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What will happen upon the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the Genocide of Armenians, on 24th April 2015?


What will happen upon the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the Genocide of Armenians, on 24th April 2015?


What will happen on 24th April 2015? REPAIR has put the question to opinion leaders in Turkey, Armenia, and the Armenian Diaspora. The Centenary of the Genocide, a commemoration that Armenians have wished a global event, turns out to be in competition with the Battle of Gallipoli celebrations which the Turkish government rescheduled to take place on the same date. Seen as a mere Day of Remembrance by some or a devastating landslide by others, as a non-event or the beginning of a change of paradigm -- opinions differ widely on the subject.  



Ahmet Insel, Professor of Economics at the University of Galatasaray:

On April 24 the President will attend the memorial ceremony of the Gallipoli landing. On this occasion, l do not know if he would say something about the Armenian Genocide, or would he prefer to say it in Canakkale. He can act in a logic of equalization of suffering. I am not expecting the President nor the Prime Minister to recognize the Armenian Genocide.


Ayse Gunaysu, Human Rights Association:

The movement of Gallipoli commemorations of March 18, which was their usual date, to April 24 is so disrespectful and offensive attitude to the Armenians, personally, I do not expect any positive step on the part of Turkey April 24, 2015. But I do not expect an aggression against the commemorations. The government will make sure that the commemorations organized by the 28 offices of the Association of Human Rights, particularly in Istanbul and Diyarbakir, are not visible. We probably will not see them on the big television channels close to the government. Info and pictures of Gallipoli will occupy all the space.


Irfan Aktan, journalist, Express:

With its current mentality, the AKP will only bleed the wound. He will do with heroism speech or with against-campaigns. It thus will pretend to suffer deeply from 1915 but will relay to its nationalist electorate that this suffering is not real. If one believes that "a wind will blow in Turkey and everything that the previous regime did will be questioned," it will not happen. There will not be a state of mourning in 2015 in Turkey, but a state of hypocrisy.
It is useless to say to Armenia "Sorry, very painful things happened in the past." The AKP yet will do this while telling its electorate "We need to do this kind of speech to overcome this year." Nothing on behalf of humanity will happen, everything will be politic. This will deeply hurt those who feel the pain of the genocide. It is also possible that some not sincere steps, as a restoration of an Armenian church or the production of a film supported by the government may be in the agenda.
The Armenian Genocide is a very serious crime against humanity. I understand that it is difficult for a society to carry the weight of genocide. But if you do not deal with this shame, this means that you will remain forever denier, hypocritical and sick. This trauma will be passed from generation to generation. There is no government willing to kneel for forgiveness in Turkey. The authorities try only to overcome 2015, as if in 2016 this will be eluded or prescribed. Or perpetuating the trauma even worsen the disease.


Ali Duran Topuz, Chief Information Officer of the IMC TV channel:

The government announced its program the 24th of April. By taking the Gallipoli celebrations from 18 March to 24 April, by inviting foreign presidents, also by sending this invitation to the Armenian President, it has announced that it’s position will decline compared to the feeling of sadness and condolence said last year. This statement is destructive and is a return for the government to a theory which is shared by different circles in Turkey, like Islamists, nationalists and the left. With the approach of parliamentary elections on 7 June, the government flirts with nationalist electorate. We therefore deduce that the presentation of condolences was a tactic to distract.
It is a mentality which, far from recognizing the genocide, could not even understand it. But there is an awareness in the society. Commemorations are held for years with a growing number of participants in Taksim Square. The subject is treated by the authors. The components, the staff, the program of the HDP which is a rising party, focus on the genocide of 1915. We can say that in the society, there will be a mourning and sharing feelings that genocide centennial merits. But we will not be able to see this in the right-wing parties, particularly in the government.


Aris Nalci, Imc TV Program Producer:

On April 24, we would like to see the names of Armenian villages on the maps. We would like Ani called by its name and not "Anı". I would like for example believe in the sincerity of condolence text of the President of the Republic. But what will happen in reality? Commemorations of Gallipoli occupy all the front pages of newspapers in Turkey. Genocide will be commemorated in Armenia, but the real commemoration should take place on the land where genocide took place. What Turkey is trying to do may have an impact on the news in Turkey but will not affect world events.
There will be commemorations in Diyarbakir, Van and Bitlis. We see that the Kurdish people is leaving the "being used" expression and face the fact that they were involved in the crime. Also, in general, people are talking more about the genocide in Turkey. At the same time this is a test. Before the elections we will see anti-Armenian speeches inside of the MHP, the CHP and the AKP. We can hear insulting sentences for the commemorations in April. There is a President of the Republic who apologizes for uttering the Armenian word. If there is a sincerity about this issue in Turkey, it will be visible after the elections and government formation.


Ali Bayramoglu, columnist for Yeni Safak newspaper:

The centenary is important for both the Armenians and the history of mankind. But it is not possible to assert that the state and society feel this importance in Turkey. For two reasons: Turkey is facing a serious political crisis and the AKP's regression period has already begun. This causes repercussions. The state considers 2015 as a test to overcome. We are not at a time when the process of facing the past, started 5-6 years ago, is at its peak. The centenary will be shaped by the voices from Armenians.
In this period, it is expected from Turkey to normalize the use of the word genocide and to advance in the public awareness process which began in 2005, with the the civil society and media's contribution. The government actually took a step in this area: the text which was published in memory of Hrant Dink included a reference to the letter of condolence. But I am not expecting many new concrete initiatives this year. There may be a short statement published on the Presidency's web site. Other than that, I do not think there will be anything else.


Yetvart Danzikyan, an Executive Editor of Agos newspaper:

What are we expect from the government on 24 April? We know they will not do the thing we are waiting for. We want the harm that was given to the Armenian's for many years on this land to be accepted and we expect to have a confrontation about it. This year, it would not be realistic to expect Turkey to say "This was a genocide", but we expect at least an acceptance that evil and injustice were done to the Armenian's on these lands. And I think that the government will not do this. What can it do without doing this, it can take steps similar to this one. A condolence message was written last year. It was a text which was missing gaps, but it still seems a step further when we look at the history of 90 years of the republic.




Ara Papyan, Former Ambassador of Armenia to Canada, Head of Modus Vivendi analytical center:

With its unprecedented participation the Armenian nation will commemorate the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide. It will be a big and thrilling commemoration day, having no precedent in the world.
Henceforward, in terms of the outcome nothing significant will happen on 24 April 2015. That is, plenty of events, speeches, concerts, film screenings and many other actions will be taken. However, in the sense of lasting consequence and result nothing serious will happen. RA authorities will not come up with any political or legal package which will clearly outline the answers to three main questions – firstly “What do we want?”, secondly “On what grounds do we lay claims?” and thirdly “Why do we want?”. There will be an invisible yet obvious rivalry between the Armenian and Turkish authorities: which one will succeed in inviting more and influential people.
When things calm down by the end of 2015, it will become clear that there will be a small group of devotees who still keep on fighting for the restoration of justice.


Aram Abrahamyan, Editor-in-chief of Aravot Daily:

It will be an ordinary April 24. Simply the events both in Armenia and all over the world will be greater in number than the ones held before the centenary, the topic will have a wider media coverage, and the number of guests having visited Armenia on the very day, including high-ranking officials, will increase in number.
We – Armenians will pay a special attention to the representatives of other countries visiting Turkey on the very day and will reproach them.
In the period following April 24 the Armenian officials would say that the Centenary is not the end. On the contrary, everything is just beginning.


Tevan Poghosyan, Deputy of the Armenian National assembly:

On 24 April 2015, the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide, the whole Armenian nation will commemorate one and a half million Armenians. I am sure that you can hardly find an Armenian who would not like to visit Tsitsernakaberd Memorial and bow in memory of 1500000 victims. However, not all Armenians will be able to do this and instead will visit different memorials erected in the Armenian Diaspora all over the world in honor of martyrs. We are not alone and many of our friends, perhaps not on the official level, will as well bow together with us both in Armenia and every corner of the world.
Though April 24 will be the day of commemoration, I am sure that it will be the beginning of solidarity and new inspiration and we will get proud of the fact that we do exist, will continue to grow in number and struggle for the powerful Armenian nation.


Nune Sargsyan  : Executive Director of Media Initiatives Center (formerly Internews):

In fact we don’t have any expectations. There will be a number of speeches and maybe some high-ranking guests. However, I am sure that we’ll still be in the process of struggling for recognition. A few countries perhaps will recognize the Armenian Genocide, which is, of course, an important emotional capital but will not change anything on a large scale. There might be a big flow of information, findings and knowledge, which will also report a very positive development. But I don’t think that we should expect any serious change.


Hakob Badalyan : Political observer at, journalist:

I think that a « forget-me-not » fever, developed in Armenia in the light of centenary, will reach its highest point on April 24. Unfortunately, the turning haven of the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide in Armenia merely got a form instead of content as usual. I think the political side of the situation as well will mostly obtain this form at least on the very day. The political intrigue was either limited or narrowed to the rivalry around invitations made to the leaders of the states the world over both by Armenia and Turkey: Who will arrive in Armenia? Who will go to Turkey to celebrate the anniversary of Gallipoli? Which country will host greater number of leaders? Which one will be in the center of attention – stance of the separate states on the very day, statements made by the leaders or their facial expressions etc.?
Moreover, all this is fraught with the risk of political delusion of society and falsification of long-term problems. In terms of a longer impact, I think we should look forward to more significant events before or after April 24. And the earlier event or process can merely obtain a certain "look" on April 24.


Alexander Iskandaryan : Director of the Caucasus Institute:

April 24 Armenia will hold large scale commemoration events of the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide. As it became known Armenia will host high-ranking guests, such as President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President of France Francois Hollande, President of Cyprus and perhaps heads of other countries. No changes will be reported in the Armenian-Turkish relations on April 24. Turkey’s attempt to distract the attention from the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide by shifting Gallipoli events to April 24 will fail and even have an adverse impact and the international community will attach more importance to the Yerevan events. No global changes will be reported and life will flow in the same direction after April 24 and this day will go into the past. However, the struggle for the recognition of Genocide will continue differently in every country. The struggle for the recognition of Genocide is like a train which can neither be stopped nor turned into an airplane.




Kenneth Hachikian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA):

There will be unprecedented awareness created of the Armenian Genocide as a result of the worldwide centennial commemorations. Turkey will look foolish for scheduling the Gallipoli commemoration on April 24, 2015. Erdogan's most recent statement that Armenians are trying to diminish the Gallipoli commemoration by holding their commemoration on April 24, 2015 makes him look ridiculous.
The worldwide Hai Tahd (Armenian Cause) movement will be energized by the centennial commemorations, creating greater momentum to call on Turkey to respond to growing calls for not just recognition by Turkey but justice, compensation and restitution for Turkey's crimes against humanity.
Turkey will continue to deny their guilt and will continue to blackmail other countries to not acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. They will, in the short term, only have mixed success in their blackmail efforts as the civilized world is losing patience with their patently hypocritical stance.
Post April 24, 2015, the Hai Tahd (Armenian Cause) movement will shine a greater spotlight on both legal and political efforts calling for restitution. Turkey will become increasingly isolated in their denial campaign."


 Shahan Kandaharyan, Editor-in-chief of Aztag Daily, Beirut (Lebanon):

In the political sense I don’t expect any drastic change or sharp turn on April 24. Political events have nothing to do with anniversaries or dates in general. But, of course, commemoration events dedicated to the Centenary of the Armenian Genocide will increase in number. Commemorative events dedicated to April 24 will be paid special attention to in different regions of Turkey. Such events will be allowed within certain limits and will address official Ankara, Turkish society, us, as an Armenian party, in general and international community.
With the behavior ՛՛one step forward, two steps back "՛ the Turkish party can demonstrate an imitative peaceful action and, as a gesture, take a step, such as a similar letter of condolence, statement on granting the rights of return or citizenship etc. Turkey has set a task to cast shadow on commemorative events of the Genocide Centenary through Gallipoli, but it will not succeed in it.
In the inter-Armenian sense, a file of legal documents on retribution will be prepared based on the defined provisions of Pan-Armenian Declaration in compliance with the international law. This will be the most significant Pan-Armenian turning point. But it may occur later than April 24.


Gaidz Minassian: French journalist and political expert:

This year, an event will take place which never happened before in the history of humanity: for the first time, the centenary of a genocide will be commemorated. However, it is up to each particular state, and each one of us, to deal with this anniversary in one’s own way. How will states and societies handle that event? What words will be heard? Will there be speeches asking Turkey to face its historical responsibilities? Or appeals for peace? Or calls for a change of paradigm among Armenians? Shall we see a change in pattern on the morning of 25th April, to something other than what has been done in the last 50 years? I personally wish for it. Today, everyone knows that the genocide happened, and it is not so much the claim for recognition that should prevail than the question of reparations. To my mind, this should be the new paradigm. Of course, it raises new issues: Who is legitimate to ask for reparations? The Armenian State? Not really. The Church or political parties? Neither. A new world organization of the Diaspora should thus be created on a democratic basis. Does it make sense to make a claim? And what exactly should be claimed? Is Turkey ready to accept such a claim? How will the international community react? I think, or at least hope, that a common dynamics will emerge from this event, and that we’ll move from the claim for recognition to something more concrete, towards reparations and better representation. At state level, Turkey does not deny the massacres of Armenians, and I think that the country will make a gesture, probably after the June parliamentary elections. Until then, statements will need to be examined by a committee of historical experts to build a “just memory” – a phrase coined by Paul Ricoeur but diverted from its original meaning by the Turkish government – and also include Turkish war victims in the commemoration, etc. Finally, much will depend on the impact of the anniversary in Yerevan and the international resonance of the event.


Sarkis Shahinian, Honorary President of the Switzerland-Armenia Association:

Denying its own past runs deep in Turkey whose identity is tightly connected to the genocide of Armenians on several levels – social, religious, political and territorial. Several criminals responsible for the genocide obtained high positions in the new Republic founded by Mustafa Kemal. It is a blatant fact that Ankara is maintaining denial through initiatives such as staging the celebrations of the next 24th April – organizing commemorations of the World War I Battle of Gallipoli (or Çanakkale) – thus trying to redeem its seriously damaged image in the field of human rights. What then is the challenge after 24th April 2015? It means that Turkey should stop the institutional denial of the genocide of Armenians and recognize its responsibility as a state that emanated from the Ottoman Empire; that it should stop identifying with the perpetrators of the crime; that it should ensure justice for the victims and examine its past, clearly showing to the new generation of survivors that the Turkish state assessed the gravity of the 1915 events and of their hundred years denial. And finally, it means that Turkey should make peace with Armenia by demilitarizing its border and discontinuing its military support to Azerbaijan. Time has come, also, for Armenians to face reality and re-examine their priorities, whether in the Diaspora or in Armenia, and it means taking into account the fundamental identity of the Armenian nation. This identity is based on the national security of the Republic of Armenia, which itself depends on the security of Artsakh (editor’s note: Nagorno-Karabakh), and on maintaining genuine traditions – its language, material heritage (architecture), as well as immaterial, religious and cultural legacies in Western Armenia (editor’s note: Eastern part of today’s Turkey) and contemporary Armenia. Armenians from around the world should look ahead and build an economically strong and democratic Armenia. This is what I am expecting from the powerful thrust of this coming Centenary of the Genocide of Armenians.


Hilda Tchoboian:  Regional Counselor for Rhône-Alpes (France):

Armenians have decided that 24th April 2015 would be a day of commemorations – i.e. a day to honour the memory of their dead. To this effect, Armenia has set up a world committee comprising government officials as well as representatives of Diaspora organizations, the Church, political parties, and pan-Armenian organizations. It also created a stamp, a logo and a label of which the rights of use have been entrusted to appointed delegates within a centralized pyramidal structure.A mass effect of the Centenary celebrations has been observed on institutions and the media, which can be felt through a wealth of articles in the general press, appearing even without particular effort on the part of Armenian institutions.The overall impression is of a precise and controlled organization of this Centenary. However, one looks in vain for the message that Armenians want to convey to the world. Shall we be satisfied with having the resolution for the prevention of genocides voted by the United Nations when the Armenian genocide has not been repaired either morally or materially? The “Memory against forgetting” message is now outdated – since the series of recognitions in the 1980s by national parliaments and international organizations. I shall leave to a later opportunity the analysis of the odyssey that led to criminalizing revisionism in France and in Europe, after being for so long the object of promises and trumpeting declarations. Less known is that on 24th April 1965, upon the 50th anniversary prohibited by the Soviet regime, demonstrators marched through Yerevan chanting “Our lands, our lands”. That 50th anniversary was a new beginning which shook off the lid that the Cold War had put over the truth of the genocide. Fifty years later, we must build upon what has already been obtained. And we do have all the elements in hand to set ourselves new goals: individual and collective reparations, civil and political rights of islamized Armenians in Turkey, reclaiming a Wilsonian Armenia. The centenary of the Genocide should serve to ensure the security of Armenia and Karabakh, still threatened by a new genocide. Because there can be no favourable wind for a boat sailing without a definite course.














































































































































Armenian genocide : recognition and reparations


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