President Serzh Sarkisian and leaders of the worldwide Armenia Diaspora urged Turkey on Thursday to recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire after discussing upcoming events that will mark its centenary.
In what it called a “pan-Armenian declaration,” a high-level commission headed by Sarkisian described the approaching 100th anniversary as an “important milestone” in the decades-long Armenian campaign for a broader international recognition of the genocide.
The commission comprising senior Armenian state officials, the top clerics of the Armenian Apostolic Church and Diaspora leaders met in Yerevan to discuss final preparations for the anniversary commemorations. Sarkisian read out the declaration adopted by them at the genocide memorial on the city’s Tsitsernakabert hill later in the day.
The document makes clear that Armenia and its Diaspora will strive to not only get more countries to condemn the slaughter of 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians but also “overcome consequences of the genocide.” To that end, it says, the commission is working on a “package of legal demands” to be addressed to modern-day Turkey, suggesting that they will include not only recognition but also material compensation.
The declaration calls on the Turkish state to “face up to its own history and past” by ending its long-running denial of the genocide. It also praises a growing number of Turks acknowledging the genocidal character of the 1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenians.