The Armenian Genocide

“The Ottoman Empire should be cleaned up of the Armenians…”

Young Turk leader Enver Pasha in 1916

From 1915 to 1917 the Muslim Young Turk regime of the Ottoman Empire carried out a systematic, premeditated, centrally planned genocide against the Christian Armenian minority. The genocide began with the mass slaughter of able-bodied males who were either immediately killed or worked to death. Villages and towns were systematically emptied of women, children and the elderly; any remaining residents were “escorted” by Turkish Gendarmes in what were known as “death marches” across Anatolia to the Syrian Desert. More than one million Armenians died as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse along the journey. Further massacres of Armenians continued after World War I in 1919 – at the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey, today there are said to be fewer than 60,000.

Some effects of the Genocide:

  • “In a single year, 1915, the Armenians were robbed of their 3000-year-old heritage…all that remained was left to memory – including their ‘tragic destiny’.”
  • Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian genocide – eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, reports of diplomats, condemnation at the time by all the major political powers, and the testimony of survivors – successive regimes in Turkey continue to deny the Armenian genocide and the world up until recently remained silent
  • When France passed a resolution in November 2006 declaring the events of Armenia genocide, they were faced with harsh political reactions from Turkey.
  • The US has fallen short of naming the genocide, rather, commemorating “victims” of the “tragedy”. A recent resolution in the US Congress calling for formal U.S. acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide has once again been delayed – Turkey remains an important military hub for the US.

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