Russian forces inflicted a devastating defeat on the Turks at the Battle of Sarikamish at the start of the year. They have advanced into eastern Anatolia but they have not made as much progress as that early success would warrant. For Russia the European front against Germany and Austria-Hungary is the most important one and it is where men and materiel are being funnelled. The current defeats being inflicted on Russia following the Gorlice-Tarnów offensive mean that Russia’s Caucasus army remains under resourced.
Nevertheless, the Russians are still trying to advance. They have already taken the town of Manzikert (shown on the map as Malazkert), to the north of Lake Van. Now they launch an offensive from here against Turkish positions. The Russians think that the Turks are weak in this sector. But their intelligence is faulty: the Turks in fact have considerable numbers of troops in the area, many more than are available to the over-stretched Russians. The Russians attack, but they make little or no progress.
image source (Armenian-History.com)