Mayor Abdullah Demirbaş Arrested in Diyarbakir

Dear Editor:

On Aug. 9, Abdullah Demirbaş, the former mayor of the Sur municipality in Diyarbakir, was arrested by Turkish authorities in Diyarbakir. A long list of charges were filed against him, reported the local BIA News Center.

Abdullah Demirbaş
Abdullah Demirbaş

Demirbaş, a longtime advocate for Armenian rights, worked tirelessly for the Surp Giragos Church reconstruction in 2011. On the occasion of the re-opening of the church, he addressed the Armenians who had gathered there: “Welcome, my brothers and sisters! We are very glad to see you in your own country, your own city!”

He presided over the official inauguration of the Monument of Common Conscience on Sept. 12, 2013, that was erected in Diyarbakir. During those ceremonies, in the name of the Kurdish people, he apologized for the atrocities committed against the Armenians and Assyrians. While visiting Providence, R.I., in 2013, he addressed the Armenian community at Sts. Vartanantz Church, and laid flowers at the Armenian Genocide Monument there.

Clearly, his arrest is based on fabricated charges and was timed to coincide with unrest and violence in eastern Turkey. The 49-year-old was jailed in 2009; the charges against him included “using the Kurdish language in his official capacity.” He was released a year into his sentence because of a serious cardiac condition that has worsened since. There is grave concern for his safety and failing health while incarcerated. Turkish jails and jailers tend to live up to their reputation for cruelty and abuse of prisoners.

Demirbaş is a kind and gentle person who dedicated himself to working for the betterment of others. He has proven himself a true friend of Armenians.

“I want for Armenians the same things as I want for Kurds” — Abdullah Demirbaş



Ani Haroian

Ani Haroian

Ani Haroian

Ani Haroian is a member of the Providence “Kristapor” Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Chapter and has served the ARF in many capacities, including on the Central Committee of the Eastern Region. She works for the city of Providence’s Department of Planning and Development, and was previously the director of community relations for former Mayor David Cicilline, who currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives. A life-long activist who has received recognition for her devotion and work both from the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic and the Republic of Armenia, Haroian has a keen interest in Turkish and Kurdish politics in relation to their impact on Armenian issues.


  1. The assault on its own citizens continue in Turkey. The record of the Turkish nation , whether Ottoman or Republic….or Sultan, Ittihad, Kemalist or Islamist is absurd. All minorities have been subjected to harassment, deportation and murder. This is not a behavior of the past. But their approach, no matter how brutal , will not prevail . They murdered and deported our indigenous population yet, 3-4 generations later, a new voice emerges demanding justice. The Turks continue to oppress the Kurds. There cause for freedom will eventually prevail.

  2. So sad that is man is punished again. What is Erdogan thinking off. He is just another Hitler doing untold damage to Turkey.

  3. I am really sad for him. His face was full of happiness and kindness during the inauguration of St. Guiragos Church.

  4. Turkish authority must know that there are many Damirbashs in turkey.
    Mr. Damirbash is more free in jail than those who arrested him. Kurds can be anybody in Turkey but being a Kurd! This fact alone is enough to force Turkey the disintegration eventually!

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