chapter  7
Orientalist Poetics, Autobiographical Fiction, and History-Defying Words: Sarkiz Torossian Inscribing Himself into World War I
ByCHRISTOPH K. NEUMANN
Pages 13

Sarkis Torossian is an Armenian from the Central Anatolian town of Everek (today’s Develi), born to parents of modest means in the last decade of the nineteenth century.1 Sent to attend school at the Thracian city of Edirne (Adrianople), he befriends Muharrem, the son of a high-ranking Ottoman military officer of Arab background, a pasha, at the time Brigadier General of Constantinople (Istanbul). Due to this man’s intervention, Sarkis is admitted to the military academy of the Ottoman Empire. After graduation, he is promoted to second lieutenant and sent to Germany for three months. Afterward, Muharrem and Sarkis are dispatched to the Dardanelles as the World War is about to embroil the empire. Both have a sweetheart; Nuriye, also child of a pasha, even kisses Muharrem goodbye in public when they depart to the front. Cemile, Muharrem’s sister, behaves more chastely and cautiously toward Sarkis but makes her feelings to him very clear nonetheless.