Turks mark mass 1915 killing of ethnic Armenians

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Turks mark mass 1915 killing of ethnic Armenians

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For most Turks the very idea would be unthinkable, but earlier around 200 Turkish intellectuals, human rights campaigners and artists commemorated the 1915 mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

The gathering in Istanbul was the first of its kind in Turkey and activists held photos of victims and laid flowers in their honour.

Armenia insists the massacre of some 1.5 million people was genocide, something Ankara vigorously denies. It contests the number of victims and argues the killings were part of a larger struggle during the First World War. However, the US, France and a number of other foreign states all back Armenia’s opinion.

The massacre remains a defining element of Armenian national identity and tens of thousands marked the 95th anniversary at a hilltop memorial in the country’s capital.

The service, attended by Armenia’s president Serzh Sarkisian, comes against a backdrop of renewed tensions between Yerevan and Ankara after a peace deal fell apart on Thursday.