His reign struggled with the culmination of 75 years of change throughout the empire and an opposing reaction to that change. Several of the elite who sought a new constitution and reform for the empire were forced to flee to Europe. New groups of radicals began to threaten the power of the Ottoman Empire. Creation of Hamidiye cavalry[ edit ] The Hamidiye regiments were established in following a decree published in November They were named after him and under the direct order of him and his brother-in-law Zeki Pasha.

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Main article: Armenian Genocide The origins of the hostility toward Armenians lay in the increasingly precarious position in which the Ottoman Empire found itself in the last quarter of the 19th century. The end of Ottoman dominion over the Balkans was ushered in by an era of European nationalism and an insistence on self-determination by many territories long held under Ottoman rule.

The Armenians of the empire, who were long considered second-class citizens , had begun in the mids and early s to ask for civil reforms and better treatment from government. They pressed for an end to the usurpation of land, "the looting and murder in Armenian towns by Kurds and Circassians, improprieties during tax collection, criminal behavior by government officials and the refusal to accept Christians as witnesses in trial.

The Armenian Question[ edit ] Main article: Armenian Question The combination of Russian military success in the recent Russo-Turkish War , the clear weakening of the Ottoman Empire in various spheres including financial from , the Ottoman Empire suffered greatly from the Panic of , territorial mentioned above , and the hope among some Armenians that one day all of the Armenian territory might be ruled by Russia, led to a new restiveness among Armenians living inside the Ottoman Empire.

The Armenians sent a delegation led by Mkrtich Khrimian to the Congress of Berlin to lobby the European powers to include proper safeguards for their kinsmen in the eventual peace agreement. The sultan, however, was not prepared to relinquish any power. Abdul Hamid believed that the woes of the Ottoman Empire stemmed from "the endless persecutions and hostilities of the Christian world. Such great treachery toward religion and state May they be cursed upon by God. The provisions for reform in the Armenian provinces embodied in Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin were ultimately not enforced and were followed instead by further repression.

On January 2, , collective notes sent by the European powers reminding the sultan of the promises of reform failed to prod him into action. The eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire were historically insecure; [14] the Kurdish rebels attacked the inhabitants of towns and villages with impunity.

Disturbances in Sasun[ edit ] Main article: Sasun Resistance In , the sultan began to target the Armenian people in a precursor to the Hamidian massacres. This persecution strengthened nationalistic sentiment among Armenians. The first notable battle in the Armenian resistance took place in Sasun.

Hunchak activists, such as Mihran Damadian , Hampartsoum Boyadjian , and Hrayr , encouraged resistance against double taxation and Ottoman persecution. The ARF armed the people of the region. The Armenians confronted the Ottoman army and Kurdish irregulars at Sasun, finally succumbing to superior numbers and to Turkish assurances of amnesty which was never granted. Historian Patrick Balfour, 3rd Baron Kinross writes that massacres of this kind were often achieved by gathering Muslims in a local mosque and claiming that the Armenians had the aim of "striking at Islam.

The violence spread and affected most of the Armenian towns in the Ottoman Empire. On October 1, , two thousand Armenians assembled in Constantinople to petition for the implementation of the reforms, but Ottoman police units converged on the rally and violently broke it up. Thousands were killed at the hands of their Muslim neighbors and government soldiers, and many more died during the cold winter of — William Sachtleben , an American journalist who happened to be in Erzurum after the massacre there in , recounted the grisly scene he came across in a lengthy letter to The Times : What I myself saw this Friday afternoon [November 1] is forever engraven on my mind as the most horrible sight a man can see.

I went with one of the cavasses [guards] of the English Legation, a soldier, my interpreter, and a photographer Armenian to the Gregorian [i. Many were fearfully mangled and mutilated. I saw one with his face completely smashed in with a blow of some heavy weapon after he was killed.

I saw some with their own necks almost severed by a sword cut. One I saw whose whole chest had been skinned, his fore-arms were cut off, while the upper arm was skinned of flesh. I asked if the dogs had done this. All the corpses had been rifled of all their clothes except a cotton undergarment or two To be killed in battle by brave men is one thing; to be butchered by cowardly armed soldiers in cold blood and utterly defenseless is another thing.

They refused to attack where people defended themselves and instead concentrated on defenseless districts. In that last year, Sultan Hamid declared the Armenian Question closed. Many Armenian revolutionaries had either been killed or escaped to Russia. The Ottoman government closed Armenian societies and restricted Armenian political movements. Some non-Armenian groups were also attacked during the massacres.

The French diplomatic correspondence shows that the Hamidiye carried out massacres not only of Armenians but also of Assyrians living in Diyarbakir, Hasankeyf , Sivas and other parts of Anatolia. It is impossible to ascertain how many Armenians were killed, although the figures cited by historians have ranged from 80, to , The German pastor Johannes Lepsius meticulously collected data on the destruction and in his calculations, counted the deaths of 88, Armenians, the destitution of ,, the destruction of 2, villages, the residents of of which were forcibly converted to Islam, [30] and the desecration of churches and monasteries, of which were converted into mosques.

News of the Armenian massacres in the empire were widely reported in Europe and the United States and drew strong responses from foreign governments and humanitarian organizations alike. Rockefeller , donated and raised large amounts of money and organized relief aid that was channeled to the Armenians via the newly established American Red Cross. Other humanitarian groups and the Red Cross helped by sending aid to the remaining survivors who were dying of disease and hunger.

Through his contacts, favorable impressions of the empire were published in a number of European newspapers and magazines, while Herzl himself attempted unsuccessfully to mediate between the Sultan and Armenian party activists in France, Britain, Austria and elsewhere. Herzl acknowledged that the arrangement with the Abdul Hamid was temporary and his services were in exchange for bringing about a more favorable Ottoman attitude toward Zionism. Bernard Lazare published an open letter critical of Herzl and resigned from the Zionist Committee in Frustrated with their indifference and failure to take action, Armenians from the ARF seized the European-managed Ottoman Bank on August 26, in order to bring the massacres to their full attention.

In one chapter Hepworth describes the disparity between the reality of the Massacre in Bitlis and the official reports that were sent to the Porte. After retelling the Ottoman version of events, which places the blame solely on the Armenians of Bitlis, Hepworth writes: …That is the account of the affair which was sent to Yildiz, and that story contains all that the Sultan has any means of knowing about it.

It is a most remarkable story, and the discrepancies are as thick as leaves in Valambrosa. On the face of it, it cannot be true, and before a jury it would hardly have any weight as evidence. It is extremely important, however, because it is probably a fair representation of the occurrences of the last few years. That it is a misrepresentation, so much so that it can fairly be called fabrication, becomes clear when you look at it a second time The hospital authorities made attempts to pass off wounded Christians as Mussulmans.

Thus, the in the Stamboul [old city of Istanbul] prison were represented as being Muslims, and it was only discovered by accident that were Christians. Nersisyan, Ruben Sahakyan , and John Kirakosyan , and Yehuda Bauer subscribe to the view that the mass killings of — were the first phase of the Armenian Genocide.





Hamidiye (Kavallerie)



Hamidian massacres


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