The Greek and Cypriot communities in Australia urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday to recognize the genocide carried out against Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and other Christian minorities by the Ottomans in the early 20th century.
In a letter to Morrison, Bill Papastergiadis, the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria, Theo Theophanous, of the Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria, with the support of the Pontian Federations of Australia, say “it is now time for the Australian Government to recognize this genocide formally.”
They cite 31 other countries, including the US, France, Italy, Brazil, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and the Vatican City, which have recognized these genocides urging Australia to also step up.
The move follows a motion that was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on 29 November 2021 calling on the Government to formally recognize these genocides. The motion, moved by Government member Trent Zimmerman and seconded by Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon, was supported by both sides of Parliament.
“Prime Minister, given the unanimous support by the Parliament for the government to take action to formally recognize the genocide of Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks we ask that you take action to bring this about,” the letter says and adds:
“This should not be a partisan political issue in the lead-up to the coming elections. Our communities would welcome action by your government to seek to address this historical wrong through the first step of recognizing that it occurred.”
The call for action was also forwarded to the Foreign Minister, Marise Payne; the Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese; the Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesperson and Senator Penny Wong.
Genocide was part of the plan to eliminate the Greek population
The genocide was part of an organized plan to eliminate the indigenous Greek population of Asia Minor. It included massacres, forced deportations involving death marches, expulsions, executions, and the wholesale destruction of Eastern Orthodox cultural, historical, and religious monuments.
The Turks feared that the Greek-speaking Christian population would welcome liberation by the Ottoman Empire’s enemies.
The extermination of the Armenian population in 1915 was the first atrocity paving the way for the Greek genocide that culminated in 1923, after the Burning of Smyrna.
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