by Nana Martirosyan
Armenia will continue exerting efforts for international recognition of the Genocide of Armenians, Pontic Greek, and Assyrians. Vice Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, Spokesperson of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, Eduard Sharmazanov told reporters on 19 May. Sharmazanov attended the Armenian Genocide Memorial to pay tribute to the victims of the Genocide of the Pontic Greek.
The politician said it was genocide of the Christian population (Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians) residing in the territory of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1923. Sharmazanov said that in 2011 the Armenian National Assembly urged the world parliaments to recognize the Genocide of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians, as those genocides were a single link. "We will do our best to achieve international recognition of the Genocide of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians," Sharmazanov said.
In response to ArmInfo's question about the diplomatic efforts of Armenia to that end, Sharmazanov said that the parliamentary diplomacy is quite active and seeks to explain the world community that recognition of the Armenian Genocide is important not only to Armenia, but also to all the countries, because it will help prevent such crimes against humanity in future. "In the 21st century by forgiving Turkey that strives to the European Union, they create new conditions for repetition of genocides," he said. Greek Ambassador to Armenia Ioannis Taghis, in turn, said that the Genocide of Pontic Greeks is a very important issue, especially for the countries with big Greek communities. "Those countries have already recognized the fact of Genocide. The Greek Parliament has already recognized the fact of Genocide, which is a serious step towards its international recognition," the ambassador said. He thinks the compensation issues can be raised only after international recognition of the Genocide of Greeks. The Greek people has very closely connected with Armenia, most of the Pontic Greek escaped to Armenia, and there is now a big Greek community, which is part of the Armenian society. It is one of the important components of the history of Armenia and Greece that brings us together," he said.
In 1994, May 19 was selected by the Greek parliament as the day to commemorate the Pontic Greek Genocide by the Turks. In March 1915 Young Turks massacred Greeks drafted to the Turkish army near Smyrna (now Izmir) and in the Pontic region on the Black Sea coast. Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal committed ethnic purges of the Greek population in Turkey in the course of the Greek-Turkish war in 1919-1922. On May 19 1919 Kemal launched a second wave of massacre in Samsun, which is marked as Day to commemorate the Greek genocide. By different assessments, 350,000 - 1,2 million Greeks were annihilated.