The Struggle for Armenian Cilicia: Cilicia and the Cilician Armenians after World War I (1918-1921)

Edita Gzoyan's picture
April 16, 2020 to April 17, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Diplomacy and International Relations, European History / Studies, French History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies

The conference is dedicated to the centennial of the Cilician self-defense battles during the Armenian Genocide

Conference Date: April 16-17, 2020.

Conference venue: Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Foundation, Yerevan, Armenia.

Cilicia is located on the north-eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and is one of the important centers of Armenian history and culture. It was an Armenian state from 1080 until 1375. After its loss of statehood and the Turkish occupation of the area in the 16th century, Armenians continued to maintain a significant presence in the region.

During the Armenian Genocide Cilician Armenians shared the fate of Western Armenians, being subjected to deportation and massacre. After the end of the First World War, Genocide survivors from Cilicia began to return to their homeland. At the same time, Armenian public and political circles hoped to include Cilicia in a future united Armenian state or to have Armenian autonomy under French auspices.

Taking advantage of the indecisive attitude of the French, Kemalist troops attacked Cilicia at the beginning of 1920. Armenians tried to create a barrier in front of the Turkish attack, launching self-defense battles in Marash (January-February 1920), Hachn (February-October 1920), Ayntap (April 1920 – February 1921) and elsewhere.

Under the terms of the Franco-Turkish agreement signed in Ankara on 20 October 1921, Cilicia was finally surrendered to Kemalist Turkey; the remnants of the Cilician Armenians who survived the Turkish yataghan fled their homeland.

Despite the fact that the struggle of the Cilician Armenians for the homeland had ultimately failed in the 1918-1921 period, it was an important episode in the history of Armenian resistance during the years of the Armenian Genocide. It deserves more comprehensive and in-depth scientific research and public coverage for that reason.

The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Foundation is organizing a conference for 16-17 April 2020, titled “The Struggle for Armenian Cilicia: Cilicia and the Cilician Armenians after World War I (1918-1921).” 

The papers to be presented at the conference should cover (but not be limited to) the following topics:

  • The process of repatriation of Armenians to Cilicia 1918-1919;
  • Diplomatic processes over the status of Cilicia 1918-1921 (Versailles conference, Armenian National Delegation activities, Franco-Armenian, Franco-Turkish negotiations etc.);
  • Armenians organizing themselves in Cilicia: the attempts made to establish Armenian autonomy in 1920;
  • The self-defense battles fought by the Armenians of Cilicia (Marash, Hachn, Ayntap, Zeytun, etc.):  the activities of the Armenian Legion in Cilicia;
  • Activities of the French authorities in Cilicia: relations between the French authorities and the Armenians in Cilicia;
  • The socio-economic, educational and cultural life of the Armenians in Cilicia 1919-1921.

The conference is open to a wide range of researchers.

Applications to attend the conference must be submitted by 31 January 2019 and information on the selected participants will be published in mid February 2020. Applications must include a summary of the paper to be presented in 200-250 words and be accompanied by a brief Curriculum Vitae (CV) of the author.

The requested information should be sent to the organizing committee to the following address:

There is no conference participation fee.

Contact Info: 

Organizing Committee, Armenian Genocide Musuem-Institute Foundation 

Contact Email: