24 April 1915: the Armenian genocide

The growth of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries brought Armenia, along with swathes of the Balkans, under Turkish control. Ottoman laws treated all non-Muslims as second-class citizens, meaning Christian Armenians faced restrictions, such as having to pay a special tax, set at punitive levels.

In the 19th century, demands for Armenian independence grew, but protests met with savage reprisals in 1894 and 1909.

The first Balkan war saw large parts of Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece escape Ottoman control, but not Armenia. In 1914, Turkey allied with Germany, aiming to use the chaos of World War I to retake its former territories.

When a brief campaign in the Balkans resulted in crushing defeat, it turned its attention to the Armenian population, which it accused of collaborating with Russia. By early 1915 it moved those Armenians conscripted into the Turkish army into labour battalions.

Having disarmed the population, it rounded up individuals, starting with the arrest of 250 prominent Armenians in Constantinople (now Istanbul) on 24 April, which is generally acknowledged as the start of the genocide.

Months later, Turkey passed laws allowing it to round up anyone it liked and confiscate their property. Up to 1.5 million Armenians died, either executed directly or dying in concentration camps. Armenia became independent in 1918 at the end of World War I, but was invaded by Russia in 1920.

It became part of the Soviet Union, while part of its territory went to Turkey. While Turkey acknowledges the killings, it does not recognise them as genocide. Most non-Turkish scholars disagree.

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  • LLOYD TUCKER

    MUSTAPHA KEMAL REMAINS ONE OF MY 20TH CENTURY HEROES ESPECIALLY IN HIS VIEWS ON PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS AS WELL AS THE WAY HE ALLOWED RETREAT OF ALLIED TROOPS FROM GALLIPOLI AFTER A HANDSHAKE WITH MAJOR CLEMENT ATTLEE. BUT THE ARMENIAN MASSACRES REMAIN A BLOT ON HIS CHARACTER JUST THE NORTHERN MASSACRES SPOIL THE RECORD OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR IN ENGLAND AND THE BOYNE REDUCES THE ACHIEVEMENT OF WILLIAM OF ORANGE PROBABLY THE LAST UK MONARCH TO PLAY ANY EXECUTIVE ROLE IN THE FUTURE OF HIS ADOPTIVE COUNTRY THOUGH JIMMY VI & 1 WAS HIS G GRANDFATHER. I AM SO SORRY ABOUT THE HIGHER CASE BUT IT IS EASIER FOR SPEED NOT AGRESSION. THE CURRENT TURKISH PRESIDENT CANNOT HOLD A CANDLE TO KEMAL WHATEVER HE MAY PRETEND TO SAYTO KEEP US MONEY. AND LET US ALL REMEMBER SENATOR OBAMA WHO VOTED AGAINST THE BUSH INVASION OF IRAQ. I HOPE TO SEE GEORGE W AT ICC.

    • LLOYD TUCKER

      THE OTTOMAN SULTAN/CALIPH ALLOWED CHRISTIANS TO EXIST IN HIS EMPIRE PROVIDED THEY PAID HIGHER TAXES AND A SUPPLY OF YOUNG WOMEN FOR THE HAREM. A COPTIC CHRISTIAN FRIEND FROM UNIVERSITY DAYS BELIEVES THE NEW CALIPHATE HAS ADOPTED THE SAME RULES BUT SHE HAS FAMILY NEAR MOSUL AND ASKS ME WHY GEORGE W BUSH HAD TO ATTACK IRAQ. QUO VADIS ETC……………..

  • Dave the neutral

    History shows us that all the Great Empires (great meaning large!!) come to an end at sometime in world history. It is normally when they get that large that they are unable to control what they have gained (by war, theft or whatever). It is usually the case that their supply lines and manpower become over extended and rebellion/revolt follows. 1.5 million deaths must be up there with the big despots of world history such as Attila the Hun, Ghengis Khan, Pohl Pot, Stalin, Hitler et al.

    • LLOYD TUCKER

      IF NEUTRAL DAVE IS RIGHT (RAS)PUTIN HAS A LONG WAY TO GO BUT BREAKING THE UN EMBARGO ON ARMS TO IRAN HELPS NOBODY AS THE SAUDI ALLIANCE WILL KEEP GOING TO PACE A WAR BY PROXY. I WORRY ABOUT THE BRITISH EMPIRE BUT MORE SO OVER PUTIN AS HIS EMBARGO ON EU GOODS INCLUDES POLISH FRUIT BUT NOT FRENCH BURGUNDY REDS NOR GOOD COGNAC NOR SINGLE MALT FROM SCOTTISH SALMONDLAND AND NOW THERE IS THIS AWFUL NEPAL EARTHQUAKE SO DOES GOD EXIST OR IS IT JUST IMAGINATION AS I CONSOLE MYSELF ON THE NASA WEBSETE AND ADMIRE THE HADRON RESEARCH………7 DAYS OR 28+ BILLION YEEARS?

      • LLOYD TUCKER

        HEAVY QWERTY HANDS ARE STILL MINE.

    • Doug Macleod

      Has Belgium killed more people per capita than any other country? Over 10m Congolese killed ‘A hundred years ago, enlightened people in the western world were outraged by a holocaust in Africa which left millions dead. Denunciations thundered from speaker’s platforms around the US and Europe. One open letter to The Times was signed by 11 peers, 19 bishops and 75 MPs. Viscount Grey, Britain’s foreign secretary, declared that no overseas issue had so intensely aroused the British public for 30 years. Conan Doyle wrote a pamphlet on the Congo atrocities which sold 25,000 copies in the first week alone. Yet today not one person in a thousand could say what the fuss was all about.’ T.A.

      • Dave the neutral

        Doug
        I am not aware of what you posted, so I will read about it on the internet, thanks.