THE KUMKAPI DEMONSTRATION (July 1890)
One of the most important incidents, which the Armenian committees used as a propaganda was the Kumkapi Demonstration. H. Cangülyan, who administered this protest, about which the Armenians claimed that they had protested without a weapon, is explaining it as follows:
�Because of the Musa Bey Question in Istanbul and Erzurum Incident, if a contrary move was not made, the Armenians would have thought that they were forgotten. That�s why a reprisal was required. The murders, which would be committed in Anatolia, would not concern even Europe. Because of that reason in order to arouse the interest of Europe a complaint should be made in front of the ambassadors.
If the Armenian enthusiasm were solely and completely dependent upon the Armenians, this would attract the attention of Russia. Russia would be suspicious this and conquer Armenia one day. If the action were in the other provinces and in the center, this would attract the attention of the other states as well. In this case, since we found Britain closer to us than Russia, it would be more beneficial to shape the Armenian question within the framework of our national interests.
The situation, which was that the people were living with the other races in a dispersed and mixed way in the motherland, would cause the future actions fail only in the motherland. Because of this, the Armenian operations should be fulfilled outside the Armenian borders. For this reason, it would be impossible not to consider Istanbul as a convenient action centre. Including the bachelors and the other people who come from other cities, there were 200.000 Armenians in Istanbul.
The source of evil was in Istanbul. Consequently, it would be appropriate to fulfil the action very near the Palace.
When a revolution and rebellion spirit was aroused among a people, who lived under slavery for five-six centuries, it was necessary that the rebels should benefit from this, and should make this emotion much stronger, concrete and widespread. To disseminate the revolution among the people and to transform it to a much more fruitful way were among the objectives of their revolutionary activities.
The Turkish government and Turkish people believed that the sprit of unity among the Armenians, and a blow to Armenia atempted by these people by them would have negative effects in the other parts especially in Istanbul, where the international interests gathered. And if they see this, they will pursue a cautious policy. They will not dare to organise a new massacre.�
Before the Kumkapi incident, the notables of the committee met at the home of a Russian citizen, Megavoryan, who was living at the house of a foreigner, in the back streets of Beyoglu. Two persons were elected to administer the protest, which would be materialized in Kumkapi on 15 July. Cangülyan assumed the responsibility to bring the Party to the palace and Murad to read the declaration.
On the day when the incident occurred, the telegram lines were cut and the Hinçaks gathered in the church. The declaration was copied in handwriting and distributed to people. During the ceremony Cangülyan attacked the dais air and read the declaration. The patriarch Asikyan, who was presiding the ceremony, escaped and took shelter in the patriarchate. He did not consent to go to the Palace together with the committee members. The Hinçak committee members occupied the patriarchate and guns were shot. All the windows and the ceiling of the building were broken to pieces.
At last the patriarch Ashikyan was persuaded by force and was put in a carriage to go to the Palace. The people and the member of the committee, who gathered were crying, �God save the Hinçak Committee, God save the Armenian nation, God save Armenia, God save Liberty�. However since Dacad and Mampra Vartabets informed the government, the carriage, which the patriarch Asikyan was in, was stopped by the military forces. Upon this, the members of committee opened fire on the soldiers. Cangulyan was told this scene as follows:
�Our men were shooting at the soldiers continously and violently. The soldiers were trying to arrest those who were shooting. 6-7 soldiers were seriously wounded. 10 of them were slightly wounded. Two of us died.�
The Kumkapi incident, which was alleged to be the �protest with no arms� by the Hinchaks, ended by this way.
Uras, Esat, Tarihte Ermeniler ve Ermeni Meselesi, Istanbul, 1987,pp.461-463