Mkrtich Avetisyan organized the first Armenian ideological and revolutional party

Mkrtich Avetisyan (Terlemezyan)

Mkrtich Avetisyan was born in 1864 in the city of Van. He was the leader of the Armenian national liberation movement, as well as one of the founders of the Armenakan organization.

He studied at home in the Armenian schools of Van, was a student of Mkrtich Portugalyan, later became his ideological follower. Avetisyan was engaged in teaching activities.

In 1885, he took part in the founding of a secret revolutionary organization in Van, which shared the ideas of the “Armenia” newspaper published in Marseilles by M. Portugalyan.

Fleeing persecution from the Turkish authorities, Avetisyan moved to Salmast (Iran), where he opened Armenian schools in a number of villages, then to the Caucasus and Constantinople. Here in 1889 he was arrested, exiled to Tripoli, but he fled, arrived in Marseille, where he began to cooperate in the “Armenia” newspaper.

Mkrtich Portugalyan

In 1890 published the book “Armenians of Turkey and their neighbors”. In subsequent years, he was an inspector of Armenian schools of Salmast, Urmia, Khoy (Iran).

In 1894, as a correspondent for the newspaper “Armenia”, he was part of the mission of Mkrtich Khrimyan, who was negotiating with the Russian Tsar in St. Petersburg.

In 1896 he took an active part in the leadership of Van’s self-defense. Under the onslaught of the Turks, the defenders took refuge in the monastery of Varaga. 


Avetisyan with his fighters (about 1000 people) decided to move to Iran, but was surrounded by Turkish troops and Kurdish forces at the monastery of St. Bartholomew. Not wanting to surrender, Avetisyan fought to the last opportunity and fell in the battle in 1896.

In the issue of the national liberation struggle of the Armenian people, Avetisyan urged to avoid ostentatious, inflammatory actions, not to pin hopes on the help of European countries, to rely on their own strength, to carefully prepare people for self-defense.

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