Sunday, 26 April 2015

Videos of Genocide Centenary Procession in London

Video of 24 April Dzizernagapert Genocide Commemoration 

Videos of Genocide Centenary Procession in London
Armenian genocide: Turkey's day of denial amid remembrance for a
genocide in all but name

Robert Fisk
Friday 24 April 2015

A memorial in Istanbul to mark the 100th anniversary of the mass
killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Armenia claims 1.5
million people were killed in the atrocities, a figure Turkey disputes

As brave Turks dared to challenge the consensus to mark the
anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the President chose to look the
other way

They were brave Turks and they were brave Armenians, the descendants
of the murderers of 1915 and the descendants of their victims.

They stood together outside the old Istanbul prison where the first
250 Armenians - intellectuals, lawyers, teachers, journalists - were
imprisoned by the Ottoman Turks exactly 100 years ago, and they
travelled across the Bosphorus to sit next to each other outside the
gaunt pseudo-Gothic hulk of what was once the Anatolia Station.

From here, those 250 men were sent to their fate. Yesterday, the Turks
and the Armenians held a sign in their hands and repeated one word in
Turkish: "Soykirim".  It means "genocide".

How they humbled the great and the good of our Western world, as they
commemorated together the planned slaughter of one and a half million
Armenian men, women and children.

For despite his first pre-election pledge to the contrary, Barack
Obama once more refused to use the word "genocide" on Thursday. The
Brits ducked the word again. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan, stubbornly maintaining his country's ossified policy of
denial - once more both Armenians and Turks had to listen to the usual
"fog of war" explanation for the 20th century's first holocaust - was
sitting 180 miles away, next to Prince Charles, to honour the dead of
the 1915 battle of Gallipoli.

 It is a century since the first 250 Armenians were killed (AFP/Getty)
But Professor Ayhan Aktar, a proud Turk whose family emigrated from
the Balkans in 1912, understood the cynical history of the Gallipoli
ceremony. For on 24 April, as the first Armenians were being rounded
up, absolutely nothing happened at Gallipoli. The battle began the
next day, when the Irish and the Lancashire soldiers landed on the
peninsula. The Erdogan government in Ankara was using Gallipoli  as a
smoke screen. "We all know why Erdogan chose 24 April, and of course
it was a genocide," Ayhan Aktar said, his voice booming with
indignation. "Ankara will NEVER use the word 'genocide'.  Sixty per
cent of Turks will one day use the word - and still Ankara will say
'no'. Yes, I have made enemies, but also some very interesting
friends. It was all worth it."

The professor's scorn came from deep historical soil. "When my
Armenian journalist friend Hrant Dink was assassinated by a Turkish
nationalist outside his newspaper office in February 2007, I was
shocked and deeply depressed," he said.

"I promised myself that because of Hrant's death, I would write about
1915. With a colleague of mine, we went through documents - and we
wrote about the Turkish bureaucrats who resisted the Armenian
deportations. I read more and more and I started to use the word
'genocide'. It was the truth."

 Turkish soldiers at the Helles memorial in Gallipoli (AFP/Getty)
And so two sets of names - all dead - dominated those few hundred
courageous souls who, in what was once the capital of the Ottoman
Empire, turned their back on the hypocrisy of those diplomats and
prime ministers 200 miles away in Gallipoli. There was Faik Ali,
Turkish governor of Kutahya in 1915 and his contemporary Mehmet Celal
in Konya and there was Huseyin Nesimi, the deputy Turkish governor in
Lice. "All fed the persecuted Armenians, all refused to kill them,"
the professor said. "Faik Ali and Huseyin Nesimi were both dismissed.
Nesimi was murdered on the orders of his senior governor, Dr Reshid."

These were the good Turks who tried to maintain their country's honour
in its hour of shame. The few hundred equally honourable Turks and
Armenians who crossed the Bosphorus to the German-built railway
station on Friday then sat down on the sunny steps and held up
photographs of the 250 Armenians who were put aboard the cattle wagons

There was Ardashes Harutunian, Dr Garabed Pasayian Han, Karekin
Cakalian, Atom Yercanjian and Siamonto, the pen name of Atom
Yarjanian, a landmark figure of Armenia's golden age of poetry.

Siamonto's great nephew had arrived from Paris for his first visit -
ever - to the land in which his people were destroyed. "You must
understand the significance of Gallipoli in all this," Manouk Atomyan
explained. "At first, the Turks didn't kill them (the Armenians) -
because they thought the Allies would win at Gallipoli and rescue them
all. But by July, it was obvious the Allies were losing. So the Turks
set about the killing."

The 250 men, the cream of Armenian Istanbul society, were put on a
train which stopped before Ankara. The first carriages were sent on to
Ankara, where most of the passengers were executed.  Of the 250, 175
were killed, shot in the head beside prepared graves.

Narin Kurumlu bears a Turkish name and is indeed a Turk, but she is
also Armenian, one of the few people of her race whose family clung
onto their land - Turkish land - amid their people's persecution.

"I am a Turk but I call this a genocide," she said.  "It is the truth.
I am a tour guide and I was trained by the Turkish tourist people.
Yes, I go to Van and the old Armenian areas. I don't go into details
and when I'm asked about the genocide, I say the figures are disputed.
I say that some think it was a million and a half Armenians killed,
but that it was at least a million." I ask her to write down her
original Armenian family name. "I'd rather not," she says. "There are
good reasons for this... they listen to my phone and they read my

These were perhaps the most deeply moving - and distressing - words
uttered among the small crowd of truth-tellers outside the Anatolia
station yesterday. All were escorted - at a distance, of course - by a
small posse of Turkish state police, some in uniform. They were not
there to threaten the brave Turks or the brave Armenians. They were
present to ensure that no-one else threatened them, the sort of
people, for instance, who murdered Hrant Dink eight years ago. For
that would take the headlines away from another ceremony, wouldn't it?
And remind the world that the 130,000 Allied and Turkish dead of
Gallipoli were outnumbered by one and a half million civilian dead
whose genocide we must still obediently deny.
I'm the First Armenian in the British Parliament and I Am Dismayed at
the British Government's Refusal to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide
By Lord Darzi
Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation,
Imperial College London
23 April 2015

This Friday I will mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide
with my loved ones. We will remember the millions who were slaughtered
- including members of my own family - and how, by good fortune, my
grandmother managed to escape.

But it remains a matter of intense pain and regret to me and my
compatriots that the British government still refuses to acknowledge
what the Pope recently reminded the world was the first genocide of
the 20th century (though others claim that grim title for the 1904-9
mass killing of indigenous peoples in Namibia by the Germans).

Pope Francis said we had a duty to honour the memory of those who
perished, "for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds
to fester." The collective silence over the Armenian genocide is
believed to have allowed Hitler subsequently to proceed with the
extermination of the Jews.

As the first Armenian in the British parliament, I am dismayed that
Britain as well as the US - at its Federal level - persist in denying
the Armenian genocide, out of fear of offending Turkey, their NATO
ally. Turkey's own denial on the basis of a technical definition of
genocide is offensive nonsense.

Most historians now accept that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were
massacred in a wave of violence that accompanied the fall off the
Ottoman Empire. At least 20 countries around the world have formally
recognised the massacre as genocide - among them France, Germany,
Italy and Russia - and the European Parliament.

My great grandfather and his sons were executed by Ottoman government
forces in 1915. His daughter, my grandmother, then a teenager, only
escaped by pretending to be dead.

With her mother, she walked barefoot for weeks from Ezurum in eastern
Turkey where the family lived, arriving starving and penniless in
Mosul, northern Iraq.

My father was born in Mosul in 1930, later moving to Baghdad where he
met my mother. My sister and I were born and raised in Baghdad where
we lived as refugees.

Even though I had never been to Armenia, I grew up feeling Armenian.
We attended Armenian mass, I was a choirboy, and I learnt Armenian. I
spoke it at home and I still speak it to my parents and my sister

Each year we commemorated the anniversary of the genocide with prayers
in church. Sadly, my grandmother died young - I never knew her - but
family and friends would gather to tell stories. We were constantly
reminded of the genocide. It was the reason we came to be in Baghdad,
we were told, where, as Christians, we were in a minority.

Our feelings about Turkey were the same as those of the British about
Germany after the Second World War - it was not a place we would
choose to go on holiday. But I have since learnt how many Turks saved
Armenian lives.

The mantra in our family was education, education, education. It was
the way refugees could escape. We thrived in Iraq but it became clear
we would have to leave. The first Gulf War was looming and I remember
my father saying: "The kids need to get out of here."

My father had been educated by Jesuits so when we discussed where I
would continue my education, Ireland was the natural choice. I studied
medicine at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, followed by
post-graduate studies at Trinity College Dublin before moving to
London in 1990 where I have spent my career developing new techniques
of minimally invasive [keyhole] surgery, helping to reform the NHS as
a Labour health minister and improving the quality and safety of
health care.

In the last 15 years I have made a number of trips to Yerevan, the
capital of Armenia, to carry out operations. I have trained doctors
there, provided surgical kits and training, and brought Armenian
doctors back to Britain to experience what a western health system can
offer. The legacy of Armenia's terrible history is that it has one of
the lowest life expectancies in the world.

We must never forget the past. Genocide is a global issue. We have
seen it in Rwanda and Darfur and more recently in what is happening to
Christian communities at the hands of Isis in Syria and northern Iraq.
That is why I was delighted to join Ruben Vardanyan and Noubar Afeyan
who launched the 100 lives initiative in New York last month, together
with George Clooney and his wife Amal, to commemorate the Armenian
genocide and raise awareness of genocidal killings that continue
across the globe today.

But we should not dwell excessively on the past. We need to get over
the grief of the last century. There is an extraordinary wealth of
talent inside Armenia and in the wider diaspora - as there is in
Turkey - and the region faces immense challenges. If the world is to
confront them effectively there must be a global acknowledgement of
the genocide in Armenia - and wherever in the world it occurs. Only
then will we be able to move on.

Lord Darzi is a surgeon and director of the Institute of Global Health
Innovation at Imperial College London. He was a Labour health minister
from 2007-9.

The Jurist
April 24 2015 Germany parliament calls killings of Armenians 'genocide'
Friday 24 April 2015
by William Helbling 

German Parliament [official website] on Friday approved a resolution
[press release] declaring the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians
by Ottoman Turkish forces during World War I a "genocide." The
resolution's approval, which coincides with the centenary of the start
of the killings, was led by President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert
[official website], who believes that Turkey must join Germany in
reconciling with the world for the prior acts of genocide of the past.
Lammert stated in regards to shared reconciliation, "[t]he
unparalleled experiences of violence in the 20th century have ensured
that we know there can be no real peace until the victims, their
relatives and descendants experience justice: through remembrance of
the events." The Bundestag also noted the global issues today of
political, ethnic and religious prosecution and how the world must
continue to fight these actions against humanity to not repeat
mistakes of the past.

In recent years Armenian nationals have fought with the international
community to recognize the killing of 1.5 million Armenian citizens as
genocide [JURIST news archive]. Turkey has long disputed the numbers,
alleging the killings were a result of a civil war that took place
after the collapse of the Ottoman empire. In December 2009 the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled [JURIST report] that
prosecutions for denying that the killing of Armenians by the Ottoman
Empire in 1915 was a genocide are an attack on freedom of expression.
In 2009 Turkey and Armenia signed [JURIST report] a landmark accord in
Switzerland to normalize relations between the two countries and open
up borders. In 2010 a spokesperson for the US State Department stated
that the Obama administration opposed a vote [JURIST report] before
the House of Representatives on a resolution [HR 252 materials]
branding the World War I-era killings of Armenians by Turkish forces
as genocide. In September 2014 the Parliament of Greece ratified a
bill that criminalizes the denial of the Armenian Genocide [JURIST

Today's Zaman, Turkey
April 24 2015
In a first, Turkish minister attends commemoration of 1915 
Armenian killings 

Turkey's European Union Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkır attended a
service on Friday at the Armenian Patriarchate in Ä°stanbul to honor
the dead in the 1915 massacre of Armenians, marking the first time a
Turkish government official has done so.

During the service, Bozkır said: "We respect the pain experienced by
our Armenian brothers. We are in no way opposed to the commemoration
of this pain... We felt indebted to attend this service."

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoÄ?lu earlier this week issued a
message of condolence to the descendants of the victims of the events,
without calling the killings genocide.

The annual April 24 commemorations mark the day when some 250 Armenian
intellectuals were rounded up in what is regarded as the first step of
the massacres. An estimated 1.5 million died in the massacres,
deportations and forced marches that began in 1915 as Ottoman
officials worried that the Christian Armenians would side with Russia,
its enemy in World War I.

The event is widely viewed by historians as genocide, but modern
Turkey, the successor to the Ottoman Empire, vehemently rejects the
charge, saying that the death toll has been inflated, and that those
killed were victims of civil war and unrest.

On the eve of the centennial, Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄ?an
again insisted that his nation's ancestors never committed genocide. 
Thousands March in Istanbul - We Are Here, We Remember!
Hrant Gadarigian
April 25, 2015 

On the evening of April 24 a crowd of several thousand gathered in the
heart of Istanbul to commemorate the centenary of the 1915 Armenian

Turkish police cordoned off an area adjacent to Taksim Square where a
solemn vigil was held to remember and reflect on the destruction that
befell Ottoman Armenians and to call on the current Turkish state to
come to grips with its past.

Carrying photos of Armenian community leaders, who were the first to
be rounded up and sent to their death, the crowd then sat in silence
on Istiklal Avenue in a moment of silent vigil.

This was a gathering of not only Armenians, some from the local
Istanbul community and others who travelled from the diaspora, but
also of Turks, Kurds, Assyrians and other national minorities, who not
only cam to pay their respects but to join with Armenians in their
call for recognition and justice.

For many in Turkey, the issue of the Armenian Genocide is seen as a
vital part of the overall struggle for democracy in the country.

With the strains of Gomidas taken from an original recording wafting
over the street one could hear the shouts emanating from a crowd of
Turkish nationalists who were staging a counter-demonstration as few
block away. Again, Turkish police kept them cordoned off.

In all, the event was a timely reminder that Armenians have not
forgotten what transpired her 100 years ago in the city where Armenian
community leaders were rounded up and deported, many to be murdered
along the way.

In many respects, the descendants of those who survived the Genocide
have come full circle.

But this is the first step on the long road ahead to show the world
and especially Turkey that we have survived and will not be silenced.
25 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan 

The Eiffel Tower in Paris went dark today in commemoration of the
100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The lights of the tower were put out at 22 CET today, according to
the decision of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

The Irish Times
Sat, Apr 25, 2015
Irish Armenians ‘descendants’ of escapees from genocide 

As Armenian diasporas go, the one in Ireland is small. Approximately 500 Armenians live in the Republic. Most are in Dublin. A few hundred more live in Northern Ireland .

Just three million people live in the small mountainous state between Turkey and Russia created after the first World War. Another seven million live abroad, mainly in Russia, France and the United States .

Most of the global exodus can be traced back to the Armenian genocide, which began on April 24th, 1915. It is their Great Famine, their Shoah or as they call it the Metz Yeghern (great crime).

The collective folk memory of what happened in 1915 has never gone away. Irish-born children of Armenian descent learn about the genocide just as they learn Armenian.

Last Sunday the children attached to the Armenian Sunday school sang hymns and recited poems about the genocide. The community rents rooms in Taney Hall, Dundrum, for their Sunday services. Many are third- and fourth-generation Armenian but they have retained the language.

They are surrounded by the symbol of the genocide – five purple petals signifying the five continents of the diaspora, the yellow representing the genocide memorial in the capital Yeravan and the black centre representing the genocide itself.

Armenian honorary consul to Ireland Ohan Yergainharsian says his grandfather was the only one of seven brothers and four sisters living in the Turkish city of Erzurum to survive the genocide.

“Three-quarters of the Armenian population were killed. We are the descendants of those who managed to escape.”

Mr Yergainharsian has compiled a series of Irish Times reports from 1915 suggesting that a massacre was taking place in Armenia . He wants Ireland to recognise what happened to his people as genocide without equivocation.

Dentist Kristina Begoyan says she is in a minority of Armenians in that she was born in the country. “After the genocide, no men were left in the family,” she said. “My grandmother went into hiding and she finally came to modern day Armenia.”

Ms Begoyan says modern Armenia constitutes just 9 per cent of Armenian territory that was once part of the Ottoman empire.

When Ayda Sarafian heard the pope was going to acknowledge the genocide, she flew to Rome along with thousands of other Armenians from the diaspora. The Armenians are not in community with Rome, but as Christians they were persecuted for their faith.

“It gives me great comfort for a religious leader to say it was a genocide. It wasn’t just a war.”

Dr Paul Manook of the Armenian Church of the UK and Ireland has been told that his grandfather was killed; and his grandmother, who survived, witnessed the beheading of almost all of her family.

“I have no hatred of the Turkish people ... However, it is very difficult to forget or forgive when the successive Turkish governments continue to deny that the genocide ever happened.”

Today and tomorrow there will be a photographic exhibition in Christ Church , Dún Laoghaire , and a commemoration ceremony will take place in Dún Laoghaire this evening.

The 100th anniversary remembrance service will take place in Taney Parish on Sunday, April 26th, at 3pm. Church leaders will be invited to this service. In November a genocide memorial will be erected in Christ Church Cathedral.

Israel, the denier of another nation’s holocaust
The country has always had its cost-benefit analyses and global interests to consider — now the issue is Turkey at the Armenians’ expense.
24 April 2015
By Yossi Sarid

Today, April 24, 1915, marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. But Pope Francis erred this month when he referred to it as “the first genocide of the 20th century.” The first took place in German South West Africa, what is now Namibia. Tens of thousands of tribespeople were annihilated. But blacks apparently don’t count as much.

The pope neglected to mention them when he cited the 1.5 million Armenians killed and called on the countries of the world to recognize the Ottoman Turks’ crime against the Armenians and humanity. Still, he should be commended. It’s not easy for him to take on the conservative Catholic establishment, which is only surpassed in its backwardness and corruption by the Israeli rabbinical establishment.

Will “the Jewish state” heed the Christian’s call? Or will it prefer, as usual, to focus on a different pope, accusing him of ignoring the destruction during those most awful times? True, Pius XII didn’t go out of his way to save Jews. But we too aren’t so quick to empathize with others’ suffering and rush to their aid. In its own way, Israel is also a denier of another nation’s holocaust.

Dozens of countries have already answered the Armenian plea and recognized the genocide, to the dismay of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and despite his government’s threats. The European Parliament just decided to break its silence too.

For what are the Armenians and their diaspora asking for? Not aid, just recognition. No one need be endangered for their sake; just show some sympathy and understanding. When eyes insist on remaining shut, wounds will keep on reopening.

But Israel hasn’t been willing to forgo its monopoly on victimhood or share its exclusive right to be the persecuted. It always has its cost-benefit analyses and global interests to consider — whether with apartheid South Africa or the juntas of Argentina and Chile.

And who’s going to preach to us, “the most moral” of them all? After all, official Israel also has custody of the universal conscience. As far as we’re concerned, the Armenians can go jump in a lake. We don’t jump first, because we’re no dummies. And we’ll be the last ones to resume relations with Cuba, as an arrogant American satellite.

Exactly 15 years ago today, I was invited to the Armenian Church in Jerusalem. “I’ve come to be with you on your remembrance day — as a human being, a citizen of the world, a Jew, an Israeli and the Israeli education minister,” I said. “You have been alone for too many years. Today, for the first time, you are less alone.”

Since then I’ve have been asked many times whether I consulted with the prime minister and the foreign minister. Why bother to ask when the answer is predictable and permission will not be granted? And I wasn’t exactly a child.

Sure enough, Prime Minister Ehud Barak hastened to distance himself from my comments, and others said the Armenian genocide must be left to the historians. And I was declared persona non grata in Turkey; to this day, Ankara isn’t waiting for me.

In the wake of the 2010 Mavi Marmara episode , when Israel-Turkey relations soured, there were encouraging signs. Perhaps now — so belatedly — the injustice will at last be corrected. What’s there to lose?

And this month came a new glimmer of hope with Kim Kardashian’s visit . What the Jewish head hasn’t accomplished the Armenian derriere would. But this hope failed too. Yes, the Knesset is sending MKs to the Armenian capital for the centennial — Likud’s Anat Berko and Zionist Union’s Nachman Shai — but these are backbenchers briefed by the Foreign Ministry. What difference does it make if they go or not?

It’s hard to understand why Turkey refuses to be different. Recently it seemed to be softening, but now it’s returning to its same old path. It’s not to blame for its ancestors’ sins, nor should it have to bear the historical responsibility for the Armenian Nakba. The wheel cannot be turned back, it can only be pulled out of the mire of blood and resentment, and be turned in new directions.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Tens of thousands of Armenians living around the world flocked to solemn memorials and defiant protests on Friday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

The ceremonies mark the period in 1915 when Armenian intellectuals were rounded up in Ottoman-era Turkey, presaging a wave of killing that left about 1.5 million people dead. Historians consider the massacre to be the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the killings constituted genocide, and has reacted angrily to recent moves in Europe to recognize it as such.
But Armenians around the world have vowed to preserve the memory of those killed. On Friday, they held commemorations in cities around the world, from Moscow to Marseille. The Armenian diaspora is estimated to number 7 million to 10 million people, with significant populations in Russia, France and the U.S. 
The Russian and French presidents joined other world leaders Friday at a commemoration ceremony in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Friday. The U.S. government this week rejected calls to recognize the killings as genocide.
In Jerusalem and Tehran, Iran, some Armenians protested outside the Turkish embassy and consulate demanding that Turkey recognize the slaughter of their ancestors. "Denial of genocide... is the opening gate for another genocide," Inon Zalcman, a member of The Combat Genocide Association, told The Associated Press in Jerusalem
At the former prison in Istanbul where the Armenians were held in 1915, a small group of protesters held red flowers and portraits of the intellectuals detained 100 years ago. 
"They thought no one would remember the victims or the perpetrators, that it would be buried," Serge Tomassian, an Armenian who had traveled to Istanbul from California told Reuters. "What's happening today proves that's not true."
    People attend a flower-laying ceremony at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, in Yerevan, Armenia on April 24, 2015. 
    People lay flowers at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, on April 24, 2015, in Yerevan, as part of the Armenian genocide centenary commemoration. 
    People wait to lay flowers at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, on April 24, 2015, in Yerevan.
    Armenian honor guard soldiers lay a wreath at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan on April 24, 2015.
  • YASIN AKGUL/ Getty Images
    A man prays during a commemoration service for the 1915 massacre of Armenians at the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul on April 24, 2015. 
  • Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images
    People participate in the commemoration liturgy organized by the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1915 events at Kumkapi Mother Mary Church in Istanbul on April 24, 2015.
  • YASIN AKGUL/ Getty Images
    The Armenian Patriarchate choir sings during a commemoration service at the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul on April 24, 2015. 
  • YASIN AKGUL/ Getty Images
    People light candles during a commemoration service at the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul on April 24, 2015. 
  • GALI TIBBON/ Getty Images
    Members of the Armenian community hold Armenian flags during a demonstration to commemorate the genocide anniversary in front of the Turkish consulate in Jerusalem on April 24, 2015. 
  • GALI TIBBON/ Getty Images
    A member of the Armenian community lays a wreath at the memorial monument in Jerusalem's Old City on April 24, 2015.
  • AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi
    Iranian Armenians protest near the Turkish embassy in Tehran to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in Tehran, Iran, on April 24, 2015. 
  • BORIS HORVAT/ Getty Images
    People gather to pay their respects during a ceremony at the Memorial of the Armenian Genocide in Marseille, France, on April 24, 2015.
  • BORIS HORVAT/ Getty Images
    People lay flowers as they gather to pay their respects during a ceremony at the Memorial of the Armenian Genocide in Marseille on April 24, 2015.
  • BORIS HORVAT/ Getty Images
    People gather to pay their respects during a ceremony at the Memorial of the Armenian Genocide in Marseille on April 24, 2015.
  • BORIS HORVAT/ Getty Images
    Youths unfurl the Armenian flag during a ceremony at the Memorial of the Armenian Genocide in Marseille on April 24, 2015.
  • AP Photo/Bilal Hussein
    Armenians in Lebanon march to mark the 100th anniversary of the mass killings during World War I, in Antelias, north of Beirut, on April 24, 2015. 
  • AP Photo/Bilal Hussein
    Armenians in Lebanon hold up a giant Armenian flag during a march on April 24, 2015, to mark the 100th anniversary of the mass killings in Antelias. 
    People wear gags in central Moscow on April 24, 2015, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
    People holding a giant Armenian flag gather in central Moscow on April 24, 2015, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

Armenian News A Topalian - At the 100th - Historic Videos and Latest News

BBC TV Video of key moments of 24 April commemorations 
Video of bells tolling on 23 April over the world 

Video of Canonisation Service on 23 April 2015 

Centenary of the Armenian genocide: descendants tell their family’s stories
24 April 2015
Armenia marks centenary of mass killings by Ottoman Turks
24 April 2015 

Ceremonies have been held in Armenia and around the world to mark the centenary of the start of mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks. 

The presidents of France and Russia joined other leaders for the memorial in the Armenian capital, Yerevan. 

Armenia says up to 1.5 million people died, a figure disputed by Turkey. 

Turkey strongly objects to the use of the term genocide to describe the killings and the issue has soured relations between the nations. 

Turkey accepts that atrocities were committed but argues there was no systematic attempt to destroy the Christian Armenian people. It says many innocent Muslim Turks also died in the turmoil of war. 

A memorial service was held in Turkey on Friday and its prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said the country would "share the pain" of Armenians. But he reiterated Turkey's stance that the killings were not genocide. 

Turkey also hosted ceremonies on Friday to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Gallipoli. 

However, the actual fighting there began on 25 April, and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has accused Turkey of "trying to divert world attention" from the Yerevan commemorations. 'Never again' 

After a flower-laying ceremony in Yerevan, Mr Sargsyan addressed the guests, saying: "I am grateful to all those who are here to once again confirm your commitment to human values, to say that nothing is forgotten, that after 100 years we remember." 

In his address, French President Francois Hollande said: "We will never forget the tragedies that your people have endured." 

France has been a strong advocate of recognising the killings as genocide and President Hollande has pushed for a law to punish genocide denial. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the killings as "one of the most tragic disasters in the history of humankind" which "shook the whole world". 

"There cannot be any justification for mass murder of people," he said. "Today we mourn together with the Armenian people." 

Commemorations in Yerevan drew to a close with a candlelit procession. People carried flowers to the city's memorial late into the evening. 


• In Lebanon - home to one of the largest Armenian diasporas - tens of thousands of people attended a march and commemoration service in Beirut 
• In Jerusalem, Armenian priests held a two-hour mass in the Old City. Posters outside the church called on Turkey to recognise the mass killings as genocide 
• And in Tehran, hundreds of Armenian-Iranians attended a rally from an Armenian church to the Turkish Embassy. 

Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the day the Ottoman Turkey authorities arrested several hundred Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople, today's Istanbul, most of whom were later killed. 

Armenians regard this as the beginning of the Ottoman policy of mass extermination of Christian Armenians suspected of supporting Russia, the Ottoman Empire's World War One enemy. Lebanese Armenians march in Beirut on 24 April 2015Tens of thousands of Lebanese-Armenians marked the centenary with a march in Beirut Ceremonies at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan, 24 AprilCeremonies were held at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan Francois Hollande, 24 AprilFrance, represented by Francois Hollande, has been a strong advocate of recognising the killings as genocide 

US President Barack Obama issued a carefully worded statement for the anniversary , referring to "one of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century", without using the term genocide. 

During his 2008 presidential election campaign, then senator Obama had vowed to "recognise the Armenian genocide" and in his new statement said: "I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed." 

However, his phrasing has angered Armenian Americans. 

Bryan Ardouny, executive director of the Armenian Assembly of America, said in a statement: "President Obama's exercise in linguistic gymnastics on the Armenian genocide is unbecoming of the standard he himself set and that of a world leader today." President Vladimir Putin at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan, 24 AprilPresident Vladimir Putin said the events of 1915 "shook the whole world" March by Armenians in Jerusalem. 23 April 2015Armenians around the world, like here in Jerusalem, insist the killings were genocide 

German MPs are meanwhile debating a non-binding motion on the genocide issue, a day after President Joachim Gauck used the word to describe the killings. 

Turkey reacted angrily to Mr Putin's address. 

"Considering the mass killings, exiles... that Russia has carried out in the Caucasus, Central Asia and in eastern Europe over the past century... we think it should be the one that knows best what a genocide is and what its legal dimensions are," a foreign ministry statement said. 

Earlier this month, Turkey recalled its envoy to the Vatican after Pope Francis also used the word genocide. 

In Turkey on Friday, the media largely focused on Gallipoli, but one newspaper, Cumhuriyet, carried a surprise headline in Armenian - "Never Again". 

"The wounds caused by the events which took place during the Ottoman Empire are still fresh. It is time to face up to this pain which paralyses the human mind, the feeling of justice and the conscience," it said.
24 April 2015 

President Gauck spoke on the eve of a debate in the German parliament 
on the issue 

German President Joachim Gauck has described as "genocide" the 
killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks, a move likely to cause outrage 
in Turkey. 

He was speaking on the eve of a debate in the German parliament on 
the issue. 

The Armenian Church earlier canonised 1.5 million Armenians it says 
were killed in massacres and deportations by Ottoman Turks during 
World War One. 

Turkey disputes the term "genocide", arguing that there were many 
deaths on both sides during the conflict. 

On Friday commemorations will mark the 100th anniversary of the 

German 'responsibility' 

Speaking at a church service in Berlin, President Gauck said: "The 
fate of the Armenians stands as exemplary in the history of mass 
exterminations, ethnic cleansing, deportations and yes, genocide, 
which marked the 20th Century in such a terrible way." 

Mr Gauck, who holds a largely ceremonial role, added that Germans also 
bore some responsibility "and in some cases complicity" concerning 
the "genocide of the Armenians". Germany was an ally of the Ottoman 
Empire during World War One. 

His comments come as the German parliament, the Bundestag, prepares 
to debate a motion on the 1915 massacres. 

But instead of a clear statement of condemnation, politicians will 
discuss an opaque, tortuously-worded sentence, which aims to be unclear 
enough to keep everyone happy - with the sort of convoluted phrasing 
that the German language is so good at, the BBC's Damien McGuinness 
in Berlin reports. 

Germany joins Armenia genocide debate 

Explosive issue 

Earlier on Thursday, the Armenian Church said the aim of the 
canonisation ceremony near the capital Yerevan was to proclaim the 
martyrdom of those killed for their faith and homeland. 

Bells tolled at the symbolic time of 19:15 local time to mark the 
centenary of the killings 

After the ceremony, bells tolled in Armenian churches around the world. 

The beatification at the Echmiadzin Cathedral did not give the specific 
number of victims or their names. 

It is the first time in 400 years that the Armenian Church has used 
the rite of canonisation. 

The use of the word "genocide" to describe the killings is 
controversial. Pope Francis was rebuked recently by Turkish President 
Recep Tayyip Erdogan for describing it as the "first genocide of the 
20th Century". 

On Friday, a memorial service will be held in Turkey and its prime 
minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has said the country will "share the pain" 
of Armenians. 

However, he reiterated Turkey's stance that the killings were not 

"To reduce everything to a single word, to put responsibility through 
generalisations on the Turkish nation alone... is legally and morally 
problematic," he said. 

Mr Davutoglu did acknowledge the deportations, saying: "We once again 
respectfully remember and share the pain of grandchildren and children 
of Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives during deportation in 1915." 

What happened in 1915? 

Hundreds of thousands of Armenians died in 1915 at the hands of the 
Ottoman Turks, whose empire was disintegrating. 

Many of the victims were civilians deported to barren desert regions 
where they died of starvation and thirst. Thousands also died in 

Armenia says up to 1.5 million people were killed. Turkey says the 
number of deaths was much smaller. 

Most non-Turkish scholars of the events regard them as genocide - as 
do more than 20 states, including France, Germany, Canada and Russia, 
and various international bodies including the European Parliament. 

Turkey rejects the term genocide, maintaining that many of the dead 
were killed in clashes during World War One, and that many ethnic 
Turks also suffered in the conflict.

by Nana Martirosyan
Thursday, April 23, 11:28

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin Israel's President drew a direct
historical link between the world's failure to prevent the Armenian
genocide and the Holocaust. The president made such statement in a
closed session with journalists held last week in Jerusalem in honor
of Israel Independence Day.

"The Nazis," he said, "used the Armenian genocide as something that
gave them permission to bring the Holocaust into reality."

Rivlin also welcomed Pope Francis's April 12 statement, in which he
referred to the slaughter of the Armenians as the "first genocide
of the Twentieth Century." "This is important to Christians, Jews,
Muslims-to human beings," Rivlin said.

It is not the first time Rivlin makes such statements. Nevertheless,
in Dec 2014, he refused to sign the annual message calling on Israel
to official recognize the Armenian Genocide.

According to the Armenian Assembly of America, around the world, the
Jewish community is rallying in support of official acknowledgment of
the Armenian Genocide. Jewish leaders and organizations have joined
the call for the U.S. government to officially characterize the
systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians a century ago as genocide.

In the past 24 hours, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, the American
Jewish Committee, and the editorial board of Jewish Week condemned
the atrocities of 1915.

Nevertheless, Tel-Aviv's stand on the Armenian Genocide is uncertain.

In a speech before the United Nations commemorating the Holocaust the
following month, however, Rivlin implicitly recognized the Armenian
genocide and drew a direct connection between the world's failure to
act in 1915, again during the Holocaust, and then again in subsequent
genocides around the world. Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman, publicly denies the fact of Genocide and actively support
the Turkish-Azerbaijani lobby.
23 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

"I'm deeply sad that I am a member of a parliament, the Parliament
of the United Kingdom whose Government today refuses to recognize
the Armenian Genocide," Member of the UK House of Lords, Baroness
Caroline Cox said at the Global Forum Against the Crime of Genocide
under way in Armenia's capital Yerevan. She said "it's a shame."

"I'm happy to mention that two parts of our United Kingdon - Wales and
Scotland - have recognized the Armenian Genocide. I applaud them and
all national governments that have done the same," Baroness Cox said.

She also appreciated that the issue of recognition of other genocides
has been included in the forum. Caroline Cox said another example of
genocide is Azerbaijan's attempt to annihilate the Armenian people in
their historic land of Artsakh. "Whenever I visit Armenia and Artsakh,
I'm so humbled and inspired by the spirit of Armenian people.

"You are like a phoenix. You do not only survive, but also create
beauty from the ashes of destruction here in Armenia and the holy
land of Artsakh," Baroness Cox said.

"Sadly, Azerbaijan continues to threaten and to kill. And it is
essential to call on Azerbaijan to account for the past attempted
ethnic cleansing and its threats for the future. I believe that Nagorno
Karabakh or Artsakh has at least a valid claim for independence, to
self-determination like Kosovo had," she said. "We should all strive
to achieve that justice for the Armenians of Artsakh."

Baroness Cox hailed Pope Francis's recognition of the Armenian
Genocide. She said "it is in the interest of Turkish people themselves
to acknowledge the truth of this part of history." Baroness Cox
appreciated the contribution of the speakers from Turkey at the forum.

RFE/RL Report
Austrian Parliament Recognizes Armenian Genocide
Austria - The Austrian parliament building in Vienna.

Austria became on Wednesday the latest country to recognize the 1915
Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey, a First World War-era ally of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Austrian parliament approved a corresponding statement drafted by
the parliamentary leaders of the country's six main political parties
after observing a minute of silence for up to 1.5 million Armenians
massacred by the Ottoman Turks.

"April 24, 1915 marked the beginning of a policy of deportation and
persecution, which ended in genocide," parliament speaker Doris Bures
said at a special session dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the

The parliamentary faction leaders stressed the importance of
recognizing the Armenian massacres as genocide in their ensuing
speeches delivered at the National Council.

The declaration authored by them reads, "Due to a historical
responsibility -- the Austro-Hungarian Empire was allied with the
Ottoman Empire in the First World War -- it is our duty to recognize
the terrible events as genocide and condemn them."

"It is also Turkey's duty to face the dark and painful chapter of its
past and recognize the crimes committed against Armenians under the
Ottoman Empire as genocide," it says, echoing a resolution adopted by
the European Parliament last week.

The statement also mentions hundreds of thousands of Greeks and
Assyrians who were murdered on Ottoman government orders a century

Armenia, whose ambassador in Vienna was present at the parliament
session, was quick to welcome the declaration coming just two days
before official ceremonies in Yerevan that will mark the centenary of
the genocide. "With this step Austria has made an important
contribution to the noble task of preventing genocides and other
crimes against humanity," Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in a

Turkey did not immediately react to the Austrian move. Ankara last
week strongly condemned Pope Francis and the European Parliament for
using the word genocide to honor the Armenians slaughtered during the
First Word War.

Incidentally, the Austrian declaration cited and endorsed the
statements made by Francis and the European Union's legislative body.

RFE/RL Report
Turkey Slams Austria, Warns Germany Over Armenian Genocide Recognition

Turkey on Wednesday strongly condemned Austria for recognizing the
1915 Armenian genocide and urged Germany, another First World War-era
ally of the Ottoman Empire, not to do the same this week.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said it summoned the Austrian ambassador
in Ankara and told him that a corresponding declaration adopted by the
Austrian parliament "will leave permanent stains on Turkish-Austrian
friendship." It also announced that the Turkish ambassador in Vienna
has been recalled "for consultations."

"It should be known that Turkey and the Turkish nation will not forget
this slander uttered against their history," the ministry said in a
statement issued in response to the declaration. "It seems that
Austria, with whom we fought on the same side during World War I # has
also fallen prey to the efforts of some circles bent on manipulating
perceptions, in complete insistence in ignoring the humanitarian and
concrete initiatives of Turkey."

"As such, this outrageous behavior is rigorously rejected by
Turkey. It will not be possible to lay the burden of such a great
crime, which it has not committed, on Turkey's shoulders through
political pressures of any kind," added the statement.

In a separate development, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said
he has phoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss plans by
Germany's parliament to pass a resolution referring to the Armenian
massacres as genocide. Davutoglu said he asked Merkel to "take the
initiative" and persuade the Bundestag not to "offend Turkey."

The Bundestag is due to debate the draft resolution on Friday, the day
which will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of mass killings
and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. In a significant
policy shift, the German government on Monday voiced support for the
document agreed to by Merkel's Christian Democrats and their coalition
partner, the Social Democratic Party.

The AFP news agency quoted a spokeswoman for Merkel, Christiane Wirtz,
as telling reporters on Wednesday that the German leader "explained"
her government's position on the genocide issue to Davutoglu. Wirtz
declined to give other details of the phone call.