24 April 1915: The arrest of 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Istanbul marks the beginning of the Armenian Genocide.

Armenian intellectuals jailed and later executed on the night of April 24, 1915: 1st row: Krikor Zohrab, Daniel Varoujan, Rupen Zartarian, Ardashes Harutunian and Siamanto; 2nd row: Ruben Sevak, Dikran Chökürian, Diran Kelekian, Tlgadintsi, and Erukhan. – Images are from the Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia, Seventh Volume, Yerevan: 1981, p. 423. (Source)

The deportation of Armenian intellectuals, sometimes known as Red Sunday (Western Armenian: Կարմիր կիրակի Garmir giragi[n 1]), is conventionally held to mark the beginning of the Armenian Genocide.[1] Leaders of the Armenian community in the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul), and later other locations, were arrested and moved to two holding centers near Angora (now Ankara). The order to do so was given by Minister of the Interior Talaat Pasha on 24 April 1915. On that night, the first wave of 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals of Constantinople were arrested. With the adoption of the Tehcir Law on 29 May 1915, these detainees were later relocated within the Ottoman Empire; most of them were ultimately killed. More than 80 such as Vrtanes Papazian, Aram Andonian, and Komitas survived.

The event has been described by historians as a decapitation strike,[2][3] which was intended to deprive the Armenian population of leadership and a chance for resistance.[4] To commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide, 24 April is observed as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. First observed in 1919 on the four-year anniversary of the events in Constantinople, the date is generally considered the date on which the genocide began. The Armenian Genocide has since been commemorated annually on the same day, which has become a national holiday in Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and is observed by the Armenian diaspora around the world. (Source)

The Armenian Genocide (other names) was the systematic mass murder and ethnic cleansing of around 1 million ethnic Armenians from Asia Minor and adjoining regions by the Ottoman Empire and its ruling party, the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), during World War I.

During their invasion of Russian and Persian territory, Ottoman paramilitaries massacred local Armenians; massacres turned into genocide following catastrophic Ottoman defeat in the Battle of Sarikamish (January 1915), a loss blamed on Armenian treachery. Ottoman leaders took isolated indications of Armenian resistance as evidence of a nonexistent widespread conspiracy. The deportations were intended as a “definitive solution to the Armenian Question[3] and to permanently forestall the possibility of Armenian autonomy or independence. Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman Army were disarmed pursuant to a February order, and were later killed. On 24 April 1915, the Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and community leaders from Constantinople (now Istanbul).

At the orders of Talat Pasha, an estimated 800,000 to 1.2 million Armenian women, children, and elderly or infirm people were sent on death marches leading to the Syrian Desert in 1915 and 1916. Driven forward by paramilitary escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to robbery, rape, and massacre. In the Syrian Desert, they were dispersed into a series of concentration camps; in early 1916 another wave of massacres were ordered, leaving about 200,000 deportees alive by the end of 1916. Around 100,000 to 200,000 Armenian women and children were forcibly converted to Islam and integrated into Muslim households. Massacres and ethnic cleansing of Armenian survivors were carried out by the Turkish nationalist movement during the Turkish war of independence after World War I.

The Armenian Genocide resulted in the destruction of more than two millennia of Armenian civilization in eastern Asia Minor. With the destruction and expulsion of Syriac and Greek Orthodox Christians, it enabled the creation of an ethno-national Turkish state. Prior to World War II, the Armenian Genocide was widely considered the greatest atrocity in history. As of 2021, 30 countries, including the United States, have recognized the events as genocide. Against the academic consensus, Turkey denies that the deportation of Armenians was a genocide or wrongful act. (Source)

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