GENEVA — A memorial series of street lamps commemorating the 1915-1917 Armenian genocide has been officially unveiled in Geneva.
“Streetlights of memory” was unveiled on Friday in the presence of various members of the Armenian community, including current Armenian ambassador to Switzerland Charles Aznavour, and the artist behind the work Mélik Ohanian.
No representative of the federal administration attended, a fact that could be ascribed to the ongoing diplomatic tensions around the 1915-1917 genocide, for which Turkey continues to deny responsibility.
Speaking to Swiss public broadcaster RTS in the Tremblay park in Geneva, not far from the United Nations building, Armenian ambassador Charles Aznavour said that the installation was not just a reminder of past disaster; “it’s a monument that says that this must never happen again”, he said.
“Switzerland’s National Council recognized the Armenian Genocide, as well as the city of Geneva acknowledged the Genocide by a separate resolution. The plans on building such memorial existed long ago, but every time they met Turkish counteraction and were postponed. In 2008 Geneva voted for constructing a memorial dedicated to the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims”, RTS writes.
Turkish representative groups, notably the Federation of Turkish Associations in French-speaking Switzerland, called for demonstrations and criticized the authorities’ decision to allow the installation of the 10-metre-high posts.
“We are frustrated because this monument is symbolic of a conflict between communities, which I think is very dangerous,” said Federation president Celâl Bayer. “The city of Geneva has made a big mistake.”