The City of Ryde adopts a motion dedicated to the centenary of the ‪‎Armenian Genocide‬

(ANC Australia) The City of Ryde has unanimously adopted a motion dedicated to the centenary of the ‪‎Armenian Genocide‬.

The motion, which was adopted, reads:

Whereas 2015 marks the10th anniversary of the City of Ryde passing a motion recongising the events of 1915-1923 as the Armenian Genocide, this Council joins with the Armenian-Australian community in marking the centenary of the Armenian Genocide by resolving to:

(a) honour the memory of the innocent men, women and children who fell victim to the first modern genocide;

(b) condemn the genocide of the Armenians; and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance;

(c) recognise the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated;

(d) condemn and prevents all attempts to use the passage of time to deny or distort the historical truth of the genocide of the Armenians and other acts of genocide committed during this century;

(e) recall the testimonies of Australian WWI POWs who lay witness to the genocide of the Armenians; and

(f) acknowledge the significant humanitarian contribution made by the people of Australia to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide

(g) call on the Commonwealth of Australia to recongise and condemn all genocides including the Armenian Genocide.

Czech Parliament panel adopts Resolution on Armenian Genocide centennial

(Public Radio of Armenia – by Siranush Ghazanchyan) On April 14, Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic unanimously passed a resolution on the occasion of the Armenian Genocide Centenary.

Referring to the 9 December 1948 UN General Assembly Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, resolutions of legislative and executive bodies of those states, which recognized Armenian Genocide, as well as international organizations’, the resolution condemns the denial of genocides.

The translation of the entire text of the resolution is presented below.

The Committee on Foreign Affairs,

Referring to Resolution 260 (III) of the UN General Assembly of 9 December 1948, known also as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was published in the Czechoslovak Republic by means of a decree of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on 28 April 1955 under No. 32/1955 Coll.;

Having regard to available facts as well as the Czech traveller Karel Hansa´s testimony; taking into account decisions of the European Parliament, parliaments and other legislative and executive bodies of Uruguay, Canada, France, Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Russia, Venezuela, Slovakia, Vatican and other states;

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire recalled by the whole civilized world on 24 April 2015,

Expresses condolences to, and sympathy with the Armenians worldwide and at the same time commemorates depleting Assyrians, and the Greeks and Yazidis of Asia Minor,

Recalls the lack of proper reaction of the international community of that time which enabled repression development against members of national and religious minorities to an extent unprecedented, and foreshadowed similar tragic events in the 20th century including Shoah;

Condemns relativizing or denying such acts as well as other genocides;

Calls on the international community to prevent crimes against humanity anywhere in the world and to settle disputes by peaceful means.

Prof. Theriault Discusses Genocide Reparations Report

( YEREVAN—’s Nvard Chalikyan recently spoke with Professor Henry C. Theriault, Chair of the Philosophy Department at Worcester State University and Director of the Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group (AGRSG), about the recently published report by the Group titled “Resolution with Justice: Reparations for the Armenian Genocide,” which outlines Armenian claims on the Turkish government in a comprehensive study.

Henry C. Theriault
Henry C. Theriault

In the first part, Dr. Theriault says that the issue of Genocide reparations is gaining greater popularity and that recognition should only be a part of broader reparations process and not an end in itself. He believes that the present-day Republic of Armenia is suffering from the legacy of Genocide and that Armenia’s long-term viability as the secure and permanent home of all Armenians depends on territorial reparations; he also explains the group’s formula for calculating the reparations package presented in the report.
Prof. Theriault says, in the second part of his interview, that Azerbaijan expected to attack Armenians without repercussions directly because of the Armenian Genocide not being dealt with properly. Theriault names Turkey’s policy of denial coupled with Turkish anti-Armenianism as the main obstacles to reparations for the Armenian Genocide. He also notes that present-day Turkey is the successor state of the Ottoman Empire and is fully responsible for its acts.

* * *

NVARD CHALIKYAN: Dr. Theriault, there seems to be a lack of discussion on the reparations aspect of the Genocide, which the AGRSG Report addresses in detail. How much support does the issue of reparations have in general? How popular is it nowadays?

HENRY THERIAULT: The reparations issue has recently acquired greater importance and acceptance in general. This is true not only for the Armenian case but for many other human rights cases around the world. It is important to put the question of the Armenian Genocide in the context of a wider area called Genocide Studies where many cases are examined together. This is not just an individual group concerned about its own history but it is a much bigger issue in history that concerns everyone else in the world. I link the question of the Armenian Genocide to human rights, social justice, civil rights, and gender issues in the US and across the world. Our report is actually very applicable to other groups, as we tried to present a universal case.

While some ten years ago many Armenians did not consider reparations as a practical issue to be talked about, there has been a major shift in this direction, especially within the last five years. Now there is a tremendous interest in the Armenian community and readiness to advocate for reparations, much more than we had expected when beginning the study group’s work. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), for instance, has changed its strategy a good deal from a focus on recognition towards emphasizing reparations; many Armenian scholars have gotten involved, many studies have been conducted and books published on the subject, and in Turkey major work is now being done, such as the book by Ugur Ungor and Mehmet Polatel.

And, the recently adopted pan-Armenian declaration by the State Commission on the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide talks about reparations, specifically “preparing . . . a file of legal claims as a point of departure in the process of restoring individual, communal and pan-Armenian rights and legitimate interests.” So there is a positive trend in this direction.

N.C.: Chapter 3 and Chapter 8 of the Report identify steps for a comprehensive reparations package, among which are recognition, apology and return of property. What is the sequence of these steps? Can reparations be considered only after recognition or should we be pushing for reparations without further delay?

H.T.: These points of the Report identify different key aspects, but their order is not in time. Recognition is there as part of reparations approach because we think that without recognition by the perpetrator group and others that the harm happened, there is a danger that the point of material reparations will be lost. As one of the report’s co-authors, Jermaine McCalpin, has emphasized in recent speeches, reparations is not “hush money.” On the contrary, it is only meaningful if all concerned acknowledge the injury that was done and understand how and why the reparative measures taken now promote justice. This is especially true for territorial returns.

At the same time, even though recognition and apology should be a part of the overall process, what we want to emphasize is that on their own or as an end result they are absolutely inadequate. It doesn’t help produce justice to push for recognition without pushing for reparation. Thus, we tried to reverse the usual logic – we see reparations as the most central issue which includes both material and symbolic acts, with recognition as part of reparations, but only a part. The idea of giving up a broader reparations process in favor of recognition alone is an old and a very problematic idea.

In terms of the timing, if recognition is understood as a step towards justice and reparations then it can come first, but if it is treated as the central goal then it is very dangerous to put it first.

Still, we should keep in mind that from the Republic of Turkey’s standpoint, one major reason for not recognizing the Armenian Genocide is because they fear that reparation claims will immediately follow recognition, and their primary concern I believe is reparations. We could see this clearly in the case of the Armenian-Turkish protocols. It is very telling that of the very few specific Armenian-Turkish relations issues addressed, the territorial issue, i.e., the point about confirming the border, was on the top of the Turkish agenda. It does tell us a lot about what their concerns are and shows that it is all about territorial issues ultimately. Going forward, we must be very careful to include reparations as an issue in any political discussion of the Genocide with Turkey.

N.C.: By recognition do you mean recognition by Turkey, by the international community or both?

H.T.: Ultimately both. Many people in Turkish civil society today recognize the Genocide but it is a real question of what would get the Turkish state to do so. Historically for the most part (Australia being an exception) countries have recognized genocides or mass human rights violations only when external actors pushed them to do it. So, there is a role for the international community in pushing for recognition. What is more, the Armenian Genocide is not a Turkish-Armenian issue. Going back to the work of Raphael Lemkin in creating the concept and word “genocide,” genocide affects all of humanity and is thus the concern of all of humanity.

N.C.: The Report presents specific calculations of financial, material and territorial compensations that are due to Armenians. Based on what data are these calculations made? How reasonable and realistic are they?

H.T.: First of all, in the Report we tried to present numbers based on historical data and on the work that was done previously, in the aftermath of the Genocide, by those with direct data on what happened in the genocidal process. We took data from the Paris Peace Conference for instance, where there was a real historical effort to catalogue the Armenian losses and to calculate a reparation package based on evidence. We also used the New York Life settlement method to get an idea of what appropriate compensation for deaths would be. By “appropriate” here I do not mean that compensation can in any way make up for the deaths, but that compensation funds can help Armenians as a group – in the Republic, Diaspora, and Turkey – with resources that can promote Armenian security, identity, and well-being, against the very significant impacts of the Genocide on Armenians today.

In terms of territorial compensations we tried to come up with a formula based on a realistic approach to Wilsonian boundaries. Woodrow Wilson’s Arbitration Award (Ara Papian addresses this) likewise presents a detailed process which formulated the appropriate territories necessary for Armenians surviving the Genocide to reconstitute in a sustainable way the group. It must be stressed that the need issue is really important because the Republic of Armenia today is suffering from the consequences of the Genocide. We must not forget that the hardships and the limitation of resources in Armenia today are in large part a direct result of Genocide.

Of course, the issue of territorial return is very complex, and in the report we offer four possible approaches to it that include three different territorial determinations and an alternative political approach that could work with any of the territorial determinations.

As for how realistic the size of the proposed financial compensation is, it is a limited, conservative estimate of what would be appropriate. The numbers we are presenting are very reasonable and actually represent a middle point. There are certainly higher estimates that would be legitimate.

N.C.: How is the present-day Republic of Armenia suffering from the consequences of the Genocide? How can reparations actually mitigate this?

H.T.: This is a huge topic, but I can single out two major issues. First, when Ataturk militarily conquered the bulk of the 1918 Armenian Republic’s lands and forced the remainder into the Soviet Union, that not only stunted the potential population (think about how many Armenians later left just to go to Russia, for instance) but it also created a situation where Armenia just cannot sustain a bigger population, cannot sustain the kind of agriculture that’s necessary for full independence. Thus the impact of that legacy is quite demonstrable today; but it also goes way beyond that. We must not forget that, in fact, the Wilsonian Arbitral Award gave Armenians at least partial reparations for the Genocide, but the Turkish nationalist movement that established the current Turkish Republic took the portion of the awarded lands that the 1918 Republic actually possessed away – that is, Turkey took away the reparations given to Armenians.

The second thing to stress is the way Turkey is currently a threat to Armenia. Just going back to the blockade in 1990s when Turkey was interfering with shipments of food aid from the US – it was scandalous. Turkey is also able to interfere in a significant way with Armenia today and to harm the country economically and politically, while supporting Azerbaijan is a whole other dimension. All of this is the legacy of the Genocide as well, and specifically that the Genocide is unacknowledged and unrepaired. Could Germany, for instance, treat Israel in this way?

So if we are talking about calculating the land that’s necessary, it really has to be focused on what the Armenian Republic needs in order to be permanently viable for its population and any Turkish and Diasporan Armenians that would like to resettle. Territory is not only a historical justice issue but it is also a very legitimate human rights issue for the present. My analysis of the situation has led me to conclude that the future viability of the Armenian Republic as the secure and permanent home of Armenians as an identity group depends on territorial reparations.

N.C.: From your words can we conclude that the present territory of the Republic of Armenia is not viable for the long-term survival and prosperity of the Armenian people, and that the Genocide reparation is actually a question of security of Armenia and Armenians in the long run?

H.T.: Yes, absolutely…

NVARD CHALIKYAN: Prof. Theriault, so from your words can we conclude that the present territory of the Republic of Armenia is not viable for the long-term survival and prosperity of the Armenian people, and that the Genocide reparation is actually a question of security of Armenia and Armenians in the long run?

HENRY THERIAULT: Yes, absolutely. I must say that I have been incredibly impressed with what Armenians in the Republic have been able to do since 1991. It’s stunning to me that there is a vibrant country there today. At the same time, for its long-term viability more territory is necessary. I do not believe there is a doubt about that, especially because Armenia has hostile countries, Turkey and Azerbaijan, on the either side, while Georgia is not a very good neighbor (think of its treatment of Armenians in Javakhk) and Iran is unpredictable. Armenia thus needs a secure, stable, and adequate territory; it’s absolutely important.

One possibly controversial element of reparations the report puts forward is that a perpetrator state (in this case, Turkey) is actually responsible for the protection of the victim group (in this case, Armenia) until such time as the negative effects of genocide on their security have been repaired and the state is not under threat. Vulnerability is the legacy of genocide, and it is the perpetrator group’s responsibility to ensure that the vulnerability does not result in further harm to the victim group. Thus, beyond simply stopping its anti-Armenian policies or supporting military aggression against Armenians, Turkey must take responsibility and make sure that nothing happens to Armenia.

N.C.: (That I believe would require a complete restructuring of Turkey’s current policies which unfortunately seems quite unlikely at this point)… And how do you think the question of Nagorno Karabakh fits within the framework of the Genocide legacy and of the Armenian question as such?

H.T.: The first thing to be noted is that there were clear human rights violations as well as massacres against the Armenian minority in Azerbaijan; Azerbaijan was also bombing civilian areas in Karabakh during 1990s. All this never would have happened if the Armenian Genocide had been recognized and dealt with properly. There is no way the global community would have accepted Armenians being targeted in this way by a group that proclaimed its ideological or political connection to Turkey.

The fact that Azerbaijan even thought it was all right to treat and attack Armenians like this and was able to get away with it is a direct consequence of the Genocide not being dealt with. It has to do with impunity and also the apparent acceptability in Turkey and Azerbaijan of not only anti-Armenianism but also of seeing Armenians as legitimate targets of state violence. The Azerbaijani government takes actions that indicate that its leaders think that it is acceptable to kill Armenians.

N.C.: According to many critics it is unrealistic to receive reparations (especially territorial ones) from Turkey. In your view what are the major obstacles and challenges in making the reparations package a reality?

H.T.: Obviously the biggest problem is Turkish denialism coupled with Turkish anti-Armenianism. There is both a flat refusal of the history and of the obligations that it implies. The anti-Armenian demonstrations that recently took place in Turkey are likewise quite disturbing. If legitimate Armenian concerns and Genocide survivor discussions are met with a popular aggressive response, that means no good public conversation can get started, and that is another major obstacle.

Unfortunately there is also a third obstacle, which is political. There is a real resistance internationally to seeing the legitimacy of reparations and positive ways of addressing the legacies of genocide. Take Guatemala for instance – 30 years have passed after the genocide of about 200,000 Guatemalan indigenous people in 1980s; there has been a truth commission report that detailed the evidence, but the question remains unaddressed. Today’s leaders of Guatemala include some involved with the Genocide, while the victim group has no access to a reparative process; even recognition is not very clear at this point. The 2013 conviction of major perpetrator ex-President Rios Mott was overturned, in fact, and the recent second trial does not appear promising. And case after case of genocide is like that.

I think there is a presumption in our world that victim groups once they are done with have no rights and no recourse because they don’t have power, and it is really all about power. Whereas it is precisely because of the effects of genocide that victim communities are so weak. That is exactly what the international community needs to understand and change.

Actually Armenians are in a better position relative to most groups who have experienced genocide, but what the Armenians have in terms of geopolitical and regional power and material resources is much less than what they would have had had there been no genocide and relative to the resources and power of the often oppositional Turkey that Armenia now has to engage.

N.C.: One of the arguments against reparations (that can persist even after Genocide is recognized) is that the modern Republic of Turkey is not responsible for the acts of their Ottoman ancestors. There is also an argument of the passage of time. How valid are these claims?

H.T.: A lot of academic work has been done on the first issue in recent years (Professor De Zayas, co-author of the Report, is a specialist on this) all of which without doubt confirm that Turkey is the continuing state or the successor state of the Ottoman Empire. Note that West Germany had responsibility for the Nazi Genocide of the Jews and others, while it was a completely different state. International law is very clear on this.

In this regard I very much appreciate Ungur’s and Polatel’s work because they have actually identified families in Turkey whose resources came from Armenians in the Genocide, so you can trace the direct line and see exactly where their wealth came from; there is no mystery in this.

As for the passage of time argument, 100 years is not even a large number in such cases. Native American groups in the United States to this day suffer from the consequences of the genocide, often after 200 years and more. There are many other cases like this. So this is not a good argument. If consequences of the past harm still affect the victim population today, then it doesn’t matter how much time has passed: the harm is outstanding and must be repaired.

On top of that, an absolutely critical fact is the Genocide did not end in 1918 but continued till 1923, including the burning of Smyrna and other acts. Turkish nationalist forces actually continued the Genocide in the process of creating the Turkish Republic – they prevented Armenians from returning to the places they were deported from, they killed tens of thousands of Armenians, they employed the same genocidal policies, etc. In addition, a number of major Genocide perpetrators became high-ranking figures in the Turkish Republic. It is also worth noting that Turkey continues its anti-Armenian and anti-minority policies to this day, confirming its own connection to the process of genocide that represented the major assault against Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks.

N.C.: Judging from your own experience, how would you say the Turks recognizing the Genocide approach the reparations issue?

H.T.: The process typical Turkish people would have to go through to be able to talk about reparations may be very long and complex, given that their government and educational system obviously are doing everything to prevent that.

Pope Francis Reaffirms Genocide Recognition

( VATICAN (RFE/RL)–Pope Francis on Sunday again described the massacres of 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as “the first Genocide of the 20th century” during an unprecedented Vatican Mass dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

Francis remembered the victims of “that immense and senseless slaughter” at the start of the Mass at St. Peter’s basilica, which was attended by President Serzh Sarkisian, the supreme heads of the Armenian Apostolic Churches and hundreds of Armenian Catholics.

“It is necessary, and indeed a duty, to honor their memory, for whenever memory fades, it means that evil allows wounds to fester. Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it,” he declared.

The pontiff spoke of “three massive and unprecedented tragedies” of the past century. “The first, which is widely considered the first genocide of the twentieth century, struck your own Armenian people, the first Christian nation, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Greeks,” he said.

“Bishops and priests, religious, women and men, the elderly and even defenseless children and the infirm were murdered. The remaining two were perpetrated by Nazism and Stalinism.”

Humanity, he went on, did not learn lessons from those tragedies as evidenced by the mass killings in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia later in the 20th century. “Sadly, today too we hear the muffled and forgotten cry of so many of our defenseless brothers and sisters who, on account of their faith in Christ or their ethnic origin, are publicly and ruthlessly put to death … or forced to leave their homeland,” he said in a clear reference to the beleaguered Christian communities in Iraq and Syria.

Francis’s characterization of the 1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenians was in tune with his views on the subject repeatedly voiced in the past. He publicly called them “the first genocide of the 20th century” in 2013 just a few months after becoming supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church. The Turkish government condemned that statement.

Official Ankara, which strongly denies a deliberate government effort to exterminate the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire, did not immediately react to the pope’s latest statement. It had reportedly pressured him in recent weeks to avoid uttering the word “genocide.”

According to the Associated Press news agency, Turkey’s embassy to the Vatican canceled a planned news conference for Sunday, presumably after learning that the pope will after all use the politically sensitive term.

The two-hour Mass was concelebrated by Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX and featured medieval Armenian religious hymns performed by two choirs from Gyumri. Underlining its ecumenical spirit, Catholicos Karekin II, Catholicos Aram I and over a dozen bishops of the Armenian Apostolic Church sat in a place of honor in the basilica along with President Sarkisian.

Pope is flanked by the two Catholicoi and the Vatican bishops
Pope is flanked by the two Catholicoi and the Vatican bishops

In another unprecedented development, Karekin II and Aram I embraced Francis at the altar and delivered sermons at the end of the ceremony broadcast live to Armenia.

“Our ancient people were uprooted from their cradle and historic homeland and scattered around the world,” Garegin said in reference to the Armenian genocide. “Our centuries-old Christian heritage was torn down, destroyed and seized.”

“However, nothing — neither suffering, nor persecution or even death — forced our people to renounce their sacred faith,” he added.

Both Karekin II and Aram I expressed their “deep gratitude” to the Roman Catholic Church for its attempts to stop the genocide and support its survivors. They specifically paid tribute to Pope Benedict XV who protested to Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V against the massacres.

“We will never forget the continuous concern, assistance and solidarity of the Church of Rome towards Armenians — that is to say towards justice,” said Aram.

Francis also honored Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora by bestowing the title of “Doctor of the Universal Church” on St. Gregory of Narek, a 10-11th century Armenian cleric renowned for his religious writings. Only 35 Christian figures have received the Catholic title to date. A large picture of Gregory was put on display during Sunday’s Mass.

Dutch Parliament recognizes Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocides

(Public Radio of Armenia) The Hague — The Dutch Parliament passed a binding resolution yesterday recognizing the genocide of Assyrians, Greeks and Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War One. The

Joel Voordewind, member of the Dutch Parliament
Joel Voordewind, member of the Dutch Parliament

resolution, tabled by MP Joel Voordewind from the Christian Union party, enjoyed wide support from the various parties, including Christian Union, People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, Christian Democratic Appeal, Reformed Political Party and Labor Party. The resolution was strongly opposed by two Turkish members of the Parliament but passed by a strong majority vote.

“The aim of this motion is to recognize the Armenian as well as the Assyrian genocide,” said Joel Voordewind, “and to bring the Turkish government closer to Armenia. This is an important signal from the Dutch Parliament to the Turkish government to acknowledge its past actions. I hope in the end this will bring both countries to a better understanding and reconciliation with each other.”

Below is the text of the resolution in Dutch:

34 000-V
Vaststelling van de begrotingsstaten van het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken (V) voor het jaar 2015

Nr. Gewijzigde Motie Van Het Lid Voordewind C.S.
Ter vervanging van die gedrukt onder nr. 59

De Kamer,

gehoord de beraadslaging,

constaterende dat de motie Rouvoet c.s. (21 501-20, nr. 270) aangaande het bespreekbaar maken van de erkenning van de Armeense genocide in de dialoog met Turkije (Voor de volledigheid gaat het hier ook over de Assyriers, de Pontische Grieken en Arameeers die ook het slachtoffer zijn geworden van deze genocide) in 2004 Kamerbreed is aangenomen;

van mening, dat het van groot belang is dat Turkije en Armenie tot een gezamenlijk vergelijk over hun geschiedenis komen;

van mening, dat acceptatie van wederzijds inzicht ten aanzien van de gebeurtenissen van 1915 noodzakelijk is om in de betrekkingen tussen beide landen een stap vooruit te zetten;

spreekt de wens uit, dat aankomende herdenkingsbijeenkomsten van 100 jaar Armeense genocide, in Nederland en elders, bijdragen aan respect en acceptatie tussen betrokken gemeenschappen;

verzoekt de regering, in het verlengde van de aangenomen motie-Rouvoet c.s., bilateraal en in EU-verband, de Turkse regering op te blijven roepen de toenadering tot Armenie een nieuwe impuls te geven en met de Armeense regering te streven naar verzoening;

en gaat over tot de orde van de dag.

Ten Broeke
Van Bommel
Van Ojik
Van der Staaij

Corsican Assembly adopts resolution demanding recognition of Armenian Genocide

( The Corsican Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution that demands recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey, France 3 Corse ViaStella reports.

“The Corsican nation and officials should make their contribution to the realization and recognition of that crime against the Armenian nation,” the resolution says.

The text of the resolution will be handed over to the French Foreign Ministry, to be sent to the Turkish government. The resolution, proposed by Assembly member Jean Biancucci, was passed unanimously.

Turkish Lawyers Apologize to Armenians for Genocide

( IZMIR, Turkey—A scheduled conference devoted to the denial of the Armenian Genocide has angered several Turkish lawyers from Izmir, who have responded by issuing an apology for Armenians over the Armenian Genocide.

The local Izmir branch of the Association of Modern Lawyers has issued a statement apologizing to Armenians over the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government during the First World War.

The association says that an alliance of lawyers responsible for establishing justice in Turkey is sure that what happened in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 was a crime of Genocide committed under the pretext of deportation.

The authors of the statement noted that among the Armenians arrested and exiled to death in 1915 were also lawyers and advocates.

“We, as lawyers from Izmir, will not allow that the crimes and the genocide committed against the Armenians be consigned to oblivion. We apologize to the Armenian people on behalf of the organization we are members of,” reads the statement.

São Paulo Assembly: April 24, Genocide Recognition and Rememberance Day

(Portal Estação Armênia) On 08 April, the São Paulo Legislative Assembly unanimously approved a draft law introduced by its member Peter Tobias (PSDB) on the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide and on setting April 24 as Remembrance Day for the victims of that crime.

Pedro Tobias
Pedro Tobias

In the justification part Tobias explains that the killing and forced deportation of hundreds of thousands of Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire, was carried out with the intention of exterminating their cultural presence, economic life and their family environment during the government of so-called Young Turks, from 1915 to 1917.

Portal Estação Armênia reminds that in August 2014 had already referred to such an initiative being in progress and congratulates ALESP for it.

Brasil Sao Paulo Diario Oficial Genocide recognition

Below, see the full text of filing:

PROJETO DE LEI Nº 1266, DE 2014

Institui o Dia do Reconhecimento e Lembrança às Vítimas do Genocídio do Povo Armênio


Artigo 1º – Fica instituído o “Dia do Reconhecimento e Lembrança às Vitimas do Genocídio do Povo Armênio, a ser comemorado, anualmente, no dia 24 de abril.

Artigo 2º – Esta lei entra em vigor na data de sua publicação.


Holocausto armênio ou ainda o massacre dos armênios é como é chamada a matança e deportação forçada de centenas de milhares de pessoas de origem armênia que vivia no Império Otomano, com a intenção de exterminar sua presença cultural, sua vida econômica e seu ambiente familiar durante o governo dos chamados Jovens Turcos, de 1915 a 1917.

Adota-se a data de 24 de abril de 1915 como início do massacre, por ter sido o dia em que dezenas de lideranças armênias foram presas e massacradas em Istambul.

Esse extermínio foi executado de várias formas: um dos métodos considerados mais rápidos foi incêndio, com moradores de aldeias reunidos e depois queimados; por afogamentos; por agentes químicos e biológicos, tais como overdose de morfina, gás tóxico e inoculação de tifo.

Cabe lembrar que em 13 de setembro de 1915, o parlamento otomano aprovou lei temporária de expropriação e confisco, afirmando que os bens, como casas, terras, gados etc. pertencentes ao povo armênio, seriam confiscados e com a implementação de uma lei, denominada Lei Tehcir, o confisco de bens e o massacre de armênios se seguiu, sendo que tal promulgação deixou indignado grande parte do mundo ocidental. Enquanto os aliados do Império Otomano na guerra ofereceram pouca resistência, uma riqueza de documentos históricos alemães e austríacos atestam o horror das testemunhas nos assassinatos e fome em massa dos armênios. Nos Estados Unidos, o jornal The New York times relatou continuamente sobre o assassinato em massa dos armênios, descrevendo o processo como “sistemático”, “autoritário” e “organizado pelo governo”, e, posteriormente Theodore Roosevelt caracterizou tal fato como o maior crime da guerra.

Os armênios foram levados para a cidade síria de Deir ez-Zor e depois para o deserto em redor e evidências sugerem que o governo otomano não forneceu quaisquer instalações ou suprimentos para sustentar os armênios durante a sua deportação, nem quando eles chegaram. No mês de agosto de 1915, o The New York Times reproduziu um relatório que dizia “nas estradas e no rio Eufrates estão espalhados os cadáveres dos exilados, e os que sobrevivem estão condenados a uma morte certa. É um plano para exterminar todo o povo armênio.”

Tropas otomanas escoltando os armênios não só permitiram roubos, estupros e assassinatos, como muitas vezes participaram, elas próprias, de tais atos bárbaros, e, privados de seus pertences e marchando para o deserto, centenas de milhares de armênios morreram e assim essas marchas ficaram conhecidas como marchas da morte.

Importante salientar que engenheiros alemães e trabalhadores envolvidos na construção da estrada de ferro local também testemunharam armênios sendo amontoados em vagões de gado e enviados ao longo da linha férrea. Um representante do Deutsche Bank, que financiou a construção da ferrovia de Bagdá, chamado Franz Gunther, enviou fotografias para seus diretores expressando sua frustração por ter que permanecer em silêncio ao presenciar uma “crueldade bestial”.

Acredita-se que 25 grandes campos de extermínio existiram, sob o comando de Sükrü Kaya, um dos maiores colaboradores de Mehmed Talat, então Ministro do Interior. A maioria dos campos ficavam localizados próximos das modernas fronteiras entre Turquia, Síria e Iraque, sendo que alguns foram apenas campos de trânsito temporários. Outros, como Radjo, Katma e Azaz, podem ter sido usados para valas comuns, sendo que alguns autores afirmam que os campos de Lale, Tefridje, Del-El e AL-Ayn Ra foram construídos especificamente àqueles que tinham uma expectativa de vida de apenas alguns dias.

Nos documentos existentes há muitos testemunhos, como de uma viajante alemã que escutou de uma armênia, em uma das estações do padecimento de um grupo de montanheses armênios o seguinte desabafo : por que não nos matam logo? De dia não temos água e nossos filhos choram de sede; pela noite os maometanos vêm a nossos leitos e roubam roupas nossas, violam nossas filhas e mulheres. Quando já não podemos mais caminhar, os soldados nos espancam. Para não serem violentadas, as mulheres se lançam à água, muitas abraçando as crianças de peito.

Acredita-se que cerca de 1,5 milhões de armênios foram mortos durante o genocídio. Como já dissemos acima, muitos morreram assassinados por tropas turcas em campos de concentração, queimados, enforcados e até mesmo jogados amarrados no rio Eufrates, mas a maior parte morreu de inanição. Já os sobreviventes do genocídio saíram do Império Otomano e instalaram-se em diversos países – esse fato é conhecido como a diáspora armênia – estima-se que a diáspora contou com mais de 8 milhões de armênios.

Importante dizer que o número de armênios no Brasil, conforme estimativa, chega a 25.000, sendo, em sua maioria, residentes na cidade de São Paulo.

A Turquia atualmente não reconhece o genocídio armênio, alegando que esses passaram por uma terrível mortalidade e que, na verdade, agiu para defender a soberania nacional, alegando ainda que o número de mortes é exagerado. A Turquia enfatiza que estudos demográficos atestam que antes da primeira Guerra Mundial, viviam menos de 1,5 milhões de armênios em todo o território otomano, mas conforme historiadores, mais de 1,5 de armênios foram mortos na Armênia Oriental.

Diante do exposto, contamos com o apoio dos nossos nobres pares para aprovação da presente proposição e assim e assim registrar esse lamentável fato histórico.

Sala das Sessões, em 12/9/2014.

a) Pedro Tobias – PSDB

Hawaii State Senate Recognizes Armenian Genocide

( HONOLULU, Hawaii—Hawaii’s State Senate last week unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide and declaring April 24 as a day of remembrance and commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.

Hawaii State Senator Will Espero (left) and Artur Artenyan with a signed resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide
Hawaii State Senator Will Espero (left) and Artur Artenyan with a signed resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide

“The Senate joins the House of Representatives, Hawaii’s Armenian-American community, and all Armenians worldwide in recognizing and honoring those who were killed and persecuted during the Armenian genocide, and urging people throughout the world to never forget these horrific crimes against humanity,” the resolution reads.

Hawaii State Senators who introduced the bill, including Suzanne Chun Oakland, Donovan Dela Cruz, Will Espero, Breene Harimoto, Les Ihara Jr., Lorraine Inouye, and Russel Ruderman, were present with Armenian American community member Artur Artenyan at the signing of the resolution into law. The full text of the resolution is below.

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WHEREAS, during the chaos of World War I between the years 1915 and 1923, approximately 1,500,000 Armenian men, women, and children living within the Ottoman Empire’s borders were killed in a brutal genocide; and

WHEREAS, hundreds of thousands of Armenians were forced to flee to foreign countries after being stripped of their possessions, national identities, and homeland; and

WHEREAS, documented as the first instance of genocide in the twentieth century, the Armenian genocide remains unacknowledged by the Republic of Turkey to this day; and WHEREAS, even though over 90 years have passed since these mass killings took place, present-day atrocities continue to resonate throughout the world; and

WHEREAS, it is every person’s responsibility to recognize the brutal slayings of so many innocent individuals, remember their suffering, and vow to help prevent future occurrences of genocide; and

WHEREAS, each year, Armenians throughout the world honor those who perished in the first genocide of the twentieth century, and the world community should join in recognizing and commemorating the Armenian genocide to ensure that this inhumanity is never forgotten; and

WHEREAS, with H.R. No. 192, H.D. 1, the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii declared April 24 as a day of remembrance in recognition and commemoration of the Armenian genocide during the Regular Session of 2009; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-eighth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2015, that this body declares April 24 as a day of remembrance in recognition and commemoration of the Armenian genocide; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate joins the House of Representatives, Hawaii’s Armenian-American community, and all Armenians worldwide in recognizing and honoring those who were killed and persecuted during the Armenian genocide, and urging people throughout the world to never forget these horrific crimes against humanity; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America Western Region.

Cyprus Criminalizes Denial of Armenian Genocide

( NICOSIA, Cyprus (A.W.)—The Cypriot Parliament passed a resolution today making the denial of the Armenian Genocide a crime, reported Cyprus Mail.

“Today is a historic day. It allows parliament to restore, with unanimous decisions and resolutions, historical truths,” speaker of Parliament Yiannakis Omirou was quoted as saying by the Mail.

The Cypriot Parliament passed a resolution today making the denial of the Armenian Genocide a crime. (Photo: Cyprus Mail)
The Cypriot Parliament passed a resolution today making the denial of the Armenian Genocide a crime. (Photo: Cyprus Mail)

The bill, which was passed unanimously, will penalize denial of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes with a prison sentence of 5 years and a fine of 10,000 Euros, according to Armenpress.

A delegation led by Armenia’s National Assembly President Galust Sahakyan is on an official visit to the island, according to the official website of the National Assembly. The delegation, which arrived on April 1, met with representatives of the Armenian community, and visited the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex in Nicosia. National Assembly Vice President Eduard Sharmazanov, deputies Vahram Baghdasaryan, Armen Mkhitaryan, Mikayel Manukyan, and Lyudmila Sargsyan are also part of the Armenian delegation.