Prominent Greeks of Armenian and Pontic descent were honored during a special ceremony held at the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens on Saturday, which culminated a series of events organized by the ministry of defense to mark the anniversary of the Pontic Greek and Armenian genocide in the early 20th century, according to Greek Reporter.
“The genocide of Pontic Greeks and Armenians remains in collective memory as one of the most horrific crimes of the last century, but also as a crime for which, after so many years, justice has not been served,” Defense Minister Panos Kammenos in his speech.
He also urged all parties involved to continue fight for international recognition of the event.
Addressing the event, the Vice-President of the Armenian National Assembly, Edward Sharmazanov said:
“The Genocide of Christian minorities in the Ottoman Empire and Kemalist Turkey is considered to be one of the greatest disasters of the previous century, that has taken lives of innocent Greeks. It is a great honour for me to be here and address you as a descendent of both nations who survived the Greek and Armenian Genocide.
A century ago hundreds of thousands of Pontic Greeks were massacred by the Turkish Government, thousands of Christian monuments were destroyed. This was not a mere crime against the Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians: this was a crime against humanity.
Since then only a few have raised the importance of condemning the actions of the Ottoman Empire against its Christian population. Amongst them is the Republic of Armenia and I am deeply grateful for your appreciation of my humble contribution to our mutual mission. I would like to inform you that 2 days ago the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic became the fifth country in the world which recognized and condemned the Genocide of Pontic Greeks in the Ottoman Empire and Kemalist Turkey.
Unfortunately, Turkey continues its policy of denial. Moreover, not only it denies its former crimes but also commits new ones by keeping occupied 38 percent of the Cyprus territory and supporting both the Islamic State in the Middle East and Azerbaijani aggression against the peaceful people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
We should realise that the atrocities committed in the Ottoman Empire a century ago, the beheadings in the Middle East as well as the inhumane actions of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic today are of the same nature.
Let us not forget that impunity leads to new crimes and the application of double standards is unacceptable. Therefore, I urge you to unite against the threat of terrorism, fascism and panturkism. I believe that only in unity we can withstand and overcome the threat of nowadays Taleats, Kemals and Hitlers. I call on people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds to recognize and condemn the Genocide of the Christian population in the Ottoman Empire, and particularly the Genocide of Greeks, as well as to condemn the Turkish denial policy.”