Quebec: National Assembly marks anniversary of Armenian genocide

The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec)
April 23, 2004 Friday Final Edition

National Assembly marks anniversary of Armenian genocide



For a 25th consecutive year, the National Assembly has marked the
April 24 anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

“Respect for human life is primordial, and we must ban all forms of
intolerance, and racism based on ethnic, religious or sexual
origins,” said Yvan Bordeleau, the Liberal MNA for Acadie who tabled
a motion adopted unanimously on Tuesday.

In 1915, 600 notable Armenians were exterminated in Constantinople
(now Istanbul) on April 24 by the ruling Turks, Bordeleau said. Over
the next eight years, he said more than 1.5 million Armenians either
fled or disappeared.

Not everyone agrees with that view of history.

“There was a tragedy, but it wasn’t a genocide,” said Osman Akyol,
president of the Montreal Turkish Cultural Association. Akyol said
the politicians only got one side of the story behind a war that
happened nearly 100 years ago. “Both sides lost a lot of people,” he

In Ottawa this week, the House of Commons also adopted a motion
recognizing the genocide, much to the dismay of the Turkish
government, which strongly condemned Canadian politicians.

Canada is the 16th country to label the killings as genocide, a step
previously taken by Switzerland, France, Argentina and Russia.

The Quebec motion reads:

“That on the occasion of the 89th anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide, the National Assembly of Quebec commemorate, with respect,
the memory of the Armenian citizens who were lost in the events of
1915 and extend its deepest sympathy and compassion to our fellow
countrymen of Armenian origin.”