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Aug 11

ACT OF THE DECLARATION OF CILICIA’S INDEPENDENCE

We, the undersigned, plenipotentiaries of the Christian community of Cilicia, declare:
Considering that during the Great War and as a result of it Cilicia was occupied by the allied forces, and remained under French rule for the entire period of the ceasefire.
Considering that all this time the Turks did not cease to disturb the peace and tranquility in the country, spreading death, destruction, disaster, with what they almost violated by their commitments and military ceasefire.
Considering that such attitude to our fellow believers cost the lives of tens of thousands of people and that French blood was also shed copiously with our martyrs.
Considering that even on the morning of the day of concluding peace with Turkey, many of our cities are under threat – in blockade or under fire from the bloodthirsty hordes, doing all this under the forgiving eyes of the Turkish authorities, who stand on the sidelines and always unable to prevent such atrocities and attacks if of course, assumed that they should wish to do this.
Considering that even in the condition of full reconciliation in this region, we have to continue for a long time to live for the sake of peace in a war situation that will not end, unless the military orders and actions taken by the French heroic forces, who have always unconditional full support of the Christian community that proved to be very useful to the success of the French forces.
Considering that even in those moments when we are preparing this statement, bullets of former rulers of this land sweep over our heads, and the same situation prevails in Tarson and Mersin.
Considering that it is inconceivable that the peace, signed in a foreign country, can be the cause of such situation.
Considering that 275,000 Christians of Cilicia, while remaining true to their fraternal feelings, their interests, aversion to the Turks and favor to the French, unwilling to return to terrifying memories accursed past, passed through pogroms, deportations, robbery, violence, humiliation and shame, are proud that they had not been broken because of victims and efforts, instead they can confidently state that paid the most expensive and most terrible ransom for the independence during this long and difficult period of the war and ceasefire.
Considering that Christian community Cilicia in any case – two US inspections or all of their appeals to the French authorities – consistently stated its unwavering decision not to recognize the return of Turkish rule.
Considering that in particular, along with their complaints sent to countries of the Entente and the Peace Conference on 31 March and 15 May, as well as before with their appeals, uniquely made it clear that will not be allowed to settle for half-measures, artificial decrees or unacceptable solutions that they in particular are extremely against the peace agreement, according to which Cilicia – historical, ethnographic, military and economically unified and non-shared, artificially divided into two parts, the first of which remained French Syria, and the other turned into a Turkish province.
Considering that the peoples they represent, after trusting expectations for a justice solution from the Allies, will suffer the most bitter disappointment when the final decisions of the Peace Conference will not satisfy their legitimate demands and secret hopes, and those who signed this the statement will fail to adequately meet the expectations of those peoples who trust them, then they all will rise up against this monstrous attempt, if we say that in Cilicia should be restored Turkish domination and rule.
Considering that until the last minute no assurances had been received that their demands are accepted, that the peace union will be changed properly, or they, even today, on the eve of the signing of the peace agreement, are in the most desperate because of uncertainty.
Considering that unequivocally the present confused situation and anarchy are partly the result of paralysis of the local Turkish authorities, and who now, if not a specific government holding in these circumstances the necessary power of the local authorities may, having won among all the respect and trust, to save the country from anarchy and total collapse. Because of all these reasons, and giving importance to all rights – the facts and noted in dating the aforementioned days – March 31 and May 25, two memoranda of arguments, the logical conclusion of which is this statement, we are also building on the eternal right of all peoples – to clarify our fate, right, which is the primary source of the immortal principles of the French Revolution, we solemnly declare: Cilicia, starting from today is a free country, it is absolutely independent of Turkey, provided with the local sovereign Christian board, which is under the patronage of France.
This separation of the land of Cilicia from the former Ottoman Empire, we consider as true and final and in the same form as Armenia, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Arabia.
In order to gain and maintain this independence, to drive away the enemy from our doors and save blockaded our cities and conquered areas, and to release from captivity our fellow Christians, we are ready for any sacrifice, we will put to the service of caring about our country France the full manpower of our peoples. Parts, religions, communities, Christian people, we are all united around a cherished goal.
We must work hand in hand in the name of moral, cultural and economic prosperity of the country under the auspices of France. We hope to make the renewal of Cilicia in Europe, the new center of civilization and development, where disparate Islamic nations on an equal basis will enjoy the benefits of freedom, progress, and guarantees that they were unfamiliar with the Turkish rule, and should bless the day when they are also separated from them.
Freedom under the auspices of France is an absolute condition for the survival of the Christians in this country. We prefer to die than to decide otherwise.
We believe that the generous and chivalrous France, who is the traditional protector of the Christians of the East, must appreciate the required equity, or should recognize our independence, by taking her under its protection.
Long live the independent Cilicia!
Vive la France – patronizing Cilicia.

M. Tamatean
The representative of the Integrity of Armenia
G.Arch.Arslanian
Head of the Armenian Diocese of Adana
4 August 1920

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