The Catholicosate of Cilicia demands its Property in Sis from the Turkish Constitutional Court

( On Tuesday 28 April 2015, the attorney of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in Turkey submitted a brief to the Constitutional Court in Turkey, requesting the return of its Centre in Sis (Kozan).

Convinced that recognition of the Genocide and compensation should go together, His Holiness Aram I, on the year of the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, has filed a lawsuit at the Turkish Constitutional Court for the return of the Spiritual Centre of the Catholicosate in Sis. In initiating this effort, His Holiness is setting a precedent for the descendants of the martyrs to reclaim their family belongings.

Since 2012, His Holiness Aram I has presided over a committee of Turkish and international human rights lawyers, preparing the current litigation. The committee will explain the lawsuit through two press conferences. The first will be held on Wednesday 29 April in Washington DC and the second soon after in Geneva.

The Catholicosate of Cilicia settled in Sis, the former capital of the Cilician Kindgom, in1295, after moving from several places due to the political uncertainties in the region. In 1921, following the 1915 Genocide, the Ottoman authorities ordered Catholicos Sahak II Khabayan and the clergy to vacate the location within two days. The Catholicos and the clergy left the monastery in Sis, taking with them very few objects, such as the basin pot for the preparation of the holy muron, some manuscripts and liturgical items. After moving between Jerusalem, Aleppo, Damascus and Cyprus, in 1930 the Catholicosate settled in Antelias.

Secretariat of the Catholicosate of Cilicia

Catholicosate of Ciclicia Leaders and Lawyers Outline Lawsuit Seeking Turkey’s Return of Historic Christian Site‏‏

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders and lawyers representing the Catholicosate of Cilicia held a press conference earlier on April 29, 2015 at the National Press Club to discuss their lawsuit against the Turkish Government seeking the return of the historic seat of the Catholicosate, located in Sis (currently Kozan), one-time capital of Cilician Armenia, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The press conference featured remarks by Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Eastern United States; Teny Pirri-Simonian, Senior Advisor to the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia; Payam Akhavan, former UN prosecutor at The Hague and lead international counsel in this case, and; Cem Sofuoglu, Turkish human rights lawyer and local counsel. They were joined by ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian, who shared the Armenian American community’s support for the just legal claims of the Armenian Church and, more broadly, spoke to the efforts of Armenians worldwide to secure international justice for the Armenian Genocide.

In his remarks, Archbishop Choloyan reviewed the spiritual history of the Sis Catholicosate, noting the central role it played in Armenian religious life until the Armenian Genocide of 1915. “We are,” said the Archbishop, “asking for the return of our land in order to worship there – as we did for a 1000 years. I know that the land is ours. I know that the land recognizes her master.”

In her comments, Pirri-Simonian reviewed the history of this legal case, highlighting the leadership of His Holiness Aram I in convening conferences and consulting with international legal experts to prepare a compelling legal case for the return of the Sis Catholicosate. She underscored His Holiness Aram I’s commitment to convey “more than memory” to coming generations, by securing – in very concrete ways – the return of the Armenian nation’s spiritual heritage.

Lead attorney Akhavan emphasized that: “This case really is about translating the demand for justice into a very concrete case – and that case is the return to the Catholicosate of the Holy See of Cilicia of its historical seat in present day Kozan.” He added that: “It is a concrete demand for the return of property based on the rights of the Catholicosate, the legal personality of which was never extinguished, and it is about the right of religious worship. As someone who is not Armenian but who stands in solidarity with the struggle of the Armenians for justice, this is a remarkable story of hope; it is a remarkable story of the resilience of the human spirit 100 years after these abominable acts that there is still the hope to return.”

Akhavan explained that: “From 1915 onward, Turkey adopted a series of laws on abandoned properties – and of course, abandoned properties is a euphemism used to confiscate the properties of millions of Armenians that once were inhabitants of Ottoman Turkey. Under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, the Republic of Turkey undertook under international law to respect the rights of what was termed, under the treaty, non-Muslim minorities.” He added that: “The laws on abandoned properties were designed to deny the Armenians the right to reclaim their properties. In addition, given the tremendous religious significance of this property, the denial of the property rights in this relation also implicates the right of Turkey’s Christian minority, in this case the extended minority that exists in much smaller numbers in Turkey, to freely worship.” Commenting on the legal prospects of the case, Akhavan voiced his “sincere hope that this case will succeed before the Turkish Constitutional Court, failing which the Catholicosate has announced its intention to appeal any adverse judgment to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.”

Local counsel Sofuoglu pointed out the ground-breaking nature of the case, noting that: “The case I filed on Monday is the first property case of this nature – the returning of religious properties to their original owners.” He also fielded questions from the press about the legal details of the case in the context of Turkey’s legal system.

Hamparian noted that the Armenian Church’s case is a strong one that will prevail on its own merits, while also sharing insights regarding the broader meaning of efforts to secure the rightful return of Armenian religious properties: “The restoration of the Catholicosate of Sis would,” he stressed, “represent an act of justice, a first step toward the legal return of the Armenian Church and its faithful to their lawful place in their rightful homeland. It would, as well, mark a meaningful milestone in the Armenian nation’s journey toward a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide.”

In a statement distributed to the press, Hamparian wrote: “The Armenian Genocide is an international crime, perpetrated by a state against an entire nation. The ongoing consequences of this crime – territorial, demographic, economic, geopolitical, cultural, and otherwise – threaten the modern-day security of the Armenian homeland and the viability of the Armenian nation. A truthful and just resolution of the Armenian Genocide – should, of course, address individual and community claims, including those of the church. But, more broadly, a comprehensive settlement of this crime must be international in scope and national in character, providing for the long-term security of the Armenian homeland and the enduring survival of the Armenian nation.”

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) welcomed the case, noting, “I applaud the lawsuit filed in Turkish court to regain ownership of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilcia which was confiscated during the Armenian Genocide. This ancient and sacred site must be returned to its rightful owners nearly a century after it was pillaged by the Ottoman Empire. Armenians are right to pursue all legal avenues to obtain justice and to seek the return of what is rightfully theirs.”

The Catholicosate’s St. Sophia church and monastery, and their surrounding lands, are located in the city of Kozan, in the Adana Province of the present-day Republic of Turkey. This headquarters, a center of Armenian religious life for more than seven centuries, was illegally stolen by the Turkish Government during the Armenian Genocide.

Click here to learn more about the historic significance of the Catholicosate of Cilicia headquarters in Sis.

Bulgarian Parliament Resolution

Project for Decision Recognizing the Mass Extermination of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915 – 1922

The extermination of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 – 1922 was identified with definite historical facts and authentic documents.

According to the humane traditions of the Bulgarian people and the obligations under the UN documents ratification, Bulgaria distinguishes the historical heritage of the Ottoman Empire and the heritage of the Republic of Turkey and welcomes the dialogue between Turkey and Armenia for a final commitment to historical truth.
The National Assembly pursuant to Article 86 para. 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria

It recognizes the mass extermination of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and declares April 24 a Day of Remembrance of its victims.’

State Duma adopts statement on the Armenian Genocide centenary

The document expresses “deep sympathy to fraternal Armenia in connection with the centenary of the Armenian Genocide”

(TASS) MOSCOW, April 24. The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, has passed a draft statement on Friday in connection with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.

© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS
© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

The document submitted by the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Ties with Compatriots expresses “deep sympathy to fraternal Armenia in connection with the centenary of the Armenian Genocide and also to other peoples who suffered during the tragic events of the First World War.” “Complex historical issues need to be resolved by peaceful means, including by diplomatic efforts – for the sake of establishing lasting peace and security on the planet,” it says.

The State Duma believes that the “Eurasian continent can and should become an example of good-neighborly relations and equitable cooperation, a space of peace and creative endeavor.” “Multifaceted activities in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are aimed at achieving this goal,” the draft resolution says, noting that these organizations “were designed to ensure sustainable development, prosperity of our peoples and the triumph of humanistic ideals.”

The document adds that the lawmakers are guided by “the principles of equity and support the striving of all people for preserving the historical memory.”.

Canada: April Declared Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month; April 24th Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

( OTTAWA, April 24, 2015 /CNW/ – The Canadian Parliament unanimously adopted Motion M-587 today. This important motion calls on this and subsequent governments to honor the victims of all genocides by recognizing the month of April as Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation and Prevention Month. Brad Butt (C-Mississauga-Streetsville) presented this motion on March 25.

“The government of Canada is proud to support Conservative MP Brad Butt’s private members motion M-587,” Defence Minister Jason Kenney said today. Mr. Butt himself went on to say that he joins “…thousands of people in recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. We must never forget what happened then and we must always work to ensure these tragic events never happen again.” On behalf of the NDP, who also supported the motion, Alexandre Boulerice said that “the month of April is an important time to re-commit ourselves to protecting human rights and dignity for all people around the world.”

Very close collaboration between Jewish, Tutsi, Ukrainian, and Armenian organizations was instrumental in securing quick passage of Motion M-587 by the Canadian Parliament. All political parties united behind this motion, and its adoption is even more meaningful as it comes on April 24, 2015, the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. Canada has once again demonstrated that it is an international leader in human rights advocacy, and is uniquely placed to take this important step towards ensuring a more humane world for future generations.

“The adoption of M-587 on today’s centennial is an important message to all perpetrators of genocide, and especially Turkey, that all Canadians stand together in condemning heinous acts such as the Armenian Genocide,” stated Mher Karakashian, chair of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Canada.

This motion will serve to honour those who lost their lives, and empower those working to rid the world of such deliberately executed crimes. NEVER AGAIN should be a standard that we are all held to. Preventing genocide is the personal responsibility of every individual around the world.

SOURCE Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee

German President Gauck labels Ottoman massacre of Armenians ‘genocide’

German President Joachim Gauck has described the 1915 slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as “genocide.” The comments, which are likely to infuriate Ankara, come as Berlin prepares to reclassify the killings.

German President Joachim Gauck, middle, and his partner Dabiela Schadt, left, attend an ecumenical service remembering the Armenian slaughter at the Berlin Cathedral Church in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, April 23, 2015.
German President Joachim Gauck, middle, and his partner Dabiela Schadt, left, attend an ecumenical service remembering the Armenian slaughter at the Berlin Cathedral Church in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, April 23, 2015.

( German President Joachim Gauck made his speech at a nondenominational religious service at Berlin Cathedral on Thursday, the eve of the 100th anniversary of the bloodshed that is estimated to have led to the deaths of as many as 1.5 million Armenians.

In the highly anticipated speech, Gauck spoke of a “genocidal dynamic to which the Armenian people fell victim,” and of “systematic acts of murder.”

The president went on to use the word “genocide” directly in a passage referring to the possible complicity of Germany, a World War One ally of the Ottoman Empire, in the events a century ago. German troops were alleged to have been involved in planning and even implementing deportations.

“In this case, we Germans collectively still have to come to terms with the past, namely when it comes to shared responsibility and perhaps even complicity in the genocide of the Armenians.”

Turkey has fiercely lobbied to stop countries recognizing the 1915 massacres as genocide. It recalled its ambassador to the Vatican earlier this month after Pope Francis used the term. On Thursday, it recalled its ambassador in Vienna over a condemnation of the killings as genocide by Austrian lawmakers.

Indirect wording in declaration

In referring directly to genocide, Gauck went further than a German coalition statement that is set to be put before lawmakers for approval on Friday. That statement uses a more indirect formulation, denoting the Armenian deaths as: “exemplary of the mass-extermination, ethnic cleansing, deportations and, yes, the genocides during the 20th century.”

German government officials said there had been an exchange of views between the president’s office and the government.

Armenians have said their ancestors were killed in a concerted campaign of genocide that was ordered by the Ottoman leadership that ruled Turkey at the time, in an effort to drive the ethnic group of eastern Turkey. The issue still divides the Turkish and Armenian governments.

Turkey claims the 1.5 million figure is inflated and that those who died were killed as a result of war and unrest rather than a policy of genocide. It has also contended that hundreds of thousands were killed on both sides.

Genocide was defined by the UN in 1948 as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

More than 20 countries – France and Russia among them – have so far recognized the Armenian killings as genocide.

rc/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Following is President Gauck’s speech in English. The version in German can be found here.

Words of remembrance at Ecumenical service

Berlin, 23 April 2015

( I would like to begin by expressing my thanks to you, Excellencies, for organising this service at the heart of the city of Berlin on behalf of your churches and for inviting us to be here tonight. My presence here is proof of the fact that the German state and its political leaders always feel a strong sense of commitment to coming to terms with the past in an honest, appropriate and self critical manner.

At this service, ladies and gentlemen, we are commemorating the hundreds of thousands of Armenians who fell victim to planned and systematic murder a century ago.

Men, women, children and the aged were deported, sent on death marches, abandoned in the steppe and desert without any shelter or food, burned alive, hunted down and beaten to death, and shot dead indiscriminately.

This planned and calculated criminal act was meted out against the Armenians for one reason, and one reason only: because they were Armenians. A similar fate befell their fellow sufferers – Assyrians, Aramaeans and Pontian Greeks.

With our present day knowledge, and against the backdrop of the political and humanitarian horrors of recent decades, it is clear to us today that the fate of the Armenians exemplifies the history of mass annihilations, ethnic cleansing, deportations, even genocides, that marred the 20th century in such a terrible way.

These crimes were committed in the shadows of wars. War also served to legitimise these barbaric acts. This is what happened to the Armenians in the First World War. This is what also happened elsewhere over the course of the last century. And this is what sometimes continues to happen to many other religious and national minorities today. They were branded as spies, as the henchmen of foreign powers, as troublemakers threatening national unity, as enemies of the people or enemies by race, or as pathogens infecting the body politic.

We remember the victims so that they and their fate are not forgotten. We remember them for their own sake. Above all, in doing so we call to mind the inalienable dignity of every human being. While this dignity cannot be destroyed, there is unlimited potential for running roughshod over it by violating and crushing it underfoot.

We remember the victims so that they are once again given a voice, so that their story is told – a story that was supposed to vanish without a trace.

Yes, and we remember the victims also for our own sake. We can only preserve our humanity by ensuring that it is not only the victors and the memory of the living that determine history, but that those who were beaten, the missing, the betrayed and the annihilated, also have a voice.

Commemorating the victims would only be half of the act of remembrance if we failed to talk about perpetrators. There are no victims without perpetrators. The perpetrators, the then rulers of the Ottoman Empire and their henchmen – as essentially all perpetrators of racially, ethnically or religiously motivated mass murder – were convinced, to the point of fanaticism, that what they were doing was right.

The Young Turkish ideology saw in the concept of an ethnically homogeneous nation state with a uniform religion an alternative to the lost tradition of the coexistence of different peoples and religions in the collapsing Ottoman Empire. Division along ethnic lines, ethnic cleansing and expulsions often formed the darker side of the emergence of nation states at the beginning of the 20th century. However, ideologies preaching unity and purity often lead to exclusion and expulsion and, ultimately, to murderous acts. In the Ottoman Empire, this developed a genocidal dynamic to which the Armenian people fell victim.

We are currently right in the middle of a debate on which term most appropriately describes the events that took place one hundred years ago. But let us ensure that this debate is not boiled down to differences in terminology. What matters above all is – even after one hundred years – to recognise, deplore and mourn the systematic annihilation of a people in all of its terrible reality. If we fail to do this, we will lose sight of the compass that guides our actions – and also lose respect for ourselves.

If we achieve understanding in our assessment of history, if we call injustice by its name even if our people were guilty of such injustice, if we are united in our commitment to respecting rights and human rights in our daily lives, then we will manage to preserve the dignity of the victims and create a shared humane basis for coexistence at home and beyond borders.

We are not putting anyone alive today into the dock by remembering this. The perpetrators of this crime committed long ago are no longer with us, and their children and their children’s children cannot be found guilty. However, what the descendants of the victims are rightfully entitled to expect is that historical facts, and thus historical guilt, are recognised. It is part of the responsibility of those living today to feel a sense of commitment to respecting and protecting the right to life and human rights of each and every individual, and also of each and every minority.

In the case of the Armenians, we therefore follow no other principle than our deep rooted human experience, which teaches us that we can free ourselves from guilt by admitting it and that we cannot free ourselves from guilt by denying, suppressing or trivialising it. We in Germany have painstakingly, and often after shameful procrastination, learned to remember the crimes committed in the National Socialist period – above all the persecution and annihilation of Europe’s Jews. And, in so doing, we have also learned to differentiate between the guilt of the perpetrators, which must be recognised and identified unconditionally, and the responsibility of their descendants to engage in appropriate acts of commemoration.

It is utterly important and clearly justified to remember, also here in Germany, the murder of the Armenian people. Descendants of Armenians and Turks live here, and each have their own story to tell. It is important, however, for the sake of peaceful coexistence, for us all to follow the same objective principles when coming to terms with the past.

In this case, we Germans as a whole must also take part in this process insofar as we share responsibility, perhaps even guilt, in the genocide committed against the Armenians.

German military officers were involved in planning, and to an extent in carrying out, the deportations. Advice from German observers and diplomats, who had plainly recognised the destructive intent behind the actions taken against the Armenians, was overlooked and ignored. At the end of the day, what the German Reich wanted least was to damage relations with their Ottoman ally. Reich Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg, who was informed about the persecution of the Armenians in painstaking detail by a special envoy, remarked dryly in December 1915 that: “”Our sole objective is to keep Turkey on our side until the end of the war, irrespective of whether Armenians are killed in the process or not.”” It pains us to hear this, but at the same time we recall that Germans too, most notably the highly dedicated Johannes Lepsius, made the suffering of the Armenian people known around the world with their publishing activities

It was the medic Armin Theophil Wegner who captured the fate of the Armenians on camera and brought their plight to a German audience at his slide shows in Germany after the war. And it was the Austrian Franz Werfel who erected an artistic monument to the resistance of the Armenians against their planned destruction with his novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. This book was quickly banned in Germany following its publication in 1933. But it was read in the Jewish ghettos of Białystok and Vilnius – as an omen of what was soon to happen to the Jews. Both the censors of the Third Reich and the Jews therefore understood the book and the story it recounted entirely correctly.

When Adolf Hitler ordered the German army groups to attack Poland and explained his plans to his military commanders in his operation order of 22 August 1939, which urged them to “”kill without pity or mercy, all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language””, he expected the reaction to be one of collective disinterest, which is why he concluded with the rhetorical question: “”Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?””

We are speaking about them! We are! Even today, one hundred years later, we are still talking about this – about this and other crimes against humanity and human dignity. We do this so that Hitler is not proved right. And we do this so that no dictator, no tyrant and no one who considers ethnic cleansing to be legitimate can expect their crimes to be ignored or forgotten.

Yes, we are still talking about uncomfortable facts of history, about a denial of responsibility and about past guilt. We do not do this in order to shackle ourselves to the bleakness of the past, but rather in order to be watchful and to react in time when individuals and people are threatened by annihilation and terror.

It is good when we do this together, not separately according to denominations and religions or languages, and not according to ethnic and state borders. Today, we are thankful for each and every sign of remembrance and reconciliation from around the world. And I am especially thankful for each and every encouraging sign of understanding and rapprochement between Turks and Armenians.

No one must be afraid of the truth. There can be no reconciliation without the truth. Only together can we overcome what divided and continues to divide us. Only together will we be able to enjoy a bright future in this One World entrusted to us all.

Austria recognizes the Armenian Genocide

Parliament of Austria. A moment of silence in memory of the victims of the ‪‎Armenian Genocide‬ (Photo by Austrian Armenian Committee for Justice & Democracy, Garo Chadoian)
Parliament of Austria.
A moment of silence in memory of the victims of the ‪‎Armenian Genocide‬
(Photo by Austrian Armenian Committee for Justice & Democracy, Garo Chadoian)

The Austrian Parliament adopted a declaration recognizing the Armenian Genocide, acknowledging the responsibility of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, at the time an ally of Ottoman Empire, calling on Turkey to reconcile with the dark pages of its past. The declaration was adopted unanimously by all political factions in the Parliament, before adopting it, the deputies held a moment of silence in memory of the 1.5 million innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The declaration states that it is Austria’s obligation to recognize the terrible events as genocide and condemn them. It also states, that it is the duty of Turkey “to honestly face its dark and painful chapter of the past, and the crimes committed during the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians to recognize as genocide.”

The statement on the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide, also pays homage to Assyrians, Arameans, Chaldeans, Greeks, victims of the total annihilation of minorities perpetrated by Turkey.

NA Statement On the Armenian Genocide Centennial is Adopted at the RA NA Extraordinary Sitting

( On April 21 under Article 70 of the RA Constitution, on the RA NA deputies’ initiative, the RA National Assembly extraordinary sitting was convened, and on the agenda was the issue of voting the NA statement On the Armenian Genocide Centennial debated on the previous sitting of the RA National Assembly.

The authors of the NA draft statement are the NA deputies Zaruhi Postanjyan, Vahe Enfiajyan, Artak Zakaryan, Koryun Nahapetyan, Araik Hovhannisyan, Naira Karapetyan, Artashes Geghamyan, Hamlet Harutyunyan, Sukias Avetisyan, Alexander Arzumanian, Shirak Torosyan, Samvel Farmanyan, Volodya Badalyan, Tatshat Vardapetyan, Mher Shahgledyan and Artsvik Minasyan.

The draft statement was unanimously adopted with 113 votes.

Below we present the text of the RA NA Statement:


“The National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia

– having regard to the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of the Genocide adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948, the law on the Condemnation of the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians in Ottoman Turkey adopted by the ArmSSR Supreme Council on 22 November 1988;

– evaluating the provisions stipulated in the All-Armenian Declaration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial,

– highlighting the contribution of the Armenian people to the joint efforts of the international community aimed at crimes against mankind, condemnation and prevention of genocides,

– extending gratitude to the parliaments of all countries, state and local institutions and international organizations, which have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide, have adopted laws criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial,

Calls on the parliaments of all countries, inter-parliamentary organizations and international organizations to officially recognize and condemn the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire as a gravest crime against mankind.

Exhausting the agenda, the parliament ended the work of the extraordinary sitting.

Basque Country parliament condemns Armenian Genocide

( – The Parliament of the Basque Country condemned the Armenian Genocide and urged Turkey for recognition. It also called for peace between Armenia and Turkey, stressing the need for the latter to face its own history.

The parliament-adopted statement expressed solidarity and respect for the families of the Genocide victims who to this day suffer repercussions of the tragedy, reports.

The parliament called for a transparent dialogue between Armenia and Turkey for a better future which can become a possibility through justice, understanding and recognition.

The Basque Parliament first recognised the Armenian Genocide with its April 20, 2007 declaration.

European Parliament adopts resolution on Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, calls on Turkey to reconcile with its past

( Brussels, 15 April, 2015: Today, during its plenary session the European Parliament adopted, a resolution on the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The European Council was represented by Kalinina-Lukaševica and the European Commission Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Budget and Human Resources. With this resolution, the European Parliament officially marked the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.

Today’s resolution on the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide was supported by all political groups in the European Parliament, in which is stated: “whereas an increasing number of Member States and national parliaments recognize the Armenian Genocide perpetrated in the Ottoman Empire, whereas one of the main motivations of the European unification movement is the will to prevent the recurrence of wars and crimes against humanity in Europe; …whereas the importance of keeping the memories of the past is paramount, since there can be no reconciliation without the truth and remembrance; Pays tribute, on the eve of the Centenary, to the memory of the one-and-a-half million innocent Armenian victims who perished in the Ottoman Empire; joins the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in a spirit of European solidarity and justice; calls on the Commission and Council to join the commemoration”.

The resolution reminds the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2013 adopted on Mach 12, 2015, and the European Union’s policy on the matter, where the European Parliament calls on EU member states to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
In today’s resolution, “the European Parliament calls on Turkey to come to terms with its past by recognizing the Armenian genocide and thus pave way for a genuine reconciliation”.

The resolution also recalls the Parliament’s resolution of 18 June 1987 in which inter alia it has recognized that the tragic events that took place in 1915 – 1917 against the Armenians in the territory of the Ottoman Empire represent a genocide as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948; condemns all occurrences of crimes against humanity and genocide and strongly deplores any attempts of their denial.

The European Parliament resolution also asks for the establishment of an “International Remembrance Day for Genocides” and stresses that the timely prevention and effective punishment of genocide and crimes against humanity should be among the main priorities of the international community and the EU.

An unprecedented number of members of the European Parliament took the stage and showed their solidarity to the Armenian nation in, and in support of the resolution, and the importance of calling a genocide a genocide. Pope Francis’ message of reconciliation and peace was also mentioned and included in the final version of the resolution.

Kaspar Karampetian, President of the European Armenian Federation for Justice & Democracy (EAFJD) said “Armenians all over the world welcome this resolution in this centennial year of the Armenian Genocide. The European Union is a union of values, dignity and human rights, and we expect all countries willing to join it, to have reconciled with their past, have friendly relations with their neighbors and look forward to a brighter and peaceful future without the ultimate of crimes, without Genocide. We expect Turkey come to terms with its past, and acknowledge the crime it has committed against the Armenian population 100 years ago, with all its consequences”. Karampetian also stressed the need for the EU Council and Commission to show more courage, acknowledge the crime with its proper name, and not hide behind EU member countries who have not yet recognized the Armenian Genocide.

Karampetian also said, that Armenians support the democratic forces in Turkey, who challenge the Turkish state’s denial policy, push for recognition of the crime of Genocide against Armenians. He also stressed the well coordinated and organized work of the Republic of Armenia permanent mission to the EU, Republic of Armenia National Assembly’s committee on foreign relations and the European Friends of Armenia, whose efforts succeeded in having this well deserved resolution.

The Chamber of Deputies of Chile Condemned the Armenian Genocide and Urged the Government to Recognize it

( The Chamber of Deputies of Chile passed today a resolution to express “solidarity with the Armenian nation condemning the genocide of its people that started in 1915”. The resolution No. 324, which received 77 votes in favor, 1 against and 3 abstentions, also asks the Government of Chile to adhere to what has already been agreed by the UN in 1985.

The initiative was presented by Gustavo Hasbun, Joaquin Tuma, Issa Kort, Aldo Cornejo, Marco Antonio Nuñez, Joaquin Godoy and Jorge Tarud. Lawmakers said that “April 24 of 1915 marked the beginning of a systematic policy of extermination of Armenians by the Ottoman authorities after detention without trial, disappearance and death of hundreds of intellectuals, writers, composers, artists, community leaders and the entire leadership of the Armenian community in Constantinople, including two Armenian deputies of the Turkish Parliament whose parliamentary immunity was not respected”. They added that this genocide, conducted between 1915 and 1923, meant the death of over 1,500,000 Armenians. “This despicable action was the first ethnic cleansing of the twentieth century.”

It also records that the Armenians and their various organizations around the world have persevered in gaining recognition from the international community on this genocide. “Such recognition was granted in 1985 by the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the United Nations, which described the case as an Armenian genocide”.

The Senate of Chile, by agreement No. 531 of June 5, 2007, has already condemned the genocide, although the Chilean Government did not yet. “It is an ethical duty that Chile endorse the decision by the UN in 1985.”