Every year on April 24th, the day when the attacks against Armenians in the Ottoman Empire began, Armenians remember the Medz Yeghern, the ‘great catastrophe’. A stone cenotaph on a hill in the Armenian capital Yerevan, featuring an eternal flame, is a centre point of the commemorations.
In 1915, leaders of the Ottoman (Turkish) government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. On April 24, 1915, the Armenian genocide began. That day, the government arrested and executed several hundred Armenian intellectuals. After that, ordinary Armenians were turned out of their homes and sent on death marches through the Mesopotamian desert without food or water. Frequently, the marchers were stripped naked and forced to walk under the scorching sun until they dropped dead. People who stopped to rest were shot.
At the same time, the Young Turks created a “Special Organization,” which in turn organized “killing squads” or “butcher battalions” to carry out, as one officer put it, “the liquidation of the Christian elements.” These killing squads were often made up of murderers and other ex-convicts. They drowned people in rivers, threw them off cliffs, crucified them and burned them alive. In short order, the Turkish countryside was littered with Armenian corpses.
Unfortunately, the Armenian genocide is a contentious historical event not universally recognized. Many nations have recognized the mass killings as genocide. Others, including the United States, resist such an acknowledgement. Turkey denies that the killings constituted genocide and says that the figures are exaggerated and estimates the total killed to be 300,000.
Historians estimate that 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks and today Armenians are one of the world’s most dispersed people. It is estimated that more than half of Armenians live outside of Armenia.
The systematic massacres and deportations of Armenians from their historic homelands began on the 24th of April, 1915, by order of the Ottoman Empire. Hundreds of Armenian public figures – politicians, clergymen, educators, artists – were arrested and summarily executed in the capital Constantinople (Istanbul) or sent into exile. The Armenian Genocide followed decades of discrimination and pogroms against Armenians and other minorities under Ottoman rule, most notably the Hamidian Massacres of 1894-1896, and the Adana Massacre of 1909.
Using the cover of World War I, the Ottoman authorities subjected the native Christian population (Armenians, Greeks, and Syriac peoples) to outright annihilation and exile in an attempt to demographically cleanse Anatolia and Asia Minor of non-Muslim elements.
The Armenian Genocide thus intended to establish an ethnically pure, national Turkish state by removing the two million Armenians whose ancestral homes stretched from Van and Bitlis, Mush and Erzurum in the east to Trabzon, Samsun, and Sivas in the north, to Ankara, Kütahya, and Izmir in the west, to Adana and Marash, and Antep and Urfa in the south, not to mention numerous other cities, towns, villages, and regions that had held an Armenian population – some for centuries, others for millennia.
The Armenian people were dispossessed of countless generations of cultural heritage. But they survived. They formed organised communities all over the world. They maintain a state today, and they continue to commemorate the experience of their forebears in the hope of gaining a meaningful acknowledgement of what remains one of the greatest unanswered crimes of the twentieth century.
Tonight 101 years ago Turkey started Armenian genocide which they still deny.
Pic is of Armenian village Sheyxalan pic.twitter.com/yfjFsuaMNA
— Rojava (@AzadiRojava) 24 avril 2016
- ‘Death to Armenian dogs:’ Turkish leader in Sweden steps down after call for killings
Original Source: rt.com
The deputy head of Sweden’s main Turkish association stepped down in disgrace after calling for death to Armenians. Speaking to a small crowd in Stockholm, Barbaros Leylani urged Turks to awaken, and to kill what he branded “the Armenian dogs.”
Speaking at Sergels Square in the center of the Swedish capital, Leylani also said: “Let us show Sweden, Scandinavia and Europe what Turkey stands for. We do not like blood, but we can let the blood flow when it is needed,” the Swedish publication Dagens Nyheter reported.
The Swedish legal watchdog Juridikfronten said it was aware of the incident and had reported the speech to police for incitement to racial hatred.
Leylani’s comments have been condemned by numerous groups in Sweden. The head of the Armenian association in Sweden, Garlen Mansourian, told Radio Sweden that there needs to be “zero tolerance” for such remarks, while he also plans to report Leylani to the police.
Meanwhile, Bahar Cetin, the head of Sweden’s Turkish Youth Association said she was shocked at the comments made after seeing a recording on the internet. She condemned Leylani’s statement as “racist” and said it could negatively affect the 50,000 Turks living in Sweden.
“It leads to us Turks being painted as racists and fascists in the media and in society,” she told Radio Sweden. Cetin added that the Turkish community has unanimously condemned Leylani’s statements.
— Serge (@Zinvor) 23 avril 2016
- TURKEY: GENOCIDE À LA CARTE
- ARMENIAN GENOCIDE: History and Facts
- Armenian Genocide of 1915: An Overview from New York Times
- In the Ruins’ still resonates over a century on