In 1915 the government of the Ottoman Empire began systematically to rip Western Armenians off the lands where their ancestors had lived since time immemorial. It ordered that the Armenian men be murdered, and that Armenian women, children, and grandparents be deported into that of Syria declared unfit for human life. Most of the Armenians who managed to survive the death march were slaughtered there.
‘Cleansing’ Western Armenia of Armenians was only part of the Ottoman project for Anatolia and Western Armenia. The goal of the Ottoman government was to turn those lands into the homeland of the Turks – the vatan – a place where the culture, the economy, and the people were all Turkish. That project required large-scale, multi-layered violence. In 1915, 80% of the Ottoman economy was owned by Christians. Its cultural life was dominated by the incredible Armenian renaissance: the zartonk. The Turks were the newcomers among the many people who lived in what is today the Republic of Turkey.
Today Turkey is still trying to create its vatan, and continuing the Genocide begun by the Ottoman Turks in 1915. Continued by denying the Armenian Genocide took place and destroying the evidence of unspeakable violence not just against the Armenians, but against the lands and history of Anatolia and Western Armenia. The crime is prolonged in its concealment.
In The Sins of the Fathers: Turkish Denialism and the Armenian Genocide – the first part in the Betrayal of Philosophy trilogy – Nash-Marshall connects the total disregard of fact and people, of lands and history that informed the Armenian Genocide to what is today informing our world and culture.