Diyarbakir Mayor Places Flowers at Genocide Memorial in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (A.W.)—On Oct. 10, the mayor of the Diyarbakir Sur Municipality in Turkey, Abdullah Demirbaş, placed flowers at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Providence.

Demirbaş with members of the Kurdish and Armenian communities of New England (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)
Demirbaş with members of the Kurdish and Armenian communities of the U.S. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

Speaking at the memorial, Demirbaş said, “We bow in memory of all those who lost their lives.”

Kurds played a role in the massacres of 1915, Demirbaş noted. He stressed the importance of confronting the past, and called on the Turkish state to apologize and make amends. “Asking for forgiveness is a sign of maturity,” he said.

The mayor was accompanied by members of the Kurdish and Armenian communities of New England.

Last month, Demirbaş apologized in the name of Kurds for the Armenian and Assyrian “massacre and deportations” during the official inauguration of the Monument of Common Conscience. “We will continue our struggle to secure atonement and compensation for them,” he added.

Demirbaş placing flowers at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Providence
Demirbaş placing flowers at the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Providence (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

Demirbaş and the metropolitan mayor of Diyarbakir, Osman Baydemir, have adopted a policy of reviving the multiculturalism of the city in recent years, embarking on a series of initiatives that include  renovatng of the Sourp Giragos Church, offering  Armenian and Assyrian language courses, returning confiscated Armenian property, and opening the memorial. Diyarbakir is the only city in Turkey with a sign that greets visitors in Turkish, Kurdish, and Armenian.

“Today, we are not simply asking for forgiveness in a dry fashion,” Demirbaş noted in an interview with Weekly editor Khatchig Mouradian in Diyarbakir in 2011. “I am a Kurd. And I want for Armenians what I want for the Kurds.”

The Armenian Weekly conducted a follow-up interview with the mayor after the visit to the memorial. The interview will be published next week.


  1. I am real glad that our Kurdish brothers are on the same way of beliefs as us Armenians.
    Our bonding goes back long in history, as both our nations have suffered more or less in the same manner by suppressing , un humanly totalitarian regimes.
    Long live our brotherhood .

  2. It certainly is a good omen.However, I am of the opinion that these good people,whether Turk or Kurd ought to do more of their activism AMONGST THEIR PEOPLE, rather than Jump to be amongst us!!!!
    We are a very open [people,we Armenians and immediately become joyful with one or a few Flowers.As i wrote on another thread here,the Armenian saying goes, WITH ONE FLOWE*IN THIS CASE A FEW(spring does not come!!!!
    Always ask these good people to be more ACTIVE AMONGST THEIR OWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  3. i have a gut feeling the kurds are looking to ensnare armenians with a few goodies and in respone down the road will ask the armenian lobies to join forces to press the kurd case in washington and when they receive their agenda kurdsw will not share armenian lands and property but will again massacre armenians and cleanse that land

    • helen,

      You are absolutely right. The Kurds are not to be trusted. I personally trust them as far as I can throw them. The history is a good judge of character and the Kurds showed their true character when they joined hands with genocidal Turks in exterminating our nation in return for their properties and assets. As they say, a leopard never changes its spots and I strongly believe all these empty Kurdish gestures are insincere attempts to take advantage of the Armenians against the Turks now that they themselves have become the victims of their former Turkish “brothers” and criminal collaborators. They mostly live on Turkish-occupied Western Armenian provinces, completely depopulated of the indigenous Armenians as a result of the Armenian Genocide, and it is their intent to create a so-called greater Kurdistan in the region.

      Unfortunately, some of our simple-minded Armenian people have fallen into their traps just because they have allowed or have helped renovate some desolate Armenian churches with no congregation to attend. Recently, even the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan whose organization has been fighting the Turks for over thirty years, claimed the Turks and the Kurds share common history and praised their “brotherhood”. What we need, instead of rejoicing over the restoration of some locality we don’t even have its possession, are legally-binding documents that clearly state the future of our occupied territories when we are in a position to liberate them as well. Never trust without verification especially the descendants of the people whose grandparents helped to kill off yours only less than a hundred years ago.

    • There is no harm in being both appreciative of Kurdish acts/shows of contrition and compassion AND being wary given their role in the genocide. It makes sense to not be naively trusting of those who once caused us such great harm.

  4. politically correct speaking very nice gesture,more serious matter we need some authority to tell us what are they going to give back for the confescated properties,wards are free and can not tell us the intentions.I do not know how my orphan parents walking through the desert would think of kind gestures.

  5. Dear Armenian brothers and sisters, I used to hate Kurds as much as I hated Turks. However, our thinking is wrong. We need as many friends as possible near the region of Armenia. The Kurds number over 30 million scattered around four/five countries. They are Indo/European just like us. The only difference is theie religion.
    Look at the Americans, the Japanese and the Germans. Old bitter enemies and now business partners. Armenians must learn politics and diplomacy from these people. Let us cooperate with the Kurds and see what happens next. Long live Armenian/Kurdish friendshih.

  6. The Americans subdued the Germans and the Japenese during World War II. Then they established busniess ties. What did we do, and what did they do, recently, to turn us into us business partners overnight?

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