Toronto Community Holds Demonstration at Turkish Consulate

Canadian-Armenian protesters send a strong message to the newly elected Turkish government

TORONTO – A group of eight Canadian-Armenians ended a 72 hour hunger strike in front of the Turkish Consulate of Toronto today, organized by the Armenian Youth Federation of Canada. In light of the upcoming general elections in Turkey, the demonstrators protested the ongoing human rights abuses carried out by the Government of Turkey, including the denial of the Armenian Genocide, the stifling of freedom of speech and press, the ongoing occupation of Cyprus, and the oppression of its minorities.

The hunger strike culminated with an official demonstration, held Monday, June 13 at 2 p.m. in front of the Turkish Consulate of Toronto. The demonstrators sent a strong message to the newly elected officials in Turkey that Canadians and the international community at large will not remain silent bystanders as the Turkish government deprives its citizens of their basic human rights and continues its denial campaign against the memory of the Armenian Genocide.

Turks tried to interrupt the Armenian community's demonstration

Unfortunately, the peaceful protest was met with a counter-protest by a group of Turks, who aimed to disrupt the demonstration and silence its message. Disrespecting the Canadian flag by holding it upside-down, they resorted to racist slurs, calling Armenians “terrorists”, and “baby killers”. They held signs that read “proud nation, proud history” sending an ominous message that they felt no remorse for the massacres of the Ottoman government, or sympathy towards its victims. Although deeply troubled, the Armenian demonstrators avoided any confrontation, as that seemed to be the goal of the instigators. 
A day earlier, the participants of the hunger strike held a candlelight vigil in memory of the one and a half million martyrs of the Armenian Genocide as well as hundreds of thousands of Christian Assyrians and Pontian Greeks. It is troubling that even during their prayers, led by Very Reverend Father Meghrig Parikian of St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Toronto, a smaller group of men and women holding Turkish flags continued to hurl insults aimed at those collected.

A movement to recognize the Armenian Genocide has started in the Turkish Republic, led by outspoken scholars and authors such as Orhan Pamuk, Hall Berktak and Ragip Zarakolu. Unfortunately, Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code allows the government to lay charges against these journalists and authors, threatening them with jail terms. Nevertheless, this April, for the second year in a row, major cities in Turkey witnessed public events commemorating the Armenian Genocide.

Mark Piliguian, one of the participants of the hunger strike, expressed, “We understand that many of those trying to disrupt our message today grew up in Turkey where they could not learn about the dark chapters of Ottoman history. But we hope that now that they live in Canada, they take the initiative to pull off the blindfold that their government tries to maintain.”

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9 Comments

  1. HARUTUYN said:

    HOW CAN YOU LIVE IN CANADA AND HOLD THE FLAG UPSIDE DOWN YOU MORON, TRY THAT IN THE US AND TRY TO HOLD THE GREAT AMERICAN FLAG UPSIDE DOWN AND SEE WHAT WE WILL DO TO OU, LONG LIVE THE USA ARMENIA AND RUSSIA,

  2. HARUTUYN said:

    WILSONIAN ARMENIA IS OUR LAND THEY KNOW IT AND THE WHOLE WORLD KNOW IT, THATS WHY TILL THEY DID NOT BUILDANYTHING ON IT BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE DAY WILL COME WERE THEY HAVE TO BOW DOWN FOR THEIR MISTAKES AND APOLOGIZE FOR THEIR MISTAKES AND CRIMES AGAINS HUMANITY, IT IS SHAME NOT TO ADMIT YOUR MISTAKES BUT IT IS WORST WHEN THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT KEEPS DENYING THE TRUTH.

  3. CanadianGirl said:

    This website and the comments are not reflecting the truth. Turkish community were there with dignity and peace to show their opinion about the so-called Armenian genocide!

    Armenian killed Turkish villagers, babies and women during first world war along with other nations and they are also responsible for that. That’s why they are denying to open their archives although it’s been required by Turkish government for years. We are all open and you know that. You want a Turkish land and money, that’s why Armenian government is trying to impose that so hard.

    Truth will speak itself, and we are proud to be Turkish!

    • manooshag said:

      canadian girl? No, Turkish girl, who has been educated with lies of her government to believe
      Armenians slaughtered Turks.. Your government does not tell you that a Turkey was on the losing side of the WWI – that many nations had been fighting against the Turks – that is when your Turks were killed… not by Armenians whom the Turk had unarmed, in order to kill the men, women, children, infants… Turkeys have all that blood on their hands… Turks shall never be able to join with the civilized nations of the world… for all the world knows of the Turkish Genocides… Truth: you, and your Turkish peoples have been lied to by your Turk leaderships to believe their lies… Turks as killers who then steal the lands – for your hordes from the Asian mountains needed a ready-made country for their own. They chose the ancient and advanced nation of the Christian Armenians… tortured/eliminated the Armenians, stole all their lands, properties, culture and claimed that all belonged to Turks – historically!! So, when you lie you are merely stating all that you have been educated to believe. Amazingly, you have not met Turks who do admit the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians? Your Turk law number 301 forbids and threatens to jail such as your Turkish famous writer Pamuk, and many more, for saying there has been a Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation… Jailing those who dare to speak the truths… So, Turkish girl, as long as you believe the lies emanating from your leaderships… you too, shall be telling lies… For, historically, it was the Turkey’s who eliminated the Christian Armenian men, women, children, infants – in the most vile ways that the deviated Turkish minds could devise (one such being… hammering horse shoes to the feet of the Armenian victims – and worse). Appears you and those like you, who believe your lying leaders, you too, shall continue – lying – believing Turkish lies. Turks have increased in their
      population in a Turkey, and in so many other lands… But, Armenians, having lost innocents more than 1,500,000 via the Turks – still bear the presence and too, the pain, for our 1,500,000 and more – innocents – slaughtered.
      P.S. Report is that your Turks’ actions/behavior in Candad – as it has been for the last two years against the mourners (in memorium of families we lost to Turkish Genocide) was loud, vocal, vile – too, embarressment to any and all who saw/heard – still – inhumanity of the Turks.

      • Grish Begian said:

        Manooshag,
        I saw the demonstartion… most of those turk demostrators such as “Canadain girl” were from Turkish consulates in Toronto…may be they have been bribed for a cheap big Mac combo for lunch at the corner of turkish consulate. I saw few of them there having fun with their Big Mac attacks!! that poor “canadian girl” (turkish) doesn’t know that her Armenian grandmother was raped by her turkish grandfather, she is living in her dark world and I feel sorry for all Turkish girls!!I wonder why that “Canadian girl” did not respect her country flag not to be upside down!! what a shame, as a Canadian myself I ashamed to have a countryman like “Canadian girl”…this is not the first time turks are doing host countries flag upside down …please Google below link and read!!
        “American flag flown upside down outside Turkish American community”

  4. Berge Jololian said:

    It is tiring to see Armenians on demonstrations year after year with the same broken-record like messages “Turkey guilty of genocide” and “End the denial”, and the same toothless, weightless messages. How about “Genocide Acknowledgment with Accountability”, “Land, Reparations and Restitution”, “Keep Turkey out of the European Union”, “Eastern Turkey IS Western Armenia”; etc, see more photos of signs and banners from April 24th demonstration in NYC posted on Keghart: http://www.keghart.com/Media_reader

  5. Berge Jololian said:

    How about a sign for the demonstrators to hold with a message that relays of what Armenians really want: “Turkey is accountable for its crime of the Armenian Genocide”, “Land, Reparations and Restitution.

    Genocide Acknowledgment without Accountability is Hollow and Meaningless.

  6. Steve said:

    Harutuyn,

    Dude, you have got to lay off the drugs!!! OMG, look what it’s done to your mind? It’s turned it into a pathetic mush! You’re living in a fantasy world and need to come back to reality. If you truly believe that any square inch of Turkish land will be handed over to you, then be a man, stop hiding behind Russian troops and equipment, and come and try to take it yourselves!! See how far you get!! Now, that is the REALITY…not your drug induced fantasies!

  7. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Those are educated Turks…!
    Living in a free country…
    God Helps Armenians
    Who live on their ground

    They changed their surnames
    Ending from Ian to oglu

    LIke the beautiful singer
    Sibil Pek Toros Oglu
    Instead Beg-Torosian
    Hear her voice and words
    You will live new love
    In your honest canadian land
    God bless
    Who accepted Us to live with them
    From East to West…

    Sylva-MD-Poetry

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