Was the Armenian massacre premeditated?

In 1915, during the First World War, on the deck of a French cruiser, rescued Armenian refugees

At the end of 2020, the BBC revealed news that Syria, where the civil war is gradually subsiding, has organized an organization of $2,000/month to recruit guards on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This amount is 20-40 times the local wage level.

However, the border guards are just a cover. In fact, the recruits will pass through Turkey and be transferred to the front lines of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Turkey is one of the brokers. It shares Islam with Azerbaijan. Within a week, hundreds of people will die there.

Turkey and Armenia are feuds, and the entanglement can be traced back to the “Armenian Massacre” more than 100 years ago. Armenians believe in Christianity, and the independent state they originally owned was annexed by Byzantium in 1064 and then annexed by the Ottoman Empire in 1454.

In the next 500 years, they became “second-class citizens” in the Ottoman Empire, consciously tolerating and coexisting with Muslims. Unexpectedly, in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1918, Muslims led by Turks and Kurds launched demobilization and massacres against Armenians, causing the latter’s death toll to exceed one million.

Since then, the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire has evaporated by 90%. Also persecuted, there are also Assyrians who also believe in Christianity.

In 1918, Armenia was founded at the same time as Azerbaijan; the Assyrians went into exile in Syria and Iraq. The fate of the Assyrians was even more miserable for the Biamenians.

Blessed or cursed to return to Europe?
Since the end of the 18th century, unlike previous empires, the European ideal country is a nation-state, with only one nation and one cultural tradition. In the mid to late 19th century, the Western scientific community claimed that race determines the potential of a person. The Ottoman Empire was too eager to prove that it was as “civilized” as Europe, leading to the rise of nationalism among Muslims in its territory and increasing hostility towards Armenians.

After the Balkan War broke out in 1912, with the support of European powers, including the Greeks, almost all Christian nations in the Ottoman territory declared independence, except for Armenia.

In October 1915, during the First World War, French warships rescued Armenian refugees who had fled by boat on the coast of Syria.

But this does not mean that the Armenians are not conscious. The Armenian national movement began as early as the mid to late 19th century. Armenian elites write Armenian history and publish Armenian newspapers, novels, and poems. Some elites are in high positions, trying to promote reforms that benefit the Armenians within the Ottoman Empire.

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, especially after the Balkan Wars, some Armenians began to pin their hopes on the European powers, expecting to be rescued and free from Islamic oppression. Although in the Ottoman Empire, most Armenians were extremely poor peasants, but in the capital Constantinople, the Armenian elite maintained long-term ties with Europe, and used this bond as a trade advantage to accumulate a lot of wealth.

Many families in Armenian business and finance have sent their children to study in Europe. Some of them learned European etiquette and grooming, which became eye-catching among the crowd. Many Armenians of Constantinople entered the upper class and political circles of the Ottoman Empire, or operated the mint, or became chief architects, and some participated in foreign affairs.

This made the Armenians overly optimistic, thinking that they had a good relationship with the Ottoman ruling class. Not only did they not believe in the “rumors” before the Holocaust, they also believed that they could promote top-down reforms.

The Armenian dress also caused jealousy. The ground in Constantinople is very muddy, and Turks are covered with mud on rainy days. The Armenians, Greeks, and Jews in the carriage were well-dressed, wearing top hats, and settled in luxury apartments.

These are all sorrows. Armenian Holocaust survivor and biographer Grigory Balahiyan said that World War I just gave the Turks a chance to “fix” the mistakes they made during the Ottoman Empire—they were not purged of Christians because there At that time, other countries have no time to take care of themselves.

Sandwich biscuits between the Three Kingdoms
From the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, Armenians were mainly distributed in Tsarist Russia, Persia (now Iran) and the Ottoman Empire. Armenians enjoy autonomy in the Ottoman territory and belong to the elites of Armenian Milit (religious group) and Constantinople.

But within the Ottoman Empire, discrimination against Armenians was structural. Muslims not only increase taxes on the Armenians and exploit them, they also openly stated that the latter are unclean and not worthy of trust.

Children among Armenian refugees receive bread

Burning, looting and looting of Armenians are common, and small-scale slaughters have existed since the end of the 19th century. Among the other two countries, Persia was relatively weak and lost to the Ottoman Empire in the Persian campaign. Tsarist Russia granted the Armenians the greatest degree of autonomy, and gave them more opportunities to receive education and study abroad.

Therefore, Tsarist Russia is a better choice for Armenians. Many Armenians immigrated to Europe, the United States, and Tsarist Russia during this period.

Tsarist Russia granted the Armenians the greatest degree of autonomy, and gave them more opportunities to receive education and study abroad.

However, Tsarist Russia did not blindly support the Armenians. When the Armenian massacre occurred, although Tsarist Russia guarded the Armenians in the border area, they also extended an olive branch to the Kurds who slaughtered the Armenians.

And it was the later Soviet Union that, in order to please Turkey, the Nagorno-Karabakh (“Naka”) region, whose main inhabitants were Armenians, was assigned to Azerbaijan, which buried the scourge of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for a century.

In 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined Germany and Austro-Hungary and declared war with Great Britain, France and Tsarist Russia. Tsarist Russia borders the eastern part of the Ottoman Empire, and both sides want to recruit Armenians.

Most of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire are on the side of the Turks. A small part of the armed forces have also been established to help Tsarist Russia, and there are also calls within the clan for “Hope Tsarist Russia will win.”

On April 19, 1915, an Armenian riot occurred in the city of Van in the east of Ottoman. The cause was to resist the atrocities of the Ottoman government. This caused the Turks to panic. There were skirmishes between local Armenians and Muslims.

In April, the Ottoman Empire withdrew from some eastern territories, and the Armenians actually controlled a part of the area. There is also persecution of Muslims in places controlled by Armenians.

Based on this, the “Young Turks” believed that the Armenian mutiny had also become the cause of the massacre. At the end of the month, the Ottoman Empire announced a “demobilization order” against the Armenians, moving the Armenians in the territory, especially in the area bordering Tsarist Russia, to the Syrian Province, which was part of the Ottoman Empire at that time.

Demobilization or genocide?
In February 1915, Armenian soldiers became the first victims of persecution.

They were disarmed and sent to build roads in Asia Minor, but they were not given enough food, clothing and medical resources. They fend for themselves in the cold. Those who survived were slaughtered by their Turkish subordinates a few months later.

Within a few days after the April riots in Van, the Ottoman Empire began arresting Armenian elites and activists in the capital area to remove the “brains” of the Armenians. These people were first put in prison and then deported in batches.

Then, the Armenians in the territory were disarmed, and mass demobilization against them began. Demobilization and massacre occurred in the mountains, valleys, rivers, and deserts of Persia and the Caucasus, 1,600 kilometers east of Constantinople.

Approximately 2 million Armenians migrated under the supervision of Ottoman soldiers and gendarmerie to the concentration camps in Syria and the surrounding deserts. On the way, they were attacked and massacred by special organizations under the Ottoman Army (composed of Kurds, Turks and Bedouins). .

Some other Armenians were forced to convert to Islam in order to survive. Men died in large numbers, and women and children were sent to local Muslim families. Some orphans were adopted by foreign missionaries.

To the east of Ottoman, in the area where Armenians and Muslims clashed, there was a massacre. Armenian men were killed and women worked as military prostitutes—if they contracted venereal diseases, they were poisoned and their children drowned.

Because the eastern region is mainly mixed with Armenians and Kurds, the atrocities are usually initiated by Kurds.

Talat Pasha, the former Minister of the Interior of the Ottoman Empire, was shot and killed by an Armenian in Germany in 1921

In 1918, the Ottoman Empire was defeated and the new government came to power, allowing the Armenians to return home. The criminals of the massacre began to go into exile. Among them, Talat Pasha, the mastermind and former Minister of the Interior of the Ottoman Empire, was shot and killed by Armenians in Germany in 1921. The murderer was acquitted.

The initiators of the atrocities are usually Kurds.

On the eve of the massacre, it was Talat and the German ambassador von Wangenheim who joined forces to deceive the Armenians, asking them to trust the goodwill of the Ottoman government.

Later, the international community usually adopted the view of the victim Armenians and believed that the Ottoman Empire’s massacre of the Armenians was a premeditated and organized genocide. The purpose was not only to kill, but also to eliminate a culture. And this is also the actual consequence of the Ottoman Empire.

Armenian historians believe that the Ottoman Empire felt that Germany would win. Once Germany wins, the Ottoman Empire, as the victorious ally, will not be condemned for the massacre. Even if they lose, the remaining Armenians will not be able to form a strong independent regime and pose no threat to the Turks-of course, it is best to stifle Armenia, a potentially independent country, in the cradle.

However, other schools, including Stanford University, historian Bernard Lewis and others, all claim that the official Ottoman genocide policy does not exist.

The reason is that there is no official Ottoman record showing that there is an order from the government, and the official does not approve and encourage the killing; the other is that 1,397 Turkish officials were punished for misconduct, which is completely different from the Nazi Holocaust.

Therefore, these scholars infer that the massacre of Armenians was mainly due to the Ottoman Empire’s lack of control over Turkish and Kurdish forces during the war.

This is also the reason why Turkey has denied the “Armenian genocide” in recent years. According to Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Law, the recognition of the existence of the “Armenian Massacre” may constitute a crime of “damaging the reputation of the country”. This is used to punish Turkish writers who wrote books on the Armenian Massacre, such as Nobel Prize winner Pamuk. And novelist Elif Shafak.

Few people in Turkey can trace their family tree to more than four generations. Many people have emigrated from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Georgia and other countries, and they are no longer descendants of the Armenians that were persecuted in the past.

In 2009, Turkey and Armenia established diplomatic relations, but this is far from the end of the turbulent situation in the region.