ARMENIANS IN THE ECONOMY OF THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE – 2010-1

Economic reasons as influencial factors in the Armenian Genocide

Summary

Anahit Kh. Astoyan
As the ruling ethnic group in the Ottoman Empire, the Turks left the main spheres of the economy to the experienced representatives of the indigenous, civilized peoples of the countries they had conquered. Because of their skill, entrepreneurial mind, and diligence, Armenians, as the oldest bearers of the Western Asia’s civilization, gradually began to take up influential positions in the management of agriculture, foreign and internal large-scale trade, crafts, industrial production and finances in the Empire. They controlled the important elements of the Empire’s economy. Compared to the Armenians, the Turkish affluent class was peripheral and did not represent as an important element in the Ottoman economy. The Young Turk government, the organizer of the Armenian Genocide, besides their Pan-Turkic political goals, also intended to get rid of the Armenian economic competition.

After the deportation and massacre of Armenians, the Empire’s economy collapsed. By annihilating the Armenians living in Western Armenia and Armenian Cilicia, as well as in other parts of the Ottoman Empire, the Young Turk government eliminated its powerful competitor and was able to cover enormous war expenses and pay up its foreign debts simply at the expense of the Armenian wealth and belongings they had confiscated.

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