IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


25th April, 2023 International Relations

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  • On this day 108 years ago, on April 24, 1915, the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey) began rounding up Armenian political and cultural leaders in Constantinople, marking the beginning of what would come to be known as the Armenian genocide.

About Armenian Genocide

  • The Armenian Genocide was the mass murder of at least 664,000 and up to 1.2 million Armenians by the nationalist ruling party of the Ottoman Empire , the Committee of Union and Progress, between 1915 and 1916.

What is a Genocide?

  • It is defined as an act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.
  • The term ‘genocide’ was coined in 1944 by the Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkinin his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. 
  • Genocide became a crime in itself following the adoption of the ‘Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide’ by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.
  • The Convention came into force on 12 January 1951.


  • The Armenians were a primarily Christian ethnic group who had lived in Eastern Anatolia (modern day Eastern Turkey) for centuries.
  • At the turn of the twentieth century, approximately two million Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire, primarily in rural areas although there were also small communities in large urban areas such as Constantinople.
  • While life was often unpredictable and unjust, under the empire’s millet system in the nineteenth century, the group did enjoy significant administrative and social autonomy, and had their own language and church.
  • As the First World War loomed, the Ottoman Empire was in a state of decline and as a result had become increasingly polarised.
    • Between 1912 and 1913, the Empire lost 83% of its European territories during the largely unsuccessful Balkan Wars.
    • This led to increase in anti-Christian sentiment and amplified the nationalist desire of the Ottoman leaders to create an ethnically homogenous community.
    • As the majority of the inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire were Muslim, the Christian Armenians were increasingly seen as outsiders and a threat to the harmony of the empire.
  • During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire joined forces with Germany and Austria-Hungary but suffered several significant defeats and quickly retreated.
  • To conceal their failure from the public, the Ottoman leaders openly blamed their defeat on Armenians in the region and stated that they had betrayed their empire by fighting for and helping the enemy forces.
  • This deliberate falsehood acted as a catalyst and justification for the genocide of the Armenian people, whereby the CUP government used the emergency wartime conditions to create a more ethnically homogenous community.

About Armenia

  • It is a landlocked country in the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.
  • It is a part of the Caucasus region and is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, the Lachin corridor (under a Russian peacekeeping force) and Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the south.
  • Yerevan is the capital, largest city and financial center.
  • Armenia is a unitary, multi-party, democratic nation-state with an ancient cultural heritage 

About Turkey

  • Turkey is a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe.
  • It borders the Black Sea to the north; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the east; Iraq to the southeast; Syria and the Mediterranean Sea to the south; the Aegean Sea to the west; and Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest.
  • Most of the country's citizens are ethnic Turks, while Kurds are the largest ethnic minority.
  • Ankara is Turkey's capital and second-largest city; Istanbul is its largest city and main financial centre.


Q) Armenian Genocide was an outcome of Ottoman leaders openly blaming their defeat on Armenians in the region and stating that they had betrayed their empire by fighting for and helping the enemy forces. Examine the validity of this statement. (150 words)