Overview of Armenian Genocide by Ottomans
Nearly a century ago, Armenians were faced with the genocidal brutality of the Turks. The Armenian Genocide caused 1.5 million deaths by Ottomans deaths. Peter Balakian in ”The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response” (2004) claimed there were 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. By 1922, they were reduced to 400,000.
Peter Balakian in ”The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response” (2004) is an all-encompassing book on the Armenian genocide. Peter Balakian provides excellent examples of eyewitness accounts and international documentation. The Turkish government’s continued denial is also reprehensible. What makes this book unique is that it contains the voices of bereaved families.
Turkey’s disintegration was on the cards after entering World War I, and liberation movements and uprisings rose in many places. The Armenian genocide by the Ottomans was based on allegations that they (Christian Armenians) were showing allegiance to annex Christian Russia, instead of staying with Muslim Turkey.
In this regard, they, directly or indirectly, are responsible for the killing of nearly 1.5 million Armenians. Making the matter worse, they have compensated for the inhumane treatment, neither financial indemnification nor moral compensation in the form of an apology.
Their denial of the genocide rubs salt on the wounds of Armenians and sets a terrible precedent. Therefore, the Ottomans deliberately killed 1.5 million for the so-called treason coupled with the denial, which is an insult to Armenians and their fundamental human rights.
Armenian Genocide by Ottomans is Real
First of all, people remember the holocaust by Nazi Germany in World War II but ignore the Armenian genocide by the Ottomans during World War I. It means the narrative that there has not taken place any genocide like that is an unfounded theory. This theory aims to hide the real picture of history and evade moral and financial compensation (Berlinger, 2017).
”The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History” is another great book on the Armenian genocide. It focuses predominantly on the historical background of the mass killing of Christian Armenians. According to the author, the Muslim Ottomans were religiously inspired to slay Christian Armenians.
But the world knows that the Turks carried out the first genocide of the 20th. Many Turkish leaders, including Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have acknowledged the painful history of (the suffering of Armenians). Apart from their mild confessions, there are undeniable and hard-to-ignore facts that point toward the genocide.
For example, there are many headlines and articles published by the New York Times around the time of the genocide, flagging this truculence. There was a headline on August 18, 1915, titled, “Armenians Are Sent to Perish in Desert.” Another headline, which is more to-the-point and pronounced, says, “Million Armenians Killed or in Exile.” (Arango, 2015).
Armenians did Rebel Against the Declining Ottomans
Moreover, it was the so-called treason of Armenians that led to the genocide. Before entering World War I, Turkey was a big empire comprising many nations and ethnicities. When it because quite probable that Turkey would not be among the victors, many uprisings erupted in various areas, including the Arabian Peninsula and Armenia.
Turkey blamed Armenians for showing allegiance to Christian Russia and sent the army to quell the dissident voices (Berlinger, 2017). Although some voices were calling for allegiance to Christian Russia, they cannot be regarded as the dedicated representative of the whole Armenians.
Thomas de Waal, a top-notch historian, nicely terms this as “collective punishment on a mass scale” (Arango, 2015). Therefore, it was a myopic understanding to take a few voices for all and start a genocide.
The Armenian Genocide was Systematic
Further, either the Armenians were lynched in a direct military operation or were forced to march to Syria’s scorching desert to let them die of hunger and thirst. These two employed methods for the racial genocide by the Ottoman Turks (Arango, 2015).
The massacres and forced migration of the Armenian population left no less than 1.5 million dead. They were stuck in trains with unlivable conditions. Nearly one million were killed in 7-8 months in 2015, which Joe Berlinger calls race extermination (Berlinger, 2017).
Armenians were Thrown into Gorges and Crevasses
The notable point is that the genocide itself was carried out so that the culprits could go scot-free after the bloodbath. One way of killing Armenians was to throw them into profound gorges and crevasses (Arango, 2015).
Ronald Grigor Suny in ”They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else”: A History of the Armenian Genocide” (2015) is another notable book that gives evidence that a systematic genocide was carried out by the Ottomans. Press in Great Britain, France, Russia, and many other countries wrote and condemned the brutality during WWI.
Ronald Grigor also says that hundreds of thousands of Armenian men, women, and children were sent on death marches, lasting hundreds of miles, through the Syrian desert. Many of the men were brutally massacred en route. Thousands of women and children were violently assimilated through rape and abduction, forced to adopt Turkish names, and converted to Islam.
The people were killed, their villages, especially in eastern Anatolia, were ravaged, and their religious identities like monasteries and churches were devastated.
In short, forced migration and military operations were used to kill Armenians and destroy monasteries and churches.
Turkey neither Acknowledges the Genocide nor Compensates
Apart from that, Turkey has always been reluctant to either acknowledge the brutality or morally and financially compensate the bereaved Armenians. They have always been in a state of denial.
The founding father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, underwent Turkification to erase the past, denying multiethnic history and engineering new narratives (Arango, 2015).
This explains why all the leaders, including Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have bluntly denied what one of the worst genocides of the 20th century is. Making the matter worse, the textbooks still declare Armenians as enemies and traitors, which is reprehensible (Arango, 2015).
Turkey Owes a lot to Armenians
Lastly, the denial of genocide is the justification of the genocide. It means if Turkey is not acknowledging the unspeakable war crimes it has committed, they are saying the killing of Armenians was justified. This denial means there can be another genocide of Armenians any time soon.
Nations do make unwise decisions and commit things that they should not, but they apologize; Germany did, and many other nations. But Turkey does not think so hence keeping a space for some other such atrocious event. Therefore, the denial of genocide is tantamount to committing genocide and justifying it.
To conclude, it is quite evident that Turkey committed one of the worst genocides of the 20th century, the Armenian genocide. They were losing ground in World War I, and it seemed quite conspicuous that people would try to liberate themselves, not only in the Arabian peninsula but also in Armenia.
In order to keep their empire (Ottoman), they squelched the dissident voices and even carried out what is colloquially called the First Genocide of the 20th century. Nearly 1.5 million people died, either in military operations or due to forced migration to the Syrian desert.
Making the matter worse, Turkey has neither apologized nor financially compensated for the Armenian Genocide, a crime against humanity. In a way, this is a justification of the genocide and maybe a space for another such horrific event.
Arango, T. (2015). A Century After Armenian Genocide, Turkey’sTurkey’s Denial Only Deepens. New York Times.
Berlinger, J. (2017). Intent to Destroy. Documentary. AmazonShare