World Commemorates Armenian Genocide
04/24/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Today marks the annual day when the world commemorates the 1915 Armenian genocide committed by Ottoman-era Turks. This day was chosen as the commemoration because it was when 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were arrested, deported, and later massacred. This marked the start of a years’ long genocide which specifically targeted ethnic Christians. Millions of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians were murdered.
Normally, commemoration events are held in Turkey although the authorities make every attempt to discourage these kinds of events. The government does not necessarily ban individuals from mentioning the genocide, but through other indirect means, the outcome is often the same. The government refuses to acknowledge the genocide, at times even calling it a justified action. Though the world acknowledges the historical accuracy of the genocide, Turkey calls it a false interpretation. As such, public commemoration events in Turkey are often a subject of great controversy.
However, COVID-19 does impact the ability for normal public commemoration activities. Many have moved to an online version. Given that the government remains hostile and sensitive towards commemoration activities, and that the authorities have increased their attempts to restrict free speech online, it is important to watch their response today and in the following weeks.
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