Relocation Takes Start

In accordance with the Law on Transport and Resettlement dated 27 May 1915, and communiqué determining the forms of implementation of this law, the Armenian convoys were gathered in certain centers along the crossroads such as Konya, Diyarbekir, Cizre, Birecik and Aleppo, to be distributed to the new settlement areas. The immigration routes were chosen among the closest possible roads, so as immigrants not to come across any difficulties. Furthermore, the concern to ensure security and protection for the convoys played on important role in the choice of routes. Therefore, ones transferred from Kayseri and Samsun took the route via Malatya; just as the ones from Sivas, Mamuretülaziz, Erzurum and its environs took the route to Mousul via Diyarbekir-Cizre road .

However, cases where that the roads were too crowded, or upon a possibility of disorder in sub-divisions, these routes were changed . The ones en route from Urfa via Re'sülayn and Nusaybin were transferred via Siverek in order to protect them from the attacks of Arabian and other tribes .

The convoys en route from Western Anatolia along Kütahya-Karahisar - Konya - Karaman- Tarsus were transferred via Kars-i Maras - Pazarcik to Zor.

Locations with railroad and river - transportation facilities were preferred in choosing all these routes. The idea that travel by train or the river travel were the safest ways then, played an important role in this choice. Therefore, almost all the immigrants from Western Anatolia were transported by train .

Convoys transferred via Cizre road were also carried by train or river boats called "Sahtur".  In places where train or river transports were not available, the convoys were gathered at certain centers, and took the train from these centers.

The state used all its resources available, to implement an orderly immigration process, and to prevent the convoys from any possible harm, in spite of circumstances that prevailed due to war. However, there arose difficulties at times to find vehicles transporting immigrants due to the need to dispatch military and food items to the front continuously. Therefore, railway stations were congested. It being harvest season the vehicles were scarce, which caused delays in transportation at times,  as well as difficulties in the movement of the convoys. In spite of all these difficult circumstances and adverse conditions, the government succeeded, in an orderly fashion, to transport the immigrating Armenians to their new locations of resettlement.

In fact, US Consul in Mersin, Edward Natan, in his report dated 30 August 1915, submitted to the Ambassador Morganthau, stated that the railway route from Tarsus to Adana was full of Armenians; and that they traveled from Adana onwards with a ticket; and despite some difficulties due to crowds of people, the government organized this process in the most orderly fashion; and that the Government did not allow any act of violence or disorder, provided sufficient number of tickets to the immigrants and assisted those who were in need.

REFERENCE: Halacoglu, Prof. Dr. Yusuf, Ermeni Tehcirine Dair Gercekler - Realities on the Armenian Immigration - (1915), TTK Publications, Ankara, 2001.

FOOTNOTES: 1) Cryptic Item., no: 54-A/157; no: 56/280; no: 56/387. 2) Cryptic Item., no: 56-278; no: 58/280; no: 56/308. 3) Cryptic Item., no: 57/277. 4) Cryptic Item., no: 65/95. 5) DH. EUM. Dept. 2, 68/99; Dept. 2, 68/94; Dept. 2, 68/81; Dept. 2, 68/67; Dept. 2, 68/96. 6) DH. EUM. Dept 2, 68/101. 7) E.g. Cryptic Item, no: 54-A/393. 8) Cryptic Item, No: 54-A/59; no: 54-A/96 9) EUM, File 2D/13 (see Document 664).