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Public Statements

The 90th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KOHL. Mr. President, this is in observance of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide where atrocities were committed against the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. In April 1915, the Ottoman government embarked upon the systematic decimation of its civilian Armenian population. The Armenian genocide was centrally planned and administered against the entire Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian people were subjected to deportation, expropriation, abduction, torture, massacre, and starvation. The great bulk of the Armenian population was forcibly removed from Armenia and Anatolia to Syria, where the vast majority was sent into the desert to die of thirst and hunger.

Large numbers of Armenians were methodically massacred throughout the Ottoman Empire. Women and children were abducted and horribly abused. After only a little more than a year of calm at the end of WWI, the atrocities were renewed between 1920 and 1923, and the remaining Armenians were subjected to further massacres and expulsions. In 1915, 33 years before the UN Genocide Convention was adopted, the Armenian Genocide was condemned by the international community as a crime against humanity.

In 1923, the people of the region overthrew the Ottoman government and established modern day Turkey. Since its establishment, the Republic of Turkey has disputed the tragic suffering inflicted on the Armenian people during this period. Sadly, it is estimated that 1.5 million Armenians perished between 1915 and 1923.

Affirming the truth about the Armenian genocide has become an issue of international significance. The recurrence of genocide in the twentieth century has made the recognition of the criminal mistreatment of the Armenians by Turkey all the more a compelling obligation for the international community. It is a testament to the perseverance and determination of the Armenian people that they were able to overcome one of the most egregious acts in history. I support this important annual commemoration of a horrible chapter of history so that it is never repeated again. Congress should continue to show support for Armenia and their struggle to set the historical record straight on this tragedy.

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