Humanitarian catastrophe causes a stir among Armenian and Azeri MPs
By Messenger Staff
Friday, April 17A discussion about recognizing The Humanitarian Catastrophe on April 1915 as the Armenian genocide took place in the Georgian parliament a couple of days ago. The topic is a very sensitive one, as it is closely related to Georgia’s neighboring states.
According to the information provided and advocated by the Armenian side in 1915, the Ottoman government embarked upon the systemic liquidation of its civilian population.
The persecutions continued until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire ceased to exist and was replaced by the Republic of Turkey. The Armenian population of the Ottoman State was reported at about two million in 1915. An estimated one million had perished by 1918, while hundreds of thousands had become homeless and stateless refugees.
Turkey rejects the use of the term genocide to describe the killings, arguing it was a civil war in which people on both sides died.
It is calling for a joint study by historians on what happened.
The Pope has already touched upon the issue, saying that humanity had lived through "three massive and unprecedented tragedies" in the last century.
"The first, which is widely considered the first genocide of the 20th Century, struck your own Armenian people," he said, in a form of words used in a declaration by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
The European Parliament has also appealed to Turkey to recognize the genocide of the Armenian people by the Ottoman Empire and open archives. The body has already asked the two sides to open their borders and cooperate.
Turkish President Erdogan said that when political or religious leaders played the role of historians, what resulted was "delirium, not fact".
The topic was raised by in Georgia’s parliament by Akhalkalaki MP Samvel Petrosian. He referred requested the parliament to recognize the genocide and condemn it.
In response, Georgia’s ethnic Azeri MP Azer Suleimanov said that discussing the issue was not the business of the Georgian parliament.
“The Turkish president has stated multiple times that the archives are open and everyone can study it. More Turks than Armenians were killed 100 years ago. Historians and not Georgia’s parliament should get involved in the topic,” he said.
Fellow Azeri MP Makhir Darziev warned that the recognition of the genocide would strain Georgian-Turkish relations.
Member of the opposition United National Movement Nugzar Tsiklauri appealed to MPs to refrain from disputing the issue, as Georgia is an exemplary country where Armenians and Azeri people have lived in peace for centuries.