ZAKHO, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – A group of Armenians in the Kurdish city of Zakho recently commemorated the 102nd anniversary of the Armenian genocide.
After the Ottoman Empire’s genocide of the Armenians, they were forced to escape their homes with some seeking refuge in the Kurdistan Region.
There are an estimated 200 Armenian families in Zakho, a city 200 kilometers northwest of the Region’s capital Erbil.
Ishkan Milko, an Armenian member of the Dohuk Provincial Council (DPC), highlighted the positive conditions his people experience in Kurdistan.
“There are just a few of us in Kurdistan,” he said. “But, thank God we have been given most of our rights.”
“We have a seat in the Kurdistan parliament as well as a seat in the [DPC],” Milko added.
Following the genocide which began on April 24, 1915, some Armenians arrived in Zakho on the border with Turkey.
Dr. Hogir Mohammed, a Kurdish researcher in the Armenian genocide, said the Armenians were forced to migrate from their areas in southern Turkey through several routes.
“They took many different routes,” he said. “Some went toward the Syrian desert, of whom some stayed in Syria.”
“Some of them came to [the Kurdistan Region] as well where their main entrance route was Zakho,” Mohammed added.
The Kurdistan Region is often applauded for its ethnic and religious tolerance.
In Zakho, a school was founded in 1969 that teaches Armenians their language.
Although not universally recognized, the Armenian genocide is estimated to have cost 1.5 million people their lives.
However, Turkey insists the historical event does not constitute genocide and claims the number of people killed was around 300,000.
Editing by Ava Homa