May 28 – the Day of not Only First Republic but of the Remerged Statehood

May 28 is celebrated as the day of the Armenian First Republic. By the declaration of the First Armenian Republic the statehood lost more than for 5 centuries ago was restored. The declaration of the first Armenian Republic was possible due to the victories of the Armenian forces in the May battles (Sardarapat, Bash-Aparan, Gharakhilisa).

After organizing the Genocide of the Armenians in Western Armenia Turkish armies invaded Transcaucasia, aiming to exterminate also the Armenians in Eastern Armenia thus once and for all eliminating the Armenian barrier on the way to realization of the pan-Turkic projects. Throughout its whole history the Armenian nation struggled for many times to get rid of foreign dominance and to achieve its independence. However this time the issue of the existence of non-existence of the whole nation was on the table. British historian Christopher Walker on the occasion noted that if the Armenians lost Sardarapat Battle it would quite possible result in the word “Armenia” becoming just historical, geographic name.

By their victory over Turkish army on May 26 in Sardarapat the Armenian forces managed to prevent the Turkish invasion to Transcaucasia and save Armenia from complete destruction.

Losing the Sardarapat Battle Turkish army with new force rushed to the front of Bash-Aparan aiming at attacking Yerevan from the north. The commanders of the military unit in Yerevan sent to the Bash-Aparan front a military group under the leadership of General Drastamat Kananyan (Dro). As a result of battles that lasted from May 26 to 27 Dro’s military group finally managed to give a crashing blow to the opponent and Turkish troops retreated to the west from Bash-Aparan. The ballets for Gharakhilisa continued for four days however at the end Gharakhilisa was invaded by the Turks because of their substantial superiority of the number of their forces. The Turkish forces were also supported by three thousand askyars operating in Gharakhilisa. However the strong resistance in Sardarapat, Bash-Aparan, Gharakhilisa made the Turks to give up the plans of further intrusion. The Armenian victories in Sardarapat, Bash-Aparan, Gharakhilisa caused the plans of the Turks to exterminate the Armenians in Transcaucasia to fail.