The Australian government says it won’t be officially represented in Armenia next month as the country marks the 100th anniversary of what’s widely known as the ‘Armenian genocide’ by the Ottoman Turks. Events in Yerevan will coincide with the centenary of Anzac landing in Gallipoli, to which Prime Minister Tony Abbott is expected to lead a high level delegation, SBS reports.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has told SBS the Australian government will not be sending a representative to Yerevan next month for the centenary commemorations of the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks.
The Department won’t confirm whether Australia was invited to attend official events in Yerevan.
When asked about the reason for the decision, and whether an official invitation was received, the Department declined to comment further.
Vache Kahramanian, from the Armenian National Committee, said it was “Ankara’s ongoing gag order on Australia on the issue of the Armenian genocide.”
“We’ve heard from many members of Parliament throughout the country that Turkey continues to use Gallipoli and the centenary of Anzac Day as a bargaining chip to ensure that Australia does not formally recognise the Armenian genocide,” he said.
Australia isn’t among the countries to officially adopt the term ‘Armenian genocide’ at a national level, although two state Parliaments have done so.