Sources close to the Turkish government have denied the Sunday’s Zaman report that claimed the Gallipoli commemoration events have been canceled, according to Daily Sabah. “Sources from both the Presidency and Prime Ministry have refuted the claims that the commemorations have been canceled, refraining from offering further details over how many and which countries will participate in the Gallipoli centennial commemoration,” reported Sabah, which highlighted Zaman’s link to the Gulen Movement.
Sunday’s Zaman on Feb. 21 reported that the ceremonies to mark the centennial of the Gallipoli campaign of World War I had been canceled, citing the low number of heads of states who had agreed to visit Ankara for the ceremonies, which were scheduled to take place on April 24—Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day.
The paper quoted a government official, who wished to remain anonymous, as saying, “The Gallipoli celebrations have been canceled. All preparations have been suspended as the number of RSVPs to the invitation is not positive. Only five countries have accepted the invitation and they will not be represented by high-level officials.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sent official invitations to more than 100 world leaders, including Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, to take part in the ceremonies. The date designated for these commemoration events—April 24—created uproar among Armenians worldwide, while Turkish human rights groups urged world leaders to boycott the Gallipoli events.
On Jan. 16, Sarkisian responded to Erdogan’s invitation to Turkey in a strongly worded letter. “Turkey continues its conventional denial policy and is perfecting its instrumentation for distorting history. This time, Turkey is marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli on April 24, even though the battle began on March 18, 1915 and lasted until late January 1916, while the Allies’ operation started on April 25,” he wrote, adding, “What is the purpose [of this] if not to distract the world’s attention from the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide?”