The Armenian Genocide at the Stockholm Forum

STOCKHOLM (Armenpress)–During the last plenary panel of the Stockholm International Forum on the Prevention of Genocide–which ended on Wednesday–heads of state delegations addressed the theme–"Next Steps toward Genocide Prevention." The panel covered those genocides that have occurred during the last 15 years–in plain view of the civilized world. The Armenian Genocide of 1915–however–was an inescapable part of speeches.

The defense minister of Cyprus noted that the undertaking to prevent future genocides can begin only with the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

Greece’s foreign minister stressed the importance of recognizing genocides at the highest state level in order to prevent reoccurrences–and said that with Greece’s 1995 recognition of the Armenian Genocide–France followed suit–paving the way for other countries.

Professor Samantha Power–one of the panelists in the plenary session "Identifying the Threats," spoke of the historical–social–and religious parallels of genocides–referring to the Armenian Genocide as a main source.

University of Stockholm University professor Lex Hansson noted that the issue of the Armenian Genocide must consistently be kept alive and referred to–because similarities exist at the root of all such crimes.

Professor Ayse Akyel from Turkey’s Bogazici University–and a member of the Turkish delegation at the Forum–told Armenpress that establishing an international day to commemorate genocide victims would be an effective measure in overall efforts to prevent repetition of such crimes by raising general awareness.

Asked by an Armenpress correspondent about Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Margarian’s suggestion at the Forum that the United Nations declare 2005 as the "Year of Struggle Against Wars–Genocides–Deportations and Violation of Human Rights," Akyel responded: "I do not think that the year of 2005 has anything to do with what happened in 1915 [2005 marks the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide].

Akyel said that Armenia’s and Turks have to seek to establish good neighborly relations–not look to the past–as do Armenia’s in the Diaspora–who fail to realize the importance of normal relations between Turkey and Armenia. "They are talking about the facts of the past–but we have to look in future," he said–adding that constant accusations on both sides simply help to foster hatred.

Another conference participant Payam Akhavan–a former member of the International Court of Justice–told Armenpress that the failure of governmen’s to condemn the Armenian genocide led to the systematic annihilation of Jews by the Nazi Germany. "By acknowledging the 1915 genocide–Turkey would make a step forward to democracy and get rid of its burden of past."

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