Three months before the war, in 1920 in June, Armenian troops occupied Olt, which was considered the territory of the Armenian state. The coal mines of Olti were of vital importance for the Armenian economy and infrastructure, which was surrounded and on the verge of destruction due to the lack of energy sources. Later, the Turkish side justified the decision to start the war with the capture of Olti, which, however, was an attempt to blame the Armenians. Even if Olti’s action had not happened, the Turks would have attacked Armenia under any other pretext. Various, including Turkish sources, correspondence between Kemal and Karabekir testify that the Turkish army was waiting for an attack order since April 1920.
The first wave of Turkish attack in 1920. It was on September 10 that the Armenian troops are able to resist. Three days later, however, unable to withstand the pressure, the Armenians leave Olt. It is from this moment that the shortcomings of the Armenian army and the rear appear. According to testimonies, the Armenians had about 2,400 soldiers in Olti and Sarighamish, while the total number of the Turkish 15th Army Corps was about 28,000. The [Turkish] army was fed very well, had plenty of ammunition, clothing, which it received from the Italians, French and Soviet Russia.
We think this episode is important, because for months the Armenian side assured the West that Kemal’s army is barely 10,000, weak and poorly organized. In 1920 At the end of April, the head of the Armenian delegation in San Remo, Avetis Aharonyan, told Lloyd George, Lord Curzon, Marshal Foch and others. “Mustafa Kemal does not have 14,000 troops, but much less, and mostly irregular troops, peasants, many of them forcibly kept under arms, all poorly dressed, untrained. The information of the general staff of our army, which is accurate, leaves no doubt about this.”
Aharonyan also said that Armenia has an army of around 25,000. A few months later, the number of the Armenian army was bigger. On July 11, at the meeting with Greek President Venizelos, the member of the Armenian delegation, Colonel Ghorghanyan, said that Armenia can increase the number of the army to 40 thousand.
Meanwhile, Ruben Ter-Minasyan, the military minister of the Republic of Armenia, states in his memoirs that in 1919 the Armenian army had about 10 thousand soldiers and officers. Another 4,000 soldiers were in reserve military units in different regions of the republic. During the entire period of independence, due to the undeclared but never-ending war with Baku, the Armenian army was stationed on the border stretching for hundreds of kilometers.
Vratsyan’s observation that after the start of the war it becomes clear that Armenia is completely alone and not ready for war is also worthy of attention. Armenia appeals to the world powers, who until then considered Armenia their junior ally, but does not receive real military or military-political support from anyone.