MEP Eleni Theocharous has called for vigilance in efforts by world nations and by Turkey itself to recognise the genocide of Armenians nearly a century ago, adding that statements of condolences by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are nothing less than a farce, the CyprusMail reports.
Theocharous, a former surgeon with the Doctors of the World who has travelled to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict zone on several occasions, and chairs the Armenian friendship group in the European Parliament, was the keynote speaker at the genocide commemoration event in Nicosia on Wednesday night, attended by leaders of most local political parties, as well as minorities commissioner Kate Clerides.
Theocharous said that the world should never forget what happened to the Armenians on their historical land.
She added that even as Turkey appears to be helping Armenian refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria, Ankara continues to support rebel forces, including extremist Islamist factions that are destroying all evidence of Christian towns, monuments and churches in Syria.
Cyprus Armenian Representative Vartkes Mahdessian also gave an address, while the community’s spiritual leader, Archbishop Varouzhan Hergelian, led a prayer service.
In a written statement on the occasion of the 99th anniversary of the massacres by Ottoman Turkey, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said that “this crime is a stigma in the history of humankind” and that the Republic of Cyprus was one of the first nations to recognise the genocide.
He added that President Nicos Anastasiades and the government expressed their solidarity with the Armenian people and continue to support efforts for the worldwide recognition of the crime.