The Armenian community in Cyprus marked on Friday the 105th anniversary of the Armenian genocide by Turkey, during which around 1.5 million people died between 1915 and 1923.
The killings were a result of tortures, killings, massacres or forced deaths in the desert of Deir ez-Zor.
Vartkes Mahdessian, the representative of the Armenian community in the Cyprus House of Representatives, told the Cyprus News Agency that because of the measures against the Covid-19 spread, the events oragnised for this year’s anniversary have been cancelled.
In the morning, however, a small commemoration event took place at the Sourp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Cathedral in Nicosia. During the ceremony, Archbishop Horen Togramatzian and Mahdessian laid wreathes at the Armenian genocide monument. Mahdessian also laid a wreath on behalf of the Cyprus House president. Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou attended the event.
Cyprus was among the first countries in Europe to officially recognise the mass murders in 1975, while 31 more countries have recognised the crimes as a genocide.
The House of Representatives, in a statement to mark the day, condemned the Armenian genocide which, it said, it was a “horrible crime against humanity” and expressed solidarity and support to the Armenian people.
“One of the darkest pages in the history of mankind is April 24, 1915, the date of the beginning of the Armenian genocide by the Young Turks,” parliament said.
It recalled that it was the first European parliament to recognise the Armenian genocide, “and we will continue to work for international recognition of this heinous crime.”
Approximately 4,000 Armenians live in Cyprus. Most of them are descendants of people who fled to the island in the early 1920s.
Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.