Plans for 100th Anniversary Appeal: Leader of commission says unity needed in quest for Genocide Recognition

Secretary of the State Commission on Coordination of the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide believes the most important issue of 2015 will be to form a united, pan-Armenian agenda on genocide recognition, followed by definite actions.

Wednesday, April 24, will mark the 98th anniversary of the massacre committed against the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire during the years of WWI, which led to the death of 1.5 million.

Commission Secretary Hayk Demoyan, in charge of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute said during a discussion held in Yerevan on Monday that radically different and often mutually-exclusive viewpoints on the Genocide recognition issue hinder greatly the work of the commission created by presidential decree on April 23, 2011.

The state commission is led by President Serzh Sargsyan and has representatives of Armenia’s and Diaspora’s political, religious, scientific, and lobbying structures. So far the commission has held two sessions only, and will call another one on May 30.

Demoyan reports that the main task of the commission is the submission to international instances of a united, consensual legal package as a legal claim against Turkey.

“However, before that, it is very important for the commission to be able to solve one fundamental issue – harmonize our ideas, approaches, after which we would formulate a single pan-Armenian claim. We have completely different opinions on where and how to submit, and most importantly what to demand,” he says, adding that the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide should not be viewed as the end of the struggle, but as a launching point for new ways, new methods.

Expert in Turkish studies Artak Shakaryan believes that the creation of the commission was belated. He says it should have been done around the 90th anniversary.

“The commission has held only two sessions since 2011, the third will be held in May, during which decisions on principles and approaches are yet to be made. We have only one year left to prepare for the100th anniversary, but we are just now deciding what to do, just now drafting suggestions. To my mind, the process is very slow,” Shakaryan said.