Letters Tell Of Outrages
One from a Turk Laments Over Expulsions of the Armenians
"The cruelty of the authorities is beyond description. In some cases nails and sharp points are being driven into the ends of the fingers; men are beaten until they fall senseless on the ground; the soles of the feet are pounded, and then boiling water is poured upon the raw, bleeding flesh; in other cases the man is pounded and beaten until it is impossible to know who he is, even though he be a near friend. All of this torture is given to compel the person to reveal secrets and to inform the Government of plots and schemes that may or may not be planned against it."
"Some five hundred of the worst criminals in the prisons", the letter continues, "have been let loose and sent to the Russian frontier to burn villages and to destroy the lives and property of the enemy. We met bands of these men as we came across the country."
A second letter tells of the wholesale deportation of Armenians to the desert and other distant parts of the Turkish Empire... from a certain unnamed town, the writer states that "the 1st included the educated and leading men of thecommunity, some of whom had been subjected to indescribable tortures and were unable to walk."
A third letter is from a Turk, a Moslem to his son, who is now in the United States. This is the first letter published from a strictly Turkish source-and a most reliable one-which confirms the stories of frightfulness and torture and death, sent to this country from various non-Turkish sources.
"I am returning the check you sent, for we cannot cash it, there being no Raya (Christians) her any more. The inhabitants of our village are all Moslems now, for all our Raya neighbors were driven away by night, nobody knows where. There houses are now occupied by Kurd and Cherkes Bashibasooks with their one or two Raya slave girls each.
"Times are bad, my son. The Raya was everything to us, and the thief Cherkes is by no means a fair substitute for us. All the elders of the village realize this, although there are few who sympathize with this unhappy people. I am only taking my chances to write to you the way they were treated. It being the harvest time, the poor Raya had not a handful of already ground flour in their home, and were largely living on vegetables. If there were any who had a bare subsistence at hand, they were not given the chance to take anything with them. Some were taken out from bed and not given the time to dress so many (mostly old women and children) went half naked and barefooted. We hear many of them died before the end of the first day."
"There is no more business activity in the whole of _____. Everything is in an anarchical state. The wheatstacks, still in the field, are constantly being set on fire by the Bashibaseeks. It tell you when the Winter comes we ourselves will have to starve, for, as you know, we all live on Raya's crops."