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Official News

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Remarks by Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan at the official dinner in honor of “Against the Crime of Genocide” global forum participants



Dear Guests,
Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to be with you this evening. Just a century ago, on April 24, the perpetrators who had planned the extermination of Armenians, started with the arrests and killings of two hundred and fifty intellectuals.

The criminals were sure that uprooted from centuries-old ancestral homes, subjected to massacres and inhuman sufferings, doomed to death in the sands of the desert, the type of an Armenian would disappear. But it turned out that there is no such power, at least in this earthly life, able to exterminate the people who were the first to learn of the eternity of the soul, advocate the idea of salvation and resurrection.

Now, as we commemorate our one and a half million innocent victims, we are looking back at their path of suffering and bow down to their eternal memory.

What I am going to tell you is not a long story: it is the one told in any Armenian family living in Armenia or Turkey, Russia or France, North and South America, the Middle East or Australia; it is our families’ history.

The Turkish State has killed its citizens who were not involved in World War I as a conflicting side; they were peaceful civilians and were killed for the sole reason of being Armenians.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are often asked why we are so much talking about the Genocide of Armenians; many are even surprised that it can be an agenda item in the 21st century. Nevertheless, last year we all witnessed the massacre of the Yezidi people who were killed for their ethnic and religious affiliation. The Yezidi refugees walked the same path of hell as the Armenians.

We all have to admit that as an international community, we have no reliable mechanisms to prevent such developments. Moreover, we can see growing cynicism, violent behavior and rhetoric. This is today’s reality. Here is the problem.

Dear Guests,

The Turkish nationalists hoped that by committing the Genocide of the Armenian people, they could resolve the Armenian issue as they thought best. Some of them even believed that the door to the future had been closed forever before the Armenians, and that they were the ones to have closed it.

Now we state the following: the Armenians used to lead a creative life in their homeland for thousands of years as a nation. We follow the path of eternity, and we will never give in.

Moreover, even the ordeal of physical extermination and expulsion from our homeland, as well as the attempts of religious and ethnic conversion never filled us with dismay. The Young Turks’ arsenal was not enough to eliminate a civilized nation.

The assassination of Hrant Dink alone is just enough to see that the arsenal of tools is still being used. I reiterate: we have become even stronger instead of growing weaker in spirit. We survived and were reborn; we reinstated our nationhood as part of the family of nations. Indeed, we got hit hard; we went through some bitter experiences and have become more cautious and circumspect. But that ill experience has helped us to be brave where we had to.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We regret to note that the word “Armenian” is still deemed to be an insult and bad language in modern Turkey, which only has one rival State in this matter. Turkey is the only country in the world where Armenians are overwhelmingly bearing non-Armenian names for fear of being persecuted. Note that I am not talking about the Turkey that used to be in 1915, but that of 2015. Even nowadays people are afraid of trying to restore their Armenian names and surnames. This is a criterion for us.

At the same time, we admit that there is a major shift in Turkey. Today, books and articles are being published on the Armenian Genocide and related issues. Some ten years ago, publications like that were simply impossible. As uncertain as it can seem, it is a step forward. Non-Turkish citizens in that country can now speak more openly and boldly of their ethnic identity and rights.

More and more Turkish intellectuals are calling on the authorities to face their own history, including the dark chapters. Our message is clear to the Turkish society. We expect observance of dignity in dealings with all citizens and history.

Dear Colleagues,

Many are well aware of Hitler’s ill-omened remarks through which he used to encourage his soldiers. He gave a pledge of impunity by asking: “Now who remembers the massacres of the Armenians?” Today, we say that we do remember like millions of other people around the world.

We remember the names of those Turkish and Kurdish neighbors who put their lives at risk by saving Armenian children. We remember those Arab Bedouins who picked up, hid and saved the lives of numerous Armenian children all the way through the caravans of death lost in the desert. It is impossible to read out here the names of all those kind people, but we remember them name by name.

We also remember the executioners of the Armenian people. The sons of the Armenian people have not forgotten and will never forget all the executioners of the Armenian Genocide. We will never forget the names of those key executioners who were later convicted by the Turkish court.

No good or evil deed will be forgotten. We remember and we demand!

Dear Guests,

Thank you for joining us today. I wish you fruitful work and exciting contacts in Armenia. You are welcome.
 

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