ISTANBUL — Agence France-Presse, Hurriyet, 24 April 2010
ISTANBUL — Agence France-Presse, Hurriyet, 24 April 2010
Under the slogan "Never Again" and the watchful eye of the police, demonstrators carried black and white photos of some of the deportees, most of whom never returned.
Police kept at bay a group of counter-demonstrators including former diplomats waving the Turkish flag.
Forty-two Turkish diplomats were killed by members of the extremist Armenian ASALA organization in the 1970s and 1980s.
Turkish intellectuals and artists signed a petition calling on "those who feel the great pain" to show their sorrow.
Avoiding an open confrontation over the term genocide —which the Turkish government fiercely rejects — the petition speaks of the "Great Catastrophe" of the 1915-17 massacres.
But despite this precaution, organizers were afraid of a backlash from those who could object to the demonstration.
"All precautionary measures have been taken but it’s always possible that someone is losing it," Cengiz Aktar, an Istanbul academic who backs the petition, told AFP.
The unprecedented commemoration came as tens of thousands of Armenians marked the 95th anniversary of the killings in the Armenian capital Yerevan amid fresh tensions with Turkey over the collapse of reconciliation efforts.
The dispute about the genocide label has poisoned relations between the two neighbors for decades.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were systematically killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey, was falling apart. Turkey says many were killed on both sides during civil strife.
European Armenian Federation
Although it has been attested by a huge majority of historians and recognized by tens of Parliaments and international institutions in the world, this genocide still remains unpunished and denied by successive Turkish governments.
The European Armenian Federation states that, whatever the political and economic threats Turkey makes on the countries which recognize this genocide, the international process of recognition will continue until the recognition by the Turkish State itself.
Aware of the moral and material prejudices generated by the genocide, the European Armenian Federation affirms that as for any Crime against Humanity, the process of reconciliation between the Armenian people and Turkey will have to pass by the re-establishment of the truth, the recognition and the morals and material reparation.
On April 24th, the truth of the extermination of the Armenian people will be commemorated in Armenia, throughout the world and in Europe in particular, where a big number of survivors have found refuge for more than 90 years.
Outside the Turkish Consulate, Sydney, Australia
Montevideo, Uruguay-Ուրուկուայի նախագահ Խոսէ Մուխիքա ներկայ եղաւ Հայոց Ցեղասպանութեան յիշատակումին
José Mujica, the President of Uruguay inaugurates the opening ceremony of the monument in Montevideo dedicated to the victims of the Genocide
“Արմենիա” թերթ – Շաբաթ, 24 Ապրիլին, Ուրուկուայի նախագահ ՝ Խոսէ Մուխիքա, եւ Կրթութեան ու Մշակոյթի նախարար ՝ Ռիքարտօ Էհրլիչ, ինչպէս նաեւ այլ քաղաքական եւ դիւանագիտական անձնաւորութիւններ, ու հոծ բազմութիւն մը, ներկայ գտնուեցան Հայոց Ցեղասպանութեան 95ամեակի յիշատակումին, որ տեղի ունեցաւ երկրի մայրաքաղաք ՝ Մոնթէվիտէոյի “Արմենիա” Հրապարակին մէջ:
Նախագահը բացումը կատարեց 1915-23ին Թուրքիոյ կողմէ զոհ գացած աւելի քան մէկ ու կէս միլիոն հայ նահատակները յիշատակող յուշարձանին՝ Հայաստանէն բերուած խաչքար մը:
Հարկ է նշել թէ նոյն օրը, կէսօրին, հայ համայնքը ծաղկեպսակ մը զետեղած էր Անկախութեան Հրապարակը գտնուող ազատարար Խոսէ Խերվասիօ Փոսատասի յուշարձանին առջեւ:
Jerusalem: The march of the Armenian Community from the Convent to the Armenian Memorial Obelisk of Araara Martyrs at the Armenian Cemetery of St Saviour or Sourp Pergitch.
France: Photo by I’m Armenian
Buenos Aires, Argentina
The White House, USA View Worldwide Videos on ImArmenian.com
View Worldwide Photo Slideshow by clicking here
Despite Obstacles, Armenian Genocide Commemoration Events Held in Turkey
The first commemoration event was by Kurdish mothers whose sons had “disappeared.” For the past few years, an organization bringing these mothers together was holding silent protests every Saturday. In Beyoglu at noon, in an act of solidarity with Armenians and as a powerful statement of the continuities between the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, these mothers, joined by human rights activists and supporters, held up photographs of not only their disappeared sons, but of the Armenian intellectuals who were arrested and killed on April 24, 1915 and in the weeks following it. The organizers of the gathering made statements calling Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
A small counter-demonstration by the Workers’ Party was held on a street nearby. They condemned genocide commemoration in Turkey, holding banners that said, “The Armenian Genocide is an imperialist lie.”
The second commemoration event was held at 1:30 p.m. at the Haydarpasha train station. Organized by the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, the commemoration brought together a few hundred people, who held photographs of Armenian intellectuals who were murdered in 1915 while lawyer and activist Eren Keskin, a leading figure in the Human Rights Association, read a statement which highlighted the importance of recognition and justice. Dozens of journalists, photographers and TV crews were present at the commemoration, which was held amidst heavy police presence, and went without serious incidents. Several individuals, however, started yelling at the organizers near the end of the commemoration, and the police intervened.
At 5 p.m., a genocide commemoration lecture was held at the Cezayir center’s meeting hall in Beyoglu. The lecture, by Armenian Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian, was attended by Turkish intellectuals and activists who have been outspoken about 1915 in Turkey, reporters, and members of the local Armenian community. The Armenian Weekly will provide coverage of the lecture separately.
At 7 p.m., a candlelight vigil was held in Taksim Square, in the presence of hundreds of policemen, and a large crowd of the press and onlookers. Organized by Turkish intellectuals, the vigil was the most advertised of the commemoration events that day, and attracted the largest number of participants and counter-demonstrators. The organizers read a statement about April 24, 1915, saying that this was their pain as well. Then, for almost half an hour, the participants in the vigil sat in silence while, nearby, counter protestors being pushed back by the police were yelling: “Death to the Armenian Diaspora.”
Contrary to what was reported in some U.S. and European media, today’s commemoration events were not the first in Turkey. The Istanbul Human Rights Association has been organizing commemoration events (lectures, panels discussions, musical performances) for the past several years. What was particular about the commemorations this year was the fact that they were held outdoors, on or near busy streets, intersections, and station, hence generating greater attention.
In Ankara, a two-day long genocide conference dealing with the history and the consequences of the Armenian Genocide began. A few days ago, the conference was cancelled because of bureaucratic, political pressure and security concerns. Later, an announcement came that the conference will be held as scheduled. Despite the confusion the cancellation was created, most scholars, including the ones from overseas, attended the conference or will do so on April 25.
(some of the photos are courtesy ImArmenian.com)