Home / Republic 100 / Truce: Ottomans to take Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalaki
ენვერ ფაშა გერმანელ ოფიცრებთან ერთად კავკასიის ფრონტზე. Enver Pasha on Caucasus Front.

Truce: Ottomans to take Akhaltsikhe, Akhalkalaki

(Ertoba N114, 5 June, 1918) Member of the peace negotiations delegation Gr. Rtskhiladze has arrived from Batumi, to notify the government of the conditions of peace accord concluded between the Republic of Georgia and the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire takes possession of all of Akhaklakali district and all Akhaltsikhe with all villages except Atskuri and Abastumani, which remain the Georgian territory. The Ottoman Empire, in agreement with the German and our governments may use railways for transporting troops. Ottoman troops are to leave Ozurgeti immediately, where the border would run on riv. Choloki. Our troops immediately leave Akhaltsikhe castle and town.

Germany’s involvement

The peace treaty is deposited at the German Embassy in Tbilisi. It was signed at 11 pm on 3 June by the representatives of Georgia and the Ottoman Empire. Yesterday, in the morning, the Tbilisi newspaper representatives were invite by the [German Ambassador] von Schulenburg who informed them that the peace treaty was signed and provided them with the copy of this agreement in German language, received by radio [telegram]. He added, that he did not yet consider it fit for publication. When discussing the matter with the journalists, member of the Embassy have noted repeatedly, that the Ottomans have signed the deal under German pressure.

The newspaper also informs quoting local German sources, that a significant German military detachment is currently in Poti and will be arriving to Tbilisi in the coming days. According to the same sources, Georgian prisoners of war were armed and trained in Germany and have departed to Georgia.

(Ertoba N114, 5 June, 1918) Member of the peace negotiations delegation Gr. Rtskhiladze has arrived from Batumi, to notify the government of the conditions of peace accord concluded between the Republic of Georgia and the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire takes possession of all of Akhaklakali district and all Akhaltsikhe with all villages except Atskuri and Abastumani, which remain the Georgian territory. The Ottoman Empire, in agreement with the German and our governments may use railways for transporting troops. Ottoman troops are to leave Ozurgeti immediately, where the border would run on riv. Choloki. Our troops immediately leave Akhaltsikhe castle and town.

Germany’s involvement

The peace treaty is deposited at the German Embassy in Tbilisi. It was signed at 11 pm on 3 June by the representatives of Georgia and the Ottoman Empire. Yesterday, in the morning, the Tbilisi newspaper representatives were invite by the [German Ambassador] von Schulenburg who informed them that the peace treaty was signed and provided them with the copy of this agreement in German language, received by radio [telegram]. He added, that he did not yet consider it fit for publication. When discussing the matter with the journalists, member of the Embassy have noted repeatedly, that the Ottomans have signed the deal under German pressure.

The newspaper also informs, quoting local German sources, that a significant German military detachment is currently in Poti and will be arriving to Tbilisi in the coming days. According to the same sources, Georgian prisoners of war were armed and trained in Germany and have departed to Georgia.

Background: ultimatum and escalation

The  Ottomans have given Georgia an ultimatum to surrender Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki, as well as the rights to control and use railway in the direction of Persia on 27 May. “Ertoba” reports, that on 2 June the regular Ottoman detachment have crossed the 1877 border near the village of Kartsakhi, south-west from Akhalkalaki and stated to advance. The Armenian detachment gave battle and retreated towards village of Sulda, near which it was aided by the Georgian detachment. The battles were reported on Artaani main road. The Ottoman troops were advancing with artillery support.

Akhaltsikhe has long become the battlefield, it has been almost two months since our detachment is engaged in a desperate battle in the vicinity. We could not supply a reprieve troops to break them out and save the whole district.

Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki are strategically important. They are the key to Borjomi valley…[opening access to the main railway line, as well as towards Kutaisi]. In other words, by gaining Akhaltsikhe district, the Ottomans will hold the fate of whole Georgia in their hands.

Same applies to Akhalkalaki, which has a good road through Manglisi to Tbilisi. If the enemy holds Akhalkalaki, in several days it can reach Tbilisi, there is no natural obstacle between Akhalkalaki and Tbilisi.

Anarchy reigns

While the attack by the regular Ottoman troops is the most serious military challenge to the newborn Republic, the country is torn on many sides. In only two issues of the newspaper we can find updates on multiple crises:

Dariali (near Kazbegi, present-day border with Russia) detachment (commander, Colonel Abesadze sent the following note to Governorship Commissar K. Japaridze on 2 June: “On 31 May, 6 pm, the Bolsheviks came to parlay and demanded me leave Dariali, requesting response within 45 minutes. In response on 1 May, at 8 am in the morning the advance units of our detachment attacked through Dariali bridge and took the advance detachment of the Bolsheviks prisoner. Surprised by the attack, the rest of their detachment panicked and dispersed… we now hold the whole of our territory.”

Lechkhumi (lower reaches of Racha, north-west Georgia): For the last ten days, connections have been severed between Lechkhumi and Kutaisi. This district has put itself outside law – they have cut down the telegraph link, damaged bridges and have cut Racha from Kutaisi.

Battles near Sokhumi have also concluded in past weeks.

 

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