Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Ken Hachikian offered a broad vision of how Return of Churches movement reflects and also materially reinforces the broader international movement to hold the Republic of Turkey responsible for a truthful, just, and comprehensive resolution of the Armenian Genocide.
Hackikian offered his remarks, at the recently concluded three-day international conference, “The Armenian Genocide: From Recognition to Reparation,” hosted by His Holiness, Vehapar Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, and organized by the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia. The conference featured presentations by dozens of leading academics and thought-leaders from across the globe, all addressing the topic of securing the reparations owed by Turkey to the Armenian nation for the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1923. Hachikian’s speech offered first-hand insights into the ANCA’s pivotal role in the passage of the Return of Churches resolution, H.Res.306, and outlined, in broader terms, how this effort fits into the cause of justice for the Armenian Genocide and the future viability of the Armenian nation.
Hachikian stressed, in a speech that addressed the moral and material aspects of the justice owed the Armenian nation, that, “As we approach the end of a century in which all the moral and material costs of the Armenian Genocide have fallen upon the victims of this crime, we seek, for ourselves and all humanity, a new era, a better century – guided by the ethic that the burdens of this genocide – and all genocides – will, as they rightly must, be borne by its perpetrator.”
He added that, “The return of churches, Turkey’s surrender – voluntary or otherwise – of the thousands of church properties it stole from Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Syriacs, and other Christians prior to, during, and after the Armenian Genocide era, would represent a meaningful first step by the Turkish government toward accepting its responsibility for a truthful and just resolution of this still unpunished crime against humanity. It would, as well, mark a major blow for the cause of international religious freedom, in a corner of the world sadly known not for its pluralism, but rather for the depths of its intolerance.”
Hachikian, explained, during his presentation, that Armenians are “not seeking truth simply for the sake of truth, for all the world, and certainly we as Armenians, know all too well the reality of the Armenian Genocide and the ongoing consequences of this crime. We are in no need of further affirmation. Nor of vengeance or vindication. No. We seek truth in the name of justice. And justice in the interest of survival. That is why we struggle so mightily against Ankara’s denial of truth and obstruction of justice.”