Demonstrators attend a torch-bearing march marking the anniversary of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, in Yerevan April 23, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)
Delegates of the 4th Congress of Western Armenians released a list of demands from the Turkish Republic in Paris on Sunday, including the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border and providing unlimited access to historical archives.
The descendants of Armenians who were living and persecuted during the Ottoman Empire have made the following demands of the Turkish government: “Open the Turkish border with the Republic of Armenia immediately and without preconditions and initiate a number of steps for the establishment of interstate confidence and friendly relations with the authorities and population of the Armenian state, among whom live hundreds of thousands of descendants of Western Armenians.”
The delegation also called for unlimited access to historical archives from the Ottoman Empire, stating this is “necessary for the re-establishment of the rights of Western Armenians. This should include all cadastre and civil state archives, in addition to all information related to our moral and material losses (damages incurred whether pecuniary or non-pecuniary) and relevant rights.”
On March 19, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the Armenian diaspora, saying: “Oh, Armenian diaspora, oh, Armenian administration, our archives are here. We have hundreds of thousands of documents, over a million documents. How many documents do you have? Bring your documents, and we will task the historians, our historians, political scientists, even archeologists and lawyers [with studying them]… let’s seek the truth here,” he said, adding that “anti-Turkey campaigns carried out by paying money and forming lobbies will not earn you anything.”
The memorandum published by the Armenian congress also called for the recognition of the National Congress of Western Armenians as a legal entity in Turkey, and that it is the indisputable right for the Armenian ethnic entity to return to their homeland and rehabilitate all community properties such as schools and churches.