The Two Congresses of the Hunchakian Party and the War Decision Before World War I
Kütahya Dumlupınar Üniversitesi, Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi, Tarih Bölümü, Kütahya/ TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Turkish-Armenian Relations, Hinchak Society, Constanta Congress, Armenian Reform, Events of 1915.
The Hinchak Society, one of the Armenian’s crucial political organizations around the world, was established and developed as an illegal entity against the Ottoman Empire. Turning into a political party and being legitimatized with the declaration of the Second Constitutional Monarchy, The Hinchak Society decided to return to its former actions against the Ottoman Empire, regarding the Eastern Anatolian reform during the Balkan Wars, with the support of Russia and the Great Britain. On one side, the matter of reform; on the other, the distrust in the Committee of Union and Progress prominently led to the armament of the society for self-defence. The Hunchakian Congress, held in Constanta in August 1913, came into prominence with the decision that the Armenians should have been armed expeditiously and that the leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress should have been assassinated. The Istanbul-based organization objected to this decision and wanted to show that it remained faithful to the old decision by holding a congress in Istanbul in July 1914. Just before the start of the First World War, follow-up legislations of the Ottoman Government against the Hunchak Party such as arrests, trials as well as the influence of the Hunchak Party in the emergence of the voluntary movement were key factors in the enactment of the decision on dispatch and resettlement. The congresses of the Hunchak Party and the pre-war trials have not been examined in any previous studies. Some of the documents related to the 6th and 7th congresses of the Hunchak Party and the arrests of the party members before the First World War and the trial records were published in eight volumes by the Turkish General Staff. Since these documents and records are essential in terms of showing a critical dimension of the Armenian Question, it is of utmost importance to make further analyses and evaluations. Thus, this study will focus on the relations of the Ottoman governments with the Hunchak Party and the essence of genocide allegations before the First World War. The main aim of the present study is to shed light on an overlooked period that can be considered as the beginning of the 1915 events through an inductive method.