At the start of World War I in 1914 there were about 2 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. In 1915 the Turkish government decided to exterminate the Armenians. On April 24, 1915 the massed killing began; along with rape, robbery, and food deprivation. By the end of the genocide in 1922, about 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians had been killed. Turkey still claims that there was no official policy of extermination of Armenians and doesn’t acknowledge the severity of the events that took place.
A few survivors share their story of surviving the Armenian Genocide. It’s been over 100 years since it happened, but there’s still so much controversy surrounding it. There are many people arguing different sides of it; from denying that it ever happened, saying it was just part of the war, that genocide is too strong of a word for it, etc. No country will ever have a flawless history, but to deny history only brings more misunderstandings and divides people further apart which is a threat to everyone’s future.
Vakifli is the last Armenian village still remaining in Turkey, with less than 150 residents. The village’s survival is dependent on the aid of the Turkish government, which has helped them a lot but also causes identity complications. Those still living there are proud descendants of the genocide from over a hundred years ago, but would rather keep silent on the issue for fear of backlash.
An estimated 70,000 Armenians live in Turkey today. A few Armenian Turkish citizens share their experiences living in Turkey and their issues dealing with identity and discrimination. Although their views and backgrounds vary, the past genocide of 1915 has affected all of them either in their families growing up, personal life, or both.