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Armenian Genocide (1914-1922)
It is generally accepted that the Armenian Genocide started on April 24, 1915.

The Armenians commemorate this date because on April 24, 1915 more than 200 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were arrested and then murdered in Constantinople.

However, the Turkish plan of uprooting the Armenians from their ancestral homeland was masterminded far beforehand.

The outbreak of the WWI in 1914 gave the Young Turks the perfect opportunity to solve the Armenian Question.

At first Dr. Nazim, the Young Turks ideologist, traveled throughout the vilayets (provinces) of the Ottoman Empire calling for the boycott of the Armenian businesses.

Then Enver-Pasha, the idol of the Turkish revolution issued the order to form special battalions. Later, these units of violent criminals and Kurdish irregulars attacked, looted and burned thousands of Armenian shops in Dyarbekir.

At the same time, Talaat-Pasha, one of the triumvirs and the most influential figure in the Turkish cabinet, ordered to carry out the disarmament of the Armenian villages.

Since the Moslem Turkey was involved in war against the Christian countries, the Christian Armenians were considered "unreliable" and sympathizing to their coreligionists.

The weapons collected from the Armenians were distributed in neighboring Turkish villages.

The Armenian soldiers in the Turkish army were disarmed, put in labor battalions, and then killed. Meanwhile, the legitimated bands of chete (Kurdish irregulars, criminal hirelings) began systematic raids on the defenseless Armenian villages to rape women and ransack houses.

In all major cities, the Armenian businesses were looted under the convenient pretext of "war contributions".

In October 1914, mass arrests and killings of Armenians were reported in Erzerum and Zeytun.

In November, as Russia had declared war on Turkey, the jihad (holy war against non-believers) was proclaimed and publicly read in all the vilayets of the Ottoman Empire.

Together with the mass execution of the Armenian soldiers in the army, a number of notable Armenian community leaders, including religious were slain in different cities.

In the provinces, the Armenian bakers were publicly charged for poisoning the bread of the Turkish Army.

In March, 1915 a special decision to exterminate all Armenians throughout the Ottoman Empire was already issued by the Ittihad committee.

Meanwhile, a severe censorship was established, and all foreign postal offices in Turkey were closed.

Even the neutral US Ambassador was unable to read uncensored dispatches from his own government.

In Constantinople, where a large number of Europeans, including foreign ambassadors were present, the Turkish leaders made hypocritical speeches.

Enver-Pasha congratulated the brave Armenian soldiers for their admirable service on the Caucasus front, while Talaat-Pasha met with the Armenian leaders shortly before their mass arrests to declare they had nothing to fear.

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Writer: Hasmik Muradyan
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 Date Added: Wednesday August 02, 2006 08:06:32 

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