|History of Armenia|
- 1 Background
- 2 Russian Armenia (1828–1917)
- 3 First Republic of Armenia (1918–1920)
- 4 Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (1920–1991)
- 5 Republic of Armenia (1991–present)
- 6 Diaspora and NGOs (1915–present)
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Origins of the Armenian people
Armenians are an ethnic group who originate from the eponymous Armenian Highlands, located in Western Asia, between Anatolia, the Caucasus, the Iranian Plateau, and the Fertile Crescent. Most of the region is currently divided between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Turkey.
Urartu, the predecessor of the Satrapy of Armenia, united the tribes of the highlands sometime in the 9th century BC, which eventually led to the emergence of the Armenian people. As the Armenian language spread, the highlands became homogenized.
The Armenian kingdoms that followed enjoyed sovereignty over the Armenian Highlands, but also often fell to the rule of foreign empires. However, when under foreign rule, Armenia often remained a self-ruling geopolitical entity, as a tributary or vassal state, and rarely under direct control of the ruling empire of the time. This allowed a distinguishable Armenian culture to develop and flourish, leading to the creation of its own unique alphabet and its own branch of Christianity.
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It was in the 11th century, with the arrival of the Seljuk Turks, followed by waves of Turko-Mongol invasions around the time of the Mongol Empire, when Armenian self-rule in Armenia began to dramatically decline. By the time of the Timurid Empire in the 14th century, only pockets of Armenian autonomy remained, such as in Artsakh.
After centuries of instability, the political landscape in the Armenian Highlands finally settled, divided between the Ottoman Empire ruling the western portion, and Iran ruling the eastern portion. The two empires' rivalry was often settled with battles in the heart of the Armenian Highlands.
Apart from the gradual emigration of Armenians due to persecution under Muslim rule, the first major forced displacement of Armenians from the Armenian Highlands in the modern era was at the turn of 17th century, when the Iranian king Abbas II moved Armenians from Iranian Armenia to the inner regions of his empire.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, Armenians continued to form the largest ethnic group (but not religious majority) in most of Ottoman Armenia. The demographics of the region changed considerably due to the Ottoman Empire's policy of settling Muslim refugees from the Balkans during the Balkan wars into the region, and the emigration of Ottoman Armenians to Russian Armenia, the latter of which had been ongoing since the mid-19th century, when most of Iranian Armenia had been annexed by the Russian Empire.
After the Armenian Genocide during World War I, the Armenian population of Ottoman Armenia ceased to exist, being reduced to negligible numbers. Many who remained hid their identities or were assimilated. The survivors who did not remain formed the Armenian Diaspora, a community of Armenians who have spread around the world.
The attachment of the Armenian people to their homeland was preserved within the Diaspora, through the establishment of Armenian communities and Armenian schools where their history was taught. Repatriation to Armenia became one of the goals of the Diaspora, but the incorporation of Armenia within the Soviet Union in 1920, the political and economic instability following Armenia's independence in 1991, its ongoing territorial conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan since 1988, and its location between two hostile countries (Turkey and Azerbaijan), have all been reasons for the disinclination of generations of Armenians in the Diaspora to leave the comfort of their host countries for Armenia, leading to assimilation and loss of interest in their ethnic origins among the younger generations (a circumstance sometimes called White Genocide among Armenians).
Russian Armenia (1828–1917)
In the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire had conquered Transcaucasia from Iran, which reconquered it in the early 17th century. The local Armenians, who had been laid destitute by heavy Ottoman taxation, and the Shi'ite Muslims who had been persecuted for their beliefs, welcomed Iran as liberators. In 1603, news of an Ottoman counteroffensive reached the king of Iran, Abbas II, who ordered the displacement of the population of Armenians from the province of Erivan (roughly modern-day Yerevan and its surrounding provinces, Igdir, Nakhchivan, and Maku), particularly from the town of Julfa, and also from the province Van, as part of a scorched earth strategy. It is estimated that the number of Armenians who were displaced by 1605 was as high as 300,000. Over the following centuries, several nomadic Turkic and Kurdish tribes settled in the area and established khanates.
In the 19th century, Russia acquired all of Transcaucasia, including most of Eastern Armenia, as a result of wars with Iran (1804–1813 and 1826–1828) and with the Ottoman Empire (1828–1829 and 1877–1878).
Armenian Oblast (1828–1840)
After the Russian Empire annexed Transcaucasia from Iran, they established the Armenian Oblast out of the Erivan Khanate. In 1826, the population of the khanate was 110,120, of which 20,073 (~18.22%) was Armenian. The Russian Empire, along with the existing Armenian community in Transcaucasia, promoted the repatriation of Armenians from the Ottoman Empire into the new oblast. As many as 40,000 from Qajar Iran and 90,000 from Ottoman Turkey left for the Russian-controlled territory.
Armenian refugees from the Ottoman Empire
The Russo-Iranian and Russo-Ottoman wars caused a sentiment of distrust for Christians within the Muslim empires, particularly in the Ottoman Empire, which was amplified by their ongoing losses to Christian nations in the Balkans during the decline of the empire. Armenians were often accused of betrayal, leading irregulars opposing the Russian Empire to pillage and attack Armenians, and massacres such as the Hamidian Massacres.
Although a number of Armenians preferred Ottoman or Iranian rule, Armenians from within Russia did instigate revolts and feelings of national awakening among Ottoman Armenians. Many moved to Transcaucasia to join the revolutionary organizations that aimed to restore Armenian independence for Ottoman Armenia. This ultimately became one of the factors that led the Ottoman leadership to commit genocide and eliminate all Armenian presence from Ottoman Armenia. The influx of Armenian refugees into Transcaucasia was accelerated drastically as the Armenian Genocide was being carried out starting from 1915.
First Republic of Armenia (1918–1920)
After the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917, the Armenian population of Transcaucasia declared the independence of the first Armenian Republic in 1918. The short-lived republic dealt with war from all sides throughout the entirety of its existence. As the Ottoman Empire fell, the partition of the Ottoman Empire was being discussed at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. The conference agreed that the Ottoman Empire had to surrender all of its territorial claims in Transcaucasia, but the parts of Ottoman Armenia to be awarded to the Armenian Republic was less clear, since its Armenian population had been extinguished during the Armenian Genocide. Additionally, Armenians faced Muslim uprisings in the region (i.e., the Kars Republic). Finally, in the Treaty of Sèvres, a large part of Ottoman Armenia was awarded to the Armenian Republic, today referred to as Wilsonian Armenia, which the Ottoman government signed, but was never ratified.
While some Armenians attempted to repatriate Western Armenia, the Republic of Armenia was unable to put the legally acquired lands under its control due to its conflicts with neighbouring Georgia and Azerbaijan. Additionally, the new Turkish nationalist government formed in Ankara by Kemal Atatürk rejected the Treaty of Sèvres, and by the end of the summer of 1920, Turkish nationalists occupied the territories awarded to Armenia, and the Muslim population of the territories were ready to take up arms against enforcing the provisions of the Treaty of Sèvres, as they believed Ottoman Armenia to be their land.
Ultimately, as the Republic of Armenia was incorporated into the Soviet Union, Western Armenia was incorporated into Turkey by the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne, which confounded the hope of the Armenian refugees who aspired to repatriation. The treaty also changed the status of Armenian survivors who had found refuge in former Ottoman territories such as Syria and Lebanon; among the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne was the requirement that refugees from Anatolia now living in former Ottoman territories be entitled to citizenship. For the authorities of the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon, this clause was providential. In 1924, Lebanese Armenians were naturalized en masse, and Armenians have never been able to repatriate Western Armenia since.
Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (1920–1991)
Following the Armenian Genocide, a vast number of Armenians had fled to countries near the Ottoman Empire, such as Syria, Egypt and Lebanon, and formed large Armenian communities. With the ceding of the Syrian territory of Alexandretta by France to Turkey in 1939, a second wave of migrations of Armenians to the Levant took place.
Soviet territorial claims against Turkey
From 1945 to 1953, the Soviet Union considered several different proposals for expanding their borders into Eastern Turkey. Part of these proposals included the acquisition of historical Western Armenian territories and the repatriation of Armenians from the Armenian diaspora. The territorial claims were renounced after Joseph Stalin passed away.
Between 1946 and 1949, Lebanese President Bechara El Khoury’s administration provided assistance to Lebanese and Syrian Armenians who wished to repatriate to Soviet Armenia. However, Armenians felt more comfortable in Lebanon, and many of those who left Lebanon for Soviet Armenia in the 1940s under the Soviet Union's Armenian repatriation campaign returned to live in Lebanon, as Lebanon was considered a "second Armenia".
Republic of Armenia (1991–present)
One of the main challenges of the Republic of Armenia is preserving its population numbers. Despite the recent rise in repatriation, the number of Armenians leaving Armenia is consistently higher.
Acquisition of an Armenian citizenship
The Republic of Armenia has made an effort to simplify the acquirement of an Armenian citizenship for ethnic Armenians living abroad, by including the right of return for members of the Armenian diaspora, and since 2007 permitting dual citizenship. Diaspora Armenians who want to live and work in Armenia, but want to be exempt from military service can also apply for a special residency status, which gives them a special passport and the same rights as citizens except the right to vote or access to the same countries that an Armenia passport would. Survivors of the Armenian Genocide are granted Special Passports through a facilitated procedure, and the application fee is waived.
Syrian Civil War (2011–present)
Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, 16,623 Armenian Syrians found refuge in Armenia, of which 13,000 remained and repatriated (as of July 2015). The government of Armenia is offering several protection options including simplified naturalization by Armenian descent (15,000 persons acquired Armenian citizenship), accelerated asylum procedures and facilitated short, mid and long-term residence permits.
According to Hranush Hakobyan only 15,000 Armenians are left in Syria and the rest have been settled in Armenia or Artsakh, with another 8,000 having left for Lebanon, and others going to destinations including Europe, the United States and Canada. However, Armenian foundations in Syria estimate around 35,000 are left based on rough estimates.
2018 Velvet Revolution
The corruption of the government of the Republic of Armenia has been criticized for having been one of the primary reasons as to why Diaspora Armenians have been detached from the Republic of Armenia. However, the success of the 2018 Velvet Revolution, aiming to end the corruption, is being seen as a turning point in the history of Armenia, with hopes that these negative opinions of Armenia will change and produce a new wave of repatriates. Awareness for these changes was boosted by several famous Armenians in the Diaspora, such as Serj Tankian from the System of a Down band.
On 20 May 2018, the president of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, addressed the younger generation of Armenians worldwide during the Armenia Tomorrow: Citizen Diplomacy at Work conference organized by the University of Southern California Institute of Armenian Studies, in the wake of the Velvet Revolution:
The opportunities of [the Velvet Revolution] creates huge expectations worldwide amongst Armenians, especially among the younger generation, because that, first of all, makes Armenians, especially the younger ones, to feel again that they are the owners of this country [Armenia], they are the owners of the values, they are the owners of the heritage, they are the owners of the future of this country [Armenia]. [...] That feeling of being a citizen, i.e., being the responsible for the future is there. [...]
The opportunities are huge because we are first of all to use the fact that I call that we are a small state but a global nation; there are four or five times, probably more, Armenians living abroad than in Armenia today. A lot of them are very good citizens of the countries that they are living today; some of them are highly recognized by international community as professional successful businessmen, scientists, politicians, etc., and most of them are highly respectful, honest people. So it's the time that everybody recognizes that Armenia, their homeland, is really their homeland, and they belong to this state and they belong to this great nation, and to use this opportunity to rebuilding our country, our state, for the next generation to make sure that, tomorrow, Armenia will be better than today. [...]
That's opportunity [...] to really open the door for every Armenian that believes that he has something to offer to his homeland, to have this opportunity of investing time, energy, professionals, [...] into this country.
[...] our future successes will be connected with one fact: do we really believe that the future of this country is in our hands? Do we know that there is a huge responsibility, not only [on the government], no, the responsibility is on every and each Armenian, be that in Armenia, in Artsakh, or in Diaspora.
[...] we cannot basically achieve what we want to achieve alone. You are sons and daughters of Armenia, [...], no matter where you live, [...], you have to believe that you are a part of this great nation, so, well I hope one day, at the end of my term of president, at least I will be able to say that all of these years, I achieved something. To be not the president of the citizens of Republic of Armenia, but also the president of all Armenians worldwide, not by name, but by work, and hard work, to make this country great.— Armen Sarkissian, 4th president of Armenia
Diaspora and NGOs (1915–present)
Armenian communities and schools around the world often organize trips to Armenia, to visit or to offer volunteer work in exchange for accommodation subsidies, to preserve the sentiment of attachment to their homeland in the younger generations.
The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the biggest and most influential Armenian organization in the world, helps to preserve and promote Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually serving some 500,000 Armenians in over 30 countries. Other Armenian community organizations, such as the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), also help to preserve the Armenian identity within the Diaspora.
Another international non-profit organization called Birthright Armenia, founded in 2003 by Edele Hovnanian, provides services to help Diaspora Armenians develop personal ties and a renewed sense of Armenian identity. Birthright Armenia is a volunteer internship enhancement program that also offers travel fellowships to eligible participants to assist in the development of Armenia. To participate, applicants are required to be of Armenian descent and be within a certain age range.
The non-profit NGO Repat Armenia, established in August 2012, provides services to assist Diaspora Armenians with their repatriation process. Their mission is to encourage the repatriation of professional and entrepreneurial individuals and families to Armenia to help in the development of the Armenian nation. They also influence government policies, and help to develop a pro-repatriation environment in Armenia.
All of these organizations have made efforts to reconnect the Diaspora Armenians with their homeland, in hopes that they will one day repatriate.
- Frye, Richard N. (1984). The History of Ancient Iran. Munich: C.H. Beck. p. 73. ISBN 3406093973.
The real heirs of the Urartians, however, were neither the Scythians nor Medes but the Armenians.
- Redgate, A. E. (2000). The Armenians. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 5. ISBN 0631220372.
However, the most easily identifiable ancestors of the later Armenian nation are the Urartians.
- Chahin, M. (2001). The kingdom of Armenia: a history (2. rev. ed.). Richmond: Curzon. p. 182. ISBN 0700714529.
- Lang, David Marshall (1980). Armenia: Cradle of Civilization (3 ed.). London: Allen & Unwin. pp. 85–111. ISBN 0049560093.
- Armen Asher The Peoples of Ararat. 2009, p. 290-291. ISBN 978-1-4392-2567-7.
- "Armenians" in Adams, Douglas Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5.
- Armen Asher The Peoples of Ararat. 2009, p. 291. ISBN 978-1-4392-2567-7.
- The heritage of Armenian literature. Hacikyan, A. J. (Agop Jack), 1931-, Basmajian, Gabriel., Franchuk, Edward S., Ouzounian, Nourhan. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ©2000-2005. pp. 24. ISBN 0814328156. OCLC 42477084.
The Yervandunis safeguarded Armenian autonomy even after the nation became incorporated into the Achaemenid-Iranian Empire. King Artashes had successfully revolted against Seleucid domination, and by 189 B.C. a strong sovereign Armenian kingdom had been established.Check date values in:
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- Robes and Honor : the Medieval World of Investiture. Gordon, Stewart,. New York. p. 177. ISBN 9781349618453. OCLC 1004381659.
During the reign of Ashot I the ostikanate of Armenia was allowed to lapse, and of the former duties expected from Armenian nobility only the collection of taxes remained in place.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
- Panossian, Razmik (2006). The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 122. ISBN 9780231139267.
- Arnold Toynbee's re-calculated population values of the Ottoman Empire in 1912. See here: . As explained in the footprint: The analysis excluded certain portions of a province where "Armenians are minor". In the "vilayet of Van", (vilayet is a province in the Ottoman Empire) there were two portions (portions in modern use correspondes to county). Arnold Toynbee to find the ratio of Armenians in "Van," removed the values originating from portions of Van (listed in the foot print) where Armenians were in minority in this province. The presented table shows the re-calculated values of the stated provinces using values where Armenians are not in minority. This graphic was first prepared in 1913 by the Armenian politician Marcel Leart (Krikor Zohrab).
- Şeker, Nesim (2016). "Forced Population Movements in the Ottoman Empire and the Early Turkish Republic: An Attempt at Reassessment through Demographic Engineering". OpenEdition. Archived from the original on 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
The resettlement of Muslim-Turkish refugees was not an end in itself but part of a broader project of ‘nationalizing’ or ‘Turcifying’ the Ottoman lands. This project had two main aspects : forcing ‘disloyal’ elements to migrate and resettling supposed ‘loyal’ refugees into evacuated places. It was with these goals that the Unionist leadership inaugurated a campaign against the Ottoman Greeks to disrupt their economic activities and to uproot them through coercive measures on the eve of the First World War (Dündar 2008 : 191-248). The implementation of this policy against the Armenian population during the War demonstrates all aspects of the Unionist demographic mentality. Legitimized by security concerns, measures ranging from murder and massacre to religious conversion, assimilation and seizure of property were undertaken simultaneously, illustrating political, demographic and economic aspects of demographic engineering. A similar mentality was at work in the resettlement of the Muslim refugees. The Unionists made solid preparations to organize their resettlement in such a way that they would efficiently assimilate into the Turkish population. For example, they enacted the Law for the Settlement of Immigrants, which led to the formation of the General Directorate for Settlement of Tribes and Refugees. The resettlement of Albanian and Bosnian refugees who were expelled from the Balkans and of the Kurds fleeing before the Russian troops demonstrates that the Unionist government did not want to see any non-Turkish group forming a majority in a particular region and constituting more than 5-10 % of the population. The Directorate was also in charge of linguistic and ethnological research on ethnic and religious minorities in Anatolia such as Kizilbashes, Bektâshis, Ahîs, Armenians, Alevis, Kurds and Turcomans, unequivocally for political goals. It is estimated that approximately half of the Anatolian population, approximately 8 million souls, had to move during the First World War due to the Committee of Union and Progress’s deportation and resettlement policy (Dündar 2006 : 37-42).
- The Armenians : past and present in the making of national identity. Herzig, Edmund, 1958-, Kurkchiyan, Marina, 1954-. New York: RoutledgeCurzon. 2005. p. 66. ISBN 0203004930. OCLC 57482057.
During each of the wars involving Russia, Armenians suffered as a result of pillaging and attacks by irregulars opposing the new northern power. Christian Armenians were often accused of sympathy for the Christian Russians, and, though in fact many preferred Ottoman or Persian rule, a massive wave of Armenians abandoned their homes and fled to Russian-controlled territory. As many as 40,000 from Persia and 100,000 from the Ottoman Empire left for Russian-controlled territory after the end of the 1826–8 Russo-Persian and 1828–9 Russo-Ottoman wars.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Avedis,, Hadjian,. Secret nation : the hidden Armenians of Turkey. London. ISBN 9781786733719. OCLC 1037014324.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "RA Ministry of Diaspora - Department of Repatriation and Investigation". www.mindiaspora.am. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
- The Armenian Genocide legacy. Demirdjian, Alexis, 1976-, Suny, Ronald Grigor,. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire. p. 266. ISBN 9781137561633. OCLC 934504087.
[...] the Diaspora communities where younger Armenians come into contact with non-Armenians. This enhances fears that Armenian identity will slowly disappear through a process of ‘white genocide’, and in turn results in the belief that Armenian Diaspora communities are in danger.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: others (link)
- The heritage of Armenian literature. Hacikyan, A. J. (Agop Jack), 1931-, Basmajian, Gabriel., Franchuk, Edward S., Ouzounian, Nourhan. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ©2000-2005. pp. 5. ISBN 0814328156. OCLC 42477084.
When Shah Abbas the Great (1587–1629) acceded to the throne, he tried to recapture lost territory. He forced the Ottomans out of Transcaucasia and regained a number of cities; he had similar successes in the province of Nakhijevan, including Julfa. The local Armenians, who had been laid destitute by heavy Ottoman taxes, and the Shi'ite Moslems who had been persecuted for their beliefs, welcomed the Persians as liberators. For the Armenians, however, a greater tragedy awaited. In 1603, at the news of an Ottoman counteroffensive, Abbas ordered the entire Armenian population of Bayazit, Van, Nakhijevan to be displaced, as part of a scorched earth policy. The number of Armenians removed from this area between 1604 and 1605 is estimated at close to 300,000.Check date values in:
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- Bournoutian 1980, p. 12.
- Bournoutian 1992, p. 63.
- "armenicum". www.conflicts.rem33.com. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
They agreed that Turkey had to surrender all of her territorial claims to the Caucasus but were not sure what part of Turkish Armenia could be awarded to the Armenian Republic providing the absence of the Armenian population there following the massacres of 1915 and 1918.
- Abramson, Scott (2013). "LEBANESE ARMENIANS; A DISTINCTIVE COMMUNITY IN THE ARMENIAN DIASPORA AND IN LEBANESE SOCIETY". The Levantine Review. p. 193.
The Treaty of Lausanne not only confounded the hope of the Armenian refugees who aspired to repatriation, it changed their status in their host countries too. Among its provisions was the requirement that refugees from Anatolia now living in former Ottoman territories be entitled to citizenship. For the French mandatory authorities in Lebanon and their Maronite protégés, for whom augmenting Lebanon’s Christian sector was a major desideratum, this clause was providential. So in 1924, in the teeth of opposition from Lebanon’s Sunni Muslims, Lebanese Armenians were naturalized en masse.
- Kirkland, James Ray (March 1980). "ARMENIAN MIGRATION, SETTLEMENT ANDADJUSTMENT IN AUSTRALIA WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE · TO THE ARMENIANS IN SYDNEY" (PDF). Australian National University | Open Research Library. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
The general prosperity of the Egyptian Armenian community continued throughout the World War II period and, following the War, resulted in only a few thousand persons answering the call for repatriation to Soviet Armenia.
- Abramson, Scott (2013). "LEBANESE ARMENIANS; A DISTINCTIVE COMMUNITY IN THE ARMENIAN DIASPORA AND IN LEBANESE SOCIETY". The Levantine Review. pp. 212–213. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
[...] Bishara al- Khoury’s administration between 1946 and 1949 provided assistance to Lebanese and Syrian Armenians who wished to immigrate to Armenia during Soviet Armenia’s international repatriation campaign of those years. [...] In fact, so comfortable did Armenians feel in Lebanon that many of those who left Lebanon for Soviet Armenia in the forties under the USSR’s Armenian repatriation drive actually returned to live in Lebanon.
- LLC, Helix Consulting. "Special residency status - Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia". www.mfa.am. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
Those granted Special Residency Status will be issued Special Armenian Passports and will no longer be required to obtain entry visas for traveling to Armenia. While in Armenia, they will enjoy the full protection of the Armenian law, as well as the rights and obligations of Armenian citizens, except for the right to vote and to run for office, enroll in political organizations. They will be exempt from military service in the Armenian National Army. Please note, that Special Passport will not waive visa requirements for other CIS countries. For travel to those and other countries the bearer of Special Passport should use his/her national passport. The survivors of the Armenian Genocide are granted Special Passports through a facilitated procedure, and the application fee is waived.
- CivilNet (2018-05-22), Time to Recognize Armenia as Homeland for All Armenians: Armen Sarkissian, retrieved 2018-05-28
- "Birthright Armenia - About Us". Birthright Armenia. Archived from the original on 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2018-06-11.