Operation Nemesis


Operation Nemesis

Operation Nemesis (Armenian: «Նեմեսիս» գործողություն) is the Armenian Revolutionary Federation's code-name for a covert operation in early 1920s to assassinate the Turkish planners of the Armenian Genocide. Those involved with the planning and execution of the operation (including Shahan Natalie and Soghomon Tehlirian) were survivors of the massacres. The Operation, between 1920–1922, killed many significant political and military figures of the Ottoman Empire, Internal affairs minister of Azerbaijan and some Armenians who were working against the Armenian cause.

It is named after the Greek goddess of divine retribution, Nemesis.

Contents

Background

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) was an Armenian political party active within the Ottoman Empire in the early 1890s with the aim of unifying the various small groups in the empire that were advocating for reform and the formation of an independent Armenian state with the aid of Russian Empire. ARF members formed fedayee groups that defended Armenian civilians through armed resistance.

In 1914, the 8th congress of ARF, beginning at the end of July ending on August 2, was a watershed event between the Ottoman government and Ottoman Armenian citizens which members of the party in the rule (Committee of Union and Progress), requested from Ottoman Armenians to facilitate the conquest of Transcaucasia by inciting a rebellion (with the Russian Armenians) against the tsarist army in the event of a Caucasus front opening up.[1][2] The Armenians were quite willing to remain loyal to their government, but declared their inability to agree to the other proposal, that of inciting their compatriots under Russian rule to insurrection.[3]

In 1915, ARF was one of the groups which was targeted by the Red Sunday which the leaders of Armenian community of the Ottoman capital, Constantinople,[4] and later extending to other centers were arrested and moved to two holding centers near Ankara then minister of interior Mehmed Talat Bey's order on April 24, 1915.

In 1919, after the Armistice of Mudros, an Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919–1920 convened in Constantinople and condemned to death the principal perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide.[citation needed] British also detained some man hold them at the Malta exiles[clarification needed].

Armenian Congress in Yerevan

On May 28, 1918, the Armenian National Council, based in Tiflis and led by Russian Armenian intellectuals declared Democratic Republic of Armenia's independence [5] Hovhannes Kachaznuni and Alexander Khatisyan, both members of the ARF, moved to Yerevan to take over power there and issued the official announcement on May 30. Yerevan became the capital and largest city of Armenia. At this city, from September 27 to the end of October 1919, the "ARF's 9th General Congress" convened.

In October 1919, at ARF's 9th General Congress, the issue of retribution against those responsible for the Armenian Genocide was on the agenda. Against many of the Russian Armenian delegates' vociferous objections, it was decided to mete out justice through Armenian force. ARF Bureau members, specifically 4th Prime Minister Simon Vratsyan, Defense Minister of Armenia Ruben Ter Minasian, and Ruben Darbinian, opposed Natalie's operation. However, a "black list" was created, containing the names of 200 persons deemed responsible for organizing the genocide against the Armenian people.

Operation

The leader of the group responsible for the task was Shahan Natalie, working with Grigor Merjanov. Natalie's aim was to turn Tehlirian's trial into the political trial of those responsible for the Armenian Genocide. In his memoirs, Natalie revealed his orders to Tehlirian: "you blow up the skull of the Number One nation-murderer and you don't try to flee. You stand there, your foot on the corpse and surrender to the police, who will come and handcuff you."[6] For Natalie, the primary target was Talât Pasha, whom Shahan called "Number One." The mission to kill Talât was entrusted to Soghomon Tehlirian.

After the Sovietization of Armenia, many of the Armenian Republic's expatriate revolutionary activists did not hesitate to collaborate with Azeri and Turk Armenophobe activists to regain governmental control. This policy was contrary to Shahan Natalie's conviction that "Over and above the Turk, the Armenian has no enemy, and Armenian revenge is just and godly." There were deep dissensions on both sides, but not yet to the point of separation.

To forestall the probable victory of the "Freedom Fighters" at the upcoming 11th General Congress (27 March to 2 May 1929), on the eve of the meeting, the Bureau began a "cleansing campaign." The first to be "removed"(3) from the party was Bureau member, Shahan Natalie. "Knowingly" (by his definition) having joined the ARF and unjustly separated from it, Shahan Natalie wrote about this: "With Shahan began again that which had begun with Antranig; Bureau member, Shahan, was 'ousted'" After Shahan were successively ousted Haig Kntouni, Armenian Republic army officer Bagrevandian with his group, Glejian and Tartizian with their partisans, General Smbad, Ferrahian with his group, future "Mardgots" (Bastion)-ists Mgrdich Yeretziants, Levon Mozian, Vazgen Shoushanian, Mesrob Kouyoumjian, Levon Kevonian and many others. As a protest to this "cleansing" by the Bureau, some members of the ARF French Central Committee also resigned.

Aftermath

On July 24, 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland, settled the Anatolian and East Thracian parts of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by annulment of the Treaty of Sèvres that was signed by the Constantinople-based Ottoman government.[7] Part of negotiations that established the Treaty of Lausanne was the Malta exiles. The British released the criminals[citation needed] as part of a prisoner swap, in exchange for the release of British troops held captive by the new Turkish government of Kemal Ataturk.[8] Since there were no international laws in place under which they could be tried, the men who orchestrated the genocide[citation needed] traveled relatively freely throughout Germany, Italy, and Central Asia.[9]

In the Beirut-based "Nayiri" weekly, v. 12, nos. 1-6 were published Shahan's memoirs about Talaat's assassination. There, Shahan revealed his orders to Tehlirian: "You blow up the skull of the Number 1 nation-murderer and you don't try to flee. You stand there, your foot on the corpse and surrender to the police, who will come and handcuff you." Shahan Natalie's purpose was to turn Soghomon Tehlirian's trial into the political trial of those responsible for the Great Tragedy, which was realized in part. However, there were those in the ARF leadership, Simon Vratsian in particular, who had two chapters deleted from Tehlirian's memoirs - before their printing - which dealt with Shahan Natalie's key role in the assassination of Talaat.

List of Operations

Operations performed under Operation Nemesis[10]

Note: Default sort is date, but you can sort the list by name, place or assassin.
Date Target Assassin(s) Verdict (by ARF 9th General Congress) Note
Hemayag Aramiantz[11] Arshag Yezdanian Denounced kinsmen to Turkish authorities and were responsible for their deaths
1920 Mgrditch Haroutounian Soghomon Tehlirian Denounced kinsmen to Turkish authorities and were responsible for their deaths in Constantinople
March 27, 1920 Vahe Ihssan (Yessayan) Arshavir Shiragian Denounced kinsmen to Turkish authorities and were responsible for their deaths In Constantinople
March 15, 1921 Mehmed Talaat Soghomon Tehlirian one of the Ittihadist triumvirs and former interior minister Soghomon Tehlirian being arrested and put to trial, Tehlirian was released with a 'not guilty' verdict on the grounds of insanity by the German Court in June 1921.
July 18, 1921 Behbud Khan Javanshir Misak Torlakian Internal affairs minister of Azerbaijan, organizer of Armenian massacres in Baku Assassination was in Constantinople. Torlakian was admitted "guilty but not responsible" due to his mental condition by the British military tribunal in November 1921.
December 5, 1921 Said Halim Pasha Arshavir Shiragian Former prime minister of the Ottoman Empire Assassinated in Rome. Operation was organized by Grigor Merjanov. Shiragian was not captured and returned to Constantinople.
April 17, 1922 Behaeddin Shakir Bey Aram Yerganian Organizer and executor of the Ittihadist "Special Committee", Assassinated in Berlin.
April 17, 1922 Jemal Azmi Agent "T." An anti-Armenian Ittihadist leader. Nicknamed "The Monster of Trebizond", Azmi was responsible for the drowning of 15,000 Armenians. A Turkish court-martial sentenced him to death in 1919, but the sentence was never carried out. Assassinated in Berlin Operation aided by Aram Yerganian.
July 25, 1922 Ahmed Djemal Stepan Dzaghigian and Bedros D. Boghosian Member of the Ittihadist triumvirate and defense minister, Assassinated in Tbilisi. There were decoys with the help of Zareh Melik-Shahnazarian of Artsakh.

See also

  • Vigilante justice

References

  1. ^ Taner Akcam, A Shameful Act, page 136
  2. ^ Richard G. Hovannisian, The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, 244
  3. ^ The Encyclopedia Americana, 1920, v.28, p.412
  4. ^ Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream, (Basic Books, 2005), 57; "Istanbul was only adopted as the city's official name in 1930..".
  5. ^ Hovannisian. "Armenia's Road to Independence", p. 298.
  6. ^ "Nayiri" weekly, v. 12, nos. 1-6
  7. ^ http://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/Treaty_of_Lausanne ;
    ARTICLE 91
    All grants of patents and registrations of trade-marks, as well as all registrations of transfers or assignments of patents or trade marks which have been duly made since the 30th October, 1918, by the Imperial Ottoman Government at Constantinople or elsewhere..
  8. ^ Power, Samantha. "A Problem from Hell", page 16. Basic Books, 2002.
  9. ^ Power, Samantha. "A Problem from Hell", page 17. Basic Books, 2002.
  10. ^ http://operationnemesis.com/condemned.html
  11. ^ Zaven Der Yeghiayan, My Patriarchal Memories, pp. 58-59

Further reading

  • Natalie, Shahan (2002) [1928]. The Turks and Us. Nagorno-Karabakh: Punik Publishing. 
  • Shiragian, Arshavir (1976). The Legacy. Sonia Shiragian. Boston, Massachusetts: Hairenik Press. LCC 76-49796. 
  • Avakian, Lindy V. (1989). The Cross and the Crescent. USC Press. ISBN 0-943247-06-3. 
  • Derogy, Jacques (1990). Resistance & Revenge. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0-88738-338-6. 
  • Alexander, Edward (2000). A Crime of Vengeance. Backinprint.com. ISBN 0595088856. 
  • Yeghiayan, Vartkes (2006). The Case of Soghomon Tehlirian. Center for Armenian Remembrance. ISBN 0977715310. 
  • Yeghiayan, Vartkes (2006). The Case of Misak Torlakian. Center for Armenian Remembrance. ISBN 0977715302. 

External links


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