14 Oct LOSS OF KURDS IN CURRENT WAR(WWI)
An article published in Moscow during the the I. World War shows clear devastation Kurdish people were faced.
We are grateful to Kurdish Historian Mr. LETİF MEMMED BRUKİ supplying this historical document.
LOSS OF KURDS IN CURRENT WAR(WWI)
The question of what the number of Muslims in Turkish Armenia will be after the war is important for the political destinies of our homeland. One often hears that the Kurds suffered huge losses during the war, but the first substantiated data on this issue are provided on the pages of the Mshak by Mr. A. Atanasyan, one of the authorized union of cities on the Caucasian front.
“The information I obtained and verified,” he says, “prove that if during the war Armenians gave 360,000 human casualties, then the Kurds also had huge losses.
The whole space, starting from Lake Van to the south and west, the Bitlis-Bush region, then through Khnys, Bulanyk, Patnots, Manazkert, Ala-Dagi together with Alashkert, to the Basen and Bayazid-Diadin regions, where more than 800,000 Kurds lived before the war – is now completely empty. Hundreds of Kurdish villages were destroyed and devastated. It is interesting to find out were the Kurds from these area moved out during the retreat of the Turks to other areas or were they killed?
Both happened, and bare in mind that eviction, [retreat, was carried out under very unfavorable conditions: during the retreat, all sorts of epidemic diseases literally destroyed entire Kurdish tribes and districts, and famine and cold finished the destruction.
“Of my 20 villages,” a well-known Kurdish landowner in Khoshab Bakhribrike tells me, “in which more than 12,000 Kurds lived, more than 8,000 died of diseases during the first 6-7 months of the war. My peasants were in relatively more favorable conditions, than others, because we almost did not move. As for our other tribes, many of them are almost completely exterminated. Families that had 20–30 souls before the war, now you don’t even have 3-4 people. The same is everywhere. “Do not forget,” he continued, “that you, Armenians, have medical personnel, medicines, nurses, orderlies; you have catering centers, national and governmental organizations that care for the retreating population: they feed, clothe and provide all kinds of assistance to refugees, collect orphans and give them shelter. What about us? The Turkish government does not give us anything and did not give us, except for those terrible robberies that it carried out in our country under the name of requisition. All of our cattle breeding, on which the strength of the Kurds is based, has perished – from fire, hunger or requisition.
The Kurdish Bek’s story is true. The heads of the Armenian volunteer squads unanimously say the same thing.
“In my opinion,” says one of them, “the Kurds lost everything during this war.” And if they still continue to fight against our forces, then these are the pitiful remnants of Kurds in eastern Kurdistan and the Diyarbakir region, whose number does not exceed 250,000.
No less interesting is the information about the number of casualties among the Kurds who directly participated in the war.
“I,” one Russian officer told me, “from the very beginning of the war, was in those areas where we had intense fights, mainly with the Kurds. And I’m not mistaken if I say that the number of killed Kurds alone exceeds 40,000. I’m not talking about the wounded, which is twice the number of those killed.
In Mush, the famous and very popular rich Turk Jafar-aga told me the following: “I personally saw whole Kurdish tribes that were literally exterminated during several months of the war with cholera, typhoid and typhus. Hundreds of Kurdish corpses lay in their villages. (…]
– What do you think, how many Kurds died in general during this war?
– It is difficult to say about this, even approximately. We don’t have any calculation, no number. Believe me, – he said, – we cannot even say how many people were in Mush. But one thing is beyond doubt. That the Kurds have lost three-quarters of their population. And I know that from one of the Kurdish leaders. (…)
The loss of the Kurds in current war // Armenian Messenger. 1916. November 13th. №42. P.15
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