Javakhk 1915-23

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Brief outline of events related to Javakhk in 1915-23

Detailed Chronology


Brief outline of events related to Javakhk
in 1915-23


When World War 1 started in August 1914, Javakhk was a part of the Russian Empire (South-Eastern part of Tiflis "gubernia" in Caucasus). The first months of the war were peaceful in Javakhk, although the Turkish army advanced to Sarikamish on the Caucasian Front in December.

However, in June 1915 the Turkish army was defeated by Russia, and the Russian forces advanced to Urmia and Tavriz in march, and entered Van in May. In March the attack of Antanta on the Dardanelles begins.

In these circumstances a dispatch from the Ittihad Central Committee (the Turkish ruling party) is released in March announcing the decision to exterminate the Armenians: the Armenian Genocide started. On April 24 the Armenian intellectuals and community leaders are arrested in Constantinople. During 1915 and 1916 around a million of Armenians were killed, a few hundreds of thousands refugees run to Near East and Russian Caucasus, including Javakhk. Western Armenia was almost completely occupied by Russian Army in Summer 1916.

After Russian revolution in February 1917 the new government of Russia declared that it is going to continue the war against the Ottomans. However, after Bolshevik revolution on November 7 the Bolsheviks declared "piece without annex ions and contributions" and removed the Russian army from Western Armenia and Caucasus.

In November the Turks (Meskhetian Turks) of Akhaltskha region at Javakhk organize armed bands backed by Turkey, and led by Gudiev-bek. Turks close Akhaltskha’s connections to the external World. They try to get control over the whole Akhaltskha region, including the town Akhaltskha, which they consider the “capital” of Meskhetian Turks. The Christian (Armenian and Georgian) population of the region organized by Zori Zorian starts self-defense struggle against Turks. This successful struggle saves the Christian population of Akhaltskha region. Armenian forces of Akhaltskha save both Armenian and Georgian villages surrounded by Turkish villages, and bring them to Akhaltskha.

Zori Zorian, the mayor of Akhaltskha since Summer 1917, is elected the head of the Armenian National Council of Akhaltskha in January 1918.

In February a Turkish attack in Western Armenia towards Eastern Armenia and Caucasus begins. The Armenians of Caucasus form armed groups for self-defense. 5000 volunteers register in Javakhk alone.

On march 3 the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed by Russia, Turkey, and Germany is signed. Turks get back all the provinces of Western Armenia, formerly occupied by Russia, and also Kars region. In March-April 1918 the Turkish army occupies Erznka, Erzrum, Van, Kars.

Under Turkish-German pressure Transcaucasia declares itself an independent state: Transcaucasian Federative Republic consisting of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. In Batum Conference in May 1918 with this Federation the Turks, in addition to provinces received by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, also demand Batum, Akhaltskha, Aleksanrapol, Akhalkalak, the most part of Shirak and Echmiadzin regions.

In May 15 Turkish forces occupy Aleksanrapol (Leninakan, now Gyumri), and danger of physical annihilation of Armenians of Transcaucasia becomes more than serious. From Aleksanrapol the Turks advanced in four directions: to Sardarapat (to Yerevan), to Karakilisa (Kirovakan, now Vanazor) , to Bash-Aparan and to Javakhk. Armenian forces stop Turkish offensive. Republic of Armenia is proclaimed in Russian Transcaucasia on Ma7 28.

Gen. Nazarbekian sends Gen. Andranik in May to Javakhk to organize self-defense against the Turks. But Andranik advances till Ashotsk, and from there goes to Lori, because he was expecting the Turkish offensive from that direction. Andranik sends khmbapet Hakob to Akhalkalak to organize militia Hagop is being killed on the day he arrives to Akhalkalak. Colonel Arakelian remains as the commander of the Armenian forces of Akhalkalak. He, however, was not able to organize defense of Akhalkalak properly.

On May 27 Turkish forces enter Akhaltsha. However, thanks to resistance of Akhaltskha organized by Zori Zorian, Turks sign an agreement with Akhaltskha, according to which the Armenian and Georgian population of Akhaltskha should not be disturbed by the Turks. In particular, the Armenian population on Akhaltskha did not leave its Homeland, and had only minimal loses during the war, in contrast to Akhalkalak, which lost thousands of people.

On June 5 Turkish forces occupy Akhalkalak. The whole population of Javakhk (80.000 Armenians and 10.000 Georgians), expect the Russian Dukhobors villages and a few Armenian Catholic villages (expecting protection from the Catholic Austrian Empire) run from the Turkish forces in two directions: to the North, to Bakurian, and to the East, to Tsalka. The Northern group stays in camps in forests of Bakurian and Manglis. The Eastern group stays in Armenian villages of Tsalka region.

On October 30 1918 an armistice is signed at Mudroa between Turkey and the Allies. The Armistice agreement makes provisions for the release of Armenian internees and the return of the Armenian deportees to their homes. On 11 November a general Armistice is declared between the Allies and the Central Powers.

In December the Armenian refugees return back to Javakhk. Thousands of victims reported.

On December 7 the Armenian-Georgian war starts for control over the parts of then disputed provinces of Lori, Javakhk, and Borchalu. The Armenian-Georgian war ended on December 31 when the British brokered ceasefire was signed, leaving the disputed part of Borchalo district under the joint Georgian-Armenian administration which lasted until the establishment of the Soviet rule in Armenia in 1920. After Armenian-Georgian war Akhalkalak is recognized on January 19 a region temporarily occupied by Georgia. The number of Georgian troops in the region should not exceed 200.

In 1920 the Allies and the United States of America formally recognize the independence of Armenia and Georgia. On August 20 the Treaty of Sèvres is signed. According to articles 226, 227, 228, 229, 230 pertaining to the massacres, the Turkish government promises to hand over all documents and any persons requested by the Allies. Articles 88 and 89 recognize Armenia as a free and independent state.

However, promises of the Treaty of Sèvres was not kept because the Turkish Kemalist nationalist and Bolshevik Russian forces form an alliance. They jointly occupied Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan in 1920-21. Parts of Armenia and Georgia were cut and given to Turkey and Azerbaijan.

On July 5, 1921 the Caucasian body of the Bolshevik party ("Kavbyuro CeKa RKP(b)") decides to include Javakhk in Georgia and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) in Azerbaijan.

See a more detailed chronology of the Armenian Genocide and WW1 events in Javakhk below:

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Detailed Chronology of the events of the Armenian Genocide and WW1, including the events in Javakhk

1914
1 Aug.
Germany declares war on Russia. Beginning of World War 1. A secret treaty of alliance is signed between Turkey and Germany virtually placing the Turkish armed forces under German command.
22 Aug The male population between the ages of 20 and 45 is conscripted by the Turkish armed forces
22 Oct.
Enver authorizes the combined German-Turkish navy to carry out a stealth attack on Russia without declaration of war. On Nov. 2 Russia formally declares war against the Ottoman Empire.
9 Nov.
A Proclamation of Jihad, directed against England, France, and Russia, is issued in Constantinople legitimating the formation of the chete organizations. Actions against the Armenians.
22 Dec.
An attack by the Ottoman Third Army corps opens the Battle of Sarikamish on the Caucasian Front.
1915
16 Jun. The last actions of the Battle of Sarikamish are reported. The Turkish army is totally defeated and almost destroyed with a loss of 70,000 men out of 85,000.
2 Feb. Talaat advises German Ambassador Count Hans von Wangenheim that the war is the only propitious moment to conclude the Armenian Question.
3 Mar. A dispatch from the Ittihad Central Committee is released announcing the decision to exterminate the Armenians.
16 Mar. Russian forces advance between Urmia and Tavriz.
18 Mar. An Allied attack on the Dardanelles begins.
24 Apr. 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders are arrested in Constantinople and sent to Chankri and Ayash, where they are later slain. The editors and staff of Azadamart, the leading Armenian newspaper of Constantinople, are arrested, and on June 15 are slain in Diyarbekir, where they had been transported and imprisoned. The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople and Zohrab, Armenian deputy in the Ottoman Parliament, petition the Grand Vizier, Said Halim, the Minister of the Interior Talaat, and the President of the Senate, Rifat, on behalf of the arrested Armenians of Constantinople. Though approached separately, all three give identical answers; that the government is isolating the Armenian leadership and dissolving the Armenian political organizations.
3 May The deportations from the villages of Erzerum Province are started. Arrests and persecutions begin in Kharput.
21 May Regular Russian Army forces arrive in Van. They begin the cremation of the dead in the city and in the villages of the province. 55,000 dead are identified as Armenians.
7 Jun. The first convoy of Armenian deportees leave Erzinjan toward Kemakh on their way to the Syrian Desert.
26 Jun. The massacre of Armenians of Bitlis is carried out under the direct orders of Mustafa Abdulhalik Renda. A government decree instructs the 30,000 Armenians in Trebizond to leave the city within 5 days. A decree issued in Samsun orders all Armenians to leave within 15 days.
28 Jul. The deportation of the Armenians of the town of Aintab begins. The deportation of the Armenians of the town of Kilis begins. The deportation of the Armenians of the town of Adiaman begins.
30 Jul. The withdrawal of the Russian Army from the city of Van begins.
2 Aug. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau reports that on this day Talaat told him that the Ittihad Committee had carefully considered in all its details the matter of crushing the Armenians, and that the policy which was being pursued was that which had been officially adopted.
16 Oct. 20,000 Armenian deportees in transit are murdered in the city and environs of Urfa.
5 Nov 150,000 Armenian deportees are reported scattered between Adana and Aleppo crossing the Amanos Range.
12 Dec. 180,000 Armenian refugees from Turkey who had reached Tiflis (Tbilisi) are reported to be in dire conditions.
29 Dec. On this date, of the estimated 210,000 refugees who had reached the Caucasus, only 173,000 are reported still living, almost 40,000 having died as a result of privations and disease. Of the remaining 173,000, 105,000 were from Van Province, 48,000 from Bayazid (Bayazit) District, 20,038 from Mush District.
1916
24 Jan. During this period of 47 days, of 486,000 Armenian deportees, 364,500 are reported to have been killed by the Turks or to have died because of the hardships of the deportations.
24 Jan. The War Ministry orders all Armenian soldiers remaining alive in the Turkish armies to be converted to Islam and to be circumcised.
3 Feb. According to Lord Bryce, 486,000 Armenians deportees were still living: 100,000 were to be found between Damascus and Maan, 12,000 at Hama, 20,000 at Homs, 7,000 at Aleppo, 4,000 at Maara, 8,000 at Bab, 5,000 at Munbij (Munbuj), 20,000 at Ras-el-Ain (Ras ul-Ain), 10,000 at Rakka, and 300,000 at Zor.
16 Feb. The Russian Army occupies Erzerum. Only a handful of captive Armenian women are found alive in the entire province.
29 Feb. The Turkish government officially rejects foreign relief for the Armenian deportees.
15 Apr. The Russian Army occupies Trebizond. With the exception of a few Armenian orphans and widows secretly sheltered by Greeks, no Armenians are found in the city.
7 Jun. The Russian Army occupies Bayburt and Erzinjan.
14 Aug. 200,000 Armenian deportees are reported killed in massacres by this date in the Zor District, at a delta formed by the juncture of the Khabur and Euphrates River near Suwar (Suvar), Marrat (Marat), and Elbusayra.
4 Oct. Wilhelm Radowitz reports to the German Chancellor Theobald von Bethman Hollweg that of the two million Armenians in Turkey, one and half million had been deported. Of these 1,175,000 were dead; 325,000 were still living.
5 Oct. The Turkish government confiscates by a provisional law all the real estate of the Armenians.
8 Oct. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, acting on the resolution of Congress, proclaims these two days "Armenian Relief Days."
1917
4 Feb. Talaat becomes the Grand Vizier of Turkey.
26 Feb February revolution in Russia.
26 Mar. Ernst E. Cristoffel, a German missionary in Malatia, who witnessed the massacres and deportations, estimates that 1,000,000 Armenians had been murdered.
20 Apr. Turkey breaks relations with the United States.
1 Jun. The Turkish government orders the Turkification and Islamization of the surviving Armenian Catholics.
7. Nov. October Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Bolsheviks withdraw the Russian army from Western Armenia and Caucasus.
9 Dec. Allied forces occupy Jerusalem.
29 Dec.

The Turks (Meskhetian Turks) of Akhaltskha region organize armed bands backed by Turkey, and led by Gudiev-bek. Turks close Akhaltskha’s connections to the external World. They try to get control over the whole Akhaltskha region, including the town Akhaltskha, which they consider the “capital” of Meskhetian Turks. The Christian (Armenian and Georgian) population of the region organized by Zori Zorian starts self-defense struggle against Turks. This successful struggle saves the Christian population of Akhaltskha region. Armenian forces of Akhaltskha save both Armenian and Georgian villages surrounded by Turkish villages, and bring them to Akhaltskha.

1918
27 Jan. Zori Zorian, the mayor of Akhaltskha since Summer 1917, is elected the head of the Armenian National Council of Akhaltskha.
12 Feb. Turkish attack in Western Armenia towards Eastern Armenia and Caucasus begins. The Armenians of Caucasus form armed groups for self-defense. 5000 volunteers register in Javakhk alone.
3 Mar. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed by Russia, Turkey, and Germany. The hostilities with Russia are officially ended. Talaat declares that he will grant amnesty to the Armenians.
12 Mar. Enver orders the killing of all civilian Armenians over five years of age and remaining Armenians in the Turkish military within 48 hours. The Germans attempt to stop the Turks from committing this massacre.
12 Mar. Turkish forces reoccupy Erzerum.
5 Apr. Turkish forces reoccupy Van.
13 Apr. Turkish forces occupy Kars.
28 Apr. Turkey formally recognize the Transcaucasian Federative Republic consisting of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. (The Federation dissolves on May 28.)
11 May

The Batum Conference starts between the Turks and the Transcaucasian Federative Republic. Addition to the territories received by Turks according to the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, Khalil bey also demands Batum, Akhaltskha, Aleksanrapol, Akhalkalak, the most part of Shirak and Echmiadzin regions.

15 May Turkish forces occupy Aleksanrapol.
15 May

Gen. Nazarbekian sends Gen. Andranik to Javakhk to organize self-defense against the Turks. But Andranik advances till Ashotsk, and from there goes to Lori, because he was expecting the Turkish offensive from that direction. Andranik sends khmbapet Hakob to Akhalkalak to organize militia Hagop is being killed on the day he arrives to Akhalkalak. Colonel Arakelian remains as the commander of the Armenian forces of Akhalkalak. He, however, was not able to organize defense of Akhalkalak properly.

26 May

Armenian forces stop Turkish offensive at the Sardarapat, Karakilisa and Bash-Aparan battles.

26 May Republic of Georgia is proclaimed in Russian Transcaucasia.
27 May

Turkish forces enter Akhaltsha. However, thanks to resistance of Akhaltskha organized by Zori Zorian, Turks sign an agreement with Akhaltskha, according to which  the Armenian and Georgian population of Akhaltskha should not be disturbed by the Turks. In particular, the Armenian population on Akhaltskha did not leave its Homeland, and  had only minimal loses during the war, in contrast to Akhalkalak, which lost thousands of people.

28 May Republic of Armenia is proclaimed in Russian Transcaucasia.
5 Jun.

Turkish forces occupy Akhalkalak. The whole population of Javakhk (80.000 Armenians and 10.000 Georgians), expect the Russian Dukhobors villages and a few Armenian Catholic villages (expecting protection from the Catholic Austrian Empire) run from the Turkish forces in two directions: to the North, to Bakurian, and to the East, to Tsalka. The Northern group stays in camps in forests of Bakurian and Manglis. The Eastern group stays in Armenian villages of Tsalka region.

9 Sep. Hindenberg wires Enver asking Turkish forces to evacuate all Caucasian areas except Kars, Ardahan, and Batum. The Turks ignore the demand. Local massacres are reported throughout the occupied areas.
15 Sep. The three-day massacre by Turkish military forces under the command of Nuri Pasha (Enver's younger brother) and Halil Pasha (Enver's uncle) results in the death of 30,000 Armenian civilians in the city of Baku.
19 Sep. Allied forces open a large-scale offensive on the Syrian Front, aided by an Armenian Legion recruited from Armenian colonies throughout the world.
1 Oct. Allied forces capture Damascus.
8 Oct. Allied forces capture the city of Beirut (Beyrut).
8 Oct. The Ittihad Cabinet of Enver, Jemal, and Talaat resigns. All three prepare to flee the country.
26 Oct. Allied forces occupy the city of Aleppo. With the arrival of the British and French armies and the Armenian Legion, 125,000 remnants of the deported Armenians are rescued from the desert
30 Oct. An armistice is signed at Mudroa between Turkey and the Allies. The Armistice agreement makes provisions for the release of Armenian internees and the return of the Armenian deportees to their homes.
2 Nov. Talaat, Enver, Jemal flee Turkey on a German freighter.
11 Nov. A general Armistice is declared between the Allies and the Central Powers.
Dec.

The Armenian refugees return back to Javakhk. Thousands of victims reported.

7 Dec.

The Armenian-Georgian war starts for control over the parts of then disputed provinces of Lori, Javakhk, and Borchalu.

31 Dec.

The Armenian-Georgian war ended when the British brokered ceasefire was signed, leaving the disputed part of Borchalo district under the joint Georgian-Armenian administration which lasted until the establishment of the Soviet rule in Armenia in 1920.

1919
19 Jan.

After Armenian-Georgian war Akhalkalak is recognized a region temporarily occupied by Georgia. The number of Georgian troops in the region should not exceed 200.

1 Feb. A court martial to address war crimes in convened in Constantinople.
19 May Mustafa Kemal lands at Samsun on assignment from the Ministry of War and the Grand Vizier in Constantinople as inspector-general of central Anatolia. Kemal begins organizing new Turkish armies to oppose the Allies. Former Ittihadist leaders join forces with Kemal.
28 May On the first anniversary of independence, the Republic of Armenia declares the unification of Caucasian and Turkish Armenia.
10 Jun. Talaat, Enver, Jemal, and Dr. Nazim, charged with war crimes by the Turkish court martial, are condemned to death in absentia.
1 Dec. Francois Georges-Picot, former French High Commissioner in Syria, and Mustafa Kemal hold a secret meeting in Sivas concerning the status of Cilicia. Kemal demands that the French Army including the Armenian volunteer forces serving with it be withdrawn. Picot agrees, leaving defenseless the Armenian survivors in Cilicia, who had returned home from their ordeals in the desert.
1920
19 Jun. The Allies formally recognize the independence of Armenia.
21 Jun Turkish Nationalist forces affiliated with Mustafa Kemal attack Marash.
22 Apr. The United States of America officially recognizes the Independent Republic of Armenia.
10 Aug. The Treaty of Sèvres is signed. According to articles 226, 227, 228, 229, 230 pertaining to the massacres, the Turkish government promises to hand over all documents and any persons requested by the Allies. Articles 88 and 89 recognize Armenia as a free and independent state.
15 Aug. The Turkish Nationalist and Bolshevik forces form an alliance.
22 Nov. President Woodrow Wilson presents his delineation of the borders of Armenia. A week later Armenia is partitioned by Turkish Nationalist forces and Sovietized by Russian Bolsheviks.
1921
20 Jan. The Turkish Nationalist Pact demands the inclusion of Armenia, Smyrna, and Thrace in Turkish territory.
24 Feb. The investigation of the Der-el-Zor (Deir el-Zor) massacres begins.
Mar. Kemalist Turkish army occupy Akhalkalak.
15 Mar. Talaat is assassinated in Berlin by an Armenian student, Soghomon Tehlirian. Talaat had been condemned to death by the Turkish court martial on July 11, 1919. (In 1943, the Turkish government removed the remains of Talaat from Nazi Germany and enshrined them with great ceremony on Liberty Hill in Constantinople.) Tehlirian is acquitted.
16 Mar. Kemalist Turkey and Bolshevik Russia sign in Moscow a treaty about “Friendship and brothership” determining the Turkish and Russian zones of interests in Caucasus, and the boundaries of Turkey with Armenia and Georgia.
5 July The Caucasian body of the Bolshevik party ("Kavbyuro CeKa RKP(b)") decides to include Javakhk in Georgia and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) in Azerbaijan.
13 Oct.

The Kars threat between Turkey and the republics of Soviet Transcaucasus repeats the points of the Moscow treaty.

1922
7 Apr. Jemal Azmi, the governor-general of Trebizond during the massacres, and Behaeddin Shakir are assassinated in Berlin.
25 Jul. Jemal Pasha, the former Minister of the Marine and the Fifth Army commander in Syria, is assassinated in Tiflis (Tbilisi).
9 Sep. The advance guard of the Turkish Army enters Smyrna and pillages Armenian and Greek homes and stores. Armenians and Greeks are killed in the thousands. Religious institutions, including the Armenian Prelacy in Smyrna, are ransacked.
1923
24 Jul.

Treaty of Lausanne signed by Turkey and the Allies excludes all mention of Armenia or the Armenians. The new Turkish Nationalist state is extended international recognition. The Ottoman Empire goes out of existence.

29 Oct. The Republic of Turkey is proclaimed by the Turkish Grand National Assembly with Mustafa Kemal as its President.

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