The first April 24 commemoration event on the occasion of 102nd anniversary of Armenian Genocide was held in front of Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum located in Sultanahmet district of Istanbul.
April 24 is acknowledged as the beginning of Armenian Genocide, since it was the day when prominent thinkers, politicians and intellectuals of Armenian society had been exiled. Exiled intellectuals were sent to death from the prison which is used as Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum today.
Organized by “April 24 Commemoration Platform”, the commemoration event was held with a poster reading “Armenian Genocide, recognize, apologize, compensate”. And people carried carnations and the pictures of the victims.
According to dihaber, a group tried to provoke people while Benjamin Abtan, Head of European Grassroots Antiracist Movement, was speaking.
The group, chanting “We are the soliders of Mustafa Kemal” and “We are the soldiers of Erdoğan” was prevented from causing further problems.
Noting that they are fighting against forgetting and efforts for making people forget, Abtan said: “We are trying to fight against the inherent hatred and vengeance of the state. We are talking about an annihilation that is going on for 102 years.”
Saying that commemorating the victims of genocide is to defend democracy, Abtan said: “Fighting against denial of genocide and genocide itself are not peculiar to Turkey. That is why we, non-Armenians, are a part of this struggle.”
“Turkey is the land of genocide denial”
After Abtan’s speech, Meral Çıldır, member of Human Rights Association Commission against Racism and Discrimination, read the written statement on behalf of April 24 Commemoration Platform. Massacres of Syriacs and Pontus Greeks are also mentioned.
Here is the statement:
“Today is April 24. The symbolic beginning of Armenian Genocide. We have to remind that Syriac people had been subjected to genocide in Asia Minor between 1914 and 1923, and Pontus Greeks were subjected to genocide both by Ottoman state and Kemalist movement.
Rule of darkness trivializes even the most horrific evils. It makes criminal actions and situations ordinary. People get used to the injustices to which they have to resist and they experience them as a part of daily life.
Talat Pasha planned Armenian Genocide with a cold-blooded precision; he executed the plan, followed its course and meticulously recorded its results. Today, Talat Pasha and Enver Pasha are buried in mausoleum. They are honored with the place that is given to them in Monument of Liberty.
We invite all people who object against genocide denial to protest the naming of schools after Talat Pasha and his grave in the Monument of Liberty. Anatolia is a land of genocide. Turkey is a land of genocide denial. Today, the mentality of genocide and denial still prevails.”