THE OTTOMAN POLICY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ETHNO-DEMOGRAPHIC STRUCTURE OF ERZRUM PROVINCE OF WESTERN ARMENIA (FROM THE 16TH CENTURY TO THE BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY)
Between the sixteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, calamitous demographic and ethnographic changes occurred in the region of Erzrum and throughout all of Western Armenia: the influx of Turkic and Kurdish tribes, the periodic violence and calamities, the forced conversion of many Christians to Islam, and the flight of masses of people to safer localities.
For several centuries, therefore, up to the time of the Armenian Genocide, the processes of ethnic elimination - sometimes slowly and at other times very rapidly - were uninterruptedly in motion in Western Armenia. The policy of de-Armenianization of the western part of the Armenian Highland from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century, to which insufficient scholarly attention has been given, is in itself strong evidence of the destructive policies of the Ottoman rulers. Bardzr Hayk, like the rest of Western Armenia, was ethnically cleansed over a long period through the genocidal policies of forced conversion to Islam, assimilation, massacre, and deportation. The final blow was struck in 1915.
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