( ) Pastermadjian Brothers - An Episdode of Treachery or Bravery?
Karekin (Garekin) was born in Erzurum in the year 1875, his father was a well to do person, most likely “making pastrami” and had his son educated well. In the year 1894 Karekin was studying “Agricultural Engineering” in Nancy, France. He says that he became antagonist against Turks because his father was killed by Turks. Yet, we do not know the reasons or if the rumor is true.
In the year 1895 Armenians in Zeytoun, raised in revolution against the Ottoman State. They refused to pay taxes, saying that they were already paying Kurds a traditional ransom called “hafir”. The young Karekin heard about the revolution, left his school and came to Zeytoun to support the revolt.
In 1896 the Dashnakist Revolutionary Armenians in Istanbul planned a big event, to call the attention of all European Superpowers to the unfulfilled promises of reforms in their areas. A group of twenty six “fedayee” Armenians headed by a leader named Papken Sium, was to raid the “Ottoman Bank” which was the biggest bank serving also as the Central Bank. Most likely detailed plan was made by Karekin.
Three of the raiders including the leader were killed in fights with the gendarme, who suffered 12 deaths and 25 wounded soldiers. The terrorists had brought dynamites, took 157 civilians as hostage and threatened to blow up the bank and kill everyone. The Russian Embassy intervened and as a result of negotiations the terrorists were let go overseas by Abdulhamit II, to save a larger calamity. Some sources say the raid was in July, olthers say it was on August 14th, yet another source says it was August 26th. The difference may be due to the ten days difference between Moslem and Christian calendar. Unconfirmed rumors say that Abdulhamit gave pocket allowances to some of them, hoping to changer their antagonism. The raiders got on the private yacht of Sir Edgar Vincent the General >Manager of the Bank, left İstanbul and were later transferred to the French steamer “La Gironde” arriving in Marseilles as heroes. Yet, France did not want to shelter the terrorists. Karekin went to Geneva, Switzerland and graduated in 1900 as a doctor in chemistry. Later he settled in Tiblisi as a successful businessman.
The Fedayee's in Marseille France, after Ottoman Bank takeover Dr. K. Pastermadjian
In 1908, Abdulhamit I was deposed, and new Congress elections were to be held! The Armenians of Erzurum offered Karekin to become their representative in the Ottoman Congress. He accepted the offer, was elected in 1908 and 1912 as the Erzurum Congress member and settled in Istanbul. When the CUP government came into power in 1912, his relations with Talat Pasha was friendly at the beginning but Talat sensed Karekin’s revolutionist and separatist intention.
When it was certain that bthe Ottomans had to participate in WW!, that was the chance promised by Russia, England and France to the Armenians for revolution and hit back the Turks in the back.
Karekin Pastermadjian in August 1914 went to Erzurum and joined the 8th Dashnak Congress who was taking important decisions. Below excerpts are from the booklet he wrote in 1918 in Boston, which are self explanatory and evidencing:
P.10 “…purpose of the writer in writing this booklet, is to make great American people realize that Armenians are not anemic and unaggressive people with no fighting blood in their veins; that the Armenians have not been butchered like sheep but on the contrary, have fought most bravely and resisted most stubbornly the savage attacks of the Turks, whenever they had an opportunity”.
P.16-17 “In the name of the Turkish government the above mentioned (CUP) mission, appealed to the Armenian Organization (during the August 1914 Dashnag Congress in Erzerum) with the following proposition: If the Armenians –the Turkish as well as the Russian Armenians- would give active cooperation under a German guarantee would promise after the war an autonomous Armenia made of Russian Armenia and the three Turkish vilayets of Erzerum, Van and Bitlis, under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire”. (Photo, showing ArmenianP volunteers of the Caucasus taking oath of allegiance administered by the church dignitaries before leaving for the battlefield in October 1914).
(Garekin standing in the middle)
Note: The Ottomans joined WW1 on November 2nd, 1914 but revolutions had started earlier!
P.19 “The Armenian reservists, about 160.000 in the number; gladly responded to the call, for the simple reason that they were to fight the arch enemy of their historic race! Besides regular soldiers, nearly 20.000 volunteers expressed their readiness to take up arms against the Turks”.
Note: Readers can view the pages of the book in the E-library of “Armenians-1915.blogspot.com” and see the cavalry units as well as the leaders of the revolutionaries. Karekin had about 2.000 fighters under his command, but when the greater leader “Dro” Drastamat Kanajan was wounded, he had to take the command for that front.
P.21 “Opposite Sarikamish, where a battle was waged for three days and nights, the Turks suffered a loss of 30.000 men, mostly due to the cold weather than to the Russian arms... This was invaluable service rendered to the Russian army by the fourth battalion of the Armenian volunteers under the command of matchless Keri. Six hundred Armenian veterans fell in the Barduz Pass, and at such a high price saved 60.000 Russians from being taken prisoners by the Turks.”
P.22 “…Andranik strongly enforced the trenches, repulsed the attacks of Khalil Bey for three days continuously until the Russians with the newly arrived forces from the Caucasus, were able to put to the fight of the army of Khalil Bey. Thirty-six hundred Turkish soldiers lay dead before the Armenian trenches in the course of those three days.” (For photo: taken in April 1915, of Armenian soldiers, next to captured Turkish guns inside Van fortress please view the book at given link).
P.28 “…those few battalions of Armenian volunteers in 1914 and 1915, rendered to the Russians invaluable services, twice saving the right and left wings of the Russian army from an unavoidable catastrophe…”
P..31 “For example in 1916-1917 scarcely 8.000 to 10.000 Armenians were permitted to go back and inhabit the region of Van; the rest were compelled to stay within the borders of the Caucasus as refugees. There was talk of transferring to Siberia nearly 250.000 Turkish Armenian immigrants who had sought refuge in the Caucasus, because it was objected that no available lands existed there for them to settle”.
P.37 “In the battle of Karakilisa, and Erivan, early in June, the Armenians in two fierce battles drove back the Turks almost to their frontier. The battle lasted four days, the Turks left 6.000 dead before the Armenian posts and escaped to Alexandropol”… On June 14, in Batoum the Turkish delegates, together with the representatives of the Republic of Ararat, signed the first terms of armistice, leaving the final peace signature to the Congress of Constantinople, where final negations were to take place.
The delegates of the three nations of the Caucasus reached Constantinople on June 19. They were 32 in number. Among them were also representatives of the Republic of Ararat, Mr. A. Khatissoff, the minister of foreign affairs and Mr. Aharonian, the president of the Armenian National Council.”
P.38 “They (Germans and Turks) gave the greater part of the Armenian territories to the other two nations, and the remainder was claimed by Turkey, with the exception of 32.000 square kilometers (12.350 sq. miles) with 700.000 Armenian inhabitants, which were left to the Republic of Ararat…while the remaining 1.400.000 Armenians are left in the territories allotted to the Tartars or the Georgians.”
Note 1: Karekin’s statement (if not exaggerated as always) is very important; in so far that it belies all allegations of genocide and 1.5 millions killed palavers. National Geographic had estimated the total population of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, Caucaus and Persia as 2.000.000. Reliable Turkish and French-Armenian sources confirm that the total Armenian population within the Ottoman Empire in 1914, was about 1.3 millions.
Karekin says (in 1918) that there remains 700.000 Armenians in the new Republic of Ararat, plus another 1.400.000 in the Caucasus, Russia, Georgia, and Persia. When added up, these two figures exceed 2 million figures of 1914. Karekin does not complain of any massacres done by Turks, he boasts with how many they had killed!
Note: 2: In page 33 of his book, Karekin makes an important revelation which refutes the claims of the Armenians that Turks “looted their valuables they left behind, when they were relocated.” We learn from the book that when Russians conquered Erzurum, the goods left over by Armenians in bundles and stored under protection at the Erzurum Cathedral were there untouched. It was General Kaledine himself who had the doors of the cathedral opened, and looted cart loads of carpets and other valuables left over by Armenians. Thereafter, other officers made use of the left over. This confirmation is important in so far that it shows that Turks believed that the Armenians will come back after victory and repossess the goods they left in the custody of the state.
Note: 3: The Armenian Republic of Ararat, was a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian delegation was received by the Sultan on Sept..6th, 1918, after which they cabled PM Khatchaznuni of the reception and prayers of the Sultan! There was no word of any massacre or bilateral claims at that time. However, after the Ottoman Empire surrendered on 30.10.1918 with the Mudros Armistice, the Armenian Republic declared full independence on 30. November 1918, attacked Ottoman lands with the help of British Forces in Persia. By April 1919, Mr. Aharonian President of the Armenian Parliament (who was indebted to the Sultan) was in Paris as the head of the Armenian delegation together with Boghos Nubar, claiming half of Turkey as seen in the below map, and without any Moslem inhabitants. Details are in the next paragraph of the Paris Memorandum)
P.44 “We consciously chose this last alternative, namely we tied our fate to the Allied victory; we exposed our very existence to the danger in order to realize the complete fulfillment of our national ambition, that is to see the re-establishment of by the United Historic Independent Armenia.
Now, let us continue with our story that very little has been told by Armenians. Karekin had a younger brother named “Vahan Pastermadjian” and he graduated in 1914 from the Harbiye Military College as second lieutenant. We learn from a Turkish book written about the Sarikamish fights and disaster, that Vahan Pastermadjian fought bravely against Russians and was wounded in his foot. We have no more knowledge about the whereabouts of the younger brother Vahan.
But it seems that Karekin Pastermadjian like other revolutionary leaders named later Generals, (Dro – Drastamat Kanajan and Andranik Ozanian), fled to Europe and USA continuing their antagonist activities after the Ottoman Empire came under the occupation of the Allies and a new Nationalist Resistance had started in 1919 under the command of Mustafa Kemal.
We know that Karekin Pastermadjian was later made Ambassador for Washington of the new Democratic (Dashnakist) Republic of Armenia or Ararat. Karekin tried to have the new Republic recognized by USA, obtain loans and mandate of USA. His efforts, (together with those of another Armenian lawyer Vahan Cardashian originally from Istanbul but graduate of Yale University and who was employed by the Ottoman Embassy in Washington for a few months until he was laid because of his spying activities) did not work out. The U.S. Senate and President Wilson had sent a delegation in June 1919 headed by General Harbord to study the conditions and possibility of a mandate for Armenia. The report was very negative and the last hope of salvations of Armenians failed. The tiny Dashnakist Republic had taken arms for the third time against Turks, but they were exhausted after so many years of fighting, lack of logistics and losses in number of fighters and civilians. On Dec.2, 1920 the Ararat Republic signed the Peace Treaty of Alexandropol/Gumru and shortly thereafter they voluntarily became a satellite of the new Soviet Russia, which saved them from further famine.
We know that the activities of Pasternmadjian continued; he set up the “Nemesis” revenge or assassin group and these idealist assassins soon killed P.M. Sait Halim (Rome), Talat Pasha and Bahattin Shakir (Berlin). Djemal Pasha was killed in Tiblisi; some Armenians say that it was not their killing!
Karekin soon developed a heart disease. He went to Switzerland, Geneva where he died, of heart in 1923. I do not know what happened to the younger brother Vahan Pastermadjian and what were the feelings of two brothers against each other, one serving the enemies of the Ottomans for a free Armenian State and the other faithful to the country he was raised in!
The present status pretty much reminds the saga of the Pastermadjian brothers. At the present there are few outside intrusions supported again by “foreign cash” complaining that they are discriminated or they are not equally treated! There might be a “tiny bit of truth” in this remark, but I know much too well how I am treated in other foreign countries, regardless of my status and appearance when they hear that I am not one of them, but I am a Turk.
Those countries brain washing equality, human rights and similar palavers, regretfully take no active steps against discrimination, but use it as propaganda. The Pastermadjian Brothers, proved a very good live lesson.
When the elder brother Karekin Pastermadjian (a known enemy of the state who raided the Ottoman Bank and was responsible for the killing of twelve soldiers and wounded so many) was let go unpunished with the pressure of super powers, the younger brother Vahan Pastermadjian was admitted in the Military College, equal with all other Turks. His service records showed
that he was worthy of the confidence. The reader of this chapter may find it difficult to answer if “Karekin Pastermadjian or (Armen Garo = The Brave Armenian) or his younger brother second Lieutenant Vahan Pastermadjian did the right thing for everyone!
Surp Pirgic Hospital & Nursing Homes Surp Agop Hospital–City center
One wonders how come Foreign NGO’s, diaspora donate NOTHING for philanthropic foundations kept standing for centuries, but prefer to support “trouble monger publishing and activists”
< At the time of Mahmut II. for existing two hospitals being far away from each other and not having originally been planned and built as hospital buildings, they were not capable enough to meet the needs of the Armenian community. Upon the demand of the increased wealthy Armenian population for quality health services they decided to erect a new hospital.>(See hospital website)
CONCLUSION: Many NGO and diaspora activist groups are in need of the continuation of a insoluble conflict, to prove their necessity and the duty of the community to support them with their donation. No one asks why such donations do not go to the very poor in need of help, but to the better off persons in Western countries living in incomparable comfort with those in Armenia. The near past and present history is full of excellent examples of the togetherness in sentiments between Armenians and Turks, who “drank the water of the same soil”. For those who have time to read and see evidences instead of screaming of animosity and to have a honest opinion I invite them to read http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com/2010/01/2990-in-reply-to-below-slander-let.html. Meet those wonderful Turkish Armenians who contributed so much to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, read and come to know Lawyer Kegam Karabetyan, son of a town tailor, becoming a respected and much beloved citizen. Kegam bey wrote the introduction of my Turkish book, we never head any business interest. Learn from the local City paper “Kastamonu Postası” that when his father “Tailor Garbis” died recently in Istanbul, a crowded group of businessmen from Kastamonu, came to the church to offer their condolence.
The history of Anatolian people, regardless their faith, is full of events to be proud of! The troubles were always injected from the outside with great promises, but in reality to derange the harmony of humans. Same stands true for this blog of Turkish Armenians dedicated to “truth”, “compassion and friendship. Pazstermadjian’s book is an excellent document, proving not only the revolutionary activities for a “Free Armenia”, but also proves that Turks came to Erzurum and asked their support for WW!, promising autonomy, and which they turned down! Who would plan killing a partner badly needed?