YEREVAN—“Auschwitz is the Der Zor of the Jews,” said President Serzh Sarkisian in a speech delivered Wednesday at the historic mass grave-site of Armenian Genocide victims, adding that the details of the atrocities that took place at Der Zor were well known even to those “who publicly deny the veracity of the [Armenian] Genocide.”
Sarkisian also made an apparent reference to recent comments by, among others, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that a so-called “historic commission,” as cited in the Armenia-Turkey protocols, will be tasked to address the Genocide issue. Sarkisian provided perspective by saying that “It is inappropriate to cite some commission of historians, since the Armenia-Turkey protocols task the creation of a mere governmental sub-commission on historic matters. I assume everyone understands what it means and what the differences are.”
He then blasted the use of the Armenian-Turkey normalization process as a justification for not recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian president went on to urge all those who are discussing the Armenian Genocide and its recognition to “remember this desert, remember the ruined fate of millions and this ancient people deprived of their homeland.”
“What has brought me here is the greatest pain of my nation—the first genocide of the 20th Century and the greatest disgrace of the civilized world. The stigma of that shame, even in the 21st century, stains those who have turned the denial of obvious facts into their policy, have turned into a bargaining chip and into a norm of their behavior and lifestyle,” said Sarkisian.
Armenians in Der Zor, Sarkisian said, were doomed to lose their life “in accordance with the state orchestrated and meticulously developed plan of extermination.”
“The most horrifying acts of the tragedy took place in the desert of Der Zor. It is neither possible to describe the specifics of the tragedy in a language known to humankind, nor will I attempt it, since those details are well-known even to those who publicly deny the veracity of the Genocide,” said Sarkisian.
“Quite often historians and journalists correctly compare De Zor with Auschwitz saying that ‘Der Zor is the Auschwitz of the Armenians.’ I think the chronology of events forces us to formulate the facts in a different manner: ‘Auschwitz is the Deir ez Zor of the Jews.’ Merely a generation later humanity witnessed the De Zor of the Jews,” said Sarkisian. “Today, as the President of the Republic of Armenia, the homeland of all Armenians, I am here to ask: ‘Where and when will our Nuremberg [trials] be held?”
Despite the Genocide and all that has happened, Sarkisian said Armenian stands ready to normalize relations with the republic of Turkey. “We are ready to have open borders and economic relations; we are ready to take steps toward building confidence between the people of Armenia and Turkey; we are ready to bring closer the two societies by breaking stereotypes and myths that have nothing to do with reality and have developed throughout decades in the absence of any meaningful relations,” he said.
“We do this sincerely since we believe that neighboring people have no alternative but to coexist and develop, and, at least as a start, through the implementation of what has been proposed and is still on the table,” the Armenian leader added. “The signing of the Armenian-Turkish protocols presented us with an historic opportunity that should have its logical conclusion.”
“However, we do not accept the manner in which the Armenian-Turkish dialogue is being used as reasoning to refrain from recognizing the Armenian Genocide. It is inappropriate to cite some commission of historians, since the Armenia-Turkey protocols task the creation of a mere governmental sub-commission on historic matters. I assume everyone understands what it means and what the differences are,” he said.