Moscow Times, Russia
April 26 2004
Armenians Remember 1915
Alexandra Kocho-Schellenberg / MT
Armenians lighting candles Saturday at a chapel at the Armenian
YEREVAN, Armenia — Hundreds of thousands of Armenians, many of them
emigrants returning from abroad, converged Saturday on a hilltop
memorial in Yerevan to commemorate the 89th anniversary of mass
killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
The annual gathering at the vast Genocide Victims Memorial
overlooking the capital is a significant day in the country’s
emotional life, drawing huge crowds to lay flowers.
In Moscow, the Armenians lighted candles at churches and laid flowers
at the Armenian Cemetery.
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 are 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 last week backed a resolution recognizing the
deaths to be genocide, a move that was praised Saturday by Armenia’s
parliamentary speaker, Artur Bagdasaryan.
“Only through the condemnation of this kind of crime can its
occurrence be avoided,” he said.