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Armenia

Photograph of a village on Lake Van, an area of Turkey populated largely by ethnic Armenians. The area was one of the first targeted on a large scale when Turkey turned on its Armenian citizens. Photo from Ambassador Morgenthau's Story by Henry Morgenthau, American Ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916.
Text:
Fishing village on Lake Van
In this district about 55,000 Armenians were massacred

Photograph of a village on Lake Van, an area of Turkey populated largely by ethnic Armenians. The area was one of the first targeted on a large scale when Turkey turned on its Armenian citizens. Photo from Ambassador Morgenthau's Story by Henry Morgenthau, American Ambassador to Turkey from 1913 to 1916.

Image text

Fishing village on Lake Van

In this district about 55,000 Armenians were massacred

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Armenia was a region of the Ottoman Empire in eastern Turkey, along the borders with Russia and Persia.

Although the Young Turks had promised equal rights for non-Turkish citizens, and had allowed them to serve in the army, by 1915 the revolution had turned against minority groups, particularly Armenians. Much of the population of the Russian/Turkish frontier was Armenian Christians. Turkish War Minister Enver Pasha put much of the blame for his disastrous defeat in the Battle of Sarikamish on the Armenians. With the defeat of the Anglo-French naval campaign in the Dardanelles, Enver and Minister of the Interior Talaat felt secure the Allies would not achieve their goal of seizing Constantinople and overthrowing the government. Across Turkey, they began a campaign to destroy the Armenian population.

Beginning on April 15, 1915 in about 80 villages north of Van, young Armenian men were called out to hear an order of the Sultan, then marched outside the town and shot. In three days, 24,000 Armenians in the region were similarly murdered.

On April 24, the campaign reached Constantinople where 761 men and women were arrested and exiled. Among them were the short story writer Grigor Zohrab (arrested May 20), the poet Daniel Varoužan (or Varujan, died August 26, 1915), and the poet Siamant'o.

In his memoir on his years in Turkey, Henry Morgenthau, American Ambassador at Constantinople from 1913 to 1916 wrote extensively on the destruction of Turkey's Armenian citizens and his attempts to convince Enver and Talaat to relent. The two repeatedly refused. Although the government turned on Greeks, Jews, and other populations, the aim of extermination was directed only at the Armenians.

Armenia is a region in Turkey.