1915 Displacement Through The Eyes Of Turkish Witnesses - PART 5
Father`s Name : Ziver
Mother`s name : Söhret
Place of Birth: Van Gülsünler
Date of Birth: 1901
I am from the village of Gulsunler, which used to be called Sihkara. We left the village when the Armenians raided the villages and started massacring the Muslim population. We were going toward Van, but the Armenians stopped us before we arrived. We had no choice but to return. About 300 people from the village gathered in Zeve, while an equal number returned to the village. We fled toward Hosap as a group. Turkish soldiers were in Hosap, and they told us to leave as soon as possible and get out of the line of fire.
In spite of the difficulties we faced, we went as far as Siirt. Many of the refugees suffered and died due to widespread hunger and disease. From there, we arrived in Diyarbakir, Mardin, and finally in Adana. We then went to Konya, because the French had occupied Adana. The government then sent us to Mersin, but when the Turkish military took back Van, we returned. But Van and its villages were completely ruined, burned, and destroyed. There, hundred people were martyred in our village. They gathered the people in houses and burned them alive. The inhabitants of Van fled, and those that remained were cut up by the Armenians. When we returned, not all of the Armenians had left. Some of the villages, such as Alaköy remained as they were, and the Muslims did not hurt anyone there. The government later sent the Armenians to Russia.
Many members of my family were martyred in this village including my mother, father, brother Mustafa and other relatives. Around 30-40 families fled with us, but only ten families returned. Those that stayed and those that went to Zeve were all massacred. I found the skeletons of nearly 200 Muslims killed by Armenians. I buried them here, but could not afford to provide headstones to be put in the graveyard. This includes the graves of my mother and father, as the Armenians had burned them alive.
Father’s Name: Mehmet Emin
Mother’s Name: Ayse
Place of Birth: Van-Saglamtas
Date of Birth: 1919
As I have heard from my father, the Russians invaded our country, but there were no phones, no radio so the villagers could not understand where abouts the enemy come from. My father had a cousin named Abdulkadir and my father had told to him “I am so sick and my son (my brother) is a soldier on the Iranian front, he fights against the Russians. Go and get information”. So Abdulkadir goes. There is a meadow behind those hills, when he climbs up the hill, he sees that the people of Ercis are running away. Abdulkadir comes to my father and says “All the people of Talat Aga are running away”. Then my father decides to leave the village. They immediately begin preparations.
The season is spring, they leave the village with ox carts, but the animals are not ready for such a journey and they quickly get tired. They go as far as the hill standing on the southeast border of the village. But most of the villagers give up. The imam of the village asks my father “where are the Russians, where are the Armenians? Who are you running away from?” My father answers “this is not a clan war! This is the Russian war. We do not have cannons, rifles. We have to run away.” In the morning my father’s family and the Sheikh family set up again. However, people of the other thirty-eight houses stay.
The day after my father leaves the village; the villagers see that the Russians guided by the Armenians are coming. All the villagers begin to run through the stream, but the horsemen circle them and they immediately kill most of them. Later they gather the others in to a house on the hill. Two armed Armenians watch the door, and two Armenians kill all people with bayonets. Only a woman and a little girl are alive by remaining in silent among the dead bodies. As she told my father later that her name was Azime and the girls was Rusen.
As Ms. Azime told, she waited until the night in silence. She straightened out she called out if there was anybody who was alive. Only that little girl answered her. So she takes that girl and goes to Siirt passing through the mountains, which is a long and painful story.. Everyone knows the place of those martyrs. But, I don’t know under which ruin they are in. But, there are many other places as such. As I told you before, the Armenians passed through the hill by killing everybody they saw on the way.
My father’s family and the Sheikh family went to Diyarbakir, Farikin. When they arrived, they harvested the crops. Later on the government sent them to Konya because of epidemy where they stayed for three years. Later, they returned to our village.
* Cousin of Abdulbari Barlas, Abdulhamit Barlas showed the place where the Turkish villagers were killed by the Armenian bandits. He said that the villagers who migrated found countless human bones here. As those bones could not be collected under the circumstances of that time, they all disappeared. In this village, the Armenians killed 150-200 people.
1915 Displacement Through The Eyes Of Turkish Witnesses - PART 1
1915 Displacement Through The Eyes Of Turkish Witnesses - PART 2
1915 Displacement Through The Eyes Of Turkish Witnesses - PART 3
1915 Displacement Through The Eyes Of Turkish Witnesses - PART 4