ConIFA World Football Cup 2018: Who are Western Armenia?
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As part of The National Student's coverage of the ConIFA World Football Cup, we're giving you the low down on all 16 teams competing in the tournament. This time, we're introducing you to Western Armenia, the final team to be introduced and the history of Armenians in Turkey. Who are they? Western Armenia refers to the historical parts of the Armenian homeland that is now part of the Republic of Turkey. The side, however, draws on a wide Western Armenian diaspora. The Ottoman Empire captured Armenia in their successful war against the Persian Safavids. Western Armenia was kept by the Ottomans whilst the East, now entirely part of the Armenian nation was given to the Russian Empire after the Russo-Turkish war of the 1820s. The Ottoman Empire had been successful at uniting the many different people groups and religions under one banner for much of its existence but by the late 19th Century it was known as "The Sick Man of Europe" and the fall of Constantinople was a matter of time. The Armenians had previously lobbied the Europeans for greater protection and Sultan Abdul Hamid II saw the failures of Ottoman rule as being a result of external Christian influence, while nationalism saw Balkan territories such as Bosnia, Albania, Greece
and Bulgaria win independence. Armenian Christians were seen by him as an extension of this foreign hostility.
In the 1890s he began to target them, between 80,000 and 300,000 Armenians are believed to have lost their lives in the Hamidian massacres, with 50,000 children orphaned. The Ottoman authorities also targeted other Christian groups such as the Assyrians and Greeks but stopped following international condemnation.
The widespread use of the telegram helped news reach Europe quicker.
From 1915, 1.5 million Armenians are believed to have lost their lives in a series of massacres that some refer to as The Armenian Genocide, but Turkey continues to deny to this day, with arguments being only Russian sympathisers were killed and the deaths of Armenians forcibly deported were not planned.
That April, the governor of Van demanded 4,000 men for war during the First World War, however, the people of Van believed this to be an attempt to leave the city defenceless. The town was sieged and eventually relieved by Russian forces.
Red Sunday would occur days later when 270 Armenian notables in Constantinople were rounded up, arrested and deported. Allegations involve Armenians being forcibly marched out of their homes into the deserts of Syria and Anatolia without the supplies needed to survive. Mass burnings, drownings, poisonings were reported, as well as the confiscation of property.
One of the final acts of the Ottoman Empire was to sentence the perpetrators for war crimes, however, the eventual fall of the Empire saw amnesties given and denial became Turkish policy.
The Turkish Human Rights Association recognised the events as a genocide in 2006 and every April 24, the "I apologise" campaign commemorates the events.
In 2018, Turkey responded angrily to Dutch recognition of the events as a genocide.
Armenian nationalists would assassinate all the major Ottoman officials behind the events during Operation Nemesis, the exception being war minister Enver Pasha who was killed fighting the Bolsheviks in Tajikistan.
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