According to the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 2,133,190 Armenians lived in the Ottoman empire (modern-day Turkey) in 1914. By 1922, approximately 1,745,390 had been murdered by the Turkish government, leaving only 387,800 Armenians still alive. This mass slaughter of Armenians, which took place amid the chaos of World War I, was later dubbed the Armenian genocide.
All told, some 33 countries currently recognize the Armenian genocide. In addition, scholars believe that many other countries would likely recognize the genocide as well if not for political concerns. For instance, US presidents George W Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump all declined the opportunity to formally recognize the Armenian genocide, claiming it would harm the country's relationship with Turkey. President Joe Biden eventually signed a resolution (which had passed the House 405–11 and the Senate unanimously in 2019) recognizing the Armenian genocide in 2021.
On the other hand, the countries of Turkey and Azerbaijan reject the notion that the killings qualify as a genocide. The Turkish government, in particular, maintains that most Armenians were simply relocated rather than killed and that such actions were necessary to preserve the country because the Armenians were planning to revolt and secede. Most historians outside of Turkey rebuff this logic, pointing to additional mass killings of Armenians in 1894, 1895, 1896, 1909, and 1920-1923.
Countries that Recognize the Armenian Genocide:
|Country||Years Recognized||Country||Years Recognized|
|Argentina||1993, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2015||Libya||2019|
|Belgium||1998, 2015||Netherlands||2004, 2015, 2018|
|Canada||1996, 2002, 2004, 2006||Russia||1995, 2005, 2015|
|Cyprus||1975, 1982, 1990||Sweden||2010|
|Czech Republic||2017, 2020||Switzerland||2003|
|Germany||2005, 2016||United States||2019, 2021|
|Greece||1996||Uruguay||1965, 2004, 2015|
|Italy||2000, 2019||Vatican City / Holy See||2000, 2015|
Causes and after effects of the Armenian genocide
The Armenian genocide was organized and conducted by the ruling CUP (Committee of Union and Progress) government, a Muslim sect which rose to power in Turkey in the 1900s and ruled the country from 1913-1918. The CUP's motives in conducting the Armenian Genocide are a matter of some debate to this day, and many scholars maintain that no single cause prompted it. However, the CUP's antagonistic feelings toward non-Muslim cultures—including not only the Christian and Catholic Armenians, but other Christian, Jewish, and Zionist peoples—is widely believed to have played a significant role.
Overall, the Armenian genocide resulted in the deaths of approximately 1.7 million Armenians. Those who were not killed outright were subjected to "death marches" and hard labor, where many were beaten and slowly starved. A large number of Armenians who survived, particularly women and children, were forcefully converted to Islam and integrated into Muslim society. The genocide also wiped out thousands of years of Armenian culture.
Country by country profiles:
Uruguay officially recognized the Armenian genocide in 1965, becoming the first country to do so.
In 1998, the Belgian parliament officially approved a resolution that recognized the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The vote passed by a large majority, which also carried with it increased pressure for the Turkish government to officially recognize and condemn the actions of their predecessors. In Belgium, to deny the facts of the Armenian genocide and its place in history carries with it a punishment of 45,000 euros, as well as up to a year in prison.
A destination country for many Armenian refugees, Brazil took in a large number of Armenian diaspora, whose descendants remain in Brazil to this day. In 2015, in response to mounting public pressure, Brazil officially adopted a resolution that recognized the Armenian genocide. Although Brazil hosts a large number of Armenian diaspora, growing public pressure has only been noticed in the last few years.
Inspired by Brazil, Bulgaria passed an extremely similar law in the following months. The Bulgarian parliament went a step further and officially declared April 24 "Victims Remembrance Day", a national holiday to remember those who lost their lives during the genocide.
Keeping with the above pace, Lebanon officially recognized April 24 as a remembrance day for the Armenian genocide. It is a national holiday that calls on the people of Lebanon to remember the acts of the Ottoman Empire towards the Armenian people and culture. On May 12, 2000, the government officially commemorated the 82nd anniversary of the genocide.