In 1910, Mkrtich Yotneghbayrian organized a self-defense squad, which all government attempts to destroy failed. Even the Urfa police chief later recounts. “Despite our efforts, we could not catch up with Mkrtici. There were reports of him every day, for example, cutting telegraph wires, burning logs, destroying telephone wires, and cutting water in Turkish neighborhoods. The strangest thing, however, was the writings confirming his identity, where he said, “You cowards, don’t look for me in the city and let the innocent go. I am here, let’s get to know each other.” This man was either a demon or an angel, but in any case he was the horror of Turkey.”
The barbaric actions of the Turks worried Mkrtich and his sons above all. “When they cut off the Armenian quarter of the city, we were sitting quietly, now they have taken over our nation, we are silent again.” “So what are we going to do?” friends ask. “We have to fight, not wait for them to slaughter us,” says Mkrtich.
Before that, he had repeatedly tried to save the lives of a number of Urfa Armenians arrested by the government. In particular, he was twice in prison, then he prepared on June 8, 1915, for the escape of the first 16 party activists and personalities arrested and deported on the way to exile, but categorically refused, distrusting the fate of Urfa Armenians, were all killed. And on January 25, the government arrested 100 leading figures and intellectuals of the city.
Yotneghbayrian, as a creditor of some of them, disguised as a rich Arab, was able to enter the prison, meet and present a feasible escape plan, which was rejected. In order to present the escape plan of the two “Great Exiles” who arrived in Urfa on August 1, the deputy of the Ottoman Mejlis, writer and lawyer Grigor Zohrap and a figure of the national liberation movement Vardges (Hovhannes Serenkulyan), he went to the roof of the house where they stayed at night, descended through the chimney to the room and spent half an hour trying in vain to free them, but he always received the same answer from Zohrap. “Our release will not improve the condition of the people, on the contrary.”