The world on the Armenian genocide of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire: statements from famous personalities on the 109th anniversary of the tragedy.

Today, April 24, marks the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire. In connection with the 109th anniversary, we have selected statements from famous personalities about the Armenian Genocide.

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Arnold Toynbee

«All this violence is being committed against the Armenians even if they do nothing to provoke it.» — Arnold Toynbee, 1915, English historian, advocating for Armenian independence and against the crimes of the Ottoman Empire.

«When the Turkish authorities gave the order for these deportations, they were giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and, in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact. I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and persecutions of the past seem almost insignificant when compared to the sufferings of the Armenian race in 1915. The orders for these deportations were the simple death warrant of a whole race.» — Henry Morgenthau, 1919, US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. «From the Memoirs of American Ambassador to Turkey Henry Morgenthau»

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Henry Morgenthau

«Turkish government’s aim to finally solve the Armenian Question by destroying the Armenian nation cannot be stopped by our representatives, the American embassy, the Pope’s delegations, the threats of allied powers, or Western public opinion, representing one-third/half of the entire world» — Count Wolf-Mettérnich, 1916, German Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, July 10, 1916, to Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg.

«The massacre of Armenians is the greatest crime of this war, and if we fail to act against Turkey, we are party to it… Failure to vigorously combat Turkish horror means that all talk about the future peace throughout the world is nonsense» — Theodore Roosevelt, 1918, 26th President of the United States, from a letter to Cleveland H. Dodge dated May 11, 1918.

«The massacre that began in 1915 has no parallel in the history of mankind. The pogroms of Abdul Hamid are a small part of what the Turks are doing today» — Fridtjof Nansen, 1915, Norwegian scientist.

«I am familiar with this theme not only from history. My great-grandmother on my mother’s side, Shushan Tigranovna Kruni, escaped death as a 13-year-old girl. She was saved by Russian Old Believers who were also fleeing from Turkey to Russia. Unfortunately, my great-grandmother died before I was born. But, according to my mom, her grandmother spent her whole life looking for her relatives, not knowing anything about them — whether they were alive or dead» — Dima Bilan, Russian singer.

«Armenians have been persecuted for many centuries; they were the first bastion of Christianity, and they are the only bastion of Christianity in the Middle East» — Dean Cain, American actor and producer.

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«What happened in Armenia was terrible. It was wrong. Let’s promise never to forget and to promote human rights wherever we are.» — Elton John, musician.

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«Both in the case of Darfur and in the case of the Armenian Genocide, the term ‘massacre’ is sometimes used. There has been a long and difficult struggle to call what happened by its true name — genocide. Eventually, this happens, but it takes much more time than it should. It’s impossible to deny what happened. If someone tries to destroy the culture of an entire ethnic group, and you can’t bring it back, it’s genocide. There is no other option.» — George Clooney, American actor.

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«In Turkey, thirty thousand Kurds and one million Armenians were killed. Nobody talks about it, and I am hated for speaking out about it. What happened to the Armenians in Turkey in 1915 was a taboo subject. But now we must talk about the past.» — Orhan Pamuk, Turkish writer, Nobel Prize laureate.

«To deny the Armenian Genocide means to be an accomplice in this crime against humanity.» — Hasan Cemal, journalist, grandson of one of the main organizers of the Armenian Genocide, Ahmed Djemal Pasha.

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«I wrote about national minorities and wanted to address the unspeakable tragedy of the past century, to tell about the Armenian Genocide, share this pain with the people, and try to build bridges.» — Elif Shafak, Turkish writer, who faced persecution for her book ‘The Bastard of Istanbul’.

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