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The reforms, as called for in the agreements of San Stefano and Berlin , following the Turkish defeat in the wars against Russia, were for the six Armenian provinces in eastern part of the empire, namely, Van, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Kharpout, Sivas and Erzurum. Here Armenians constituted an absolute majority more than Turks and Kurds together , namely in Van and Bitlis, while they were in relative majority less than Turks and Kurds together, but larger when compared to each group separately in the remaining provinces.

These six provinces, and the province of Cilicia Adana on the Mediterranean coast, were thereby the homeland on which they had established four kingdoms see Map 2 and periodically been independent, until the Ottoman Turkish conquest of Asia Minor during the s. Statistics relating to the population in the Ottoman Empire is inexact because it was based on religious communities rather than ethnicity.

However, various studies from contemporary foreign scholars, travelers, Armenian Church reports and custom Ottoman figures witness about a total population of about two million. The Ottoman Empire was not divided into different ethnic groups based on the people who had been conquered and integrated into the Empire, but according to their creed. Although "millet" was Turkish for "people" or "nation", the population of the empire was divided in accordance with peoples' religious beliefs.

This division was associated also with the administrative rule of the empire, among others in the judiciary and tax collection. Every millet had a leader responsible for the administration of their members, such as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch who was responsible for all Greeks but also Bulgarians, Macedonians, Serbs, Albanians, Romanians and others while the Armenian Patriarch was responsible for Armenians but also for the Copts in Egypt etc.

The massacres were an attempt to create a new homogeneous Turkish state. The former ethnic and religious diversity that characterized the Ottoman Empire, had in the accelerating decomposition of the empire from early s, disappeared, namely when the Christian nations in the Balkans began to free themselves and proclaim independence. It did not take long until the Muslim nations of North Africa and the Middle East rebelled and freed themselves. The Ottoman Empire was now almost entirely Muslim, and more importantly, overwhelmingly a Turkish state, i.

The Roots of Genocide: The Ottoman Empire

An attempt to restore the empire's greatness by creating an Islamic empire at the end of the s had failed. Turkish leaders realized that the only way to compensate for the lost territories was to expand eastward and establish a pure Turkish state. The desired homogenization was initially attempted to realize by Turkification or as it is also called Ottomanization all inhabitants.

This was achieved through forced assimilation and forced conversion of minorities in the country and when that did not yield results quickly enough - massacres and persecutions. The genocide of the Armenians began long before During the years massacres approximately , Armenians were murdered and a further , Armenians were forced to leave their homes.

More than 2, communities were emptied completely on their Armenian inhabitants and about , Armenians were impoverished totally when the Turks and Kurds confiscated their property.

The massacres ended only when the pressure from the European powers increased and they threatened to military intervene in the same way they had done in the Christian Balkan countries. However, the main massacres would wait until , when the new Young Turk government see question 7 had come to power after a coup in The cover of the ongoing world war in Europe was the perfect opportunity to solve the Armenian issue for good.

The means for this are quite simple and consist of the annihilation of the Armenian nation. This committee consisted mainly of officers, military doctors and nationalist politicians and administrators who were opposed to the contemporary autocrat, Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Nazim and Dr. Shakir two of the party's main ideologues. This closed group saw to it that they removed all opposition, both within and outside the party, something that could almost be compared to how the Nazis came to power in Germany.

By brutally eliminating all liberal parties the Ottoman Parliament came to simply consist only of their own party members. Meanwhile disobedient elements were purged. The rulers handpicked key personnel in the police and army corps and made sure to build a network of people who were extremely loyal to the leadership and always obeyed orders. These three, together with some few other Turkish leaders formed the inner circle of the Young Turk regime and were ultimately responsible for the planning and the execution of the genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

Armenian Genocide - Wikipedia

These were members of the Committee of Union and Progress Turkish Ittihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti who in the revolution and later in a coup in took power in Turkey and ruled the empire with a rod of iron. They purged the military and police forces from all disloyal individuals and manned these positions with their own loyal people, while eliminating all the liberal opposition parties and rivals within the Committee of Union and Progress.

Thus, in they had full control over the events within the empire and could orchestrate a genocide. Teshkilati Mahsusa Turkish "special organization" was an organization in the Ottoman War Department, made up of special forces and head of counterintelligence and the predecessor of modern Turkey's security forces. Teshkilati Mahsusa was also in charge of the execution of the massacre of the Armenian population.

A QUESTION OF GENOCIDE: Armenians and Turks at the End of the Ottoman Empire

In addition to trained agents and soldiers, the organization consisted of pardoned murderers, rapists and other criminals who were released from prison, received a short weapon training and put in special units, which participated in the massacres of the Armenians. Teshkilati Mahsusa is most closely compared with the Nazi Einsatzgruppen, a kind of death squads, which during World War II were primarily responsible for the killing of the Jews.

The night towards April 24, marked the first phase of the genocide, which is in present-day research usually described as eliticide compare with genocide and refers to the annihilation of the elite of the targeted group. Up to doctors, lawyers, politicians, government officials, teachers, writers, poets and other intellectuals who could become the core of a future resistance, were arrested overnight and executed within 72 hours.

Only in Constantinople modern Istanbul and then the capital of the empire 2, Armenian intellectuals were arrested and executed in the following weeks. This was the start of the genocide. Therefore April 24 is the annual commemoration day of the Armenian genocide. Once the core and the leadership of a possible resistance was gone, it was time to remove the working Armenian male population, the one who could rise up in resistance during a future phase.

All Armenian men aged years August and later men between and had been drafted to serve in the Ottoman Army. Only females and males under 18 and over 60 were left. In February , the Turkish Government ordered these labor battalions to be liquidated, and by July approximately , Armenian soldiers had been murdered.

The Armenian population now consisted mainly of women, children and men over the age of Many women and girls committed suicide by jumping off cliffs and into rivers to escape this fate. Women, children and old people were gathered in the town churches which then were set on fire. As soon as the caravans of the deportees arrived outside the city and out of sight, they were attacked the Kurdish bands. With the support of Turkish soldiers they massacred the Armenians and looted them on both property and even clothing.

Those who survived the massacre died of starvation and diseases during the long marches towards the Syrian and the Mesopotamian deserts. Genocide, besides the actual physical destruction of the members of the target group, aims also to erase all traces of the target group's identity, through forced assimilation. In the Armenian case, it was mainly women and children who were forced to convert to Islam, adopting Turkish or Kurdish names and thus lost their Armenian identity over time.

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Another measure of the genocidal process is deleting all traces of the population who have been massacred or driven away by such deportations. This includes destruction of all buildings and monuments while renaming all the names of villages, towns, rivers, and other things that can attest to the presence of Armenians in the area. In , the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople presented a list of Armenian sacred places that were under his supervision. The list contained 2, religious sites of which were monasteries while 1, were churches.

A survey in showed that only Armenian churches could be identified within Turkey's borders, half of which were almost completely destroyed and among the rest only ruins of items remained. Over subsequent decades, Armenian survivors of the Genocide rebuilt their lives in new countries; some spoke about the past but were not always heeded, others did not.


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The false calm ended in the s when a radical group of young Armenians suddenly demanded that Turkey acknowledge its role in the Genocide, and that restitution be made of all that their ancestors had lost. These incidents stopped when the Armenian radicals realized how little the public knew about It was no wonder that the average American or European was ignorant, for both the Turkish government and the Armenian community had been largely silent: the former in official denial of Ottoman atrocities, the latter still working through its traumas.

Over time, these centers for Turkish and Ottoman research have proven valuable for scholars. In the simplest narrative of , oppressor Ottomans perpetrated genocide against victim Armenians—case closed. But Turkish officials and scholars have long rejected this scenario. For years, it proved impossible even to bring Turkish and Armenian scholars together in one venue to discuss the matter: Armenians would often boycott the conference, saying there was nothing to discuss—the Genocide happened, period.

For years, Egoyan had avoided the topic, preferring to depict Armenian Diaspora life whimsically, or obliquely. Ararat is a sophisticated drama with many subplots and multiple interpretations. Of course, there have been any number of regular, straightforward reports and documentaries made about the Armenian Genocide, but these faced severe constraints. Such a complex topic is difficult, if not impossible to cover adequately in 60 or 90 minutes.

Hachikian, dirs.


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Along the way, he meets local Turks and Armenians who, to his surprise, seem to be living together in relative harmony. Norman M. Forgot password? Don't have an account? All Rights Reserved.