A historical document included in an article by Ümit Kurt titled “I. Cihan Harbi Sonrası Ermeni Mallarının İadesi: Cebel-i Bereket Örneği/The Return of Armenian Properties After World War I: The Cebel-i Bereket Case” published in the November issue of the journal Toplumsal Tarih is striking in terms of its content.
EMRE CAN DAĞLIOĞLU
Dated 10 April 1919, the document features the full list of properties returned to Armenians who survived the 1915 Armenian Genocide and managed to return to Cebel-i Bereket (Osmaniye). In addition to the list of properties that belonged to Armenians that managed to return to the aforementioned region as a result of the efforts of Colonel Brémond, the Military Governor appointed to the region following the French occupation on 19 December 1918, the document also includes the information that there were no Armenian women or children left in Dörtyol to be reunited with their families. According to the note added to the document dated 12 April 1919 and signed by Hüsnü Bey, Governor (Mutasarrıf) of Cebel-i Bereket, all the properties and arable lands seized in Osmaniye were taken from their owners and returned to their true owners. In addition to this, 18 items of properties and arable lands were transferred to the Armenian community. The same note also states that no properties pending return remained in Osmaniye. According to Kurt, following the withdrawal of French troops from the region in 1921, the return process of properties to their Armenian owners was aborted, and the properties were seized once again by reverting to the Laws on Derelict Properties and Liquidation (Emval-ı Metruke ve Tasfiye Kanunları) issued in 1915.