Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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24 April 2015
Armenian Genocide centenary marked by Lobby for Cyprus
“While the world rightly looks to 24 April as the centenary date of the start of the Armenian Genocide” said Theo Theodorou, Lobby for Cyprus spokesman “the world should not forget that after the Ottoman Turks killed the Armenian population they turned their attention to the Assyrians in the southeast and then the Pontus Greeks in the northeast."

During the first state-conceived, state-planned, state-executed genocide of the 20th century, 1.5million Armenians were killed and about 600,000 were ethnically cleansed from their 3000-year homeland, beginning in 1915 and continuing throughout World War One.  

When many Armenians returned to their homes in the Cilicia region in southeast Turkey after the war, when it was under a League of Nations French Protectorate, the nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal, began his struggle for a new Turkey by killing the Armenians in Cilicia before he made his triumphant way northward to continue killing off the Greeks – the Assyrians having been disposed of during the war. Later, he turned his way westward to the Aegean coast to displace the Greeks there ending, ultimately, with the burning of Smyrna (today Izmir) in September 1922.

Like the Armenians, the Greeks had been in the Pontus area for 3,000 years. The remaining 400,000 Greeks were later deported in an all-for-all exchange for the more than 1million Muslim population displaced by the Turkish losses in the Balkan War of 1912. Those Muslims were to take over the now empty property of the Armenians, the Assyrians and the Greeks.

“Although the Republic of Turkey has continued to deny that any genocide had taken place, unbiased historians have concluded that there was, indeed, a genocide of the Armenians,” Theodorou said. “The intent of the Ottomans was to eliminate all its Christians to create a Turks-only country,” Theodorou went on, “and used the war to cover its killings.”

He continued, “To this day, the Turks use many stories to justify what they call the ‘relocation’ of the Armenians – that they were pro-Russian and therefore a threat, that they revolted and killed more Turks than Armenians were killed, and other fantastical nonsense none of which was noted at the time in contemporaneous reports and none of which has been corroborated since.”

And, Theodorou asked, “Why kill the Assyrians and the Greeks?” 

He pointed out one “interesting event to show that the Turks also targeted other Christians.“ Often the death march route that the Greeks were forced to take retraced the route that the Armenians had taken, and there is a reported instance when hundreds of Greeks were forced into an abandoned Armenian church, and the church was set on fire killing the Greeks and destroying the Armenian church at the same time. According to various sources, between 1 and 1.5 million Ottoman Greeks throughout Asia Minor perished from 1914-1923. 

“Many Armenian Genocide survivors managed to get to Cyprus, where they renewed their lives and made valuable contributions to Cyprus. Sadly, with the Turkish invasion and illegal occupation of the north, forty years ago, many of those Armenians and their descendants were forced to flee with their Greek neighbours.”

Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation with the aim of reuniting Cyprus. 

Note to editors
  • The Republic of Cyprus was invaded by Turkish troops in 1974.
  • Turkey maintains an illegal occupation in the north of the island with 43,000 troops in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. 
  • 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees and displaced persons are prevented from returning to their homes in the occupied north.  
  • Turkey continues its policy of colonising the occupied territory with hundreds of thousands of Turkish nationals in an attempt to alter the demography of the island, in violation of the Geneva convention.