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Armenians in eastern Anatolia repeatedly complained about armed Kurdish bands that took their livestock, land, and women.
Occasionally Muslims rose in angry pogroms against Christians, and state authorities tended to excuse such behavior as an understandable response to Armenian rebellion.
In early 1915 the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire decided to deport hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Assyrians from their homes into distant parts of the Empire, eventually into the deserts of Syria.
Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman Army were demobilized and massacred; women and children were driven on long marches, starved, beaten, and often murdered.
Armenian radicals, along with Young Turk and Macedonian revolutionaries, were seen as a serious threat to the sultan’s despotism, and in 1894-1896 massive violence led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in Anatolia.
When Ottoman military officers joined with Young Turk intellectuals early in the 20 century, the opposition proved able to bring down the Hamidian regime (July 1908).
The inferiority of the gavur was voluntary, Muslims believed, since unbelievers could at any time convert to Islam and thereby change their status.
When Christians and Jews maintained their separate identities and communities and became visibly wealthier, effectively identified with Europeans, resentment of their enhanced status grew among Muslims.