YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian issued a statement Sunday on the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Below is the translated text of the statement issued by the presidential press service:
Today is the 24th of April, and we commemorate the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
In 1915-1923 a crime against the Armenian nation, against humanity and civilization was committed, which at the time had no name. All the names and definitions – moral, legal, or political – given later are only provisional and only in part reflect what had really happened. The true scope and depth of the tragedy is known only to us, and every Armenian, in any corner of the world, feels devastating repercussions of the Mets Yeghern on his or her destiny in every sense – moral, cultural, linguistic and political.
The Ottoman Empire implemented at the state level the program of elimination and expulsion of the Armenian people. Throughout the process, at its every stage the murders, deportations, conversions and enslavement of the Armenians were viewed as routine trifles. As for foreign interventions, they failed to stop the perpetrators and in some instances pushed them towards even more gruesome acts.
However, despite every devious program and calculations, the Armenian nation survived the Mets Yeghern; survived with irreversible loses, fought against other calamities, which befell the nation in the 20th century, and triumphantly, with victoriously independent statehood ushered into a new millennium – a statehood that will never again allow the repetition of such a crime, a statehood that will defend its righteous cause and will struggle in the international forums not only for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but also for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide per se.
While in the 20-s of the last century, the task in front of our nation and our country was not to die, not to perish from the face of the earth, and to survive, Armenia of today has other tasks. Wide horizons of restoring historical justice, of development, of progress and creative work are opened before us.
The Republic of Armenia has been proving through its resolute steps that despite black pages of history, it strives for peace with the neighbors, including Turkey. Today in Turkey, more than ever, reasonable voices are being heard. We highly value the Turkish intellectuals, as well as many honest people all over the world, who have raised their voices in the name of justice.
Nevertheless, the official policy of Turkey carries on with the course of denial. Moreover, that policy becomes more “sophisticated”, becomes more, so to speak, “flexible”, and from time to time makes singular, formal-propaganda steps. For us one thing is incontestable: the policy of denial is a direct continuation of the Armenian Genocide. Any attempt to erase the tracks of a crime is a new crime.
Throughout the implementation of that murderous program, Armenians tried to defend themselves with whatever means they had – stones, teeth, rifles. But great many of them were defenseless. And this is a lesson, a bitter lesson.
I am confident that today, just like every year, a human stream towards the heights of Tsitsernakaberd of those who come to bow to the memory of innocent victims, will not cease. But I also know, I am confident that that stream will carry different Armenians, the Armenians who learned the lesson.