Armenians ask Turkey to recognise genocide 90 years on

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of thousands of people have marched through the Armenian capital, Yerevan, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

Hundreds of thousands of people have marched through the Armenian capital, Yerevan, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

As Armenians across the world marked the grim anniversary, a British genocide prevention charity urged the Government to recognise the genocide, and to encourage Turkey to do likewise.

Up to 1.5 million Christian Armenians were slaughtered during the First World War by the Ottoman government in what was then Turkish Armenia.

Although France, which is home to 400,000 Armenians, and eight other European states have officially recognised the massacre as genocide, Turkey has refused to do so.

The German parliament is to consider a resolution which calls on Turkey to recognise the genocide and which admits to German co-responsibility, as Turkey's ally in the war.

"Partly through approval and through failure to take effective preventive measures, there was a German co-responsibility for this genocide," said Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's spokesman, Gernot Erler. "The Bundestag asks the Armenian people for their forgiveness."

James Smith, the chief executive of Aegis Trust, a British charity, said: "We understand that Turkey is an important ally within Nato. However, the time is long overdue for the British Government to encourage Turkey to come to terms with its past, and to join other European states in giving the Armenian genocide the recognition it deserves."

The Turkish government, which is pressing to join the European Union, refuses to recognise the figure of 1.5 million dead and says Armenians were among many victims of a partisan war that also claimed many Muslim lives from April 1915.

The commemorations in Yerevan began on Saturday night when thousands of people held a torchlight vigil at a granite obelisk on a hilltop where a flame has burned since 1965.

Armenia and its neighbour, Turkey, do not have diplomatic relations.

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