Realizing the role of the church and Christian faith within the Armenian nation, the Turkish government purposefully massacred Armenian clergymen, destroyed churches, monasteries and other properties of church, including thousands of medieval handwritten manuscripts.
In 1912 the Armenian patriarch of Istanbul presented an account of the churches and monasteries in Western Armenia (Eastern Anatolia) and the Ottoman Empire. More than 2000 monasteries and churches were accounted, including the early unique Christian monuments of IV-V cc. Most part of them were looted, burned and destroyed by the Turks during the Genocide.
But Turkey failed to exterminate the Armenian and the Armenian culture. A century later around 10 000 000 Armenians lives all around a world and the Armenian culture is spreading and getting big global recognition thanks to the Armenian Diaspora.
Acts and measures undertaken to destroy the culture of a nation or an ethnic group is called "cultural genocide". Many facts prove that simultaneous with the massacres and deportation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the government of the Young Turks masterminded and implemented systematic destruction of the material testimonies of the Armenian civilization.
A genocide is the organized extermination of a nation aiming to put an end to their collective existence. The extermination of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and the surrounding regions during 1915-1923 is called the Armenian Genocide. Those massacres were masterminded and perpetrated by the government of Young Turks and were later finalized by the Kemalist government.
When WWI erupted, the government of the Young Turks adopted the policy of Pan-Turkism, hoping to save the remains of the weakened Ottoman Empire. The plan was to create an enormous Ottoman Empire that would spread to China, include all the Turkish speaking nations of the Caucasus and Middle Asia, intending also to turkify all the ethnic minorities of the empire. The Armenian population became the main obstacle standing in the way of the realization of this policy.
There were an estimated two million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire before the First World War. Approximately one and a half million Armenians were killed from 1915-1923. The remaining part was either islamized or exiled.
© Photo by The National Archives of Norway, Pa-0699 Women Missionary Workers association