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Armenian Genocide

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Massacre By Turks in Caucasus Towns, The New York Times, February 23, 1915.

The Armenian Genocide was the forcible deportation and massacring of Armenians during the government of the Young Turks from 1915 to 1917 in the Ottoman Empire.[1]


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.[2] 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]."[3]

The Ottoman government, moving quickly, arrested an estimated 250 Armenian intellectuals on the night of 24 April 1915.[4]

The Turkish massacres of Armenians in 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1909 were still fresh in their minds.[5]

Foreign accounts

"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.[6] 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‘‘.[7]



  1. "Cultural Cleansing: Who Remembers The Armenians," in Robert Bevan. The Destruction of Memory, Reaction Books, London. 2006, pages 25-60
  2. Balakian. The Burning Tigris, p. 200
  3. Dadrian., History of the Armenian Genocide, p. 220
  4. Balakian. The Burning Tigris, pp. 211-212
  5. "A Peace to End All Peace", by David Fromkin, p211.
  6. Lewy, Guenter (Fall 2005). "Revisiting the Armenian Genocide". Middle East Quarterly.
  7. See Taner Akçam, Guenter Lewy’s The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey." Genocide Studies and Prevention, 3:1 April 2008, pp. 111-143.

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