April 24 is a day of commemoration of the 1915 Armenian Genocide. This year, for the first time, France is also officially marking the date. That decision was announced in February, much to the ire of Turkey. While Turkey acknowledges the violence that took place, it still contests the number of people murdered and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated. Jacques Marilossian, a French MP and grandchild of Armenian immigrants, joined Perspective on France 24.
Marilossian says his grandparents never spoke to him about what happened, wanting to shield him from the horrors of the Armenian Genocide. "I don’t blame Turkey and the Turkish people," he told us. "We know it was the Turkish government - the CUP, we call them Young Turks - of the time and this Turkish government organised a list of massacres in 1915, notably to unite the Ottoman Empire."
"At the time these things happened we called them massacres. You might not know it, but in 1919 after the war ended, there was a new Turkish government which tried all those responsible in the Young Turk government," he said, adding that those convicted were sentenced to death.
"Even the Turkish government of 1919 recognised the guilt of these people in the Armenian massacres. And at that time, the word genocide did not exist," the French MP explained.