Emmanuel Macron and Nikol Pashinyan greet one another in Paris in 2018

Macron Declares April 24 as Day of Remembrance of Armenian Genocide

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PARIS (Combined Sources) — French President Emmanuel Macron declared April 24 as “a national day of remembrance of the Armenian genocide” on Tuesday, February 5.

Macron, in keeping with a 2017 campaign promise, told an annual dinner of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France that France was among the first nations to denounce “the murderous hunt of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire.”

France officially recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2001 and a law in 2016 made it illegal to deny that status.

The Council of Europe and European parliament have both recognized the massacres as genocide, as has Pope Francis.

Macron said he informed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the decision in advance, adding that he wanted to keep an open dialogue with Turkey.

“We have disagreements over the fight against the Islamic State, human rights and civil liberties in Turkey and on the genocide,” Macron said.

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“We also have points of agreement such as the necessity for a political transition in Syria. As such, dialogue with Turkey is indispensable,” Macron said.

Speaking to the Armenian community at a dinner in Paris, Macron said France “will in the next weeks make April 24 a national day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide.”

At the event, Macron also paid tribute to Charles Aznavour, the French crooner of Armenian origin who died in October last year.

At the dinner, Nicolas Aznavour, the son of the late singer, presented an Armenian duduk to Macron.

Turkey on Wednesday strongly condemned the announcement, accusing the French president of using the event as political fodder.

“We condemn and reject attempts by Mr. Macron, who is facing political problems in his own country, to save the day by turning historic events into political material,” a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Turkish-Armenian MP Garo Paylan, representing the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), took to Twitter to respond to remarks about the Armenia Genocide made by Turkish President Erdogan’s spokesperson.

“We condemn and reject attempts by Macron, who is afflicted by political problems in his own country, to try and save the day by turning historical events into a political matter,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.

In a tweet on Thursday, Paylan questioned Kalin’s statement, saying: “If the Armenian Genocide is a lie, why the Turkish President has been sending condolence messages to the Armenian community five years in a row on every April 24.”

“Turkey is yet to face and name the tragedy of the Armenian people displaced and slaughtered by the decision of the state. What happened should concern first the president and the Speaker of Turkish parliament. They should face and call the tragedy with a proper name as we have been waiting for justice for104 years,” Paylan wrote in a separate post.

The French foreign ministry responded to the Turkish reaction on President Macron’s recent decision to declare April 24 the National Day for Armenian Genocide Commemoration.

“In establishing this day of commemoration, the President is fulfilling his well-known pledge to honor French citizens of Armenian descent. We have had several opportunities to exchange views with the Turkish authorities on this issue. They have been informed of our positions just as we have been informed of theirs”, the French Foreign Ministry responded.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan saluted Emmanuel Macron’s decision.

In a Twitter post Pashinyan described it as a “powerful manifestation” and a determination to protect human rights and prevent mass atrocities.

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