The economic motives behind the Armenian Genocide




“The motives behind the Armenian Genocide were primarily economic, not religious. The material loss caused to Armenians as a result of the Genocide was four times larger than Turkey’s foreign debt at the time,” lawyer, political scientist Izabella Muradyan says. He research of Turkey’s legal documents reveals facts that often skip the attention of historians.

When planning the mass killing of Armenians in 1915, the Young Turk Government first announced Jihad. All Armenian living on the territory of Turkey were announced enemies and according to the Sunni law, the first one to kill the enemy would receive the latter’s wealth. Five percent of the Armenian property was thus to be transferred to the budget of the Young Turks, the rest would go to the murderer. Izabella Muradyan believes that with this very law the authorities involved a great number of Muslims in the mass killing of Armenians.

After the massacre, Turkey adopted a law, making it legal to seize the property of Armenians. It applied to both movable property and real estate, and the bank accounts.

“Turkey’s alley Germany simply copied some of the laws later and applied it against Jews,” the lawyer says. She’s assured that the main motive behind the Armenian Genocide was economic, not religious. She reminded the 1915 massacre of Hamshen Armenians, who had been following Islam since the 16th century.

The bankrupt Ottoman Empire stole the property of Armenians, but the land and its bowels where the most precious. “If we look closely at the geologic map, we’ll see that the first killings took place in areas rich in natural resources,” Muradyan says.

The lawyer is assured, that the Armenian Genocide has not been fully recognized and condemned not only because of Turkey’s ‘denialism’, but also due to the economic interests of the superpowers. “Turkey’s foreign partners have accumulated huge wealth on the areas previously belonging to Armenians, and refusing from it would be very difficult.”

Researcher at Matenadaran Institute Anahit Astoyan says the burden of plunder of the Armenian property lies not only with the Young Turks, but also the Kemalists, i.e. the modern-day Turkey. “By exterminating the Western Armenians the Young Turks and Kemalists got rid of a powerful competitor from the economic arena and created a huge capital by appropriating their property.

According to her, even some Turkish historians declare today that the economy of modern-day Turkey is almost completely based on the property grabbed from Armenians.

Despite the severe war conditions, the Ottoman budget had an unprecedented rise between 1914 and 1918. According to the data of the British intelligence, the Turkish authorities used the Armenian funds to cover the huge war expenses and pay off a considerable part of the foreign debt. The Kemalist Movement, which resulted in the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, also succeeded thanks to the Armenian wealth. “Therefore, the Turkish Republic cannot escape material responsibility,” Astoyan concludes.