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Iran Press TV

Armenia commemorates centenary of 1915 massacre

Iran Press TV

Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:15PM

Armenia has held a memorial ceremony to mark the centenary of the massacre of a great number of Armenians during the World War I.

The Friday event saw dignitaries and world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpartو Francois Hollande, gather at the Tsitsernakaberd memorial complex in the Armenian capital, Yerevan.

"What subsequently happened in 1915 and the years that followed was unprecedented in terms of volume and ramifications. The Western part of the Armenian people, who for millennia had lived in their homeland, in the cradle of their civilization, were displaced and annihilated...," Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said.

The French president, for his part, said Paris will never forget the tragedies that Armenians lived through.

'To commemorate a genocide is not the opening of a trial. It is to evoke the suffering and the pain of the people, who have survived. It is to recognize a tragedy that hit the entirety of humanity. To commemorate a genocide is to fight for the memory of this horror to prevent another horror from happening again," Hollande stated.

Meantime, Russia's Putin used his speech to warn of the dangers of nationalism as well as 'Russophobia.'

'The events of 1915 shocked the entire world and in Russia (the events) were considered as its own grief…. The international community must do everything (it can) in order (to ensure) the tragic events of the past never happen again, so that all people can live in peace and harmony without knowing the horrors caused by religious hostility and aggressive nationalism and xenophobia,' said Putin.

"Unfortunately, in many regions of the world, neo-fascism has got his head up again, and radical neo-Nazis are dying for power. We have seen demonstrations of Russophobia (anti-Russian sentiment), too,' the Russian president added.

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

Ankara rejects the term "genocide" and says 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks perished between 1915 and 1917, in what the Turkish government sees as the "casualties" of World War I.

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