|Location||Berlin, Tiflis, Constantinople, Rome|
|Target||Ottoman and Azerbaijani officials responsible for the Armenian Genocide and the 1918 massacre of Armenians in Baku|
|Perpetrators||Armenian Revolutionary Federation|
|Motive||Vigilante justice and revenge|
Operation Nemesis (Armenian: «Նեմեսիս» գործողութիւն) was a covert operation by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) carried out from 1920 to 1922, during which a number of former Ottoman and Azerbaijani political and military figures were assassinated for their role in the Armenian Genocide and the massacre of Armenians in Baku. Shahan Natalie and Armen Garo are considered its masterminds. It was named after the Greek goddess of divine retribution, Nemesis.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), was active within the Ottoman Empire in the early 1890s with the aim of unifying the various small groups in the empire who were advocating for reform and the formation of an independent Armenian state with the aid of Russian Empire. ARF members formed fedayi guerrilla groups that defended Armenian civilians through armed resistance.
In 1914, the 8th congress of ARF, beginning at the end of July ending on August 2, was a watershed event between the Ottoman government and Ottoman Armenian citizens, of which members of The Committee of Union and Progress requested from Ottoman Armenians aid in the conquest of Transcaucasia by inciting a rebellion with the Russian Armenians against the Tsarist Army in the event of a Caucasus Campaign opening up. The Armenians agreed to remain loyal to their government, but declared their inability to agree to the other proposal, which was inciting their compatriots under Russian rule to engage in insurrection.
In 1915, ARF was one of the groups that were targeted by the Red Sunday Group who were the leaders of the Armenian community of the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople, and later extending to other centers, who were arrested and moved to two holding centers near Ankara under The Minister of the Interior Mehmed Talat order on April 24, 1915.
In 1919, after the Armistice of Mudros, a Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919–1920 convened in Constantinople and convicted sentenced to death the principal perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide. The UK also detained some men held in the Malta exiles[clarification needed].
Congress in Yerevan
On May 28, 1918, the Armenian National Council, a group of professionals based in Tiflis declared the independence of the First Republic of Armenia. Hovhannes Kachaznuni and Alexander Khatisyan, both members of the ARF, moved to Yerevan, Armenia to seize power and issued the official announcement of Armenian independence on May 30, 1918. Yerevan became the capital city in Armenia. At this city, from September 27 to the end of October 1919, the ARF's 9th General Congress convened.
In October 1919, at ARF's 9th General Congress, the issue of justice against those responsible for the Armenian Genocide was on the agenda. Over many of the Russian Armenian delegates' vociferous objections, it was decided to mete out justice through Armenian armed force. ARF Bureau members, specifically 4th Prime Minister Simon Vratsyan, Defense Minister of Armenia Ruben Ter Minasian and Ruben Darbinian, opposed Natalie's operation. However, a "black list" was created, containing the names of 200 persons deemed responsible for organizing the genocide against the Armenian people.
The leader of the group responsible for the task was Shahan Natalie, working with Grigor Merjanov. For Natalie, the primary target was Talât Pasha, whom Shahan called "Number One." The mission to kill Talât was entrusted to Soghomon Tehlirian. Natalie's aim was to turn Tehlirian's trial into the political trial of those responsible for the Armenian Genocide. In his memoirs, Natalie revealed his orders to Tehlirian: "you blow up the skull of the Number One nation-murderer and you don't try to flee. You stand there, your foot on the corpse and surrender to the police, who will come and handcuff you."
After the Sovietization of Armenia, many of the Armenian Republic's expatriate revolutionary activists did not hesitate to collaborate with Azeri and Turk Armenophobe activists to regain governmental control. This policy was contrary to Shahan Natalie's conviction that "Over and above the Turk, the Armenian has no enemy, and Armenian revenge is just and godly." There was deep dissent on both sides, but not yet to the point of separation.
To forestall the probable victory of the "Freedom Fighters" at the upcoming 11th General Congress (27 March to 2 May 1929), on the eve of the meeting, the Bureau began a "cleansing campaign." The first to be "removed"(3) from the party was Bureau member, Shahan Natalie. "Knowingly" (by his definition) having joined the ARF and unjustly separated from it, Shahan Natalie wrote about this: "With Shahan began again that which had begun with Antranig; Bureau member, Shahan, was 'ousted'" After Shahan were successively ousted Haig Kntouni, Armenian Republic army officer Bagrevandian with his group, Glejian and Tartizian with their partisans, General Smbad, Ferrahian with his group, future "Mardgots" (Bastion)-ists Mgrdich Yeretziants, Levon Mozian, Vazgen Shoushanian, Mesrob Kouyoumjian, Levon Kevonian and many others. As a protest to this "cleansing" by the Bureau, some members of the ARF French Central Committee also resigned.
On July 24, 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland, settled the Anatolian and East Thracian issue of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by annulment of the Treaty of Sèvres that was signed by the Constantinople-based Ottoman government. Part of negotiations that established the Treaty of Lausanne was the Malta exiles. The UK released criminals as part of a prisoner swap, in exchange for the release of British troops held captive by the new Turkish government of Kemal Ataturk. Since there were no international laws in place under which they could be tried, the men who orchestrated the genocide traveled relatively freely throughout Germany, Italy, and Central Asia.
In the Beirut-based "Nayiri" weekly, v. 12, nos. 1-6 were published Shahan's memoirs about Talaat's assassination. There, Shahan revealed his orders to Tehlirian: "You blow up the skull of the Number 1 nation-murderer and you don't try to flee. You stand there, your foot on the corpse and surrender to the police, who will come and handcuff you." Shahan Natalie's purpose was to turn Soghomon Tehlirian's trial into the political trial of those responsible for the Great Tragedy, which was realized in part. However, there were those in the ARF leadership, Simon Vratsian in particular, who had two chapters deleted from Tehlirian's memoirs - before their printing - which dealt with Shahan Natalie's key role in the assassination of Talaat.
List of operations
Assassinations performed under Operation Nemesis include:
|19 June 1920||Tiflis, Georgia||
Fatali Khan Khoyski
Prime Minister of Azerbaijan
|15 March 1921||Berlin, Germany||
Ottoman Minister of Interior
|18 July 1921|| Constantinople
Behbud Khan Javanshir
Minister of Interior of Azerbaijan
|5 December 1921||Rome, Italy||
Said Halim Pasha
Ottoman Grand Vizier
|17 April 1922||Berlin, Germany||
Founding member of the Committee of Union and Progress
|17 April 1922||Berlin, Germany||
Wāli of Trebizond Vilayet
|25 July 1922||Tiflis, Soviet Georgia||
Governor of Syria
Bedros D. Boghosian
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All grants of patents and registrations of trade-marks, as well as all registrations of transfers or assignments of patents or trade marks which have been duly made since the 30th October, 1918, by the Imperial Ottoman Government at Constantinople or elsewhere..
- Power, Samantha. "A Problem from Hell", page 16. Basic Books, 2002.
- Power, Samantha. "A Problem from Hell", page 17. Basic Books, 2002.
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