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Armenia’s Genocide in the Turkish- Ottoman Empire & Turkish Tribunals

Armenian’s genocide is an atrocity that is dated way back in the early twentieth century within the establishment of the Turkish- Ottoman empire. Armenians were Christian living in the empire that was dominated by majority Muslims. The Ottoman empire had Armenians and the Muslims as their subjects. The Armenians being Christians within an Islamic regime, made it hard for them as they were undermined and subjected to unequal treatment. Christians had fewer legal and civil rights and payed high taxes compared Muslims. Besides being referred to as infidels, they were quite learned and financially stable and this made the Muslims recent their status.

Ottoman government was not pleased with the Armenians as it deemed them as people who could be loyal to some of the neighboring Christians countries. Suspicion towards Armenians by the Ottoman empire grew much amid its crumbling. Cruel Sultan Abdul Hamid the leader of Ottoman by then was very pissed of by the idea of unloyalty among the Armenians. This is evidenced when the Armenians are seen pushing forward for their rights and Sultan Hamid responded by issuing threatening message when interviewed by media.

The Act of Genocide

The first genocide in Ottoman empire occurred between 1894 to 1896 following the

Armenians protests. Sultan Hamid’s controversial phrase “Give them a box on the ear”

came to pass when the turkey government orchestrated the extermination of Armenians.

This is seen come into play when Ottoman soldiers and common men raid the Armenians

villages and cities, kill them assume their properties.

In the early twentieth century saw into in that the Young Turk reformist group was formed after it Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II from power. The new Young Turk government in place gave hope to the Armenians as it was established on constitutionality aspect. Unluckily, the Armenians felt that their civil rights had hit a brick when the Young Turk regime fueled its successor bad governance.

The occurrence of the first world war initiated the inhumane act of genocide as the Turk government sided with Germany and the Hungarian empire. At the same time Ottoman religious waged a jihad war on Christian countries except their supporters. In this scenario, the Armenians sought to help the Russians army when war intensified hoping to survive when the Turk’s enemies could win. This led to the removal of the Armenians soldiers from the eastern front zones. By mid-1915, the real act of ethnical extermination begun when several learned Armenians were captured and executed. Thereafter, the ordinary Armenians citizens were forced to match naked in the Mesopotamian desert, pushed via cliff, butchered and crucified alive by Young Turk’s killing squad. Young Armenians kids were abducted and indoctrinated into Islamic religion.

By 1920s the genocide was over that only left about 388,000 Armenians in the Ottoman empire. The Ottomans by then had already fled to Germany where it seem safe for their hideout. The Armenians nationalists within the Turkish leadership formed a Nemesis operation that made sure to search and punish the perpetrators of the genocide.

Role of the Turkish Tribunal. Tribunals emerged all over the turkey state according to the existing Regulations on Martial Law. Later on, Courts- Martial was constituted which handled about 130 cases of aftermath suspects. In regard to Criminal Procedure Code, evidence against the suspects should be worth incriminating to allow for court proceedings to take place. Courts-Martial underwent crucial changes including implementation of strictly military Courts-Martial from military-civilian Courts-Martial and replacement of court staff. It is also seen that Grand Vizier Damad Ferid guaranteed involvement of the foreign government towards legal prosecution. During the proceeding of Courts-Martial, the prosecutors were guided on the principle of the Ottoman Penal Code. They used the existing Penal Code but implemented the charges concerning aftermath killings in new approach. The main role of this Tribunal was to formulate an indictment clearly laying out the time, places, the whole plan and individual responsible for the crime against humanity.

Works Citation

Dadrian, Vahakn N. “The Turkish Military Tribunal’s Prosecution of the Authors of the Armenian Genocide: Four Major Court-Martial Series.” Holocaust and Genocide Studies11.1 (1997): 28-59.

Akçam, Taner. The Young Turks’ crime against humanity: The Armenian genocide and ethnic cleansing in the Ottoman Empire. Princeton University Press, 2012.

Taner Akçam, A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility, transl Paul Bessemer (New York, NY: Metropolitan Books New York, 2006), 5–6.



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