–Rally preceded by press conference featuring Reps. Weiner–Maloney
NEW YORK–A group calling itself the "Young Turks" gathered 100-150 Turkish demonstrators in midtown Manhattan on Saturday–April 22–in an effort to spread denial of the Armenian genocide. The demonstration took place on Broadway at 39th Street–and was advertised as a response to the annual Times Square Genocide commemoration that was scheduled for the following day.
In response to this action–the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and Armenian Democratic Liberal organization (ADL) organized a counter-protest–which took place two blocks south of the Turkish rally. The Armenian gathering included 200 people–young and old alike–with a strong showing from the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF).
After a brief program featuring speeches from community leaders–the protesters held banners and shouted slogans including "Turkey guilty of genocide,"Return our lands," and "Armenia’s demand reparations."
Meanwhile–Turkish demonstrators openly expressed hatred and contempt for the Armenia’s–shouting "Armenian lies" and "Armenia’s killed Turks," in an attempt to portray Armenia’s as having massacred Turks during World War I. Many of these protesters appeared to be Azeris–who linked Turkey’s denial campaign with Azerbaijan’s goal of retaking Karabagh by force.
The modest turnout by the "Young Turks" stood in contrast to their advance publicity–which claimed they would be gathering up to 5,000 demonstrators.
Representatives Weiner and Maloney Condemn Deniers
Just prior to the protests–US Representatives Anthony Weiner and Carolyn Maloney held a press conference at which they spoke out against Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide. The press conference took place at Herald Square in Manhattan–just south of the protest sites–and featured Armenian community leaders as well as media representatives. In their remarks–both officials referred to the monstrous irony of Turkish chauvinism–in which the deniers pin blame on the victims for crimes they committed.
The press conference marked Weiner’s second appearance in a month to combat Turkish revisionism. A few weeks earlier–the Congressman drew attention to Turkish efforts to cast doubt upon a PBS genocide documentary prepared by US filmmaker Andrew Goldberg. Weiner’s statemen’s generated momentum that led to the cancellation of a Turkish-led roundtable that would have immediately followed the documentary broadcast.
"We are greatly encouraged by the support of Representatives Weiner and Maloney," stated ARF representative Antranig Kasbarian. "They have never shied away from the issue of denial–even when the deniers are staring us right in the face. We are also encouraged by the youthful turnout at today’s counter-protest. Turkish deniers must realize that this problem will never go away; not until they come to terms with the Genocide and its consequences."