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What happened during the genocide and why does Turkey deny it?
 
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MessagePosté le: Dim 30 Oct 2016 - 05:29
MessageSujet du message: What happened during the genocide and why does Turkey deny it?
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Armenian massacres:

What happened during the genocide and why does Turkey deny it?

As Yerevan and Armenians across the world gather to remember the 1.5 million killed during the massacres, Richard Spencer explains what happened


Turkey Armenian Refugees 1915 Photo: UPPA

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Editor
24 Apr 2015

Comment
On Friday, Yerevan and the Armenian disapora together with world leaders in the Armenian capital will commemorate the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian genocide.
It is the 100th anniversary of the date on which the Ottoman Empire began its attack on Armenians when intellectuals and political leaders were rounded up in Istanbul on April 24, 1915.

What was the Armenian genocide?
As the Ottoman Empire suffered its first losses in the First World War, the “Young Turk” government rounded up intellectuals and political leaders from its Christian Armenian minority. It then went one step further - ordering the community’s expulsion from Anatolia to Syria.


Armenians marched long distances and said to have been massacred in Turkey (AP)

Across eastern Turkey, long columns of Armenians were ambushed by soldiers and Kurdish gangs, who slaughtered them by the hundreds of thousand. Instructions from provincial Ottoman officials, notably the governor of Diyarbakir province Mehmed Reshid, gave impunity to the attackers, many of whom plundered and looted Armenian property.
The killings were carried out under the glare of international publicity, including from missionaries - America was yet to join the war, and dramatic witness accounts of hundreds of people being killed, or even burned alive, appeared in the western press. Photographs show whole valleys littered with skulls.

Armenian historians now claim 1.5 million people were murdered or starved to death in the Syrian deserts.
Asked later how as a doctor he justified his policies, Reshid said: “My Turkish identity won out over my profession. I thought: we must destroy them before they destroy us. If you ask me how I as a doctor could commit murder, my answer is simple: the Armenians had become dangerous microbes in the body of this country. And surely it is a doctor’s duty to kill bacteria?”

Why do the Turkish authorities deny it was a genocide?
The Turkish government furiously rejects claims that this was the “first genocide of the twentieth century”. It claims there was no deliberate attempt to wipe out the Armenian population, that the move to deport them was a defensive position after Armenians sided with Russians in the war, and that as many Turks and other Muslims as Armenian Christians died in the fighting.
[img:ae6a0c09db]http://[url=http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03279/Massacre2_3279111b.jpg%5Dhttp://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03279/Massacre2_3279111b.jpg%5B/url%5D[/img:ae6a0c09db]
Armenian refugee children pictured in 1915 awaiting aid (UPPA)

Some historians, including western historians, agree, pointing to a recent history of Armenian nationalist and Marxist terrorism against the Ottoman Empire, in which numerous Ottoman officials and even Armenians who sided with the state were killed. They also claim that Russia expelled Turks from areas it conquered - and that many Muslims had also been killed and expelled in the Balkans as the Ottoman empire lost its European possessions like Greece and Bulgaria over the course of the 19th Cenutry.
Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish prime minister, said this week: “The scars left by the exile and massacres that Turkish and Muslim Ottomans were subjected to a century ago are still vivid in our minds today.
“To ignore this fact and discriminate between pains suffered is as questionable historically as it is mistaken morally.”

Who is right?
The Turks are right to say that there is no exact parallel with the Holocaust of the Jews in the Second World War, no order for a “final solution” to exterminate the Armenian people. It is also true that the Ottoman government, in terminal decline, had reason to fear that Russia and other Western, Christian nations were intent on exploiting its weakness to carve out new spheres of influence in collaboration with disaffected minorities.


Armenian victims of the massacres in Turkey (AP)

Most importantly, while massacres of civilians on ethnic or sectarian grounds is sadly common enough in war, the attempt to dispose of an entire ethnicity, however it was done, is what differentiates this event.
The Turkish government over the course of the last century has also done itself no favours by refusing to discuss the issue for long periods, persecuting historians and others who report on its past and present treatment of minorities.
To its credit, the current government has opened up the topic more than its predecessors. However, across eastern Anatolia, towns that were once thriving hubs of the Armenian civilisation bear no trace of their presence - and certainly no memorial to those murdered, despite the “regrets” expressed by Ankara today.
In some cases, churches that were scenes of massacres a century or more ago have been converted to mosques, with the present-day worshippers having no idea of what happened to their predecessors so recently.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/armenia/11559779/Armenian-massacres-What-happened-during-the-genocide-and-why-does-Turkey-deny-it.html
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