CHAPTER 12 “THE ARMENO-TATAR WAR” 1905-1906

The residents of the Tatar village Ghajar (300 families) repeatedly looted the neighbouring Armenian villages. Sensing a new attack on the Drakhtik village, the Armenians prepared to resist the plunderers.

Facing the strong resistence of the Armenians the Turks retreated. The counter-attack forced the Tatars to hide in their village, which was soon surrounded on all sides. The number of Armenian casualties was 9. The next year, on August 14, the Ghajar Turks attacked the Armenian village Shekher at night, looted and burned 8 houses.

The residents of the Tatar villages Avdal and Gulaplu, located on the bottom of the Chraghlu hill, looted and stole the cattles of the neighbouring Armenian village Avshan almost on daily basis. They called the village “halva Ashani”, that is the village was as sweet and attractive as the Oriental pastry halva.

Encouraged of the Shushi massacres, the Tatars and the Muslim nomads launched attacks on the Armenian villages, as a result of which the residents were killed, seized as hostages, driven from their homes. The two Armenian villages Sevssulan (70 families) and Yarumja (20 families), located in the Martakert field were surrounded by the Tatars on all sides. At last the residents fled to Martakert amid chaos and panic without any belongings. As a result, they suffered severe casualties. Mardakert in its turn was attacked by the Tatars of the Maprravand village. Resisting for 18 days, the residents of the Armenian villages Begum-Sarov, Maralian-Sarov and Hassan-Saya were forced to flee to Maragha. The prosperous Sarov village was completely destroyed.

On December 21 a large crowd of Tatars attacked Maragha from the Tartarr bazaar. The Armenians put up a violent resistance. Suffering severe casualties, the Turks retreated.

The situation was disasterous in the village Minkend, located near Lachi (Kashatagh). The residents of the village were engaged in farming and trades. They had a school. They had a school, which was attended by the Tatar children of the neighbouring villages. The governor of Zangezur Avaliani sent 25 Cossacks to defend them. Some days later the Cossacks were ordered to return to Zangezur. Soon after the Mughanlu, Khalatch, Ovshar and Tarakama tribesmen put up their tents in the Milkend field. The 700 residents of the village asked the governor to let them leave the village for some time as they had sensed the trap. Their request was refused. On August 19 the Turks stole their cattles. The next day the village was besieged. The Turkish and Kurdish mobs took the village, looted 21 shops, the houses. The unarmed population was massacred. 200 residents took shelter in a basement. All of them were tortured to death.13 Their bodies were mutiliated. The murderers spared neither the children, nor the old people. Cutting open the belly of Manuchar Grigorian’s wife, who was prgnant, one of the villains took the unborn baby on the sword and showed the others. They captured 500 cows, 1423 sheep, 150 horses, 3000 carpets, 1290 bedcloths, 14 sewing machines, 6520 roubles worth silvery, golden and silver ornaments, food products. The organizers of the massacres divided up the theft.14

Like Minkendi, many other villages of the region were left to their fate. The Russian authorities turned a blind eye to all this massacres. The Armenians organized groups of self-defence to use force to counter the Tatar violence. A new circle of violence was set in motion. The Armenian combatants destroyed the two Jejimlu villages, punishing the residents for the committed crimes. The Tatars launched four attacks on the Berdadzor villages, intending to eliminate the Armenian presence on the strategic route Lachin-Shushi. But the Berdadzor residents set up a vigorous resistence. They gained a series of victories over the Tatars. The vicious clashes left a legacy of hatred between the residents of the Armenian and Turkish and Kurdish villages. For a long time the Berdadzor Armenians failed to reach Goris or Shushi.

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