Associated Press Worldstream
April 24, 2004 Saturday 10:06 AM Eastern Time
Armenians mark anniversary of mass killings in Ottoman Empire
Hundreds of thousands of Armenians, many of them emigrants returning
from abroad, converged Saturday on a hilltop memorial in the
country’s capital to commemorate the 89th anniversary of mass
killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
The annual gathering at the vast Genocide Victims Memorial
overlooking Yerevan is a significant day in the country’s emotional
life, drawing huge crowds to lay flowers.
Armenia accuses Turkey of the genocide of up to 1.5 million Armenians
between 1915 and 1919, when Armenia was under the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey rejects the claim and says Armenians were killed in civil
unrest during the collapse of the empire.
Although the deaths began before April 24, memorial services or held
on this date because it is the anniversary of the day in 1915 when
Turkish authorities executed a large group of Armenian intellectuals
and political leaders, accusing them of helping the invading Russian
army during World War I.
Armenia has pushed for the United States and other nations to declare
the killings a genocide. Many countries, including Russia and France,
have officially recognized the event as genocide, along with some
Canada’s parliament this week backed a resolution recognizing the
deaths to be genocide, a move that was praised Saturday by Armenian
parliament speaker Artur Bagdasarian. “Only through the condemnation
of this kind of crime can its occurrence be avoided,” he said in a