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Mesajgönderen TurkmenCopur » 30 Nis 2011, 16:18


In the Ottoman eastern provinces, there were Muslim refugees in two periods. The first period began in April 1915, with the Armenian revolt in Van, and ended when the Russians retreated in the summer of 1915. The second came with the more successful Russian invasion of 1916, which ultimately led to the Russian occupation of the Ottoman province of Erzurum and of much of the provinces of Van, Diyarbakir, Mamuretülaziz, and Trabzon.

The result of the Russian invasions and intercommunal war between Muslims and Armenians was naturally a great exodus of the pacific rural population, both Muslims and Christians. As a result, cities and provinces to the south and west that were under more firm Ottoman control swelled with Turkish refugees. Of these, the refugees from the northern Trabzon Vilâyeti and northeastern Erzurum Vilâyeti were the most fortunate; they escaped to central and western Black Sea provinces -- relatively stable areas under closer central government control. From there, some were sent to central Anatolia, as were refugees from southern Trabzon and Erzurum provinces. Those who fled from more eastern areas were less fortunate. They fled south into the provinces of Mamuretülaziz, Diyarbakir, and Van, where they could have found little succor. Many of these refugees were forced to flee in stages, leaving their homes, settling in one area until the Russians and Armenians advanced, then fleeing once again. Often refugees from Erzurum were forced to escape to areas as far from their homes as Maraş and Adana, travels of more than 600 kilometers on foot.

No accurate count of internal refugees in eastern Anatolia was ever taken. Given the situation of the region, no census would have been possible. However, the relief agency of the Ottoman Interior Ministry did estimate the numbers of refugees who had been given assistance, transportation, or housing by the government. In the document from which the data in Table 18 has been taken, it is impossible to know if the Interior Ministry statistics were drawn from actual enumerations or from estimates made by local officials. Most probably it was both. It must be noted that the figures in Table 18 are only of officially noted refugees; the document indicates that many refugees were not included in the numbers.

Since the prewar Muslim population of the area taken by the Russians was 2.3 million, a figure of 660,000 indicates that a minimum of more than one-fourth of the prewar population had by 1916 become refugees. A later report of the Ministry of Refugees gave a figure of 868,962 Muslim refugees by the end of World War I. When one considers that these data only included officially recorded refugees and that great numbers of Muslims had died before refugees took to the roads, the proportion of refugees becomes much higher. More than one-half of those who survived the first battles and massacres must have become refugees. Judged on the basis of the general wartime mortality of the Ottoman eastern provinces, more than one-half of the internal refugees in eastern Anatolia must have died.


From To* Refugees
  Trabzon and Eastern ErzurumSamsun79,100
  Eastern, Southern Erzurum, & VanMamuretülaziz80,000
Van and BitlisDiyarbakιr200,000

* Many went on farther into Anatolia.
†"Exceeding 300,000."
SOURCE: Ottoman Interior Ministry.

Kitap: Death and Exile: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims, 1821-1922
Yazar: Justin McCarthy
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