Thousands of Armenians all over the world took to the streets, on April 24th, to commemorate the 104th anniversary of the “Armenian Genocide” or so-called “Armenian Holocaust”, calling upon Turkey, along with other International States, to recognise the horrific racial cleansing. April 24th has been designated Armenian Genocide commemoration day.
1.5 million Armenians were killed, and millions of others displaced between 1915-1917 and beyond. Events began during WWI when the Armenians suffered atrocities at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, today’s Turkey. It is now considered by some scholars as the first “modern” genocide, due to the racial cleansing being systematic, organised and intentional.
Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Imperial authorities which perpetrated the genocide, accepts that many Christian Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One but argues the figures and denies the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide. Turkey says there was no organised campaign to wipe out the Armenians, who are Christians, and no evidence of any such orders from the authorities.
Yet Armenians around the world are not forgetful of the crimes committed by the Ottoman authorities to exterminate their existence. The spiralling atrocities lasted more than three years and included execution, killing of innocents, jailing and deportation of millions who took a death march in the Syrian desert and died from hunger and dehydration.
On April 15, 2015, the European Parliament backed a motion that called the massacre a century before a genocide, an issue that has regularly caused friction between Turkey and European Union nations. Then, on April 11th, 2019, governments and parliaments of 30 countries, including Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Russia, as well as 49 states out of 50 of the United States, recognised the events as a genocide, drawing strong condemnation from the current Turkish government.
On February 5, 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron made good on an election promise and declared April 24th as Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day in France, as a memorial to the massacre, signing the decision on Wednesday April 10th.
Italy's lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, on Wednesday April 10th, also approved a suggestion to officially recognise the killings as genocide, which Turkey strongly condemned.
Despite multiple testimonies and evidence of the atrocities, the US stays far from taking a step to recognise the massacres, not yielding to annual protests held by the Armenian community in the United States.
Congressman Frank Pallone announced on Wednesday, April 24th, through his official Twitter account after mourning the genocide that he and other representatives will start a bid to have the American government officially recognise the ethnic cleansing.