Rallies have been staged in several countries to protest against claims an Armenian “genocide” was carried out in 1915 under the Ottoman Empire.
Protests were held across nations including Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Australia as well as Palestine on Friday, April 24, the day on which the Armenian city of Yerevan commemorates those killed in the 1915 events.
In Kyrgyzstan, more than 100 Kyrgyz youths staged a silent walk to condemn the Armenian claims relating to the events.
Gathered at the foot of the Tian Shan mountain, they held banners with slogans including: “We condemn the Armenian genocide lie” and “O world, do not believe the Armenian genocide lie”.
Ahiska Turks and Azeri Associations in Kyrgyzstan also condemned the claims at several events held around the country.
In Australia, a group of Armenians and Assyrians protested in the center of the Melbourne city and marched to a park near the Turkish Consulate in Melbourne.
More than 300 Turks living in Australia also staged a protest condemning the Armenian claims.
Tens of Palestinians protested against Armenian claims in front of Al-Aqsa Mosque after Friday prayers.
In Tripoli in northern Lebanon, people protested by hanging the Turkish flag in their houses and work places.
Turkmen and Uzbeks living in Afghanistan also demonstrated in an event held in the Turkmen Council Center in Mazar-i-Serif city.
The head of the Turkish History Association, Refik Turan, told The Anadolu Agency on Friday that there was not a single document in existence to prove the Armenian claims of genocide, which he said were “baseless”.
Assistant Prof. Dr. Abdulaziz Kardash, a lecturer at Yuzuncu Yil University in Van Province in eastern Turkey, said: “According to our archives, there was absolutely no genocide during the 1915 events.”
Turkish members of parliament, journalists, writers and many academics signed a joint declaration condemning the Armenian rhetoric against Turks and Turkey in the 100th anniversary of the 1915 events.
The declaration stated the Armenian authorities’ actions, Pope’s description of events and other western countries’ stance regarding them are not based on historic facts and accused Armenians of having “killed thousands of helpless and innocent mothers and children through torture.”
Armenia on April 24 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 1915 events.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande participated in commemorative events in Yerevan on Friday.
Armenia wants Turkey to recognize the 1915 events as genocide and has asked for compensation from Ankara.
Turkey has called for the establishment of a joint commission of historians and the opening of archives to study and uncover what happened between the Ottoman Empire and its Armenian citizens.
The 1915 events took place during World War I when a portion of the Armenian population living in the Ottoman Empire sided with the invading Russians and revolted.
The relocation by the Ottomans of Armenians in eastern Anatolia following the revolts resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey does not dispute that there were casualties on both sides, but rejects the definition of “genocide.”