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What was behind the ethnic cleansing of Armenians?

If Turkish society would develop a more emphatic view of the ethnic cleansing of Armenians, this will happen not due to any foreign pressure, but rather due to some honest self-criticism based on authentic values — such as those presented by Islam.
People attend a religious service marking the anniversary of mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, at an Armenian church in Tbilisi April 24 2012. Armenia, backed by many historians and parliaments, says about 1.5 million Christian Armenians were killed in what is now eastern Turkey during World War One in a deliberate policy of genocide ordered by the Ottoman government. Successive Turkish governments and the vast majority of Turks feel the charge of genocide is an insult to their natio
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In 1915, the Ottoman state, in the midst of World War I, took the fateful decision of deporting all Armenians in Anatolia to eastern Syria. An entire people was forced to migrate overnight, and many of them, perhaps a million people, perished on the road due to starvation, disease and massacres by locals. There is no doubt this enormous tragedy deserves remembrance and empathy today — and we Turks must be much more considerate about it than we have been over the past century.

The proper term to use in defining the fate of Ottoman Armenians has been a matter of controversy. Armenians themselves and many others in the West use the G word: genocide. Most Turks, in return, only use the much more innocent term “tehcir,” or deportation. Personally, I take a middle ground and opt for the term “ethnic cleansing.” (The difference between ethnic cleansing and genocide is that the former is about cleansing a geographical area from a group of people, whereas the latter is about the very extermination of that people. As a comparison, note that the Ottoman government only pushed Armenians out of Anatolia, whereas the Nazis searched for Jews everywhere in order to exterminate them one by one.)

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