International Conference Explores Armenian, Greek and Assyrian Genocides

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THESSALONIKI, Greece—In recent years, scholars have increasingly approached the destruction of Christians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire comparatively, exploring the continuities, similarities in the destruction of Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians from the late 19th century to the years following the Turkish Republic. The recently-published book “The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey’s Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894–1924” by Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi stands as as a prominent example of this approach.

“As the research on the genocide of Armenians, Pontians and Assyrians is expanding, what is increasingly becoming clear to scholars of the period is that these events should be understood as a single process of extermination of these Christian populations in the context of the creation of a homogenized Turkish state,” Dr. Theodosios Kyriakidis of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki told the Armenian Weekly.

Along the same vein, an international conference on “The Genocide of the Christian Populations in the Ottoman Empire and its Aftermath” was held at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki from May 10-12.

Kyriakidis, a member of the conference organizing committee, said that the aim was for the newly-established Chair of Pontic Studies of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki “to contribute in a meaningful way to the promotion of the international scholarly discussion on the subject.” He noted that the 43 scholars (from 15 countries) participating in the conference helped enhance our knowledge and understanding of the genocides.

One of the largest conferences ever held on Armenian, Greek and Assyrian cases, the event featured an impressive lineup of senior and up and coming scholars from around the world. Professors Richard G. Hovannisian and Taner Akçam offered keynote speeches.

The conference explored the destruction of Greek, Assyrian and Armenian communities in the Ottoman Empire from a multidisciplinary perspective: historical, sociological, political and legal approaches were offered as the three cases were tackled, often with a comparative approach.

The conference concluded with the inauguration ceremony of the Research Center of Pontic Studies and the transfer of the Black Sea Archive to the Aristotle University library.

The full program of the conference can be accessed online.

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