Knesset Marks Turks' Genocide of Armenians
The Knesset will hold a ceremony to mark the memory of the Turkish genocide of Armenians, almost 100 years ago, on Tuesday.
MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said before the ceremony that he believes that "as human beings and as Jews, we must not ignore the catastrophe of another nation for any reason, including diplomatic considerations, important as they may be."
"We will mark the annual memorial day for the massacre of the Armenian people regardless of the relations with today's Turkey, which is an ally."
Turkey is highly displeased with the Knesset's decision to mark the day, as relations between the countries continue to be tense, despite a recent rapprochement brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama.
The genocide of the Armenians took place in the course of World War 1, and it is generally estimated that between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians were murdered, making up about one third of the entire Armenian people.
The massacre began when about 250 Armenian leaders in Istanbul were shot to death, on orders from the Turkish government. Later on, men, women and children were put to death on a daily basis in various ways, including forced marches that ended in their death from exhaustion, cold and hunger. Women and children were placed on boats and drowned at sea, or crucified. There is also evidence that children were put to death with poison gas in schools that were converted to death camps.
Turkey has consistently denied responsibility for the genocide, which is sometimes referred to as the Armenian Holocaust. Various events devoted to the subject, which were supposed to be held at the Knesset, were cancelled in recent years because of Turkish pressure.