AYF Representatives Turned Away at Turkish Consulate

BY DAVID DERSARKISSIAN

Asbarez Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES–Five members of the Armenian Youth Federation were denied access to the Turkish Consulate’s Office on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles late Wednesday afternoon–as the group attempted to deliver a letter of deman’s addressing–among other things–the Armenian people’s insistence that the Turkish government admit perpetrating the 1915 April 24th Genocide that claimed more than 1.5 million Armenian lives–and to enact reparations for their crimes committed some 82 years ago this month.

Meroujan Kitsinian–Shaghik Chahmelikian–Armen Boyamian–Chris Guldjian and Kevork Douzadjian gained access to the office building on the corner of Wilshire and June boulevards incident-free Wednesday–but were met with only a stern voice coming across the consulate’s third floor suite’s intercom saying only that they "will not accept any letter today," and that the group should leave the premises.

"We are here representing the Armenian Youth Federation–and we have a letter we’d like to deliver to the Turkish Consulate," Kitsinian said from outside the suite door. "It is time the Turkish government admit to the events of 1915. How much longer will your denial continue?"

The group–along with a cameraman from Horizon Television which documented the entire event–repeatedly pressed the intercom button and reiterated their desire to deliver their letter–and said they would not leave until they were heard.

"I don’t care what you want to do," the voice from the intercom repeated. "We will not accept any letters from you. I have already heard what you have to say. Leave or we will call the police."

Kitsinian continued to speak while holding the letter in hand–and started banging on the consulate door while people could be heard from behind the wall inside the suite–scurrying quickly about–obviously shaken from the group’s persistence.

"We will not leave until you accept our letter. And if you don’t–then I will read it to you right here," Kitsinian said–as he removed the letter from its envelope and began to dictate it over the intercom.

Momen’s later–the building manager arrived with a plain-clothes security officer who flashed a police badge and claimed to be with the sheriff’s department–ordering the group to leave the premises or be arrested.

"The building manager has asked you to leave–and this is private property–so you are going to have to leave," the security officer said. "You are disturbing the other tenants. They (the consulate) do not want to see you. You are going to have to leave."

Kitsinian then told the officer he would like to slide the letter under the consulate door–but was told by the guard that he couldn’t–and that he had to just leave the letter at the doorstep.

"It is my right to be heard. If I leave it out here–they will not get it. They will not read it," Kitsinian said. The guard then retorted that the consulate "will not read it anyway. You know the situation."

The security guard walked away from the group and to the elevator–presumably to alert the police–and Kitsinian slid the letter under the door. "Once again–like years past–we are ignored," Kitsinian said into the Horizon camera. "Once again the Turkish Consulate won’t even open its doors to here us."

A mass protest will take place at the same Consulate’s Office this Thursday–April 24–beginning at 10 a.m. sharp.

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