Turkey’s intellectuals, activists and human rights advocates commemorated the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Istanbul yesterday with a series of ceremonies.
The first ceremony was held early yesterday morning with 24 April Armenian Genocide Memorial Platform gathering at Istanbul’s Haydarpaşa Train Station, a historical milestone to remember the Armenian intellectuals who were sent to death.
Approximately 50 members from diaspora representatives and human rights defenders, including Sevag Balıkçı’s family held pictures of Armenian intellectuals and Sevag Balıkçı, a Turkish-Armenian who was killed in compulsory military service in the 24th of April 2011. Two of the banners also read “We Remember Genocide Victims” and “Some Wounds Cannot Heal In Time” - written in Armenian, Turkish and English.
“Ottoman Empire started a genocide that caused the Armenians to lose all of their social, cultural and economical wealth,” Yıldız Önen said in a statement.
After the ceremony, demonstrators left crimson cloves to the sea.
“The same mentality”
The second ceremony took place in in Şişli district’s Armenian Gregorian Cemetery to remember the third death anniversary of Sevag Balıkçı.
On the 99th anniversary of the Genocide and three years after Sevag Balıkçı’s killing, Garo Paylan (Head of the Armenian Schools) spoke after the memorial:
“The mentality that took Sevag from us and pulled the trigger is the mentality that didn’t answer for what happened 99 years before and 7 years before when Hrant Dink was murdered.”
Paylan also stated that he can accept Prime Minister’s condolences only when justice is made.
The aforementioned statement by Erdoğan was made on April 23, the day before the
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan published a statement on his website a day before 24 April, the day before the 99th anniversary of the Genocide.
In the statement, he expressed that a great suffering occurred and it is the duty of mankind to understand and share it and that what happened in 1915 must be investigated.
“Some wounds cannot heal over time”
On the eve of April 24, hundreds of people assembled in downtown Istanbul when the clock struck 19.15 local time.
Carried out in Taksim Square in previous years, the commemoration ceremony this year was done under the blocking of police on two sides and in front of the French Consulate on Istiklal Avenue.
It turned out that police didn’t give permission for this year’s memorial in Taksim Square.
A set was made with crimson cloves and candles, banners reading “We Remember Genocide Victims” and “Some Wounds Cannot Heal In Time” in Armenian, Turkish and English and the pictures of murdered Armenians in 1915.
During the memorial, Armenian songs were played through the speakers and there was a reading of Armenian villages and names of 240 people who were arrested in the 24th of April 1915.
In contrast with previous ceremonies, no statement has been made with mourners commemorating and leaving in silence. (BK/NV/BAR/BM)
* This article has been compiled from various sources in bianet Turkish.
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