The forced migration is one of the key issues in the history of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic.
Nevertheless, the treatment of the issue has predominantly adhered to state-centered and nationalist outlook, especially in the evaluation of forced migration in the late Ottoman and early Republican eras. In explaining the Armenian deportations and massacres, for example, representatives of such an outlook highlight security concerns and abstract the events from their social, political, ideological and economic milieu. Instead of historicizing and comparing the Turkish case with other cases, they focus on the nationalist activities of the minority leaders, who were perceived as ‘fifth-columnists’ by those who took the decision to deport the minority population. Studies of this kind are usually dominated by a narrow empirical method. Among the continual aspects that can be traced between these two periods, the ‘Turkification’ of social, economic and cultural life is preeminent. In this respect, the founders of the Turkish nation-state inherited a legacy from the previous period that would shape both their mentality as well as practices in ‘nationalizing’ Turkey. One of the salient features of the Kurdish and Armenian Genocide is the forcible transfer of children and women from an Armenian to a Muslim/Turkish identity. Forced migration is central theme of history. Temporally, it can be observed from ancient times to the present era ; spatially, it is possible to view it in several geographies.
Though demographic engineering, in the wide sense of state intervention in population figures (in its composition, distribution and increase/decrease) can be used to denote the manipulation of population composition throughout history, its close association with ethnicity, nationalism, and the nation-state makes it appear as an essentially modern phenomenon.