What is Operation Nemesis? All Details and Reports

Operation Nemesis was a secret plan by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation to punish the people who had planned the Armenian Genocide. The people who planned and did the Operation, including Shahan Natalie and Soghomon Tehlirian, were people who had survived the Armenian Genocide.

The Operation, which happened between 1920 and 1922, killed many important people from the Ottoman Empire. This included the Internal affairs minister of Azerbaijan and some Armenians who were working against the Armenian cause.

It is named after the Greek goddess of divine retribution and revenge, Nemesis.

What were the circumstances leading to Operation Nemesis?

At the end of the 19th century, while Empires were busy dividing the world among themselves, Armenia was torn into pieces. It was right in the middle of the interests and politics of more powerful countries. 

Armenia was ruled by Ottomans, Russians, and Persians. Each nation sent Armenians to the border to defend their interest, weakening the Armenian populations in their lands. It was natural for Armenians to gather their strengths, organize their own defense, to form resistance.

Many political movements and parties were formed, including The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, in 1890. 

The Mastermind behind the Nemesis Operation and the executors

Who Took Part in Operation Nemesis?

  • Karekin Basdermadjian, AKA Armen Karo, 1872-1922
  • Aharon Sachaklian, 1879-1964
  • Shahan Nataly, 1884-1982
  • Missak Torlakian, 1894-1967
  • Arshavir Shirakian, 1902-1972
  • Sdepan Dzaghigian, 1886-?
  • Soghomon Tehlirian, 1897- 1959
  • Aram Yerganian, 1895-1930
  • Bedros Der Boghosian,
  • Ardashes Kevorkian ,
  • Zareh Melik-Shahnazariants

What was the main reason behind Operation Nemesis? 

World War I ended, and the Ottoman Empire fell apart. The Perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide were set free and exiled from the newly formed Turkey. But no one was taking the blame for all the war crimes that took the innocent lives of 1.5 Million Armenians. 

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s General Assembly, in Yerevan, in 1919 reached a verdict to assassinate the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide in an operation called Nemesis. 

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation party enacted a resolution calling for implementing the verdicts it had reached. The assassination of Talaat Pasha was part of this Operation.

Why were Turkish Pashas targeted in Operation Nemesis?

When WWI ended, defeated Central Powers demanded an armistice. On October 30, 1918, Turkey signed an armistice agreement with the Allies.

The Allies, still freshly remembering the horrific actions against Armenians, forced Turkey to form a military council in Istanbul to try war criminals. Thus, several Ittihad and Taraqy party leaders are tried during several sessions. Enver, Cemal, Talaat, and Nazmi, were sentenced to death, all of whom had already fled to live a normal life in other countries.

However, death sentences and trials generally caused resentment among Turks and led allies to abandon efforts to prosecute and execute. In this way, the perpetrators remained unpunished and free to lead a new and normal life under foreign skies.

Operation Nemesis Dates, Participants, and Locations

30/5/1920Nasib Yousef beyBaku, AzerbaijanUnknownOrganized Massacres of Armenians in Baku in 1918
19/6/1920Fatali Khan khoyskiTbilisi, GeorgiaAram Yerganian, Missak GiragossianInjured Khan Samadov
18/7/1920Hasan Beg AgayevTbilisi, GeorgiaAram YerganianOrganized Massacres of Armenians in Shushi
15/3/1921Taleat PashaBerlin, GermanySoghomon TehlirianTehlirian acquitted
18/7/1921Beybour Khan JivanshirConstantinople, TurkeyMissak TorlakianTorlakian Not Guilty
5/121921Saeed HaleemRome, ItalyArshavir ShirakianOttoman Minister
17/4/1922Jamal AzmiBerlin, GermanyArshavir Shiragian Aram YerganianButcher of Trabzon
18/4/1922Behaeddine ShakirBerlin, GermanyArshavir Shiragian Aram YerganianIn addition to his bodyguard
22/7/1922Jamal BashaTbilisi, GeorgiaBedros Der Boghosian, Ardashes Kevorkian, Sdepan Dzaghigian, Zareh Melik-ShahnazariantsIn front of the Cheka Building, the Butcher is assassinated

Soghomon Tehlirian Assassinated Talaat Pasha

The assassination took place in broad daylight and led to Tehlirian being arrested by the German police. After a two-day trial, Tehlirian was found not guilty by a German court and was set free. 

In June 1915, the Ottoman police ordered the deportation of all the Armenians in Erzinjan, where Tehlirian’s family lived.

Soghomon Tehlirian joined Operation Nemesis in 1921, a covert assassination program targeting those responsible for the Armenian Genocide. Tehlirian’s family, together with other Armenians, were deported and then massacred. He was motivated by a desire to avenge the brutal killings of his family members.

The assassination of Talaat Pasha was part of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s Operation Nemesis. In 1919, in Yerevan, the general assembly of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation party enacted a resolution calling for the implementation of the verdicts it had reached.

Soghomon Tehlirian executed the death sentence on Turkey’s minister Talaat on March 15, 1921, in Berlin. Tehlirian is considered a national hero in Armenia.

Missak Torlakian Assassinated Beyboud Khan Jivanshir

The second stage of Operation Nemesis is the Assassination of The Butcher of Baku Armenians, Beyboud Khan Jivanshir.

Missak Torlakian, Born in 1889, was a brave teenager who gained the respect of fellow revolutionaries with his achievements in resistance during the 1915 Genocide. Witnessing his fellow compatriots’ demise, he participated in Gars and Pash Abaran battles in 1918.

He volunteers to punish the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide because the powerful nations had quit. He assassinated Beybour Khan Jivanshir in Constantinople on July 18, 1921.

Jivanshir was leaving the Petit Chant Theater and headed to Pera Palace Hotel. Missak avenges his people, and he is beaten and arrested by the french police in Constantinople.

He believed in Justice, and he didn’t consider himself a criminal; on the contrary, he believed that he punished a war criminal. Soon after, an English court set him free on November 22, 1922. Justice was served.

Arshavir Shirakian assassinated Saeed Halim Pasha

Born in 1900, Arshavir Shirakian served the Armenian cause as a messenger during the Armenian Genocide. He volunteers to assassinate Saeed haleem Pasha.

He finds the Armenian Genocide organizer’s carriage in Rome, Italy. He attacks and shoots him between the eyes as he climbs down from his carriage. He escapes with the accomplice, who collects his coat and hat, disappearing into the crowd.

Arshavir Shirakian and Aram Yerganian assassinate Jamal Azmi and Bahaeddin Shakeer

Arshavir Shirakian and Aram Yerganian assassinate Jamal Azmi the ‘Butcher of Trabzonand the leader of the brutal Special Organisation, Bahaeddin Shakeer on 17 April 1922 in Berlin Germany. They were shot as they took an after-dinner stroll with Talaat’s wife. They vanished into the crowd.

Bedros Der Boghosian, Ardashes Kevorkian, Sdepan Dzaghigian, Zareh Melik-Shahnazariants Exterminate Jamal Pasha The Butcher

The supervisor of the ‘relocation’ of Armenians into the Syrian desert is exterminated outside the Cheka headquarters in Tbilisi on 21 July 1922. Bedros Der Boghosian, Ardashes Kevorkian, Sdepan Dzaghigian, Zareh Melik-Shahnazariants come together to exterminate the butcher who tortured and starved Christians, orchestrated torture, Turkification of orphans, changing their names to Turkish ones, forbidding them to speak Armenian.

One of these orphanages still stands in Lebanon’s Aintoura, also home to Armenian Martyred Orphans Cemetery. 

Armenians working for the Soviet Red Army killed the ex-war minister Enver Pasha before the A.R.F. could get to him.

Red Army ambush in Tajikistan in 1922 while he was trying to raise a Muslim anti-Russian insurrection.

Turkish claims and denial of the Armenian Genocide

Descendants of the Ottomans claim that they did not intend to annihilate or eradicate the Armenian population and that they were only relocating them to new locations. Our grandparents who survived the Armenian Genocide tell us how they were put in a system of Turkification and child labor.

Modern-day politicians in Turkey somehow skip the part when men of age and intellectuals were taken from their homes and families on the eve of April 24. They were executed by the orders of their Ottomans-Turkish ancestors, leaving women and children alone and defenseless. 

Throughout history, we see foreign occupying rulers of Armenia continuously moving Armenian populations to new regions in their countries to flourish in underdeveloped areas. 

Usually, it was intentional, mainly to populate and develop the trade of poorer areas. One example is Shah Abbas (1588-1628). He wanted to settle the interior provinces of Persia with enterprising Armenian artisans, merchants, and skilled farmers.

The Turkish authorities were far from relocating the Armenians. If they did, it was to an unknown location in the Syrian deserts and with no working force.

You may want to click and read about how displaced Armenians were settled near the city of Isfahan, where they founded a new town in memory of their native Jugha, Nor Jugha. 

The assassination of Armenian Traitors

1920Haroutiun MkrtchianConstantinopleSoghomon TehlirianOttoman Empire Head of Secret Police
27/3/1920Vahe Ihsan YesayanConstantinopleArshavir ShiragianIhsan had prepared the list of names of Armenian intellectuals who were killed in 1915
1920Arshavir Arthur HasianSyriaArshag Yeztanian (?)AKA Mr. Charles. He betrayed the SDHP that gathered in Romania to organize the assassination of Taliat in 1914, and as a result, the attempt failed and 21 Armenians were hung
1920Hmayag AramyantsConstantinopleArshag YeztanianAKA Mr. Charles. He betrayed the SDHP that gathered in Romania to organize the assassination of Taliat in 1914, and as a result, the attempt failed and 21 Armenians were hung
UnknownPolis GarabedConstantinopleUnknown
UnknownZeytountsi GarabedSyriaUnknown

Suspension of Operation Nemesis

In late 1922, the ARF suspended Operation Nemesis. The western powers were warming to Ataturk’s republic. Sooner or later, the plot would come to light, and the new Armenian republic, under Soviet control and flooded with refugees, had enough problems.

“Nemesis” fountain-memorial in Yerevan

Operation Nemesis Memorial in Yerevan

On a momentous occasion, a fountain memorial paying tribute to the heroes of the “Nemesis” operation has been unveiled in Yerevan’s Circular Park on April 25, 2023.

The opening ceremony was marked with a solemn commemoration of the courageous individuals who participated in the process, including Soghomon Tehliryan, Armen Garo, and Aram Yerkanyan. This fountain memorial is a symbolic reminder of the atrocities committed during the Armenian Genocide and the need to uphold responsibility towards the motherland.

The Nemesis Memorial installation was initiated by the Yerevan Council of Elders, and the design was executed by the acclaimed architect Tigran Barseghyan.

The descendants of the individuals who carried out the “Nemesis” operation, had petitioned creating the Memorial Garden in honor of those who sought to avenge the Victims of the Armenian Genocide by exterminating the organizers of the Armenian Genocide and those responsible for the massacre of Armenians in Baku in 1918.

The fountain-memorial stands as a fitting tribute to the bravery of those who fought for justice and an important reminder honoring their legacy.

Araz Tavitian

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One thought on “What is Operation Nemesis? All Details and Reports

  1. Dear Araz,

    Thank you for your valuable information. Just wondering how many individuals/people altogether were assassinated by the Operation of Nemesis and the list of the individuals.
    Thank you

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