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Armenian Archives ‘Open To Turkish Historians’

By Atom Markarian

Turkish historians conducting research on the 1915 Armenian genocide can have access to relevant documents in Armenia’s National Archives without any restrictions, its director said on Thursday.

“I am ready receive and show them all those genocide-related documents that we have,” Amatuni Virabian told reporters.

Virabian said his agency has some 12,000 documents relating to the mass killings and deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. He said they mostly contain information on tens of thousands of genocide survivors that found refuge in Armenia before it was incorporated into Soviet Russia in November 1920.

In an effort to deny the genocide, Turkish governments have repeatedly announced plans in recent years to open relevant Ottoman archives to researchers from Armenia and other countries. Armenian historians have always dismissed such statements, saying that the Turks are still not prepared to declassify all materials dealing with the final years of the Ottoman Empire.

The head of Turkey’s state archives, meanwhile, was reported to say recently that the Armenians themselves bar Turks and other foreigners from their archives. But Virabian strongly denied the claim.

“Yes, we did have classified documents in the 1950s and 1960s,” he said. “But all those documents that relate to the genocide were open even in Soviet times.”

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