Call for Genocide Commemoration in Istanbul

On April 24, 1915, prominent representatives of the Armenian people in politics, the sciences, literature, and other fields were arrested and summoned from their homes on the orders of the governing Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). The arrests marked the beginning of the process of genocide, which led to the deracination of the Armenian population throughout Anatolia where they had lived for thousands of years, and to their annihilation as a result of starvation, destitution, and massacres.

A scene from the genocide commemoration in Istanbul on April 24, 2010.

Last year, as part of the Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association, Committee Against Racism and Discrimination, we commemorated those who were arrested on the 24th of April and the victims of genocide in front of the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, which had been used as a prison during that period. “Armenian intellectuals were jailed in these cells and wards before they were sent to their deaths. This is one of the crime scenes of Istanbul!” we told the press.

As we were making this declaration, Sevag Şahin Balıkçı was shot dead in the city of Batman while he was on mandatory military duty. This year, on April 24, we will be making our press statement at the same place, and commemorate Sevag along with the other victims of the Armenian Genocide.

In our statement to the press, we will share with the public in Turkey and the world two letters that we will be sending to the Catholicosate of Cilicia, which was uprooted as a result of the genocide from its centuries-old home in Sis, today Adana Kozan, and displaced to Beirut, and to the Catholicosate of All Armenians in Etchmiadzin. We will make the voices of the human rights defenders in Turkey heard through our letters to the two highest spiritual representatives of the Armenian people, and thus to all Armenians in the world.

After making our statement, we will arrive at the Sirkeci Post Office in a silent procession, in keeping with the tradition of mourning, and mail our letters. As defenders of human rights and protestors against racism and discrimination, we will then visit the grave of Sevag Şahin Balıkçı in the Şişli Armenian Cemetery and observe a moment of silence in his memory.

We invite all those who believe that the recognition of the genocide is a condition for true democracy and justice to join us at 1p.m. on April 24, 2012 in front of the Museum for Turkish and Islamic Arts.

Human Rights Association,  Istanbul Branch
Committee Against Racism and Discrimination

8 Comments on Call for Genocide Commemoration in Istanbul

  1. The bravest of the brave.

  2. avatar gaytzag palandjian // April 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm // Reply

    Whether we like ,approve of it or not this is the only manner that the other party,namely our centuries old adversary, great Turkey can be approached.Let the Int´l Human rights and similar establishments by and by prepare them to come to terms. Above all, it is more appropriate to accept reality -as just described-than to expect that they(Turks) bend over at once.
    Have in mind that they have lately been unsuccessful in many aspirations of theirs and that may ignite the famous Turkish Wrath (Khers) if the Armenian Genocide issue be piled up on those (their) recent failures.I don´t see it necessary to name these failures,they know it ,we know it.
    Let us hope that they will by and by come with grips with Reality,proceed with more Taksim (above) like ¨admittances¨

  3. gaytzag
    I don’t think that this (int´l human rights groups and similar establishments) is the only manner that Turkey can be approached. Turks can also be prepared to come to terms by means of ongoing genocide resolutions by foreign legislatures, executive proclamations, legal actions, etc. All venues must be put to work to make Turks face the ugly truth about their Ottoman past.

  4. avatar gaytzag palandjian // April 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm // Reply

    Please read well my above post.While it sort of wishes to remind us that ¨other¨much more important world forces are at work trying to by and by bring the great Turkey to accept the CRIME their ancestors committed on our fathers and grandparents,it also implies/conveys that we ARE THERE awaiting Final outcome patiently.
    However, paticence has a limit, as we all know quite well.They,the Turks should also know that. They are cognizant of the facts more than us….but at pressent with back up from ¨allies¨ ignoring as yet the Ermeni Problemisi!!!!!!
    I would like to add that my other side (the side that has awaited so long) demands to the other side…STAND UP AND DEMAND J U S T I C E …to the world, IF NOT THE TURKS…

  5. It would be very fitting, because that is where Taalat Bey, the Ottoman Minister of the Interior, issued the order for April, 24th, to be the start of the Armenians being notified they must have internal passports. The internal passports signified where they were at, to be marched out of their homes, and transported by train to outposts in the Syrian and Mesopotamian deserts. From there, it was being marched to their deaths out in the deserts.

  6. Pray for these brave people who want the truth. No matter what happened to our ancestors, I really don’t want more innocent people hurt for nothing. I hope it will have an effect.

  7. One day we should have a proper commemoration for the victims of the genocides in Turkey. I am Turkish but I know what happened and it is a stain on our history. I hope one day things will be normal and good again between us. It can only come after an apology and when we change our history books to reflect the truth of what happened and also show about Armenians in our past.

    Just please remember we are not all bad people, not barbarian, and that many simply just do not know or if they do know would rather believe what they want to because of the awful crime. It is part of the national saga to only bring out the good things and slowly this is changing. We cannot change the past but we should be honest and fair and we should try harder.

    The Armenians I know in Istanbul are very kind, smart, hardworking, artistic, intellectual, strong and they reflect well on the rest. I hope I can represent Turkish people by being the same characteristic as my Armenian friends who I love like brothers. It was a genocide and it was a crime. I just want peace for all of us. I hope my country one day does the right thing. That is all.

    • Let us not forget that in the Ottoman Empire, governors that were against the deportation of Armenians in their districts were removed from office. Also, it has been documented about how Turkish and Kurdish families, hid Armenians in their cellars and basements. Such an incident is mentioned in the classic “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh,” when a Turkish family took in an Armenian boy, and they said he was a relative, who was a deaf mute — hence he spoke Armenian, and not Turkish. Suspicious, officials pulled down his pants, and saw that he was uncircumcised. so they slit his throat. Read about the Armenian Genocide published by the Ford Foundation, you can find numerous examples of Turkish resistance to the deportations.

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