Press TV> Iran
April 19 2015

Armenians to commemorate 1915 'genocide' centenary

People in Armenia are preparing to mark the 100th anniversary of the
1915 killing of Armenians by the Ottoman forces as controversy over
the issue lingers in Turkey.

Hundreds of thousands are expected to participate in the ceremony in
the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on Friday. Similar memorials are also
scheduled to be held around the world by Armenians in diaspora.

Armenians claim up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians were
systematically slaughtered in eastern Turkey through mass killings,
forced relocations and starvation, a process that began in 1915 and
took place over several years during World War I and the breakup of
the Ottoman Empire.

Ankara, however, rejects the term "genocide" and says 300,000 to
500,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks perished between 1915
and 1917, and they were the casualties of World War I.

President Serzh Sarkisian, meanwhile, has said Armenians will use the
planned anniversary to remind the world of the struggle to recognize
the massacre as genocide.

A picture released by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute dated
1915 purportedly shows soldiers standing over skulls of victims from
the Armenian village of Sheyxalan in the Mush valley, on the Caucasus
front during the First World War. (c) AFP

"This is an important date for the Armenian people and international
community not only to look back and think over historical facts but to
say 'never again'," he said in a recent speech.

Turkey, for its part, is set to hold a major event for the 100th
anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli, usually marked on April 25, on
Friday, in a move that has drawn the ire of Armenia, which has
described the event as an effort to divert attention from what they
call their genocide commemorations.

Flare-up of tensions

Earlier this month, tensions about the killings rose again after Pope
Francis in controversial remarks during a Sunday solemn mass in Saint
Peter's Basilica used the word "genocide" to describe the massacre.
The pontiff said the incident was the "first genocide of the 20th

Ankara was quick in responding to the remarks. The Turkish Foreign
Ministry recalled its ambassador to the Vatican for consultation amid
the worsening diplomatic row over the issue.

People enter the City Hall to attend a ceremony as part of the 100th
anniversary of the Armenian killings on April 16, 2015 in Marseille,
southern France. (c) AFP

The European Parliament also on April 15 urged Turkey to acknowledge
its historic responsibility for the massacre of Armenians during World
War I, and pave the way for "a genuine reconciliation" with Yerevan.

However, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on the same day
that, "For Turkey, it will never be possible to recognize such a sin,
such a blame."

Armenia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Uruguay
formally recognize the incident as genocide.