A Century On: Armenians remember Adana massacre in Ottoman Empire as a prelude to genocide

ai3666021.jpgDiaspora Minister Hakobyan says scholars talk about Adana massacre, however most people don’t know about it. By Aris Ghazinyan
ArmeniaNow reporter
Published: 24 April, 2009 Article tools printable version email to friend comments (0) share the article An atrocious massacre of the Armenian population was perpetrated in April 1909 on the Cilician coast of the Mediterranean Sea, with more than 30,000 Armenians falling victim to the heinous crime in the Adana villayet alone. This event became the first massacre of the Armenian population by the Young Turks Party that came to power in 1908. English author Edward Frederic Benson would later call the massacre in Adana “experimental” in the policy of Young Turks. It was this massacre in Kilikia that became a prelude to the Armenian Genocide.

In Benson’s opinion, not only fresh methods of exterminating people were tested in Kilikia, but also certain foreign policy schemes concerning how the world community would react to the extermination of ethnic minorities in the Ottoman Empire. Immediately after Adana, Greeks, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Bulgarians and Arabs were massacred as well.…

Yerevan hosted an international scientific conference devoted to the 100th anniversary of the Massacre of Armenians on April 20-21. Historians from Armenia, Italy, Hungary, Austria, France, the United States and Sweden took part and made reports at the conference organized by the Armenian Genocide Institute Museum.

“The massacre of Armenians of 1909 in Adana is a classic example of the prelude to genocide, just like a similar example, the Crystalline night – Kristallnacht – with regards to the Holocaust,” said Suren Manukyan, a historian and oriental studies expert.

“Thus, the population of Adana was probably the most excited about the promises of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ announced by the new authorities of the Ottoman Empire a year before the events and demanded equal rights and access to civil service positions. Basically all the authors point out that an atmosphere of friendliness dominated among the Armenians and Turks of the Adana region, and due to that the region was able to avoid the Abdul-Hamid pogroms. This made the attack on the Armenians of Adana even more so unexpected. It was in the town of Adana and nearby villages that the methods used later during the 1915-23 genocide were tested.”

As the Diaspora Minister of Armenia Hranush Hakobyan pointed out, April was a fateful month for the Armenian people. “Our scholars write and talk about the massacre in Adana; however, most Armenians and the international community are not well aware of it.”

The Director of the Armenian Genocide Institute Museum Hayk Demoyan reminded that “the massacre in Adana became the continuation of Hamid’s slaughters (1894-1896), as a result of which about 300,000 Armenians were killed and forced to leave their homes.