UNESCO Rejects Ottoman Anniversary Proposal

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenia welcomed the United Nations Educational–Scientific and Cultural Organization General Assembly’s rejection of a Turkish proposal to mark the 700th anniversary of the Ottoman Empire as part of the organization’s annual schedule.

The Assmebly–in consensus and without Armenia’s participation–did approve a resolution to participate in only the multi-national aspects of marking the scientific and cultural heritage of the Ottoman Empire. Armenia–Turkey and the UNESCO leadership agreed to the resolution.

The passage of the resolution followed week-long negotiations on the issue–and Foreign Minister Alexander Arzoumanian expressed his content with the outcome–although a letter of protest was sent to the UNESCO leadership on the resolution.

In a press conference Friday–Arzoumanian praised the Diaspora–specifically the Armenian Revolutionary Federation for its tireless efforts in pursuing this issue–by organizing demonstrations and letter writing campaigns in Paris–among other locales.

The Foreign Ministry concluded that under the resolution the cultures of peoples under Ottoman rule may also be celebrated.

The Republic of Turkey asked UNESCO for the approval of its proposal in May–following which various Armenian communities began expressing their concerns and protests regarding the proposal.

Arzoumanian went on to say that the celebration of the political aspects of any empire–particularly the Ottoman Empire–is not acceptable.

"I can assure you that UNESCO will not celebrate the establishment of any state or empire any more–and that is due to the principaled stance of the Armenian delegation," he said.

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