ON THIS DAY in 1918 (25 May) the Battle of Karakilisa was fought.

In quick succession, the invading Turks managed to conquer the cities of Yerznga, Erzerum, Sarikamish, Kars and Alexandropol. Pressed by the Turkish regular army, Armenian forces began to retreat. Part of the Ottoman-Turkish forces moved towards Yerevan, and another one towards Karakilisa.

The Armenian population was leaving their homes moving to the south to Yerevan and Syunik. Garegin Nzhdeh (with his troops) reached Karakilisa and managed to unite the population for the fight. Both sides suffered serious losses.

Although, the Ottoman army still managed to invade Karakilisa and massacred all its population of 4,000 souls, it had no more forces to intrude farther into Armenian territories.

A communique from Wehib Pasha declared Turkish efforts futile:

“We do not have the strength to defeat the Armenians. The three day battle in Karakilise shows that as long as their existence is in danger they will prefer to die fighting. We must not bring on a battle with the force that 1,200,000 Armenians can raise…In short, we must come to terms with the Armenians.”

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