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The armenian genocide was the systematic killing and deportation of armenians by the turks of the ottoman empire in 1915 during world war i leaders of the turkish government set in motion a . Armenian genocide campaign of deportation and mass killing conducted against the armenian subjects of the ottoman empire by the young turk government during world war i armenians charge that the campaign was a deliberate attempt to destroy the armenian people and thus an act of genocide. Armenians say up to 15 million of their forebears were killed in a 1915 16 genocide by turkeys former ottoman empire turkey has the figure at 500000 afp getty afp getty . The armenian genocide was the systemic killing of over 15 million armenians living in the ottoman empire the armenian genocide started on april 24 1915 when the ottoman government rounded up between 235 to 270 armenian community leaders and intellectuals from ankara to constantinople and deported them