Nicosia, April 24, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades traveled yesterday to Yerevan, where today he joined other heads of state and officials for the main commemoration event marking the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
Also in the Armenian capital are Cypriots MP Marios Garoyian (DIKO) and Giorgos Varnava (EDEK), attending the Global Forum “Against the Crime of Genocide.”
More than 20 nations – including Cyprus, France and Russia – have so far recognised the Armenian genocide, a definition supported by numerous historians.
In 1975, Cyprus became the first European country (and the second worldwide, after Uruguay) to officially recognise it, via a unanimous parliamentary resolution.
And earlier this month, the island made it a crime to deny that Ottoman Turks committed genocide against Armenian Turks a century ago.
All political parties issued statements of condemnation.
Addressing the ceremony to mark the centennial commemoration of the Medz Yeghem in Yerevan, Nicos Anastasiades said that Cyprus and Armenia are united in condemning the perpetrators of the genocide.
The President stressed that it is high time to recognize historical facts as this would pave the way for the normalization of relations with neighboring countries
and contribute to world peace.
“Cyprus was the first European country to have recognized the Armenian genocide. It is only natural that Cyprus and Armenia are united in condemning the perpetrators of the genocide. Armenia and Cyprus are both victims of impunity,” the President added.
Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island`s northern third. Thousand were killed , gone missing and displaced.
“It should hence be no surprise that we both put our faith in international law, peace, the respect of the sovereign right of peoples to decide their future and the respect of human rights. These characteristics stem from our interwoven history and the struggles of our peoples who persevered for survival and safety”, Anastasiades remarked.
President Anastasiades recalled that after the evacuation of Cilicia 100 years ago, Armenian refugee ships, crowded with people devastated by the heinous and relentless persecution and famine, found a safe haven in neighboring Cyprus. “Cypriots are proud of the fact that the children and grandchildren of these refugees constitute today a vivid and important part of Cypriot society, preserving and honoring their worthy origins”, he added.
The President said that it is high time to recognize historical facts as this would pave the way for the normalization of relations with neighboring countries, and would undoubtedly contribute to world peace, noting “our united presence is also a call for an act of consciousness. It is our duty not to turn our back or act in defiance of the tragic reality and a historical fact”.
Remembering the Medz Yeghem and honoring the herculean strength of the Medz Yeghem, survivors who make up the Armenian nation and the prolific Armenian Diaspora of today, is hence a duty of the entire humankind, the President said, concluding “we remember and demand”.