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The Armenian Genocide – 100 Years

The Armenian Genocide – Shedding Light to a Great Tragedy 

A Few Words…

Before I start getting to the topic at hand, I just want apologise for my slacking over the past week, many anniversaries of key events throughout the week have happened, most notably two tragic events had happened 100 years ago such as the Armenian Genocide and the Gallipoli Campaign. Both tragic events which saw the deaths of many and are topics which I will be commemorating over the next few days. Another article I will be producing is of the opposite spectrum as the 70th anniversary of the death of Hitler is quickly approaching and I will be covering the mysteries, disputes and debates which have centred around the Austrian tyrant.

The Armenian Genocide

Young Victims of the Armenian Genocide - Image Source: http://cnsnews.com/sites/default/files/images/children.jpg
Young Victims of the Armenian Genocide – Image Source: http://cnsnews.com/sites/default/files/images/children.jpg

Until now, the Armenian Genocide has been something I haven’t known much about, in a time during the First World War as we know an event so massive pretty much covers all aspects of those years between 1914 and 1918. Despite my ignorance I thought I should look it up and do a little research to commemorate the lives lost from the sick decision taken by the Ottoman Government at the time for systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects inside their historic homeland, which lies within the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The Ottoman Empire did actually enter the First World War and joined the central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria). While this was happening, the empire’s Armenians were deported from Eastern Anatolia to Syria as part of the Armenian Genocide. As a result, approximately 800,000 to 1.5 million were killed. Other indigenous and Christian ethnic groups were targeted by the Ottoman empire such as the Assyrians and the Ottoman Greeks and their treatment was considered by many historians to be under the same genocidal policy that the Armenians were victims of. The article will briefly cover the context of the Armenian Genocide and the main perpetrator, Talaat Pasha.

Prelude to the Genocide

The Young Turk Movement

The Ottoman Empire had reigned supreme in this areas for many centuries and it was until around 1908 that a step was taken for the hope for equality to be materialised under the banner, the Young Turk Movement. The goal was to reform administration of the perceived decadent state of the Ottoman Empire and modernise it to European standards. Although the movement combined to produce an anti-government established, it was in fact made out of two distinct groups which although shared the anti-government values of the Ottoman Empire, views differed in many aspects, one were the liberal constitutionalists and the others were the nationalists, the former was accepting of the Armenian issues and the other… not so much.

Following Government Reactions

It was this that initially led to the turmoil that would happen less than a decade later and following events included violent government reactions such as the Adana Massacre of 1909. The Young Turk Movement saw the birth of a revolutionary movement aimed to disband the government called the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), the Committee was behind a wave a mutinies against the government and it was groups like this which caused the government to crack down on what they perceived to be enemies of the state. The Adana Massacre was simply a reactionary movement of those sympathetic and supportive of the empire. The movement initially targeted those of the Young Turk Movement but this process spilled over to Armenians who they considered to also support a restoration of the constitution. The Ottoman Army was called in and their violent approach showed the brutality of the empire, instead of trying to quell the violence in defence, they chose to suppress and pillage Armenian enclaves. The Adana Massacre therefore had an estimated Armenian death count of around 15,000 to 30,000.

This event is crucial in beginning the victimisation process of the Armenian people, the preceding events help show the context of the genocide that even now the Turkish government and following others tend to tone down. The beginning was an atypical reactionary movement to those revolutionary groups hoping to overthrow an outdated repressive government which threatened the safety of all of those who don’t agree with the politics of the Ottoman Empire.

Deportation of Armenian Intellectuals

This is considered the real beginning of the Armenian Genocide and the first true step of the sick genocidal campaign. It was basically the removal of the leaders of the Armenian community within the Ottoman Capital and later other locations, the individuals were arrested and then taken to holding centres near Ankara. The order was taken by the interior minister of the Ottoman Empire, Talaat Pasha and as a result he is widely considered to be the main perpetrator of the Armenian Genocide. This initially took place on 24 April, 1915 and on the first night around 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals were arrested. By the end, the total was up to 2,345 and these individuals were relocated within the Ottoman Empire and many of them were eventually killed, signalling the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. Many historians and me included saw the removal of leaders and intellectuals as a way of depriving the Armenians with any true resistance, the Ottoman government began from the top to remove any potential resistance and therefore leaving the rest of the Armenian population to ponder the risks of their future without guidance.

Talaat Pasha, the Main Perpetrator of the Armenian Genocide - Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/Talat_Pasha.jpg
Talaat Pasha, the Main Perpetrator of the Armenian Genocide – Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/Talat_Pasha.jpg

A day of remembrance was issues on 24 April following the day that marked the beginning of the deportation of Armenian intellectuals. The first commemoration was held on 24 April, 1919 and is there to commemorate the individuals who fell victim to the cruel actions of the Ottoman Empire. Luckily Talaat Pasha died not long after in 1921, the deaths of millions are rested on his shoulders and his barbaric nature has been quoted as he’s reported to have said:

”I have accomplished more toward solving the Armenian problem in three months than Abdulhamid II accomplished in thirty years!” (Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story).

Operation Nemesis was the codename deemed for the covert operation of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation with the task of assassinating the key Ottoman military and political figures who were key parts for the deportation and genocide of the Armenian population. Some even considered Talaat Pasha to the main target, especially the leader of the group; Shahan Natalie who dubbed Pasha as the primary target ”Number One.” His assassin was Soghomon Tehlirian, an Armenian survivor who was tasked to hand himself to the law following the assassination and he was found not guilty following the nature of his victim.

Soghomon Tehlirian, Talaat Pasha's Assassin - Image Source: http://image2.findagrave.com/photos/2012/273/39650989_134904885931.jpg
Soghomon Tehlirian, Talaat Pasha’s Assassin – Image Source: http://image2.findagrave.com/photos/2012/273/39650989_134904885931.jpg

The Massacres

The massacres of the Armenian genocides saw a variety of horrific ways to die, writing this part makes me shudder and the victims we given no remorse or respectful deaths, instead the scumbag Ottoman Empire chose mass burnings, drowning of individuals, drug overdoses and poisoning. This information was found through the testifying of witnesses of these actions against the Armenian population. I actually read this through the wiki page, although not really a reliable source, it does contain legitimate references, click HERE for the link.

Recognition of the Genocide

The Armenia Genocide Memorial, also known as Tsitsernakaberd - Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Armenian_Genocide_Memorial_-_Yerevan_(2903020364).jpg
The Armenia Genocide Memorial, also known as Tsitsernakaberd – Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Armenian_Genocide_Memorial_-_Yerevan_(2903020364).jpg

I was actually shocked to realise that Turkey does not recognise the actions against the Armenians as genocide. This cause many of the Armenian population to push for formal recognition of the genocide within other European countries. There are still issues with who considers it a genocide, Barack Obama for example never formally recognised the events as genocide and has abstained from using the word ”genocide.” On 24 April, 2015, the German parliament overwhelmingly adopted the resolution recognising the Genocide. In my opinion and after a bit more reading I consider the events within the Ottoman Empire as Genocide against the Armenian population, the Ottoman Empire were afraid of revolutionary trends within the Empire and acted as most repressive government know how, with violence. The events that took place should not be forgotten and I hope if some people who read my basic view of the Genocide will learn more of the events that took place and recognise the great tragedy. These times witnessed the cruel cleansing from a fear of revolution. Fortunately the empire was defeated in the First World War and witnessed a drastic change in politics for the benefit of humanity, and those responsible were rightly assassinated and laid waste on the streets under Operation Nemesis.

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