Armenian Genocide

by Cristhian Bedon on March 9, 2009

Before the Genocide

Somewhat surprisingly to many, Armenians and Turks lived in relative harmony in the Ottoman Empire for centuries. Armenians were known as the “loyal millet”. During these times, although Armenians were not equal and had to put up with certain special hardships, taxes and second class citizenship, they were pretty well accepted and there was relatively little violent conflict. Things began to change for a number of reasons. Nationalism, a new force in the world, reared its head and made ethnic groupings self-conscious, and the Ottoman Empire began to crumble. It became known as “the sick man of Europe” and the only thing holding it together was the European powers’ lack of agreement on how to split it up.

The Genocide

World War One gave the Young Turk government the cover and the excuse to carry out their plan. The plan was simple and its goal was clear. On April 24th 1915, commemorated worldwide by Armenians as Genocide Memorial Day, hundreds of Armenian leaders were murdered in Istanbul after being summoned and gathered. The now leaderless Armenian people were to follow. Across the Ottoman Empire (with the exception of Constantinople, presumably due to a large foreign presence), the same events transpired from village to village, from province to province.

While living in some type of harmony in the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians lived as second classed folks. They were given limited freedom due to the religion they had. “In the Ottoman Empire, in accordance with the Muslim dhimmi system, Armenians, as Christians, were guaranteed limited freedoms (such as the right to worship), but were treated as second-class citizens. Christians and Jews were not considered equals to Muslims.” As the Ottoman Empire caved, and it was getting taken over – they lost more and more of the so call freedom. They were getting treated worst and worst, when WWI started – Turkey accompanied the Central powers, and thus started the mass slaying of the Armenians.

Posted via web from Armenia

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