Saturday, 25 April 2015

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.

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