Like Holocaust deniers, Turkey to this day officially denies that a genocide took place, preferring instead to blame the deaths, in smaller numbers, on starvation and poor conditions emanating from the world war at the time. Turkey's contention has been discredited, though it remains a crime in turkey to claim that a genocide took place.
The memorial was built beginning in 1966, when Armenia was under Soviet occupation. A year earlier, a million people demonstrated in Yerevan in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the genocide. The demonstration led to the construction of the monument, which was completed in 1968.
The memorial is made of a series of 12 circular slabs that symbolize 12 lost provinces (that is, Armenian provinces in Turkey), and one 130-foot (44 meter) stele that marks the rebirth of the Armenian nation. A 300-foot wall (100 meters) lists the names of towns and villages where Armenians were known to have been massacred.