The involvement of WWI complicates the matters of the genocide. But first and foremost we must understand the kind of relationship the Armenians had with the Turkish population. It was a relationship of distrust...though they tolerated each others existence, similar to the way many Jews were looked upon by other cultures.
The Ottoman Empire was in the thick of the war, and feared an attack from Russia via the corridor between the Black and Caspian seas. To defend the Ottoman lands, and army was placed at the southern end of the corridor, this area had been the native land of the Armenians for thousands of years, but it was nonetheless part of the Empire.
While the Muslim oriented government (the Ottomans) had an inerrant distrust for the Armenians, it also did not help that those same Armenians were also Christian Orthodox...the same religions orientation as the Russians. The Ottomans considered the possibility that the Armenians might side with the Russians if they were to invade. Though such a scenario seems unlikely because the Armenians did not greatly resent being part of the Ottoman Empire because they had been able to keep some autonomy (though that does not mean equality, the nature of this relationship is disputed by historians).
In any case, the Ottomans saw the Armenians as a threat and began an effort to deport and exterminate the population. The Armenians fought back, but were ultimately no match for the disciplined army of the Empire. The Armenians where systematically massacred, villages were burned down, and ancient sites were deliberately destroyed. The Ottomans wanted to erase them form history, and came very close to succeeding.
Now in modern context, we must consider a few things. The Turks of today are not the same as the Ottomans. The Ottomans (the army particularly) were a mish-mash of Slavs, Greeks, Egyptians, Arabians, among others. A Turk will argue that simply blaming the Turkish government is splitting hairs because it was not the Turkish people that were directly responsible.
Basically we have two groups that didn't like each other. One group found an excuse to get rid of the other. Adolf Hitler later cites the Armenian Massacre as an example of justifying the genocides he ordered.
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