95 years after the start of the Armenian Genocide
The genocide officially began after the Turkish government ordered the arrest of hundreds of Armenian intellectuals on the night of April 23rd 1915. Over a thousand leaders, writers, poets and politicians were deported. Almost all were massacred.
One of the reasons behind the genocide was political. World War I was underway and there was a fear the Armenians would form an alliance with the Russian enemy.
That’s when the interior minister, Mechmet Talat Pasha, passed the law that would deport Armenians and would forced them to abandon their homes and were transferred to the periphery of the Ottaman empire. The majority died on the way.
That’s how the genocide that killed 1.2 million people began.
Along side the Armenians, Christians were also killed. Haik DemoyanDirector, Armenian Genocide Museum“Of course the government decided to target the Armenian as a political decision, but Greek and Assyrians Christians were also targeted by the overall ottoman genocide policies and subsequently attacks policies of elimination of minorities, so here we clearly see the fact that Christian subjects were targeted.”
The survivors say their faith gave them the strength to move forward and say Muslims opposed the massacre.
Haik DemoyanDirector, Armenian Genocide Museum“We have a lot of Islamic witnesses. They all said that all that is going on is against Islam because the Quran never said to kill innocent women and children.”
The genocide museum remembers cities that no longer exists, cemeteries that aren’t on any map, and places exterminated forever. But it hopes the sorrow helps future generations.
Haik DemoyanDirector, Armenian Genocide Museum“We also conceive our mission as a part of a more global movement called fight for prevention. Prevention of any kind genocide in any place.”
Although Turkey has not officially recognized the genocide more and more, the internatinal community is increasingly calling for Turkey to do so. In fact the government has formed an independent commission to investigate the tragedy. But some say if the truth is never uncovered these two nations may never turn the page and live in peace.