Muslim Ethnic and Religious Cleansings / Turkish /
The two first campaigns was staged by the command of Sultan Abdülhamid 2, the second by the Young Turk government.
The Armenian genocide coincided with the Assyrian genocide, both being part of the same actions against Christians of Anatolia, which also affected the Greeks.
A central issue regarding the genocide, is related to the actual number being killed. This relates largely to the lack of good documentation of the number Armenian citizens in the empire, from which it could have been reconstructed by the actual number of Armenians living in Syria, Iraq and Armenia proper after the decline of the Ottoman Empire.
Estimates of Ottoman Armenians in the early 1910's, range from about 1 million to 3.5 million. From this, estimates of both 200,000 and 2 million killed during the deportation, have been put forth. Western, independent researchers seem to have arrived at a consensus of about 600,000 dead from the 1915-16 genocide being the most likely. Concerning the clash of 1894, this may have counted a few thousand dead, the 1896 massacres more than 50,000 (some estimates go as high as 300,000), and the ones of 1909 a few thousand.
Turkish authorities have always alleged that no genocide ever occurred, though they accept a high number of dead. Their explanation is that the Armenians died from strife between ethnic groups as well as diseases and famine caused only by the difficult situation during the World War 1.
Prior to the genocide, Armenians lived all around Anatolia, but with a large community in Istanbul as well. Armenians had long traditions of living under dhimmi laws, i.e. being secondary citizens compared to Muslims. Despite improvements during the Tanzimat modernization in the middle of the 19th century, this all ended with Sultan Abdülhamid 2 who acted out his own will independently from 1876 until 1909. His politics caused much hardship on the Christian population, which may be seen directly in connection with the loss of Armenian loyalty to the empire.
Much of the administration of the genocide was done by the The Special Organization (Teskilat-i Mahsusa), which was given special concessions, and allowed to operate freely from the law. Many of its members were freed criminals, who were put in charge of facilitating the deportation of the Armenians.
It was not only the long marches through desert and other hard areas that killed many Armenians. Also, the Ottomans established concentration camps, perhaps 25 in number. The camps were administered on the inside by Armenians themselves, but this did not help conditions much. In many cases, it is reported, the camps served mainly as death camps due to gruesome conditions, insufficient facilities and extreme climatic conditions, especially in the middle of the summer out in the desert. It is claimed that in many situations, Armenians were burned to death, poisoned or even drowned.
Other names for the atrocities are "Armenian Holocaust" or the "Armenian Massacre."