Armenian President: year 2015 should convey strong message to Turkey

Armenian President: year 2015 should convey strong message to Turkey

PanARMENIAN.Net - President Serzh Sargyan issued an address on the 99the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

"Today we bow to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide. One and a half million Armenians fell prey to a crime which did not have a name at the time. Nor had a human language coined such a term. They were killed as a part of a monstrous crime which lied in anihilation of Armenians as a political factor.

Nearly a hundred years after the Genocide, it is obvious that we as a nation were not ready to undergo those hardships. Even now, Armenian people feel the repercussions of the great tragedy. But we have built our state and today, in contrast to the past, we are ready to confront such calamities. Nowhere in the world is an Armenian as safe as under the auspices of his own state.

The 24th of April is just a symbolic date: it is clear that the Armenian Genocide was not perpetrated in one day. And the tragedy is not over as far as the successor of the Ottoman Turkey continues its policy of utter denial. We are convinced that the denial of a crime perpetuates that very crime. Only recognition and condemnation can prevent the repetition of such crimes in the future. Today, we stand on the threshold of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. This date can be a chance for Turkey to repent and face its history. At the same time, I publicly reaffirm: we do not consider the Turkish society to be our enemy. We bow to the memory of the innocent victims we remember all those Turks who, at the risk of their own lives, lent a helping hand to their Armenian neighbors and helped numerous Armenian children escape from the clutches of the mob. We express our gratitude to all the countries and peoples who granted asylum to our compatriots who survived the Genocide. Armenian people will remember this forever. Our sisters and brothers have kept showing their gratitude for decades by becoming devoted citizens of those hospitable countries.

Today, Armenians of Syria are facing increasing hardships. This is our open wound and the issue of our primary concern. We take every effort to help return peace to Syrian people and our compatriots in Syria.

We are approaching the 100th anniversary of the Genocide as a stronger nation, open-faced and having a state whose name is the Republic of Armenia - a homeland of people who despite the decade-old illegal blockade and the “neither war nor peace” reality continue to make progress.

The year 2015 should convey a strong message to Turkey. The attitude toward Armenia can no longer be measured by words because it presumes clear steps: opening of closed borders and establishment of normal relations. Our position on the Armenian-Turkish protocols has not changed and the idea of “reasonable terms” is becoming more urgent than ever," the Armenian leader said in his statement.

The Armenian Genocide resolution

The resolution affirming the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide (H.Res.252) was formally introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Adam Schiff (D.-CA), George Radanovich (R.-CA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D.-NJ), and Mark Kirk (R.-Ill). On March 4, 2010 it was adopted with a 22-21 vote by the House Committee on Foreign Relations. A similar resolution was introduced in the Senate.

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260. The Convention came into effect in January 1951. It defines genocide in legal terms, and is the culmination of years of campaigning by lawyer Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term by reference to the Simele massacre, the Holocaust, and the Armenian Genocide. All participating countries are advised to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and in peacetime. The number of states that have ratified the convention is currently 140.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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