THE FIRST GENOCIDE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Written by Gevork Nazaryan
The revival of Van was cut short by the nomadic invasions of Seljuk Turks, in the second part of the XIth century. From there onwards, Van was under the rule of the Turks -- remaining backward. The inhabitants of the city had to flee the persecution and the heavy taxation that was imposed by the Turks. In 1862, after centuries of oppression and massacres the free spirited Armenian highlanders of Van rose up against the tyrannical rule of the Turkish sultan. Armenian fighters managed to decimate and destroy the Turkish garrison stationed in the city and capture the fortress of Van. The semi-autonomy lasted for months and it was not until the Armenian population of the city was promised protection by the sultan from marauding Kurdish and Turkish bands who raided and pillaged Armenian farms and markets, that the Armenians opened the gates and once again Turkish officials were reinstated in Van.
GENERAL PLAN OF THE CITY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE XXTH CENTURY
In the following decade, a secret society named the Union for Emancipation was formed, with the ultimate goal of liberating the Erkir [lit. the Land] and the Armenian people -- in Western and Cilician Armenias -- from the bonds of Turkish tyranny. The Turkish answer to the Armenian outcry for human decency and freedom -- Initiating one of the most horrendous and barbarous acts in human history -- the first genocide of the XXth century -- 1915 - 1923, the Armenian Genocide, which took the lives of nearly 1,500,000 men, women and children. Waiting for the "right time" to execute "the final solution" of the Armenian Question -- the cloak of the World War, served as the gruesome backdrop for the implementation of the pre-planned and systematically executed policy of the annihilation of the Armenian people throughout the Ottoman Empire and beyond. The criminal regime that ruled Turkey during the war years called itself the "Young Turks." One of the other euphemistic names that the criminals who masterminded the first genocide of modern history was -- "The Committee of Union and Progress" [CUP]. Adopting the racist policy of "Pan-Turkism" - a "Turan from Europe to Siberia" as the criminals dreamed of, the plan of "extermination of a whole race," and a "murder of a nation," [the word genocide was not coined yet -- as there was no such occurrence prior to the Armenian Genocide - when the government of a "modern state" implements such a program of an annihilation of a whole nation -- the word genocide was in fact invented by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer who noted that the best example of the genocide in modern history is the Armenian Genocide -- the first genocide of the twentieth century] as Henry Morgenthau Sr., the eyewitness U.S. Ambassador of the time [1913-16] had wrote when he alarmed the world that "the greatest crime in human history is taking place." The plan of complete annihilation consisted of two phases. The first period was planned to eradicate the Armenian population of Western Armenia [including Cilicia] and other parts of the Ottoman Empire, through the means of massacres, rapes, forced starvation, and long death marches of hundreds of miles through the scorching Syrian deserts to a certain death.
The second phase was launched in early 1918. Just as the criminal Turkish government had waited for the cover of WWI to carry out the horrific genocide in Western Armenia -- the collapse of the Russian front , after the turmoil that followed the Bolshevik October Revolution in 1917, presented itself as the right opportunity to "once and for all solve the Armenian Question" in Eastern Armenia, the last bastion of historic Armenia still populated by what had remained of the Armenian people. Talaat -- Enver -- Djemal -- the three CUP ringleaders that masterminded the Genocide wanted their Turan -- without Armenia -- without Armenians -- the most serious major obstacle in the realization of their racist dream. Already at the end of 1917, the Turkish death squads crossed the frontier and moved into Eastern Armenia. Special units called "The Special Organization" were in charge of rounding up Armenians, who were killed outright or put into concentration camps, only to be savagely killed en masse.