History of pasinler castle/hasankale (Kale=Castle)

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-An archeological survey of the castle said the, “Restored walls were built on Iron Age foundations….Period of Occupation: Early Bronze Age, Iron Age, possible Roman, Medieval and antique wares.”A

“Among the pottery remains collected in the 1999 survey around the walls of the caslte were fragments of Early Bronze Age, Iron Age including some scraps of Urartian red polished wares, Medieval and antique wares…an Urartian inscription was found in the castle.” B

-“This castle, Hasankale, takes its current name from one of the Hasans, Ottoman governors of the region in the 1300s, though it is uncertain who is meant.”B
-Speculated as possible Urartu site – built by King Menua (810-785 BC); possible site of Ordru of Sebeos’ history (7th century). Other potential historical identifications include Faunitis, Ugumu, Gymnias, Valarsakert, and Bolberd B

-Other historical names for Modern Pasinler: Masula, Basean, Pasin, Terua, Darouna, Hasankale . “Masula is likely to be the first clear reference to the citadel of Hasankale…Terua-Darouna is thought to have been another name for the Hasankale/Pasinler settlement.” B

-Hasankale castle guards a concealed second route into the Deve Boyun Pass – the Deve Boyun Ridge was an important battleground between the Ottomans and Turks in the Caucasus Campaign of WWI. The Russians used attacks on this ridge as a diversion to break through the forts Kara-Gobek and Tafet, which allowed them to gain control of Erzurum (more on this later)
-Description of Pasinler region:

“Geographically the Pasinler valley comprises the wide alluvial plain of the Aras River as it meanders its way east, eventually draining into the Caspian Sea. Flanking each side are imposing mountains, Palandoken to the south and to the north, the Kargapazari mountains, which both protect and limit the scope for human occupation and land use. As the valley lies some 1700 to 3000 m. above sea level, climate is a serious factor, at least in the modern era, in the success or failure of local economies: winters are long and severe, and from spring to autumn, there is a sense of urgency in many of the local rural activities which revolve around preparation for the next winter.

Even though the plain is generally well-watered by the river, its tributaries and natural springs, the area is criss-crossed by a network of canals that supply the numerous farm plots, large and small, that carpet the valley floor…” A


-Government has always intervened heavily in agricultural sector (1930-1980s, began to lessen a little after 1980s) – especially in Anatolia – through price supports, input subsidies, import protection, marketing monopolies, and export subsidies and taxes. Southeastern Anatolian project (GAP) has focused on strengthening infrastructure, communications, and agricultural resource base in the region – but it focuses on the provinces surrounding Mardin, Diyarbakir, Antep, Sirnak – doesn’t cover the provinces where we traveled through…Van, Kars, Dogubeyazit.
-Turkey manufactures tractors domestically, therefor making it easier to subsidize the costs for agricultural sector.

“Due to the market size and the importance of agriculture, the agricultural machinery industry has grown over the years, and with advanced technology and product ranges the sector has become a primary branch of the Turkish machinery sector. At present, a wide range of agricultural machineries are manufactured in Turkey including tractors and mowers, soil preparing/earth moving, seed bed preparation machinery and seed drilling, plant protection and irrigation/sprinkling tools and equipment as well as harvesting/reaping machines, etc. While six main companies are active in the production of tractors, there are 2,800 manufacturers countrywide, which are active in the agricultural machinery area. But only 320 of those manufacturers, which are small and medium sized, are members of the Turkish Association of Agricultural and Equipment Manufacturers (TARMAKBIR). Major cities in agricultural machinery production are: Istanbul, Bursa, Manisa, Aydin, Konya, Ankara, Balikesir and Izmir. The sector employs about 13,500 workers.

The Turkish industry for agricultural machinery not only meets domestic demand but also exports its surplus. Exports in the sector increased from USD 8.5 mill in 1995 to USD 183 mill in 2003.  This remarkably high increase in export values has undoubtedly been achieved as a result of recent modernization and technological improvements realized in the sector.

Turkish agricultural machinery industry products are exported throughout the world including to France, Morocco, Bulgaria, Greece and Syria, Italy, USA, Belgium, Australia and South Africa.”A

-A February 2011 Hurriyet article discussed the recent uptick in domestic tractor manufacturing and tractors sold – doesn’t account for how the tractors were purchased, with money from where, but does mention development subsidies for purchasing B:

  • Number of tractors manufactured in Turkey in 2010 exceeded 40,000 for the first time in three years, marking a 123.6 percent surge over the previous year

  • Production is expected to grow this year as well with the rising prices of agricultural products and development subsidies still in place

  • The numbers stand in contrast to 2009, when the global economic recession forced production to a record low of 18,000. The figure went up to 40,250 in 2010

  • Paralleling the increase in production, tractor sales were up by more than 100 percent in 2010, with nearly 32,000 units sold, including secondhand merchandise.

-Tractors were originally supplied by the Marshall Plan in 1948 – 6,500 tractors imported under ECA auspices…this was the beginning of rapid farm mechanization. One article written in the early 1950s gave examples of different-sized villages in the region and how many tractors they had. It described how each village would have one or several wealthy land owners – often the muhtars – they would be the ones to purchase the tractors, putting up their land as security to finance the purchase, they would rent the land and tractors to villagers and all the wealth would remain in the village

Ex. 1 – Town inhabited by Armenians who “sold out,” repopulated by nomadic “Yuruk” Turkmen, about 250 houses, perhaps 1,000 people – community possessed 24 tractors, other elements of prosperity evident – new and improved homes different from the traditional mud-hut shelters, village had just added a minaret to its mosque, newer village

Ex. 2 – Mihmandar – about 120 houses and maybe 600 people, very old village close to Adana, 11 landlords that owned all the land and 14 tractors between themC



-East Turkey is crucial drug producer and transit point for European drug market

-PKK first got involved providing “security services” for ordinary smugglers, during the 1980s especially took over international drug transporting, organized in almost every district and village of Eastern Turkey

-PKK not only transports drugs but also chemical goods for processing raw drug materials in East – realized real money was in processing drug labs – set them up in East and Southeast Anatolia and other regions of Turkey and East European countriesA

-Heroin comes from Iran through Turkey on its way to Europe.

-Cocaine, ecstasy, amphetmanines also pass through Turkey en route to Europe and Middle East.

-Cannabis is widely harvested in South-East Anatolia area – mostly grown for internal demand, less seizures at the border, more internal seizures though – 25.7 tons seized in 2009

-Summer of 2010 seizure of two billion cannabis plants in Hasanbey village of Van – largest anti-marijuana operation undertaken in TurkeyB

-According to a Hurriyet article from March 2011, heroin seizures in Turkey have increased 67 percent since 2005 – main regions of seizure are Marmara, East Anatolia, and Mediterranean regions

-Eastern Anatolia is likely region where drugs enter Turkey and Maramara is where they open the door to Europe

-Cocaine seized by Turkish police rose 226 percent in 2010C

-An October 2010 Financial Times article discussed the smuggling in East Anatolia.

-Van is ranked 76th of 81 provinces in terms of development and almost all the eastern cities are at the same level. “In all these eastern cities, if we don’t trade with Iran, Iraq, Armenia, who will we trade with?” Zahir Kandasoglu of Van’s chamber of trade and industry said.

-Van prospered in 1990s when trade with Iran was more free – was 10th highest taxpaying province in the country according to official from chamber of commerce.

-“Tougher border checks, with vehicles allowed to make only one trip across the border per day, have also damped the once-roaring trade in contraband fuel: smugglers who invested in trucks with extra large fuel tanks can no longer afford to pay off the loans…But the shiny jeeps in Van’s streets, and the construction sites across the city, attest to the continued trafficking of drugs and migrants through the mountains.”D

The Village Guard System

-Village guards were public servants paid by the central Turkish government (paid since 1985 – village guards existed as volunteers from 1924 until the 1985 amendment)

-They were largely recruited through negotiations with tribal chieftains/Muhtars

-System was designed to localize the Turkish response to the Kurdish problem, village guards were armed and allowed to respond with violence to PKK militants – system was taken advantage of and allowed Mafia-types to take care of personal grievances under the guise of fighting PKK militancy

-“Further, it created a “secret” network that has linked civil bureaucrats, state security officials, and mafia…Furthermore, by 1992, the government had lost central control of village guards, and predictably, their presence eroded the state’s monopoly over the use of force in many provinces. As Bozaraslan points out that these relatively autonomous services rapidly become competitive, both for material benefits of military resources allocated to security forces, and opportunities for drug trafficking and committing human rights violations...The competition among tribes served in different cases to attract state investment to their region (as in Urfa tribes), to guarantee their role and share in drug-trafficking (as in the case of Van tribes), to represent the region at the center, or to get armed before the rival tribe (since blood feuds between tribes and families are common in the region).”E

-During the late 1970s and 80s it was said to be one of the only employment options in the East – govt created high costs and pressures to join including demolishing Kurdish villages that refused to participateE&F

-Figures on the number of village guards in the areas we visited as of 2003: Van had 7,365 village guards, kars 578 and ardahan 96, also shows number of guards per thousand villagers.

Page 22: http://web.gc.cuny.edu/dept/rbins/IUCSHA/fellows/Balta-paper.pdf


-The site we were looking at: Church of the Holy Mother of God; Surp Asdvadzadzin; Azize Meryem Katedrali; Fethiye Camii.

-Classical Armenian was used from 5th to 18th centuries – called Grabar. It continues to be the liturgical language of the Armenian church

-Contemporary Armenian is divided between Western Armenian (the official language) and Eastern Armenian with more Turkish influence
-The inscription on the cathedral in Ani, now the Fethiye cami (victory mosque) was ancient Armenian script…became a mosque in 1064 when Turks looted Ani, returned to Christian usage in 1124, inscriptions tell of restoration work carried out early in 13th century

-Part of one of the inscriptions on the Southern façade of the Cathedral:

"In the year 450 (AD 1001) of the Armenians ... at the time of Sarkis, honoured by God and Katholikos, spiritual lord of the Armenians, and during the glorious reign of Gagik, shahanshah of the Armenians and of the Georgians, I Katranideh, Queen of the Armenians, daughter of Vasak, King of Siunik, entrusted myself to the mercy of God and, by order of my husband Gagik shahanshah, built this holy cathedral, which the great Smbat had founded..."
-The inscription on the eastern wall of the church of Tigran Honents (the Armenian merchant that supposedly funded the building of the tunnel to Armenia from Ani):

"In the year 664 (A.D. 1215), by the grace of God, when the lord of this city of Ani was the strong and powerful Zakaria ... I, Tigran, servant of God, son of Sulem Smbatorents, of the Honents family, for the long life of my lords and of their children, built this monastery of St. Grigor, which was on the edge of an escarpment and in a place full of underbrush, and I bought it with my legitimate wealth from the owners and with great fatigue and expense, I provided it with defense all around; I built this church in the name of St. Grigor Lusavoritch and I embelished it with many decorations..."

-At that time Ani was under Georgian control - and this church is believed to have been devoted to the Georgian Orthodox Rite (and the frescoes within are thought to have been painted by Georgian artisans).

-Tigran Honentz was a member of one of several extremely wealthy merchant families that had amassed enormous riches (mostly through trade) and self-styled themselves "Barons". Although wealthy, they ultimately had little political and no military power to sustain their position – or Ani’s.A


-Very difficult to find anything on this tunnel on internet – have written to some archeologists who specialize in Ani, have also contacted Mustafa who was our tour guide in Ani – he is currently compiling information and contacts for us to look into the tunnels further
-The distance according to google maps between Ani and modern day Yerevan is 99 km – the tunnel underneath Ani’s city Mustafa told us was 8 km, and that was a feat – is it really possible for a 100 km tunnel going in the opposite direction from ani to yerevan??

-Mustafa had told us that the tunnels were built in 15th century by wealthy Armenian merchant Tigran Honents, but his church that we saw was completed in 1215 according to an inscription in church….tunnels would had to have been built in 13th century than which maybe Mustafa just got wrong


-Conquered Ani in the 1380s (likely 1385 when he also conquered Kars passing through to Georgia)

-Tamerlane conquered Azerbaijan and Kars in 1385 and set out from Kars to invade Georgia in 1836. Invaded Georgia again 1393-94 when he massacred Georgia. Tamerlane moved back to restore his rule in Azerbaijan and re-destroy Georgia again in 1400, before leaving Georgia once and for all in late 1403 to focus on a campaign against the Ottomans, whom he defeated in 1402.

-In 1400, Tamerlane came to Pasinler, near Erzurum, where “he was joined by a number of Turkoman driven from their lands by the Ottomans.” Took over Erzurum and used it to invade Mamluk Syria (Malatya, Antep, Aleppo, Damascus) and other Ottoman territory (Sivas, Kayseri, Ankara)

-Tamerlane remained in Antolia July 1402 – March 1403, moving around to establish his overall authority and restore the old Turkoman principalities, ravaging Ottoman lands.A&B

-“Timur, who invaded Georgia in 1386, and, having seized upon the capital, carried away the king, Bagrat V., who feigned conversion to Islamism that he might gain the confidence of the conquerer. By this means he succeeded in obtaining from Timur a force of 12,000 men, for the purpose of prevailing upon his people to embrace Mahometanism.”

“In an ungovernable passion Timur re-entered Georgia (1393-94), and laid waste the entire country, leveling towns and villages, without sparing a single life. Satiated of bloodshed, he withdrew to the plains of Karabagh, and George VII., son and successor to Bagrat V, returned upon the death of his father (1401) from the mountains where he had remained concealed and occupied the capital. Timur made war upon him as well, compelling his submission, and in 1403 finally quitted the country.”B

-Extra on Kars conquerors: Just as Bagratuni Kars was falling to the Byzantines, Ani was taken by the newly arrived Seljuk Turkish invaders. Byzantines decisively defeated by Seljuks in Battle of Manazkert (1071). Seljuk empire fragmented, Georgian Bagrationis (branch of Bagratuni family) rises. Invasion of Chinggis Khan whose armies reach Armenia in 1236, subsequent Mongol campaign in Caucasus between armies of Il-Khans and the Golden Horde and repeated invasions of Emir Timur between 1386 and 1403. C


-The city used to be a center of trade that had the same population as Istanbul during the Silk Road’s liveliest years. “Ani is the last point on the route between Anatolia and the Caucasus. It lost its popularity after being damaged by an earthquake in Armenia. When the Silk Road began to lose its importance, Ani lost its importance, too,” said Hakan Doğanay, Kars Culture an Tourism directorA


Battle of Sarikamis – December 1914-January 1915

-Russia had taken fortress of Kars in Russo-Turkish War in 1877, Caucasus front was secondary to their Eastern Front. The Ottomans wanted to distract the Russians by flaring up the situation on the Caucasus front and the Germans helped supply resources to the Ottoman 3rd Army to create a diversion from the Polish and Galician fronts.

Battle of Koprukoy
-Caucasus Campaign

-Erzurum offensive

“Nor was it for nothing that Turkey had been cajoled and bribed into making war. Turkish generalship and organization were negligible quantities, but Germany could supply those defects, and Turkish bravery and man-power could be used as a valuable means of distracting Russia’s attention and diverting forces from the Polish and Galician fronts. This had been the main purpose of the campaign in the Caucasus which Turkey waged in the winter. They began by seizing Tabriz in the province of Azerbaijan, which though nominally Persian had been for some time occupied partly by Russian and partly by Turkish troops; but the Russians were the first across the Russo-Turkish frontier and captured Bayazid (Dogubeyazit), Khorasan (Horasan), and Kuprikeui (Koprukoy). These advance-guards were, however, pushed back by the Turks, whose leader and evil genius, the half-Polish and German-educated adventurer, Enver, had conceived an ambitious design of encircling the Russian armies between Sarikamis and Ardahan. In December the Turks succeeded in making their arduous ay across the snow-clad mountains, and on 1 January they were in Ardahan. But the task would have tried the German Army itself in summer, and Enver had attempted more than he could achieve. His army corps were successively isolated and defeated in a series of engagements collectively known as the battle of Sarikamis, and driven back across the frontier with heavy losses. Tabriz was reoccupied by the Russians, though they were not able to follow up their by the capture of Erzurum.”

Erzurum forts image:

proxy war on Syria between iran and saudis

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