This day commemorates the victims of the Armenian Genocide - the deliberate extermination of the Armenian people that happened in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic from 1915 to 1923. Its victims, according to various estimates, were between 600 thousand to 1.5 million people.
In 1908, the Young Turks came to power, the basis of whose national policy was Pan-Turkism - the creation of the Turkish Empire from the Altai to the Mediterranean. They rejected the idea of a polyethnic state and sought to create a culturally and ethnically homogeneous Turkish society. The Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire became a major obstacle to the implementation of this policy. As a result of the coup in 1913, a military dictatorship of Three Pashas was established: Enver Pasha, Djemal Pasha and Talaat Pasha. Historians consider them, together with the public figure Behaeddin Shakir, to be the organizers of the genocide. The main role in the extermination of the Armenians was played by the organization. Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa (from the Turkish - "Special Organization"), which was created and headed by Shakir.
In early 1915, Armenian Ottoman soldiers were accused of treason. About 100,000 Armenians were disarmed and killed. On April 24, 1915, in Istanbul and other cities, more than 5,500 Armenians were arrested, most of them exterminated. After the adoption of the Deportation Act on May 26, 1915, the Ottoman authorities sent the Armenians to the Deir ez-Zor desert, where they were doomed to death. At the end of the summer of 1915, a large part of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire was destroyed. As a result of the genocide, about 200,000 Armenian children were orphaned. The extermination of the Armenian population was accompanied by a campaign to destroy cultural heritage. Architectural monuments and churches were looted, cemeteries were used as farmland, and Armenian neighborhoods were renamed and inhabited by Muslims.
After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the Young Turk leaders fled the country. A Turkish military tribunal accused them of organizing the killings and sentenced them to death in absentia. Armenian refugees are scattered around the world, forming diasporas in dozens of countries.
On April 15, 2015, the European Parliament declared April 24 the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.