The 100th Anniversary End to Denial Initiative has announced its Genocide Commemoration Program for Istanbul and Diyarbakır.
The initiative bringing together Anadolu Kültür ve Araştırma Derneği/Anatolian Culture and Research Association (AKA-DER), the Human Rights Association Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination Commission, Nor Zartonk, Platform Turabdin: The Platform of Turkey’s Assyrians, Yüzleşme Platformu (the Facing the Past Platform) and the Zan Social Political Economic Research Foundation, and supported by the London-based Gomidas Institute, the Armenian Council of Europe and Collectif VAN from Paris, held a press conference regarding commemoration events to be held on April 24.
Human Rights Association (İHD) Istanbul Branch Director Eren Keskin read out the press release on behalf of the initiative, and said that the struggle for the recognition of Genocide and against denial would end neither on 24 April 2015 or on 31 December 2015. Keskin added: “As long as the State of the Republic of Turkey, and the majority of society in Turkey that has been nurtured on official ideology do not accept the crime and take steps for the reparation of losses that are in fact irrevocable and irreplacable, we will continue our search for justice for the Genocide victims of Asia Minor, and the generations that have been dispersed across all corners of the world, or continue to live under genocidal conditions because of denial.”
The initiative said that the concrete demand on April 24 would be “recognize the Genocide, issue an apology, provide remedy and reparation”. The initiative will gather at the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, formerly the prison where the Armenian intellectuals were imprisoned 100 years ago, from which they will go on to the Haydarpaşa Railway Station, their departure point before exile.
Following the commemoration, the grave of Sevag Balıkçı, who was murdered while he was fulfilling his military service, will be visited at the Şişli Armenian Cemetery; and in the evening a march will be held to Taksim for the evening commemoration.
Beyazıt Square commemoration
The Armenian Council of Europe, that will come to Istanbul as a guest of the Human Rights Association Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination Commission will hold a commemoration at Beyazıt Square, at 10 am, on April 24. Known as “the 20 Hunchakian gallows”, the 20 Hunchakian leaders and party members who were hanged in the Square on 15 June 1915 will be commemorated with the attendance of members of the Human Rights Association Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination Commission.
Armenian and Assyrian victims to be commemorated in Diyarbakır
On the same day, the Armenian and Assyrian victims of the Genocide will be commemorated in Diyarbakır at the ruins of the Surp Sarkis Church with the attendance of the children and grandchildren of the victims. In the afternoon, a commemoration event with broad participation is planned with the support of the Human Rights Association, the Diyarbakır Bar Association, the Zan Foundation, the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, and the Sur Municipality and speeches by Kurdish, Armenian and Assyrian attendees. In the evening, a press conference will be held with the participation of representatives of supporting organizations.