From Bloodless Revolution to Bloody Counterrevolution: The Adana Massacres of 1909


The historiography of the Adana Massacres of 1909 is represented by two divergingviews. While some Turkish scholars deny the involvement of the local governmentofficials in the massacres by putting all of the blame on the Armenians whorevolted as part of a conspiracy to establish a kingdom in Cilicia, some Armenianscholars, whose work is overshadowed by the Armenian genocide, accuse the Committeeof Union and Progress (CUP) of acting behind the scenes to destroy theArmenian economic infrastructure in Adana in order to curb any future politicaland economic development in the area. By deviating from the existing historiography, the present article contends that the Adana Massacres should be viewedas part of the revolutionary process which led to the erosion of social and politicalstability in the region, the creation of weak public-sphere institutions, and intensificationof the existing economic anxieties, all of which led to the enactment ofviolence against the vulnerable Armenian population of Adana. Understandingthe factors and the motives that led to the enactment of violence will shed newlight on understanding the future acts of violence perpetrated against the indigenousArmenian population of the Ottoman Empire.