London, May 20 – (I.N.S.) – A correspondent of the Chronicle describes the Turkish massacres in Armenia as follows:
The recent Armenian massacres, in which it is feared that from 800,000 to 1,000,000 victims have perished or are destined to perish in exile, represent the wholesale extermination of a race. That perhaps a quarter of a million escaped to Transcaucasia does not alter the fact that the Young Turks intended to make away with them en bloc, with the exception of the Armenian colonies of Constantinople, Smyrna and one or two other ports.
The reasons alleged by their executioners were that the Armenians had been incited to revolt by the entente poweres, in cooperation with the Russian offensive movement: that their wholesale deportation was a measure dictated by imperative military necessity, and that repressive measures were not undertaken against the Armenians until June, when they rose in Van and other places in the war zone and joined hands with the enemy.
As a matter of fact, the deportation of Armenians from places widely removed from the theatre of war commenced as early as April, and synchronized with the systematic massacre of most of the able-bodied males, so that at one blow the remained of the population were deprived of their natural defenders.
Defenseless Driven to Syria
The residue, consisting for the most part of old men, women and childre, were uprooted from their homes and sent across Asia Minor the great majority on foot, until such as survived reached their destinations in the deserts of Syria. The tortured progress of these unfortunates, at the mercy of their brutal gendarme escorts who attacked them on the road, affords one of the most poignant pages in history.
Even in normal times the Armenians’ condition was altogether unendurable. They were treated as a subject and inferior race, and could get neither justice nor protection. Their only hope lay in internal reform – a vain hope never realized in the face of determined Turkish opposition. Nor could they look for external help, as could the Greeks and Bulgars, to rescue them from Turkish tyranny.
It is not surprising, therefore, that when Turkey declared war upon the entente, the Armenians secretly prayed for the success of the allies, though they remained perfectly quiet, well knowing that any premature ebullition of sympathy would bring swift retribution.
All the insurrections which took place occurred in consequence of the measures taken by the government against the Armenians. Such as escaped the massacres fled to the mountains and joined others in like case.
Simply Driven to Resistance
The Armenians of Van, when,in April, they saw massacres occurring in districts to the northwest of the lake, rose in arms in self-defense, entrenched themselves in the garden quarter of the town, and held out until the arrival of the Russians in June.
The semi-independent mountaineers in Sasun and Zeitun resisted desperately to the last, until all were exterminated. In one or two other places the Armenians, where they had arms, resisted. In all cases where such opposition was made, wholesale massacre ensued.
Elsewhere in Anatolia the Armenians only existed as scattered communities and were forced to submit to murder or deportation without any show of resistance.
In the Hamidian massacres of 1894-1896, as a rule, only the males were slain, and the Protestant and Catholic communities were spared. In the present case vast numbers of women and children were butchered or carried off to a fate worse than death, and the Protestants and Catholics shared in the common fate of their race.
The fine work done by the Americans, whose numerous schools and colleges were oases of western thought and civilization in a vast desert of ignorance and savagery, has been brought to naught at a signal from Enver and his co-bandits.