If you believe the Armenian side, the apotheoses of these persecutions were the events of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire, which a number of foreign and Armenian historians and politicians called "Armenian genocide".
In my book "1915 — the Ottoman File" I have already touched on the subject of position of Ottoman Armenians in the Ottoman State, cited a number of examples and sources. In this article I would like to elaborate on treasurer-armenians of Sultan Abdulhamid II, whom some sources, with the filing of the Armenians or biased authors, called "bloody".
Sultan Abdulhamid, a master of political intrigue and political bargaining, ruled for 33 years. Some historians believe that if not to his reign, the empire would not have survived up to the twentieth century.
Armenian historians claim that during the reign of Abdulhamid their fellow tribesmen living in the empire were totally exposed to severe persecutions. If so, then the question arises: how Armenians allegedly subjected to harassment, could occupy top government posts, and be on the leading positions in trade and finance? Can you imagine the same, for example, regarding to the Jews in Hitler's Germany?
In the Ottoman Empire there was a very specific institution "Hazine-i Hassa" (Osmanlı Hazine-i Hassa Nazırlığı). This agency was controlled by sultan and was engaged in finances of monarch and the ruling dynasty.
Heads of this institution have always been people especially trusted and close to the sultan. So during the long reign of Sultan Abdulhamid three Armenians straight at different times were personal treasurers of Sultan, that is the heads of "Hazine-i Hassa". It was Hagop Ohannes Kazazian (in some sources Kazazyan) Pasha (January 1880 - October 1891), Armenian Catholic Mikhail Portakalyan (October 1891 - November 1897), Ohannes Sakiz Pasha (November 1897 - October 1908). The first one in parallel was also in charge of the Ministry of Finance.
The position and the trust enjoyed by these people, once again proves that Armenians were not second-class citizens for the Ottoman Sultans. Abdulhamid strongly supported and promoted Hagop Ohannes Kazazian, entrusting him two extremely important positions in the empire at once, gave him medals, titles and gifts. It is worth noting that he in his turn responded with honest work - in the short time he was able to bring Sultan`s finances in order, earning the favor of the Sultan even more.
Let's see what constitutes a "Hazine-i Hassa"
In modern concept it is something between the Hedge funds and private family bank. Here were concentrated income from movable and immovable property of the Sultan, from enterprises and mines, in which were invested funds from "Hazine-i Hassa", also this institution was responsible for the safety of the Sultan's treasury. Hagop Pasha became the head of "Hazine-i Hassa" at a critical time for the Ottoman finances, including the finances of dynasty.
It is worth noting that the funds of "Hazine-i Hassa" were used not only to meet the financial needs of the Ottoman sultan and the house. Money was also directed to the needs of the state in cases when it was necessary to use extra-budgetary funds – it includes also gifts to important foreigners, spending on the maintenance of a network of agents, and the funds allocated to expeditions.
As you can see, "Hazine-i Hassa" was paramount both for Empire and for the establishment of the Sultan. This fact refutes the fact of hostility, which Armenians allegedly were surrounded by in the empire.
If the Sultan and his entourage have experienced hostility or at least distrust towards his Armenian subjects, then would they put an Armenian at the head of such an agency?
This question is for Armenian “historians”.
Ali Hajizade, political analyst, head of the project “The Great Middle East”