Today in Labour History
Armenian Massacre 1896
On 26 August 1896 the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, a small nationalist social-democratic organization, occupied the Ottoman Bank’s main office in Istanbul. While the occupation ended that same night, a widespread massacre of Armenians began. Both the perpetrators and the victims of the massacres were predominantly unskilled migrant labourers from the East. Armenian workers in Istanbul dominated the branches most closely associated with international trade and therefore the most prestigious, like customhouse porters, dock workers, stevedores and porters at the railway stations. These privileged positions might have been the motivation for Kurdish workers in particular, and Muslims in general, to take part in this massacre of Armenians. Besides the thousands of Armenian labourers killed, many more fled the city. Their places were systematically filled by Kurds and migrant labourers of other ethnoreligious backgrounds.
Sinan Dinçer, 'The Armenian Massacre in Istanbul 1896' in: Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geschiedenis TSEG 2013 no 4