Kristine Aghalaryan

Assyrian Community in Armenia Demands Recognition of Their Genocide in Turkey

Assyrians to make annual pilgrimmage to Tzitzernakaberd out of respect Razmik Khosron, representative of the Assyrian community in Armenia, stated today at a press conference that tomorrow, April 24, Assyrians living in Armenia would march to the Tzitzernakaberd Genocide Memorial Complex out of respect for the victims of the 1915 Genocide. Mr. Khosron noted that Assyrians living in the Ottoman Empire at the time were also uprooted and massacred on their historic homeland and that some 750,000 Assyrians were killed at the hands of the Ottoman government. The Assyrian community representative said that if the Armenian people mark April 24 as their day to commemorate the victims of the Genocide, Assyrians mark August 7, 1933 as their people’s "day of infamy. It was on that day, in the Iraqi village of Semel, when British soldiers razed the community to the ground and burnt 3,000 Assyrians in their churches and homes in the span of one day. Mr. Khosron stated that it was high time that the Assyrian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Turks also be internationally recognized, noting that the 750,000 Assyrians who died accounts for one-half of the community at the time. "What is most painful is that if the Armenian Genocide ended in the 1920’s, that of the Assyrian people continues till today," Mr. Khosron said. Turkey continues its policy of discrimination against the dwindling Assyrian community, forcing many to migrate, he added. He went on to say that the worldwide Assyrian nation of three million has demands of Turkey but that since they lack a government they cannot effectively make their voice heard on the international level like the Armenians. Today’s other speaker, Lina Yakoubova, is a film director with eight documentaries to her name, four of which deal with the Assyrian Genocide. She said that Assyrians could and must do more to get the message across about the Assyrian experience.