Kurdish Leaders Apologize for 1915 at Monument Inauguration

A scene from the inauguration of the monument. (Photo by Gulisor Akkum, The Armenian Weekly)

BY GULISOR AKKUM
From The Armenian Weekly

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey—The Sur Municipality of Diyarbakir held the official inauguration of the Monument of Common Conscience on Sept. 12, with mayor Abdullah Demirbaş apologizing in the name of Kurds for the Armenian and Assyrian genocides.

“We Kurds, in the name of our ancestors, apologize for the massacres and deportations of the Armenians and Assyrians in 1915,” Demirbaş declared in his opening speech. “We will continue our struggle to secure atonement and compensation for them.”

The mayor called upon the Turkish authorities to issue an apology and do whatever needed to atone for the genocide. “We invite them to take steps in this direction,” he said.

The inscription on the monument at the Anzele Park, near a recently restored historic fountain, reads, in six languages including Armenian: We share the pain so that it is not repeated.

The inscription on the monument (Photo by Gulisor Akkum, The Armenian Weekly)

“This memorial is dedicated to all peoples and religious groups who were subjected to massacres in these lands,” Demirbaş said. “The Monument of Common Conscience was erected to remember and demand accountability for all the massacres that took place since 1915.”

Demirbaş noted that the monument remembers all the Armenians, Assyrians, Jews, Yezidis, Alevis who were subjected to genocide, as well as all the Sunni who “stood against the system.”

Representatives of the Armenian, Assyrian, Alevi, and Sunni communities also spoke at the opening event. Diyarbakir Armenian writer Mgrditch Margosian welcomed the opening of the memorial, noting that he awaits the steps that would follow.

In turn, Zahit Çiftkuran, head of the Diyarbakir association of the clergy, apologized for the genocide. He recounted the story of a man who, while walking by a restaurant, notices the following sign: “You eat, your grandchildren pay the bill.” Enthused by the promise of free lunch, the man goes in and orders food. Soon, they bring him an expensive bill. “But I was not supposed to pay! Where did this bill come from?” the man asks. The owner of the restaurant responds: “This is not your bill. It is your grandfather’s!”

Çiftkuran concluded, “Today, we have to pay for what our grandparents have done.”

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12 Comments

  1. H.Kurdman said:

    I want to congratulate Mr.Demirbas who has taken courageous this relatively big step. Of course kurds must recognise their unfortunate role in the genosid in the genocide of armenian by Ottoman turks. Whether this step is an indication of recognition of armenian genocide by kurds and turks,it remains to be seen.But if kurds want to have an healty relationship with armenian and with their own history then other kurdish Mayors and mayoresses should follow the example of Mr.Demirbas. As a kurd from North I am glad about this step and I hope all kurds in Northern Kurdistan feel the pain of our armenian neigbours.We all must appologize for this unfortunate happen regardless of whether our garandparents took part in it or not. Because it was our collective crime. And kurds should believe this,recognising own role in that crime and we have to meet with it.This will set us free.

    • Armenian Christian said:

      Acknowledgement is a big step in the right direction…reperations is the next step but we Armenian people are happy even with this first step thank you peace be with you brother.

  2. bigmoustache said:

    and still we do nothing forge a close alliance with kurds while turkey uses their alliance with azeris to meddle in our affairs. we should be helping the kurds, politically and militarily. we live with them in western Armenia, in Iraq, in Syria.

  3. boghos jermag said:

    This is a good first step, but let us not lose sight of the fact that this does not atone for their role in the genocide?

    With crime comes punishment. If you steal, you must pay a fine or go to jail – a deprivation of your liberty. An empty sorry does not atone unless their are actions.

  4. danoog said:

    Good for the Kurds. They were willing accomplices in the crime of the century. When they get their homeland hopefully they will atone by granting Armenia a port on the Black Sea.

  5. sam said:

    once has been told that it takes a brave man to accept his wrong doing and apologize , and the weak will always hide behind the crowed like erdogan pasha.

  6. Armenian Christian said:

    I know they did it to us but I hope one day greater armenia and Kurdistan can stand together as friends and brothers….I think kurds are good people they wouldnt have done it if they had known that they were gonna be next.

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  8. Armen said:

    A very good step from Diyarbakir Kurdish leaders for bringing out the truth, but I am still waiting to hear the same from the rest of the leaders, cause My mother mom was from one of the Zaytoon’s villages called Fernooz, her dad was from Aintab, my father’s dad was originally from one of the Sassoon’s villages called Dalvorig, and his mom was from Aintab, they all lost their families, relatives, wealth and belongings, same as most of the Armenians did, suffering from the genocide, and from it’s effects, scattered all over the world trying to get to justice.

  9. ANDREW DADAGIAN, MD said:

    This acknowledgment confirms the Kurds have a conscience giving them partial relief from their guilt.
    Question remains if the Turks are so inclined.

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