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In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire went into the World War I on the side of the Central Powers. İsmail Enver, who was then the Minister of War, launched a disastrous military campaign against Russian forces in the Caucasus in hopes of capturing the city of Baku. His forces were routed at the Battle of Sarikamis, and many more of his men froze to death.
Returning to Istanbul, Enver largely blamed the Armenians living in the region for actively siding with the Russians. In 1914, the Ottoman Empire's War Office had already begun a propaganda drive to present Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire as a liability and threat to the country's security. An Ottoman naval officer in the War Office described the planning:
|“||In order to justify this enormous crime the requisite propaganda material was thoroughly prepared in Istanbul. [It included such statements as] "the Armenians are in league with the enemy. They will launch an uprising in Istanbul, kill off the Ittihadist leaders and will succeed in opening the straits [of the Dardanelles]."||”|
The Turkish massacres of Armenians in 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1909 were still fresh in their minds.
|“||"I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared with the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915." Henry Morgenthau, American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, 1913-1916. -Henry Morgenthau||”|
Denial of killings
Guenter Lewy claims in his book,The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide, that there is not enough evidence of the Young Turk regime organizing the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. According to Lewy, even though their fate in World War I proved tragic, it was not a ‘‘real’’ genocide, because ‘‘there were no centrally organized and state-sponsored premeditation and genocidal intention‘‘.
- "Cultural Cleansing: Who Remembers The Armenians," in Robert Bevan. The Destruction of Memory, Reaction Books, London. 2006, pages 25-60
- Balakian. The Burning Tigris, p. 200
- Dadrian., History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 220
- Balakian. The Burning Tigris, pp. 211-212
- "A Peace to End All Peace", by David Fromkin, p211.
- Lewy, Guenter (Fall 2005). "Revisiting the Armenian Genocide". Middle East Quarterly. http://www.meforum.org/article/748.
- See Taner Akçam, Guenter Lewy’s The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey." Genocide Studies and Prevention, 3:1 April 2008, pp. 111-143.
- Armenian National Institute: the 1915 Armenian Genocide
- Armenian Genocide - ArmeniaPedia
- Armenian Genocide