Batman (ANF) – A commemoration ceremony was held at Newala Kadine in Shikefta village of Batman where hundreds of Armenian aristocrats were murdered in the context of the genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians in 1915.
The commemoration was attended by Armenian, Syriac, Jewish, Turkish, Kurdish and Assyrian people coming from across the world. Laments in Armenian and Kurdish resonated in the deep valley.
A hundred years ago, 1,5 million Armenians were massacred in the genocide the Ottoman Empire committed against people from different beliefs, races and cultures who had been living together in Kurdistan and Anatolia. While debates on the genocide continue occupying the world agenda in recent days, commemorations are taking place at different locations in Turkey and North Kurdistan. One of these took place in the village of Şekefta where the Diyarbakır Governor of the time, Reşit Pasha, had Armenian aristocrats massacred.
Hundreds of Armenians, Jews, Christians and Assyrians coming from across the world, as well as Kurds and Turks from Turkey and North Kurdistan attended the commemoration.
Following prayers and laments in Kurdish and Armenian, the commemoration continued with a visit to the grave of Kurdish Reşkota tribe leader Heci Mihemedê Mistê, who was also targeted by the Ottoman Empire after saving thousands of Armenians from the genocide, in Bolindê village of Beşiri district. The scene witnessed a meeting of an Armenian delegation and Heci Mihemedê Mistê’s grandchildren, and speeches pointing to the fraternity between the Reştoka people and Armenians.
Speaking here, researcher and author Ali Haydar Kanlı pointed out that the Ottoman Empire had also targeted the Kurdish Reşkota tribe leader Heci Mihemedê Mistê who protected Armenians in the genocide, adding; ”
Within the scope of the project for the elimination of the Armenians, Syriacs, Chaldeans and Yazidis and total Islamisation of the region, the Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa (Ottoman secret paramilitary intelligence unit, known as the Special Organization) founded by Diyarbakır Governor Reşit Pasha massacred the masses that were forced to emigrate through Diyarbakır.
Kanlı said the massacre in Amed (Diyarbakır) was first committed against the aristocrat Armenians and told the following about the massacres committed by Resit Pasha:
“With a gang group of 30-50 Circassian people, Dr. Resit Pasha came to Diyarbakır after he was assigned as the governor. Resit Pasha was one of the founders of the Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa. He ruled the deportation of all the masses forced to emigrate from the local region. The first group deported from Diyarbakır comprised 200 persons who were told that they would be sent to Aleppo over Mosul on wooden boats on Tigris River. This group was later handed over to 11th Troop, known as the “butcher troop”, which set up an ambush 5 km away from Hasankeyf. The deported Armenians taken to Newala Kadine in the upper side of Sikefta village were tied from hands and legs after all their money and valuable materials were confiscated. After the gendarmes gave the sign by opening fire into the air twice, they were murdered by a group of Kurds who had committed serious crimes in the region but been released by the state. The families of the murdered Armenians were then sent a telegraph which read: ‘Your men arrived safe and sound to the place they were sent to. We will send you too’. The Ottoman State then carried out the same process against their wives and children.”
Kanlı said there were few Armenians who survived the massacre in Newala Kadinê, but were never able to speak again. He said around 600 thousand people in Diyarbakır are known to have been massacred in this way, while 700 Armenians from the elite class were massacred in Newala Kadinê. Kanlı stated that over 200 doctors, authors, scientists and the literate Armenians in the region were sorted out and killed firstly.
“There are several people like writer Gobilas who survived the massacre in Newala Kadinê. He never spoke during his lifetime, embittered and wrote nothing more”, Kanlı added.