İsmail Enver

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İsmail Enver

İsmail Enver (November 22, 1881 - August 4, 1922), known to Europeans during his political career as Enver Pasha (Turkish: Enver Paşa) or Enver Bey was a Turkish military officer and a leader of the Young Turk revolution. He was the main leader of the Ottoman Empire in both Balkan Wars and World War I. He was held highly responsible for the Armenian Genocide and was tried in absentia in the Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919-20 for crimes of "plunging the country into war without a legitimate reason, forced deportation of Armenians and leaving the country without permission" and condemned to death. A few years later, a Red Army detachment of a Bashkir cavalry launched a surprise attack, during which he was killed in 1922.


  • The Ottoman Empire should be cleaned up of the Armenians and the Lebanese. We have destroyed the former by the sword, we shall destroy the latter through starvation.
    • Quoted in "The Evil 100" – Page 35 – by Martin Gilman Wolcott – Social Science - 2004
  • Ah, my brave Arabs! If I could only gather them in from all their desert ways, and arm them properly…But I fear it cannot be. They are drifting in by tens and scores, where I need hundreds and thousands.
    • Quoted in "The American Review of Reviews" - Page 184 - by Albert Shaw – 1915
  • The plans of all of the powers have always been entirely selfish as far as Turkey was concerned. For years Russia has coveted Constantinople, to say nothing of the rest of Turkey along the Black Sea and south of the Caucasus, and Britain has endeavored to keep us just strong enough to prevent Russia from realizing these ambitions. Finally came the Kaiser with his scheme of a chain of German-controlled states from the Baltic to the Persian Gulf. Russia would wipe us off the map, England would keep us weak, and Germany would make us strong. All selfish motives on the face of them, no doubt, but- can you wonder which alternative is the least repugnant to us Turks, especially to us Young Turks, who have done our best to avoid being enmeshed in the nets of British and Russian diplomacy and intrigue which held helpless our predecessors? I think I will not need to say more to answer your question as to why it was Germany obtained the Bagdad railway concession, why the Hedjaz line was built by Germans, and why the Germans are recasting our military establishment.
    • Quoted in "The American Review of Reviews" - Page 184 - by Albert Shaw – 1915
  • Real Turkish unification is my dearest wish, and any international political arrangement which will leave me a free hand to work for that, I will subscribe to. Turkey contains a great many Christians as well as Mohammedans. The latter I would regenerate from within, not from without. The West has little that we need save battleships and shrapnels, and if it would leave us alone we would not need even these.
    • Quoted in "The American Review of Reviews" - Page 184 - by Albert Shaw – 1915
  • We are taking care of our troops today, hence their loyalty. Formerly a rifle was given to a man and he had to shift for himself.
    • Quoted in "The Armenian Genocide: News Accounts from the American Press, 1915-1922" - Page 7 - by Richard Diran Kloian - History – 1985
  • All who seek to enrich those who do not work should be destroyed.
    • Quoted in "Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination" - Page 405 - by Ben Kiernan - Social Science - 2007
  • How could a person forget about the plains, the meadows, watered with the blood of our forefathers; abandon those places where Turkish raiders had hidden their steeds for a full four hundred years, with our mosques, our tombs, our dervish retreats, our bridges and our castles, to leave them to our slaves, to be driven out of Rumelia to Anatolia: this was beyond a person’s endurance. I am prepared to gladly sacrifice the remaining years of my life to take revenge on the Bulgarians, the Greeks, and the Montenegrans.
    • Quoted in "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility" - by Taner Akcam - History - 2007 - Page 115
  • The transformation of the Islamic world into one of revolution, as His Majesty has desired, had been in preparation for some time and had now been put into action.
    • August 19, 1914. Quoted in "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility" - by Taner Akcam - History - 2007 - Page 132
  • The threat could be eliminated by removing the Armenians from the places where they lived and sending them to other places.
    • Quoted in "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility" - by Taner Akcam - History - 2007 - Page 143
  • If the Russians retreat, they are done.
    • Quoted in "The Armenian Review" - Page 89 - by Hairenik Association - Armenia – 1948
  • You are greatly mistaken. We have this country absolutely under our control. I have no desire to shift the blame onto our underlings and I am entirely willing to accept the responsibility myself for everything that has taken place.
    • In reply to US Ambassador Morgenthau who was deploring the massacres against Armenians and attributing them to irresponsible subalterns and underlings in the distant provinces. Quoted in "The burning Tigris: the Armenian genocide and America's response" - Page 374 - by Peter Balakian - History - 2003
  • How can we furnish bread to the Armenians when we can't get enough for our own people? I know that they are suffering and that it is quite likely that they cannot get bread at all this coming winter. But we have the utmost difficulty in getting flour and clothing right here in Constantinople.
    • Quoted in "The Armenians, from Genocide to Resistance: From Genocide to Resistance" - Page 82 - by Gérard Chaliand, Yves Ternon - Social Science – 1983
  • We can then use Platonic means to quiet Armenians and Greeks, but in time of war we cannot investigate and negotiate. We must act promptly and with determination. I also think that the Armenians are making a mistake in depending upon the Russians. The Russians really would rather see them killed than alive. They are as great a danger to the Russians as they are to us. If they should form an independent government in Turkey, the Armenians in Russia would attempt to form an independent government there.
    • Quoted in "The Armenians, from Genocide to Resistance: From Genocide to Resistance" - Page 81 - by Gérard Chaliand, Yves Ternon - Social Science – 1983
  • The Armenians had a fair warning of what would happen to them in case they joined our enemies. Three months ago I sent for the Armenian Patriarch and I told him that if the Armenians attempted to start a revolution or to assist the Russians, I would be unable to prevent mischief from happening to them. My warning produced no effect and the Armenians started a revolution and helped the Russians. You know what happened at Van. They obtained control of the city, used bombs against government buildings, and killed a large number of Moslems. We knew that they were planning uprisings in other places. You must understand that we are now fighting for our lives at the Dardanelles and that we are sacrificing thousands of men. While we are engaged in such a struggle as this, we cannot permit people in our own country to attack us in the back. We have got to prevent this no matter what means we have to resort to. It is absolutely true that I am not opposed to the Armenians as a people. I have the greatest admiration for their intelligence and industry, and I should like nothing better than to see them become a real part of our nation. But if they ally themselves with our enemies, as they did in the Van district, they will have to be destroyed. I have taken pains to see that no injustice is done; only recently I gave orders to have three Armenians who had been deported returned to their homes, when I found that they were innocent. Russia, France, Great Britain, and America are doing the Armenians no kindness by sympathizing with and encouraging them. I know what such encouragement means to a people who are inclined to revolution. When our Union and Progress Party attacked Abdul Hamid, we received all our moral encouragement from the outside world. This encouragement was of great help to us and had much to do with our success. It might similarly now help the Armenians and their revolutionary programme. I am sure that if these outside countries did not encourage them, they would give up all their efforts to oppose the present government and become law-abiding citizens. We now have this country in our absolute control and we can easily revenge ourselves on any revolutionists.
    • Quoted in "Immigration and Asylum: From 1900 to the Present" - Page 188 - by Matthew J. Gibney, Randall Hansen - Social Science - 2005

About Enver

  • I remember that when Enver Pasha was killed, I said "good." After all, it was the three of them- Talat, Enver, and Djemal-that took the life of a nation in their hands.
    • Genocide survivor

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