Andrew Andersen





Several weeks before the treaty of Sevres was signed, Armenian border troops got involved in the skirmishes against militant Turkish-speaking tribes of Olti district, the territory that formally belonged to Georgia but in fact, was controlled by local Muslim warlords. From Turkish perspective, it was the Olti conflict and penetration of some Armenian troops into the district that served as an official pretext for the new Turkish-Armenian war.


The war broke out on September 20 1920, when the Turkish army under Karabekir Pasha enforced by local Muslim militiamen, launched a full-scale offensive along the whole perimeter of Turkish-Armenian border. Four days later the war was officially declared.


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By the end of September, the defense lines of Armenian forces collapsed and the Turks took over the towns of Sarykamysh, Kaghyzman, Ighdyr and Merdeniq. The advancing Turkish armies were devastating the area and wiping out the civil Armenian population that did not have time or willingness to flee. Simultaneously, some of Armenian regiments reportedly started performing ethnic cleansing in Kars and Yerevan districts that still remained under Armenian control.




Armenian civilians fleeing Kars / Oct.1920


In early October 1920, Armenian Republic addressed the governments of Great Britain, France, Italy and other Allied powers asking them to force the Turks to stop their offensive, but all the desperate pleas for help seemed to fall upon deaf ears. Great Britain had to concentrate most of her forces available in the Middle East to crush the tribal uprisings in Mesopotamia (now Iraq). France and Italy had similar problems in Syria, Cilicia and Adalia. The only country who provided some support through active operations at the Turkish western front was Greece. But Greek military support was not sufficient to ease Turkish pressure on Armenia.


On October 30, the Armenians left Kars to the Turks. A week later Turkish Army entered Alexandropol and crossed Araxi river near Yerevan. On November 12 the strategic town of Agin also fell to the Turks, and the Turkish forces got ready for the final offensive on Yerevan. Next day the troops of neutral Georgia took over the Neutral Zone (the Shulavera Condominium) established between the two countries in early 1919. The Government of Armenia gave permission to that Georgian action in order to prevent the occupation of this disputed territory by the Turks.



Facing total collapse of the country, the government of Armenia requested an armistice, and on November 18 1920, a cease-fire agreement was concluded. Two weeks later, on December 2, the new peace treaty was signed by Armenian and Turkish representatives in Alexandropol


The conditions of the treaty of Alexandropol were severe. Armenia was to disarm most of her military forces and cede more than a half of her pre-war territory. Self-explanatory, Armenia was giving up all the territories granted to her at Sevres.


This was the end of the First Republic. The same day the Soviet 11th Army that several days earlier started their invasion of Armenia from the East, entered Yerevan and the Soviet envoy Boris LeGrand transferred formal power to the communist-dominated “Revolutionary Committee of Armenia”.


Click here for the details of the Soviet conquest of remaining Armenian territory