World famous actor, director and activist George Clooney visited the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute.
Clooney, who is visiting Armenia for the first time, will later hand out a £700,000 award as part of a humanitarian event held to recognise those who put themselves at risk to save the lives of others. “And to find a way to celebrate that”.
Turkey fiercely rejects the genocide label, arguing that 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian troops.
“I think it is ridiculous not to talk about it in terms of genocide, because, of course, it was”.
Clooney has been a prominent voice in favor of countries recognizing the killings as genocide, which the US hasn’t done.
President Barack Obama declined on Friday to call the 1915 massacre genocide, breaking a key campaign promise as his presidency nears an end. Obama called the massacre the first mass atrocity of the 20th century and a tragedy that mustn’t be repeated.
Accompanied by the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, First Lady Rita Sargsyan, His Holiness Catholicos Garegin II, Charles Aznavour and members of the “Aurora Awards” delegation Clooney laid flowers in memory of the Armenian Genocide victims in the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex.
Meanwhile, thousands of people have also taken to the streets of Armenian capital Yerevan to mark the anniversary of Armenian massacre by Ottoman Turks during the World War I.
Erdogan criticized efforts “to politicize history through a bitter rhetoric of hate and enmity and strive to alienate the two neighboring nations”.
He lashed out at Azerbaijan for what he described as plans to drive all Armenians away from the region and pledged to protect Armenians living there. About 15,000 demonstrators in the Armenian capital have beg.
Both sides on Sunday reported attacks on their positions.
The march came on the eve of official commemorations that are being augmented this year by actor George Clooney’s presentation of a new award.
Following the service he spoke with the four nominees for a humanitarian award who are being recognised for their work in risking their lives to save others.