Rufat Ahmadzada
Observing the Caucasus, Iran and Middle East

Great Dashnakia: Armenians’ territorial claims

A group of Mussulman (Azerbaijani) refugees who have found an asylum at Baku- by Scotland Liddell

I publish below an article by British journalist Mr Scotland Liddell who was in Baku towards the end of World War One. The piece is datelined Baku, January 5, and was originally published in The Scotsman on Monday, March 1, 1920.

MR SCOTLAND LIDDELL, who represented the British Press in Mesopotamia and afterwards in the Baku region towards the end of the war, writes from Baku under date January 5, as follows:

In a recent article regarding the territorial claims of the new Caucasian Republic, I mentioned that the Armenian-Dashnakzutyun party, which is the ruling party in Armenia today, had dreams of an Armenia with an outlet in three seas–the Black, the Caspian and the Mediterranean. This statement of mine was ridiculed, but that I had ample justification has been further proved by a map in the Armenian language which I have just seen here. This map has evidently been published in the Caucasus. It shows the territorial aspirations of the Dashnaks. According to the frontier lines marked, not only Russian and Turkish Armenia form part of “GREAT DASHNAKIA” but there is also included all Kilikia with the Mediterranean coast, the whole of Eastern Asia Minor with Sivas, the Black Sea coast from Sinop nearly up to Batoum, Adjaria, Akhalzikh and the Akhalkalaki, the whole of Bortchala up to Saghanlug and up to the river Kura, all the province of Elisabetopol to the south of the Kura with the town of Elisabetopol [Ganja] itself, the whole of the north Mesopotamia nearly up to Mosul and Persian Azerbaijan with Tabriz and the coast of the Caspian from Astara (Azerbaijan) to the mouth of the Kura.

“Glory be to God” as one Baku newspaper says, “Baku has been left to Azerbaijan and Tiflis has been left to Georgia.” These ridiculous territorial claims, have been the cause of much unrest in the South Caucasus. Although the province of Karabakh was placed under Azerbaijan administration by the British authorities, the Armenians for a long time  refused to acknowledge the Mussulman rule. Constant agitation against the Azerbaijan Government led to fighting on several occasions, and is today still the cause of clashes among the people. In vain the Dashnaks have been asked to await in peace the decisions of the Peace Conference (Paris 1919). They have already fixed their own frontiers–and their appetite for land is great.

According to the point of view of self determination of nations, this Dashnakia is simply a chimera, but a dangerous chimera, because Armenian agitators are very adroitly supporting the pro-Armenian agitation and are influencing public opinion of the Allies and seeking their sympathy for the ” poor, unhappy, oppressed, offended, unfortunate etc etc” Armenian people.

For a long time, I, on my part, have wanted to ask these agitators several questions. Armenia is now free. How is it, then, and according to what causes, that 150,000 Mussulman (Azerbaijani) refugees have fled from this Armenia, leaving all their property to its fate, leaving more than 200 burned villages behind them ? How is it that they have fled nearly dying to Azerbaijan, and that they are wandering about here without food and shelter ? Who set their villages on fire? Who made them flee from their native places ? If the Armenians have done this, it is low down and unworthy to picture themselves as “unhappy, oppressed people” before Europe, very low-down. And if the Armenians have not done this–who has ? Here certainly is the Dashnak map. It explains, but it does not excuse, the agitation carried on in “Great Armenia” today. — Press  Association.

About the Author
A native of Azerbaijan, I write extensively on political developments in the Caucasus, Iran and the Middle East. City, University of London graduate.