|Re: genocide part 5|
- Tuesday, December 25 2007, 0:05:10 (CET)|
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In the 18th century, the Syriac Orthodox church was also divided into two as a result of the Catholic missionaries, and at the end of the same century the Syriac Catholic church was established. The first patriarch Efraim Rahmani and his community in the region consisted of approximately 25,000 people. There were also 3,500 Protestants in eastern Anatolia. In 1912, Suleyman Bustani a Syriac Protestant held the office of foreign minister of the Ottoman empire for a short while(Feroz p424). He became minister of trade in 1914 but resigned to protest the decision taken by the Young Turks to enter war on May 12, 1914. Along with him, Cevit Bey, the minister of finance as well as the Armenian originated minister of post and telegraph resigned from office(Pomiankowski p88).
Before the war, there around 210,000 Syriac Christisans, 30 thousand of whom were in Iran and about 15,000 in North-South America.
Ottomans declare Mobilization
when the war started in Europe in 1914, Enver Pasha declared mobilization. This massive and necessary mobilization caused disaster in agriculture. 1914 was a very suitable year for crops but there were no men in the villages. Then, the Ottoman economy was completely dependant on agriculture. only 69 thousand out of 25 million were industrial workers. Insufficient food supply gave rise to starvation and so contagious diseases. For these reasons, Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives(Fromkin p126).
Compulsory military service for Syriac Christians in the regions where Kurds lived brought about very negative results, because their Kurdish neighbors were exempt from military service. Some Kurdish tribes had been enlisted in the Hamidiye army as of 1890s. However, such a trial of bringing Kurds closer to the state failed. Kurds in possesion of modern weapons used these weapons against each other and against official authorities(Bois p462).
Azerbijan in fall 1914
Although Iran declared herself impartial during the war, first conflicts started in western parts of the country before the war was declared officially. Azaerbijan, an Iranian province, had been invaded by Russians in 1912. A minority of about 45 thousand Christians lived in the region between Urmia and the Ottoman border. 30,000 of these people were Assyrians and Chaldeans. Majority of the population consisted of Azerbijanis who were Muslims and spoke Turkish and of Kurdish in the border regions. There lived 30 thousand people in Urmia of whom one fourth were Christians. American, French and British missionaries were active there.
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