HOW THE ARMENIAN ISSUE CAME ABOUT?

When the Ottoman Empire began to decline and was exposed to European interventions in many fields, deterioration began in the Turkish-Armenian relations. The Western powers then started to sever the Armenian community from the Ottoman community for attaining their own regional interests.

A number of European states that intervened in the Ottoman internal affairs under the guise of ensuring the introduction of reforms, organised the Armenians against the Empire. As a result of the provocations of the internal and external Armenian organisations as well as of the Armenian Church, this community gradually began to dissociate itself from the Turks.

Starting to fight against Turks under alliance with the Western powers despite all the good intentions of Turks, the Armenians initiated a campaign to present themselves as a subjugated society and to accuse the Ottoman Empire of “having annihilated” their sovereignty rights in Anatolia.

As they lost their former privileges when the Moslems and non-Moslems were given equal rights under the Restoration Firman, the Armenians asked Russia not to withdraw from Eastern Anatolia that it had invaded during the 1977-1878 Ottoman-Russian war, to grant autonomy to these regions or to introduce reforms in their favour. This request of the Armenians were partially accepted by Russia and the Armenian issue was brought onto the international platform after Hagia Stephanos Treaty, signed at the end of the war; and also after the Berlin Treaty signed later. Thus, foreign countries that wanted to divide Turkey started to intervene in Turkish-Armenian relations. It is with these claims that the Armenian issue had begun to take shape and acquire an international character.

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