This report was filed by the Armenian Weekly’s Diyarbakir correspondent, Gulisor Akkum.
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—A large crowd gathered at the Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality Theater on April 23 to commemorate the Armenian Genocide.
The event, commemorating the 98th anniversary of the destruction of the Armenian community in the city, was organized by the Diyarbakir Bar Association (DBA) and the Diyarbakir Municipality, and featured a panel discussion with historian Ara Sarafian and the head of the DBA, Tahir Elci.
In his opening remarks, Elci noted that as Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were being rounded up in Istanbul on April 24, 1915 and during the weeks that followed, a similar process unfolded in Diyarbakir.
Stressing Kurdish participation in the genocide in Diyarbakir, Elci said that confronting the reality of the genocide by Kurds today is inevitable. Moreover, he argued that Kurds should support Armenians in the struggle against the state’s ideology and denialism.
“We grew up with the stories of our grandparents about the massacres of the Armenians. Denialist discourse does not withstand legal and historic scrutiny,” he said.
“Today, we commemorate the genocide in Diyarbakir for the first time. This is a very important day for us. We bow respectfully before the memory of our Armenian brothers who were murdered in 1915, and condemn the genocide,” Elci concluded.
Sarafian focused on the process of the destruction of the Armenians in Diyarbakir in 1915. He noted that he had come to Diyarbakir to conduct research on the genocide, and that locals had been very helpful.
After the meeting, members of the audience headed to the banks of the Tigris River and threw flowers in the water in memory of the Armenians killed there during the genocide.