YEREVAN (Armenpress)-The Armenian Genocide was only possible in the absence of an Armenian State that would otherwise have protected the security of its people, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said Thursday during the official commemoration of the 93rd Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide held at the Dzidzernagapert Genocide Memorial Monument.
The commemoration saw Hundreds of thousands of Armenia’s in the Republic of Armenia march to Genocide Memorial in Yerevan to commemorate the loss of 1.5 million Armenia’s brutally massacred in Western Armenia by Ottoman Turkey between 1915-1923.
"As a result of the genocide, over a million Armenia’s were annihilated and stripped of their native land," Sarkisian said. "Centuries of cultural development were destroyed and are being destroyed even today."
"One thing is absolutely clear, such a crime was only possible in the absence of an Armenian state," Sarkisian noted. "Today, on April 24 we must truly appreciate what it means to have an Armenian state. The Armenian nation should develop and strengthen, embracing our state as the guarantor of our people’s security."
Also present at the commemoration to lay flowers at the memorial were Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, Speaker of the Parliament Tigran Torosian, Catholicos of All Armenia’s Karekin II, parliament and government members, senior clergy and top army brass. The heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Yerevan were also present to lay wreathes at the Memorial. Wreaths were also laid on behalf of the government ministries and agencies, the country’s political parties, student unions and civic society organizations.
His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II conducted a special memorial service for the victims’ souls. While liturgies and special ceremonies for the souls of the victims were held in churches across Armenia and the throughout the world.
"There is no family in Armenia that does not mourn today with us, there is no family that has not been affected by this great tragedy-directly or indirectly. Therefore we have to learn a lesson from our history," Sargsyan told reporters after the ceremony. "May God give us wisdom to [learn from history], so that such tragedies never happen again."
"The most important lesson of the past is that we cannot achieve true safety and security, if we are divided and separated," echoed President Sarkisian. "We cannot prevent major disasters from recurring if we fail to have a strong state. As a nation, we cannot and should not forget our history"
To date, the countries that have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide include Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela. Although part of the United Kingdom, Wales also officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Parliament of the State of New South Wales, Australia passed a resolution acknowledging and condemning the Armenian Genocide in 1997.
Meanwhile, international bodies that recognize the Armenian genocide include the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the International Center for Transitional Justice, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the World Council of Churches and the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal.
The Armenian genocide has been recognized by 40 US states and the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.
"International recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide is an appropriate and inevitable part of Armenia’s foreign policy agenda," he added. "The Motherland of all Armenia’s–the Republic of Armenia–should double its efforts for the gaining justice."
Denial of the Armenian Genocide cannot go on much longer as many countries have already condemned Turkey’s denial, he explained, adding that recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide is not just an Armenian issue.
"Crimes against humanity bear a universal significance and must receive a universal recognition," the President remarked. "Our goals have nothing to do with animosity or revenge. While keeping the memory of the innocent victims alive, presently we are ready to establish normal relation with Turkey without any preconditions."