Figure this- in 1915, when the world was on the cusp of the First World War, there were about two million (20 Lakh) Armenians residing in the Ottoman empire. By 1922, a few years after the World War ended, only 400,000 Armenians were left. In about 7 years, 3/4th of a 2 million strong Armenian population had been wiped out.
The start of this genocide coincides with the fall of the Ottoman empire. This empire was largely a Muslim-only one. The Armenians, however, were allowed to maintain and exercise their religious views, but were often subject to extra taxes or other such measures.
As the Ottoman empire started crumbling, a reform movement came to power. They called themselves the ‘Young Turks’ and aimed to ‘Turkify’ the empire- basically to nationalize the empire. Five years later, by 1913, the Ottoman empire had lost a vast amount of territory. And by the next year, the Turks had entered the war themselves, siding with the Germans. And they feared that the Christian Armenians would betray them and side with their Christian neighbour and enemy, Russia.
Out of this unproved fear, the Turks started labelling Armenians as a threat to the empire and push all kinds of propaganda against them.
The first of the killings started in 1915, when a few Armenian leaders were rounded and killed. The killing continued for several years- Armenians were rounded up and killed, or were sent on death marches across the Syrian dessert, where they would die of starvation. Not even the women and children were spared.
These atrocities stopped only with the gradual fall of the Ottoman empire, which began in 1918.
And now, a century on, the nation of Turkey still fails to recognize these acts of horror as a genocide. This is what makes the Armenian genocide stand out. The Holocaust is well accepted and well documented. On the other hand, few people know about the Armenian Genocide and it deserves a greater attention.