Western Armenia

The planned partition of the Ottoman Empire according to the superseded Treaty of Sèvres of 1920
The modern concept of United Armenia as claimed by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.
Orange: areas overwhelmingly populated by Armenians (Republic of Armenia: 98%; [1] Nagorno-Karabakh: 99%; Javakheti: 95%)
Yellow: Historically Armenian areas with presently no or insignificant Armenian population (Western Armenia and Nakhichevan)
Armenian population in Western Armenia in 1895
  Over 75% Muslim
  50% - 75% Muslim
  50% - 75% Armenian
  50% - 75% Greek and Nestorian

Western Armenia (Western Armenian: Արեւմտեան Հայաստան, Arevmdian Hayasdan) is a term to refer to the eastern parts of Turkey (formerly the Ottoman Empire) that are part of the historical homeland of the Armenians.[2] Western Armenia, also refers to as Byzantine Armenia, emerged following the division of Greater Armenia between the Byzantine Empire (Western Armenia) and Sassanid Persia (Eastern Armenia) in 387 AD.

The area was conquered by the Ottomans in the 16th century during the Ottoman–Safavid War (1532–1555) against their Iranian Safavid arch-rivals. Being passed on from the former to the latter, Ottoman rule over the region became only decisive after the Ottoman–Safavid War of 1623–1639.[3] The area then became known also as Turkish Armenia[4] or Ottoman Armenia.[5] During the 19th century, the Russian Empire conquered all of Eastern Armenia from Iran,[6] and also some parts of Turkish Armenia, such as Kars. The region's Armenian population was affected during the widespread massacres of Armenians in the 1890s.

The Armenians living in their ancestral lands were exterminated or deported by Ottoman forces during the 1915 Armenian genocide and over the following years. The systematic destruction of Armenian cultural heritage, which had endured over 4000 years,[7][8] is considered an example of cultural genocide.[9][10]

Assimilated and crypto-Armenians still live in the area today, and some irredentist Armenians claim it as part of United Armenia. The most notable political party with these views is the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.


Mount Ararat, today located in Turkey, as seen from Armenia's capital Yerevan. It symbolizes Western Armenia in the Armenian public mind. [a]

In the Armenian language, there are several names for the region. Today, the most common is Arevelyan Hayastan (Արևլեան Հայաստան) in Eastern Armenian (mostly spoken in Armenia, Russia, Georgia, Iran) and Arevmdean Hayasdan (Արեւմտեան Հայաստան) in Western Armenian (spoken in the Diaspora: US, France, Lebanon, Syria, Argentina, etc.). Archaic names (used before the 1920s) include Tačkahayastan (Տաճկահայաստան) in Eastern and Daǰkahayasdan in Western Armenian. Also used in the same period were T'urk'ahayastan (Թուրքահայաստան) or T'rk'ahayastan (Թրքահայաստան), both meaning Turkish Armenia.

In the Turkish language, the literal translation of Western Armenia is Batı Ermenistan. The region has been officially described as Eastern Anatolia (Doğu Anadolu) since the seven geographical regions of Turkey were defined at the 1941 First Geography Congress. Throughout much of recorded history the eastern boundary of Anatolia was not considered to extend as far as the Araxes, the river which marks the present day boundary between the states of Armenia and Iran.[14] Some Kurds refer to the southern parts of region as Bakurê Kurdistanê (Northern Kurdistan).


Ottoman conquest

After the Ottoman-Persian War (1623–1639), Western Armenia became decisively part of the Ottoman Empire.[3] After the Russo-Turkish War, 1828–1829, the term "Western Armenia" referred to the Armenian-populated historical regions of the Ottoman Empire that remained under Ottoman rule after the eastern part of Armenia was ceded to the Russian Empire by the Qajar Persians, following the Russo-Persian War (1804–1813) and Russo-Persian War (1826–1828).[15]

Western (Ottoman) Armenia consisted of six vilayets (vilâyat-ı sitte): the vilayets of Erzurum, Van, Bitlis, Diyarbekir, Kharput, and Sivas.[16]

The fate of Western Armenia – commonly referred to as "The Armenian Question" – is considered a key issue in the modern history of the Armenian people.[17]

World War I and later years

The treaties as summarized in 1923 by Ray Stannard Baker, who was Woodrow Wilson's press secretary during the Paris Peace Conference.

In 1894–1896 and 1915 the Ottoman Empire perpetrated systematic massacres and forced deportations of Armenians[18] resulting in the Armenian genocide. The massive deportation and killings of Armenians began in the spring 1915. On 24 April 1915, Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were deported from Constantinople. Depending on the sources cited, about 1,500,000 Armenians were killed during this act.

During the Caucasus campaign of World War I, the Russian Empire occupied most of the Armenian-populated regions of the Ottoman Empire. A temporary provincial government was established in occupied areas between 1915 and 1918.

The chaos caused by the Russian Revolution of 1917 put a stop to all Russian military operations and Russian forces began to conduct withdrawals. The first and second congresses of Western Armenians took place in Yerevan in 1917 and 1919.

The Sazonov–Paléologue Agreement of 26 April 1916 between Russian Foreign minister Sergey Sazonov and French ambassador to Russia Maurice Paléologue proposed to give Western Armenia to Russia in return for Russian assent to the Sykes–Picot agreement.[19][20]

Current situation

Currently, Armenia does not have any territorial claims against Turkey, although one political party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the largest Armenian party in the diaspora, claims the area given to the Republic of Armenia (1918–1920) by US President Woodrow Wilson's arbitral award as part of the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920, also known as Wilsonian Armenia.

Since 2000, an organizing committee of the congress of heirs of Western Armenians who survived the Armenian genocide is active in diasporan communities.[21]

Territories claimed

A 1927 version of the map used by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (later restored) - This is a wrong map of Sevrès. There is no zone of influence in favor of France and Italy in the Treaty of Sevrès. This map shows more of the Sykes-Picot project. However, Sykes-Picot is a project that was never implemented.
Area Part of Area (km2) Population Armenians % Armenian Source
Western Armenia  Turkey 132,967 6,461,400 70.000[22] 0.09 2009 estimate[23]


See also