Systematic killings and deportations of Armenians from their historical territories began on April 24, 1915, by the order of the Ottoman government. Hundreds of public figures, politicians, clergymen, teachers, and artists were arrested and immediately executed in Constantinople, the capital of the empire, or exiled.
The decades prior to the Armenian Genocide were filled with massacres and discriminations of Armenians, as well as other national minorities of the Ottoman Empire. To cleanse the demographic composition of Anatolia and Minor Asia, the Ottoman government used WWI as a pretext for the extermination and expulsion of the non-Muslim nations living in the territory of the Empire.
Planning the Armenian Genocide, the Turks intended to establish a monoethnic national Turkish state freed from about 2 million Armenians, whose family property stretches from Van, Bitlis, Mush, and Trabzon in the east to Samsun and Sivas in the north, Ankara, Kütahya, and Izmir in the west, and Adana, Marash, and Urfa in the south. This doesn’t fully reflect the scope of the Armenian presence in the Ottoman Empire where they had lived for centuries in some areas and even for millennia in the others. Additionally, the Turks planned to undermine other Muslim nations living in the Ottoman Empire, including Kurds, Alevis, Abkhazians, Circassians, and others.
Armenians have been deprived of their generations-old cultural heritage, but they managed to survive. Over the following decades, they established communities all over the world. Today, they honor the memory of their ancestors and continue to commemorate the Turkish atrocities in hopes of the acknowledgment of what is one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century that remained unpunished.