§ MR. LEVESON GOWER (Stoke-upon-Trent)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether there are at the present time a large number of Armenians imprisoned 1831 in various parts of Turkey as political suspects; and whether, if this be the case, they are aware of the nature of the specific charges, if any, upon which these men are respectively imprisoned?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir J. FERGUSSON, Manchester, N.E.)
In January 1,876 prisoners were set free at Constantinople. They were mostly individuals whose trial had not been completed. In the same month a number of Armenians were arrested at Erzeroum on charges of sedition. In February information was received of arrests of Armenians in the Adana Vilayet suspected of belonging to a Revolutionary Committee. There are also reports of arrests of Armenians at Marash, Hadjin, and Koyan. Her Majesty's Government are not aware of the specific charges on which the several individuals are imprisoned.
§ MR. LEVESON GOWER
I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether Her Majesty's Government are in possession of any information throwing light upon the statement in the Constantinople correspondence of the Daily Newsof February 24th, to the effect that the Turkish Government is forming; with great celerity in Armenia six regiments, composed of Kurds and Circassians, and that the military commander of Van has issued a large supply of Martini rifles to the Kurds of that Province, who are said to be patrolling the country; and whether, having regard to the serious nature of such a statement if correct, the Government will, if without recent information upon these points, take steps to obtain it with as little delay as possible?
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON
No such information has been received, but inquiry will be made as to whether there is any foundation for the report.