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Genocide or massacre? Anniversary of wartime slaughter of Armenians

It’s 100 years since the start of what many people call the Armenian Genocide, but the Swiss government has not officially recognised it as such. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

On April 24, 1915, the Ottoman authorities rounded up and arrested and killed some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople. Armenians say this was the start of the “planned extermination” of up to 1.5 million Armenians people by the Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1918. 

Turkey acknowledges that many Armenians died within the context of war, but denies that there was an attempt to exterminate the Armenian people.

The historical interpretation of the deaths and deportations has caused tensions between Turkey and many European countries, including Switzerland.

The killings have been recognised as genocide by the parliaments of several countries, including France, Russia and Italy. The UN recognised it in 1985, two years after the European Parliament. 

The Swiss House of Representatives followed suit in 2003, but neither the Senate nor the cabinet has officially done so. The Swiss government does not officially speak of "genocide", but of "mass deportation" and "massacre".

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SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

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