ISSN 1829-4618


The Vilayet of Erzeroum lies due north of Bitlis and Van, and is likewise a border province. It consists principally of the upper valleys of the Kara-Su (Western Euphrates) and the Tchorok. The fortress-city of Erzeroum itself is situated in a plain which collects the head-waters of the former river; Erzindjan, a place of almost equal importance, lies further west, about 120 miles down stream; while Baibourt, in the Tchorok valley, is the most important place on the high road from Erzeroum to Trebizond. The districts north of the Kara-Su are as civilised as the rest of Anatolia; but south of the river, in the great peninsula enclosed by the two arms of the Euphrates, lies the mountain-mass of Dersim, inhabited by wild, independent tribes of Kizil-Bashis and Kurds, who played an active part in the destruction of their Armenian neighbours.
In the Vilayet of Erzeroum the deportations began at the end of May and during the first days of June. Reports from a particularly trustworthy source state that, by the 19th May, more than 15,000 Armenians had been deported from Erzeroum and the neighbouring villages, and that, by the 25th May, the districts of Erzindjan, Keghi and Baibourt had also been "devastated by forced emigration." Our information concerning Erzeroum itself was at first somewhat scanty, but since its capture by the Russians it has been visited by representatives of various relief organisations in the Caucasus, who have obtained circumstantial accounts of what happened in the city and the surrounding villages. They report that, out of an Armenian population estimated at 400,000 souls for the Vilayets of Erzeroum and Bitlis, not more than 8,000-10,000 have survived - in other words, that 98 per cent. of the Armenians in these vilayets have been either deported or massacred.
We are also particularly well informed with regard to Baibourt and Erzindjan, and the documents in this section may be noted as a clear case in which independent testimonies exactly bear one another out.

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