganushian (seminary), and Cilicia Tchemaran schools.155
All these estates  were transferred to aforementioned perpetrators through  liquidation, expropriation, and confiscation. In the overall process, the function of appropriation was as important  as the individual purposes; huge numbers  of people  were bound  together in a circle of profit that was at the same time a circle of complicity.
The Armenians of Cilicia, in general,  and  Antep, in particular, were  deported to  three places. The first group was sent to the Deir ez-Zor region in the Syrian desert; very few sur- vived. The second group was sent to the region of Hama, Homs, and Salamiyya, located in the central part of the Syrian desert. Except for very young and old deportees,  the majority survived thanks to local Arabs. The third group was sent to the region of Jebel Druz and the desert  areas of Jordan, and most survived.156
The exact number  of deportees,  the total death  toll, and the number  of survivors for Antep are not known. However, it is estimated that the number  of deported Armenians from the city was approximately 32,000, with 20,000 perishing as a result of genocide157 and  12,000 surviving.158   Those  deported via the  Homs–Hama–Damascus  route  were more  likely to  survive as the  majority were  converted  to  Islam.159  A  great  number  of Antep Armenians, mostly Orthodox, were deported to Salamiyya, a district of Syria pro- vince in the southeast  of Hama, where – thanks to the efforts of district governor Necmed- din Bey160 – a large number were able to survive.161  As far as the organizational character and the role of the actors in the deportation process are concerned,  it is clear that close coordination   and  collaboration  between  central  authorities   and  various  local  actors existed  in Antep.  In fact, administrative,  political, local, and  civilian agents  acted  far more efficiently than the central authority. In this regard, Antep can be seen as a micro- cosm in the  unfolding  of the  CUP’s genocidal  policies. Without enormous  efforts made by these  diverse local actors, it would have been  impossible for the central CUP to carry out the expulsion of Antep Armenians and their ultimate dispossession.
155  Ibid., 928–9.
156  Yervant Babaian, ed., Pages from My Diary/Archpriest Der Nerses Babaian  (Los Angeles:  Abril Publishing,  2000), vi.
157  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 20. According to missionary reports, there were about 20,000 Armenians in Antep “who were exiled, and about 10,000 were drafted, so that the population of the city is about 30,000 less than it used to be; but in place of them we have about 12,000 refugees, women and children, who are entirely dependent on
relief.”  ABCFM, 1817–1919, Houghton Library Microfilm Reel 667, Unit 5, Vol. 2, Part 1, No. 274.
158  BNu/Fonds  A. Andonian,  P.J. 1/3, file 4, Antep, 20. According to a report prepared and sent by Admiral Bristol to the United States Secretary of State immediately after WWI, the number of Armenians who were not deported from Antep was 12,000.  NARA 860J.01/341 cited in Kemal Çiçek, Ermenilerin Zorunlu Göçü (1915–1917)  (Ankara: TTK, 2000), 194.
159  Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 139, 186, 189, 191, 192; Tavukjian, Darabanki Orakrutyun, 141, 148, 178.
160  See Ümit Kurt, “The Curious Case of Ahmed Necmeddin Bey: A Look into the Sociopolitical Climate in Aintab on the Eve of 1915,” Middle Eastern Studies 52, no. 5 (2016): 804–24.
161  Bogharian, Orakrutyun Darakiri Gyankis, 154–5.

Respectable  Antep Muslims acted  eagerly on the deportation orders, encouraged by the prospect of material gain. Such prospects led even administrators, politicians, and civi- lian leaders to engage  pragmatically in the eradication  of Armenians, more actively even than the central authorities. Motivated by their anticipation of benefitting from a regime of plunder made “legal,” one where the “liquidated” property of the Armenians would be up for grabs, many of Antep’s citizenry not only moved  into their vacant houses  and aban- doned  businesses, but were willing to collaborate and even assumed  a direct role in the deportation and annihilation of Armenians.
As this article clearly shows, the Armenian genocide  was much more complicated  than the outcome  of a simple top-down  decision-making process in which the CUP leadership assigned,  enforced, and  oversaw exterminationist  policies while local Muslims acted  as passive, indifferent bystanders. The relationship between the central power and regional/local  authorities  was not  only one-directional  and  hierarchical; regional  offices and the central authority mutually influenced each other. Following this conceptual frame- work, it can be claimed that the Armenian genocide was a top-down process as much as it was led from the bottom up with a multitude of multifaceted relations between the central power  and  local authorities.  Beyond any doubt,  genocide  and  plunder  were  centrally planned,  yet mass participation  arose primarily from local incentives and motives. Such a mass-scale  event  could hardly happen without  local support  to carry out the  orders. In this respect,  the  general  paradigm  in the  relevant  literature, which has approached the localities as passive agents  of the Ottoman  centre, demands revision.
My thanks go to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation of Armenian Studies and the National Associ- ation  for Armenian  Studies  and  Research  (NAASR)  for providing  a  scholarship  to  support  this research.  I   am  also  grateful  to  Margaret  Anderson,  Philip Dwyer, Owen  Miller, Uğur  Z. Peçe, Yektan Türkyılmaz, Emre Can Dağlıoğlu, Marc Mamigonian, Donald Bloxham, Dirk Moses, Edhem Eldem, Hans-Lukas Kieser, Oğuz  Alyanak, Cathie  Carmichael, and  the  editors  and  anonymous reviewers of the Journal of Genocide Research for their valuable comments  and succinct criticisms.
Disclosure  Statement
No potential  conflict of interest was reported  by the author.
Notes  on Contributor
Ümit Kurt earned his PhD in history at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University in 2016. He is Polonsky Fellow in the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Dr Kurt is engaged in his work with examining transfer of Armenian wealth, transformation  of space, elite-making pro- cesses, ordinary perpetrators, collective violence, microhistories, inter-ethnic conflicts, the Armenian genocide, and early modern Turkish nationalism. He has taught at Clark University, Fresno State Uni- versity, and Sabancı University. He was the recipient of a prestigious Armenian Studies Scholarship Award from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation  in Lisbon. He worked as a postdoctoral  fellow in 2016–17 at the  Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. He is the  author  of The Great, Hopeless Turkish Race: Fundamentals of Turkish Nationalism in the Turkish Homeland, 1911-1916 (İletişim  Publishing  House, 2012) and  co-author  of The Spirit of the  Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide (Berghahn Books, 2015).


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