Sait Cetinoglu

When we look at the decisions made by the post-war government regarding the survivors of the  Genocide of Armenians, we see instructions sent to military and civilian officials guarding the borders. It consists of 11 articles, which specify everything that is necessary to prevent the entry of Armenians into the country. In addition to the severity of these conditions, another condition is indicated, the logic of which is very simple: no Armenian can enter the country if he does not have enough food. It has been written many times about how during the Genocide the Armenians were driven out of their homes and forced to walk on the roads of death. In these long and cramped places of exile, they were miraculously saved. Today we owe these survivors almost all the information about the genocide process. Naturally, after the end of the war, these people would like to return to their homeland. We know that Armenians are bound to their homeland by an eternal bond. Not to mention the ethnographic and historical life of Armenians, economic and social relations, extensive literature: no nation has ever created a series of such rich works, in which the stream, flower and insect of their own homeland, even the farthest corner, are energetically described. Today, studying this article, Anatolia (Western Armenia-approx.) the real story needs to be repeated. This article hides the history of the corners of Anatolia.

How could the Armenians return with sufficient food when we all know the path they have traveled and the conditions of their residence in refugee camps? Moreover, these victims did not know what conditions awaited them at home. We understand from various documents that this return took place in the middle of 1919. Some of the victims, however, had the opportunity to return to their homeland. What happened to them: the Ankara government first of all decided to ban the movement of Armenians first, and then all non-Muslim peoples (Christians). By the decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs No. 336 of June 14, 1920, the Armenians had to stay where they were, they would be banned from entering their homeland. They were concerned that the Armenians would demand the return of the property. Meanwhile, the property belonging to Armenians has already been distributed as abandoned property, and it would be undesirable for Armenians to file any complaints during this period. Those Armenians who were somehow saved from deportation and returned home were arrested on trumped-up charges and sentenced to various punishments, including the death penalty. As an eyewitness of those days, Sarkis Cherkezyan gives important information. Sarkis’ father Lazar (Cherkezoglu), who wanted to demand his property confiscated in Karaman, receives two proposals from his lawyer: either to be silenced or executed. Lazarus’ property is sold before his eyes, and he is sent into exile as a ransom.

Based on the interview of the leader of the Free Republican Party in the newspaper “Milliet”, we understand that the ban on movement was prolonged. And Mustafa Kemal’s friend Fethi Bey, in an interview with an Armenian newspaper correspondent, said: “As we reported in our program, all citizens should have equal rights. If there is corruption, injustice, we want it to be eliminated. All citizens are children of this country. Traveling and trade should be free for everyone, and everyone should be treated with dignity. And this comes from the interests of the country. I think it’s very profitable to talk about everything openly.” However, if you think that this travel ban has not worked, you are mistaken. The ban continued, and the state controlled its non-Muslim citizens by a special commission. The State considers the ancient, indigenous peoples of these lands, whom it perceives as minorities, to be strangers who have become the subject of interest of the “coordinating commission for combating unfounded allegations of genocide” (ASIMCK).