The Relocation Trials in Occupied Istanbul


“The Armenian campaign attempts to remove the relocation of Ottoman Armenians along the Eastern Front from the wider scope of history and war that engulfed the Ottoman Empire. In doing so, the campaign cherry-picks archival documents, court rulings and communications in order to bolster their genocide claims. The courts martial rulings of 1919-1921 are a case in point. By explicating the legal basis of these courts, to include the judicial procedures and the witnesses, Prof. Ferudun Ata’s well-researched book provides a welcome correction to the campaign’s continuing attempts to legislate reality and politicize history.”

Dr. Brendon J. Cannon, Khalifa University of Science & Technology, Abu Dhabi; Author of Legislating Reality and Politicizing History: Contextualizing Armenian Claims of Genocide.

“With the Great War won and the Royal Navy’s guns ranged upon the Ottoman capital the British occupation forces sought to impose victor’s justice on the Turks. In this informative work Prof. Ferudun Ata examines the character of this justice and its very dubious legality. A distorted form of Ottoman martial law decrees was employed with the collaboration of a client administration, in which the outcome for the accused was predetermined – guilty with harsh punishment. The objective was not merely vengeance but the elimination of all opposition to the occupation.”

Dr. Pat Walsh, Queen’s University, Belfast; author of The Armenian Insurrection and the Great War – A Cautionary Tale of Betrayal.

“One of the most commonly used arguments in support of the Armenian’claims of genocide is quashed by Ferudun Ata in his meticulously researched book on the war crime trials convened by Damat Ferit Pasha’s puppet government after World War I. Professor Ata gives conclusive proof that the verdicts of these trials are not to be trusted since their only purpose was to satisfy the Entente Powers and punish the government’s political rivals. The author documents the gathering of false witnesses to testify again the accused who were unable to represent themselves.”

Prof. Dr. Kemal Çiçek, Director, Institute of History, New Turkey Strategic Research Center; author of the The Great War and the Forced Migration of Armenians.

“Feridun Ata’s well-researched treatise on the post World War I Ottoman war crime trials in İstanbul amply demonstrates their lack of conclusive validity due to the small number of witnesses and their often biased testimonies given under Allied pressures to punish their defeated enemy. Scholars and the intelligent lay public should read this study before further pontificating on the subject.”

Professor Michael M. Gunter, Professor of Political Science, Tennessee Technological University, author of Armenian History and the Question of Genocide.

22 vorrätig


Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, the victorious states occupied Istanbul. As soon as they arrived, the occupational forces, put a lot of pressure on the government following the Mondros Armistice Agreement (30th October 1918). This was in order to punish the Unionist leaders, ministers, deputies and high ranking state officials for the deportation of Armenians. As the Ottoman authorities had to do everything the victors said as a result of this pressure, a military court was set up and former officials were given harsh punishments, including execution. The new political understanding after the war was that if a passive attitude was adopted and everything the occupational forces wanted was taken care of, then there would be peace and the independence of the country would be protected.

After the war, punishments were given by taking advantage of claims that there was an “Armenian massacre”. However, the decisions made in these trials where objective and unbiased norms did not apply, were void. As there was no right to appeal the decisions made in the beginning, some punishments were unfortunately carried out. However, after 23rd April 1920, when the right to appeal was given, the previously declared death penalty sentences and other verdicts were reversed.

As the public were dissatisfied with the fact that in the 1919-1921 Armenian relocation cases it was forbidden to have a lawyer, it was impossible to speak in favour of a defendant, and it was impossible to appeal decisions, a black mark was left in legal history. In this book, the aim has been to present concrete evidence that because of political concerns, an institution responsible for handing out justice openly ignored all matter of rights and justice.

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