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Mass crimes against humanity and genocides

The genocide against Armenians.
"Great Catastrophe" of 1915-1922:

Part 1

Armenian genocide memorial

Armenian Genocide Memorial.

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  • "There are times, young fellah, when every one of us must make a stand for human right and justice, or you never feel clean again." Lord John Roxton. Quoted in The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 1

  • "Armenia is dying, but it will survive. The little blood that is left is precious blood that will give birth to a heroic generation. A nation that does not want to die, does not die." Anatole France, French author, 1916.

  • "When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact. ... The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared to the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915." Henry Morgenthau Sr., U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, 1919.

  • "In its attempt to carry out its purpose to resolve the Armenian question by the destruction of the Armenian race, the Turkish government has refused to be deterred neither by our representations, nor by those of the American Embassy, nor by the delegate of the Pope, nor by the threats of the Allied Powers, nor in deference to the public opinion of the West representing one-half of the world." Count Wolff-Metternich, German Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire on 1916-JUL-10, in a cable to the German Chancellor

  • "It is generally not known in the world that, in the years preceding 1916, there was a concerted effort made to eliminate all the Armenian people, probably one of the greatest tragedies that ever befell any group. And there weren't any Nuremberg trials." Former President of the U.S., Jimmy Carter 1978.

  • "Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it, … the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten." Former President of the U.S., Ronald Reagan, 1981.

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Time Location Perpetrators Victims Number of victims
1915 to 1922 Turkey Ottoman Empire Armenians and other Christians 300,000 to 1.5 million Armenian Christians; an unknown number of Greek Christians and others.

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The Armenian Genocide:

"The Armenian genocide of 1915-1916 effectively wiped out the Christian Armenian population of Turkey, claiming the lives of from 300,000 to 1.5 million victims (Sources differ in number.). Perhaps 75,000 Armenians remain in Turkey today, most of them in Istanbul." According to the web site, which is no longer online:

"The Armenian Genocide occurred in a systematic fashion, which proves that it was directed by the Turkish government.This was the İttihat_ve_Terakki government 3 -- also known as the "Young Turks" -- of the Ottoman Empire. First the Armenians in the army were disarmed, placed into labor battalions, and then killed. Then the Armenian political and intellectual leaders were rounded up on [1915-]April 24 and killed. Finally, the remaining Armenians were rounded up, told they would be relocated, and then marched off to concentration camps in the desert between Jerablus and Deir ez-Zor where they would starve and thirst to death in the burning sun...The authorities in Trebizond, on the Black Sea coast, did vary this routine: they loaded Armenians on barges and sank them far out at sea." 4

Although the main victims of this genocide were Armenian Christians, the approximately five million Greek Christians living in Turkey at the start of World War I were also targeted for programs of deportation, forced marches leading to extermination, and ethnic cleansing. These victims have been almost entirely forgotten. They include Greek Orthodox victims living along the Anatolian coast in 1914, at Adrianople, Constantinople and Smyra during 1916, in Ordou in 1918, etc.

By 1923, Greece had received about a million Christian refugees -- mostly composed of the elderly and children. Able-bodied adults generally were unable to make it to safety. 5,6,7,8

Mustafa Kemel, the founder of modern Turkey in 1923 , who later took the name of Ataturk, spoke openly about the genocide, calling it an "abomination of the past." However, the history books of current and previous governments of Turkey have either denied that the genocide actually happened, or suggested that typhoid, the Russians, and/or the Germans were responsible for the massive loss of life. The use of the term "genocide" is  "categorically unacceptable," according to Yüksel Söylemez, the chairman of a group of former Turkish ambassadors. Turkish president Ahmet Necdet Sezer said the accusations of genocide are baseless and that they "upset and hurt the feelings of the Turkish nation."

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Recent acknowledgments of the genocide:

  • Some have suggested that Turkish government's unwillingness to admit to the past atrocity by its predecessor may threaten its prospects for its future membership in the European Union. In 2004, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said:

    "I believe that when the time comes, Turkey should come to terms with its past, be reconciled with its own history and recognize this tragedy. This is an issue that we will raise during the negotiation process. We will have about 10 years to do so and the Turks will have about 10 years to ponder their answer." 9

  • 1997: The Association of Genocide Scholars reaffirmed that the mass murder of over a million Armenians in Turkey in 1915 is a case of genocide which conforms to the statutes of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. It further condemned the denial of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government and its official and unofficial agents and supporters. 10

  • 2001-JAN-18: France passed a law branding as a "genocide" the mass murder of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

  • 2005-MAR: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and opposition leader Deniz Baykal agreed to address the past. The Prime Minister noted that the state archives in Ankara and Istanbul are open to everyone. He said that an independent entity -- like UNESCO -- might participate in an historical fact-finding mission.

  • 2005-APR-24: On this date, the 90th anniversary of the genocide was observed. Essentially all survivors of the genocide will probably have died by the time of the next decennial remembrance in 2015.

  • 2008-SEP: In a dramatic move, President Sargsyan of Armenia invited President Gul of Turkey to Armenia to watch a World Cup qualifier between their two soccer teams. This was followed by representatives of the two states meeting to discuss opening their border, establishing diplomatic relations, and generally improving tensions between the countries.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. book cover Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Lost World." CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2014). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store. Available in paperback and Kindle formats.

    Amazon review: "The Lost World is a novel released in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle concerning an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) were imagined to still survive."
  2. "Genocide history brief," at: 
  3. Also known, in English, as the "Committee of Union and Progress" or the "Union and Progress Party."
  4. "The Armenian Genocide," at: [Apparently off line)
  5. Sofia Kontogeorge Kostos, "Before the Silence," at:
  6. "Memories from Smyrni - 1900 - 1922,"  at:
  7. Roberto Lopes, "The Hellenic Genocide," at:
  8. Bernhard Zand, "Armenian Genocide Plagues Ankara 90 Years On," Der Spiegel, 2005-APR-25. at:
  9. "Turkey 'must admit Armenia dead;," BBC News, 2004-DEC-13, at:
  10. "Armenian Genocide recognition," Wikipedia, as on 2015-APR-07, at:

Site navigation: Home page > Laws & religionGenocide > here

or: Home page > Religious violence Genocide >  here

Copyright © 2001 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-JAN-1
Latest update: 2018-JUL-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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