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AHI Statement on the Commemoration of the 92nd Anniversary of the Greek Pontian Genocide by Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
May 19, 2006—No. 48 (202) 785-8430

AHI Statement on the Commemoration of the 92nd Anniversary of the Greek Pontian Genocide by Turkey

We support the Pontian Greek American community’s efforts to secure full recognition, proper commemoration, and a just resolution of the Greek Pontian Genocide of 1914-23.

On May 19, 2006, the Pontic communities around the world commemorate the 92nd anniversary of the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks. Their outright slaughter and expulsion by long death marches to exile between 1914-23, was first ordered by the Young Turk regime and then completed by Mustafa Kemal, later known as Atatürk. These genocidal policies caused the death of 353,000 Pontic Greeks, more than half their population, and brought a tragic and catastrophic end to their three-thousand year presence on the southern shores and mountains of the Black Sea region of Asia Minor, today’s Turkey.

We call on the President to address this tragedy by properly recognizing the Pontian Genocide as a clear instance of genocide, as defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention. We ask the administration to end its silence on Turkey’s denial of this crime of genocide.

The U.S. Congress should adopt legislation recognizing the Pontian Genocide as part and parcel of the genocide against the Armenians, Assyrians and the other Greeks of Asia Minor…a genocide which took the lives of 3 million of Turkey’s Christian population. The U.S. Congress should also urge the American people to apply the lessons of this great tragedy to the cause of preventing future genocides.

Finally, Turkey must be pressured to acknowledge its genocidal crime against these historic Christians, to come to terms with this chapter in its history and, consistent with the Genocide Convention and other relevant international legal instruments, to make full reparations to the Pontic people.

We refer readers to Thea Halo’s book Not Even My Name, a remarkable memoir of her Pontic Greek mother’s life, which recounts her ancient way of life in the Pontic mountains, her 10-month long death march to exile at the age of 10, ordered by Mustafa Kemal, which took the lives of her family and neighbors, and left her bereft, even of her name. Sano’s story continues with her life in America. Thea Halo includes in this extraordinary memoir an historical synopsis of the politics and intrigues of the great powers of the time.

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For additional information, please contact Georgia Economou at (202) 785-8430 or [email protected]. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.