An Armenian Minister in the Ottoman Foreign Ministry: Gabriyel Noradunkhian Effendi

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Karakoç E.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, vol.7, no.25, pp.157-177, 2010 (SSCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 25
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.157-177
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: No


Gabriyel Noradunkhian Effendi, descended from a powerful and deep-rooted Armenian family that had individuals given very important missions in the various positions of the bureaucracy of the Ottoman Empire, had received a good education, completed significant tasks in key positions of the Foreign Affairs and Bureaucracy of the State, and had been an active and effective person in the internal and external developments in the last years of the Ottoman Empire due to his technocrat personality. Gabriyel Effendi was also one of the important figures among the Armenian community in this period. He worked as a legal adviser in the Foreign Affairs of the Ottoman State for many years before he was appointed to The Senate on 15 December 1908 by the Sultan Abdülhamid II. In addition to this task, at the same time he took office as a minister in the many governments of the State. He served as the Minister of the Commerce and Public Works in the four Cabinets and the Minister of the Foreign Affairs in the two Cabinets. While performing the task of the Minister of the Public Works, he prepared a comprehensive schedule, but it could not be performed. In the last period of the Ottoman Empire, during the Tripoli (Libya) and Balkan Wars, Noradunkhian Effendi served as the Minister of the Foreign Empire. He was at the meeting of the Cabinet in the course of the infamous Sublime Porte raid on 23 January 1913 by the Union and Progress Party. After the Sublime Port raid, in which Nazım Pasha, the Minister of the War, was killed, Noradunkhian Effendi went abroad by taking his family, settled in France and lived there until his death. While performing his duties, he came to the fore and was granted a lot of medals and decorations in the both internal and external arenas because he solved very crucial international problems and was a competent and successful person. Gabriyel Effendi, in the reign of Abdülhamit II, prepared a comprehensive report to solve the Armenian problem – the subject which had troubled the Ottoman State the most in the international arena. This report, dated 17 September 1897, included a five-article solution plan. In this report, he pointed out preventing the use of the Armenian issue by the Europeans and Russians, blocking the negative eff ects of the Catholic and Protestant missionaries on the Armenians to rebel against the Ottomans, making the patriarchate have power in the regions where the Armenian inhabitants lived, providing jobs for the unemployed so as to prevent these people from join the seditious committees. The initial thoughts of Gabriyel Effendi, especially for the solution of the Armenian problem, replaced the idea of the establishment of an independent Armenian state along with the disintegration of the Ottoman State after World War I. During this term, he acted as a senior representative of the Armenian delegations in Paris and Lausanne. He came together with İsmet İnönü, who was the chief delegate of Turkey at the Lausanne Peace Conference, and requested an Armenian homeland within the borders of Turkey. He exerted himself and intensely lobbied the delegates of the Entente Powers not to sign the Lausanne Treaty when his requests were not accepted. These activities of Gabriyel Noradunkhian Effendi at the Paris and Lausanne Peace Conferences should be seen as efforts to make best use of the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, such as the activities of the Arabs and Kurds. This article does not claim that it has solved every matter related to Gabriyel Noradunkhian Effendi. On the contrary, it is a pioneering study giving comprehensive information about the political career of an Ottoman bureaucrat, who remained in the shadows, and his role in the international arena. Biographical studies such as this article help recognize important figures living in this era, but it also gives the reader the opportunity to evaluate political events more comprehensively and correctly.