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Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide[11] (Armenian: 1 Background

,[note 3] Hayots tseghaspanutyun;
Turkish: Ermeni Soykrm), also known as the Arme- Main articles: Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and
nian Holocaust,[12] was the Ottoman government's sys- Ottoman Armenian population
tematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly
Ottoman citizens within the Ottoman Empire and its suc-
cessor state, the Republic of Turkey.[13][14] The starting
date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day 1.1 Armenians under Ottoman rule
that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and de-
ported 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community The western portion of historical Armenia, known as
leaders from Constantinople to Ankara, the majority of Western Armenia, had come under Ottoman rule follow-
whom were eventually murdered. The genocide was car- ing the Peace of Amasya (1555) and decisively with the
ried out during and after World War I and implemented in Treaty of Zuhab (1639).[31][32] Henceforth, the region
two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male was also alternatively referred to as Turkish Armenia or
population through massacre and subjection of army con- Ottoman Armenia.[33] The vast majority of Armenians,
scripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of grouped together under the name Armenian millet (com-
women, children, the elderly, and the inrm on death munity) and led by their spiritual head, the Armenian
marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward Patriarch of Constantinople, were mainly concentrated
by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food in the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire, al-
and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and though large communities were also found in the western
massacre.[15][16][17] Other indigenous and Christian eth- provinces, as well as in the capital Constantinople.
nic groups such as the Assyrians and the Ottoman Greeks
The Armenian community was made up of three religious
were similarly targeted for extermination by the Ottoman
denominations: Armenian Catholic, Armenian Protes-
government in the Assyrian genocide and the Greek geno-
tant, and Armenian Apostolic, the religion of a vast ma-
cide, and their treatment is considered by some histori-
jority of Armenians. Through the millet system, the Ar-
ans to be part of the same genocidal policy.[18][19] Most
menian community were allowed to rule themselves un-
Armenian diaspora communities around the world came
der their own system of governance with fairly little in-
into being as a direct result of the genocide.[20]
terference from the Ottoman government. With the ex-
Raphael Lemkin was explicitly moved by the Arme- ception of the empires urban centers and the extremely
nian annihilation to dene systematic and premeditated wealthy, Constantinople-based Amira class, a social elite
exterminations within legal parameters and to coin the whose members included the Duzians (Directors of the
word genocide in 1943.[21] The Armenian Genocide is Imperial Mint), the Balyans (Chief Imperial Architects)
acknowledged to have been one of the rst modern and the Dadians (Superintendent of the Gunpowder Mills
genocides,[22][23][24] because scholars point to the orga- and manager of industrial factories), most Armenians
nized manner in which the killings were carried out in approximately 70% of their population lived in poor
order to eliminate the Armenians, and it is the second and dangerous conditions in the rural countryside.[34][35]
most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust.[25] Ottoman census gures clash with the statistics collected
Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, by the Armenian Patriarchate. According to the lat-
denies the word genocide as an accurate term for the ter, there were almost three million Armenians living in
mass killings of Armenians that began under Ottoman the empire in 1878 (400,000 in Constantinople and the
rule in 1915. It has in recent years been faced with Balkans, 600,000 in Asia Minor and Cilicia, 670,000 in
repeated calls to recognize them as genocide.[26] To Lesser Armenia and the area near Kayseri, and 1,300,000
date, 29 countries have ocially recognized the mass in Western Armenia itself).[36] In the eastern provinces,
killings as genocide,[27] as have most genocide scholars the Armenians were subject to the whims of their Turk-
and historians.[28][29][30] ish and Kurdish neighbors, who would regularly overtax
them, subject them to brigandage and kidnapping, force
them to convert to Islam, and otherwise exploit them
without interference from central or local authorities.[35]
In the Ottoman Empire, in accordance with the dhimmi
system implemented in Muslim countries, they, like all


other Christians and also Jews, were accorded certain

freedoms. The dhimmi system in the Ottoman Empire
was largely based upon the Pact of Umar. The client sta-
tus established the rights of the non-Muslims to prop-
erty, livelihood and freedom of worship but they were
in essence treated as second-class citizens in the empire
and referred to in Turkish as gavours, a pejorative word
meaning "indel" or "unbeliever". While the Pact of
Umar prohibited non-Muslims from building new places
of worship, it was not enforced in all regions of the Ot-
toman Empire. Since there were no laws concerning re-
ligious ghettos, the prohibition of non-Muslims building
new places of worship led to their clustering around ex- German ethnographic map of Asia Minor and Caucasus in 1914.
isting ones.[37][38] Writing in the late 1890s after a visit to Armenians are labeled in blue.
the Ottoman Empire, the British ethnographer William
Ramsay described the conditions of Armenian life as fol-
lows: ries of reforms designed to improve the status of minori-
ties. Nevertheless, most of the reforms were never imple-
We must, however, go back to an older mented because the empires Muslim population rejected
time, if we want to appreciate what uncon- the principle of equality for Christians. By the late 1870s,
trolled Turkish rule meant, alike to Armenians the Greeks, along with several other Christian nations in
and to Greeks. It did not mean religious perse- the Balkans, frustrated with their conditions, had, often
cution; it meant unutterable contempt ... They with the help of the great powers, broken free of Ottoman
were dogs and pigs; and their nature was to rule. The Armenians remained, by and large, passive dur-
be Christians, to be spat upon, if their shadow ing these years, earning them the title of millet-i sadika or
darkened a Turk, to be outraged, to be the the loyal millet.[41]
mats on which he wiped the mud from his feet. In the mid-1860s and early 1870s this passivity gave
Conceive the inevitable result of centuries of way to new currents of thinking in Armenian society.
slavery, of subjection to insult and scorn, cen- Led by intellectuals educated at European universities
turies in which nothing that belonged to the or American missionary schools in Turkey, Armenians
Armenian, neither his property, his house, his began to question their second-class status and press for
life, his person, nor his family, was sacred or better treatment from their government. In one such in-
safe from violence capricious, unprovoked stance, after amassing the signatures of peasants from
violence to resist which by violence meant Western Armenia, the Armenian Communal Council pe-
death![39] titioned the Ottoman government to redress their prin-
cipal grievances: the looting and murder in Armenian
In addition to other legal limitations, Christians were not towns by [Muslim] Kurds and Circassians, impropri-
considered equals to Muslims and several prohibitions eties during tax collection, criminal behavior by govern-
were placed on them. Their testimony against Muslims ment ocials and the refusal to accept Christians as wit-
by Christians and Jews was inadmissible in courts of law nesses in trial. The Ottoman government considered
wherein a Muslim could be punished; this meant that their these grievances and promised to punish those responsi-
testimony could only be considered in commercial cases. ble, though no meaningful steps were ever taken.[40]:36
They were forbidden to carry weapons or ride atop horses
Following the violent suppression of Christians in the up-
and camels. Their houses could not overlook those of
risings in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Serbia
Muslims; and their religious practices were severely cir-
in 1875, the Great Powers invoked the 1856 Treaty
cumscribed (e.g., the ringing of church bells was strictly
of Paris by claiming that it gave them the right to
intervene and protect the Ottoman Empires Christian
minorities.[40]:35 Under growing pressure, the govern-
ment of Sultan Abdul Hamid II declared itself a constitu-
1.2 Reform implementation, 1840s80s
tional monarchy with a parliament (which was almost im-
Main article: Armenian Question mediately prorogued) and entered into negotiations with
In the mid-19th century, the three major European pow- the powers. At the same time, the Armenian patriarch
ers, Great Britain, France and Russia, began to ques- of Constantinople, Nerses II, forwarded Armenian com-
tion the Empires treatment of its Christian minorities plaints of widespread forced land seizure ... forced con-
and pressure it to grant equal rights to all its subjects. version of women and children, arson, protection extor-
From 1839 to the declaration of a constitution in 1876, tion, rape, and murder to the Powers.[40]:37
the Ottoman government instituted the Tanzimat, a se- The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 ended with Russias
1.4 Hamidian massacres, 189496 3

decisive victory and its army in occupation of large parts icated to the betterment of their compatriots in the Ot-
of eastern Turkey, but not before entire Armenian dis- toman Empire. In the last quarter of the 19th century,
tricts had been devastated by massacres carried out with this movement came to be dominated by three parties:
the connivance of Ottoman authorities. In the wake of the Armenakan, whose inuence was limited to Van, the
these events, Patriarch Nerses and his emissaries made Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, and the Armenian
repeated approaches to Russian leaders to urge the in- Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun). Ideological
clusion of a clause granting local self-government to the dierences aside, all the parties had the common goal
Armenians in the forthcoming Treaty of San Stefano. of achieving better social conditions for the Armenians
The Russians were receptive and drew up the clause, but of the Ottoman Empire through self-defense[43][44] and
the Ottomans atly rejected it during negotiations. In advocating increased European pressure on the Ottoman
its place, the two sides agreed on a clause making the government to implement the promised reforms.
Sublime Porte's implementation of reforms in the Arme-
nian provinces a condition of Russias withdrawal, thus
designating Russia the guarantor of the reforms.[42] The 1.4 Hamidian massacres, 189496
clause entered the treaty as Article 16 and marked the
rst appearance of what came to be known in European Main article: Hamidian massacres
diplomacy as the Armenian question. Since 1876, the Ottoman state had been led by Sultan
On receiving a copy of the treaty, Britain promptly ob-
jected to it and particularly Article 16, which it saw as
ceding too much inuence to Russia. It immediately
pushed for a congress of the great powers to be convened
to discuss and revise the treaty, leading to the Congress
of Berlin in JuneJuly 1878. Patriarch Nerses sent a del-
egation led by his distinguished predecessor, Archbishop
Khrimian Hayrik, to speak for the Armenians, but it was
not admitted into the sessions on the grounds that it did
not represent a country. Conned to the periphery, the
delegation did its best to contact the representatives of
the powers and argue the case for Armenian administra-
tive autonomy within the Ottoman Empire, but to little
Following an understanding reached with Ottoman repre- Corpses of massacred Armenians in Erzurum in 1895
sentatives, Britain drew up an emasculated version of Ar-
ticle 16 to replace the original, a clause that retained the
Abdul Hamid II. Immediately after the Treaty of Berlin
call for reforms but omitted any reference to the Russian
was signed, Abdul Hamid attempted to forestall imple-
occupation, thereby dispensing with the principal guaran-
mentation of its reform provisions by asserting that Ar-
tee of their implementation. Despite an ambiguous refer-
menians did not make up a majority in the provinces and
ence to great power supervision, the clause failed to oset
that their reports of abuses were largely exaggerated or
the removal of the Russian guarantee with any tangible
false. In 1890, Abdul Hamid created a paramilitary out-
equivalent, thus leaving the timing and fate of the reforms
t known as the Hamidiye which was mostly made up of
to the discretion of the Sublime Porte.[40]:38,39 The clause
Kurdish irregulars who were tasked to deal with the Ar-
was readily adopted as Article 61 of the Treaty of Berlin
menians as they wished.[38]:40 As Ottoman ocials in-
on the last day of the Congress, to the deep disappoint-
tentionally provoked rebellions (often as a result of over-
ment of the Armenian delegation. taxation) in Armenian populated towns, such as in Sasun
in 1894 and Zeitun in 189596, these regiments were in-
creasingly used to deal with the Armenians by way of op-
1.3 Armenian national liberation move- pression and massacre. In some instances Armenians suc-
ment cessfully fought o the regiments and in 1895 brought the
excesses to the attention of the Great Powers, who subse-
Main article: Armenian national liberation movement quently condemned the Porte.[40]:402
In October 1895, the Powers forced Abdul Hamid to sign
Prospects for reforms faded rapidly following the signing a new reform package designed to curtail the powers of
of the Berlin treaty, as security conditions in the Arme- the Hamidiye but, like the Berlin Treaty, it was never im-
nian provinces went from bad to worse and abuses pro- plemented. On 1 October 1895, 2,000 Armenians assem-
liferated. Upset with this turn of events, a number of bled in Constantinople to petition for the implementation
disillusioned Armenian intellectuals living in Europe and of the reforms, but Ottoman police units converged on the
Russia decided to form political parties and societies ded- rally and violently broke it up.[38]:578 Soon, massacres of

Armenians broke out in Constantinople and then engulfed constitutionalists and the nationalists. The former were
the rest of the Armenian-populated provinces of Bitlis, more democratic and accepting of Armenians, whereas
Diyarbekir, Erzurum, Harput, Sivas, Trabzon, and Van. the latter were less tolerant of Armenians and their fre-
Estimates dier on how many Armenians were killed but quent requests for European assistance.[38]:1401 In 1902,
European documentation of the pogroms, which became during a congress of the Young Turks held in Paris, the
known as the Hamidian massacres, placed the gures at heads of the liberal wing, Sabahaddin and Ahmed Riza
between 100,000 and 300,000.[45][46] Bey, partially persuaded the nationalists to include in their
Although Hamid was never directly implicated in order- objectives ensuring some rights for all the minorities of
the empire.
ing the massacres, it is believed that they had his tacit
approval. Frustrated with European indierence to One of the numerous factions within the Young Turk
the massacres, a group of members of the Armenian movement was a secret revolutionary organization called
Revolutionary Federation seized the European-managed the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). It drew
Ottoman Bank on 26 August 1896. This incident brought its membership from disaected army ocers based in
further sympathy for Armenians in Europe and was Salonika and was behind a wave of mutinies against the
lauded by the European and American press, which central government. In 1908, elements of the Third Army
vilied Hamid and painted him as the great assas- and the Second Army Corps declared their opposition
sin, bloody Sultan, and "Abdul the Damned".[38]:35,115 to the Sultan and threatened to march on the capital
While the Great Powers vowed to take action and enforce to depose him. Hamid, shaken by the wave of resent-
new reforms, these never came to fruition due to conict- ment, stepped down from power as Armenians, Greeks,
ing political and economic interests. Assyrians, Arabs, Bulgarians and Turks alike rejoiced in
his dethronement.[38]:1434

2 Prelude to the Genocide

2.2 The Adana massacre of 1909
Main article: Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
Main article: Adana massacre
A countercoup took place in early 1909, ultimately re-

2.1 The Young Turk Revolution of 1908

Main article: Young Turk Revolution
On 24 July 1908, Armenians hopes for equality in

The Armenian quarter after the massacres in Adana in 1909.

sulting in the 31 March Incident on 13 April 1909. Some

reactionary Ottoman military elements, joined by Islamic
theological students, aimed to return control of the coun-
try to the Sultan and the rule of Islamic law. Riots and
ghting broke out between the reactionary forces and
Armenians of Constantinople celebrating the establishment of the
CUP forces, until the CUP was able to put down the up-
CUP government.
rising and court-martial the opposition leaders.
the empire brightened once more when a coup d'tat While the movement initially targeted the Young Turk
staged by ocers in the Ottoman Third Army based in government, it spilled over into pogroms against Armeni-
Salonika removed Abdul Hamid II from power and re- ans who were perceived as having supported the restora-
stored the country to a constitutional monarchy. The of- tion of the constitution.[40]:689 When Ottoman Army
cers were part of the Young Turk movement that wanted troops were called in, many accounts record that instead
to reform administration of the perceived decadent state of trying to quell the violence they actually took part
of the Ottoman Empire and modernize it to Euro- in pillaging Armenian enclaves in Adana province.[48]
pean standards.[47] The movement was an anti-Hamidian The number of Armenians killed in the course of the
coalition made up of two distinct groups, the liberal Adana massacre ranged between 15,000 and 30,000
3.1 Battle of Sarikamish 5

people.[40]:69[49] 3.1 Battle of Sarikamish

Main article: Battle of Sarikamish

See also: Caucasus Campaign

2.3 The Balkan Wars On 24 December 1914, Minister of War Enver Pasha
implemented a plan to encircle and destroy the Russian
In 1912, the First Balkan War broke out and ended with Caucasus Army at Sarikamish in order to regain territo-
the defeat of the Ottoman Empire as well as the loss of ries lost to Russia after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877
85% of its European territory. Many in the empire saw 78. Enver Pashas forces were routed in the battle, and al-
their defeat as Allahs divine punishment for a society most completely destroyed. Returning to Constantinople,
that did not know how to pull itself together.[40]:84 The Enver Pasha publicly blamed his defeat on Armenians in
Turkish nationalist movement in the country gradually the region having actively sided with the Russians.[38]:200
came to view Anatolia as their last refuge. That the Ar-
menian population formed a signicant minority in this
region later gured prominently in the calculations of the 3.2 Directive 8682, 25 February
Three Pashas, who carried out the Armenian Genocide.
An important consequence of the Balkan Wars was also Further information: Ottoman labour battalions
the mass expulsion of Muslims (known as muhacirs)
from the Balkans. Beginning in the mid-19th century, On 25 February 1915, the Ottoman General Sta re-
hundreds of thousands of Muslims, including Turks, leased the War Minister Enver Pashas Directive 8682 on
Circassians, and Chechens, were expelled or forced to Increased security and precautions to all military units
ee from the Caucasus and the Balkans (Rumelia) as a calling for the removal of all ethnic Armenians serving in
result of the Russo-Turkish wars and the conicts in the the Ottoman forces from their posts and for their demo-
Balkans. Muslim society in the empire was incensed bilization. They were assigned to the unarmed Labour
by this ood of refugees. A journal published in Con- battalions (Turkish: amele taburlari). The directive ac-
stantinople expressed the mood of the times: Let this cused the Armenian Patriarchate of releasing State se-
be a warning ... O Muslims, don't get comfortable! Do crets to the Russians. Enver Pasha explained this de-
not let your blood cool before taking revenge.[40]:86 As cision as out of fear that they would collaborate with
many as 850,000 of these refugees were settled in areas the Russians.[51] Traditionally, the Ottoman Army only
where the Armenians were resident from the period of drafted non-Muslim males between the ages of 20 and
18781904. The muhacirs resented the status of their rel- 45 into the regular army. The younger (1520) and older
atively well-o neighbors and, as historian Taner Akam (4560) non-Muslim soldiers had always been used as
and others have noted, the refugees came to play a pivotal logistical support through the labour battalions. Before
role in the killings of the Armenians and the conscation February, some of the Armenian recruits were utilized
of their properties during the genocide.[40]:8687 as labourers (hamals), though they would ultimately be
Transferring Armenian conscripts from active combat to
passive, unarmed logistic sections was an important pre-
cursor to the subsequent genocide. As reported in The
3 World War I Memoirs of Naim Bey, the execution of the Armenians in
these battalions was part of a premeditated strategy of the
CUP. Many of these Armenian recruits were executed by
See also: Middle Eastern theatre of World War I local Turkish gangs.[38]:178

On 2 November 1914, the Ottoman Empire opened the

Middle Eastern theater of World War I by entering hos- 3.3 Van, April 1915
tilities on the side of the Central Powers and against
the Allies. The battles of the Caucasus Campaign, the Further information: Siege of Van
Persian Campaign and the Gallipoli Campaign aected On 19 April 1915, Jevdet Bey demanded that the city
several populous Armenian centers. Before entering the of Van immediately furnish him 4,000 soldiers under the
war, the Ottoman government had sent representatives to pretext of conscription. However, it was clear to the Ar-
the Armenian congress at Erzurum to persuade Ottoman menian population that his goal was to massacre the able-
Armenians to facilitate its conquest of Transcaucasia by bodied men of Van so that there would be no defenders.
inciting an insurrection of Russian Armenians against Jevdet Bey had already used his ocial writ in nearby vil-
the Russian army in the event a Caucasus front was lages, ostensibly to search for arms, but in fact to initiate
opened.[40]:136[50] wholesale massacres.[38]:202 The Armenians oered ve

Some Armenian intellectuals arrested on 24 April 1915, and fol-

Armed Armenian civilians and self-defense units during the Siege lowing weeks, then deported and killed.
of Van in AprilMay 1915

will succeed in opening up the straits [of the

hundred soldiers and exemption money for the rest in or- Dardanelles]'.[41]:220
der to buy time, but Jevdet Bey accused the Armenians
of rebellion and asserted his determination to crush it
at any cost. If the rebels re a single shot, he declared,
I shall kill every Christian man, woman, and (pointing
to his knee) every child, up to here.[53]:205
The next day, 20 April 1915, the siege of Van began
when an Armenian woman was harassed, and the two
Armenian men who came to her aid were killed by Ot-
toman soldiers. The Armenian defenders protected the
30,000 residents and 15,000 refugees living in an area of
roughly one square kilometer of the Armenian Quarter
and suburb of Aigestan with 1,500 ablebodied riemen
who were supplied with 300 ries and 1,000 pistols and
antique weapons. The conict lasted until General Yu-
denich of Russia came to their rescue.[54]
Reports of the conict reached then United States Am- Interior Minister Talaat Pasha, who ordered the arrests.
bassador to the Ottoman Empire Henry Morgenthau, Sr.
On the night of 2324 April 1915, known as Red Sun-
from Aleppo and Van, prompting him to raise the issue
day (Armenian: Garmir Giragi),
in person with Talaat and Enver. As he quoted to them
the Ottoman government rounded up and imprisoned
the testimonies of his consulate ocials, they justied the
an estimated 250 Armenian intellectuals and commu-
deportations as necessary to the conduct of the war, sug-
nity leaders of the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, and
gesting that complicity of the Armenians of Van with the
later those in other centers, who were moved to two
Russian forces that had taken the city justied the perse-
cution of all ethnic Armenians. holding centers near Ankara.[38]:2112 This date coincided
with Allied troop landings at Gallipoli after unsuccessful
Allied naval attempts to break through the Dardanelles to
3.4 Arrest and deportation of Armenian Constantinople in February and March 1915.
notables, April 1915 Following the passage of Tehcir Law on 29 May 1915,
the Armenian leaders, except for the few who were able
Further information: Deportation of Armenian intellec- to return to Constantinople, were gradually deported and
tuals on 24 April 1915 assassinated.[55][56][57][58][59] The date 24 April is com-
By 1914, Ottoman authorities had already begun a pro- memorated as Genocide Remembrance Day by Armeni-
paganda drive to present Armenians living in the Ottoman ans around the world.
Empire as a threat to the empires security. An Ottoman
naval ocer in the War Oce described the planning:
3.5 Deportations
In order to justify this enormous crime
the requisite propaganda material was thor- Further information: Tehcir Law
oughly prepared in Istanbul. [It included such See also: Armenian casualties of deportations
statements as] 'the Armenians are in league In May 1915, Mehmet Talaat Pasha requested that the
with the enemy. They will launch an uprising cabinet and Grand Vizier Said Halim Pasha legalize a
in Istanbul, kill o the Ittihadist leaders and measure for the deportation of Armenians to other places
3.5 Deportations 7

30 35 40 TBILISI 45
(Edirne) Black Sea
Bafra Batumi
Zonguldak Kastamonu
Samsun Artvin
ISTANBUL aramba Ardahan
Tekirda Havsa Rize ALEXANDROPOL
Safranbolu Tirebolu Hemin
Izmit Marsovan nye Grele
Gallipoli Ordu GIRESUN TRABZON Olty
Adapazar Hacky Kars
Herek Niksar Gmhane spir
Bursa ankr
Bandrma orum Horasan 45
Chanak Bilecik Turhal Pasinler
TOKAT Shabin-Karahisar BAYBURT
Zile Alashkert
Yozgat Erzurum (Elekirt) Diyadin
Ezine Gerjanis ERZINCAN
Eskiehir Mokhragyugh
(ANKARA) Kemah Bolomor
Ktahya atalyol Parmaksiz
Divrii Bashtash Erci PERSIA
Boazlyan Malazgirt
Krehir arkla Hozat Jermouk Mollakent
Ein Ki Karahan
Kangal Haydari Adilcevaz
Gemerek Arapgir emigezek Tapahjur
Manisa Hacbekta Hasancelebi Palu Mu Ahlat
Uak Afyon KAYSERI Gurun Elaz VAN
Nevehir Mayafarkin
Ergani Bakale
(ZMIR) Akehir Aksaray Tomarza Hani Sasun Mogkh
demi Malatya (Bahesaray)
GREECE Elbistan unku Silvan atak
Nide Yahyal Siirt
Aydn Isparta Zeitun
Konya Besni Adiyaman DIYARBAKIR
Karapnar Sis Frnuz Samsar
(Kozan) Viranehir
Relative number of Armenians massacred Ereli URFA
Bahe Antep
(exact figures are not known) Pozant
Deportation control centre Adana Islahiye
Drtyol Birecik
Hasaka MOSUL
Deportation stations skenderun
ITALY Bagras
Musa Dagh
Deportation concentration and annihilation centers ALEPPO Deir Hafir Shaddadah
Samanda Antioch Ar-Raqqah
Areas of greater or lesser Armenian resistance (Antakya) Kirkuk
Mediterranean Sea Meskene
Deportation routes Khunasara

Armenians and Assyrians escape routes Isrie Der Zor

0 (km) 250
Capitals, major cities, other cities (U.K.)
0 (mi) 150

Map of massacre locations and deportation and extermination


due to what Talaat Pasha called the Armenian riots

and massacres, which had arisen in a number of places
in the country. However, Talaat Pasha was referring
specically to events in Van and extending the imple-
mentation to the regions in which alleged riots and mas-
sacres would aect the security of the war zone of the
Caucasus Campaign. Later, the scope of the deporta-
tion was widened in order to include the Armenians in
the other provinces.

Headline of New York Times, December 15, 1915

other historian Taner Akam states that the telegrams

show that the overall coordination of the genocide was
taken over by Talaat Pasha.[66]

3.5.1 Death marches

The remains of Armenians massacred at Erzinjan.[60]

On 29 May 1915, the CUP Central Committee passed

the Temporary Law of Deportation (Tehcir Law), giv-
ing the Ottoman government and military authoriza-
tion to deport anyone it sensed as a threat to national
With the implementation of Tehcir Law, the consca-
tion of Armenian property and the slaughter of Arme-
nians that ensued upon its enactment outraged much of
the western world. While the Ottoman Empires wartime
allies oered little protest, a wealth of German and Aus-
trian historical documents has since come to attest to the An Armenian woman kneeling beside a dead child in eld
witnesses horror at the killings and mass starvation of within sight of help and safety at Aleppo"
Armenians.[61]:32931[62]:2123 In the United States, The
New York Times reported almost daily on the mass mur- The Armenians were marched out to the Syrian town of
der of the Armenian people, describing the process as Deir ez-Zor and the surrounding desert. There is no evi-
systematic, authorized and organized by the govern- dence that the Ottoman government provided the exten-
ment. Theodore Roosevelt would later characterize this sive facilities and supplies that would have been neces-
as the greatest crime of the war.[63] sary to sustain the life of hundreds of thousands of Ar-
Historian Hans-Lukas Kieser states that, from the state- menian deportees during their forced march to the Syrian
ments of Talaat Pasha[64] it is clear that the ocials were desert or after.[67] By August 1915, The New York Times
aware that the deportation order was genocidal.[65] An- repeated an unattributed report that the roads and the

Euphrates are strewn with corpses of exiles, and those also outside Turkey. On the basis of all the
who survive are doomed to certain death. It is a plan reports and news coming to me here in Tiis
to exterminate the whole Armenian people.[68] Talaat there hardly can be any doubt that the Turks
Pasha and Djemal Pasha were completely aware that by systematically are aiming at the extermination
abandoning the Armenian deportees in the desert they of the few hundred thousand Armenians whom
were condemning them to certain death.[69] A dispatch they left alive until now.[41]:349
from a high diplomatic source in Turkey, not American,
reporting the testimony of trustworthy witnesses about
the plight of Armenian deportees in northern Arabia and
the Lower Euphrates valley was extensively quoted by The Rape was an integral part of the genocide; military
New York Times in August 1916: commanders told their men to do to [the women] what-
ever you wish, resulting in widespread sexual abuse. De-
portees were displayed naked in Damascus and sold as sex
The witnesses have seen thousands of de- slaves in some areas, including Mosul according to the
ported Armenians under tents in the open, in report of the German consul there, constituting an im-
caravans on the march, descending the river in portant source of income for accompanying soldiers.[71]
boats and in all phases of their miserable life. Rssler, the German consul in Aleppo during the geno-
Only in a few places does the Government is- cide, heard from an objective Armenian that around a
sue any rations, and those are quite insucient. quarter of young women, whose appearance was more
The people, therefore, themselves are forced to or less pleasing, were regularly raped by the gendarmes,
satisfy their hunger with food begged in that and that even more beautiful ones were violated by 10
scanty land or found in the parched elds. 15 men. This resulted in girls and women being left be-
Naturally, the death rate from starvation hind dying.[72]
and sickness is very high and is increased by the
brutal treatment of the authorities, whose bear-
ing toward the exiles as they are being driven
back and forth over the desert is not unlike that
of slave drivers. With few exceptions no shelter 3.5.2 Concentration camps
of any kind is provided and the people coming
from a cold climate are left under the scorching
desert sun without food and water. Temporary A network of 25 concentration camps was set up by the
relief can only be obtained by the few able to Ottoman government to dispose of the Armenians who
pay ocials. [67] had survived the deportations to their ultimate point.[73]
This network, situated in the region of Turkeys present-
day borders with Iraq and Syria, was directed by kr
Similarly, Major General Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kaya, one of Talaat Pashas right-hand men. Some of the
Kressenstein noted that The Turkish policy of causing camps were only temporary transit points. Others, such
starvation is an all too obvious proof, if proof was still as Radjo, Katma, and Azaz, were briey used as mass
needed as to who is responsible for the massacre, for the graves and then vacated by autumn 1915. Camps such as
Turkish resolve to destroy the Armenians.[41]:350 Lale, Tefridje, Dipsi, Del-El, and Ras al-'Ayn were built
German engineers and labourers involved in building the specically for those whose life expectancy was just a few
railway also witnessed Armenians being crammed into days.[74] According to Hilmar Kaiser, the Ottoman au-
cattle cars and shipped along the railroad line. Franz thorities refused to provide food and water to the victims,
Gunther, a representative for Deutsche Bank which was increasing the mortality rate, and Muslim men obtained
funding the construction of the Baghdad Railway, for- Armenian women through recorded marriages, while the
warded photographs to his directors and expressed his deaths of their husbands were not recorded.[75]
frustration at having to remain silent amid such bes- Bernau, an American citizen of German descent, trav-
tial cruelty.[38]:326 Major General Otto von Lossow, act- eled to the areas where Armenians were incarcerated and
ing military attach and head of the German Military wrote a report that was deemed factual by Rssler, the
Plenipotentiary in the Ottoman Empire, spoke to Ot- German Consul at Aleppo. He reports mass graves con-
toman intentions in a conference held in Batum in 1918: taining over 60,000 people in Meskene and large num-
bers of mounds of corpses, as the Armenians died due
The Turks have embarked upon the to hunger and disease. He reported seeing 450 orphans,
total extermination of the Armenians in who received at most 150 grams of bread per day, in a tent
Transcaucasia ... The aim of Turkish policy is, of 56 square meters. Dysentery swept through the camp
as I have reiterated, the taking of possession and days passed between the instances of distribution of
of Armenian districts and the extermination of bread to some. In Abu Herrera, near Meskene, he de-
the Armenians. Talaats government wants to scribed how the guards let 240 Armenians starve, and
destroy all Armenians, not just in Turkey but wrote that they searched horse droppings for grains.[76]
3.7 The Special Organization 9

3.6 Conscation of property

See also: Conscated Armenian property in Turkey

The Tehcir Law brought some measures regarding the

property of the deportees, but in September a new law
was proposed. By means of the Abandoned Proper-
ties Law (Law Concerning Property, Depts and As-
sets Left Behind Deported Persons, also referred as the
Temporary Law on Expropriation and Conscation),
the Ottoman government took possession of all aban-
doned Armenian goods and properties. Ottoman parlia-
mentary representative Ahmed Riza protested this legis-

It is unlawful to designate the Armenian as-

sets as abandoned goods for the Armenians,
the proprietors, did not abandon their proper-
ties voluntarily; they were forcibly, compulso-
rily removed from their domiciles and exiled.
Now the government through its eorts is sell-
ing their goods ... If we are a constitutional
regime functioning in accordance with consti-
tutional law we can't do this. This is atrocious.
Grab my arm, eject me from my village, then
sell my goods and properties, such a thing can
never be permissible. Neither the conscience
of the Ottomans nor the law can allow it.[77] Fundraising poster for the American Committee for Relief in the
Near East
On 13 September 1915, the Ottoman parliament passed
the Temporary Law of Expropriation and Conscation,
ing over ten times its original estimate and helping around
stating that all property, including land, livestock, and
2,000,000 refugees.[82]
homes belonging to Armenians, was to be conscated by
the authorities.[41]:224
3.7 The Special Organization
3.6.1 International aid to victims
Main article: Special Organization (Ottoman Empire)
See also: American Committee for Armenian and Syrian
Relief The Committee of Union and Progress founded the Spe-
cial Organization (Turkish: Tekilat-i Mahsu-
The American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Re- sa) that participated in the destruction of the Ottoman
lief (ACASR, also known as Near East Relief), estab- Armenian community.[83] This organization adopted its
lished in 1915 just after the deportations began, was a name in 1913 and functioned like a special forces outt,
charitable organization established to relieve the suer- and it has been compared by some scholars to the Nazi
ing of the peoples of the Near East.[78] The organization Einsatzgruppen.[38]:182,185 Later in 1914, the Ottoman
was championed by Henry Morgenthau, Sr., American government inuenced the direction the Special Orga-
ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. Morgenthaus dis- nization was to take by releasing criminals from central
patches on the mass slaughter of Armenians galvanized prisons to be the central elements of this newly formed
much support for the organization.[79] In its rst year, Special Organization.[84] According to the Mazhar com-
the ACRNE cared for 132,000 Armenian orphans from missions attached to the tribunal as soon as November
Tiis, Yerevan, Constantinople, Sivas, Beirut, Damascus, 1914, 124 criminals were released from Pimian prison.
and Jerusalem. A relief organization for refugees in the Little by little from the end of 1914 to the beginning
Middle East helped donate over $102 million (budget of 1915, hundreds, then thousands of prisoners were
$117,000,000) [1930 value of dollar] to Armenians both freed to form the members of this organization. Later,
during and after the war.[80][81]:336 Between 1915 and they were charged to escort the convoys of Armenian
1930, ACRNE distributed humanitarian relief to loca- deportees.[85] Vehib Pasha, commander of the Ottoman
tions across a wide geographical range, eventually spend- Third Army, called those members of the Special Orga-

nization, the butchers of the human species.[86] parliamentary session of the Chamber of Deputies that
the districts governor loaded the Armenians into barges
and had them thrown overboard.[94] The Italian consul
3.8 Massacres of Trabzon in 1915, Giacomo Gorrini, writes: I saw
thousands of innocent women and children placed on
3.8.1 Mass burnings boats which were capsized in the Black Sea.[95] Vahakn
Dadrian places the number of Armenians killed in the
Trabzon province by drowning at 50,000.[92] The Trab-
zon trials reported Armenians having been drowned in
the Black Sea;[96] according to a testimony, women and
children were loaded on boats in Deirmendere to be
drowned in the sea.[97]
Homan Philip, the American charg d'aaires at Con-
stantinople, wrote: Boat loads sent from Zor down the
river arrived at Ana, one thirty miles away, with three
fths of passengers missing.[98] According to Robert
Fisk, 900 Armenian women were drowned in Bitlis,
while in Erzincan, the corpses in the Euphrates resulted
in a change of course of the river for a few hundred
meters.[61] Dadrian also wrote that countless Armeni-
Morgenthaus caption: Those who fell by the wayside. Scenes ans were drowned in the Euphrates and its tributaries.[92]
like this were common all over the Armenian provinces in the
spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms
massacre, starvation, exhaustiondestroyed the larger part of 3.8.3 Use of poison and drug overdoses
the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under
the guise of deportation.[53] The psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton writes in a parenthe-
sis when introducing the medical experiments during the
Eitan Belkind was a Nili member who inltrated the Ot- Holocaust, Perhaps Turkish doctors, in their participa-
toman army as an ocial. He was assigned to the head- tion in the genocide against the Armenians, come closest,
quarters of Kemal Pasha. He claims to have witnessed as I shall later suggest.[99]
the burning of 5,000 Armenians.[87]:181,183
Morphine overdose: During the Trabzon trial series of
Lt. Hasan Maruf of the Ottoman army describes how a the Martial court, from the sittings between 26 March and
population of a village were taken all together and then 17 May 1919, the Trabzons Health Services Inspector Dr.
burned.[88] The Commander of the Third Army Vehibs Ziya Fuad wrote in a report that Dr. Saib caused the death
12-page adavit, which was dated 5 December 1918, of children with the injection of morphine. The infor-
was presented in the Trabzon trial series (29 March 1919) mation was allegedly provided by two physicians (Drs.
included in the Key Indictment,[89] reporting such a mass Ragib and Vehib), both Dr. Saibs colleagues at Trab-
burning of the population of an entire village near Mu: zons Red Crescent hospital, where those atrocities were
The shortest method for disposing of the women and said to have been committed.[100][101]
children concentrated in the various camps was to burn
Toxic gas: Dr. Ziya Fuad and Dr. Adnan, public health
them.[90] Further, it was reported that Turkish prison-
services director of Trabzon, submitted adavits report-
ers who had apparently witnessed some of these scenes
ing cases in which two school buildings were used to or-
were horried and maddened at remembering the sight.
ganize children and send them to the mezzanine to kill
They told the Russians that the stench of the burning hu-
them with toxic gas equipment.[102]
man esh permeated the air for many days after.[91] Va-
hakn Dadrian wrote that 80,000 Armenians in 90 vil- Typhoid inoculation: The Ottoman surgeon, Dr. Hay-
lages across the Mu plain were burned in stables and dar Cemal wrote on the order of the Chief Sanitation
haylofts.[92] Oce of the Third Army in January 1916, when the
spread of typhus was an acute problem, innocent Arme-
nians slated for deportation at Erzincan were inoculated
3.8.2 Drowning with the blood of typhoid fever patients without render-
ing that blood 'inactive'".[102] Jeremy Hugh Baron writes:
Trabzon was the main city in Trabzon province; Oscar Individual doctors were directly involved in the mas-
S. Heizer, the American consul at Trabzon, reported: sacres, having poisoned infants, killed children and issued
This plan did not suit Nail Bey ... Many of the chil- false certicates of death from natural causes. Nazim's
dren were loaded into boats and taken out to sea and brother-in-law Dr. Tevk Rushdu, Inspector-General
thrown overboard.[93] Haz Mehmet, a Turkish deputy of Health Services, organized the disposal of Armenian
serving Trabzon, testied during a 21 December 1918 corpses with thousands of kilos of lime over six months;
3.9 Trials 11

he became foreign secretary from 1925 to 1938.[103] lack of transparency, according to then High Commis-
sioner and Admiral Sir John de Robeck,[107] and some of
the accused were transported to Malta for further interro-
3.9 Trials gation, only to be released afterwards in an exchange of
POWs. Two of the three Pashas were later assassinated
3.9.1 Turkish courts-martial by Armenian vigilantes during Operation Nemesis.

Main article: Turkish Courts-Martial of 191920

3.9.2 Detainees in Malta

On the night of 23 November 1918 and with the aid
of Ahmed Izzet Pasha, the Three Pashas (which include
Mehmed Talaat Pasha and Ismail Enver, the main perpe- Main articles: Eort to prosecute Ottoman war criminals
trators of the Genocide) ed the Ottoman Empire. and Malta exiles

In 1919, after the Mudros Armistice, Sultan Mehmed VI

was ordered to organise courts-martial by the Allied ad- Ottoman military members and high-ranking politicians
ministration in charge of Constantinople to try members convicted by the Turkish courts-martial were transferred
of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) (Turk- from Constantinople prisons to the Crown Colony of
ish: "Ittihat Terakki") for taking the Ottoman Empire Malta on board of the SS Princess Ena and the SS HMS
into World War I. By January 1919, a report to Sultan Benbow by the British forces, starting in 1919. Admiral
Mehmed VI accused over 130 suspects, most of whom Sir Somerset Gough-Calthorpe was in charge of the oper-
were high ocials. ation, together with Lord Curzon; they did so owing to the
lack of transparency of the Turkish courts-martial. They
Sultan Mehmet VI and Grand Vizier Damat Ferid Pasha, were held there for three years, while searches were made
as representatives of government of the Ottoman Empire of archives in Constantinople, London, Paris and Wash-
during the Second Constitutional Era, were summoned ington to nd a way to put them in trial.[108] However,
to the Paris Peace Conference by US Secretary of State the war criminals were eventually released without trial
Robert Lansing. On 11 July 1919, Damat Ferid Pasha and returned to Constantinople in 1921, in exchange for
ocially confessed to massacres against the Armenians twenty-two British prisoners of war held by the govern-
in the Ottoman Empire and was a key gure and ini- ment in Ankara, including a relative of Lord Curzon. The
tiator of the war crime trials held directly after World government in Ankara was opposed to political power of
War I to condemn to death the chief perpetrators of the the government in Constantinople. They are often men-
Genocide.[104][105][106] The military court found that it tioned as the Malta exiles in some sources.[109]
was the will of the CUP to eliminate the Armenians phys-
ically, via its Special Organization. The 1919 pronounce- Meanwhile, the Peace Conference in Paris established the
ment reads as follows: "Commission on Responsibilities and Sanctions" in Jan-
uary 1919, which was commissioned by United States
Secretary of State Robert Lansing. Based on the com-
The Court Martial taking into considera- missions work, several articles were added to the Treaty
tion the above-named crimes declares, unani- of Svres. The Treaty of Svres had planned a trial in
mously, the culpability as principal factors of August 1920 to determine those responsible for the bar-
these crimes the fugitives Talaat Pasha, for- barous and illegitimate methods of warfare ... [includ-
mer Grand Vizir, Enver Efendi, former War ing] oenses against the laws and customs of war and the
Minister, struck o the register of the Imperial principles of humanity.[25] Article 230 of the Treaty of
Army, Cemal Efendi, former Navy Minister, Svres required the Ottoman Empire hand over to the
struck o too from the Imperial Army, and Dr. Allied Powers the persons whose surrender may be re-
Nazim Efendi, former Minister of Education, quired by the latter as being responsible for the massacres
members of the General Council of the Union committed during the continuance of the state of war on
& Progress, representing the moral person of territory which formed part of the Ottoman Empire on
that party; ... the Court Martial pronounces, August 1, 1914.
in accordance with said stipulations of the Law
According to European Court of Human Rights judge
the death penalty against Talaat, Enver, Cemal,
Giovanni Bonello the suspension of prosecution attempts
and Dr. Nazim.
and the release and repatriation of the detainees was,
amongst others, a result of the lack of an appropriate le-
After the pronouncement, the Three Pashas were sen- gal framework with supranational jurisdiction. Following
tenced to death in absentia at the trials in Constantinople. World War I no international norms for regulating war
The courts-martial ocially disbanded the CUP and con- crimes existed, due to a legal vacuum in international law;
scated its assets and the assets of those found guilty. The therefore (contrary to Turkish sources) no trials were ever
courts-martial were dismissed in August 1920 for their held in Malta.[109][110]

3.9.3 Trial of Soghomon Tehlirian May 1916.[118]

According to documents that once belonged to Talaat
See also: Operation Nemesis Pasha, more than 970,000 Ottoman Armenians dis-
appeared from ocial population records from 1915
On 15 March 1921, former Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha through 1916. In 1983, Talaats widow, Hayriye Ta-
was assassinated in the Charlottenburg District of Berlin, laat Bafral, gave the documents and records to Turk-
Germany, in broad daylight and in the presence of many ish journalist Murat Bardak, who published them in
witnesses. Talaats death was part of "Operation Neme- a book titled The Remaining Documents of Talat Pasha
sis", the Armenian Revolutionary Federation's codename (also known as Talat Pashas Black Book). According
for their covert operation in the 1920s to kill the planners to the documents, the number of Armenians living in the
of the Armenian Genocide. Ottoman Empire before 1915 stood at 1,256,000. It was
presumed, however, in a footnote by Talaat Pasha him-
The subsequent trial and acquitment of the assassin,
self, that the Armenian population was undercounted by
Soghomon Tehlirian, had an important inuence on
thirty percent. Furthermore, the population of Protes-
Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of PolishJewish descent
tant Armenians was not taken into account. Therefore,
who campaigned in the League of Nations to ban
according to the historian Ara Saraan, the population
what he called barbarity and vandalism. The term
of Armenians should have been approximately 1,700,000
"genocide", created in 1943, was coined by Lemkin who
prior to the start of the war.[119] However, that number
was directly inuenced by the massacres of Armenians
had plunged to 284,157 two years later in 1917.[120]
during World War I.[111][112]:210
Justin McCarthy calculated an estimate of the pre-war
Armenian population, then subtracted his estimate of sur-
4 Armenian population, deaths, vivors, arriving at a gure of a little less than 600,000
for Armenian casualties for the period 1914 to 1922.[121]
survivors, 1914 to 1923 In a more recent essay, he projected that if the Arme-
nian records of 1913 were accurate, 250,000 more deaths
should be added, for a total of 850,000.[122]
However, McCarthys numbers have been highly con-
tested by many specialists. Some of them, like Frdric
Paulin, have severely criticized McCarthys methodology
and suggest that it is awed.[123] Hilmar Kaiser[124] an-
other specialist has made similar claims, as have profes-
sor Vahakn Dadrian[125] and professor Levon Marash-
lian.[126] These critics not only question McCarthys
methodology and resulting calculations, but also his pri-
mary sources, the Ottoman censuses. They point out
that there was no ocial census undertaken in 1912;
rather the numbers quoted were based on the records
of 1905 which were conducted during the reign of Sul-
tan Hamid.[127] While Ottoman censuses claimed an Ar-
Uncovering the bones of Armenians in Deir ez-Zor. menian population of 1.2 million, Fa'iz El-Ghusein (the
Kaimakam of Kharpout) wrote that there were about 1.9
Main articles: Ottoman Armenian population, Ottoman million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire,[128] and some
Armenian casualties, and Armenian Genocide survivors modern scholars estimate over 2 million. German ocial
Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter wrote that fewer than
While there is no consensus as to how many Armeni- 100,000 Armenians survived the genocide, the rest hav-
ans lost their lives during the Armenian Genocide, there ing been exterminated (German: ausgerottet).
is general agreement among western historians that over Mass killings continued under the Republic of Turkey.
500,000 Armenians died between 1914 and 1918. Es- During the TurkishArmenian War [130] 60,000 to
timates vary between 800,000[114] and 1,500,000 (per 98,000 Armenian civilians were estimated to have been
the governments of France,[115] Canada,[116] and other killed by the Turkish army.[131] Some estimates put the
states). Encyclopdia Britannica references the research total number of Armenians massacred in the hundreds
of Arnold J. Toynbee, an intelligence ocer of the British of thousands.[40]:327[132] Dadrian characterized the mas-
Foreign Oce, who estimated that 600,000 Armenians sacres in the Caucasus as a miniature genocide.[41]:360
died or were massacred during deportation in a report
compiled on 24 May 1916.[91][117] This gure, however,
accounts for solely the rst year of the Genocide and does
not take into account those who died or were killed after
5.1 The U.S. Mission in the Ottoman Empire 13

5 Reports and reactions

Main article: Witnesses and testimonies of the Armenian
Hundreds of eyewitnesses, including the neutral United

Workers of the American Committee for Relief in the Near East

in Sivas.

States and the Ottoman Empires own allies, Germany Telegram sent by Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr. to the State
and Austria-Hungary, recorded and documented numer- Department on 16 July 1915 describing the killings of Armenians
ous acts of state-sponsored massacres. Many foreign of- as a campaign of race extermination.
cials oered to intervene on behalf of the Armenians,
including Pope Benedict XV, only to be turned away by
Ottoman government ocials who claimed they were re- porary communications and eyewitness reports including
taliating against a pro-Russian insurrection.[23]:177 On 24 one of the massacre of Phocea in 1914, by a Frenchman,
May 1915, the Triple Entente warned the Ottoman Em- and two of the Armenian massacres of 1914/15, by an
pire that In view of these new crimes of Turkey against American citizen and a German missionary.[134]:289,347.
humanity and civilization, the Allied Governments an- It also quoted U.S. businessman Walter M. Geddes re-
nounce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold garding his time in Damascus: several Turks[,] whom I
personally responsible for these crimes all members of interviewed, told me that the motive of this exile was to
the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents exterminate the race.[135]
who are implicated in such massacres.[133] Many Americans spoke out against the genocide, includ-
ing former president Theodore Roosevelt, rabbi Stephen
Wise, Alice Stone Blackwell, and William Jennings
5.1 The U.S. Mission in the Ottoman Em- Bryan, the U.S. Secretary of State to June 1915. In the
pire U.S. and the United Kingdom, children were regularly re-
minded to clean their plates while eating and to remem-
The United States had consulates throughout the Ottoman ber the starving Armenians.[136]
Empire, including locations in Edirne, Elz, Samsun,
zmir, Trebizond, Van, Constantinople, and Aleppo. It
was ocially a neutral party until it joined the Allies 5.1.1 Ambassador Morgenthaus Story
in April 1917. In addition to the consulates, there
were numerous American Protestant missionary com- See also: Ambassador Morgenthaus Story
pounds established in Armenian-populated regions, in-
cluding Van and Kharput. The atrocities were reported As the orders for deportations and massacres were en-
regularly in newspapers and literary journals around the acted, many consular ocials reported what they were
world.[38]:2825 witnessing to Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr., who
On his return home in 1924 after thirty years as a U.S. described the massacres as a campaign of race extermi-
Consul in the Near East, and most of the preceding nation in a telegram sent to the State Department on 16
decade as Consul General at Smyrna, George Horton July 1915. In memoirs that he completed during 1918,
wrote his own account of the Systematic Extermination Morgenthau wrote, When the Turkish authorities gave
of Christian Populations by Mohammedans and of the the orders for these deportations, they were merely giv-
Culpability of Certain Great Powers; with a True Story ing the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this
of the Burning of Smyrna (1926 subtitle, The Blight of well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no
Asia).[134] Hortons account quoted numerous contem- particular attempt to conceal the fact ...[53]:213 The mem-

Winston Churchill described the massacres as an admin-

istrative holocaust and noted that the clearance of the
race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an
act, on a scale so great, could well be. ... There is no
reasonable doubt that this crime was planned and exe-
cuted for political reasons. The opportunity presented it-
self for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race opposed
to all Turkish ambitions, cherishing national ambitions
that could only be satised at the expense of Turkey, and
planted geographically between Turkish and Caucasian

5.2.1 Arnold Toynbee: The Treatment of Armenians

See also: The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman


Historian Arnold J. Toynbee published the collection of

documents The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman
Empire in 1916. Together with British politician and
historian Viscount James Bryce, he compiled statements
from survivors and eyewitnesses from other countries in-
cluding Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and
Switzerland, who similarly attested to the systematic mas-
sacre of innocent Armenians by Ottoman government
Report from a German missionary on the massacre of Armenians
from Erzerum, 31 July 1915 The book has since been criticized as British wartime pro-
paganda to build up sentiment against the Central Pow-
ers , but Bryce had submitted the work to scholars for
oirs and reports vividly described the methods used by verication before its publication. University of Oxford
Ottoman forces and documented numerous instances of Regius Professor Gilbert Murray stated, "... the evidence
atrocities committed against the Christian minority.[137] of these letters and reports will bear any scrutiny and
overpower any skepticism. Their genuineness is estab-
lished beyond question.[41]:228 Other professors, includ-
ing Herbert Fisher of Sheeld University and former
5.2 Allied forces in the Middle East American Bar Association president Mooreld Storey,
came to the same conclusion.[41]:2289
On the Middle Eastern front, the British military was en-
gaged ghting the Ottoman forces in southern Syria and
Mesopotamia. British diplomat Gertrude Bell led the 5.3 Austrian and German joint mission
following report after hearing the account from a cap-
tured Ottoman soldier: As allies during the war, the Imperial German mission
in the Ottoman Empire included both military and civil-
ian components. Germany had brokered a deal with
The battalion left Aleppo on 3 February the Sublime Porte to commission the building of a rail-
and reached Ras al-Ain in twelve hours ... some road called the Baghdad Railway that would stretch from
12,000 Armenians were concentrated under Berlin to the Middle East. At the beginning of 1915,
the guardianship of some hundred Kurds ... Germanys diplomatic mission was led by Ambassador
These Kurds were called gendarmes, but in re- Hans Freiherr von Wangenheim who, upon his death
ality mere butchers; bands of them were pub- in 1915, was succeeded by Count Paul Wol Metter-
licly ordered to take parties of Armenians, of nich. Like Morgenthau, von Wangenheim began re-
both sexes, to various destinations, but had se- ceiving many disturbing messages from consular ocials
cret instructions to destroy the males, children around the Ottoman Empire that detailed the massacres
and old women ... One of these gendarmes of Armenians. From the province of Adana, Consul Eu-
confessed to killing 100 Armenian men him- gene Buge reported that the CUP chief had sworn to mas-
self ... the empty desert cisterns and caves were sacre any Armenians who had survived the deportation
also lled with corpses ...[61]:327 marches.[38]:186 In June 1915, von Wangenheim sent a ca-
5.3 Austrian and German joint mission 15

ble to Berlin reporting that Talaat had admitted that the writes: The Germans, allies of the Turks in the First
deportations were not being carried out because of 'mil- World War ... saw how civil populations were shut up
itary considerations alone'". One month later, he came in churches and burned, or gathered en masse in camps,
to the conclusion that there no longer was doubt that the tortured to death, and reduced to ashes.[141] German of-
Porte was trying to exterminate the Armenian race in the cers stationed in eastern Turkey disputed the govern-
Turkish Empire.[62]:213 ments assertion that Armenian revolts had broken out,
When Wol-Metternich succeeded von Wangenheim, he suggesting that the areas were quiet until the deportations
continued to dispatch similar cables: The Committee began.[62]:212 Other Germans openly supported the Ot-
toman policy against the Armenians. As Hans Humann,
[CUP] demands the extirpation of the last remnants of
the Armenians and the government must yield ... A Com- the German naval attach in Constantinople said to US
Ambassador Henry Morgenthau:
mittee representative is assigned to each of the provincial
administrations ... Turkication means license to expel,
to kill or destroy everything that is not Turkish.[139] I have lived in Turkey the larger part of my
life ... and I know the Armenians. I also know
Another notable gure in the German military camp was that both Armenians and Turks cannot live to-
Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter, who documented gether in this country. One of these races has
various massacres of Armenians. He sent fteen re- got to go. And I don't blame the Turks for
ports regarding deportations and mass killings to the what they are doing to the Armenians. I think
German chancellery. His nal report noted that fewer that they are entirely justied. The weaker na-
than 100,000 Armenians were left alive in the Ottoman tion must succumb. The Armenians desire to
Empire: the rest having been exterminated (German: dismember Turkey; they are against the Turks
ausgerottet).[61]:32930 Scheubner-Richter also detailed the and the Germans in this war, and they therefore
methods of the Ottoman government, noting its use of have no right to exist here.[53]:257
the Special Organization and other bureaucratized instru-
ments of genocide, as well as how the Ottomans would In a genocide conference held in 2001, professor Wolf-
provoke and exaggerate Armenian self-defense in order gang Wipperman of the Free University of Berlin in-
to create the illusion of a rebellion. This was to give jus- troduced documents evidencing that the German High
tication for the deportation of Armenians, which is still Command was aware of the mass killings at the time
argued by genocide deniers to this day. Richter admits but chose not to interfere or speak out.[61]:331 In his re-
the deportations were intentionally meant to cover up the ports to Berlin in 1917, General Hans von Seeckt sup-
slaughter of Armenians: ported the reforming eorts of the Young Turks, writing
that the inner weakness of Turkey in their entirety, call
I have conducted a series of conversations
for the history and custom of the new Turkish empire to
with competent and inuential Turkish person-
be written.[142] Seeckt added that Only a few moments
ages, and these are my impressions: A large
of the destruction are still mentioned. The upper levels
segment of the Ittihadist [Young Turk] party
of society had become unwarlike, the main reason be-
maintains the viewpoint that the Turkish em-
ing the increasing mixing with foreign elements of a long
pire should be based only on the principle
standing unculture.[142] Seeckt blamed all of the prob-
of Islam and Pan-Turkism. Its non-Muslim
lems of the Ottoman Empire on the Jews and the Armeni-
and non-Turkish inhabitants should either be
ans, whom he portrayed as a fth column working for the
forcibly islamized, or otherwise they ought to
Allies.[142] In July 1918, Seeckt sent a message to Berlin
be destroyed. These gentlemen believe that
stating that It is an impossible state of aairs to be allied
the time is propitious for the realization of
with the Turks and to stand up for the Armenians. In my
this plan. The rst item on this agenda con-
view any consideration, Christian, sentimental, and polit-
cerns the liquidation of the Armenians. Itti-
ical should be eclipsed by a hard, but clear necessity for
had will dangle before the Allies a specter of
an alleged revolution prepared by the Arme-
nian Dashnak party. Moreover, local incidents One photograph shows two unidentied German army of-
of social unrest and acts of Armenian self de- cers, in company of three Turkish soldiers and a Kurdish
fense will deliberately be provoked and inated man, standing amidst human remains. The discovery of
and will be used as pretexts to eect the de- this photograph prompted English journalist Robert Fisk
portations. Once en route, however, the con- to draw a direct line from the Armenian Genocide to the
voys will be attacked and exterminated by Kur- Holocaust. Fisk, while acknowledging the role playing by
dish and Turkish brigands, and in part by gen- most German diplomats and parliamentaries in the con-
darmes, who will be instigated for that purpose demnation of the Ottoman Turks, noted that some of the
by Ittihad.[140] German witnesses to the Armenian holocaust would later
go on to play a role in the Nazi regime. For example,
According to Bat Ye'or, an Israeli historian, the Germans Konstantin Freiherr von Neurath, who was attached to the
also witnessed Armenians being burned to death. She Turkish 4th Army in 1915 with instructions to monitor

operations against the Armenians, later became Hitlers Dr J. Michael Hagopian, premiered in Fresno on 25 April
foreign minister and Protector of Bohemia and Moravia 2000.[147] Prior to the release of the documentary, he was
during Reinhard Heydrich's terror in Czechoslovakia.[143] honored at the Armenian Genocide Museum in Yerevan
for championing the plight of Armenians throughout his
5.3.1 Armin T. Wegner

See also: Armin T. Wegner 5.4 Ottoman Empire and Turkey

German aspiring writer Armin T. Wegner enrolled as a

Aleppo Governor Mehmet Celal Bey

Armin T. Wegner
Although many documents related to systematic
medic during the winter of 191415. He deed censor- massacres were destroyed during and after the
ship by taking hundreds of photographs[144] of Armeni- genocide,[148][149] contemporary Turkish historian
ans being deported and subsequently starving in north- Taner Akam states that the Turkish sources we already
ern Syrian camps[61]:326 and in the deserts of Deir-er- possess provide sucient information to prove that what
Zor. Wegner was part of a German detachment under befell the Armenians in 1915 was a Genocide.[150]
eld marshal von der Goltz stationed near the Baghdad Historian Ara Saraan similarly notes that the available
Railway in Mesopotamia. He later stated: I venture to Ottoman materials, especially when used alongside
claim the right of setting before you these pictures of mis- alternative sources (such as United States records or
ery and terror which passed before my eyes during nearly Armenian survivor accounts), support the Armenian
two years, and which will never be obliterated from my Genocide thesis.[151]
mind..[145] He was eventually arrested by the Germans Alongside ocial documentation, many Turkish public
and recalled to Germany. gures during the time have acknowledged the systematic
Wegner protested against the atrocities in an open let- nature of the massacres. Historian Ahmet Rek (Altnay)
ter submitted to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson at the wrote in 1919: The Unionists (Committee of Union and
peace conference of 1919. The letter made a case for Progress) wanted to remove the problem of Vilyt- Sitte
the creation of an independent Armenian state. Also by annihilating Armenians.[152] Turkish novelist Halide
in 1919, he published The Road of No Return (Der Edip, who was openly critical of the decisions made by
Weg ohne Heimkehr), a collection of letters he had the Ottoman government towards the Armenians, wrote
written during what he deemed the martyrdom (Ger- in Vakit on 21 October 1918: We slaughtered the in-
man: Martyrium) of the Armenians.[146] A documen- nocent Armenian population...We tried to extinguish the
tary lm depicting Wegners personal account of the Ar- Armenians through methods that belong to the medieval
menian Genocide through his own photographs, called times.[153][154] Abdlmecid II, the last Caliph of Islam
Destination Nowhere: The Witness and produced by of the Ottoman Dynasty, said of the policy: I refer to
5.4 Ottoman Empire and Turkey 17

those awful massacres. They are the greatest stain that subsequent massacres. One such politician, Mehmet
has ever disgraced our nation and race. They were en- Celal Bey, was known for saving thousands of lives and
tirely the work of Talat and Enver..[155] Senator Ahmet often called the Turkish Oscar Schindler.[161] During his
Riza stated: Lets face it, we Turks savagely killed o time as governor of Aleppo, Celal Bey did not believe
the Armenians.[156][157][158] Grand Vizier Damad Ferid that the deportations were meant to annihilate the Ar-
Pasha, speaking about the Armenians in the New York menians: I admit, I did not believe that these orders,
Times (26 June 1919), said: The whole civilised world these actions revolved around the annihilation of the Ar-
was shocked by the recital of the crimes alleged to have menians. I never imagined that any government could
been committed by the Turks. It is far from my thought to take upon itself to annihilate its own citizens in this man-
cast a veil over these misdeeds, which are such as to make ner, in eect destroying its human capital, which must
the conscience of mankind shudder with horror for ever; be seen as the countrys greatest treasure. I presumed
still less will I endeavour to minimise the degree of guilt that the actions being carried out were measures deriv-
of the actors in the great drama. The aim which I have set ing from a desire to temporarily remove the Armeni-
myself is that of showing to the world with proofs in my ans from the theater of war and taken as the result of
hand, who are the truly responsible authors of these terri- wartime exigencies.[162] However, he later admitted that
ble crimes.[159] Interior Minister Ali Kemal Bey wrote in he was mistaken and that the goal was to attempt to
Alemdar on 18 July 1919: Don't let us try to throw the annihilate the Armenians.[162] When defying the orders
blame on the Armenians; we must not atter ourselves of deportation, Celal Bey was removed from his post as
that the world is lled with idiots. We have plundered governor of Aleppo and transferred to Konya.[40] How-
the possessions of the men whom we deported and mas- ever, as the deportations continued, he repeatedly de-
sacred; we have sanctioned theft in our Chamber and our manded that the central authorities provide shelter for
Senate.[149][155] Reid Akif Paa, Vali of Sivas and head the deportees.[163] In addition to these demands, he sent
of the Council of State, is especially known for provid- the Sublime Porte many telegrams and letters of protest
ing important testimony during the Ottoman Parliament stating that the measures taken against the Armenians
session of 21 November 1918.[40] His speech outlined the were, from every point of view, contrary to the higher
process of how the ocial order of deportation contained interests of the fatherland.[163] His demands, however,
vague terminology only to be claried by special orders of were ignored.[163] Celal Bey said: Blood owed in-
massacres sent directly from the Committee of Union stead of water in the river, and thousands of innocent
and Progress headquarters and oftentimes the residence children, blameless elderly, helpless women and strong
of Talat Pasha himself:[41] youths were owing towards death in this blood ow.[164]
Hasan Mazhar Bey, who was appointed Vali of Ankara
During my few days of service in this gov- on 18 June 1914, is also known for having refused to
ernment I've learned of a few secrets and have proceed with the order of deportations.[165] Due to his
come across something interesting. The depor- refusal to deport the Armenians, Mazhar Bey was re-
tation order was issued through ocial chan- moved from his post as governor in August 1915 and re-
nels by the minister of the interior and sent to placed with Atif Bey, a prominent member of the Special
the provinces. Following this order the [CUP] Organization.[166] He recalled: Then one day Atif Bey
Central Committee circulated its own ominous came to me and orally conveyed the interior ministers or-
order to all parties to allow the gangs to carry ders that the Armenians were to be murdered during the
out their wretched task. Thus the gangs were deportation. 'No, Atif Bey,' I said, 'I am a governor, not a
in the eld, ready for their atrocious slaughter. bandit, I cannot do this, I will leave this post and you can
come and do it.'"[40] After leaving his post, Mazhar went
on to report that in the kaza [district], the plunder of
Armenian property, by both ocials and the population,
assumed incredible proportions.[167] He also became the
key gure in the establishment of the Mazhar Commis-
sion, an investigative committee which immediately took
up the task of gathering evidence and testimonies, with
a special eort to obtain inquiries on civil servants im-
plicated in massacres committed against Armenians.[168]
Sleyman Nazif, the Vali of Baghdad, who but later re-
signed in protest of the Ottoman governments policy to-
wards the Armenians, wrote in a 28 November 1918 issue
of the Hadisat newspaper: Under the guise of deporta-
Mehmed erif Pasha was a former member of the Young Turk tions, mass murder was perpetrated. Given the fact that
government who denounced the annihilation (The New York the crime is all too evident, the perpetrators should have
Times, 10 October 1915).[160] been hanged already.[169]
Some politicians tried to prevent the deportations and During the Republican period, several Turkish politicians

expressed their discontent with the deportations and sub- quite simple and consist of the extermination
sequent massacres. Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the rst (utrotandet) of the Armenian nation.[177]:39
President and founder of the Republic of Turkey, con-
sistently used the term shameful act (Turkish: fazahat)
when referring to the massacres.[149][170][171][172] In the 1 On 9 August 1915, Anckarsvrd dispatched yet another
August 1926 issue of the Los Angeles Examiner, Atatrk report, conrming his suspicions regarding the plans of
also said that the Young Turk Party was responsible for the Turkish government, It is obvious that the Turks are
"... millions of our Christian subjects who were ruthlessly taking the opportunity to, now during the war, annihi-
driven en masse from their homes and massacred.[173] At late [utplna] the Armenian nation so that when the peace
a secret session of the National Assembly, held on 17 Oc- comes no Armenian question longer exists.[177]:41
tober 1920, Hasan Fehmi (Ata), deputy of Gmhane,
said: As you know, the issue of relocation was an event Reecting upon the situation in Turkey during the nal
that made the world to yell blue and made all of us to be stages of the war, Envoy Alhgren presented an analy-
considered murderers. We knew, before we did it, that sis of the prevailing situation in Turkey and the hard
the Christian world would not tolerate it and they would times which had befallen the population. In explain-
direct their anger and hatred toward us. Why did we im- ing the increased living costs he identied a number of
pute the title of murderer to our race? Why did we enter reasons: obstacles for domestic trade, the almost total
into such decisive and dicult struggle? That was done paralysing of the foreign trade and nally the strong de-
just to secure the future of our country, which we know creasing of labour power, caused partly by the mobilisa-
to be more precious and sacred than our lives.[174] tion but partly also by the extermination of the Armenian
race [utrotandet af den armeniska rasen]".[177]:52
Wirsn, when writing his memoirs from his mission to the
5.5 Russian military Balkans and Turkey, Minnen frn fred och krig (Mem-
ories from Peace and War), dedicated an entire chap-
The Russian Empires response to the bombardment of ter to the Armenian genocide, entitled Mordet p en na-
its Black Sea naval ports was primarily a land campaign tion (The Murder of a Nation). Commenting on the
through the Caucasus. Early victories against the Ot- interpretation that the deportations resulted from the pur-
toman Empire from the winter of 1914 to the spring 1915 ported collaboration of the Armenians with the Rus-
saw signicant gains of territory, including relieving the sians, Wirsen states that the deportations were nothing
Armenian bastion resisting in the city of Van in May but a cover for their extermination: Ocially, these had
1915. The Russians also reported encountering the bod- the goal to move the entire Armenian population to the
ies of unarmed civilian Armenians as they advanced.[175] steppe regions of Northern Mesopotamia and Syria, but
In March 1916, the scenes they saw in the city of Erzurum in reality they aimed to exterminate [utrota] the Arme-
led the Russians to retaliate against the Ottoman III Army nians, whereby the pure Turkish element in Asia Mi-
whom they held responsible for the massacres, destroying nor would achieve a dominating position.[177]:28 He con-
it in its entirety.[176] cluded: The annihilation of the Armenian nation in
Asia Minor must revolt all human feelings ... The way
the Armenian problem was solved was hair-raising. I
5.6 Scandinavian missionaries and diplo- can still see in front of me Talaats cynical expression,
mats when he emphasized that the Armenian question was
Although a neutral state throughout the war, Sweden had Norwegian missionary nurse Bodil Birn was based in the
permanent representatives in the Ottoman Empire who town of Mezereh (now Elazig) and later in Mush, where
closely followed and continuously reported on major de- she worked for widows and orphaned children in coop-
velopments there. Its embassy in Constantinople was led eration with other missionaries. She witnessed the mas-
by Ambassador Cossva Anckarsvrd, with M. Ahlgren as sacres in Mush and saw most of the children in her care
envoy and Captain Einar af Wirsn as military attach. murdered along with Armenian priests, teachers, and as-
On 7 July 1915, Ambassador Anckarsvrd dispatched a sistants. She escaped after nine days on horseback but
two-page report concerning the Armenian massacres to stayed on in the region for another two years under in-
Stockholm. The report began as follows: creasingly dicult working conditions. After a period
at home she again went to Armenia and, until she re-
The persecutions of the Armenians have tired in 1935, worked for Armenian refugees in Syria
reached hair-raising proportions and all points and Lebanon. Bodil Birn was also an able photographer.
to the fact that the Young Turks want to seize Many of her photos are now in the National Archives of
the opportunity, since due to dierent reasons Norway. In combination with her comments, written in
there are no eective external pressure to be her photo albums or on the back of the prints themselves,
feared, to once and for all put an end to the these photos bear strong witness of the atrocities that she
Armenian question. The means for this are saw.[178]
6.1 Terminology 19

Danish missionary Maria Jacobsen wrote her experiences on comparative genocide studies in the English language
in a diary entitled Diaries of a Danish Missionary: Har- contains a segment on the Armenian Genocide. Lead-
poot, 19071919, which according to genocide scholar ing texts in the international law of genocide such as
Ara Saraan, is a documentation of the utmost signif- William Schabas's Genocide in International Law cite
icance for research of the Armenian Genocide.[179] Ja- the Armenian Genocide as precursor to the Holocaust
cobsen would later be known for having saved thousands and as a precedent for the law on crimes against hu-
of Armenians through various relief eorts in the after- manity. Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin, when he coined
math of the Armenian Genocide .[179][180] She wrote: It the term genocide in 1943, cited the Turkish extermi-
is quite obvious that the purpose of their departure is the nation of the Armenians and the Nazi extermination
extermination of the Armenian people.[180][181] Another of the Jews as dening examples of what he meant by
Danish missionary, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, wrote in genocide.[188][189][190][191][192] The killings of Armenians
regards to the massacres that it was a shattering crime, is genocide as dened by the 1948 United Nations Con-
probably the largest in the history of the world: The at- vention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime
tempt, planned and executed in cold blood, to murder a of Genocide. 126 leading scholars of the holocaust in-
whole people, the Armenian, during the World War.[182] cluding Elie Wiesel, and Yehuda Bauer placed a state-
Johannes strup, a Danish philologist and professor at the ment in the New York Times in June 2000 declaring the
University of Copenhagen, met with several Young Turk incontestable fact of the Armenian genocide and urging
politicians and leaders prior to the start of World War western democracies to acknowledge it. The Institute on
I. In his memoirs, strup recounts his meeting with Ta- the Holocaust and Genocide (Jerusalem), and the Insti-
lat Pasha in the autumn of 1910 in which he writes that tute for the Study of Genocide (NYC), have armed the
Talat talked openly about his plans to exterminate the historical fact of the Armenian Genocide.[193]
Armenians.[183][184] Historian Stefan Ihrig observes that the Armenian Geno-
cide was part of the prehistory of the Holocaust and that
merely ten years before Hitlers rise to power the Ger-
5.7 Persia man debate on genocide, begun in 1919, concluded with
justications of genocide and calls for the expulsion of
Due to the period of weak central government and Jews.[194]
Tehran's inability to protect its territorial integrity, no re-
sistance was oered by the mostly Islamic Persian troops A segment of speech given by Adolf Hitler to Wehrmacht
when, after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the commanders at his Obersalzberg records him asking
extreme northwest of Persia, Islamic Turks invaded the rhetorically Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihi-
town of Salmas in northwestern Persia and tortured and lation of the Armenians?" Historian Margaret L. An-
massacred the Christian Armenian inhabitants. [185] derson surmises, we have no reason to doubt the remark
is genuine, both attack and defense obscure an obvious re-
Mohammad-Ali Jamalzadeh, a prominent Persian writer ality that the Armenian Genocide has achieved iconic
in the 20th century, studied in Europe where he joined status... as the apex of horrors imaginable in 1939, and
a group of Iranian nationalists in Berlin who were to that Hitler used it to persuade the German military that
eventually start a newspaper (Rastakhiz) in Baghdad in committing genocide excited a great deal of talk but no
1915. After remaining in Baghdad, Jamalzadeh went serious consequences for a nation that perpetrates geno-
to Constantinople where he witnessed the deportations cide.
of Armenians and encountered many corpses during his
journey.[186] He wrote of his experiences and eyewit-
ness accounts decades later in two books entitled Qatl-
6.1 Terminology
e Amm-e Armanian (Persian: , literally;
Armenian massacres) and Qatl o rat-e Armaneh
Further information: Genocide
dar Torkiya (On the massacres of Armenians in Ot-
The Armenian Genocide happened before the coining of
toman Turkey) which were published in 1972 and 1963
[186] the term genocide. English-language words and phrases
used by contemporary accounts to characterise the event
include massacres, atrocities, annihilation, holo-
caust, the murder of a nation, race extermination
6 Studies on the Genocide and a crime against humanity.[196]
The survivors of the genocide used a number of Arme-
The Armenian Genocide is widely corroborated by in- nian terms to name the event. Mouradian writes that
ternational genocide scholars. The International Asso- Yeghern (Crime/Catastrophe), or variants like Medz
ciation of Genocide Scholars (IAGS), consisting of the Yeghern (Great Crime) and Abrilian Yeghern (the April
worlds foremost experts on genocide,[187] unanimously Crime)" were the terms most commonly used.[197] The
passed a formal resolution arming the factuality of the name Aghed, usually translated as Catastrophe, was,
Armenian Genocide. According to IAGS, Every book according to Beledian, the term most often used in Arme-

2007, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity produced

a letter[207] signed by 53 Nobel Laureates re-arming the
Genocide Scholars conclusion that the 1915 killings of
Armenians constituted genocide.[208][209]
Bat Ye'or has suggested that the genocide of the Armeni-
ans was a jihad".[210] Ye'or holds jihad and what she calls
"dhimmitude" to be among the principles and values
that led to the Armenian Genocide.[211] This perspective
is challenged by F'iz el-Ghusein, a Bedouin Arab witness
of the Armenian persecution, whose 1918 treatise aimed
to refute beforehand inventions and slanders against the
Faith of Islam and against Moslems generally ... [W]hat
the Armenians have suered is to be attributed to the
Committee of Union and Progress ... [I]t has been due to
Lemkin: the origin of the word genocide, (CBS News) their nationalist fanaticism and their jealousy of the Ar-
menians, and to these alone; the Faith of Islam is guiltless
nian literature to name the event.[198][199] After the coin- of their deeds.[212]:49 Arnold Toynbee writes that the
ing of the term genocide, the portmanteau word Armeno- Young Turks made Pan-Islamism and Turkish National-
cide was also used as a name for the Armenian Genocide. ism work together for their ends, but the development
of their policy shows the Islamic element receding and
Works that seek to deny the Armenian Genocide often the Nationalist gaining ground.[213] Toynbee and various
attach qualifying words against the term genocide, such other sources report that many Armenians were spared
as so-called, alleged or disputed, or characterise death by marrying into Turkish families or converting to
it as a controversy, or dismiss it as Armenian alle- Islam. El-Ghusein points out that many converts were
gations, Armenian claims[200] or Armenian lies, or put to death, concerned that Westerners would come to
employ euphemisms to avoid the word genocide, such regard the extermination of the Armenians[212]:49 as a
as calling it a tragedy for both sides, or the events of black stain on the history of Islam, which ages will not
1915.[201] American President Barack Obama's use of eace.[212]:51 In one instance, when an Islamic leader ap-
the term Medz Yeghern when referring to the Armenian pealed to spare Armenian converts to Islam, El-Ghusein
Genocide has been described as a means of avoiding the quotes a government functionary as responding that poli-
word genocide.[202] tics have no religion, before sending the converts to their
Raphael Lemkin coined the term genocide in 1943, deaths.[212]:49
with the fate of the Armenians in mind; he later explained
7 Recognition of the Genocide happened so many times ... It happened
to the Armenians, then after the Armenians Main article: Armenian Genocide recognition
Hitler took action.[203]
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolu-
Several international organizations have conducted stud- tion, 24 April 1998
ies of the atrocities, each in turn determining that the
term genocide aptly describes the Ottoman massacre Today we commemorate the anniversary of what has
of Armenians in 191516.[204] Among the organiza- been called the rst genocide of the 20th century, and we
tions arming this conclusion are the International Cen- salute the memory of the Armenian victims of this crime
ter for Transitional Justice, the International Associa- against humanity.[22]
tion of Genocide Scholars, and the United Nations Sub-
Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Pro-
tection of Minorities.[204][205]
In 2005, the International Association of Genocide
Scholars armed[206] that scholarly evidence revealed the
Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire be-
gan a systematic genocide of its Armenian citizens
an unarmed Christian minority population. More than
a million Armenians were exterminated through direct
killing, starvation, torture, and forced death marches.
The IAGS also condemned Turkish attempts to deny the States which have recognized the Armenian Genocide.
factual and moral reality of the Armenian Genocide. In
7.1 Republic of Turkey and the Genocide 21

Ponti. He also called on all heads of state and interna-

tional organizations to recognize the truth of what tran-
spired and oppose such crimes without ceding to ambi-
guity or compromise.[224] In a resolution, the European
Parliament commended the statement pronounced by the
Pope and encouraged Turkey to recognise the genocide
and so pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between
the Turkish and Armenian peoples.[225]
On 24 April 2015, the German parliament overwhelm-
ingly adopted a resolution recognising the Genocide.
Leading the debate, the Bundestag president Norbert
Lammert declared, What happened in the middle of the
First World War in the Ottoman Empire under the eyes
of the world was a genocide.[226]
Armenian genocide monument in Larnaca, Cyprus. Cyprus was
among the rst countries to recognise the genocide. A bill penalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide has
been introduced in the Russian State Duma in November
As a response to continuing denial by the Turkish state,
many activists from Armenian Diaspora communities
have pushed for formal recognition of the Armenian
7.1 Republic of Turkey and the Genocide
genocide from various governments around the world.
Twenty-nine countries and forty-three U.S. states have
adopted resolutions acknowledging the Armenian Geno- See also: Denial of the Armenian Genocide and Insulting
cide as a bona de historical event.[214][215][216][217] On Turkishness
4 March 2010, a US congressional panel narrowly voted
that the incident was indeed genocide; within minutes the According to Kemal iek, the head of the Armenian Re-
Turkish government issued a statement critical of this search Group at the Turkish Historical Society, in Turkey
resolution which accuses the Turkish nation of a crime it there is no ocial thesis on the Armenian issue.[228] The
has not committed. The Armenian Assembly of Amer- Republic of Turkey's formal stance is that the deaths of
ica (AAA) and the Armenian National Committee of Armenians during the relocation or deportation can-
America (ANCA) have as their main lobbying agenda to not aptly be deemed genocide, a position that has been
press Congress and the President for an increase of eco- supported with a plethora of diverging justications: that
nomic aid for Armenia and the reduction of economic the killings were not deliberate or systematically orches-
and military assistance for Turkey. The eorts also in- trated; that the killings were justied because Armeni-
clude rearmation of a genocide by Ottoman Turkey in ans posed a Russian-sympathizing threat[229] as a cultural
1915.[218] group; that the Armenians merely starved to death, or any
of various characterizations referring to marauding Ar-
As of 2015, Israel, the United Kingdom and United
States do not recognize what happened a century ago menian gangs.[230] Some suggestions seek to invalidate
the genocide on semantic or anachronistic grounds (the
as a genocide.[219] Despite his previous public recog-
nition and support of genocide bills, as well as election word genocide was not coined until 1943). Turkish World
War I casualty gures are often cited to mitigate the eect
campaign promises to formally recognize the Armenian
Genocide,[220] U.S. President Barack Obama, although of the number of Armenian dead.[231]
repeating that his views on the issue have not changed, Volkan Vural, retired ambassador of Turkey to Germany
has abstained so far from using the term genocide.[221]
and Spain, says that the Turkish state should apologize
In his 24 April commemoration statements Obama has for what happened to the Armenians during the depor-
referred to the Armenian Genocide by its Armenian syn- tations of 1915 and what happened to the Greeks during
onym, Medz Yeghern (spelled Meds Yeghern in the the Istanbul Pogrom.[232][233] He also states, I think that,
statements).[222] Despite a large number of direct de- the Armenian issue can be solved by politicians and not
scendants of the Armenian genocide living in Jerusalem, by historians. I don't believe that historical facts about
specically in the Armenian Quarter, Israel still refuses
this issue is not revealed. The historical facts are already
to recognize the genocide.[223] known. The most important point here is that how these
Pope Francis described it as the First genocide of the facts will be interpreted and will aect the future.
XX century, causing a diplomatic row with Turkey. The Turkish governmental sources have asserted that the
bishop of Rome defended his pronouncement by saying historically demonstrated tolerance of the Turkish
it was his duty to honour the memory of the innocent people itself renders the Armenian Genocide an
men, women and children who were senselessly mur- impossibility.[234] One military document leverages 11th
dered by Ottoman Turks 100 years before he became century history to cast doubt on the Armenian Genocide:

It was the Seljuq Turks who saved the Armenians that mandated special rapporteur Nicodme Ruhashyankiko
came under the Turkish domination in 1071 from the to produce a report on the issue of genocide. Early drafts
Byzantine persecution and granted them the right to live of Ruhashyankikos report referred to the World War I
as a man should.[234] A Der Spiegel article addressed this era Ottoman massacre of Armenians as genocide, but that
modern Turkish conception of history thus: reference disappeared from his nal report (1978) under
pressure from Turkey.[241]
Would you admit to the crimes of your The Israeli Foreign Ministry attempted to prevent any
grandfathers, if these crimes didn't really hap- mention of the Armenian Genocide at an international
pen?" asked ambassador ymen. But the conference on genocide held in Tel Aviv in 1982. Several
problem lies precisely in this question, says reports suggested that Turkey had warned that Turkish
Hrant Dink, publisher and editor-in-chief of Jews might face reprisals if the conference permitted
the Istanbul-based Armenian weekly Agos. Armenian participation.[242] This charge was categori-
Turkeys bureaucratic elite have never really cally denied by Turkey;[243] the Israeli Foreign Ministry
shed themselves of the Ottoman tradition supported Turkeys protestation that there had been no
in the perpetrators, they see their fathers, threats against Jews, suggesting that its intervention in the
whose honor they seek to defend. This tra- genocide conference was based on considerations vital to
dition instills a sense of identity in Turkish the Jewish nation.[244]
nationalistsboth from the left and the right,
In the same year, the Institute of Turkish Studies in Wash-
and it is passed on from generation to genera-
ington, D.C. (ITS) was established by a $3 million grant
tion through the school system. This tradition
from the Turkish Government. Israel Charny identies
also requires an antipole against which it could
the ITS and some of its foremost deniers of the Arme-
dene itself. Since the times of the Ottoman
nian genocide, such as Stanford Shaw, Heath W. Lowry,
Empire, religious minorities have been pushed
and Justin McCarthy, as the Turkish governments princi-
into this role.[235]
pal agency in the USA for promoting research on Turkey
and the Ottoman Empire, but also denial of the Armenian
In 2007, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan Genocide.[245]
issued a circular that calls the government institutions to
use the phrase Events of 1915 (in Turkish, 1915 Olay- A 1989 U.S. Senate proposal to recognize the Armenian
lar) instead of the phrase so-called Armenian genocide Genocide stoked the ire of Turkey. The proposal oc-
(in Turkish, szde Ermeni soykrm).[236] curred in the context of the publication of The Slaughter-
house Province, the eyewitness report by Leslie Davis,
Turkey has started an Initiative to Resolve Armenian Al- American diplomat and consul in Kharpert from 1914-
legations Regarding 1915 by using archives in Turkey, 1917, who reported that thousands and thousands of Ar-
Armenia and other countries.[237] Armenian president menians, mostly innocent and helpless women and chil-
Robert Kocharian rejected this oer by saying, It is the dren, were butchered in the last days of the Ottoman Em-
responsibility of governments to develop bilateral rela- pire. Turkey responded by blocking United States Navy
tions and we do not have the right to delegate that respon- visits to Turkey and suspending some US military train-
sibility to historians. That is why we have proposed and ing facilities on Turkish territory. The American scholar
propose again that, without pre-conditions, we establish who assembled the US archive documents for publica-
normal relations between our two countries.[238] Addi- tion, Susan K. Blair, went into hiding after a series of
tionally, Turkish foreign minister of the time, Abdullah anonymous threats.[246]
Gl, invited the United States and other countries to con-
tribute to such a commission by appointing scholars to In 1990, psychologist Robert Jay Lifton received a let-
investigate this tragedy and open ways for Turks and Ar- ter from the Turkish Ambassador to the United States,
menians to come together.[239] Nuzhet Kandemir, questioning his inclusion of references
to the Armenian Genocide in one of his books. The am-
bassador inadvertently included a draft of the letter, writ-
7.1.1 Controversies ten by scholar Heath W. Lowry, advising the ambassador
on how to prevent mention of the Armenian Genocide
Eorts by the Turkish government and its agents to quash in scholarly works.[247] In 1996, Lowry was named to a
mention of the genocide have resulted in numerous schol- chair at Princeton University that had been nanced by
arly, diplomatic, political and legal controversies. the Turkish government, sparking a debate on ethics in
In 1973, Turkey recalled its ambassador to France to
protest the Genocide monument erected in Marseilles to In 1993, Ragp Zarakolu, a Turkish human rights activist,
the memory of the 1.5 million Armenian victims of the published the Turkish translation of the book called His-
genocide ordered by the Turkish rulers in 1915.[240] tory of the Genocide written by Yves Ternon. The book
was the rst to be published in Turkey that openly ac-
In 1973, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrim-
knowledged the events of 1915 as genocide. Soon after
ination and Protection of Minorities, a former UN body,
7.2 The Republic of Armenia and the Genocide 23

its publication, he received threats and in 1994, the pub- minded Armenians of the Armenian Genocide and that it
lishing rm of Ragp Zorakolu was the target of a bomb does not improve relations between the two countries.[260]
attack.[250] The exact number of illegal Armenians in Turkey is es-
Prosecutors acting on their own initiative have used timated to be only[261]12,00013,000, contrary to the gure
Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code prohibiting in- used by Erdoan.
sulting Turkishness to silence a number of prominent
Turkish intellectuals who spoke of atrocities suered by
Armenians in the last days of the Ottoman Empire (most
of these cases have been dismissed).[251] During a Febru- 7.2 The Republic of Armenia and the
ary 2005 interview with Das Magazin, novelist Orhan Pa-
muk made statements implicating Turkey in massacres
against Armenians and persecution of the Kurds, declar-
ing: Thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians See also: Nagorno-Karabakh War and Sumgait pogrom
were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk Armenia has been involved in a protracted ethnic-
about it. Subjected to a hate campaign, he left Turkey,
before returning in 2005 to defend his right to freedom
of speech: What happened to the Ottoman Armenians
in 1915 was a major thing that was hidden from the Turk-
ish nation; it was a taboo. But we have to be able to
talk about the past.[252] Lawyers of two Turkish ultrana-
tionalist professional associations led by Kemal Kerinsiz
then brought criminal charges against Pamuk.[253] How-
ever, on 23 January 2006 the charges of insulting Turk-
ishness were dropped (for reasons not necessarily tied
to the case), a move welcomed by the EU.[254] However,
the fact that the charges had been brought at all was still
a matter of contention for European politicians.
These prosecutions have often been accompanied by hate
campaigns and threats, as was the case for Hrant Dink,
who was prosecuted three times for "insulting Turkish- The Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day is a national holiday
ness", and murdered in 2007.[255] Later, photographs of in Armenia.
the assassin being honored as a hero while in police cus-
tody, posing in front of the Turkish ag with grinning
policemen,[256] gave the academic community still more territorial conict with Azerbaijan, a Turkic state, since
cause for pause with regard to engaging the Armenian Azerbaijan became independent from the Soviet Union
issue.[257] Kerinsiz, the leading lawyer behind the pros- in 1991. The conict has featured several pogroms, mas-
ecutions, has been accused of plotting to overthrow the sacres, and waves of ethnic cleansing, by both sides.
government as a member of the alleged Ergenekon net- Some foreign policy observers and historians have sug-
work. gested that Armenia and the Armenian diaspora have
sought to portray the modern conict as a continuation
After a meeting with then UK Prime Minister Gor-
of the Armenian Genocide, in order to inuence mod-
don Brown in 2010, Turkeys prime minister announced
ern policy-making in the region.[112][262]:2323 According
that the Turkish government might order the expulsion
to Thomas Ambrosio, the Armenian Genocide furnishes
of all illegal Armenian immigrants from Turkey. The
a reserve of public sympathy and moral legitimacy that
statement came after recent US House Committee and
translates into signicant political inuence ... to elicit
Swedish Parliament resolutions over the Armenian Geno-
congressional support for anti-Azerbaijan policies.[262]
cide armation. He repeated the statement in a BBC
interview immediately afterwards, declaring that there The rhetoric leading up to the onset of the conict, which
were 100,000 illegal Armenian citizens living in Turkey unfolded in the context of several pogroms of Armenians,
and that: was dominated by references to the Armenian Genocide,
including fears that it would be, or was in the course of be-
If necessary, I may have to tell these ing, repeated.[263][264] During the conict, the Azeri and
100,000 to go back to their country because Armenian governments regularly accused each other of
they are not my citizens. I don't have to keep genocidal intent, although these claims have been treated
them in my country. [258][259] skeptically by outside observers.[112]:2323
The worldwide recognition of the Genocide is a core as-
Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan responded to pect of Armenias foreign policy and overarching grand
Erdoans statement by saying that this kind of threat re- strategy.[265]

9 Reparations to the victims

Main article: Armenian Genocide reparations

9.1 Reparations on the grounds of interna-

tional law
The United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on
the Right to Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations
of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
Varagavank monastery in Van (1913), burned and destroyed by provide in part, that reparation may be claimed indi-
the Turkish army in May 1915.[266] vidually and where appropriate collectively, by the di-
rect victims of violations of human rights and interna-
tional humanitarian law, the immediate family, depen-
dants or other persons or groups of persons closely con-
nected with the direct victims.[272] According to Henry
Theriault, while current members of Turkish society can-
8 Cultural loss not be blamed morally for the destruction of Armenians,
present-day Republic of Turkey, as successor state to the
Ottoman Empire and as beneciary of the wealth and land
expropriations brought forth through the genocide, is re-
See also: Armenian cultural heritage in Turkey
sponsible for reparations.[273]
Particularly important are Principles 9 and 12 that state,
The premeditated destruction of objects of Armenian that civil claims relating to reparations for gross violations
cultural, religious, historical and communal heritage of human rights and international humanitarian law shall
was yet another key purpose of both the genocide it- not be subject to statutes of limitations (article 9), and
self and the post-genocidal campaign of denial. Ar- that restitution shall be provided to re-establish the situa-
menian churches and monasteries were destroyed or tion that existed prior to the violations of human rights or
changed into mosques, Armenian cemeteries attened, international humanitarian law. The restitution requires,
and, in several cities (e.g., Van), Armenian quarters were inter alia return to ones place of residence and restora-
demolished.[267] tion of property.[272][274]
Aside from the deaths, Armenians lost their wealth Professor of International Law of Geneva School of
and property without compensation.[268] Businesses and Diplomacy (J.D. Harvard, Dr.phil. Gttingen), for-
farms were lost, and all schools, churches, hospitals, or-
mer Secretary of the UN Human Rights Committee and
phanages, monasteries, and graveyards became Turk-
former Chief of Petitions at the Oce of the UN High
ish state property.[268] In January 1916, the Ottoman Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr. Alfred de Zayas
Minister of Commerce and Agriculture issued a decree
stated that, because of the continuing character of the
ordering all nancial institutions operating within the crime of genocide in factual and legal terms, the rem-
empires borders to turn over Armenian assets to the
edy of restitution has not been foreclosed. Thus the sur-
government.[269] It is recorded that as much as six million
vivors of the genocide against the Armenians, both indi-
Turkish gold pounds were seized along with real property,
vidually and collectively, have standing to advance a claim
cash, bank deposits, and jewelry.[269] The assets were for restitution. Whenever possible complete restitution or
then funneled to European banks, including Deutsche and restoration to the previous condition should be granted.
Dresdner banks.[269] But where it is not possible, relevant compensation may
After the end of World War I, Genocide survivors tried be substituted as a remedy. [275]
to return and reclaim their former homes and assets, but In an article published in the European Journal of Interna-
were driven out by the Ankara Government.[268] tional Law, Vahagn Avedian, leaving aside the limitations
In 1914, the Armenian Patriarch in Constantinople pre- of the UN Genocide Convention, emphasizes the applica-
sented a list of the Armenian holy sites under his su- bility of international laws that prevailed at the time and
pervision. The list contained 2,549 religious places of remain in force up to the present, e.g. the Hague Conven-
which 200 were monasteries while 1,600 were churches. tions of 1899 and 1907, more specically the Martens
In 1974 UNESCO stated that after 1923, out of 913 Ar- Clause, pertaining to the protection of civilian popula-
menian historical monuments left in Eastern Turkey, 464 tion, but also existing international laws on unlawful con-
have vanished completely, 252 are in ruins, and 197 are scation, etc. Thus, the actions of the Turkish govern-
in need of repair (in stable conditions).[270][271] ments (the Ottoman, the insurgent nationalist movement
10.2 Portrayal in the media 25

as well as the succeeding republic), should be viewed

from the perspective of Internationally Wrongful Acts.
Avedian argues that:

the Republic not only failed to stop do-

ing the wrongful acts of its predecessor, but it
also continued the very internationally wrong-
ful acts committed by the Young Turk govern-
ment. Thus, the insurgent National Movement,
which later became the Republic, made itself
responsible for not only its own wrongful acts
but also those of its predecessor, including the
act of genocide committed in 19151916.[276] The Armenian Genocide Memorial on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd

9.2 Svres Treaty

Tsitsernakaberd above the Hrazdan gorge in Yerevan.
Although there are dierent opinions on the legitimacy The 44 metres (144 ft) stele symbolizes the national re-
of the Treaty of Svres and its relativity to reparation birth of Armenians. Twelve slabs are positioned in a cir-
claims, there are specialists who claim that some of its el- cle, representing 12 lost provinces in present-day Turkey.
ements retain the force of law.[277] In particular, the xing At the center of the circle there is an eternal ame. Each
of the proper borders of an Armenian state was under- 24 April, hundreds of thousands of people walk to the
taken pursuant to the treaty and determined by a binding monument, which is the ocial memorial of the geno-
arbitral award, regardless of whether the treaty was ulti- cide, and lay owers around the eternal ame.
mately ratied. The committee process determining the ar- Another memorial, in Alfortville, France, near Paris, was
bitral award was agreed to by the parties and, according bombed on 3 May 1984, by a hit-team headed by Grey
to international law, the resulting determination has legal Wolves member Abdullah atl and paid by the Turkish
force regardless of the ultimate fate of the treaty.[273] intelligence agency (MT).[280]

9.3 Lawsuits 10.2 Portrayal in the media

In July 2004, after the California State Legislature passed Main article: Armenian Genocide in culture
the Armenian Genocide Insurance Act, descendants of The rst artwork known to have been inuenced by the
Armenian Genocide victims settled a case for about 2,400
life insurance policies from New York Life written on Ar-
menians living in the Ottoman Empire.[278] Around 1918,
the Turkish government attempted to recover payments
for the people it had killed, with the argument that there
were no identiable heirs to the policy holders. The set-
tlement provided $20 million, of which $11 million was
for heirs of the Genocide victims.[278]

10 Commemoration

10.1 Memorials
See also: List of Armenian Genocide memorials and
Ravished Armenia (also called Auction of Souls)
List of visitors to Tsitsernakaberd
Armenian Genocide was a medal struck in St. Peters-
Over 135 memorials, spread across 25 countries, com- burg while the massacres and deportations of 1915 were
memorate the Armenian Genocide.[279] at their height. It was issued as a token of Russian sympa-
In 1965, the 50th anniversary of the genocide, a 24- thy for Armenian suering. Since then, dozens of similar[281]
hour mass protest was initiated in Yerevan demanding medals have been commissioned in various countries.
recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Soviet author- Numerous eyewitness accounts of the atrocities were
ities. The memorial was completed two years later, at published, notably those of Swedish missionary Alma Jo-

hansson and U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr.

German medic Armin Wegner wrote several books about
the atrocities he witnessed while stationed in the Ottoman
Empire. Years later, having returned to Germany, Weg-
ner was imprisoned for opposing Nazism,[282] and his
books were burnt by the Nazis.[283] Probably the best
known literary work on the Armenian Genocide is Franz
Werfel's 1933 The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. It was
a bestseller that became particularly popular among the
youth in the Jewish ghettos during the Nazi era.[87]:3024
Kurt Vonnegut's 1988 novel Bluebeard features the Ar-
menian Genocide as an underlying theme. Other nov-
els incorporating the Armenian Genocide include Louis
de Bernires' Birds without Wings, Edgar Hilsenrath's
German-language The Story of the Last Thought, and
Polish Stefan eromski's 1925 The Spring to Come. A
story in Edward Saint-Ivans 2006 anthology The Black
Knights God includes a ctional survivor of the Arme-
nian Genocide.
The rst lm about the Armenian Genocide appeared in
1919, a Hollywood production titled Ravished Armenia.
It was produced by the American Committee for Arme- Arshile Gorky's The Artist and His Mother (ca. 192636)
nian and Syrian Relief and was based on the narrative ac-
count of survivor Aurora Mardiganian, who played her-
self. It resonated with acclaimed director Atom Egoyan,
inuencing his 2002 Ararat. There are also references American denial of the Armenian, Assyrian, and Anato-
in Elia Kazan's America, America and Henri Verneuil's lian Greek genocides from 1914 to 1923.[288]
Mayrig. At the Berlin International Film Festival of 2007 In 2008, Armenian-American composer Andrey Kas-
Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani presented an- parov premiered Tsitsernakabert, an original work for
other lm about the atrocities, based on Antonia Ar- modern dance and six musicians: alto ute, bass/ con-
slans book, La Masseria Delle Allodole (The Farm of the trabass ute, violin, two percussionists, and mezzo-
Larks).[284] Richard Kalinoskis play, Beast on the Moon, soprano.[289] The work opens with eight dancers posed in
is about two Armenian Genocide survivors. a circle inclined toward the circles centre in a tableau
The paintings of Armenian-American Arshile Gorky, a reminiscent of the eponymous memorial to victims of
seminal gure of Abstract Expressionism, are considered the Armenian Genocide, situated in Yerevan, capital of
to have been inuenced by the suering and loss of the Armenia.
period.[285] In 1915, at age 10, Gorky ed his native Van Julian Cope's 2013 album Revolutionary Suicide includes
and escaped to Russian-Armenia with his mother and a song over 15 minutes long, The Armenian Genocide,
three sisters, only to have his mother die of starvation memorializing the event.
in Yerevan in 1919. His two The Artist and His Mother
The 2014 drama lm The Cut is based on the Armenian
paintings are based on a photograph with his mother
taken in Van.
Argentine composer Juan Mara Solare wrote a lyrical
In 1975, famous French-Armenian singer Charles Az-
monodrama titled Verchin Oror (Last Lullaby), with text
navour recorded the song "Ils sont tombs" (They
by Ruben Sevak (1885-1915), one of the poets arrested
Fell), dedicated to the memory of Armenian Genocide
on 24 April 1915. This work (symbolically nished on
24 April 2015) was a commission of the Foundation En-
The American band System of a Down, composed of four cuentros Internacionales de Msica Contempornea (Ar-
descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors, has pro- gentina). The piece is scored for mezzo-soprano and in-
moted awareness of the Armenian Genocide through its strumental quintet (ute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano).
lyrics, including P.L.U.C.K. and in concerts.[287]
On 13 April 2015, 1915 The Movie held its Hollywood
In late 2003, Diamanda Gals released the album Dex- premiere at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles. The
iones, Will and Testament: Orders from the Dead, an 80- lm was screened across the world, including Canada,
minute memorial tribute to the Armenian, Assyrian and Russia, and Armenia. Directed by Garin Hovannisian
Greek victims of the genocide in Turkey. The perfor- and Alec Mouhibian, the lm tells the story of a mys-
mance is an angry meditation on genocide and the politi- terious director (played by Simon Abkarian), who stages
cally cooperative denial of it, in particular the Turkish and a play and intends to bring the ghosts of the Armenian

Genocide back. Armenian refugees at the American Relief eye hos-


11 Images An Armenian refugee woman and her son.

Armenian refugees under the Near East relief.

Armenian genocide survivors discovered in Salt and
sent to Jerusalem in April 1918. Food relief.
Armenian orphans in Merzifon, 1918.
Woman with baby.
Transport of Armenians.
Transport to Greece.
Decapitated heads of Armenians placed on stakes.
Children taken in by Near East Relief.
Armenian refugees in Van crowding around a public
oven in 1915. Transport to Greece.
Tortured Armenian woman next to child, as re-
ported by the Iskri Newspaper of Russia. Armenian refugees in Alexandropol.

Soldiers holding the skulls of victims of the Arme- An Armenian refugee camp in Aleppo.
nian Genocide.

Armenians ordered by the authorities to gather in the

main square of the city to be deported. The crowd 12 See also
was eventually massacred.
Caucasus Campaign
An Armenian mother beside the corpses of her ve
100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
Armenian monastery in Bitlis with severed heads
and corpses in the foreground. Armenian Genocide denial

Deportations of Armenians. Armenian Orphan Rug

Refugee camp in Syria. ArmeniaIsrael relations

Corpses of Armenian children.
ArmeniaTurkey relations
Port Said, Egypt.
Conscated Armenian properties in Turkey
Armenian refugees in Hauran, Syria eating a carcass
of a horse. Eects of genocide on youth

5,000 children from Kharpert on donkeys or march- Historiography of the fall of the Ottoman Empire
ing on foot.
Press coverage during the Armenian Genocide
Armenian corpses in Diyarbakir.

Armenians massacred in Aleppo after the 1918 Racism in Turkey

Armistice laid out in front of the Armenian Relief
Hospital. Rape during the Armenian Genocide

Armenians being hanged by Turkish guards. Witnesses and testimonies of the Armenian Geno-
Deportations of Armenians in Mamuret Al-Aziz
province. Aghet Ein Vlkermord, German documentary lm
on the Armenian Genocide
Armenians being deported.

Near East Relief with Armenian refugees in Bitlis. Assyrian Genocide

Armenian refugee children near Athens, 1923, af- Greek Genocide

ter the Population exchange between Greece and
Turkey. Dersim rebellion

13 Notes [10] Chalk, Frank Robert; Jonassohn, Kurt (10 September

1990). The history and sociology of genocide: analyses
[1] The Armenian Genocide is generally associated with and case studies. Institut montralais des tudes sur le
1915, the year that most of the atrocities took place. The gnocide. Yale University Press. pp. 270. ISBN 978-0-
span varies from source to source: 19151916, 1915 300-04446-1.
1917, 19151918, 19151923, 18941915, 18941923 [11] Armenian Genocide (armation), The International As-
[4][5][6] sociation of Genocide Scholars, That this assembly of the
[2] 1.5 million is the most published number, however,
Association of Genocide Scholars in its conference held in
estimates vary from 800,000 to 1,800,000[7][8][9][10]
Montreal, June 113, 1997, rearms that the mass mur-
[3] in classical Armenian orthog- der of Armenians in Turkey in 1915 is a case of genocide
raphy which conforms to the statutes of the United Nations Con-
vention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
It further condemns the denial of the Armenian Genocide
by the Turkish government and its ocial and unocial
14 References agents and supporters.

[12] Fisk, Robert (14 October 2006). Let me denounce geno-

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16 External links
The Armenian Genocide Institute-Museum, Yerevan,
Armenian National Institute, Washington, D.C.
(dedicated to the study, research, and armation of
the Armenian Genocide).

Armenian Genocide Debate.

The Forgotten, videos of interviews with survivors.

Armenians 1915, Armenian Genocide Research

Center (World Wide Web log), Google Bogger, re-
trieved 2016-06-18.
Fall of the Ottoman Empire, Online Encyclopedia
of Mass violence (chronological index & articles).

Genocide, AM.
Screamers, You tube (video) (documentary),
Google, retrieved 2016-06-18, about genocide, fea-
turing System of a Down.

Works about Hayots Tseghaspanutyan Tangaran-

Institut in libraries (WorldCat catalog)

Tavernise, Sabrina, Armenian Genocide, The New

York Times (collected news and coverage).

Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis on the Armenian


17 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

17.1 Text
Armenian Genocide Source: Contributors: Derek Ross, Szopen,
The Anome, Tarquin, Malcolm Farmer, RK, Awaterl, Danny, SimonP, Zoe, Anas~enwiki, Camembert, Zippy, Modemac, Soulpatch,
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Awen23, BM Tornado, Amzro, Urchu, Nucdian and Anonymous: 808

17.2 Images
File:1895erzurum-victims.jpg Source: License: Pub-
lic domain Contributors: The Graphic December 7th 1895. Original artist: W. L. Sachtleben. (d. 1953)
File:AdanaChristianQuarter.jpg Source: License:
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digital ID ggbain.50065.
17.2 Images 43

This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.
Original artist: Bain News Service, publisher.
File:AmbassadorMorgenthautelegram.jpg Source:
AmbassadorMorgenthautelegram.jpg License: Public domain Contributors: US National Archives Original artist: Henry Morgen-
thau Sr
File:April24Victims.jpg Source: License: Public domain
Contributors: Images are from the Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia, Seventh Volume, Yerevan: 1981, p. 423. Original artist:
Unknown<a href='//' title='wikidata:Q4233718'><img alt='wikidata:Q4233718' src='https://upload.' width='20' height='11' srcset='https:// 1.5x, https://upload.wikimedia.
org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/ff/Wikidata-logo.svg/40px-Wikidata-logo.svg.png 2x' data-le-width='1050' data-le-height='590'
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- Yerevan Original artist: Rita Willaert from 9890 Gavere, Belgium
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en:American Committee for Relief in the Near East
File:Armintwegner1890s.jpg Source: License: Public
domain Contributors:, rst published Im Hause der Glckseligkeit: Aufzeichn. aus d. Trkei
(1920) Original artist: Unknown<a href='//' title='wikidata:Q4233718'><img alt='wikidata:Q4233718'
src='' width='20'
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title='wikidata:Q4233718'><img alt='wikidata:Q4233718' src='
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thumb/f/ff/Wikidata-logo.svg/30px-Wikidata-logo.svg.png 1.5x,
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