Tuesday, 28 April 2015


The CNBC television of Turkey, while conducting a live coverage of the
Battle of Gallipoli 100th anniversary events being held in Canakkale,
Turkey, on April 24, accidentally aired the Armenian Genocide Centenary
live commemoration simultaneously being held at the Genocide Memorial
in Armenia's capital city of Yerevan.

And the CNBC presenter spoke about the Canakkale remembrance events,
whereas the Genocide Memorial commemoration was being televised lived
on the CNBC screens.

The "mistake" by this Turkish TV company has caused quite a stir
in Turkey.

The respective video can be viewed here. 

RT TV Documentary on Armenian Genocide

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dti6hmhZaGU&feature=em-uploademail  [1] 

Bulgaria's Parliament recognizes the Armenian Genocide

Today the Bulgarian Parliament recognized the mass extermination of
Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the period 1915 - 1922 and declared
April 24 a day of remembrance of the victims. The decision was adopted
by the 43rd National Assembly with 157 votes "for", 37 against and no
abstentions, after several hours of debates.

The Armenian Genocide, also known as the Armenian Holocaust, was the
Ottoman government's systematic extermination of its minority Armenian
subjects inside their historic homeland, which lies within the
territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. The total
number of people killed as a result has been estimated at between
800,000 to 1.5 million.

The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day
Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested, subsequently executing,
some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in
Constantinople. The genocide was carried out during and after World
War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the
able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army
conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women,
children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the
Syrian desert.

From Armenia Diaspora Project Facebook 

Yesterday was an indescribable day. My biggest fear going into the
commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Istanbul was that Erdogan,
with elections approaching and a need to appeal to the MHP/nationalist
voters, would see our presence on Istiklal Cd as a threat and that the
police would then melt away, allowing the nationalist protestors to
break through their lines and attack us.

As we sat facing towards Taxim Square, we could hear the shouts from
the nationalists at our backs every time the speakers would cut out.
Chillingly it seemed to get louder and louder, as if they were edging
nearer and nearer. Then - as the sounds of Sareri Hovin Mernem faded-
we heard a loud cheer from much closer, and then chants growing louder 
and louder, a sound I had heard countless times in my years of covering
protests; the sound of protestors breaking through police lines.

As we stood up to face what was coming, we saw them. Not angry
nationalists waving the red flags of the Vatan Party, but thousands of
Turks, Kurds, Greeks, and Assyrians, bearing signs reading "հո՛ս
էնք" (We are here), bearing the pictures of Hrant Dink, Gomidas,
Sevag Balikci, Taniel Varujan and many others, the streets echoing with
their chants of solidarity.

A friend ran through the stunned crowd, arms wide open shouting "They
are here with us! They have filled the street!"

So thank you. Thank you Turks, Kurds, Assyrians for standing with us.
Thank you Turkish human rights groups for organizing the commemoration
at Hydarpasa. Thank you Istanbul Armenians. Thank Osman Kavala. Thank
you Sarah Leah Whitson, Nancy Kricorian, Heghnar Watenpaugh, and
everyone else at Project 2015.

There is no place else I would have rather been this week.

- Scout Tufankjian


Jesus's preaching was predominantly directed at his fellow Jews. It
was St Paul who later directed this message outwards towards the wider
world. Which is why Paul's birthplace in Tarsus, near the Mediterranean
coast in south-eastern Turkey, has always attracted missionaries,
looking for inspiration. And it was also why missionaries were among
the first to report back on the true extent of the Armenian genocide.

In the early fourth century, the Armenians were the first people to
adopt Christianity as their official religion. In 1914 there were 2
million Armenian Christians living in Turkey. By 1922, there were
only 400,000 left. What happened to these people has been largely
forgotten, or denied, or ignored - except, of course, by the Armenians
themselves, who have continued to pass on their horrendous stories
of rape, death squads and forced conversions.

There is no doubt what happened was genocide. The Armenians were
branded as an enemy within by the Ottoman government, which used the
cover of the first world war to systematically dispose of more than
1 million people, forcing great columns of humanity to march off into
the Syrian desert to die of heat, starvation and disease. Speaking to
his generals some 25 years later, Adolf Hitler said: "I have sent my
Death's Head units to the east with the order to kill without mercy
men, women and children of the Polish race or language. Only in such
a way will we win the Lebensraum that we need. Who, after all, speaks
today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

The term genocide was coined in the early 1940s by a Polish Jewish
lawyer,Raphael Lemkin, as a way to capture in law the extent of Nazi
atrocity. "I became interested in genocide because it happened so
many times," he explained in an interview with CBS. "First to the
Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action." So why
is it so difficult for many western governments - ours included,
Israel's included - to use the "g" word when it comes to Armenia?

Barack Obama promised to say the "g" word when he became president.

But he deliberately hasn't. And the UK government has used every
manner of evasion - including trying out the preposterous argument
that because the term genocide was adopted by the UN in 1948, it
couldn't be applied retrospectively. It withdrew this argument when
it was pointed out that this would mean the Holocaust itself wasn't
genocide. Now the official line is one of studied avoidance.

The real answer to our avoidance of the "g" word is less than 30 miles
up the road from Tarsus: the massive Incirlik airbase, used by the US
air force and the RAF. From here, US and UK forces are easily deployed
throughout the Middle East. Speaking in the House of Lords in 1999,
Baroness Cox came clean: "Given the importance of our relationships
(political, strategic, commercial) with Turkey, and that recognising
the genocide would provide no practical benefit to the UK ... the
current line is the only feasible option." It is worth noting that
the foreign secretary at the time was Robin Cook - and remember his
"ethical foreign policy" speech in 1997?

For many governments, the denial of the genocide of the Nazis
is itself a crime. Yet when it comes to the Armenians, genocide
avoidance (because the evidence is too unequivocal for denial) remains
semi-official policy. Little wonder the Armenians find it difficult
to move towards closure on this issue.

Back in Tarsus, the home of Christianity's greatest missionary, the
faith Paul once proclaimed has now been eradicated. Some of those who
survived the forced march into the desert settled in places such as
Aleppo in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, where they built Armenian churches
- churches that have once again been reduced to rubble by Bashar
al-Assad's barrel bombs and Islamic State's murderous caliphate. The
very least the British government can do is to acknowledge the extent
of their suffering by calling it what it is.

Turkish Christians take first step toward embittered Armenians
By Barbara G. Baker

“We came to share your pain,” Turkish Christians declared in early
April, standing before TV cameras at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in
Yerevan [6].

“We have come here to apologize for what our ancestors did, to ask
for your forgiveness,” two spokesmen for the Turks went on to say.

Shocked viewers across Armenia watching the Azdarar TV news channel
[7] on April 11 could hardly believe their eyes and ears.

Turks, claiming to be Christian? And laying wreaths at the nation’s
genocide memorial? How could Turks, of all people, come to Armenia to
honor the memory of more than a million Armenian Christians who had
been slaughtered 100 years ago by their own forefathers, the Ottoman 

Gathered around the monument’s eternal flame, the more than twenty
Turkish citizens spoke out simply, and repeatedly: “We plead with you,
if you can, to forgive us and the crimes of our forefathers.”

Significantly, the Turks were joined by a number of local Armenian
Christians who formed a huge circle, holding hands together around the
memorial as they prayed aloud in Turkish and Armenian for their nations
and peoples.

“You wrote history here in Yerevan today ,” one Armenian pastor
declared. It was the first time, he thought, that prayers in Turkish
Armenian had ever been voiced together before the somber memorial.

The Turkish Christians’ April visit to Armenia was the latest step in
an unprecedented reconciliation initiative between Turkish Protestants
and Armenian evangelicals during the past year.

Organized informally by several Turkish pastors from Muslim
backgrounds, the gatherings first began with diaspora Armenians in
California and New Jersey, followed by an Istanbul weekend between some
90 Turkish and Armenian participants.

For the past 100 years, Turks and Armenians have remained outspoken
enemies. Their historic enmity rooted in the Armenian genocide of 1915
[8] is both political and ethnic, but also religious. Early in the 4th
Century, the Kingdom of Armenia was the first nation to adopt
Christianity as its state religion. But the rulers of the crumbling
Ottoman Empire which carried out the genocide were Muslim Turks. In
today ’s Turkey and Armenia, strong nationalist elements in the current
political climate are so prevalent that the Turkish and Armenian
Christians who spoke to World Watch Monitor about their reconciliation
gatherings requested strict anonymity for their own protection.


An estimated 2 million Armenians had been living in central Anatolia
[9] and the eastern regions of what is now modern-day Turkey for two
millennia. But after the Ottoman regime-ordered massacres and forced
deportations began in April 2015 , within two years up to 1.5 million
had died. The survivors had either been forcibly converted to Islam or
managed to escape into the Syrian desert.

“This page in history is really painful for every Armenian,” a
church leader from Yerevan who met with the Turkish Christians told
World Watch Monitor. “You can hardly find an Armenian whose relatives
were not victims of the genocide. For this very reason, Armenians live
with hatred and bitterness in their hearts.”

A Kurdish pastor who went to Yerevan said he discovered this reality
for himself. “There is a huge pain, and it needs to be softened to
find healing, to stop the hatred,” he told World Watch Monitor.
“Armenians take their children to the memorial in Yerevan, but instead
of healing, it stirs their hatred. It’s in their hearts, and they
cannot forget. Our fathers harmed them, and they are angry. Even in
small details, their trauma continues. If this is not stopped by
healing, it will get worse.”

But he stressed that the solution was a spiritual one, which had to be
built around honest, personal relationships. “We went as individuals.
We didn’t go in the name of our churches. To meet face to face, in
person, to hear from these Armenian brothers and sisters and pray with
them was healing for both sides. The seeds of reconciliation have been
planted, to grow and spread.”

“This has all developed personally, through the Holy Spirit’s
orchestration in our hearts,” one Turkish pastor told World Watch
Monitor. “Politics can’t resolve this,” another said. “The
United Nations has tried, so has the United States, to restore
between Armenians and Turks. But they couldn’t reconcile us.”

“Politicians are stuck in the quagmire of pride, politics and getting
votes,” another Turkish church leader said. But recently, he said,
“Church leaders of both peoples are seeing that we must take the steps
of following Jesus, in humility and forgiveness, to see reconciliation
and overcome this century of pain.”


“We have all been waiting for someone to make the first step,” one
Turkish pastor told World Watch Monitor after returning from Yerevan.
“But the first step against hatred must come from us Turks. When we
made that first step, the Armenians accepted it. They are ready.”

“It was a bold step,” one Armenian evangelical said, and
particularly significant for him because it had been initiated by the

“Until now,” another confessed, “we forgave with our mouths, but
not with our hearts.”

For the first time, many Armenian Christians said they now realized
painful it is for the 5,000 ethnic Turks and Kurds who have converted
Christianity in Turkey in the past few decades to face the truth about
the Armenian genocide.

Like other Turkish citizens, they were angered by the revenge murders
perpetrated by Armenian ASALA assassins, who killed some 40 Turkish
diplomats and officials during the 1970s and 1980s, allegedly “to
avenge the Armenian genocide.” But this violence only stiffened
Turkey’s resolve to continue to deny the Armenian genocide, deepening
the society’s resentment against Armenians as a people.

“When we Armenians saw that the Turks felt pain for what their
grandfathers did, we understood that we must forgive them,” one
participant said. It took meeting Turkish Christians in person, one
admitted, to be convinced “it is a fault for us to nurture hatred to
our children.”


Some of their most moving experiences in Yerevan, the Turkish
Christians told World Watch Monitor, came through casual interactions
the street with complete strangers who heard them speaking Turkish.

Several men happened one evening on a restaurant selling _lahmajun_, a
small thin pizza common in both Armenia and Turkey. After they ordered
a meal in English, they sat down speaking Turkish among themselves. A
middle-aged man nearby reacted angrily, asking in Turkish, “Are you
Turks? What are you doing here in Armenia? May God save us!” When they
explained why they had come, he retorted skeptically with a Turkish
proverb, “_Bir cicek’ten bahar olmaz!_” [One flower doesn’t
bring the spring}. Then he quizzed them about their faith, dubious that
Turks could in fact really be Christians.

“He softened a little, when we explained that we had been forgiven by
God,” a pastor said. “We told him, ‘Our people have sinned.
Can’t you forgive us? God has.’ ”

The man then said his family was originally from Gaziantep, in eastern
Turkey. “I taught my children not to love or even like Turks,” he
said. “I never thought until now that such a thing could ever happen,
for Turks to become Christians. This has changed something in my

In another encounter, a shop salesman in a souvenir market reacted
harshly when he heard his visitors were from Turkey. “We have come
here on the centennial of the genocide,” one pastor explained, “to
share your pain. We want to tell you we are sorry for what happened,
beg your forgiveness.” The man’s expression changed, his eyes
filling with tears as he shook their hands and embraced them, one by

One Western observer of the Yerevan gathering confessed, “I may never
see something like this ever again in my life. I was a spectator,
watching the walls of division and hostility come down. It’s what the
gospel of Christ should be doing all over the world, bringing true

Asked what the reconciliation effort has really accomplished, one
Turkish pastor said simply: “We want our fellow citizens, Turks and
Armenians alike, to ask us: ‘What kind of God can bring two enemies
together like this?’ ”

Further UK News

Fr Marcus Brisley, of St Joseph’s RC Church, 134 West Street, Havant 
PO9 1LP circulated the following amongst his congregation in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

Prayers were said at St Albans Cathedral on the 23rd, 24th, and on Sunday 25th April and also the Genocide was part of the Sub Dean's Sermon.

Anahid Anita King

27 Apr 2015
Siranush Ghazanchyan

On Wednesday, April 29th, Armenian Church leaders will host a press
conference at the National Press Club to announce the launch of legal
action before Turkey's Constitutional Court to regain ownership of the
historic headquarters of the Church, which includes the Catholicosate,
the monastery and cathedral of St. Sophia, a major Armenian Christian
holy site located in the Sis (city of Kozan), in south-central Turkey.

This site was confiscated by the Turkish Government following the
Genocide of 1915 in which over 1.5 million Armenians were killed or
deported by the Ottoman Empire.

This lawsuit, brought by the Catholicosate of the Great House of
Cilicia, displaced to Lebanon after the events of 1915, reflects the
determination of Armenians worldwide, on the Centenary of the Genocide,
to reclaim their sacred religious property and Christian heritage in
lands where they lived peacefully for centuries.

The Catholicosate which is the administrative center of the church,
was moved from Armenia to Cilicia in the 10th century, and after
changing a few locations it was finally established in Sis (Kozan) in
the year 1295. It remained in Sis till 1921. Under the Ottoman Empire,
the Catholicosate of Cilicia was recognized as an independent church.

During the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923, the Armenian population
of Sis was massacred and deported, and its Christian holy sites were
pillaged and confiscated.

Armenia became, in 301 A.D., the first nation to adopt Christianity
as its state religion. Armenians have had a long historical presence
in what is present-day Turkey. According to Payam Akhavan, a former
UN prosecutor and lead international counsel in this legal action,
the return of the historical Seat of the Catholicosate of Cilicia
"is a litmus test for the Turkish Government's respect for the human
rights of its Christian minorities, their freedom of worship in a
culture of tolerance and dignity. This is a unique opportunity to
do justice, to help heal the wounds of the past, to move towards
Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, a better future for both nations."

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