The Destruction of Armenians in Cilicia, April 1909
Publisher: Gomidas Institute
The Cilician Massacres of 1909 were a major turning point in the history of Ottoman Armenians—within just two weeks, over 20,000 Armenians were killed in mob violence, and the Armenian quarters of Adana, as well as other villages, were razed to the ground. Through violence supported by Ottoman authorities and Muslim mobs, these massacres took place only a year after the 1908 Young Turks revolution and six years before the Armenian Genocide. The 1909 massacres were followed by the efforts of Ottoman authorities to dismiss Armenian losses, blame Armenians for the violence, and whitewash the criminal activities of the authorities. However, Armenians were not intimidated and sought justice. They sent delegations to the scene of crimes, cared for survivors and bore witness to the atrocities that took place. They published survivor accounts, formal investigative reports, newspaper commentaries and literary works. The Ottoman authorities in Constantinople had to back track and make some concessions, though they did not relent in their efforts to protect the murderers. The recent English translation of Hrachik Simonyan is an authoritative account of these events. It presents a wide range of Armenian archival and published sources, as it recounts the background to the massacres and the aftermath to the carnage. It is a monumental work that promises to lead to much discussion amongst scholars, political activists and intellectuals about the terrible events of 1909.