THE EXPROPRIATION PROCESS OF THE ARMENIANS IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE IN THE YEARS 1915-1923 – 2010-3

Testifications, Facts and Documents

Summary

Anahit Kh. Astoyan
The acquisition of the Armenian people’s individual and collective property was one of the objectives of the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Turkey. To plunder the property of a whole nation, first of all there was a need to make the Armenians’ property dispossessed. For this purpose, without the admission of the Ottoman Empire, the Young Turk Government published in press “The Law of Eviction” on June 1, 1915, after which, on June 10, 1915, the project of “The Law of Abandoned Property” was given to the discussion of the Ottoman Parliament which related to the abandoned property management of the deported Armenians from the places populated with Armenians in the Western Armenia and the Ottoman Empire. It was accepted on September 26, 1915. Thus, the apparent plunderage and robbery of the Armenian mobile estate, mansions, and their whole wealth became legal which was already being applied in the entire Ottoman Empire region. Simultaneously, on September 13, 1915, the Young Turk Government also announced the second law, composed of 11 articles, and on October 28, the third one, composed of 25 articles, according to which, as if, it intended to normalize the problem of the abandoned Armenian estate, to clarify the rights of the proprietors, and the organization of the form and manner of the commissions. In reality, the most important purpose of these was to suspend the massive robbery and to fill the state fund.

The problem of the Armenian abandoned property plunderage was not confined only to these three laws. A number of telegrams, indications, orders, circulars and instructions from the government followed.

The Armenian massacres were accompanied by the plunderage of the Armenians’ mobile and real estates, about the Governments’ planning of which there are testifications of the survivors, reports of the foreign diplomats who functioned in the region of the Ottoman Empire, and they can also be found in the Turkish sources. All these certify that the expropriation of the Armenians was an important factor in the program of the Armenian people’s extirpation.

Becoming the owner of the mobile and real estates of the Armenians, the Young Turk authorities also confiscated the deposits of the Armenians stored in the Ottoman Banks and Insurance Companies.

Not only material goods, but also human lives became subjects of auction. The Turkish Government became the proprietor of huge sums also by selling the Armenian women and children.

Under the suppression of the Entente countries on January 8, 1920, the Turkish Government cancelled “The Law of Abandoned Property” and rendered a decision to give the properties of the Armenians back to the owners and pay their losses, but notwithstanding the promises of the authorities, the process of expropriation of the Armenians also continued in the years 1921-1923.

Foreign countries also gained from the general plunderage of the Armenians. The money paid by the Armenians to the foreign insurance companies in gold made a part of the abandoned properties. These insurance companies, by means of not realizing their financial responsibilities to the Armenians, appropriated their money.

By exterminating the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire, the Young Turk authorities filled in their empty state fund, paid the enormous military expenses and paid back the significant part of the country’s external debts. The wealth plundered from the Armenians continued to save Turkey within the republic circle as well, by saving the Turkish State from numerous financial alarms. By this crime, incomparable in its scale, the Turkish authorities removed their rivals from the economic sphere, and made up their national capital by means of acquiring their wealth, individual mobile and real estates.

The author of the publication, based on material facts and reliable information, proves that the calculation of the Armenian material losses made in the Armenian demands presented at the Paris Peace Summit (equivalent to as of 1919 made up in total 14.589.460.000 milliard Francs) does not reflect the overall image of the Armenians’ losses at all. According to the approximate calculations based on documentations, the total sum of the material losses of the Armenians of only the State of Sebastia made 70.250.000 Ottoman gold. The bands belonging to the “Special Organization” alone acquired 4.500.000.000 gold due to the plunderage of the property of the Armenians. According to the German sources, during the year 1916 Turkey transferred to Berlin and put into the German Banks as foreign currency 100 million gold Marks out of the plundered and exterminated means from the Armenians.

The aforementioned and a lot of other undeniable facts come to prove that the basis of the Turkish economy generated in the future decades is the confiscated property from the Armenians.

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