The three-day international conference titled “Smyrna in the context of the Armenian and Greek genocides: annihilation, arson and deportation (September 1922)”
was launched today in the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute conference hall (co-organisers: YSU Institute of Armenian Studies, RA NAS Institute of History, Kh. Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University, Haykazian University of Beirut and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Pontic Studies Department).
The conference was launched by AGMI Director Harutyun Marutyan’s opening speech. He said: “Today, in the days of undisguised Azerbaijani aggression, we are convening a conference dedicated to the consequences of another act of Turkish aggression that took place a century ago. 100 years ago, thousands of innocent citizens were being killed and today, the victims are the Armenian soldiers defending the borders of the Republic of Armenia in their combat positions. The aggressive behavior of our so-called neighbours has not changed; they still profess the same "values" as they did 100 years ago. We should clearly realise this while building relationships.”
The attendees observed, at Harutyun Marutyun’s suggestion, a minute’s silence in memory of those who died because of the aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan on September 13.
Professor of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki’s Pontic Studies Department, Kyriakos Khatsikiriakidis, welcomed the attendees online: “The friendship between the Armenians and Greeks has a centuries-old history based on mutual trust. This conference proves that fact once again”.
Then he added that as in Smyrna in 1922, Turkey, the common enemy of both nations, continues its aggressive policy today. Rt. Reverend Dr. Paul Haidostian, Rector of Haykazian University of Beirut, made a speech of welcome and noted that humanity should recognise the past not only through wealth and blessings, but also through disasters. This conference, according to Rt. Rev. Paul Haidostian, will highlight Smyrna’s literary, historical, church, political and economic life.
Harutyun Marutyan, Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, awarded Albert Kharatyan, the conference’s first day main speaker, as well as the Greek researcher George Pulimenos with the “Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute” Foundation’s “Henry Morgenthau” commemorative medal for their contribution to the study of Smyrna’s Armenian community.
The opening ceremony of the conference was followed by the opening of a temporary exhibition organised by the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute titled “Smyrna in the context of the Armenian and Greek genocides: annihilation, arson and deportation (September 1922).”
Harutyun Marutyan and the author of the temporary exhibition, AGMI senior researcher Tehmine Martoyan, presented the main points of the exhibition.
Tehmine Martoyan, in her speech, emphasised: “Smyrna, which in the Middle Ages was called “Star of the East”, “Little Paris of the East”, “Queen of the Ionian Sea” and other titles, was a city that enjoyed great fame. This temporary exhibition in itself refutes one of the hypotheses put forward by Turkish denialist historiography: that the city was fired by the Armenians and Greeks.”
Descendants of witness-survivors were present at the opening of the exhibition. Members of the Avetyan family gave the Armenian Genocide Museum a copy of their grandfather, Mkrtich Avetyan’s graduation certificate from the Brusa Sericultural School.
The bilingual (Armenian and English) temporary exhibition consisting of thirteen display boards, includes about three dozen originals documents, photographs, books and survivors' and foreign missionaries personal belongings from the scientific collections of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, National Archives of Armenia, Nubarian Library, archives of the "Armenika" magazine and the archives of the Svazlyan, Avetyan, Berberyan, Bartikyan, and Ghazeryan families.
An important place is held, among the original exhibits presented, by the rich documentary material from the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute collections, which is actual evidence of the Kemal regime’s criminal policy.
The international conference and the temporary exhibition have been realised thanks to the financial assistance provided by the Armenian Missionary Association of America and the Armenian General Benevolent Union.
The exhibition will be open until April 20th, 2023.