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Armenian Genocide


Recently US president Joe Biden had acknowledged that the Ottoman massacre of the Armenian people as a genocide. What is this attack? Let’s look back in the history about Armenian genocide. Which resulted 1.5 million of Armenian deaths.

Armenia is a country surrounded by land located in the western Asia, Bordered by Turkey from the west and Georgia from the north Azerbaijan to the east and Iran to the South. Armenians live within and as well as outside of the Armenia. Ottoman empire or modern-day Turkey is located next to Armenia. The empire had controlled Southeast Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa between 14th century and early 20th century.

The kingdom of Armenia had embraced the Christianity long before the Ottoman empire was born. Therefore, the Armenians in the Ottoman empire had belonged to either Armenian Apostolic church or Armenian Catholic Church.

Certain elite Armenian families in the Ottoman Empire gained the trust of the Sultans and were able to achieve important positions in the Ottoman government and the Ottoman economy. Even though their numbers were small compared to the whole Ottoman Armenian population, this caused some resentment among Ottoman nationalists. The life of the rest of the common Armenians was a very difficult existence because they were treated as second class citizens.

Anti-Armenian feelings erupted into mass violence several times in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. When, in 1894, the Armenians in the Sasun region refused to pay an oppressive tax, Ottoman troops and Kurdish tribesmen killed thousands of Armenians in the region. Another series of mass killings began in the fall of 1895, when Ottoman authorities’ suppression of an Armenian demonstration in Istanbul became a massacre. In all, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were killed in massacres between 1894 and 1896, which later came to be known as the Hamidian massacres. Some 20,000 more Armenians were killed in urban riots and pogroms in Adana and Hadjin in 1909.

World War I and Turkey

In 1908 a small group called Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) came to power. The party consisted of Ottoman revolutionaries. Armenians welcomed the restoration of the Ottoman constitution, and the promise of elections led Armenians and other non-Turks within the empire to cooperate with the new political order. But over the time the ambitions of the Young Turks became more militant, less tolerant of non-Turks, and increasingly suspicious of their Armenian subjects, whom they imagined were collaborating with foreign powers. In 1913 most militant members of the party, Enver Paşa and Talat Paşa, came to power in a coup d’état.

Antipathy toward Christians increased when the Ottoman Empire suffered a humiliating defeat in the First Balkan War (1912–13), resulting in the loss of nearly all its remaining territory in Europe. Young Turk leaders blamed the defeat on the treachery of Balkan Christians. Furthermore, the conflict sent hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees streaming eastward into Anatolia, intensifying conflict between Muslims and Christian peasants over land.

Fearful Armenians capitalized on the Ottoman defeat to press for reforms, appealing to the European powers to force the Young Turks to accept a degree of autonomy in the Armenian provinces. In 1914 the European powers imposed a major reform on the Ottomans that required supervision by inspectors in the east. The Young Turks took that arrangement as further proof of the Armenians’ collusion with Europe to undermine the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1914 The world war began and the Turks joined with Germany to fight against Britain, France and Russia.

The beginning of the Massacre

In January 1915 Enver Paşa attempted to push back the Russians at the battle of Sarıkamış, only to suffer the worst Ottoman defeat of the war. Although poor generalship and harsh conditions were the main reasons for the loss, the Young Turk government put the blame on Armenian people. Armenian soldiers and other non-Muslims in the army were demobilized and transferred into labour battalions. The disarmed Armenian soldiers were then systematically murdered by Ottoman troops, they are known to be the first victims of what would become genocide. About the same time, irregular forces began to carry out mass killings in Armenian villages near the Russian border.

By Henry Morgenthau – Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story Doubleday, Page p314, (http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/comment/morgenthau/images/Morgen50.jpg), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3822803

In 1915 Ottoman government and Kurdish tribes in the region had started to kill Armenian people as part of the ethnic cleansing. These killings took place during and after the world war I. There were two phases, the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and systematic massacre.

Large-scale massacres were also committed against the Empire’s Greek and Assyrian minorities as part of the same campaign of ethnic cleansing.

At the end of the war more than 90% of the Armenian within the Turkey was gone and many traces of their former presence had been erased. The deserted homes and property of the Armenians in Eastern Anatolia were given to Muslim refugees, and surviving women and children were often forced to give up their Armenian identities and convert to Islam. Tens of thousands of orphans, however, found some refuge in the protection of foreign missionaries

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