Chapter VIII

Second Interview Of The Prelate With Jevdet Bey


In the late forenoon of April 19th, Armenag Sarkissian, the provincial dragoman, visited Bishop Yeznig at the Prelacy. He presented the situation at Aikesdan as hopeless. In view of the extremely dangerous atmosphere, he recommended that the Prelate satisfy all of Jevdet's demands.

At noon Bishop Yeznig went to call on the governor again. He was accorded a very brief interview. The Prelate reported:

It was apparent that Jevdet was occupied with secret consultations. With him were the Commandant of gendarmery, Chief of Police and the notorious brigand, Polad Bey. He made me wait. When asked to enter, I met with a very cold reception. He indicated he could not spend much time with me and when I brought up the subject of the unsettled situation, he interrupted me saying;

“The people must expel the trouble makers from among them, deliver up all arms and furnish the specified number of young men for the labor corps, I cannot tolerate any piecemeal satisfaction of these demands. Military requirements must be met. There can be no compromise. Events happening currently shed a different light on Armenians. Fighting has broken out at Shadakh and I have just learned, Armenians have revolted at Haiotz-Tzor. I have issued orders to deal with these situations most severely. Either the Turks or the Armenians are to survive. Do what you can here. This government if obliged to carry out plans prepared for current circumstances. This land will belong exclusively to either Moslems or Christians,” Jevdet repeated this threat several times to make sure I grasped its ominous meaning. This was their last meeting. We had the premonition the hour was near. Sinister silence reigned over Aikesdan,

We received reports that militiamen and irregulars were, surreptitiously, investigating the length and the breadth of the ancient ramparts. At Tabriz gate, groups of armed Turks were busy preparing barricades and cutting openings in the wall.