Armenians and 20th century genocide - Debates

Maria Immacolata Macioti
During the 1800’s – before the well-known genocide, planned in the twentieth century – there were massacres and persecution on Armenian villages. It is important to underline that many Christian Armenians lived in Ottoman Empire. At the beginning of 1800’s they paid many taxes and felt themselves an important part of the Empire. Thus they would have liked to achieve more significant public roles, without losing their religion and cultural background. Howewer, the Turkish leaders and population were against their aspirations. Moreover, Armenian communities were hard-working and relatively wealthy, thus both Catholics and Protestants (the Protestant Millet, an Evangelic Armenian Movement) hoped to steal their goods. There were International problems: the revolt of Bosnia Erzegovina and Serbia, the Russian ambition. At the same time, the Young Turks took power in Turkey and to be Muslim became a fundamental requisite: obviously this requirement turned into a problem for Armenians.European countries guaranteed a protection, but at the end there were only some petitions and motions. The Berlin Agreements were worthless. In 1864 the town of Sasun was destroyed, after three weeks of massacres. In 1895 there were some bloody repression in Constantinople, Trebizond, Akhisar. Followed the martyrdom of Zeythun, a mountain town of Cilicia: the Armenian revolutionary movement was in the infancy, unable to stop massacres. The few survivors were forced to convert. And the worst was is yet to come.

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