The war of 1877-78 takes place in the Balkans and on the Caucasus fronts. The Russians
along with other volunteer ethnic armies deal the Ottomans a crushing defeat. Able
generals from the Balkan and Armenian generals in the Tsar’s Army like Mikhail Loris-
Melikov and Ivan Lazarev among others bring victories to the Russian forces. In March of
1878 and under pressure from Britain, Russia enters into a settlement under the Treaty
of San Stefano, in which the Ottoman Empire recognises the independence of Romania,
Serbia, Montenegro, and autonomy of Bulgaria. Article 16 states that Russians would
leave the Armenian provinces, once the Sultan implemented the improvements and
reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by Armenians, and to
guarantee their security from Kurds and Circassians. For commercial and political
interests in mind, Britain’s Disraeli and the Austrians insist that a new treaty be drawn up
in June of that year, at a congress of powers in Berlin.
At the Congress of Berlin, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro were recognised as
independent. And autonomous Bulgaria was greatly reduced and the Austro-Hungarian
Empire occupies Bosnia-Herzegovina. An Armenian delegation headed by Bishop Mkrtich
Khrimian is sent with a formal request for implementation of the reforms for Armenians.
Germany’s Bismarck dismisses the delegation and refuses them a place on the agenda.
Britain secretly agrees with the Ottoman Empire that it would militarily protect it from
Russia and receives Cyprus in exchange. Disraeli reverses article 16 to 61, which returns
two Armenian provinces with no Russians or Europeans to protect the Armenians. It
leaves the same abusing Sultan as the “guarantor” of their security from Muslim
After the Russo-Turkish War, the treatment of the more than 2,5 million Armenians by the
Ottoman Government became an international issue. Despite the promises of reform by
the Sublime Porte at the Congress of Berlin, the situation even grew worse. Not only
Russia but the other European powers were to oversee the Armenian reforms. An angry
Abdulhamid made sure that the conditions of the Armenians grew worse. Now it was
dangerous to be identified as an Armenian across the Empire. As the Millet structure
degraded and as a result of constant persecutions, Armenians begin to rethink their
position in the world. In this analysis the Armenian subjects of the Empire influenced by
the Armenian Diaspora and following the Balkan examples.
Years passed, and the masses simply yearned for reforms, dreaming only for a normal
administration under Ottoman rule... “The mere mention of the word “reform” irritated
him (Abdul Hamit), inciting his criminal instincts” writes historian Osman Nuri. Armenian
small organisations started printing newsletters and bulletins to enlighten the Armenian
public about their rights and ways to protect them. Later the first major organisation was
the Armenakan Party in 1885, and the Huntchak Party in 1887. In 1890 the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaksutyun) was formed in Tbilisi. Its members armed
themselves into fedayee groups to protect the people from Ottoman oppression and
massacres in the Armenian provinces. Armenians begin clamoring to obtain the reforms
which were promised. They protest in 1892 and 1893 at Merzifon and Tokat and are met
with violence and harsh methods. Abdulhamid declares that “Without Armenians there
would be no Armenian problem”
In 1894, systematic pogroms swept over every district of Turkish Armenia. The wholesale
slaughter of Armenians, forced conversion of villages, the looting and burning of
hundreds of settlements, taking away their possessions. Sultan Abdulhamid prepared
special attacking force from Kurds calling them “Hamidieh”. Along with the Ottoman Army
they attacked men women and children killing them without distinction. His First
Secretary wrote in his memoirs about Abdulhamid that he decided to pursue a policy of
severity and terror against the Armenians, and in order to succeed in this respect he
elected the method of dealing them an economic blow. He ordered they absolutely avoid
negotiating or discussing anything with the Armenians and inflict upon them a decisive
strike to settle scores. More than 300 000 Armenians were massacred in 1894-1896. In
Sasun the Armenians resisted the massacres. But they eventually succumbed to superior
numbers. A group of Dashnak volunteers stormed the “Ottoman Bank” in 1896 in order
to alarm the Europeans. Hamid had 6000 Istanbul Armenians massacred.
In 1897, Abdulhamid declared that the Armenian question was closed. All the Armenian
revolutionaries had either been killed, or had escaped to Russia. The Ottoman
government closed Armenian societies and restricted Armenian political movements. The
formation of Armenian revolutionary groups began roughly around the end of the Russo-
Turkish War of 1878 and intensified with the first introduction of Article 166 of the
Ottoman Penal code, and the raid of Erzerum Cathedral. Article 166 was meant to control
the possession of arms, but it was used to target Armenians by restricting them to
possess arms. Local Kurdish tribes were armed to attack the defenceless Armenian
ARF member’s attempts to assassinate Abdulhamid in 1905, but he escapes death by
luck. He eases the Armenian persecutions as a result.
The “Young Turk” revolution of 1908 reverses the suspension of the Ottoman parliament
in 1878, marking the onset of the Second Constitutional Era. Armenians hail the
revolution. Hamid restores the Constitution in July. In April 1909 he and Islamist forces
attempt a countercoup. It fails to restore him, but more than 30 000 Armenians are
massacred in Adana by revolting army units, religious students and clerics asking for
Sharia law. Hamid is finally deposed in April 1909 after 33 years of tyrannical rule. His 65
years old brother Resat Mehmet becomes Sultan Mehmed V, a mere rubberstamping
figurehead for the new government.
a. The Early Years (1923-1934)
With the Treaty of Lausanne, an estimated 200 000 Greeks were to remain in Turkey
following the 1923 population exchange. The Armenians were reduced from 2,5 million to
around 150 000 after the Genocide. Turkey declared that no Armenian was ever allowed
to return of the people that escaped (now Republic of Armenia).
Mustafa Kemal becomes the republic’s first president and subsequently introduces many
radical reforms in political, social, legal, educational, and economic sectors. Kemal urges
his fellow Turks to look and act like Europeans. On October 28, 1927 the first population
census counted the population at approximately 13,6 million, with a 9% literacy rate. A
new Turkish alphabet based on the Latin alphabet was accepted on November 1, 1928.
After 10 months, Kurdish, Arabic and Persian languages were banned, replaced by only
the Turkish language.
With the Liberal Republican Party, Jihadi groups joined the liberals. They were suppressed
with widespread and bloody methods. The liberal party dissolved on 17 November 1930
and Turkey became a single party dictatorship until 1945.
The Kurds declared independence in 1927. By September 17 1930, the Turks suppressed
the rebellion with 66 000 troop and 100 planes. The most important Kurdish rebellion in
modern Turkey was in 1937-1938, based around the Kizilbash heartland of Dersim. The
Turkish Army mobilised 50 000 troops to suppress the rebellion. Turkish forces claimed at
least 40 000 Dersimlis, who were deported and massacred following this defeat.
Southeast Anatolia was put under martial law and was subject to military occupation. In
addition to destruction of the villages and massive deportations, Turkish Government
encouraged Albanians and Assyrians to settle in the Kurdish area to change the ethnic
composition of the region.
During WW2, Turkey imposed Jizya, an increased property tax on all Christians and Jews
in the country (Greeks and Armenians). The Jizya was even imposed on the Dönmeh
(converts to Islam). Those who did not pay were condemned to forced labour in the
quarries of Askale, near Erzurum. They did this to “turkify” the economy. With the
draconian Varlik Vergisi in 1942; anticipating the fall of Stalingrad, Turkey concentrates
troops on the Caucasian border. Turkey quarantines all Christian men between 18-45
years old, and orders 3 large crematory ovens from Germany... The Turkish officer
committee with the leadership of General Cemil Cahit Toydemir – invited by Hitler, visits
the Eastern front and English Channel coasts on 25 June – 7 July 1943. Gen. H. Erkilet,
Gen. Ali Fuat Erden and Hitler at Wolfsschanze discussed various strategies.
With Germany nearing defeat, Turkey declares war on the side of the Allies on February
23, 1945 as a ceremonial gesture, to become a charter member of the United Nations in
b. The West and NATO (1945-1954)
After the war the Soviet Union attempts to annul the Treaty of Kars with Turkey and
return parts of Northwestern Armenia. These efforts are halted by intervention from
Winston Churchill and Harry S. Truman.
The close relationship with the United States begins with the Second Cairo Conference in
December 4-6, 1943 and the agreement of July 12, 1947 which implements the Truman
Doctrine. After 1945, in light of the Soviet domination over Eastern Europe, the US
supports Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into
the Soviet sphere. The act grant Turkey more than 100 million USD in aid.
On June 25, 1950 the Korean War starts. Despite being criticised inside Turkey, the Army
along with other 16 nations goes to war against North Korea. Turkey participates in this
campaign in order to gain membership in NATO, which Turkey joins in 1952.
c. Pogroms, Coup and deportations of Christians (1955-1961)
On September 6 and 7, 1955, a pogrom directed primarily at Istanbul’s 100 000 strong
Greek minority takes place. Jews and Armenians living in the city and their businesses
were also targeted in the pogrom. A Turkish mob, most of which was trucked into the city
in advance, assaulted Istanbul’s Greek community for nine hours. Shovels, pickaxes,
crowbars, ramming rods and petrol was used. 4000 private taxis were requisitioned to
transport the perpetrators. Dozens of Greeks (two Orthodox priests) and at least one
Armenian died during the pogrom as a result of beatings and arsons. Thirty-two Greeks
were severely wounded. Many Greek women were raped, a number of men were forcibly
circumcised by the mob. 4348 Greek-owned businesses, 110 hotels, 27 pharmacies, 23
schools, 21 factories, 73 churches and over a thousand Greek-owned homes were badly
damaged or destroyed. The mob chanted “Death to the Gavours”, “Massacre the Greek
traitors”, “Down with Europe [My emphasis]”
The riot died down by midnight with the intervention of the Turkish Army and martial law
was declared. Eyewitnesses reported, however, that army officers and policemen had
earlier participated in the rampages and in many cases urged the rioters on.
After a clash over the “separation of religion and state” between Inonu’s Republican
People’s Party and his opponents, president Celal Bayar and prime minister Adnan
Menderes; and due to the level of influence the Islamists had gained in the nation, on
May 27, 1960 General Cemal Gursel led a military coup d’etat removing President Celal
Bayar and Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. They were charged with high treason, misuse
of public funds and abrogation of the constitution.
According to Zorlu’s lawyer at the Yassiada trial, a mob of 300 000 was marshaled in a
radius of 40 miles (60 km) around the city for the pogrom. Menderes and two others
were sentenced to death by hanging.
Deported with two day’s notice, the Greek community of Istanbul shrunk from 100 000
persons in 1955 to only 48 000 in 1965. Armenians and Jews were also thrown out of
d. Divide and Conquer (1961-1974)
The census of 1960 in Cyprus showed that Greek Cypriots comprised 77%, Turkish
Cypriots 18%, and 5% were other ethnicities.
Cyprus was declared an independent state on August 16, 1960 with Archbishop Makarios
as President and a constitution with equal Turkish governance, (Turkish vice-president)
despite their minority status on the Island. Turkish Cypriots saw themselves as Turks
living in Cyprus rather than Turkish Cypriots. They developed the concept of Taksim, the
partitioning of Cyprus into a Greek Cypriot-controlled region, and a Turkish Cypriot-
The Zurich and London Agreements, drawn among Greece, Turkey and the UK became
complex and atypical, granting the Turkish Cypriot community political rights
disproportionate their numbers and containing permanent restrictions on Enosis and
In 1965, the Justice Party of Suleiman Demirel won an absolute majority, which it
increased in 1969, with an increasing polarisation between the Justice Party on the right
and the Republican People’s Party of Ismet Inonu and Bulent Ecevit on the left.
In 1969, Alparslan Turkes, a member of the Turkish branch of NATO’s stay-behind army,
known as Gladio, founded the right wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whose youth
organisations became known as the Grey Wolves (Fascists).
On March 12, 1971 the Turkish military threatens intervention, forcing the Demirel
government to resign. The 1971 coup leads to mounting violence between
ultranationalists and communists in the cities of Turkey, killing more than 5000 at the
hands of MIT.
In July 1974, dissatisfaction among right-wing Greek nationalists favoring Enosis
(unification) with Greece precipitated a coup d’etat against President Makarios. The coup
was sponsored by the military government of Greece and led by Cypriot officers.
On 20 July 1974, Turkey launches an air- and sea-based invasion of Cyprus. Large
numbers of Greek Cypriots lost their lives in the areas overrun by Turkish forces, and
170 000 Greek Cypriots were evicted from their homes and forced to move to the south.
Cities are attacked with napalms. Large numbers of Greek Cypriots lost their lives.
Churches are destroyed, desecrated or converted into hotels. Turkey captures thousands
of soldiers and executes them. As of today, there are 1534 Greek Cypriots unaccounted
for, as well as over 150 000 Greek Cypriot refugees displaced persons.
Turkey initiates a campaign and ships more than 150 000 Turks from mainland Turkey to
Cypruss for the purpose of settlement. The Turkish Cypriots proclaim a separate state,
the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), under the leadership of Rauf Denktas,
on November 15, 1983, recognised only by Turkey.
Turkey now occupies 37% of Cyprus even though there were only 18% Turks in Cyprus in
1960. Half of the Capital Nicosia remains occupied.
e. Minorities Disallowed (1975-1990)
Kurdish nationalism began resurgence in the 1970’s when Turkey was racked with Left-
right clashes. The Marxist PKK was formed demanding a Kurdish state, led by its
chairman, Abdullah Ocalan. Kurds counted almost 20% of Turkey’s population. The
Turkish Army violently suppressed the Kurds, killing thousands of Kurdish civilians
indiscriminately. After the Kahramanmaras massacre of Alevis in 1978, martial law was
On September 12, 1980 another coup d’etat, headed by General Kenan Evren, Chief of
the General Staff, was successful.
The World being silent regarding the Armenian Genocide, Marxist-Leninist groups like
ASALA, target Turkish diplomats, to bring Turkey to terms of its bloody past and to raise
awareness to the denied Armenian issues. In 1983 the Justice Commandoes of the Arm.
Genocide attempts to take over the Turkish Embassy in Lisbon but it fails. The five men
avoid capture by blowing the building after releasing the staff.
Kurdish music, dance and culture gets banned in Turkey between 1983 and 1991, it was
forbidden to publicise, publish and/or broadcast in any language other than Turkish.
Armenians in Turkey become target to daily harassment and persecution.
The Turkish Army commits acts of extreme violence in order to fight “terrorism”.
Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are killed ore systematically tortured
in prisons from the early 80’s to the early 90’s. However, in 1990-91 the World was to
f. Fall of the Iron Curtain (1991-1994)
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia breaks free. The Armenians in
Karabakh who wanted to unite with Armenia for decades, decide to protest their case.
Even before its independence, Soviet Azerbaijan (94% Muslim where majority are Turkic)
suppresses the voice of the Armenians with street pogroms and massacres in Sumgait in
1988 and Baku in 1990. Faced with brutal Azeri methods to quell the Armenians,
Karabakh Armenians vote to secede from Azerbaijan, to which the later responds with full
scale war in 1992, backed and aided by Turkey. The Armenians fight back as they
remember the past. Even with food and power shortage in Armenia and Azerbaijan often
bombing civilian targets with military aeroplanes. Karabakh takes the offensive and
scores vital victories in late 1992 and 1993. Azerbaijan recruits Afghan, Chechen and
other voluntary Mujahedeen.
In light of the Armenian successive victories, Turkey’s Prime Minister Tansu Ciller
threatens to invade Armenia with thousands of Turkish troops. Russia warns Turkey and
counters their movements to ward them off. Aliev tries with every method to win the lost
territories, to no avail. After six years of fighting an exhausted Azerbaijan finally asks for
a cease fire in 1994. Turkey and Azerbaijan subsequently blockade Armenia. In addition,
Azerbaijan takes “revenge” by wiping out the Armenian Cemetery in Julfa, Naxichevan
and desecrating Armenian churches.
Current situation of Armenia (2008, source CIA): Armenia is primarily a source country
for women and girls trafficked to the UAE and Turkey for the purpose of commercial
sexual exploitation; Armenian men and women are trafficked to Turkey and Russia for
the purpose of forced labour. My comment: The EU and the US have showed little or no
will at all to support Armenia in any way. They remain to be the last survivors of
Byzantine Christianity, largely ignored by the Christian world.
g. European Union? (1995-2007)
On 14 April, 1987, Turkey submitted its application for formal membership into the
European Community. It was refused, citing Turkey’s economic and political situation,
poor relations with Greece and the conflict with Cyprus.
The 1995 elections brought a short-lived coalition between Yilmaz and Ciller at the helm.
In 1997, the military, committed the fourth coup by sending a memorandum to Erbakan
government requesting that he resign and banning his religious Party.
A series of economic shocks led to new elections in 2002, bringing into power the
religious Justice and Development Party of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who introduced a
series of new reforms.
Status as of today:
Turkey restricts religious rights of Christians and converts. Their murder is indirectly
encouraged. Millions of Kurds, Assyrians, Alevies, Yezidies and other minorities have no
status. Women in Turkey are often subjected to “honour” killings and employment
Turkey occupies 37% of Cyprus with half of its Capital Nicosia and refuses to recognise
the Republic of Cyprus.
Search Turkish history and compare...
What is expected from a country that murders its intellectuals and journalists for uttering
a word... “Genocide”... Not forgetting to honour those same murderers.... What is
expected from a country that restricts speech, jails and fines its authors, pressmen,
thinkers for daring to think and “insulting Turkishness”, and regards all minorities as
“Turks”... With centuries of unrepentant murders and violations, is Turkey fit to enter the
European Union? Or is it still “The sick man of Europe”.
All EU and national level parliamentarians who supports EU membership for Turkey
should travel to the Turkish countryside, wear a sweater with a cross, and see how long
before it takes before they are beaten or gets murdered. Then he will bear witness
himself how “tolerant” Turkish Muslims are…
Current situation in Turkey will continue in another section.
Sources: Written by Hay Brountsk,
1. Are the Turks European?: B. Munnich
2. The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire: Alan Palmer
3. Abdul Hamid II, The Red Sultan: K. Yazejian
4. A History of the Armenian People, Volume II: George A. Bournoutian
5. Haykakan Harts Encyclopedia
6. Seljuk, Tatar, Turkish History: P. Yeghyaian
7. The Burning Tigris: Peter Balakian
8. The Turks in World History: Findley, Carter Vaughn
9. Turkey: A Modern History, Revised Edition: Erik J. Zurcher
History of the Ottoman Turkish Empire I (1299-1876)
History of the Ottoman Turkish Empire II (1876-1909)
History of the Turkish Republic – 1923-2007
History of the Turkish Republic 1961-2007
1.16 Jus Primae Noctis - Institutionalised rape of Christians under the Ottoman
Jus primae noctis or droit du seigneur is the right to sleep with a nubile (young and
sexually attractive) servant before turning her over to her servant husband (the right by
which a landlord may sleep first night with the bride of a newly married serf), although
the custom may be avoided by the payment of a fine.
This law was imposed by the Ottoman rulers and widely practiced in countries under the
Ottoman rule (provinces of the Ottoman Empire were: Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia)
until the very end of the 19th century.
The picture, painted by Paja Jovanovic, shows a bride preparing for the wedding night.
The first night she is going to spend with her landlord. Landlords (beg, aga) were usually
Turks but there were many local nobles converting to Islam to save their privileges when
the region was controlled by the Ottoman Empire.
* The right was used on a braid of a feudal dependant or servant, any dhimmi. They
were Christians and the right wasn't used on Muslim brides.
On the day before her wedding the young Christian bride will be visited by a
representative of the landlord (beg, aga). The representative is usually accompanied by a
file of soldiers. The representative takes the bride to the house of the landlord for a day
and a night, raping her repeatedly, and returns her to her home at dawn on the wedding
An interesting detail on the picture is that all women on the picture are dressed in
traditional oriental (Turkish style) clothing. Under the Ottomans textile styles has
influenced by Islamic tradition. Women on the picture except the one on the right have
their hair covered with a shawl (also called shamija or mahram) according to the Islamic
Women wore "dimije" (it looks like baggy trousers) of thin, often gold-woven, silk
brocade, emphasising the female figure.
1998 Yugoslav postal authorities issued 4 stamps dedicated to national customs. The
motif on the stamp of 6,00 din. value is the painting "Dressing/Adornmnet of the Bride"
by Paja Jovanovic
Jus Primae Noctis - Details
The historical acceptance of rape may have influenced the incidence of rape in the wars
of the last decade in former Yugoslavia. However, there were other historical factors
which tended to promote its use and lend themselves to propaganda promoting it, in
Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as Serbia. Under Ottoman rule, within which much of Serbia
gained autonomy in 1830 but Bosnia-Herzegovina was to remain until 1878, there had
been a disadvantaged position of Serbs and Croats.
The use or misuse of Serb and other Christian minority women by Muslim men, especially
Ottoman officials and the landlord class, has been a major source of grievance. Polygamy
and concubinage by Muslim men, especially Ottoman officials and landlords or begs,
resulted in wives and concubines being taken from the Christian population as well as the
Muslim one, and often abandoned when no longer wanted. The insecurity of these
women resulted in their having relatively few children, and resorting to abortion,
infanticide and other birth control measures (Stoianovich 1994, p. 159).
The other ‘misuse’ was through ‘first night’ arrangements, more generally known as the
jus primae noctis (right to the first night) or droit de seigneur (the right of the feudal
lord), by which the janissary in charge of an estate or the local landlord had the right to
the virginity of all brides among Serb and other serfs. These arrangements are a folk
memory rather than attested by literary sources. They were mentioned by Bosnian Serb
former politician Biljana Plavsic in 1993 in an attempt to assert that rape was the war
strategy of the Muslims and Croats. She noted that it was ‘quite normal of Muslim
notables to enjoy the jus primae noctis with Christian women’ during the Ottoman period
(Cohen 1998, p. 222). Levinsohn (1994, p. 274) quotes Belgrade publisher Petar Zdazdic
as saying that there was a tradition that the Serb serf or peasant would have to walk
around the house with his shoes in his hands when an Ottoman official or landlord came
to the house to have intercourse with his wife. In the early phase of Ottoman occupation
the janissaries, who were in control of major agricultural estates as well as forming the
core of the military, were forbidden to marry until they retired from the service of the
empire. First night and similar arrangements may have been important substitutes for
However, the landlords became an increasingly hereditary class. In Bosnia some three
hundred years ago they had to persuade Serbs to come from Montenegro to work their
land as serfs or sharecroppers. Muslim peasants had chosen increasingly to purchase
their own land and work it as smallholders rather than be serfs, but this option was not
open to Christians in Bosnia-Herzegovina until after 1830. Hence first night and
concubinage arrangements for Serb and Croat kmet or serf women would have become
less common in the later phases of Ottoman rule. Also, the landlord class accounted for
no more than 5 to 10 per cent of the Muslim population – there were 4000 families who
had land redistributed from them in the 1919 land reform. Hence only a small proportion
of the Muslim population had access to Orthodox and Christian women where this was
common, certainly not the majority. In Kosovo the majority of Serbs were in effect serfs
working the land for Albanian clan leaders as well as Turkish landlords prior to the first
Balkan War of 1912, but it is not known what impact this had on access to women.
Arrangements whereby one community, or at least its privileged class, has access to the
women of another are controversial. A Greek film shown on the Australian Special
Broadcasting Service several years ago depicted such a use of Greek brides and wives
who were serfs on an agricultural estate by the Ottoman landlord and a visiting relative
of his a couple of decades before Greek independence in 1830. A film of the 1950s shown
on SBS also indicates this, but the ‘misuse’ did not extend to breaking the prospective
bride’s virginity, and the land tenancy was seen as a form of dowry given in exchange for
the sexual services rendered.
1.17 Jihadi Genocides of Christians in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey - The
Armenian, Greek and Assyrian Genocides
On 7 June 2006 Stephen Pound, member of the British House of Commons linked the
case of the Ottoman Greeks with the Armenians and Assyrians claiming that "3.5 million
of the historic Christian population of Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks then living in the
Ottoman empire had been murdered, starved to death or slaughtered - or exiled by
I will be covering these three Genocides briefly.
Armenian Genocide - 1915-1918 - 1,500,000+ Deaths
The genocide of the Armenians was a jihad. No rayas (non-Muslim dhimmis under
Ottoman rule) took part in it. Despite the disapproval of many Muslim Turks and Arabs,
and their refusal to collaborate in the crime, these massacres were perpetrated solely by
Muslims and they alone profited from the booty: the victims' property, houses, and lands
granted to the muhajirun, and the allocation to them of women and child slaves. The
elimination of male children over the age of twelve was in accordance with the
commandments of the Jihad and conformed to the age fixed for the payment of the Jizya.
The four stages of the liquidation- deportation, enslavement, forced conversion, and
massacre- reproduced the historic conditions of the Jihad carried out in the dar-al-harb
from the seventh century on. Chronicles from a variety of sources, by Muslim authors in
particular, give detailed descriptions of the organised massacres or deportation of
captives, whose sufferings in forced marches behind the armies paralleled the Armenian
experience in the twentieth century. As in all Jihads the mosques were a central rallying
point where the mullahs and government officials agitated for Jihad. The activity of mass
murders, systematic rapes, plunders and enslavements therefore naturally peaked each
Friday where everyone felt fully motivated after the weekly pep talk.
The Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the 20th Century, occurred when two
million Armenians living in Turkey were eliminated from their historic homeland through
forced deportations and massacres.
For three thousand years, a thriving Armenian community had existed inside the vast
region of the Middle East bordered by the Black, Mediterranean and Caspian Seas. The
area, known as Asia Minor, stands at the crossroads of three continents; Europe, Asia
and Africa. Great powers rose and fell over the many centuries and the Armenian
homeland was at various times ruled by Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs
Despite the repeated invasions and occupations, Armenian pride and cultural identity
never wavered. The snow-capped peak of Mount Ararat became its focal point and by 600
BC Armenia as a nation sprang into being. Following the advent of Christianity, Armenia
became the very first nation to accept it as the state religion. A golden era of peace and
prosperity followed which saw the invention of a distinct alphabet, a flourishing of
literature, art, commerce, and a unique style of architecture. By the 10th century,
Armenians had established a new capital at Ani, affectionately called the 'city of a
thousand and one churches.'
In the eleventh century, the first Turkish invasion of the Armenian homeland occurred.
Thus began several hundred years of rule by Muslim Turks. By the sixteenth century,
Armenia had been absorbed into the vast and mighty Ottoman Empire. At its peak, this
Turkish empire included much of Southeast Europe, North Africa, and almost all of the
But by the 1800s the once powerful Ottoman Empire was in serious decline. For
centuries, it had spurned technological and economic progress, while the nations of
Europe had embraced innovation and became industrial giants. Turkish armies had once
been virtually invincible. Now, they lost battle after battle to modern European armies.
As the empire gradually disintegrated, formerly subject peoples including the Greeks,
Serbs and Romanians achieved their long-awaited independence. Only the Armenians
and the Arabs of the Middle East remained stuck in the backward and nearly bankrupt
empire, now under the autocratic rule of Sultan Abdul Hamid.
By the 1890s, young Armenians began to press for political reforms, calling for a
constitutional government, the right to vote and an end to discriminatory practices such
as “Jizya” - special taxes levied solely against them because they were Christians. The
despotic Sultan responded to their pleas with brutal persecutions. Between 1894 and
1896 over 100,000 inhabitants of Armenian villages were massacred during widespread
pogroms conducted by the Sultan's special regiments.
But the Sultan's days were numbered. In July 1908, reform-minded Turkish nationalists
known as "Young Turks" forced the Sultan to allow a constitutional government and
guarantee basic rights. The Young Turks were ambitious junior officers in the Turkish
Army who hoped to halt their country's steady decline.
Armenians in Turkey were delighted with this sudden turn of events and its prospects for
a brighter future. Both Turks and Armenians held jubilant public rallies attended with
banners held high calling for freedom, equality and justice.
However, their hopes were dashed when three of the Young Turks seized full control of
the government via a coup in 1913. This triumvirate of Young Turks, consisting of
Mehmed Talaat, Ismail Enver and Ahmed Djemal, came to wield dictatorial powers and
concocted their own ambitious plans for the future of Turkey. They wanted to unite all of
the Turkic peoples in the entire region while expanding the borders of Turkey eastward
across the Caucasus all the way into Central Asia. This would create a new Turkish
empire, a "great and eternal land" called Turan with one language and Islam as the only
1913 – 2 million Armenians (10% of total population)
Total population 20 million.
But there was a big problem. The traditional historic homeland of Armenia lay right in the
path of their plans to expand eastward. And on that land was a large population of
Christian Armenians totalling some two million persons, making up about 10 percent of
Turkey's overall population.
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested