PRESS RELEASE
Armenian Center for National and International Studies
75 Yerznkian Street
Yerevan 375033, Armenia
Tel: (+374 - 1) 52.87.80 or 27.48.18
Fax: (+374 - 1) 52.48.46
E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]
Website: www.acnis.am


April 26, 2005


ACNIS Roundtable on Public Opinion and the Armenian Genocide
Richard Hovannisian Keynotes

Yerevan--The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS)
today released the results of a public survey on "The Armenian Genocide: 90
Years and Waiting" which it conducted among 1900 citizens from Yerevan and
all of Armenia's regions.

ACNIS founder Raffi K. Hovannisian invited the participants to stand in a
moment of silence for the one and a half million victims of the Armenian
Genocide and the millennial homeland of which they were brutally
dispossessed. "These 90 years could not make the Armenian nation forget this
defining calamity, nor did they relieve the deep pain of the Genocide
survivors and all Armenians the world over. The day will come when the
civilized world condemns the Armenian Genocide, and Turkey too will
recognize its crime against humanity. The current domain of European
integration offers a pivotal chance for Armenia and Turkey to enter the
European family together, having solved all outstanding issues, including
the watershed legacy of the Genocide, and thus opened a new page in
Armenian-Turkish relations. Justice at home, justice in the world--this
should be the standard for Armenia's and its people's quest," Hovannisian
said.

Professor Richard G. Hovannisian, Chairholder of Modern Armenian History at
UCLA, delivered keynote remarks on "The Enduring Legacy of the Armenian
Genocide." Reflecting on a variety of challenges in the modern academic
world relating to the Armenian Genocide, Hovannisian underscored that all
serious scholars, both Armenian and foreign, and even several Turkish
intellectuals, share the same conclusions, though with different
interpretations, that the Armenian Genocide is an historical fact and
undeniable reality. "According to the prevailing approach in academic
circles, the Armenian Genocide was truly planned and premeditated, and a
mere opportunity was needed to launch it. World War One provided such a
cover," Professor Hovannisian noted, demonstrating that after Ottoman Turkey
lost its European territories in the Balkan wars, its primary response was
the expulsion of all Armenians from their homeland in Asia Minor and their
settlement by Turks. Before the 1915 final solution, there already was in
place a state program of reducing the proportion of the Armenian population
in each of its historic regions to 5-10 percent, which was then methodically
implemented as genocide.

ACNIS research coordinator Stepan Safarian focused in detail on the findings
of the opinion poll. Accordingly, 44.7% of surveyed citizens nearly always
have participated in Genocide commemorations in their mature life, 42.5%
sometimes, and only 9.8% have never participated in them. As for the
motivation for going to Tsitsernakaberd or other memorials on April 24 every
year, 63% find that it is their duty to respect the memory of the martyrs,
17.3% want to show the world that Armenians do not forget their history,
whereas 9.7% think it is a way of protesting against Turkish denial of the
fact of Genocide. For 3.4% of citizens it is merely a long-standing
tradition, for 0.3% just an occasion to go for a walk, and 3.8% do not go
anywhere that day.

Hence, 95% of respondents assert it is very important to mark that day with
a national commemoration every year, while it does not matter much for 4.2%
and is not important at all for 0.5%. 39.6% of citizens feel pain when
thinking about the Armenian Genocide, 21.1% revenge, 18.1% hatred, 11.5%
enmity, 5.2% sympathy for the victims, and 2.1% have a sense of guilt. 64.7%
consider the human loss of the Genocide to be the biggest, 34.1% believe it
to be the territorial loss of homeland, 18% the nation's loss of spirit and
will, and 15.4% loss of the pre-Genocide intelligentsia.

Who is first and foremost responsible for the Armenian Genocide? In response
to this question, 61.1% accuse the Turkish state in its entirety, 54.8% the
Young Turk government, 23.1% the Turkish people, 29.7% Germany, 13.4% the
Russian Empire, 10% traditional Armenian parties, 6.5% the entire Armenian
people, 6.2% Great Britain, and 5.2% Jews.

62.6% of surveyed citizens think that "a Turk remains a Turk, always capable
of committing genocide," 6.9% are of the opposite opinion, and 28.9% believe
that Turkey's governmental policies are one thing but its average citizens
another. 81% are convinced that today's Republic of Turkey is accountable
for the Genocide, 7.6% assert the contrary, with 11.4% finding it hard to
answer. 72.9% trust that Turkey will recognize the Genocide in the next five
to ten years if the international efforts of Armenia and the Diaspora for
recognition are activated and/or the United States and the European Union
exert stronger pressure on Turkey. 12.8% think this to be impossible, and
14% have difficulty answering. 93.5% hold that Armenia should claim
reparations from Turkey; 67.7% of these expect official acknowledgment and
apology, education, and removal of all forms of denial, 60.7% return of
territories in Western Armenia, 44.1% financial reparations to the heirs of
the victims.

It is noteworthy that 39.8% agree with Armenia's current posture toward
Turkey, 29.1% do not agree, and 31.1% find it difficult to answer.
Nonetheless, a clear majority (76.3%) believe that the Armenian side should
establish relations with Turkey without forgetting the past. 51.8% are
against Turkey's accession to the European Union, 25.2% are in favor of it,
and 23% do not give a firm response.

The formal interventions were followed by contributions by National Academy
of Sciences Vice President Vladimir Barkhudarian; professors Babken
Harutiunian, Khoren Palian, and Vardan Khachatrian of Yerevan State
University; Sonia Mirzoyan of the Armenian National Archives; Giro Manoyan
of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation; Edgar Martirosian of UCLA; Tigran
Matosian of the Museum-Institute of the Armenian Genocide; Taline Papazian
of the Paris Institute of Political Sciences; National Press Club
chairperson Narine Mkrtchian; Armen Aghayan of the "Protection of Liberated
Territories" public initiative; Noyan Tapan News Agency political analyst
Davit Petrosian; and several others.

42.5% of respondent citizens participating in the ACNIS poll are male and
57.5% female; 14.7% are 16-20 years of age, 20% 21-30, 20.8% 31-40, 22.2%
41-50, 13.5% 51-60, 6.1% 61-70, 2% 71 or above. 47.1% of them have received
a higher education, 13.1% incomplete higher, 18.4% specialized secondary,
15.3% secondary, and 1.9% incomplete secondary training. 54.8% are actively
employed and 19.8% unemployed, 7.2% are pensioners and welfare recipients,
and 15.4% students. Urban residents constitute 65.2% of the citizens
surveyed, while rural residents make up 34.8%. 32% of all respondents hail
from Yerevan, and the rest are from outside the capital city.


Founded in 1994 by Armenia's first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K.
Hovannisian and supported by a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves
as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges
facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also
aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider
understanding of the new global environment. In 2005, the Center focuses
primarily on civic education, conflict resolution, and applied research on
critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center or the full graphics of the poll
results, call (3741) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (3741) 52-48-46; e-mail
[email protected] or [email protected]; or visit www.acnis.am or
http://www.acnis.am/pr/genocide/Socio13eng.pdf

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress