“At first we wept till it seemed that for the rest of our lives we couldn’t do anything else but weep, then the true horror of it began to weight down on us and we found it impossible to weep” (Friedler, 2010)
The Armenian population in Turkey at the beginning of the First World War was 2,000,000; in 1922 it was 400,000 (Kifner). This shows the clear genocidal interest, that is, the intention to finish or decimate the religious or national group by another national group. At the end of the 19th century there were great massacres that decimated the Armenian population and started the wave of violence and terror that would later be accentuated by the new government of the early twentieth century. Once the Ottoman Empire fell, the new government of the Young Turks took power and with it the promises of equality for the minorities were shattered. The documents that contain evidence of the Armenian genocide perpetuated by Turkey are in Germany, France, the United States and Switzerland. It was only recently that they were declassified and brought to light. However, the Turkish government flatly refuses to accept that such a fact took place, it is even considered a crime to mention that it was so. Despite this, on May 24, 1915, England, France and Russia declared the acts of the Ottoman Government as crimes against humanity. Few countries currently recognize the Armenian genocide as such to preserve international relations with Turkey because of its strategic position. Barak Obama was going to recognize him, but he did not do it and after his presidency any attempt to achieve this goal was totally lost.
The Armenians were the first group of people to accept the Christian religion as an official in a territory before being annexed to the Ottoman Empire. Being second-class citizens, they had to pay higher taxes for not being Muslim, for example. This population was always alienated and seen as a kind of latent danger, especially for its economic and cultural success. Minorities, especially non-Muslims, were seen as especially dangerous. Laws were enacted and armies, squads, weapons and secret orders mobilized to put an end to these threats.
"The campaign to exterminate the Armenian population and expel them from the Ottoman Empire (which was superseded by Turkey) was so organized and systematic that it became a model for the prosecution of even more devastating genocidal programs later in the 20th century” (Alan Horvitz, L. Catherwood, C., 2006, p.25)
When the First World War broke out, Turkey took the side of Germany feeling confident that the Reich was going to win. However, that country fought its own internal war at that time against the Armenians, which is why it could not devote all its war efforts to the support of Germany in the Great War, but it had to devote many of its resources to the persecution , deportation and systematic murder of said minority.
Many Christians refused to enlist in the army, then many of those who had arrived in the ranks defected from the Turkish side to join the Russian army just because they were Christians. Not only because of the desertion were the Christians harassed, but much earlier it happened, precisely, because they were a minority. Also, guerrilla groups were organized for the purpose of joining the Allies and, also, with the aim of defending the Armenian peoples in the Turkish territory from the massacres that this army together with bands of Kurds systematically carried out. This gave a reason and a tangible excuse to the Young Turks government and its army to commit even more offensives and to withdraw the Armenian soldiers from the front and take them to labor camps, as well as to displace the Armenian population and force it into marches. that killed civilians of hunger, thirst and fatigue towards 25 concentration camps (Agence France Presse, 2016). Likewise, legislation was created to expropriate the property of the exiled Armenians, preventing them from returning after the war.
Corpses of children left in gutter. Amenian National Institute. Copyright 1998-2019. Sybil Stevens (daughter of Armin T. Wegner). Wegner Collection, Deutches Literaturarchiv, Marbhach & United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The routes that were chosen for the deportations were deserted and far between them to avoid resistance. People who were taken into exile could pay the leader of the group to have protection along the way. However, most had already been stripped of all their assets. The route was extensive and the dangers many. The road was lined with corpses and the caravans were attacked by various groups, including Kurds. In these attacks, men were killed, women were Islamized and forced to marry Islamists, children were abducted, and bodies were left unburied, many also died of fatigue. The few survivors who reached the concentration camps were killed one by one at dawn.
After the Russian Revolution of 1918, with the fall of the empire, all non-Russian nations became independent, including Armenia, thus creating the First Republic of Armenia. In 1922 it became a founding country of the Soviet Union. Finally, in 1991 it became an independent State during the dissolution of the USSR.
It is pertinent to note that this article denounces the acts committed against the Armenian population by the Turkish government in the early twentieth century as a genocide and that from here the Colombian nation is urged to recognize it as such, as requested recognize all acts against humanity, in my column denounced, as such.
Agence France Presse. 2016. Key Facts on The Armenian Genocide. Website
Alan Horvitz, L. Catherwood, C. 2006. Encyclopedia of War Crimes and Genocides. Library of Congress: New York
Friedler, E. 2010. Aghet, the Armenian Genocide. Website
Kéborkian, R. 2011. The Armenian Genocide. A complete History. New York: I. B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Kifner, J. Armenian Genocide of 1915: An Overview. Website
Amenian National Institute. Copyright 1998-2019. Sybil Stevens (daughter of Armin T. Wegner). Wegner Collection, Deutches Literaturarchiv, Marbhach & United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Webiste
Dmitrii Ivanov. 2019. Website
Karapetyan Victoria, 2015. Website