20:02 GMT +316 December 2017
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    Pontic Greeks gather in Moscow to protest Turkish genocide

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    MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - About 100 people gathered Friday in front of the Turkish Embassy in Moscow to protest the Ottoman genocide of the Pontic Greeks in the early 20th century.

    Some demonstrators held placards saying "I will not forget" to mark the genocide, which virtually obliterated the ancient Hellenic community on the Black Sea coast and claimed the lives of more than 350,000 people between 1916 and 1923.

    "We are holding a peaceful protest today and are calling upon the Turkish authorities to recognize the crimes and apologize for their atrocities," a representative of Greek communities in Russia said near the embassy, which is surrounded by police.

    More than 500,000 Pontic Greeks live in Russia and former Soviet republics, and the representative said the Turkish authorities should recognize the genocide given its ambition to join the European Union.

    "We are not putting forward any political demands," he said. "But if Turkey wants to be considered a European country, it has to take this step."

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