This month marks the 100th year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which began in April of 1915. Approximately 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman government and this event is also known as either The Armenian Holocaust or The Armenian Massacres according to The Armenian Genocide website. The Russian and French presidents joined other leaders at the memorial, which took place close to the capital, Yerevan.
Turkey has been said to be disputing the number of people that were killed and the country seems to resent the word genocide being used to describe the killings. Relations between these nations have been negatively altered over this issue. Turkey will admit that some of the killings did occur but the country was not attempting to exterminate the Armenian people. Turkey added that many Muslim Turks were innocently killed as well, so there was not only Armenian casualties but casualties on their side as well according to MSN.
Turkey will also be holding a memorial next week to honor those who died a hundred years ago. MSN added that Turkey feels the pain of the Armenian people, but the country still does not view what happened as genocide. The Armenian president, Serzh Sargsyan, stated that he felt that Turkey was steal the thunder of the Armenian people and their Armenian Genocide remembrance ceremony. He feels that Turkey wants to take away attention from their celebration of the Armenian Genocide and put it back onto Turkey’s.
The goal of these celebrations according to KSL is to remember everyone who has been a victim of genocide and persecution. It does not matter who they were or what their faith was. These individuals deserve to be remembered. The goal is to remember the Armenian people as well as all other people who were killed during the first genocide of the 20th century, the Armenian Genocide. KSL also mentioned that the Turkish government planned to exterminate close to two million Armenians who were living in the Ottoman Empire back in 1915. About 1.5 Armenians in Turkey were killed up until the early 1920s and the genocide forced even more out of the country. Even now the Turks refuse to acknowledge of accept responsibility for the events that occurred back in 1915 and it is even considered to be illegal to discuss the Armenian Genocide in Turkey.
The Armenian Genocide website detailed the events that were said to have occurred during this time.The site said that the beginning of the Armenian Genocide is said to have started on April 24, 1915. The article on the site went on to say that Ottoman authorities arrested and executed approximately 250 Armenians including leaders in Constantinople. The Armenian Genocide went on during and after WWI. During the Armenian Genocide, two phases were implemented. First, they massacred all able-bodied males and/or made them work in labor camps. Secondly, they made all women, children, and the elderly walk to their death in the Syrian desert. They did not give these people any food or water and frequently robbed and raped the women and children. The Turks also targeted the Assyrians and the Ottoman Greeks during this time and they were subjected to the same type of treatment as the Armenians. The Armenian Genocide has even been compared to the Jewish Holocaust for the cruel treatment that people endured during this time.
Fox News stated in an article on the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide that the early Turkish government that invoked all of the killings a hundred years ago seemed to need a scapegoat to blame for what had happened. Unfortunately, the minorities were easy targets and were ultimately blamed. The Turkish government even went as far as to blame Christian Armenians of acting as a part of the Russian military. Thousands of loyal Armenians in the Ottoman army were killed at the hands of their supposed allies. The Turks turned on Armenians. They killed neighbors, invaded homes, kidnapped women and children, and forced any survivors into the desert. Corpses were everywhere and the roads were lined with bodies. American missionaries were eyewitnesses to these events, so this information has been proven to be true rather than just a myth made up by Armenian survivors. The Armenian Genocide was a real occurrence and eyewitness accounts seem to be able to back it up.
The question on the minds of some seems to be-what caused the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide? First of all the Armenian army had been successful for centuries and by the early 20th century the Ottoman Empire seemed to be falling to pieces. The Turks eventually seized power in 1908 and set out to expand their empire and strengthen it even further. They did lose territory during the Balkan Wars, which took place in 1912-1913, and the amount lost was great. They were seriously concerned about anyone who would challenge or oppose them. By the time WWI rolled around, the Turks were extremely worried that the Armenians would side with Russia over them. This started the Turks viewing the Armenians as enemies and made them promote the Armenians as a threat to their empire.
Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Austria, and Russia consider the killings during the Armenian Genocide to be a genocide in that no other word accurately describes the event. Germany even seems to be in agreement that the killing should be considered a genocide even though they were allies of the Turks during WWI. Even President Barack Obama has referred to the killings as the Armenian Genocide in the past. At present, The United States is trying to keep peace with Turkey, so the subject of the Armenian Genocide is not generally brought up very much. The Armenian people do not want anyone to forget the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide and they want Turkey to acknowledge their part in the killings once and for all. The Armenian Genocide is something that should not be forgotten and the memorial was intended as a means of remembering all the were lost. The Armenian Genocide as stated by Fox News is something that the whole world should acknowledge and never forget in the hope that this severe of a tragedy will not occur again.
By Heather Granruth