The extermination of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the surrounding regions during 1915-1923 is called the Armenian Genocide.Those massacres were masterminded and perpetrated by the government of Young Turks and were later finalized by the Kemalist government.
When WWI erupted, the government of the Young Turks adopted the policy of Pan-Turkism, hoping to save the remains of the weakened Ottoman Empire. The plan was to create an enormous Ottoman Empire that would spread to China, include all the Turkish speaking nations of the Caucasus and Middle Asia, intending also to turkify all the ethnic minorities of the empire. The Armenian population became the main obstacle standing in the way of the realization of this policy. Besides, the constitution restored after the Revolution of 1908 promised equal rights to all citizens of the Ottoman Empire. Armenians enthusiastically embraced this opportunity, however the change of status of previously deprived Armenians increased the hostility of the Turks towards Christians. This hostility was formed long ago, as even in the conditions of deprivation Armenians of the Ottoman empire provided unprecedented social, cultural and economic development. The genocide was a means to suppress this ascent, as well as to seize the Armenian wealth created during decades.
The Young Turks used WWI as a suitable opportunity for the implementation of the Armenian genocide, although it was planned in 1911-1912.
There were an estimated two million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire before the First World War. Approximately one and a half million Armenians were killed from 1915-1923. The remaining part was either islamized or exiled.
- AsiaNews: The largest canonization in history: 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Empire
- Catholic Register: On eve of anniversary, Turkey’s ‘cultural genocide’ of Armenian history is ongoing
- NY Times: Armenian Genocide of 1915: An Overview
- Catholic Herald: Why Pope Francis was right to call the Armenian massacres ‘genocide’
- Assyrian International News Agency (AINA): German President recognizes Assyrian, Greek, Armenian genocide
- The Guardian: Armenian genocide survivors' stories: 'My dreams cannot mourn'
- BC Catholic: A dark, tense history behind the deaths 100 years ago