In the book Crescent and star: Turkey between Two Worlds, Stephen Kinzer describes several ethnic tensions that happen in turkey. One of those ethnic tensions that Kinzer discusses is Armenian tension, which is Armenian Genocide. It was a mass slaughter of Armenians during the World War one, carried out by the former Ottoman Empire.
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Before Armenian Genocide, Armenians and Turks lived in harmony in the Ottoman Empire for centuries. During these times, although Armenians were not equal, they were pretty well accepted and relatively had no violent conflict. Things began to change for a couple of reasons. Nationalism, a new force in the world, which made ethnic grouping very important, and the Ottoman Empire began to have problems. Second, turkey was afraid of Christian crusade, and what made things worse is that Armenians became more isolated as the only major Christian minority.
World War one broke out, Ottoman Empire was fighting on the Axis side and it was perfect timing to rebuild their Empire. World War one gave Ottoman Empire the cover and excuse to carry out their plan, which was to exterminate Armenian race. On April, 24th 1915, hundreds of Armenian political leaders were murdered in Istanbul after being called and gathered. Finally, the remaining Armenians were called from their homes, told they would be relocated, and then marched off to concentration camps in the desert where they would starve and thirst to death in the sun. At the march, often they would be denied food and water, and many were brutalized and killed by their guards. The authorities in Trezbizond, on the Black Sea coast, loaded Armenians on barges and sank them out at sea.
Armenians tried asking for help from other countries, but no nation would help. The whole world was in the shadow as deliberate slaughter of Armenian race continued. The slaughter of Armenian race went on for almost two years. The number of Armenians killed by Ottoman Empire is uncertain. However the approximate number is more the 1.5 million.
After the war ended, the Turkish government held criminal trials and found only three officials guilty, which were executed by Armenians later. Turkey agreed to let the US draw the border between the newly born Republic of Armenia and the Turkish government. Today, the two countries are still doubtful relationship. Turkey for the past few decades has been denying that the genocide ever occurred, and spending millions of dollars to further that view. The education in turkey does not teach anything about Armenian genocide. That means the new generation has no idea of the past. Armenia, however, never forgets the terrible massacre that started On April 24th 1915. This day is Memorial Day each year in Armenia.
There will be always tension between Turkey and Armenia because Armenians will never forget how their people were treated, and killed during World War one. I don’t think that turkey will ever admit that such Genocide took place, since the new generation knows nothing about the truth. However if Armenians will forget about the past, then they can work with turkey to strengthen their relationship.
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