ERBIL, Iraq — The Armenian Cultural and Social Society in Erbil, Iraq, marked the 108th anniversary of the Armenian martyrs who were killed during the genocide of 1915 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire and its allies.
The event started with participants laying flowers on the tomb of the Martyr’s Monument and singing the national anthem. Harand Vartanian, an official of the Cultural Committee, delivered a speech about the genocide committed by the Ottomans during World War I. The genocide, which lasted between 1915–1919, resulted in the deaths of over 1.5 million Armenians, the expulsion of the population, and the occupation of Armenian lands. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks and Syriacs–Arameans–Assyrians–Chaldeans–Maronites were also killed.
Several participants in the memorial recited poems inspired by the memory of the genocide. Arshak Manoukian, the Consul General of the State of Armenia, delivered a speech in which he emphasized that the Armenian people would continue to demand justice and recognition until Turkey admitted to committing the genocide, apologized, and provided compensation.
“We will remain as the Armenian people in Armenia and in the countries of the world adhering to our rightful demands until Turkey admits that it committed the genocide, apologizes and makes compensation,” he said.
Manoukian also highlighted that the Armenian people would continue to uphold international and humanitarian laws, the Human Rights Charter, and the Charter of the United Nations.
Father Elton Khalatian, the pastor of the Diocese of Erbil, spoke about the importance of continuing to commemorate the Armenian Genocide until it is officially recognized. At the end of the ceremony, prayers were offered for the souls of the martyrs, and a wreath of flowers was laid on the monument of the Armenian martyrs. The event was a poignant reminder of the atrocities committed against the Armenian people and a call for justice to be served.