Armenians from all around the world are marking the 100 years commemoration of the Ottoman killings of up to 1.5 million of their people. Turkey still refuses to recognize the act as genocide.
In a procession to a memorial in the capital Yerevan, Armenians will lay candles and flowers near an eternal flame, as members of the diaspora, relatives of those who fled the country from the slaughter commemorate the sad anniversary.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande are expected to travel to Armenia for the commemorations, but others important world leaders are not going to attend the ceremony, fearing it will upset Ankara.
In an unusual procession on Thursday, the Armenian Church offered sainthood to all those massacred by Ottoman fighters a century ago, in the largest canonization service in history.
More than 20 states have so far recognized the Armenian genocide, a definition which is supported by many historians.
German President Joachim Gauck angered Turkey after he called the massacres as genocide for the first time, during a religious service commemorating the events that happened a century ago.
Mr Gauck explained the then German empire, which was allied to Ottoman Turkey in WWI, “shared responsibility and possibly guilt for the genocide”, adding that Germany sent soldiers who “planned and, in part, carrying out the deportations”.
Ankara on Wednesday issued a recall for its ambassador in Austria in response to Viennese lawmakers’ act to condemn the killings as “genocide”.
Turkey has said that half a million of people were killed during those events, mostly due to starvation and war. The country rejects the use the term genocide.
US President Barack Obama on Thursday described the World War I massacre as “terrible carnage”, not mentioning the world genocide. Commemorations expected to draw millions of people in Yerevan, but also in cities like Paris, Los Angeles and others where important Armenian minorities are found. The events will come a day after the canonization service for the 1.5 million Armenians that most historians suggest to have perished in the massacre.
Ex-Soviet Armenia, along with the Armenian diaspora worldwide, have fought for decades for the recognition of the Ottoman Genocide, which took place between 1915 and 1917. But modern Turkey, which was came to exist after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, has refused to admit its past crimes, while relations between the two countries remain frozen to this day.
Image Source: Time To Analyze