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The Battle of Sarikamish was fought on the Caucasian front of World War I from 22 December 1914 to 17 January 1915 when the Imperial Russian Army counterattacked against an Ottoman invasion force in the Allahuekber Mountains in Kars Oblast (present-day eastern Turkey) and routed the Turks. Turkish War Minister Enver Pasha blamed his defeat on the Armenian volunteers serving alongside the Russians, leading to a wave of anti-Armenian sentiment in the Ottoman Empire which led to the Armenian Genocide.

Background

For Russia, war with Turkey opened up the possibility of controlling Constantinople (Istanbul) and gaining access to the Mediterranean from the Black Sea. For Young Turks such as War Minister Enver Pasha, war was a chance to liberate the Muslims of the Caucasus, conquered by Russia in the 19th century.

Battle

Enver went in person to the Caucasian front in December, planning a bold offensive. Poorly supplied Turkish forces advanced through mountain terrain in bitterly cold weather, some dying of frostbite. When the Russians counterattacked at Sarikamish, near Kars, the Turks were routed.

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