Battle of Oltu

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Battle of Oltu
Part of Turkish-Armenian War
Date 25 June 1920, 5 September 1920
Location Oltu (present-day Turkey)
Result Turkish victory
Belligerents
Armenia Democratic Republic of Armenia Grand National Assembly
Commanders and leaders
Armenia Hovsepian
Armenia Mazmanian
Armenia Shahbudaghian
Armenia Nesterovskii
Kâzım Karabekir
Halit Karsıalan
Ali Riza Bey

The Battle of Oltu was actually two battles, the first (18 June to 25 June 1920) was a battle between Armenian troops and local Turkish militia[citation needed] in Oltu district, Georgia.[1] And the second was when Turkish troops drove Armenian troops out of Oltu district on 3–5 September 1920.

Background[edit]

World War I was over and the Ottoman Empire had lost. The Russian Empire had come apart in the Russian Civil War with separate governments being formed in Georgia and Armenia. The Treaty of Sèvres which established the new boundaries for the Ottoman Empire had not yet been signed. The district of Oltu, known then as Ardahan-Olty,[2] was annexed by Russia in 1878, attached to Georgia, which assumed de jure authority over it when they claimed independence on May 26, 1918. Democratic Republic of Armenia (DRA) was proclaimed two days later, on May 28, 1918.

First battle[edit]

The conflict arose when the Democratic Republic of Georgia failed to maintain control over their westernmost province, the district of Oltu, and local Muslim warlords[3] assumed control in their stead. The local Turkish tribes had skirmished with Armenian border troops, and as a result the local Armenian commander initiated a punitive expedition into the Oltu district. On 16 June 1920 Armenian forces invaded the Oltu district and annexed it to the DRA. Meanwhile the Treaty of Sèvres was signed confirming the validity of the Armenian state, but giving Armenia much less territory than originally proposed by Woodrow Wilson.

Second battle[edit]

In August, the Armenian government attempted to occupy the Oltu district. In response, General Kâzım Karabekir led four Turkish battalions into the district on September 3 and drove the Armenians out. Karabekir then pushed into the Democratic Republic of Armenia on September 20[3] prompting the Armenian government to declare war on Turkey four days later.[4] The Turkish–Armenian War ensued.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hewsen, Robert H. and Salvatico, Christopher C. (2001) Armenia: A Historical Atlas University of Chicago Press, Chicago, p. 237. ISBN 0-226-33228-4
  2. ^ The New York Times Current History: A Monthly Magazine: The European War Vol XIX, 1919, p.
  3. ^ a b Andersen, Andrew (2004) "Turkish-Armenian War Sept.-Nov. 1920"
  4. ^ Turkish-Armenian War of 1920 in Russian