In April 1915 I was quartered at Erzeroum. An order came from Constantinople that Armenians inhabiting the frontier towns and village must be deported to the interior. It was said then that this was only a precaution. I saw at that time large convoys of Armenians go through Erzeroum. They were mostly old men, women and children. Some of the able-bodied men had been recruited into the Turkish Army while many had fled to Russia. In May 1915 I was transferred to Trebizond. In July, an order came to deport all the Armenians in the Vilayet of Trebizond to the interior. In being a member of the Court Martial I knew that deportations meant massacres.
The Armenian Bishop of Trebizond was ordered to proceed under escort to Erzeroum to answer for charges against him. But instead of Erzeroum, he was taken to Baipurt and from there to Gumush-Khana. The Governor of the latter place was then Colonel Abdul-Kadar Aintabli of the General Staff. He was famous for his atrocities against the Armenians. He had the Bishop murdered at night at Gumush-Khana.
Besides the deportation order referred to above, an Imperial "Iradeh" was issued ordering that all deserters, when caught, should be shot without trial. The secret order read "Armenians" in lieu of "deserters". The Sultan's "Iradeh" was accompanied by a "fatwa" from Sheikh-ul-Islam stating that the Armenians had shed Moslem blood and their killing was lawful. It was then the deportations started. The children were kept back in the beginning. The Government opened up a school for the grown up children and the American Consul of Trebizond instituted an asylum for the infants. When the first batches of Armenians arrived at Gumush-Khana, all able-bodied men were sorted out with the excuse that they were going to be given work. The women and children were sent ahead under escort with an assurance from the Turkish authorities that their final destination was Mosul and that no harm will befall them. The men kept behind, taken out of town in batches of 15 and 20, lined up on the edges of ditches prepared beforehand, then shot and thrown into the ditches. Hundreds of men were shot every day in a similar manner. The women and children were attacked on their way by the Shotas, the armed bands organised by the Turkish Government who attacked them and seized a certain number. After plundering and committing the most dastardly outrages on the women and children they massacred them in cold blood. These attacks were a daily occurrence until every woman and child had been gotten rid of. The military escorts had strict orders not to interfere with the "Shotas". The children that the Government had taken in charge were also deported and massacred.
The infants in the care of the American Consul of Trebizond were taken away with the pretext that they were going to be sent to Sivas where an asylum had been prepared for them. They were taken out to sea in small boats. At some distance out they were stabbed to death, put in sacks,...