On the question of the Armenians of Western Armenia

  • by Western Armenia, December 04, 2023 in History

From January 9, 1918, reconciliation negotiations resumed in Brest-Litovsk. The head of the Russian delegation was already Lev Trotsky, who was trying in every possible way to gain time, hoping that there would soon be a revolution in Germany and Austria.

But the revolution had not yet begun and Germany's demands were becoming more and more severe and humiliating. Lenin and Trotsky were forced to declare that "the revolutionary masses of Europe have not come to our aid, therefore the continuation of the war is inevitable." In early January, information spread in the Caucasus that Turkey wanted to conclude a separate peace with the Transcaucasian Commissariat. The "Mshak" newspaper warned that the Turkish government could begin its advance in the spring and that, as national military units were not formed, this could have disastrous consequences. Even if national military units could protect the borders of the Caucasus, the defense of Turkish Armenia would be almost impossible. “There is no doubt that the salvation of Armenia is in danger and that it will probably be passed on to Turkey either by the Lenin-Trotsky government or by the Transcaucasia commissariat,” the newspaper writes.

Negotiations with the “Independent Government of the Caucasus”.

On January 3, 1918, the commander of the Caucasus Front, Ilya Odishelidze, reported that Vehib Pasha, the commander of the Turkish army on the Caucasus Front, had proposed to begin negotiations with the "Independent Caucasian Government".

On January 4, the Commissioner examined the Turkish proposal. Gegechkor reports that the Turks are ready to make peace with the Caucasus. Following the discussion, the Commissariat declared that it was a temporary body, that it "had no opinion" on the matter and left the responsibility for making a decision to the center of the country.

Gegechkori also reports that during the armistice negotiations, the representative of the Russian delegation, General Vyshinsky, used the expression "independent government of the Caucasus", which the Turks now use. As a result of heated discussions, they decided to announce to the Turks that they would participate in the Constituent Assembly, where the issue of reconciliation will be resolved. Ramishvili observes that in the event of a ceasefire violation, "they have no possibility of going to war against the Turkish government, so the response must be structured in such a way that it does not give the Turks the "opportunity to violate the ceasefire and destroy the ceasefire."

  "A few days after the signing of the armistice, Vehib Pasha sent a new request to Odishelidze, the commander of the Caucasian army, reporting that Enver Pasha would like to know how to restore relations with the independent Caucasus. The Council of Labor, Military and Peasant Deputies will respond to the bait so cleverly thrown by Enver for the “independent Caucasus”: “We are part of the Russian Republic, we can negotiate with you for peace after the decisions of the Constituent Assembly » (Astvatatur Khachatryan, Diplomatic relations between Eastern Armenia and Turkey, November 30, 1917, - October 30, 1918, Yerevan, 1920. Published in Yerevan, 2010).

On January 15, 1917, the Transcaucasian Commissariat sent a response to Vehib Pasha. On the occasion of the main message of General Commander-in-Chief Enver Pasha, the Transcaucasian Government asks you to be assured that the Commissariat is fully united with the Commander-in-Chief of the Ottoman Army in his humanitarian effort to soon restore the mutually desired conciliatory relations between the two countries. »

In the letter, the Commissariat informed Enver that in order to end the war, they also had to negotiate with the other autonomous governments of the Russian Republic, which is why they asked for time.

"The Transcaucasian government hopes that the three-week period will not make it difficult for you, General, wait. I ask you to believe in my great respect for you," was the end of the letter signed by Gegechkori to Enver.

The Tatars were impatiently waiting for the Turks

Although Transcaucasia acted as a single unit, it was evident that the goals of the Armenians, Georgians and Tatars were very different. If the Turkish invasion meant total destruction for the Armenians, the Tatars impatiently awaited the Turks. Nor were the Georgians particularly worried about a possible Turkish invasion.

"While it is an exaggeration to say that the Tatars would like Turkish rule, it is safe to say that they would like the success of the Turks in Turkish Armenia and their patronage over themselves and Transcaucasia. This was fundamentally contrary to Armenian aspirations and goals. The Georgians did not want Turkish patronage, but to make the weight of the Armenians in Transcaucasia insignificant, they would have wanted the Turks to take Turkish Armenia from the hands of the Armenians, and in this direction they would have succeeded which was necessary through Odeshelidze, the commander of the Caucasus Front, brother-in-law of Vehib Pasha,” wrote Ruben Ter-Minasyan.

The Ottoman Empire in decline, what we can remember during the Armenian genocide is that the only state that obtained international recognition (by Russia) in the region was Turkish Armenia and that the constitution of an artificial transcaucasian government aimed to weaken Armenian resistance on the Turkish Armenian front.

The renunciation of Eastern Armenia to support the resistance of the Armenians of Artsakh in September 2023, allowing the genocide of the indigenous Armenian population to be perpetrated on this ancestral territory is already recorded in the history of Armenia and Azerbaijan . And as Prime Minister Pashinyan says and continues to repeat, this story was already included in the Alma Ata agreements of 1991, which he only applies to the letter, of course, as a pretext for not taking into account that Artsakh has always been part of Armenia.