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Armenia to commemorate victims of genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Empire in 1915

April 24, 2016, 8:29 UTC+3 YEREVAN

Funeral services will be held at all Armenian churches in the country and abroad

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© Photo ITAR-TASS / Artur Lebedev

YEREVAN, April 24 /TASS/. Armenia and Armenians around the globe will commemorate the victims of genocide of Armenian population that took place in the Ottoman Empire in 1915. This date is another black day in Armenia’s official calendar along with the 1988 devastating earthquake in the Armenian town of Spitak.

A memorial complex on the Tsitsernakaberd (The Swallow Fortress) Hill from where Armenia’s capital Yerevan can be seen in full view will be the target of mass pilgrimage on Sunday. The memorial was unveiled in in 1967 following a decision of the government of Soviet Armenia.

The Armenian leadership headed by President Serzh Sargsyan and the hierarchs of the Armenian Apostolic Church to be headed by Catholicos Garegin II will visit the Tsitsernakaberd Hill on Sunday morning. Funeral services will be held at all Armenian churches in the country and abroad. The Armenian Apostolic Church has canonized the genocide victims.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first leader of modern Russia to visit the Yerevan memorial on September 15, 2001.

Armenia seeks international recognition and condemnation of the act of genocide. A number of countries have done that. Greece and France have passed relevant laws. The Russian State Duma condemned the genocide of the Armenian people in a resolution adopted in 1995. The original of that resolution has been kept in a museum-institute of genocide that was opened next to the memorial the same year - in 1995.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a memorial ceremony devoted to the genocide’s centenary anniversary on the Tsitsernakaberd Hill in 2015.

"We genuinely sympathize with the Armenian people who suffered one of the most terrible tragedies in human history. More than 1.5 million peaceful civilians were either killed or maimed; more than 600,000 were evicted from their homes and subject to mass reprisals. Many priceless architectural monuments and holy sites were destroyed and ancient books and invaluable manuscripts were burnt," Putin said.

"Russia is a participant and initiator of a number of legal documents, which laid down the foundation of contemporary international criminal law, including the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide," Putin went on to say.

"The world community is obliged to do everything possible to prevent the recurrence of the tragic events of the past so that peoples could live in peace and accord without knowing the horrors, to which the incitement of religious hatred, aggressive nationalism and xenophobia, may lead," the Russian president stressed.

"Armenia in the XXI century will be a leader in the struggle against the crime of genocide," Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said in his speech at the global forum "Against the Crime of Genocide" in Yerevan on Saturday.

"We have a clear vision that it is necessary to strengthen absolute understanding that genocide is impossible if we want to protect ourselves against such tragedies," the Armenian president said.

The genocide issue has been marring Armenia’s relations with Turkey for decades. Ankara is still refusing to recognize those tragic events as genocide. It considers the actions of the Ottoman authorities against the empire’s Armenian population to be legitimate because in conditions of WWI, which was raging in Europe, the Armenians sympathized with Russia and supported it. Armenia and Turkey have not established diplomatic relations despite having a 330-kilometer-long common border.

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