Armenian Genocide Facts – April 24, 1915
The Armenian Genocide of 1915 refers to systematic massacre of around 1.5 million Armenians just after World War I in 1915, which was carried out by Turkish Government (Ottoman Empire).
The conflict between Armenians and Turks goes back years. Armenia became under Ottoman rule during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Armenians being Christians were treated very badly and as second class citizen by the Turks who were Muslims. They were overtaxed, subjected to brigandage, kidnapping and forced to convert to Islam. Christians in Ottoman were not treated as equals to Muslims, this included other ethnicities like Greeks. Christian religious practices could be punished by law.
The genocide was organized by army officers’ movement known as The Young Turks, which was assembled around 1908. Unlike Hitler or Stalin’s ideological reasons for doing so, the Young Turks were different. They had political reasons for their mass murder. Propaganda at that time accused the Armenian people of being saboteurs and a pro-Russian “fifth column” because of they were on Germany’s side and losing in World War I.
Not only were Armenians who were in the Ottoman Army killed and their property confiscated, 300 leading Armenian officials and community leaders were arrested on April 24, 1915 to be executed later. This is why Armenians commemorate this great tragedy on April 24th every year. This day is generally known to be the start of the Armenian Genocide and what followed in the coming months and year was the systematic massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians. The goal of the Ottoman Empire was to eliminate all Armenians.
Initially many Armenian men were requested to join the Army, but the plan was to kill the able men first. Without any regard for gender or age, Armenians were rounded up in the region of Anatolia and deported to the Syrian Desert or neighboring areas, where most of them died of starvation or disease. Similar deportations were done all over. Many Armenian women were rapped by Ottoman soldiers and left for death. Populations of villagers were taken and burned at once. Many women and children were placed on boats and then thrown over board in the Black Sea. Morphine overdoes was used to kill children. Toxic gas was used to kill students in 2 schools. Many were gathered in camps and left for death by starvation and disease.
Much like the Jews, the Armenians will never forget this atrocity committed with malicious intent to systematically destroy every Armenian. While Turkey until this day and age attributes that figure to about 300,000 people, scholars think otherwise. Turkey denies that a genocide ever happened and claims they lost just as many people on their side.There have been numerous attempts to pass a resolution in the US to officially recognize the genocide, however due to the US ties with Turkey, the congress has never approved such a bill. Passing such a bill would mean loosing of a good ally in the region. US has military bases in Turkey.
There are 21 countries that have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, including France, Argentina and Sweden. 43 US states have also recognized the genocide.