Armenian Americans Protest Genocide Denial at Turkish Embassy

Turkish Prime Minister’s Condolences Ring Hollow as His Embassy Orchestrates Celebration Mocking Murder of Over 2 Million Armenians, Pontians and Syriacs

WASHINGTON–Hundreds of local families held a silent vigil in front of the Turkish Embassy on April 24th, protesting the Turkish Government’s denial of the Armenian Genocide and calling for justice for this crime. The solemn remembrance was met by several dozen anti-Armenian counter-protesters – who blasted Turkish music in a shameful celebration of the murder of 2 million Armenians, Pontian Greeks and Syriacs at the hands of the Ottoman Turkish Government form 1915 to 1923.

A scene from the protest (Photo by Justin Kaladjian)
A scene from the protest (Photo by Justin Kaladjian)

“We are here to tell Turkey that we stand up for the truth and we will continue to do so every year until justice is served for the Armenian Genocide,” said Hagop Simonian, Chairman of the Armenian Youth Federation Washington Ani Chapter, which organized the annual protest. “With the support of our community, we see a growing number of youth joining us every year – and that speaks volumes as we expand the international battle to defend the rights of the Armenian nation.”

The dances and cheers by Turkish counter-protesters to pop-music pumped out of speakers powered from the Turkish Embassy stood in stark contrast to the PR plans of Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan, who sought, through a statement of “condolence” issued just one day before, to repackage his denials under the banner of “shared pain.” The timing and sentiments expressed in his remarks are widely seen as a disingenuous ploy to undermine efforts to secure international affirmation and reparations for the Armenian Genocide.

“The Turkish Prime Minister on the one hand is trying – in a rather clumsy and transparently cynical manner – to present himself as some sort of peacemaker by repackaging his denials in a more sophisticated way, but at the same time his Embassy in Washington is supporting protests cruelly mocking the victims of the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “The fact is that Turkey is escalating its denials of this crime.”

A highlight of the 2014 protest was the participation by the Hye Riders Motorcycle Club, over a dozen of whom rode some 3,000 miles from Southern California over a four day period to stand with the Greater Washington DC community against Turkey’s lies. The group rode past Armenian and Turkish protesters along Washington’s historic Massachusetts Avenue with Armenian flags waving.

A scene from the protest (Photo by Justin Kaladjian)
A scene from the protest (Photo by Justin Kaladjian)

“We are here to support the DC Armenian Community and to let them know that we are not backing away in the face of Turkish lies,” said Hye Riders president Berdj Kasbarian. “Whether it’s 99 years, 110 or more – Armenians stand together united and a cause like this will continue until we get justice.” Established in 1999, the organization is known for its annual participation in Southern California Armenian Genocide protests and for their generosity for a broad range of community initiatives. Asked if they will be able relax and tour DC for a few days after their long trip, Kasbarian declined noting that the group will be hurrying back to Los Angeles to support the AYF San Fernando Valley Sardarabad Chapter “Cycle Against Denial” bike-a-thon, taking place Sunday, April 27th.

An important goal of the protest was to spotlight the strength and vitality of the Armenian nation in the face of Turkey’s genocide acts – powerfully relayed through the innovative “#TurkeyFailed” social media campaign, launched by the AYF Eastern Region earlier in the week. “#TurkeyFailed because I am alive today,” read one sign carried by a chapter member; “My Grandma survived the Armenian Genocide – #TurkeyFailed,” read another as protesters stood defiant against the Turkish Government.

A scene from the protest (Photo by Justin Kaladjian)
A scene from the protest (Photo by Justin Kaladjian)

Following the demonstration, Armenian Americans gathered at the Armenian Embassy to hold a Requiem Service in memory of Armenian Genocide victims, presided by Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian of Soorp Khatch Armenian Church and Rev. Fr. Hovsep Karapetyan of St. Mary Armenian Church and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Legate of the Eastern Diocese. His Excellency Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia Tatoul Markarian offered remarks as Washington DC Homenetmen Scouts stood at attention. Following the service, attendees gathered at Soorp Khatch Armenian Church for an expanded Requiem service and Madagh, prepared by the Soorp Khatch Armenian Church Ladies Guild and the Armenian Relief Society.

 

Photos by Justin Kaladjian

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles written and submitted by members of the community, which make up our community bulletin board.

7 Comments

  1. This is a terrific gathering of committed young people, including many from area colleges such as Georgetown, Suffolk, and George Washington.

    • ahmed I am glad you can add ..hope you did not use your bloody fingers to count..you seen like a sick genocide denier ..Go to jahannam & join your seljuk ,tatar & mongol ancestor they are waiting for a mathematics genius like you

    • Oh, Ahmed, you actually can count? I didn’t know petty genocide denialists could. I hope some math won’t overburden your chicken brains.

      How many Armenians were killed by your savage Ottoman predecessors during the Hamidian massacres in 1894-1896? Most sources agree up to 300,000.

      How many Armenians were killed by the combination of your savage Ottoman+Young Turk predecessors during the Adana massacre in 1909? Most agree on 30,000.

      How many Armenians were burnt alive by your savage Kemalist predecessors during the great fire of Smyrna? Most sources estimate around 20,000.

      How many Armenians were massacred or starved to death by your savage Young Turk predecessors during the genocide between 1915 and 1922? Most scholars agree at 1,500.000.

      Please feel free to take several days to add these figures and let us know what approximate figure you came up with, okay? Good luck.

  2. It actually doesn’t surprise me that on April 24th, the Turkish embassy celebrates the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915-1922, as well as the exterminations of approximately one million Greeks and 250 thousand Assyrians. After all, exterminating people is a tradition in the criminal, terrorist Turkish culture. As a matter of fact, when it comes to exterminating people in the most barbaric manner, the Turkish culture is by far the most talented in this particular field. However, what doesn’t make sense here, is that by celebrating the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by their filthy barbaric forefathers, the Turkish embassy is actually contradicting the desperate Armenian Genocide denial position of its government.

  3. The Pontian Greeks have many memorial events – Tomorrow is May 19th which is the official day of commemoration of the Pontian Genocide by Turkey – we will gather downtown in NYC BOWLING GREEN PARK for a special service and raising of flags – by the way, I sincerely hope that as Turkey is being exposed more and more every day for their barbarism, the Armenians, Greeks and Syriacs will become more unified in their activism

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