The Armenian Genocide

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Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide


Meds Yeghern - Մեծ Եղեռն


From 1894 through 1896, massacres of Armenians by the Ottomans occurred under the leadership of Abdul Hamid II. This had the effect of partly alienating several Western Great Powers, most notably Britain, which had long supported Turkey in the Great Game against perceived Russian encroachment. This was one of the first occasions when outside powers made human rights a direct concern in their foreign policy. There were also follow-up Cilician pogroms in 1909. From 1915 through 1917 a second and far greater genocide against Armenians by the Ottomans took place. This was mainly a response to Armenian volunteers enlisting in fair numbers in anti-Turkish units fighting in support of the tsar’s armies, and to several massacres of Turks inside Russian-occupied Ottoman territory by an Armenian provisional government that had been proclaimed there in April 1915. The sultan’s forces reacted with genocide of some 700,000 Armenians from 1915 to 1917. That is a consensus estimate by regional specialists: the actual numbers remain hotly disputed by both communities, with Armenian sources usually asserting a death toll in the range of 1.5 million and some Turkish sources denying the events even occurred. Whatever the precise number, it was large and the attending civilian suffering was enormous. Some of the victims were simply murdered, but most died during forced marches or from gross neglect after being herded into concentration camps set up in the Syrian Desert. For decades, Turkey officially denied the extent (and even the fact) of the carnage, causing deep contention with—and lasting bitterness among—Armenians.

"Armenian Genocide." Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2002. 




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