BEIRUT, Lebanon—Turkey’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Suleiman Inan Oz Yildiz, was temporarily trapped today inside a Beirut movie theater, as Armenian demonstrators held a protest outside, reported the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper.
Approximately 60 members of the Armenian Youth Federation of Lebanon and the Zavarian Student Association held a demonstration at the entrance of ABC Grand Cinema in Ashrafieh, where Yildiz was attending a screening of “Son Mektup.” The film, a Turkish love story, is set during the Battle of Gallipoli, and tells the story of the Ottoman Empire’s first pilot, Salih Ekrem.
According to the report, protestors yelled out slogans such as “Genocide,” “Truth will triumph” and “We remember,” and held banners reading “Recognize the crime of the century.” Security forces were brought in to block the entrance of the theater to prevent patrons from clashing with protesters.
The protest was organized as a result of Turkey’s efforts to sway public attention away from the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide by focusing on the Battle of Gallipoli.
Earlier this year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent official invitations to more than 100 world leaders, including Armenian President Serge Sarkisian, to take part in the ceremonies. The date designated for these commemoration events—April 24—created uproar among Armenians worldwide, while Turkish human rights groups urged world leaders to boycott the Gallipoli events.
On Jan. 16, Sarkisian responded to Erdogan’s invitation to Turkey in a strongly worded letter. “Turkey continues its conventional denial policy and is perfecting its instrumentation for distorting history. This time, Turkey is marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli on April 24, even though the battle began on March 18, 1915 and lasted until late January 1916, while the Allies’ operation started on April 25,” he wrote, adding, “What is the purpose [of this] if not to distract the world’s attention from the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide?”