Boycott Gallipoli, Head to Yerevan Say Turkey Rights Groups

Turkey Rights Groups Call on World Leaders to Boycott Gallipoli,  Visit Yerevan on Genocide Centennial

On Feb. 6, human rights organizations in Turkey issued a statement urging world leaders to reject Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s invitation to take part in ceremonies commemorating the Battle of Gallipoli  on April 24 this year. Instead, they asked that heads of states show solidarity with the descendants of survivors of the Armenian Genocide by visiting the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan on April 24—Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.

The full text of the statement is printed below:

Human rights organizations in Turkey issued a statement on Feb. 6, urging world leaders to reject Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s invitation to partake at the ceremonies commemorating the Battle of Gallipoli this year, which will take place on April 24.
Human rights organizations in Turkey issued a statement on Feb. 6, urging world leaders to reject Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s invitation to partake at the ceremonies commemorating the Battle of Gallipoli this year, which will take place on April 24.

On April 24 of the 100th Year of the Genocide, Call to World Leaders: Go to Yerevan, Not Gallipoli

President Erdogan has announced that this year, the annual commemorations of the Battle of Gallipoli, held annually on March 18, will instead take place on April 24—the day that marks the 100th year of the Armenian Genocide. The president has invited world leaders to the said commemorations in Gallipoli.

Touted as a “victory” and ceremonially celebrated by Turkey, the Battle of Gallipoli is in actuality one of the many mournful pages of a war of domination into which the Ottoman Empire entered with dreams of conquest and out of which it emerged in heavy defeat. The battle is part of a painful history, of children from far-flung lands killing each other in the name of state policy.

April 24, on the other hand, is the date that signifies the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, which was planned, organized, overseen in terms of its proceeding and results, and meticulously recorded so as to destroy Ottoman Armenians with all their social fabric and historical heritage. The Assyrian people too were a target of genocide—massacred en masse in the Assyrian Genocide known as “Seyfo.” The genocide ultimately resulted in the destruction of all Christian peoples on Ottoman territory, including Armenians and Assyrians—as well as Greeks, who constituted the largest Christian population in the region in the beginning of the 19th century. By turning the symbolic starting point of such a massive, irremediable, and irredeemable destruction into official commemorations of a fictive “victory,” the government of the Republic of Turkey not only scorns the memory of the victims of the genocide and their descendants, but also intends to cast a shadow on and make invisible the efforts at commemorating the genocide by human rights defenders and activists against racism and denial in Turkey.

As organizations and solidarity groups against genocide denial, we protest the president’s invitation in the days leading to the 100th anniversary of April 24, 1915. We call on world leaders to visit the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, instead of coming to Gallipoli.

We hereby entreat: Do not accept the invitation of the government of the Republic of Turkey, which to this day has carried the responsibility for the genocide by recruiting perpetrators from among the CUP [Committee of Union and Progress] to form the founding establishment, and by institutionalizing denial from the onset through legislation, history writing, and systematic official or unofficial policies. Do announce, to the world entire, that you will not desecrate the memory of the victims of genocide and trample upon their descendants’ century-long mourning by coming to Gallipoli on April 24.


Human Rights Association

Committee Against Racism and Discrimination

Izmir Assyrian Platform for Culture and Solidarity

Nor Zartonk Cultural Platform

Zan Foundation for Social, Political, and Economic Research

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Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.


  1. Hopefully world leaders will seriously consider this statement and rise above the dirty tricks and politics of Turkey.
    Turkey with mischievous intent, shameful and disgraceful attempt is commemorating the Gallipoli centenary on April 24.
    The date of April 24 chosen by Turkey has absolutely no relation or tie in with the Gallipoli campaign.
    Here are the facts:
    – The allied naval attack was launched on 3.18.1915.
    – The Allied Campaign was plagued by ill-defined goals, poor planning and tactical deficiencies on all fronts.
    – The Allied landing took place on April 25,1915 and the campaign ended on January 9, 1916.
    – Australia and New Zealand celebrate ” Anzac” day on April 25.
    – Turkey itself marked the anniversary on March 18.

    On April 24 nothing happened at Gallipoli.

    Vart Adjemian

  2. Commendable. Armenian Organizations around the world should follow suit in asking world leaders to not partake in this charade. This very act of marketing the Gallipoli war as a “victory”, and scheduling this year’s commemoration on the same day as April 24th in order to sabotage the commemoration of the Genocide Centennial is in itself a blatant continuation of Turkey’s annihilation intent of 1915. Turkey is actively continuing to desecrate the Armenian fabric, dignity and memory. World leaders who attend the Gallipoli commemoration should be accused of collaborating with Turkey’s policies of covering up, falsifying and denying.

  3. as an Armenian this an insult to us,and any country that would choose gallipoli over the genecide,has been bought by turkey,and if the u.s.a or israel do not send a high ranking official to yerevan on april 24th then to hell with them, we will do what needs to be done and not worry about what other countries do to embarass their self.

  4. This turns out to be extremely interesting that social Turkish organizations recognize the lie and the denial that his government conceals behind the celebration of Galipoli’s battle. Again Turkey persists in doing that the lie is true. It would be lamentable that the sovereign States of the world, autoproclaimed defenders of the human rights, once again, are accomplices of this one perverse play, continuation of the genocidal spirit of the Turkish politics that lasts after one century.

  5. This is an appalling idea, and one set to fail from the outset. Are they being paid by Erdogan perhaps? Are these organisations seriously claiming that boycotting the commemoration of one culture’s anniversary of a significant event is a productive and positive way to promote the commemoration of another culture’s anniversary of a significant event?
    If anyone should be protesting against the Erdogan regime’s abuse of the Gallipoli 100th anniversary it is Australians because it is Australian history that is being directly abused and misused. The April 25 1915 Allied landings at Gallipoli (which were not an invasion, but to destroy coastal defences that were preventing allied warships from entering the Marmara Sea) were not related in any way to the Armenian Genocide. The date April 24th when used in relation to the Armenian Genocide is simply a symbolic date – contrary to what is claimed by these organisations, no genocide began on April 25th because that genocide was already happening. The Ottoman Empire had been massacring civilians since December 1914, and during its invasion of Persia in January 1915 that expanded into a fully-developed policy of genocide against that region’s Armenians and Assyrians. From Persia, the genocide moved into adjacent parts of historic Armenia inside Ottoman territory, starting in the Van region, and then expanded to include Armenians throughout the empire. The centenary anniversary of the Armenian Genocide does not start on April 24th – the centenary anniversary has already started!

  6. I’m wondering if there aren’t any international agreements prohibiting nations from arbitrarily changing the dates certain historical events are commemorated. Especially in this case, since this event is commemorated not only by Turkey, but by a few other nations as well.
    May be there is a way that the Armenian government can bring this to the United Nations’ or some other world body’s attention, if for no other reason than to highlight the Turkish government’s utter disregard for the memory of not only the millions of victims of the Genocide of Armenians, but those who fought and died at Gallipoli as well.
    If done properly, bringing this to the world’s attention will also embarrass and shame those world leaders who, rather than doing the right thing and attending the centennial of the Genocide on April 24th,might be contemplating being in Gallipoli that day.
    Perhaps Mr. Harout Sassounian can shed some light on this.

  7. I wish to comment as a Turkish-Australian and make some corrections. Turks won Victory againts Allied Forces on 18 March 1915 and this day is celebrated in Turkey proudly. Australian and Zealand ANZACs) landed (invaded) Turkish coastline on 25 April 1915. Today, Anzac Day is commemorated on this day by Australians and New Zealanders on Turkish soil called Gallipoli. There were also other countries involved in this conflict like English, French, Indian, Greek as well as Ottoman Empire, thus the commemorations of these countries take place on 24 April each year again at Gallipoli, so it is not a date changing tactic as stated in this article. These 24 April commemorations are held at 3 different places at different times. One of these is called the Turkish Service and this where World Leaders are invited to. I personally do not support Erdogan and his politics, however the facts must be stated correctly. And for the so called ‘genocide’ I think people should read read and read more and get the facts of war before uttering such allegations. People still speak out of speculation and emotions and not from reality. War is the enemy and its consequences are the bitter outcomes. Lets all learn from the genuine and mutual respect which exists between Turks and Australians today after a war, not from hatred. Lets leave those died in conflicts in peace and look to the future.

    • It is alarmingly common to find Turks who first say “I personally do not support Erdogan and his politics” and then go on to indicate they actually support 100% that person, and his politics, and his increasingly weird opinions on history.

    • marcus,

      Exactly which corrections are you making? The only thing you’re doing is justifying the criminal Turkish leadership’s desperate plan to take attention away and show extreme disrespect for the April 24th Armenian Genocide remembrance centennial by celebrating their “Battle of Gallipoli” victory on that very same day as opposed to celebrating it on March 18th as they did in the previous years.

      And again, what sort of correction are you trying to make by referring to the Armenian Genocide as a “so-called genocide”? This has become a very dirty habit on the part of so many garbage-talking, genocide denialist Turks such as yourself. Anyway, for your own education, the Armenian Genocide which is recognized by the International Association of Genocide Scholars along with the Human Rights Association of Turkey, is an extremely well-documented fact with an enormous amount of factual evidence from foreign diplomats, missionaries, and military officers who were present during the period of time that these atrocities were taking place in both Western Armenia, as well as in the other parts of present-day Turkey. That’s the reason why Britain, Germany, and the United States possess such a massive amount of factual evidence on the Armenian Genocide within their archives. As a matter of fact, Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during the time of the Armenian Genocide, happened to collect a huge pile of factual evidence by himself on the extermination of the Armenian people within the Ottoman Turkish Empire. And also don’t forget that in addition to the Armenian Genocide, the Muslim Ottoman Turkish Empire also committed genocides against two other Christian groups (Greeks and Assyrians).

      In terms of the relationship between Turkey and Australia, it’s nothing more than a business partnership. And whenever the Australian government starts talking about the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish leadership immediately threatens them with pretending that it will terminate their partnership if Australia dares to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This is actually how Turkey behaves with all of its business partners if they bring up any kind of discussion on recognizing the Armenian Genocide. There’s certainly no kind of genuine, mutual respect in any of that.

  8. Steven,

    Exactly which “fully-developed genocide” did the Ottoman Turks begin in Persia? On the contrary, as a result of their failed invasion of northwestern Persia in the early part of 1915, there was absolutely no possible way for them to commit a genocide in that region. The genocides against the Armenians and Assyrians began and ended in the region that is now present-day Turkey, with the largest part of it occurring in the western part of the Armenian Highlands (present-day eastern Turkey.

    Isn’t it rather appalling how you suggest the possibility of Erdogan paying those Turkish human rights organizations to urge world leaders to boycott his “Battle of Gallipoli” planned ceremony for April 24th which had always been previously held on March 18th and to instead show solidarity with the Armenian people by visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan on April 24th, which happens to be Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day?

    And exactly how are the Australians being abused in all this? It was the Armenian people who were exterminated in 1915, not the Australians. As a matter of fact, those Australians might even be attending Erdogan’s planned ceremony on April 24th. And let’s also not forget that Australia still continues to not recognize the Armenian Genocide. Therefore, by not doing so, Australia is abusing the history of the Armenian people.

    • Yerevanian, your ignorance about the history of the Armenian Genocide is astonishing. Everything you wrote regarding it is false. Maybe this is due to you believing simplistic Armenian propaganda, or perhaps Turkish propaganda, for they are alarmingly similar. Despite what both Armenian activists and Turkish activist claim, April 24th marks no significant historical event. April 25th, however, does – especially for Australia. Even a year ago, some wiser voices amongst the Armenian diaspora foresaw the disaster that would be the 2015 centenary anniversary. They realised it was looking like a non-event, just another standard symbolic April 24th commemoration, only a bit bigger. Turkey, on seeing that this was all the centenary anniversary would consist of, realised it could neutralise it by just creating its own April 24th event through taking over the Australian’s Gallipoli / ANZAC centenary anniversary. And you (and these groups in Turkey) are actually suggesting doing the same thing – seeking to take over another people’s anniversary event to exploit for your own aims. Shame on all of you.

    • Steven,

      My knowledge of the Armenian Genocide is based upon numerous books I’ve read which were all written by Armenian Genocide scholars, as opposed to you who would never be capable of reading and comprehending these books. By foolishly claiming that the Ottoman Turks began a “fully-developed genocide” in Persia, and then furthermore claiming that April 24th marks no significant historical event, just comes to show your extreme ignorance as well as extreme lack of knowledge on the Armenian Genocide. And by attempting to insist that the 2015 centennial anniversary will be a disaster, certainly shows you to be a strong believer of anti-Armenian Turkish propaganda. There’s absolutely no reason that 2015 will be a disaster in regard to the Armenian Genocide. On the contrary, with each passing year, the Armenian Genocide movement is growing stronger and stronger as opposed to Turkey’s anti-Armenian propaganda machine which is becoming weaker and weaker.

      In regard to these Armenian Genocide justice-seeking human rights groups in Turkey of whom you have so much dislike for, exactly how are they seeking to take over Turkey’s “Battle of Gallipoli” commemoration event? This particular ceremony has never previously been commemorated on April 24th; it’s always been commemorated on March 18th. Shame on you and all those Turk denialists who are attempting to erase the significance of April 24th being Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day and instead are attempting to connect April 24th with Turkey’s “Battle of Gallipoli” commemoration.

  9. The sad truth in all this is that the governments of the UK and USA, have still not officially accepted the Armenian genocide. If they had, the world and its leaders would be attending Yerevans commemorations. Turkey would not be able to hold its own commemoration for anything on that day. This is the tragedy of denial, lies, corruption and hypocrisy.

  10. Thank you human rights organisations of Turkey. Thank goodness for people of conscience whoever or wherever they are, who stand for universal values of right and wrong regardless of race or politics. Armenians and people of conscience worldwide should do whatever they can to make the 100th anniversary commemorations an international event, a turning point for worldwide recognition of the 20th century’s first ethnic cleansing. April 24 has always been the commemoration day for this crime and it will be an insult to the memories of the 1.5 million victims if Erdogan was allowed to get away with his dirty tactics. We should not be sidetracked by pointless discussions about dates or hypothetical arguments about other world events. There are 365 days in the year to celebrate or commemorate every worthwhile event in the world but not one at the expense in instead of the other Mr. Erdogan.

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