Document Reflects CUP’s Deportation Policy

Special for the Armenian Weekly

Sait Molla was a lawyer, member of the Turkish Council of State, and founder of the Anglophile Society (Ingiliz Muhipleri Cemiyeti). In 1918, he began to publish a daily paper in Istanbul called Türkçe İstanbul. On March 25, 1919, the newspaper published what it claimed was the Letter of Instruction from the head office of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) to the Special Organization (Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa) units as the deportation of Armenians during the genocide began.

On March 25, 1919, Türkçe İstanbul published what it claimed was the Letter of Instruction from the head office of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP)
On March 25, 1919, Türkçe İstanbul published what it claimed was the Letter of Instruction from the head office of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP)

The newspaper called it “A Tragic and Dreadful Document,” and noted it was reprinting the document without making any changes. The Letter of Instruction consists of 10 articles that describe the steps to be taken in the deportation process. These are the same steps that scholars like Taner Akçam, Donald Bloxham, and Uğur Ümit Üngör have described as being part of the deportations.

Of course, the authenticity of such a document is not guaranteed. Türkçe Istanbul neglected to mention the source of the letter. Moreover, the archives of the CUP disappeared following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I.

Regardless of these questions, however, it is noteworthy that there were Ottoman Turkish dailies like Türkçe İstanbul, Alemdar, and Peyam, which criticized the CUP and discussed the topic intensively in the wake of World War I.

The text of the newspaper’s piece follows.


‘A tragic and dreadful document’


Article 1. Close all of the Armenian associations by using the third and fourth articles of the Law of Associations; arrest the executive members who were opposing the CUP government, deport them to provinces such as Mosul and Baghdad, and kill them en route or at their final destination.


On March 25, 1919, Türkçe İstanbul published what it claimed was the Letter of Instruction from the head office of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP)
On March 25, 1919, Türkçe İstanbul published what it claimed was the Letter of Instruction from the head office of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP)

Article 2. Collect all of the weapons of the Armenians.


Article 3. Prepare Muslim public opinion through appropriate means, organize some planned incidents—like Russia did in Baku—in cities such as Van, Erzurum, and Adana, where the Armenians by their own actions have earned the hatred of the Muslims.


Article 4. Leave the implementation totally to the general populace in provinces like Erzurum, Van, Mamuretulaziz, and Bitlis, and use the troops and military forces to appear as if they are preventing the massacres. On the contrary, support Muslims with military force in places like Adana, Sivas, Bursa, İzmit, and İzmir.


Article 5. Apply [measures] of annihilation to school teachers and especially to men below 50. (Leave the women and children to be converted to Islam.)


Article 6. Clear away the families of those who managed to run away and take measures to cut off their ties with their hometowns completely.


Article 7. Discharge all Armenian officials from all government offices and branches by accusing them of spying.


Article 8. Annihilate the men serving in the army by the military in an appropriate fashion.


Article 9. Start all measures at the same time in order to leave no time to prepare means of defense.


Article 10. Keep this letter of instruction private and take utmost care to keep it between one or two persons.


It is a reality that those Armenians who were deported were killed and annihilated in accordance with the letter of instruction written above. While we avoid elaborating on it further, we publish the document exactly the same.

Türkçe İstanbul

March 25, 1919


Editor’s Note: Similar documents were published in the Turkish press during the post-World War I years.


Ari Sekeryan

Ari Sekeryan is reading for a DPhil in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford. His thesis focuses on the Armistice period (1918-1923), mainly the Ottoman and Armenian press. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Istanbul University’s Department of Turcology and a Master of Arts degree from Bogazici University’s Department of History. He has two translations from Ottoman Turkish: Ermeni Edebiyati Numuneleri 1913 (An Anthology of Armenian Literature 1913) and 1909 Adana Katliami-Uc Rapor (The Adana Massacre 1909- Three reports), which were published by Aras Publishing in Istanbul.

Latest posts by Ari Sekeryan (see all)


  1. This is chilling.

    I am very impressed with the author. There are only a handful of people left in the world who can read Ottoman Turkish. And he uses this skill in service of justice for Armenians. A truly remarkable man.

  2. I wonder how many thousands of such documents have been destroyed by Turkish government and how many more have been hidden.
    Someone should deliver a copy to Erdogan’s doorstep.

  3. Unfortunately Turkey’s young population can not read and write Arabic alphabets.They rely solely on Turkish government fake archives and news. When Turkish nationals are out of country, and hear abort Ottomans committed Genocide against their Christian population, all of sudden they become professional deniers of Armenian Genocide!

  4. Thanks for these remarkable documents. This is an excellent job, especially when you see a very young and highly educated historian behind this. We need a new and educated generation who are dealing with the history. I will congratulate this young man for his work.Ari jan, keep up the good work!

    • (Speaking as someone from the new generation) The problem is that our parents all want us to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, businesspeople. They do not want us to spend years learning to read Ottoman Turkish and doing the other necessary work to fight for our cause, because that work does not come with a steady paycheck. I highly commend organizations like AGBU, ARS and others who offer scholarships for students doing Armenian studies.

  5. One day.. One day we will get justice and we will soon we have to be strong and keep up the great work our people are doing for us

  6. Vahagn Dadrian, an expert in Genocide Studies, thoroughly scrutinized the British archives and discovered a number of important facts, related with the origination of the aforementioned document, and published the text of the “10 Commandments”. See in Vahakn N. Dadrian, The Secret Young-Turk Ittihadist Conference and the Decision for the World War I Genocide of the Armenians, Holocaust Genocide Studies (1993) 7 (2): 173-201.

  7. You are truly a man of courage and a good man to say the least God bless you in your endeavors. I have 2 or 3 magazines of my grandfathers who was a writer in the old country and saw the writing on the wall went underground then left to America I have just those 2 or 3 magazines I cant read or speak Armenian anymore my mom speaks and cant read it if anyone is interested in somehow transulating them or seeing if there is anything worth transulating let me know my e-mail is known of course by this publication and The magazines are early 1900 I would assume they were of some importance as thats the only thing he brought from old country I am in California Riverside to be exact

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.