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Written by Admin    Thursday, 25 June 2009 20:25    PDF Print E-mail
Untold stories: Blessed assassin of armenian people
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In July 1922 in Tiflis, in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, a man walking down the steps of a public building was approached by three men who emptied revolvers into him without a word, then turned and fled. tanding nearby at the time was the soon-to-be notorious Lavrenty Beria, brutal head of the Cheka, or Georgian Communist secret police. As the echoes of the gunshots died away, Beria turned to a friend and muttered “Eda dashnaksi terror”, meaning, “It is the Armenians”.


The man shot in Tiflis was Ahmed Cemal Pasha, one of a trio of Turkish leaders known as the Ittihad Triumvirate, the “committee of three”, who had been the chief engineer of the massacre of more than one million Armenians, beginning in 1915. His assassination was the latest in a series of carefully planned attacks. A year earlier, July in 1921, another high ranking Turk had been shot dead in Constantinopole as he exited a theatre. In December of that year, in Rome, Sayid Halim Pasha, former prime minister of the Ottoman Empire, was assassinated as he drove his car along the Via Eustaccio. In February 1922, two former Turkish high officials were killed, together, on a main thoroughfare in Berlin, shot by two men who disappeared into the night.

The killing that started this series of assassinations also took place in Berlin, on 15 March 1921, on a quiet street in the city’s Charlottenburg district. A stocky middle aged man wearing a long grey overcoat walked down an avenue, swinging his cane, the picture of wealth an confidence. He was approached by a young man with dark hair and large eyes. This young man was prone to epileptic seizures and fainting spells, and struck his German landlady as nervous and fearful. She sometimes heard him weeping quietly to himself in the middle of the night. His name was Soghomon Tehlirian , and he was the only survivor of the slaughter of the Turks of a column of thousand of Armenians that included his mother, two brothers, three sisters and a niece.





Soghomon Tehlirian


Soghomon Tehlirian locked eyes with Talat Pasha as he passed him, then turned, whipped out a revolver and shot the Turk once in the back of the head. He started to run, but was quickly cornered by a mob of local people, some of whom started to beat him. The Armenian cried, in broken German, “I foreigner, he foreigner, this not hurt Germany”, but he did no good. Finally, the police came to take him into custody. It is one of the many ironies of this story that Soghomon Tehlirian was beaten by a citizens of a country that would soon perpetrate another slaughter.

March from Erzincan

The genocidal Turkish forces caught up with the eighteen-year-old Soghomon Tehlirian and his family in June 1915, in their home in Erzincan. The Turks ordered that the entire population of the town – about twenty-thousand in all-turn over their valuables to the Turkish authorities and form a column. They were than marched away by Turkish soldiers. With Tehlirian were his mother, his three sisters, his sister’s husband, his two brothers and a two-year-old niece. After marching for several hours, they heard gunfire coming from the head of the column. Suddenly, all was chaos. Turkish troops descended on Tehlirian ’s group, shooting, clubbing, and stabbing. Tehlirian’s mother was shot dead. His sisters was dragged away into the bushes and raped. An axe cleaves Tehlirian’s brother’s skull right in front of him. And then something smashed into Tehlirian’s head and he fell unconscious.

Overwhelmed with horror, he realized he was the only survivor from the column.

According to Tehlirian he found his way to a remote mountain village, where a kindly woman gave him clothes to replace his bloodstained once. After resting a short time, he began long journey eastwards toward the Russian border.

While living and working in Constantinople, Tehlirian had noticed that many of the Armenian refugees with whom he spent his time in cafes were trying to forget the genocide, to banish the awful memories, to move on with their lives. Tehlirian was unable to do this. The images of his murdered family were with him everywhere. He began to have epileptic seizures that were almost certainly a result of the blow he had taken on the head. He bought a pistol and carried around with him.

In meantime, with the war over, Western powers put pressure on the new puppet Turkish government to punish those responsible for the genocide, which has been reported throughout the war by some news organizations. The trials began in January 1919 and a good deal of evidence was brought out to show Turkish involvement in the killings. In the end, the only Turk who paid a high price was Governor Kemal Bay, who was charged with organizing the killing of the Armenians of an entire district. The three Young Turk leaders, Talat, Enver and Cemal, had escaped to Odessa in a German submarine at the end of the war. The military tribunal sentenced them to death in absentia, but no attempt was made to track them down and carry out the sentences, As far as the Turks and most of the Western powers were concert , the matter was now closed.

The trial

Tehlirian was defended by three defence attorneys, including Dr. Kurt Niemeyer, professor of Law at Cologne University. The defense attorneys made no attempt to deny the fact that Tehlirian had killed a man. They focused on the influence of the Armenian Genocide on Tehlirian's mental state. It took the jury slightly over an hour to render a verdict of

"not guilty"

on grounds of temporary insanity. Tehlirian was tried and acquitted of all charges by the German court. The trial examined not only Tehlirian’s actions but also Tehlirian's conviction that Talat Pasha was the main author of the Armenian Genocide.




From:"History's great untold stories"

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 June 2009 20:27 )
 

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