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Historical Tragedies Tie Greece and Armenia Together, Says Greek FM

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Greek FM Nikos Dendias meets his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan. Credit: Twitter/Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias stressed on Tuesday that historical tragedies tie Greece and Armenia together.

Dendias was speaking in Armenia’s capital of Yerevan where he met his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan.

Dendias said that Greece has repeatedly underlined its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states. “So that goes also for our dear friends, the Armenians, Armenia,” he stressed.

“We believe in the inviolability of borders, and I am referring to the incidents that happened just a few days ago following the shelling of Armenian territory, including inhabited areas, by the Azeri military forces,” Dendias said.

The Greek Foreign Minister explained Athens’ stance on Nagorno-Karabakh.

“As far as we are concerned, our position on Nagorno-Karabakh remains unchanged,” he said. “We support achieving a peaceful, mutually acceptable solution within the framework of International Law. International Law is the ‘Holy Gospel’ of our foreign policy. And in this regard, we also salute the courage of Prime Minister Pashinyan who proposed a new approach for a new future in this region.”

The two foreign ministers discussed bilateral relations, cooperation within trilateral schemes, current developments in the Caucasus region and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as EU-Armenian relations, according to a foreign ministry tweet.

They met on the margins of the High-level Meeting of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York last week, where a trilateral meeting of Greece, Cyprus, and Armenia took place.

Dendias was also received by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in a also attended by Armenian Defence Minister Suren Papikyan, as well.

This is Dendias’ second visit to Armenia in less than two years following his visit in October 2020.

Armenia and Greece share centuries-old bonds of friendship

Greece has centuries-old bonds of friendship with the eastern country, and unfortunately, the two peoples share many painful experiences, as well, since Greeks and Armenians suffered greatly at the hand of the modern Turkish state in the early twentieth century.

Up until the 5th century AD, Armenians used the Greek alphabet for writing in their own language.

During the Byzantine period, Greeks and Armenians coexisted in complete amity in the great Orthodox state of the East. The Armenian Orthodox Church, which is the first Orthodox church in the world to be officially recognized, followed parallel paths with the Greek Orthodox Church.

The ties of the two peoples were forged more intensely during the period under Turkish rule which was sealed by two great catastrophes: the defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 and the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

They were connected with the wider political, economic, social, cultural, national, and religious developments of the region. Armenians and Greeks shared the same fate, lived for centuries in common homes, and shared experiences and cultural identities, leading them to bond in various ways.

Perhaps most meaningful of all, however, is the fact that the two peoples were victims of the same perpetrator. In the first Armenian massacres of the 1890s, the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and the Pontian Genocide of the same period, the two peoples were slaughtered by the Turks and faced the same tragic fate of forced expatriation and exile.

The Armenian neighborhood in Smyrna was the first to be set on fire by Kemal Ataturk’s army in 1922. One hundred thousand Armenians followed the Greeks in their violent exit which concluded in the sad epilogue of the Greek-Armenian story in Asia Minor.

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