During World War I, something happened that you may have heard or read a little about. I then think of the genocide of Armenians committed by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). The genocide is referred to as the Armenian Genocide.
Armenians in present-day Turkey were made scapegoats for a failed attack on Russian forces.. The goal was to exterminate all Armenians. A genocide that claimed between 400,000 and 1.5 million lives. All Armenians were to die, young and old, children and women. Women were often raped before being killed. A proven genocide against an ethnic group that is thoroughly documented in documents from the Ottoman Empire.
What was the Armenian Genocide?
The purpose of the genocide was to exterminate all Christians in Turkey. There were about 2 million Christians in the Ottoman Empire, of which about 1.5 million were Armenians. The massacres were an attempt to create a new homogenous Turkey
Virtually all Christians in Turkey disappeared or were killed.
How did the genocide take place?
All Armenian men between the ages of 20-45 (August 1914) and later men between 18-20 and 45-60 were conscripted to serve in the Ottoman army. Only women and men under 18 and over 60 were left.
At the beginning of 1915, the Armenian soldiers were disarmed and taken into labor battalions where they were mistreated. In February 1915, the Turkish government ordered these labor battalions to be liquidated, and by July 1915 approximately 200,000 Armenian soldiers had been murdered.
It was only after Armenian society had been paralyzed in this way that the main phase of annihilation was staged through mass deportations and massacres of the helpless civilian population. These now consisted only of women, children and men over 60 years of age.
Women were raped, robbed or sold in slave markets to Turkish and Kurdish harems. Many women and girls committed suicide by jumping off cliffs and into rivers to escape this fate. Women, children and the elderly gathered in the town church, which was then set on fire.
As soon as the caravans with the deportees got outside the city and out of sight, they were attacked by Kurdish groups. With the support of the Turkish military, these massacred the Armenians and looted them of both property and clothing. Those who survived these massacres died of hunger and disease during the long treks towards the Syrian and Mesopotamian deserts.
Countries and organizations that recognize the genocide
The list of countries that recognize this as a genocide is:
Uruguay, Cyprus, Russia, Greece, Lebanon, Belgium, France, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland, Argentina, Canada, Slovakia, Netherlands, Poland, Venezuela, Germany, Lithuania, Chile, Sweden, Bolivia, Austria, Luxemburg, Brazil, Paraguay, USA, UK, Spain, Iran and Syria
Organizations that recognize this as genocide is:
World Council of Churches, Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, UN Committee on Human Rights, EU, International Association of Genocide Scholars, Council of Europe, YMCA, International Center for Transitional Justice, Mercosur
As we can see, many countries are conspicuous by their absence from the list. The time has come to recognize this as genocide.