Saturday, February 16, 2008

Affrimation of the Armenian Genocide

"I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. 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

April 24, 1915

April 24 symbolizes the beginning of an organized campaign by the Young Turk government to eliminate the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire became the target of heightened persecution by the Ottoman Turks. These persecutions culminated in a three decade period during which the Armenians were systematically uprooted from their homeland of 3,000 years and eliminated through massacres or deportation. Sultan Abdul Hamid's brutal reign ended in 1908 when a coalition known as the Young Turks came to power and established a new constitution. Initially there was tremendous support for the new rulers who promised many reforms and appeared to favor fraternity among the various nationalities within the empire. However, by 1914, the triumvirate of Young Turk dictators, Talat, Enver and Jemal Pashas, had adopted pan-Turkism as a nationalist ideology and set out to Turkify the country's minorities, beginning with the Armenians. Before World War I, they had already declared that the war would create an opportune time to pursue a final solution to the Armenian Question. These premeditated, well-planned decisions were put in effect and deportations and exterminations started under the Ottoman Government's order and supervision.

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