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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post TURKEY: So called Armenian genocide
Created by John Eipper on 05/24/05 10:31 AM - turkey-so-called-armenian-genocide-modified-by-nushin-susan-namazi

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TURKEY: So called Armenian genocide (John Eipper, USA, 05/24/05 10:31 am)

A Turkish WAISer comments on the article in Der Spiegel on then 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide: This has become a political issue rather than a serious attempt to figure out what went on. Turkey has opened its archives and intends to get to the bottom of the problem with historians and analytically thinking people.
I agree that it is sad that people were moved from one location in the Ottoman land to other locations in the same empire, and many died because of bad travel conditions and robbery attacks. But, they were not moved for the pleasure and will of the Sultan. When the Ottoman empire was falling apart in the first world war, some Armenian military groups rebelled for separation in the east and killed people in Muslim villages. These groups resided in the mountains and came down to kill people, including women and children. I have friends whose grandparents were killed during these unlucky incidents. No one can just rebel against a government, try to separate a piece of land and expect not to bear any hardship.
(i) the Ottoman governments intent was merely to relocate, not destroy, the deportee population;
(ii) in the context of the larger global conflagration, i.e., World War I, the Armenians and Turks were engaged in a civil war, which was itself directly responsible for heavy Turkish losses, It is very? unfortunate and sad that these people had to leave their homes, but why not see this perspective and reasons as well ?

Alberto Gutiuerrez's comments about ignorance in the presence of so much evidence is misplaced. Nobody says that Armenians were not moved. The attempt to associate it with Hitler's Germany is despicable. Armenians were moved to another location under the same empire, since they sought separation. The east of Turkey belongs to the Turks since the War of Malazgirt 1071 between Seljucks and East Roman Empire. Nothing happened to the Armenians for 800 years till late 1800's, when they started separatist movements and civil revolts (1890 Revolt of Erzurum and others to follow).

Chronp񰧹:
Year
1022 Basileios II annexed Armenian territories to the Byzantine Empire and 40.000 Armenians were deported to Anatolia.
1046 The Armenian sovereigns were killed by Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX.
1054 Turkish Seljukian Sultan Tugrul Bey gave the Armenians autonomy.
1098 The Armenians collaborated with the Crusaders.
1461 Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror invited Armenian Bishop Hovakim to Istanbul and he was honoured by the title of "Patriarch". Later some privileges were given to the Armenians.
1790 The First official Armenian school was opened by two Armenians Amira Miricanyan and Shnork Migirdic, in Istanbul, at Kumkapi.
1823 The Bezciyan School was founded by an Armenian called Artin Bezciyan in Istanbul, Kumkapi.
1824 Patriarch Karabet took Armenian Grammar School Kumpkapi under his protection.
1853 (October, 22) Armenian Commission of Education was founded.
1876 The Ottoman Assembly accepted the first Armenian deputies.
1877 (December, 7) Armenian National Council decided to force their people to join the Army and fight.
1878 (April, 13) The Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul, Nerses has sent a note to British Secretary of Foreign Affairs saying that they would not live together with the Turks any longer. (July, 13) The Treaty of Berlin was signed. Article 61 about the Ottoman Armenians was added to the treaty. (August, 3) The British Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lord Salisbury sent an instruction to the British Ambassador Layard and informed him that the Ottoman Government should begin making reforms in the Eastern Anatolia.
1890 (June, 20) Revolt of Erzurum (July) Kumkapi Demonstration.First Sason Revolt.
1892 - 1893 Merzifon, Kayseri and Yozgat Revolts
1895 (September, 30) Sublime Porte (Government's Gate) Event in Istanbul.(November) The Armenian attempt for a revolt in Maras.
1896 (October, 30) Armenian Uprising in Istanbul (June, 1) First Van Revolt(August, 26) Raid of the Ottoman Bank1902 Armenian philologist H. Acaryan published a book titled The Effects of Turkish Language on Armenian Language and The Turkish Words in Armenian.
1904 Second Sason Revolt
1905 (July, 1921) The Assassination attempt against Sultan Abdulhamid II in Yildiz Mosque.
1908 Armenian newspaper "Jamanak" started publication.Second National Council has opened and some of the Armenian Committee members were elected deputies.
1909 (April, 14) Armenian Revolt in Adana.
1915 (April, 15) Second Van Revolt.(April, 24) Armenian Committees working against the Ottoman Government were closed. The 2345 members of those committees were arrested. (May, 3) Armenian Massacres in Van.
1918 (February, 1) Armenian secret society member Arshak committed massacres in Bayburt.(April, 25) Armenian militants killed 750 Muslims in Subatan village of Kars City. (May, 1) An Armenian militant named Arshak killed 60 Muslims including children in Kars City.
1919 (November, 20) Two Armenian high category bureaucrats of the Ottoman government, Bogos Nubar Pasha and Sherif Pasha signed Armenian-Kurd independence document.
1920 (January, 12) An Armenian mounted unit tortured Muslims in the Arapdar village of Antep City. (December, 2) Treaty of Gumru was signed.
1921 (March, 15) An Armenian terrorist assassinated Talat Pasha in Berlin. (March, 16) The Moscow Treaty was signed.(March, 18) Misak Torlakyan killed the Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, Cevanshir Han, in Istanbul. (October, 13) Kars Agreement was signed.(December, 6) Armenians killed Sait Halim Pasha in Rome.
1922 (July, 22) Cemal Pasha was killed by Armenians, in Tbilisi.
1923 Armenian Munib Boya entered the Turkish National Assembly as a deputy. (June, 24) The Lausanne Treaty was signed. 1934 Franz Werfel published his novel Forty Days in Musa Mountain in USA. 1935 (December, 15) In Pangalti church an Armenian Group burned Werfel's novel Forty Days in Musa Mountain declaring that book "utters maliciously false statements about the Turkish Nation".
1936 After the publication of Franz Werfel's Forty Days in Musa Mountain in France, it caused a lot of reactions in the Turkish press.
1943 Armenian Berc T?Keresteci entered the Turkish National Assembly as a deputy from Afyonkarahisar.
1957 Migirdich Shellefyan was elected as a deputy from Istanbul in the 27 October elections.
1964 (December 24) The Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kypriano applied to UN? Security ouncil to get the approval of "the Armenian Issue" against Turkey.
1965 (April 24) Armenians had organised a demonstration against Turkey, in San Paulo, Brazil.
1969 (April 24) Armenians made a demonstration in front of the Turkish Embassy in London.
1973 (January 27) An Armenian terrorist, Migirdic Yanikyan killed Mehmet Baydar, Turkish Consul General for Los Angeles and his assistant Bahadir Demir.
1975 (January 20) ASALA was founded. (October 22) The Turkish Ambassador in Vienne Danis Tunaligil was killed by Armenian terrorists. (October 24) The Turkish Ambassador in Paris Ismail Erez and a police officer Talip Yener were killed by Armenian terrorists. 1976 (February 16) The First Secretary of Turkish Embassy in Beirut Oktay Cerit was killed by the Armenian terrorists.(May 28) Turkish diplomatic bureau in Zurich was bombed. An Armenian called Noubar Soufoyan was arrested and condemned to 15 years in prison.
1977 (May 29) Istanbul Yesilkoy Airport and Sirkeci Station were bombed. Four people died and 31 people were injured. The attacks were undertaken by the "Extreme Armenian Movement Groups". (June 9) The Turkish Ambassador to the Vatican Taha Carim was killed by Armenians.
1978 (January 3) The Turkish Embassy in Brussels was bombed. The attack was undertaken by "Armenian New Resistance Organisation". (June 2) In Madrid, the Turkish Ambassador Zeki Kunaralp's wife Necla Kunaralp and the ex Ambassador Besir Balcioglu were killed by Armenians. (July 8) In Paris, the Turkish Diplomatic Bureau and the Tourism Bureau were bombed. The attacks were undertaken by the "Armenian Genocide Justice Committee". (August 6) Turkish General Consulate for Geneva was bombed. The attacks were undertaken by the "The Armenian New Resistance Organisation". (December 17) The Geneva Bureau of Turkish Airlines was bombed by ASALA.
1979 (April 15) The Greek government approved "The Monument of Armenian Revenge" to be erected in Nea Simirna Square in Athens. (August 22) Assistant Consul Niyazi Adali in Geneva was assassinated by ASALA, in attack three other people were killed. (August 27) Turkish Airlines Bureau in Frankfurt was bombed by ASALA. (October 4) Turkish Airlines Bureau in Copenhagen was bombed by ASALA. (October 12) The son of Ozdemir Benler, the Turkish Ambassador in Amsterdam, Ahmet Benler was killed in La Hague. (December 22) The Tourism Counsellor of Paris Embassy Yilmaz Copan was killed by Armenians.
1980 (January 10) ASALA bombed Turkish Airlines' Bureau in Tehran. (February 6) Ambassador Dogan Turkmen was injured in an armed attack in Bern. (March 10) Armenian terrorists bombed the Turkish Airlines Bureau in Rome. Two Italians died; 14 Italians injured. (April 8) During meeting in Sayda, ASALA declared the Kurds as their blood brothers by claiming there were resemblances between the two communities. (April 17) The Turkish Ambassador in Vatican Vecdi Turel was attacked by Armenians, and his police officer Tahsin Guvenc was injured. (April 19) ASALA attacked the Turkish Consulate in Marseille.(June 31) The Turkish Administrative Attaché ‡alip Ozmen and his daughter Neslihan Ozmen were killed by Armenian terrorists. (August 5) The Turkish Consulate in Lyons was stormed by Armenian terrorists and Kadir Atilgan, Ramazan Sefer, Kavas Bozdag and Huseyin Toprak were killed. (September 26) Turkish Press Attaché ©n Paris Selcuk Bakkalbasi was attacked by Armenians and badly injured. (November 10) ASALA attacked to Turkish Consulate in Strasbourg. (December 17) Turkish Ambassador in Sidney, Sarik Arkyan and his police officer Engin Saver were killed. 1981 (January 13) Armenian terrorists put a bomb into the car of Ahmet Erbeyli, Counselor of Finance in the Paris Embassy. He survived by chance. (March 4) The Administrative counsellor of Turkish Embassy in Paris, Resat Morali and imam Tecelli Ari were killed by Armenians. (April 3) The Armenians shot Cavit Demir the administrative counsellor of the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen; he luckily survived with injuries. (June 9) The Secretary of the Turkish Embassy in Geneva Mehmet S. Yerguz was killed by ASALA. (September 24) Armenian terrorists stormed the General Consulate in Geneva; and killed police officer Cemal Ozen. (October 3) The Second Secretary of Turkish Embassy in Rome was attacked by Armenian terrorists; he was badly injured. (November 27) "Armenian Students Union in Europe" and "Kurdish Students Association in Europe" issued a joint declaration in London.
1982 (January 28) The Turkish General Consulate in Los Angeles, Kemal Arikan was killed by two Armenians, Harry Sasunyan and Kirkor Saliba. (April 8) Commerce Counselor in Ottawa Embassy Kemalttin Kani Gungor was injured by an armed attack. (May 5) The Turkish honorary Consul for USA Boston Region Okan Gunduz was killed by Armenians.? (June 7) Erkut Akbay the administrative attaché ©n Lisbon Embassy was killed. On the same day, Atilla Altikat, the military attaché ©n Ottawa, Bora S?, the administrative attaché ´o Bulgaria, and chargé ¤'affaires of Lisbon Embassy Yurtsev Mihcioglu and his wife Cahide Mihcioglu were attacked. Turkish Ambassador in Canada Coskun Kirca was attacked as well. (August 7) Ankara Esenboga Airport was bombed by three Armenian terrorists. Three police officers and nine civil people died. Seventy-eight people were injured. A terrorist called Levon Ekmekciyan was arrested.? (August 10) An Armenian named Artin Penik burned himself to protest Esenboga Airport Incident.
1983 (January 29) Levon Ekmekciyan was found guilty of 1982 Esenboga Airport incident and he was executed in Ankara.? Harut Levonyan and Rafi Elbekyan attacked to the Turkish Ambassador in Yugoslavia, and a man >from Belgrade who was passing by was killed. (June 15) Some terrorists of ASALA organisation attacked Turkish Airlines office in Paris Orly Airport. The attack resulted in the death of four Frenchmen, two Turks, an American and a Swedish person. In the incident sixty people were injured. (June 27) Five Armenian terrorists who raided the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon were killed.
1985 (March 12) Turkish Embassy in Ottawa was raided by three Armenian terrorists. One of the Canadian civil guards was shot dead. Ambassador Coskun Kirca survived with injuries.
1991 (January 21) Armenians attacked to Hacilar City. Three Soviet soldiers and two Azeris were killed. The terrorists killed an Azeri journalist Savatin Askerova.(April 13) In Karabagh, Armenians and Azeris fought. The Armenians bombed Azeri villages. (April 23) The Armenians bombed Azeri villages in Susa region. Three Azeris were killed, three houses were destroyed, and three houses were demolished. (April 26) Four Azeri civil guardians were killed. The attack was undertaken by "Karabakh Warriors". (September 23) Armenia declared its independence. (December 26) Soviet Union was dissolved. Armenia gained its legal independence.
1996 Levon Petrosyan was elected President of Armenia for the second time.
1997 (March 20) One of the leaders of Tashnaksutium Rober Kocaryan became the prime minister of Armenia. (December 20) The Armenians celebrated the 160th year of Surp Agapyan Hospital together with New Year's fest.
1998 The President of Turkey Suleyman Demirel received Ara Kocunyan the editor of Jamanak newspaper in the of 90th anniversary of the newspaper, in his resident.? (February) The President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyon resigned. Thus Robert Kocaryan assumed the presidency. Petrosyan was the target of protests by extreme nationalists for his peaceful approach in Karabagh. {RH: A region disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan]. (February) Elcibey the leader of Azerbeyjan People's Front evaluated the resignation of Petrosyan, and he said Kocaryan revolted against Azerbeyjan with the Russian assistance in Karabagh. (March 30) Kocaryan was elected the President of Armenia. (July) Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the PKK terrorist organization. demanded a special village from Armenia for the use of his organization. (October 14) Mesrob Mutafyan, became the 84th Patriarch of the Turkish Armenians.

RH: This is a perfect case for our "Learning History" project.? It would be interesting to compare Turkish and Armenian history textbooks.? One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.? This recital of killings gives us a good idea of the tension between Turks and Armenians. Here is an account of? The Forty Days of Musa Dagh by
Franz Werfel, New York: Carroll and Graf, 2002, reprint of 1933 edition, 824 pages. ISBN 0786711388. "The miserable sight of some maimed and famished-looking refugee children, working in a carpet factory, gave me the final impulse to snatch from the Hades of all that was, this incomprehensible destiny of the Armenian nation."

An epic novel that is among the most famous works on the genocide. Originally written in German, it became an instant bestseller in 1933 and was translated into many languages. The author relates the heroic true story of the defenders of Musa Dagh, the Mountain of Moses, in Cilicia, along the Mediterranean coast. At the time of the deportations, the Armenian villagers, realizing the fate that awaited them, were determined to resist the Turks. They fled to the mountains and organized resistance. Poorly armed, and short on supplies, they held off the Turkish onslaught. At their bleakest hour, as the Turks were closing in on them, the defenders of Musa Dagh caught sight of a French warship off the coast. Signaling frantically, the Armenians managed to alert the French and, in a humanitarian gesture, were thus rescued. The book was conceived during the author's visit to Damascus in 1929, where he saw thousands of suffering Armenian survivors living in refugee camps.

RH: This is an excellent example of the role of novels in our "Learning History" project.

Following our account of the Armenian hero, David Sasun, George Sassoon remarked "As a 'man of Sasun' I should like to know before events take me to Erevan". I was puizzled. Glenye Cain writes: I am also almost certain that there was a massacre in a village called Sasoun or Sassoun--but I wonder if this is in fact the same thing as the "men of Sasun"? RH: Is George telling us that the Sassoon family came from Sassoon, or Sasun in Armenia, which does not appear in the National Geographic Atlas?

We posted a very long piece by a Turkish WAISer about the "so-called Armenian genocide?", which stated 'The Ottoman governments intent was merely to relocate, not destroy, the deportee population'. Holger Terp of the Danish Peace Academy says: This is contradicted by the Danish eyewitness missionary teacher Karen Jeppe. Holger quotes the long report pn "Karen Jeppe : Denmark's First Peace Philosopher" by Eva Lous. Here is the section dealing with Armenians in Turkey and the Armenian gwnocide:

The story of Karen Jeppe could begin in many ways. For example, it might begin with a bronze statue of her in the State Library in Aarhus. Or it might begin with her birth in Gylling parish in 1876 ? or it might begin in 1903, the year when she went to Turkey, more precisely to Urfa, East of the Eufrates. Really the story should begin with the Danish linguist and author Aage Meyer Benedictsen (1866-1927).

I settle for the traditional intro, starting with the birth of Karen Jeppe. Her father was a teacher at the school in Gylling, and very well educated for his time. He had studied in England and originated from Als, so he spoke both English and German. A modern man, he advocated the idea that women should also have an education. He started to teach Karen at an early age, and before she was six years old, she read the historic novels by Ingemann. By the age of 13 she was sent to her father?s relatives in Als to learn German After her homecoming, her father continued her education until 1893, when she became a resident pupil at the Ordrup Grammar School. Here the legendary H.C.Frederiksen was headmaster, and boys and girls were taught together ? not usual at the time. Karen became a sort of adoptive daughter to Frederiksen, called Friser, after she had insisted, knowing well that she could not live in their house, on having a place to sleep there. The outcome was that she stayed on, until her school certificate in 1895, and several years later.

Karen?s father intended her to become a doctor, but she would study mathematics and started, but she had to give it up. She felt that the work load was too heavy, and that she could not cope. She was ill for two years! Whether it was only due to disappointment and ?nerves?, or whether there was also a physical cause for her long confinement, history does not say. But nevertheless she started teaching at Friser?s school ? and a competent teacher she was, who took care especially of difficult and uncooperative pupils. At this school she also met her destiny. One evening in 1902 Friser read aloud to the pupils at the school. It was an article written by Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and it dealt with the persecutions of the Armenian people at the end of the past century. When shortly afterwards Benedictsen lectured in Copenhagen, they went there to listen. An engaging orator, he ended his talk by a cry for help to the Armenian people ? passed on from an old Armenian.

Aage Meyer Benedictsen was an unusual man. He was one of the first Danish cosmopolitans and champions of Human Rights ? a true man of Peace. An educated philologist, he travelled to learn languages of East Europe, Kurdistan, Persia, India, Borneo, the West Indies, Ireland and Armenia. As time passed, the ethnologic studies occupied him more than the purely linguistic. He became an anti-colonialist, straining himself for the right of minor peoples to self-government and so also freedom of language and religion. In particular the persecution of the Armenians occupied him, and during one of his travels to Persia he visited the German Orient Mission in Urfa, which had started an orphanage, a school and a production of carpets for export. Leader was the German clergyman Johannes Lepsius. When Benedictsen returned to Denmark in 1902, he took the initiative to start The Danish Friends of Armenians.

Karen Jeppe was deeply moved by his lecture, and as Ingeborg Sick wrote in her book on Karen Jeppe: ?The thought of the children, whom the massacres left in the streets and roads, would not leave her ? And one day in the spring of 1903 the thought, refused by her, comes up from her subconscious with an imperative:?You must.?? (Sick, 1936, p.27)- She contacted Benedictsen, who could tell her that Dr.Lepsius was just looking for a woman teacher for the school. She would receive a salary, but would have to pay her passage.

The Danish Friends of Armenians had a sturdy friend in squire Hage of Nivaagaard, and he was willing to pay for Karen?s travel. Then where was she going? Since 1991 Armenia was an autonomous republic with much the same borders as original Armenia.The last great conflict in the region took place in 1994, when Armenia conquered a strip of land from Azerbaidjan, Nagorno Karabakh, where the majority consists of ethnic Armenians.

Armenia?s history goes back to very early times. The first written sources stem from Herodotus, who described the conquest by the Persian king Darius in 520 B.C. . The next 400-500 years were marked by changing borders with different rulers. Decisive for the fate of the country was the fact that it became Christian. According to legends it was two disciples of Jesus, Bartholomew and Thaddaeus, who brought the Gospel. Armenia has been officially Christian since ab.300, when the King declared Christianity the State religion. Gregorius ? also called the Bearer of Light ? became the first Armenian apostle, and by him the Armenian Church is called the Gregorian.

Located between the Byzantine and the Persian realms, Armenia was exposed on all sides, and ar. 1000 the Turks conquered the region ? the result was a great emigration. Many Armenians went South to Cilicia ? later called Little Armenia. Here the Crusaders won an ally, and the close contact with the Europeans became significant among other things by a close contact to the Roman Catholic Church. During this period many convents and churches were built, which are there to this day.

Around the middle of the 1400s the whole area was incorporated into the Osman realm, but Armenia had its own patriarchs both in Jerusalem and Istanbul, where they functioned as go-betweens between the small Christian population and the highest Islamic authority. The Christian population was on the whole allowed to comduct its own affairs for many years, until the end of the 1800s, when the Osman realm began to fall apart. Scapegoats were to be found for the incompetence of the rulers and for the economic disaster, and very naturally this was the little group of Christians, who for centuries had stuck to their own religion and therefore were a minority. At the same time many Armenians were bankers and tradespeople and played the same role as the Jews in Europe in the past century. During the previous centuries the Armenians had settled around the entire Osman empire, with a concentration in what is now the Easternmost Turkey, and down along the coast to the South.

The Osman empire was not allowed to collapse, because Western powers England and France had an interest in controlling the passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, thereby keeping Russia out of the Mediterranean. The Germans also got involved, they wanted to build a railway from Constantinople (Istanbul) to Baghdad. This conflict between the Great Powers ended at the outbreak of the First World War, but before that the Turks had tried to relieve the inner tensions by exterminating the strangers, those who were different, of another faith than the Moslem one. To begin with, about 30.000 Greeks had to pay, then about 10.000 Syrians; in 1876 the turn came for about 20.000 Bulgarians, and in 1894 it fell to the Armenians. According to German accounts, during the years 1894 to 1896 more than 88.000 people were killed. 2500 villages were destroyed, and 568 churches met the same fate.

Especially hard hit was the district around Urfa. Here were already many refugees, driven from the land districts. The massacre became known in Europe, but here more attention was paid to the great political game ? and the protests arising had little or no effect. American missionaries were in the area, among others running an orphanage, and they tried to take in and shelter as many as possible at the mission. The German Orient Mission was also present, and here Karen Jeppe was to work. Before Karen could leave, she had to persuade her father that she had taken the right decision. True, he himself had travelled much, but to send his daughter into the middle of the Osman realm, down to the infidels wearing scimitars and practising polygamy - this did not seem right to him. Neither did the local pastor and close friend Otto M? like the idea. But Karen was tough ? she would do it? and just as when she, at the time, had herself lodged with Friser, this once also she had her way, and could leave with the blessings of both her father and the pastor.

October 1, 1903 Karen Jeppe left home ? first by train via Berlin to Italy, from where she sailed to Istanbul, and on also by boat through the Marmara Sea to Ishenderun, where she was to have gone ashore, but there was an epidemic of cholera, so instead it was Mersin. During the travel she was in company with the Swiss deacon Jakob K?, who was also to work at the orphanage. Later Karen Jeppe wrote that she was at once fascinated by Asia ? the grand lines of the landscape, the cupolas of Istanbul in silhouette, the strong colors of the sunsets.

From Mersin they went by train to nearby town Adana ? here the rails stopped, and the rest of the trip was done first by horse wagon, then on donkeys.They were accompanied by a soldier, who was to protect them from robbers. The little company spent the night at a sort of inns, where people brought their own bedding and food, because there was only the bare clay floor. Karen found this exciting. When they approached Urfa, hundreds of people rushed to meet them. They wanted to come and see the foreign lady from Denmark. They brought fresh water, tea and food, and served them on blankets brought for the purpose, they even had a horse so that Karen Jeppe could enter the town in proper state, but she refused the offer and mounted the donkey to which she had got accustomed, in order to cover the last distance. The town had about 50.000 inhabitants, the houses had one or two stories, the streets so narrow that a loaded camel could just pass. Legend has it that Urfa is situated where the Ur of Abraham was. To Karen Jeppe all was new and much different from what she had been able to imagine: ?? a whole world rushed over me.?(Cedergreen Bech, p.22)

Karen Jeppe?s work:Before she could begin teaching, she had to learn the language. When after about a year she started work, she spoke Armenian, Arabic and Turkish, and she introduced new methods of teaching. This aroused attention, because ?her? children learnt to read and write far quicker than those in the other schools. The leader of the Orient Mission wrote after a visit: ?Our school work has influenced considerably the system of teaching in a wide area around Urfa. Miss Jeppe has introduced sound and visual instruction with the result that normally gifted children, within a year, do not only learn to speak the language fluently, but have also acquired a writing capacity which hitherto took 2-3 years to achieve. From far away teachers come to get familiar with the method. A renewal of the entire Armenian school system seems to radiate from here.? (Cedergreen Bech p.23)- Undoubtedly, during her teaching days at the Ordrup Grammar School Karen Jeppe got to know the textbooks of the educationalist Kirstine Frederiksen (see Dansk Biografisk Leksikon) from 1889, where as something quite new she, among other things, warmly recommends visual instruction.

Practical Liberation Philosophy; Karen Jeppe proved to have a formidable talent for organizing. At the children?s home she got things in order, she thought ahead. No good for the children to get an education by books, if there were no possibilities of supporting them. She created workshops where the children, from an early age, learnt different crafts, a weave shed with corresponding dyeworks also got started. She also had plans for silk production, aiming at sale. The mission needed money for schools, food and housing. She wrote to the Danish Friends of Armenians, asking for help. No money in the till, but author Ingeborg Maria Sick encouraged her to send some of the famous Armenian needlework home, then the Friends of Armenians would sell them and send the money to Karen.This became the beginning of an extensive collecting and production of Armenian embroideries, later to be of great significance.

In 1908 Karen Jeppe went home to Denmark, partly for a holiday, partly to travel around the country and tell about her work among the Armenian refugees. While she was at home, the conflict was aggravated between the Young Turks and the old Osman regime. During many years, the Armenians had put their trust in the promises given by the Young Turks, that Christians and Moslems were to live peacefully side by side, when they came into power. But the promises proved to be empty. The Young Turks were strongly nationalist, wanting a state consisting of Moslems.
New massacres took place in Cilicia, where 20.000-30.000 Armenians were murdered. The Young Turks blamed the government and deposed it. The Young Turks, when they came into power, did not give the Armenians the legal status promised to them. Nevertheless conditions got better for the Armenian population in the years up to World War 1. On the whole there was no persecution, and several started different kinds of crafts, whereas others returned to cultivate their land.

Karen Jepep, who had come back in 1908, untiringly continued her work to provide the daily bread for the Armenians. For a long time she had harbored plans of setting up minor agricultural settlements. Many refugees were former peasants, so she bought a piece of land in the mountains, where she, among other things, planted vineyards. To begin with, she lived in a small tent, and the locals did not understand that she dared at all stay so far away from the mission station,. But slowly she built up a good relationship with the passing Kurds and Arabs. She set cool water in the entrance drive, greeted them in their own language: ?God bless your father?, she offered cigarettes and coffee, a common custom with the Arabs. Karen Jeppe got great help from the son ? Misak ? whom she had adopted, a few years after she had come to Urfa. Like many others, he was an orphan, and at a time had confided in Karen Jeppe that when she first came to Urfa, he believed she was to be his foster mother. Karen Jeppe had also adopted a girl ? Lucia. She and Misak were married in 1913, on the anniversary of Karen Jeppe?s arrival in Urfa. All looked well ? the vineyard and the growing of vegetables were a success, the workshops associated with the children?s home functioned well, and conditions for the Armenians looked tolerable.

The Turkish Genocide on the Armenians: But the peaceful times were shortlived. World War 1 proved a catastrophe for the Armenian people. Turkey entered the war on the German side. In 1915 the Turks resolved that the Armenians were to be moved ? they were an unreliable population element ! The Turks were efficient. Before the war there were about 1.8 million Armenians in Turkey, after the war there were about 450.000. A few hundred thousands managed to flee either to the Caucasus or to Syria.

Karen Jeppe tried to help as best she could. She hid refugees under the floor of her house, she organized food and water for the caravans of Armenians driven through Urfa ? on to their last travel. The Turks were not so sophisticated in mass destruction, so their methods were to herd the men together and shoot them. The young women were often sold as house slaves, older women and children were also driven together, but these were sent out wandering, until they died of thirst, hunger and exertion.

Karen Jeppe stayed on in Urfa during the war. Once she was attacked by spotted fever, and it was arranged for her go home together with a missionary, but she refused as long as she had refugees in her house. She helped many to flee by disguising them as Kurds and Arabs. By 1918 all refugees had left her house, and there was no more for her to do. For a year and a half she had had refugees living in a cellar dug under her house. Sick and nerve-racked she went home to Denmark. She was unhappy, she had had to leave her two children to an uncertain destiny. Karen Jeppe stayed in Denmark for three years. She more or less recovered, but the strength and energy which she had possessed earlier on, never came back. She said herself that something inside her had died.

At the end of the war the Turks had lost, but they refused to honor the peace agreement laid upon them. Great parts of the land were occupied. Asia Minor (Cilicia), Syria and Lebanon by the French, Palestine and Jordan by the English. The Armenian state which the Western Powers had promised to set up, was very short-lived. The Russians conquered the original Armenia and incorporated it into the Soviet Union.

Karen Jeppe in Aleppo: Karen Jeppe decided to leave and find ?her people?, wherever they might be. In 1921 she went to Aleppo in Syria, where she knew that many Armenian refugees had ended up. She was received by Misak and Lucia in Beirut. Danish Friends of Armenians had started publication of the periodical The Armenians? Friend (Armeniervennen), and after her arrival in Syria Karen Jeppe wrote an article headed: ?Home Again.? (Armeniervennen no 9-10,1921) Undoubtedly it was here that her heart was. Besides Misak and Lucia, there were other well-known faces from Urfa, and the rumour that ?the girl from Urfa?, as she was called, had arrived in Aleppo, spread quickly.

She began to build up a children?s home, a soup kitchen, a medical clinic and a dressmakers? workroom. The beginning was hard. There were only very few elderly women survivors from the war, and these were the ones who knew the ancient patterns and techniques. Incidentally one of the boxes with old embroideries, which Karen Jeppe had sent home to Denmark from Urfa during the war, had stranded in Aleppo, and no less incidentally it came to light now, and the workroom got going. Embroideries sent to Denmark brought as much money as the voluntary contributions. The idea behind the workrooms was still that the Armenians were to be educated to support themselves and get out of the refugee camps. By 1922 the situation worsened seriously. Refugees came pouring in, especially from Cilicia, where the French troops were in withdrawal. Many Armenians had gone back to their homes, believing that they would be protected by the French.

Karen Jeppe and the League of Nations: In 1921 Karen Jeppe was asked to join the League of Nations? committee for the release of Armenian women and children. The Danish delegate Henni Forchhammer, as one of the three women (the two others were professor Kristine Bonnevie of Norway and Anna Bugge Wicksell of Sweden) who had a seat in the League of Nations, had worked hard to have Karen Jeppe put on the budget of the League. Ever since the turn of the century, Henni Forchhammer had worked on the issue of the so-called White Slave Trade, where women were either abducted and forced into prostitution, or the problem arisen during World War 1, where women were deported and lived under slave-like conditions. Already before she went to the first Assembly in 1920, she had investigated the matter, and she used the contacts made in Geneva to obtain further information, especially about the Armenian women. From the information gathered she could assess that most of the deported persons were Armenian women, and that by 1920 there were still at least 30.000 of these either in Turkish harems or with Arab nomads. Most of them lived under constraint, hoping for liberation. Quite a few statements about this had secretly reached the European and American mission stations working in the area.

When Henni Forchhammer was able to provide this information about conditions such as these, it was because she had, for a long period of years, worked internationally among other things as Vice President of the International Council of Women (ICW), and thereby had contacts not only to women-political circles, but also to a number of politicians. Besides, the International League of Women for Peace and Freedom, who had their main office in Geneva, were well informed and gave great help. By 1920 they succeeded in having a commission set up especially to investigate the matter of the deported women and children of Armenia, Asia Minor, Turkey and the bordering countries. At the time Henni Forchhammer did not know Karen Jeppe personally, and at first she was not intended as a member of the commission, but instead a French woman, known as strongly in favour of the Turks, was appointed. From friends of Armenians all over the World protests were raised against the appointment of the French woman, and here Karen Jeppe was mentioned as the most likely candidate. She knew the local conditions and spoke both Armenian and Turkish. Henni Forchhammer did the hard work, ending in Karen Jeppe as a member of the commission the next year.


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