31/7/1915 Turkish advances force abandonment of Van

In April the Armenians of Van revolted against their Turkish masters. The Turks besieged the city but in May the town was relieved by the Russians. With the Turks retreating the Armenians of Van believed themselves at last to be safe. Aram Manukian, the Armenians’ leader during the siege, was formally appointed governor of Van by the Russians. This seemed to be one area in Anatolia where Armenians would be spared the horrors being afflicted on their fellow elsewhere.

But today the Armenians of Van receive bad news. Turkish successes in the Battle of Manzikert mean that Russian forces are retreating eastwards. Van can no longer be defended from the Turks. The Armenians are advised to gather what they can and join the retreating Russians. Knowing what treatment they would receive from the returning Turks, the Armenians of Van leave their city, joining the ranks of refugees fleeing for their lives.

image source:

The Retreat from Van (Martin Ries)

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