Gariwo: the gardens of the Righteous

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Metz Yeghern, the "great evil"

During the era of World War 1 (1914-1918), in the territory of the ex-Ottoman empire, the genocide of Turkey’s Armenian population took place (1915-1923); it was the first genocide of the twentieth century. The government of the “Young Turk’s,” who seized power in 1908, eliminated the entire Armenian population who had been present in the area since the end of the seventh century B.C. In memoriam of the Armenian community, and in the stigma of history, two-thirds of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire perished, about 1,500,000 people. Many children were forced to convert to Islam and many women were sent to the harems. The deportation and extermination of 1915 was preceded by the pogroms of 1894-96, carried out by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, and 1909 committed by the government of the “Young Turks.” The responsibility for the conceptualization and implementation of the genocide lies with the Young Turk government and their political party, “Ittihad e Terraki” (Union and Progress). The most relentless wing of the party of the Central Committee perpetrated the genocide using a paramilitary force called the Special Organization (O.S.); two doctors, Nazism and Chakir, directed it. The O.S. depended on the Ministry of War to carry out the genocide with the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior and in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice. The politicians responsible for the execution of the genocide are: Talaat, Enver, and Djemal. Mustafa Kemal, says Ataturk, joined and supported the Young Turks, however as with new massacres, those who commit such crimes reject responsibility for them. The Armenian Genocide should be considered the prototype of all genocides in the twentieth century. The genocide was planned between December 1914 and February 1915 with the help and advice of the Germans, who were allies of Turkey at the start of World War I. 

The fundamental purpose of this movement is to research ad comprehend the Turkish ideology that inspired the actions of the Young Turks, who were determined to reform the state on the basis of nationalism; with a homogeneous religion and code of ethics. Now Christian Armenians, who have absorbed fundamentalist ideas from the western world, are requesting their autonomy, which would create an obstacle and oppress the reconstruction of the Turkish government. The principal motivation of the genocide perpetrated by the Turkish government was political. The objective of the Ottomans was to destroy the Armenian community and erase their history, culture, and above all, political influence and ideology. Not secondary to the robbery of the land and possessions of the Armenian people, throughout history and even today the Turkish government has refused to admit that in 1915 it committed genocide against its Armenian population. On April 24th, 1915 all of the notable Armenians of Constantinople were arrested, deported, and massacred. Starting from January 1915, the Turkish government launched a program of systematic deportation of the Armenian people across the desert of Der-Es-Zor. The provisional decree of deportation in May 1915 was followed by a decree for the seizure of property; both decrees were never ratified by parliament. Initially male adults were called to provide military service in the army, then there was a phase of massacres and violent discrimination by the civilian population; in the end survivors were forced to go on a terrible march across the desert, in the course of which these Armenians were stripped of all of their possessions and most lost their lives. For those who crossed the desert there was no possibility of survival, many of them were dumped in caves and burned alive, others drowned in the Eufrate River and the Black Sea.

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