Cher criticises UK refusal to recognise 1915 Armenian killings as genocide

The singer joined Kim and Kourtney Kardashian at the US premiere of The Promise.

Cher has called on the UK Government to recognise as genocide the mass killing of Armenians during the First World War.

The 70-year-old star, whose father was Armenian-American, criticised Britain’s refusal to use the term to describe the 1915 atrocities when she attended the Los Angeles premiere of The Promise.

The film, starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaacs, is set during the period Armenians say 1.5 million of their people were killed by the Ottoman Empire – a figure Turkey disputes.

Cher said she believed the UK and US governments had not recognised the deaths as genocide because Armenia has “nothing to give them”.

Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian West and Cher arrive at the US premiere of The Promise
Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian West and Cher arrive at the US premiere of The Promise (Chris Pizzello/AP)

She told the Press Association: “We’re small. Armenia is landlocked. We have no oil. We have nothing to give them. How much would it take (to recognise the genocide)?

“Armenians are a small group of people and we have nothing that they’re interested in.

“You’d think they’d do it out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Asked if she was hopeful President Donald Trump would recognise the killings as genocide, Cher replied: “No!”

The US singer was joined at the premiere by Kim Kardashian, who also has Armenian heritage and has previously called for the US to use the term to describe the mass killings.

The dispute about whether the deaths caused by the Ottomans represented genocide centres on the degree to which the killings were orchestrated.

According to the UN, genocide involves acts intended “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”.

Christian Bale and his wife Sibi Blazic
Christian Bale and his wife Sibi Blazic at the premiere of The Promise (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Uruguay are among the countries which recognise the conflict as genocide.

The UK and US use different terminology to describe the events.

Turkey has apologised for the deaths but claimed the number of fatalities was much smaller than Armenian estimates.

Last year Kim criticised an advert published in the Wall Street Journal by a group of Armenian genocide deniers, branding it “reckless, upsetting and dangerous”.

In an essay for Time magazine in 2015, the reality TV star said she would “continue to ask the questions and fight for the genocide to be recognised for what it was”.

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