Did Armenian Casualities Amount To 1.5 Million?

  Armenian propagandists claim that as many as 1,5 million Armenians died as the result of so-called "genocide". Like the rest of their claims, this also is imaginary, with the number claimed being increased over years. At first, immediately following the war the Armenians claimed that as many as 600,000 had been killed. Later they raised it to 800,000 and now they talk about 1,5 million and tomorrow they may talk even about three million. The 1918 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica said that 600,000 Armenians had been killed; in its 1968 edition this was raised to 1,5 million.

How many Armenians did die? It is impossible to determine the number exactly, since no complete death records were kept during those years. The only basis on which even an estimate can be made is the actual Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire at the time. Even here figures vary widely, with the Armenians claiming far more than other sources:

Claimed Armenian Population

1.British Annual Register 1917 1.056.000  2.Patriarch Ormanyan 1.579.000  3.The Armenian historian Kevork Aslan 1,800,000  (In "Armenia and Armenians", Aslan states the Armenian population in Anatolia 920.000, in Clicia (Adana, Sis, Maras) 180.000, in the other Ottoman territories 700.000, total 1.800.000) 4.German Priest Johannes Lepsius 1.600.000  5.Cuinet 1.045.018  6.The French Yellow Book 1.475.011  7.The Armenian historian Basmajian 2.280.000  8.Patriarch Nerses Varjabedyan 1.150.000

Official Ottoman census statistics are as follows:

The Ottoman Directory of Statistics was founded in 1892. The first director of the branch was Nuri Bey. Between 1892-1897 a Jewish Ottoman, Fethi Franco was appointed for the duty. From 1897 until 1903, an Armenian director was in charge, called Migirdic Shabanyan. Later, Mr. Robert an American was appointed (1903-1908). Between, 1908-1914 Mehmet Behic was the general director.

As it is seen, in a very chaotic period when the Ottoman government was facing with the Armenian Issue on the international arena, the Ottoman Statistics were under the control of foreigners. At this point, the Ottoman statistics should be considered as the most objective documents about the Armenian population living in Ottoman territories.

Ottoman census statistics for 1893 1.001.465 * Ottoman census statistics for 1906 1.120.748 * Ottoman census statistics for 1914 1.221.850

An evaluation of the three sources clarifies that, during the First World War, the Armenian population in the Ottoman territories was approximately 1.250.000.

The Armenian population subjected to relocation was 438.758 and 382.148 of these safely reached their new destinations.  The number of casualties had occurred as follows: 500 people on the road between Erzurum and Erzincan; 2000 in Meskene, between Urfa and Aleppo and 2000 others on the outskirts of Mardin were massacred in attacks launched by bandits or nomadic Arabs. Another 5000 people were killed in attacks on convoys passing through Dersim.  It was understood from these documents that many people had also fallen victim to hunger while on the road. Apart from these, some 25-30 thousand people had lost their lives when struck by fatal diseases such as typhoid and dysentery.  In all, an estimated 40 thousand casualties had been registered during relocation.

The remaining 10-16 thousand people were made at stay in provinces they had reached, when the implementation of relocation was brought to an end. For instance, on April 26, 1916, orders were given to provide the return to and the settlement in the province of Konya of those Armenians setting out form the province to new destinations.  On the other hand, many other Armenians are believed to have fled to either Russia or to Western countries, including the Unites States.

As a matter of fact, according to the pertinent documents, 50.000 of the Armenian soldiers serving in the Ottoman Army joined the Russian forces, and some other 50.000 Armenian soldiers went to America to be trained in the US Army to fight against the Turkish Army. In fact, the letter of an Armenian called Murad Muradyan- who was an advocate in Elazig later immigrated to America - shows such information.  In the concerned letter, Muradyan mentions that some Armenians were escaped to Russia and America and later 50.000 of those trained soldiers went to Caucassia. As it can be understood from all the concerned documents, many of Armenian subjects of the Ottoman State were scattered through various countries especially to U.S.A. and Russia, before and during the war. For example, Artin Hotomyan who was a tradesman in America sent a letter to the Chieftain of Security on January 19, 1915 and stated that thousands of Armenians migrated to U.S.A. and they were facing with hunger and hardships.

REFERENCE: Halacoglu, Prof. Dr. Yusuf-; Ermeni Tehcirine Dair Gercekler (1915), TTK Press, Ankara 2001.


1) British Annual Record for 1917 2) Uras, Esat, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi, Istanbul, 1987 3) Aslan, Kevork, Ermenistan ve Ermeniler, Istanbul, 1914. 4) Uras, Esat, a.g.e. 5) Uras, Esat, a.g.e. 6) 1893-1897 Ermeni Iºleri, Paris, 1897 Uras, Esat, a.g.e. 7) Uras, Esat, a.g.e. 8) Uras, Esat, a.g.e. 9) Mazici, Nursen, Belgelerle Uluslar arasi Rekabette Ermeni Sorunu, Istanbul 1987. 10) see Karpat, Kemal, H. Ottoman Population 1830-1914 Demographic and Social Characteristic, The University Of Winsconcin Press, 1985 London. 11) Some figures can be slightly change. 12) Coded telegraphs from governors of Trabzon, Erzurum, Sivas, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Bitlis Maras, Canik, June 26, 1915 (code, number. 54-A/112). Telegraphs from governors of Eregli and Musul (June, 8 1915 coded telegraph sent to Konya province, code, numberr.57/337; Zor province February 3, 1916, code, number.60/219). 13) code, number.57/110. 14) see DH. EUM. 2. branch, numberr.68/81; see. code., number. 57/51. 15) code, number. 63/119. 16) DH. EUM. 2. ªube, nr.2F/14. 17) Bkz. DH. EUM. 2. ªube, nr.2F/94.