Çanakkale and Relocation - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Çanakkale and Relocation

Starting from the beginning of the 19th Century, the Ottoman Empire entered the collapsing period, and at the end of the same century, they were declared “Europe's sick man”. The gaining of independence by the Greeks and Serbs in the 1820s and 1830s consecutively was followed by the independency of Bulgarians in 1877. In 1908, the news about a secret agreement between England and Russia over the sharing of Ottoman lands deepened the fear of disintegration and the “Second Constitutionalism” had been declared in that atmosphere.

In 1911, Italians troops landed in Tripoli and invaded 12 Islands soon after. Serbians, Bulgarians and Greeks had taken this opportunity and declared war against the Ottoman Empire. Even Edirne, the old capital city of the Ottoman Empire, had been captured by the enemy. The threat perception in Anatolia and Thrace, the central lands of the Ottoman Empire that had been clamped down from the east to the west, had reached the highest level. Without first knowing about the “Balkan Route”, where hundreds of thousands of people were separated from their countries, neither the “Çanakkale spirit” nor “Armenian relocation” can be understood.

Between 1821 and 1914, millions of Muslims were kicked out of Europe. Hundreds of thousands of them were either killed or died from hunger or sickness. Between 1877 and 1887, while 34% of the Muslim population in Bulgaria ran away and saved their lives, 17% of the population had been killed. During the Balkan Wars, 62% of the Muslims disappeared in the land captured by Greeks, Serbians and Bulgarians. And, 27% of those people were killed, while 35% became immigrants. According to the Carnegie Foundation's report in 1914, a spine-chilling homicidal ethnic cleaning had been conducted in Europe. Also, according to a report prepared by Wiscont Bryce; “Most the Muslim immigrants, who ran away from Europe, were educated and used to be landlords; however, now they were living in poverty, had no homes and were starving.

When we look at 1914, Ottoman lands had already lost its “multi-ethnicity” quality. While the average of Muslims was 60% in 1820, in 1914, this average was above 80%. Anatolia and Thrace were the only safe regions to live in. As for the Armenian nationalists; they had placed their hopes on the Russians, Brits and French. At the beginning of the war, Armenian gangs played a big role in the collapse of the Eastern front under the pressure of Russian armies. Around 200,000 Russian-Armenians joined the Russian army. After that, more than 10,000 Ottoman-Armenians joined their ranks.

The Armenian gangs' activities in the strategic regions in the Western front and the main military supply lines had enough quality to directly affect the progress of the war. The Çanakkale war increased the threat towards Anatolia. April 24, 1915 was the beginning of the Armenian relocation; however, at the same time it's also the date when Brits started their land operation in Çanakkale. As the aspects of the threat increased, the limits of the relocation also became wider. The relocation decision had been taken after the roles of the Armenian nationalists in the wars were finalized. In a military sense, there had been no relocation in the regions with no strategic value. Even the Catholic and Protestant Armenians were excluded from the extent of the relocation.

Losing Anatolia was equal to the end of the Ottoman Empire. Thus, Çanakkale was an existence and annihilation war. If the Çanakkale War was lost, we all know what would have happened to the Muslims living in the Eastern and Southern regions. Armenian gangs gave out the signal for this eminently. As the war became intensified, the matter of relocation got out of hand. Both sides experienced great humane situations. Imperialist states got what they wanted and Ottomans were liquidated. Despite being on the side of the winning countries, Armenian nationalists were among the losers. Don't Armenians need to face this reality first?


Cookies are used limited to the purposes in th e Personal Data Protection Law No.6698 and in accordance with the legislation. For detailed information, you can review our cookie policy.