Hundreds of thousands gathered in Yerevan yesterday to mark 90 years since the murder of up to 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman empire and to add their voices to an international campaign to press Turkey to admit genocide.
Authorities led by President &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2001/09/14/15230.html ' target=_blank>Robert Kocharyan hoped for 1.5 million people to visit a giant hilltop memorial in the capital of Armenia as the former Soviet republic seeks international recognition of the genocide of its people under Turkish rule.
Many members of the Armenian diaspora worldwide converged on Yerevan for remembrance ceremonies and to join the Christian republic's 3.8 million inhabitants in a minute of silence at 7pm.
While Turkey acknowledges the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of deaths, it denies that there was a state-sponsored extermination plan, a stance that has complicated its hopes of joining the European Union. Accession talks are due to start this year, tells the Trelegraph. Turkey acknowledges that large numbers of Armenians died, but says the figures cited today are inflated and that the deaths occurred in the civil unrest during the disintegration of the troubled &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/20/91/366/14874_.html ' target=_blank>Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
Canada, France, Russia and many other countries have already declared the killings were genocide.
Armenians say that no country stood up to protect their citizens as the slaughter continued until 1923.
However, today France is suggesting it will block Turkey's entry into the European Union until the genocide is recognized.