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The Armenian genocide was the intentional dissipation committed against the Armenian people by the
Ottoman Empire. For years the Young Turk government had seen their Armenian population as opposition
to rebuilding the empire, which had been declining for some time. War after war the Ottoman Empire lost
to the countries in the Balkans, Russia and European colonial powers such as Britain, France and Italy, and
after the wars lost vast amounts of land. At the height of it’s power The Ottoman Empire stretched from
the gates of Vienna, to the Caucasusan and Crimean peninsulars, down through the Middle East down to
modern day Eritrea across to Algiers. Enver Pasha, the leader of the Young Turk government and Minister
of war, upon the Ottoman Empire’s entry into World War I, decided that then would be the perfect time
and if they didn’t act now, it would be too late, after numerous other smaller massacres in previous years,
to begin a full scale genocide upon the Armenians, with the eyes of London and Paris focused on the war.
On the 15th February, 1915; the Ottoman Empire, fighting against the Russians on the
Caucasus front against the Russian army where many Armenians lived, announced they
would move their Armenian population to safety and began deporting them to mainly to
areas in Syria where apparently they would be looked after until the war was over, in reality
though, they were being forced to march until they died of starvation and/or exhaustion.
Men were either rounded up and shot, or sent to work in labour battalions where they would
be worked to death, women and young girls were raped, kidnapped and murdered, young
children were stabbed with Bayonets, even the people actually committing the acts referred
to it as genocide. 1.5 million Armenians were killed from 1915-1923.
Post War period
In 1920 the western powers partitioned the Ottoman Empire at the treaty of Sevres, giving
parts of the Ottoman to Greece, Armenia, Italy, Britain, France and international control. In
response to this, general Mustafa Kemal, who had been the general for the Turkish army at
the invasion of Gallipoli, assembled a nationalist army to remove foreign invaders from his
homeland, he saw the Sultan as nothing more than a puppet of the allies, his actions forced
the allies to draw up another peace treaty, known as the treaty of Lausanne, he proclaimed a
new government in Ankara; in 1923 this government was recognised as the Republic of
Turkey. Mustafa Kemal was president of Turkey from it’s formation until 1938, and began to
censor the Armenian genocide from Turkish history, as a means to encourage nationalism.
The Turkish government refuses to accept the word genocide as a valid description of the
event, and article 301 in the Turkish penal code forbids discussing the event. Turkey uses
certain excuses to justify it, the most common ones being:
1) It was a result of famine, war and disease.
2) The Armenians killed small villages.
3) The United Nations does not recognise the event as a genocide.
4) The Armenians are using the event as an excuse to reclaim Eastern Anatolia.
5) The Armenians were disloyal.
6) They could have easily killed the Armenians a lot faster in a lot greater quantities.
1) No shelters were built for the Armenians like they were supposedly and they did not make
any attempt to provide them with adequate sustenance.
2) Those Armenians were Armenians in the Russian army, the Ottoman Armenians had nothing
to do with those Armenians.
3) The UN does not recognise the atrocities in Darfur as a genocide, does that make it not a
4) Whether or not that is true, the photographic evidence clearly shows that the event did
5) During a war with Russia, a small group of Armenians in the Turkish army disobeyed direct
orders in order to save Talaat Pasha from becoming a Russian prisoner of war.
6) Unlike the Nazis, the Turks only had guns and knives, they did not have gas chambers and
medical testing labs and huge concentration camps, the Ottoman Empire was technologically
behind the rest of the world, they had only just gotten the railway at this time.
It is crucial that Turkey recognise the genocide, as pretending the event never
happened will only result in futures genocides like this, whereas knowing the truth
will build compassion and awareness, and decrease the chances of this ever
happening again. It has been 94 years since the beginning of the Armenian
Genocide, and yet it still has yet to be internationally recognised as it was.
Will YOU recognise the Armenian genocide?