Before WW1, twenty lakh Armenians were living in the Ottoman Empire ( present-day Turkey and adjacent areas ). By 1922, the number reduced to four lakhs. The remaining were killed in what historians believe was genocide.
Genocide is well planned out systematic attempt to kill people. But Turkey refuses to believe it be a genocide.
In the USA, a powerful lobby of the Armenian community is pressing the government, that too for years, to consider the atrocities committed during WW1 as the Armenian genocide. If the USA agrees, its relationship with Turkey may face consequences. It seems the Biden administration wants to give it recognition.
During the times of the Ottoman empire, the ruler was a leader of Islamic communities, and Christian Armenian was in minority. Though often subjected to extra taxes and other discriminatory practices, Armenians were better off than many Turkish people.
Before the events leading to WW1 (1914-1918), a movement of Young Turks started with an aim to strengthen the Turkish empire. They overthrew the monarchy and seized power in 1908. Armenians initially believed that they might get a chance at equality. However, Young Turks were less tolerant of them.
Armenians consider the date April 24, 1915, as a day, Armenian genocide started when many Armenian intellectuals were arrested and later executed. It continued till 1917. Some researchers believe that there are similarities between their killings and that of atrocities committed by Nazis on Jews.
Some of the events committed are said to be well documented and even created widespread anger against the Turks.
But at the same time, some historians also believe that it does not fit the definition of genocide as not everything was as well planned in advance.
Today also, Turkey-Armenia relations are frosty. In the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, Turkey backed Azerbaijan. For the complete article on this – click here.
The mass killings of Armenians is a highly sensitive issue, and Turkey has vehemently denied it being orchestrated. Now to publicly state that it was genocide can have an adverse effect on USA-Turkey relations. Turkey’s location is strategically important for the West. Also, it is an important military power in NATO.