A Failed Project: The Ponto-Armenian Federation, 1919-1920
Bestami S. Bi̇lgi̇ç
Keywords: Pontus, Armenians, Ponto-Armenian Federation, National Struggle
The conventional wisdom says that Ottoman Armenians and Rums had collaborated against the Ottoman government during the First World War and its immediate aftermath, and then the Ankara government after 1920. They may have joined forces during the First World War when they regarded the "Turks" as their common enemy. However, when the "Turk" was out of the way after the First World War, Armenians and Rums could not agree on how to share the spoils. This was particularly true for Trabzon which was coveted both by Armenians, who wanted to integrate the vilayet to their Greater Armenia, and Trabzon Rums who wished to establish an independent republic in the region. Therefore, while ostensibly working against the "Turk", Rums and Armenians essentially intrigued against one another over Trabzon. Although both parties paid lip service to a Ponto-Armenian federation from time to time, they at the same time undermined each other's efforts to gain ground in Trabzon. Combined with Turkish resolve to keep Trabzon and Allies' hesitancy to honor their promises to the Armenians and Rums during the First World War, Armenian-Rum dispute over Trabzon rendered the project of a Ponto-Armenian federation abortive.