Armenian-Americans Reclaim Site of 2017 Turkish Attack with Peaceful Protest for Armenian Genocide Justice

WASHINGTON—Armenian Americans demanded justice for the Armenian Genocide, drawing a spotlight on Turkey’s abuse at home and aggression abroad at the annual April 24 protest organized by the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF) Washington “Ani” chapter, in cooperation with the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee of Greater Washington, D.C.

This year’s protest, which included the support of area Greek, Assyrian, Yezidi, and Kurdish communities, was held at Sheridan Circle, across from the Turkish Ambassador’s residence, the site of the May 2017 attacks, ordered by President Erdogan against peaceful protesters.  Over 50 students from the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School eighth grade class and Members of the Hye Riders Armenian motorcycle club from Southern California and Toronto, Canada traveled to the nation’s Capital to lend their voices to the annual Armenian Genocide protest.  The rally was covered by CBS News and Al-Jazeera News and live streamed by Voice of America Armenian Service.

A scene from the April 24 protest at Sheridan Circle, site of the May, 2017 President Erdogan-ordered attacks. The protest was organized by the Washington AYF Ani Chapter. (Photo: Talar Keshishian Festekjian)

Photos from the protest are available on the AYF “Ani” chapter Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/AYFDC/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10156214236246760

Washington Homenetmen Scouts lead April 24 protesters from the Turkish Ambassador’s residence to a commemoration, organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia commemorating the Armenian Genocide (Photo: Talar Keshishian Festekjian)

 

AYF Washington “Ani” chapter member Alex Manoukian offered a powerful message of unity and resurrection in the face of Turkey’s Genocide denial and their worldwide campaign of intolerance. “About a year ago, the personal security of dictator Erdogan attacked and viciously beat peaceful Armenian and Kurdish protesters on this very street. Today we have gathered on that same very street to stand up against hate as Armenians and as citizens of the United States of America and people concerned with human rights,” Manoukian noted.

Members of the Hye Riders Armenian motorcycle club, who traveled from Los Angeles, Calif. and Toronto, Canada to join in the April 24 protest at the Turkish Ambassador’s residence (Photo: Talar Keshishian Festekjian)

Protesters also expressed their concerns to President Trump in light of his Armenian Remembrance Day Statement, issued just hours before the protest, which once again failed to properly commemorate the Armenian Genocide. “President Trump, you say America first, Turkey says no. Don’t let the decisions made in Ankara affect the United States stance on human rights,” remarked Manoukian. “It’s time for the US to recognize its own history and respect the thousands of volunteers who came to the aid of the orphan Armenians.”  Manoukian’s remarks, in Armenian and English, are available below:

A small group of pro-Erdogan counter-protesters, which included Azerbaijani Ambassador to the United States Elin Suleymanov, blared loud dance music, in an apparent celebration of the murder of over 2.5 million Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians. The Turkish Ambassador’s residence was draped with a 25-foot Turkish flag, which along with counter-protester antics, only served to strengthen the resolve of the rallyers for truth.

Following the rally, Armenian Americans marched to the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, led by the Greater Washington D.C. Homenetmen Scouts and Drum Corps, American and Armenian flags held high. The participants joined in the Embassy of Armenia’s annual Armenian Genocide memorial event at the “Khatchkar” monument dedicated to the eternal memory of that crime.

The prayer service, wreath laying ceremony and program, organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia, featured remarks by His Excellency Grigor Hovhannissian, Ambassador of Armenia to the US, His Excellency Robert Avetisyan, Republic of Artsakh Representative to the U.S., Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian, Armenian Assembly Executive Director Bryan Ardouny, and Nerses Armani, an asbed of the Washington, D.C. Knights of Vartan Ani Lodge.

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate of the Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Church Eastern U.S. was joined by Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church pastor, Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian and St. Mary’s Armenian Church pastor Hovsep Karapetyan in offering a community prayer for the sainted victims of the Armenian Genocide as Ambassador Grigor Hovannisian looked on (Photo: Nerses Semerjian)

Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate of the Diocese of Armenian Apostolic Church Eastern US was joined by Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church pastor, Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian and St. Mary’s Armenian Church pastor Hovsep Karapetyan in offering a community prayer for the sainted victims of the Armenian Genocide.  Arya Balian and sisters Zarouhi and Anahid Tashchyan offered moving renditions of the Armenian, Artsakh and American anthems, respectively. The program concluded with song and poetry recitations by the Hamasdegh Armenian School and Shnorhali Armenian School students, including a presentation of Moushegh Ishkhan’s “Hai Lezoon” by Haig Penenian and “Under a Sun of Red, Blue and Gold,” an incredible original recitation by Hovsep Seferian, available here:

At the beginning of the program, Washington, D.C. Homenetmen Scouts stood at attention, in tribute to the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide and the survivors who helped rebuild the Armenian nation and participated in a special flag-raising ceremony. Following the program, Armenian Americans were invited to a reception by the Armenian Embassy

Students from the Hamasdegh Armenian School and Shnorhali Armenian School singing at the Embassy of Armenia commemoration of the Armenian Genocide (Photo: Nerses Semerjian)

Photos from the Embassy of Armenia Armenian Genocide commemoration are available at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Armenian-Genocide-Commemorative-Committee-of-Greater-Washington-624164957597879/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2074099582604402

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Founded in 1933, The Armenian Youth Federation is an international, non-profit, youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). The AYF-YOARF Eastern United States stands on five pillars that guide its central activities and initiatives: Educational, Hai Tahd, Social, Athletic and Cultural. The AYF also promotes a fraternal attitude of respect for ideas and individuals amongst its membership. Unity and cooperation are essential traits that allow members of the organization to work together to realize the AYF’s objectives.
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6 Comments

  1. As a turkish-american I’m truely sorry about what my ancestors did 103 years ago. Erdogan regime will never accept guilt or apology, but I know from my heart it was genocide what heppened to innocent armenians.

    • Thank you, Ahmet. It means a lot to read that. I also wish strength and endurance to your progressive factions there that seem to be targeted by a very authoritarian government which is sweeping up journalists, academics, minorities and dissenters. When I look at the people there, I see my own face and my relatives are lost there. I do not just see descendants of perpatrators-I see descendants of who should have been my neighbors and friends. It could be me there, and likely I have descdenants of aunts, cousins, uncles there. I am glad that you can look at Armenians and also see yourself and realize it could have been you. I hope for a progressive Turkey where recognition, restitution and reparations could take place. It takes guts to own your past. Empathy and compassion are for sure strength in this world although more rare. I own the past of the country we fled to ( genocide, slavery, racism) , so I know it takes courage to stand against the main tide of denial, but I trust that you all have the ability to do it.

    • you talk on behalf of yourself Ahmet for I don’t have any guilt on my conscious, whether it was or wasn’t or was genocide doesn’t change the fact that I wasn’t even born. ba ha get a life & move on, people are starving & dying as we speak around the world, shouldnt we be concerned more about that than stupid armenian nationalism?

    • ahmet, you have no right to apologize for something that did not happen. Read what I wrote below. The entire population was 1.5million, so how can there be > 6 million today? I also don’t think you are Turkish since you say Erdogan but there isn’t one Turkish political party that agrees to something that did not happen the way described here. But you did not know this apparently.

  2. As Someone that is Turkic and raised is Britian; a very successful scientist and analyst I considered these accusations objectively as possible.

    2 problems:

    1. These ‘innocent’ armenians have massacred thousands of Turkic Azeris and under international law occupying their land;
    2. If 1.5million armenians were killed mathematically it would be impossible fr there to be over 6 million world wide that all claim to be descendants of the alleged events. In fact the few hundred thousand on both sides claimed by Turks would mean over a million left which would translate after about 100 years into over 6 fold with a healthy birth rate. Of course armenians population is declining but that is due to unrelated, present factors.

    Some advice, from what I can see Turkey and the Turkic world under the umbrella of the Turkic council is rising in every way. What harm can all this propaganda (which it what it is) do to your conceived enemy? Making enemies of Turks will only result in the further decline of armenia.

  3. Soykırımdı yaptığımız başka açıklaması yok. Ermeni Soykırımı’nı peki bizler ne zaman tanıyacağız? karanlık geçmişimizde yüzleşme zamanı.. #ermenisoykırımı #ozurdiliyorum

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