YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–An alarm was sounded Thursday in Armenia–when the vice-chairman of the presidential commission on the 85th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide announced that most of the events slated to mark the milestone will not take place due to financial constraints and governmental apathy.
During a press conference–Lavrenty Barseghian–who is also the curator of the Genocide Museum and Institute said that several projects were planned–including the production of a film and the publication of books and volumes on the Genocide. However–he said–none of those projects will get off the ground due to financial constraints.
Barseghian said that only an academic symposium on the Genocide will take place–adding–however–that the said project was downsized–again due to lack of financial resources.
Barseghian reported that since its inauguration–the Genocide Museum has had more than one million visitors and the institute has published more than 40 publications regarding the Genocide. He stressed–however–that these projects were completed due to the efforts of few individuals.
"There does not exist a governmental approach to these projects–and this is occurring in a climate where the Genocide issue was to have been the cornerstone of Armenia’s foreign policy," said Barseghian–who added that the government has no right to demonstrate such apathy regarding this important issue–while neighboring Turkey and Azerbaijan are doing their utmost to deny the Genocide.
Barseghian said that the Armenian Genocide was first recognized by Turkish military courts in 1919. He asserted that Turkey must now recognize the Genocide just as the Germans recognized the Holocaust against the Jews–since only through the recognition of the Genocide can Armenia-Turkey relations improve. He also added that in 1919 the Turkish damages to Armenia’s were estimated at 55 billion fran’s.
The curator also discussed the recent refusal by the French Senate to include on its agenda the discussion and passage of a Genocide Resolution. He stated that the French Senate and government gave in to pressures from Turkey–which threatened to renege on almost $6 billion of business with France.
Barseghian announced that the Genocide Museum is the only institution devoted to the Armenian Genocide and all materials related to that crime should be compiled in that center. He added that last year–the museum received 15,000-page archives from the German government which included photographs and other visual proofs. The museum is slated to receive 8,000 pages from Austria and three volumes on the Genocide from the Vatican.