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Armenians commemorate 90th anniversary of mass killings

[JURIST] Armenians around the world have been remembering the massacre of their people ninety years ago by the Ottoman Empire [Armenian National Institute backgrounder]. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in the Armenian city of Yerevan Sunday to pay their respects. In the US, hundreds of Armenian-Americans marched in Los Angeles and other cities [AP report]. On April 24, 1915, the government of Ottoman Turkey rounded up 250 leaders of the Armenian community and exiled or executed them. Over the next two years, 1.5 million Armenians were killed or died during deportations from Turkey. Armenian President Robert Kocharian [official site, English version] is currently leading an effort to have Turkey acknowledge the killings as genocide. Turkey, however, denies that genocide took place [Turkish DC Embassy backgrounder] and characterizes the killings as casualties of World War I. Currently, Armenia has no diplomatic relations with Turkey, and has closed off its borders. France, Russia, Poland and Germany are among 15 nations that believe the killings amounted to genocide. Armenia hopes that Europe will push Turkey to change its stance, as Turkey begins membership talks with the EU. BBC News has more. An Armenian news report points out that President Bush did not use the word "genocide" in his statement on Armenian Remembrance Day. [A1Plus Armenian News]. The White House has the full text of President Bush's statement here [official site].

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