President Serzh Sargsyan at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in Yerevan (Photo: President of the Republic of Armenia's Office)

Armenia makes Centenary call for Turkey to recognise 1915 killings as genocide

Posted on on 09 February 2015
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Armenia issued a Centenary declaration on January 29th 2015, repeating demands for Turkey to recognise the killing of Armenians during the First World War as genocide.

President Serzh Sargsyan read the 'Pan-Armenian Declaration on the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide' during a ceremony at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial in the capital, Yerevan.

The 12-point document calls on the Republic of Turkey to "recognise and condemn the Armenian Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire." 

It declares the 100th anniversary to be an "important milestone in the ongoing struggle for historical justice under the motto I remember and demand."

Turkey, successor state to the Ottoman Empire, strongly denies that genocide took place.

The dispute remains one of the most bitter legacies of the First World War.  

Estimates of the numbers of Armenians who were killed or died following the deportations ordered in May 1915 vary widely, from 500,000 to 1,500,000.

Turkish Government

But the Turkish Government says "no authentic evidence exists to support the claim that there was a premeditated plan by the Ottoman Government to kill off Armenians."

It insists that the aim was to move the Armenian population away from the war zone, and the advancing Russian Army, to southern provinces of the empire.

The Pan-Armenian Declaration was adopted unanimously at a meeting of the 'State Commission on Coordination of the events for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.'

It expresses the 'united will of Armenia and the Armenian people to achieve worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide.'

A copy has been sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban-Ki Moon. Genocide was formally declared to be a crime under international law in a UN convention adopted in 1948. It's defined as 'acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.'

Turkey says a joint commission of historians should be established  to study what it calls 'the events of 1915,' but the call has been rejected in Yerevan.

Click on the link for the full text of the Pan-Armenian Declaration.

A statement of Turkey's position can be found on the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. 

Further reading is also available here in a Centenary News article from May 2014

Sources: Armenian Government; Turkish Government

Images courtesy of President of Armenia's Office

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News