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Armenian Genocide Press Release for Christian Solidarity - 19 January 2001

IN 1915 Armenians inhabiting in the Ottoman Empire were subjected to a policy of genocide. Within two years, almost 2 million people were subjected to a genocidal campaign. Over 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated and survivor fled to the four corners of the globe.

Most of historic Armenia was emptied of its native Armenian population and absorbed into the present Turkish state. Armenian historical sites have been desecrated, and churches and monasteries destroyed. Turkey still denied the genocide of Armenians.

The 1915 destruction of Armenians remains one of the seminal events that shaped the modern world. It did not only result in the destruction of an ancient people. The genocide of Armenians became a precursor to other genocides in the modern era. In 1939, Adolph Hitler himself commented when advocateding the mass annihilation of his victims, "After all, who today remembers the extermination of Armenians?"

The lessons of the Armenian Genocide and its denial can not be lost on other potentially genocidal regimes today. The spectre of future genocides will not change as long as we condone genocide and genocidal states in our midst's. Britain should join other European states, such as France, Sweden, Italy and Greece and recognise the genocide of Armenians.

NOTE Armenians are an ancient Christian people. Most Armenians belong to the Armenian Apostolic church (which commemorates its 1,700 anniversary this year), but there is sizeable number of Catholics and Evangelicals. The major centres of the Armenian Apostolic church are in Etchmiadzin (in the Armenian Republic) and Antelias (Lebanon). There are also the two Patriarchates of Jerusalem and Constantinople. Catholicism spread amongst Armenians primarily in the 17th century, and there is a Catholic Armenian monastic order based in Venice and Vienna. The Evangelical movement spread amongst Armenians in the 19th century, following the activities of American missionaries. These were mainly Congregationalists and Presbyterians.

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