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Somewhat surprisingly to many, Armenians and Turks lived in relative harmony in the Ottoman empire for centuries. Armenians were known as the "loyal millet". During these times, although Armenians were not equal and had to put up with certain special hardships, they were pretty well accepted and there was relatively little violent conflict. Things began to change for a number of reasons. Nationalism, a new force in the world, reared its head and made ethnic groupings self-conscious, and the Ottoman Empire began to crumble. It became known as "the sick man of Europe" and the only thing holding it together was the European powers' lack of agreement on how to split it up.

As other Christian minorities gained their independence one by one, the Armenians became more isolated as the only major Christian minority. Armenians and Turks began to have conflicting dreams of the future. Some Armenians began to call for independence like the Greeks and others had already received, while some Turks began to envision a new Pan-Turkic empire spreading all the way to Turkic speaking parts of Central Asia. Armenians were the only ethnic group in between these two major pockets of Turkish speakers and the nationalist Turks wanted to get rid of them altogether.

As European powers began to ask for assurances that Armenians receive better treatment, the government began to treat the Armenians worse and worse. In the 1890's hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in pogroms ordered by Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

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Somewhat surprisingly to many, Armenians and Turks lived in relative harmony in the Ottoman empire for centuries. Armenians were known as the "loyal millet". During these times, although Armenians were not equal and had to put up with certain special hardships, they were pretty well accepted and there was relatively little violent conflict. Things began to change for a number of reasons. Nationalism, a new force in the world, reared its head and made ethnic groupings self-conscious, and the Ottoman Empire began to crumble. It became known as "the sick man of Europe" and the only thing holding it together was the European powers' lack of agreement on how to split it up.

As other Christian minorities gained their independence one by one, the Armenians became more isolated as the only major Christian minority. Armenians and Turks began to have conflicting dreams of the future. Some Armenians began to call for independence like the Greeks and others had already received, while some Turks began to envision a new Pan-Turkic empire spreading all the way to Turkic speaking parts of Central Asia. Armenians were the only ethnic group in between these two major pockets of Turkish speakers and the nationalist Turks wanted to get rid of them altogether.

As European powers began to ask for assurances that Armenians receive better treatment, the government began to treat the Armenians worse and worse. In the 1890's hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in pogroms ordered by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. More...

 
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