Turks in Istanbul Commemorate Armenian Genocide

ISTANBUL (RFE/RL)–About 100 Turks rallied in Istanbul on Saturday in a first-ever public commemoration of the Armenian Genocide that was organized by a local human rights group.

The demonstrators gathered on the steps of the Haydarpasa train station from where hundreds of Armenian intellectuals arrested on April 24, 1915 were deported and subsequently executed. They chanted “Never Again!” and carried black-and-white pictures of the most prominent of the deportees.

“The events of 1915 must not be repeated,” Eren Keskin, a human rights campaigner, said, addressing the small crowd. “We have gathered here to say no to genocide.”

Turkish authorities did not try to impede the landmark gathering organized by the Turkish Human Rights Association. Scores of police were deployed around the station to prevent possible incidents between its participants and a group of counter-demonstrators protesting nearby.

Police stepped in when an elderly man condemned the unprecedented commemoration. “Who allowed you to gather here? Who says that Armenians were massacred? That is not true?” he shouted before being dragged away from the scene.

A similar gathering was due to take place in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square later in the day. Its organizers, a group of prominent intellectuals and artists, urged fellow Turks to “pay tribute to the victims of 1915” in an online petition circulated earlier this week. Hundreds of people have signed the appeal that stops short of calling the massacres a genocide and uses the Armenian phrase “Great Catastrophe” instead.

Tens of thousands of Turks signed a similar online petition that was initiated by the same public figures in December 2008. It offered Armenians a personal apology and called for the Turkish government to acknowledge the killings.

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4 Comments

  1. Danilo from Italy said:

    I am proud of such brave Turks!
    I wish all the Turks, and Muslims in general be peaceful and honest like those who have demonstrated admitting the Armenian Genocide, unlike Barack Hussein Obama.
    Those Turks challenging their authorities and an overwhelming mass of people deniying the Holocaust, should be invited to Armenia as most honourable guests!!!

  2. Nairian said:

    This is what the hero Hrant Dink died for. He wished to uplift the Turkish people in coming to terms with their past then to move forward; instead the Turkish government killed him, making our Armenian martyrs to be 1,501,000.

  3. ARARAT said:

    Whats about the:-
    ***** 1.500.000 Civilized Armenians Killed By The Devil Turk System????.
    *****10.000.000 Armenians Living At The Diaspora????.
    ***** Dozens of towns and villages and a whole country is occupied by the Turkish system????

    Well, Its almost the time for the invader Turks and their coalitions to go back into their homeland at the deep far eastern Mongolia and surroundings, and leave our occupied country “The Western Armenia”.
    LOOK INTO THE MORROWS SEE WHAT YOUR FACE AND EYES LOOKS LIKE, DID YOU SEE YOURSELF, YOU ALL ARE MONGOLIAN, GO BACK HOME DEVILS (Note:- who don't looks like Mongolians he/she is one of our kidnapped Armenian kids during the massacres).

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