A group of Arab and Amazighi rights groups called on Turkey to take responsibility for the Armenian genocide, in a statement released Wednesday.
The groups demanded “the truth, justice, and that those responsible be held accountable for the victims of this genocide”.
This year marks the centennial of the Armenian genocide, which began in 1915, three years before the break-up of the Ottoman Empire.
The rights groups added that in 1915, the Young Turks movement led the forced deportation and mass killing of approximately 1.5 million Armenians throughout the Ottoman Empire.
“The truths of this genocide are known to everyone,” the statement read. “The Young Turks movement, which was motivated by the war and fear of the break-down of the Ottoman Empire, saw in the Armenians a threat to the future existence of the empire and thus decided to kill all of its Armenian subjects.”
Turkey has previously denied that the killing of Armenians constituted a genocide, and still rejects the label.
“Turkey presents itself today as a model for nations across the world and often presents itself as a human rights defender in the region,” the groups said, “the Turkish government can begin a unique path in the region where political disputes have often exacerbated into ethnic, sectarian disputes.”
Approximately 20 countries worldwide refer to the 1915 killings as a genocide, and Armenians form one of the largest diasporas in the world.
The signatory groups included the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, the Amazigh World Union, and more.