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Genocide in Four Horrific Phases

 

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Armenian Population Decimated

Before World War I, the Armenian population in Turkey was about 2 million, and only about 500,000 after the war, thus arriving at the total killed through deliberate genocide at 1.5 million souls. Similar high death tolls were experienced by Christian Greeks and Assyrians living in the Ottoman Empire. While it was a capital crime to photograph any of the genocide activities against the Armenians, some German soldiers stationed in the Ottoman Empire bravely took and saved the photographs we have.

 

The First Genocide of the 20th Century

Many believe that the impunity for Turkey’s near-annihilation of the Armenian Christians was what lead to the Jewish Holocaust in Germany during World War II. Adolf Hitler, when he ordered the blitzkrieg attack on Poland in August, 1938, remarked, “After all, who speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

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Turkey’s Denial for 100 Years

Turkey has used threats and intimidation to prevent any use of the word “genocide” with regard to what happened to the Armenians in World War I. According to their account, the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923) resulted in large numbers of casualties -- both Turks and Armenians. However the estimated death toll for that conflict ranges from 60,000 to 400,000 for all parties to the conflict, and so the civil war in no way accounts for either the timeline or scale of deaths suffered by the Armenians alone. As the Los Angeles Times editorial stated on April 14, 2015, “Turkey’s disingenuous view compounds the original crime with the insult of denial... [T]he U.S. government has been complicit in Turkey’s defiance... The president should take a cue from Pope Francis and include the word genocide in his annual message marking the carnage a century ago. Enduring friendships require such honesty.”