18/4/1916 Russian forces seize Trebizond; the scale of Turkey’s abuse of the Armenians becomes increasingly apparent

In eastern Anatolia the Turks have been on the back foot since the Russian capture of Erzurum. Russian advances are continuing, taking advantage of the Turks’s disarray and encountering little or no effective resistance. Today the ancient city of Trebizond (also known as Trabzon) falls, abandoned by the Turkish military.

Their victories should be a source of great rejoicing to the Russian forces, but their advances are leading to a shocking discovery. The territories they are advancing into used to house the Ottoman Empire’s thriving Armenian community, but now the Armenians are gone. Seeing them as disloyal and pro-Russian, the Turks are removing the Armenians from Anatolia. Some have been murdered en masse (several thousand of Trebizond’s Armenians have reportedly been driven into the sea or thrown overboard from boats). Most though have been deported from their homes and sent off on death marches, dying from exhaustion or lack of food and water while facing the constant threat of robbery, rape and murder from the ghouls who see the deportations as an opportunity for random cruelty and personal enrichment. The survivors of the death marches find themselves in remote concentration camps, where they are deprived of food, water and shelter, with no future ahead of them save a lingering death.

It seems also that the Armenians are not the only victims of the fear and loathing of Turkish authorities. Members of the Assyrian and Greek communities are also facing persecution and abuse, including murder.

The diplomats of Turkey’s German and Austro-Hungarian allies have reported the scale of the horror back to their respective capitals. The Germans have made some protests but they are wary of alienating Turkey and do not press the Turkish leaders too closely on the issue.

But blood will have blood. There are reports that the Russians are wreaking vengeance on the Turkish civilians in areas they have conquered.

image sources:

The surrender of Trebizond (Western Front Association)

Armenian Genocide (Mental Floss)

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