Police prevent Armenian Genocide commemoration in İstanbul

News About Turkey - NAT
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Police prevented human rights defenders in Istanbul from holding their annual commemoration of the Armenian Genocide on April 24.

The event, which had taken place in the Sultanahmet quarter in İstanbul’s historical peninsula since 2005, was once again banned this year.

As a result, the Human Rights Association (İHD) attempted to hold the event on the street outside their office in Beyoğlu. However, the police also denied this request.

When members of the Human Rights Association began to gather on the street, the police threatened to detain the group, which included İHD Co-Chair Eren Keskin, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Musa Piroğlu, and other activists if they attempted to read out a statement on the street. Consequently, the statement was read out in the İHD’s conference room.

In addition to the bans in the last two years, the İHD was unable to organize the event in the two previous years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hanife Yıldız of the Saturday Mothers/People, human rights activist Leman Yurtsever, lawyers, and numerous other human rights defenders also attended the news conference.

“Let justice be served”

In the statement Keskin read out on behalf of the human rights defenders, she said, in brief, “We, human rights defenders, say that genocide cannot be reduced to a policy, diplomacy, or international relations matter. It must not be forgotten that genocide is, above all, the most massive human rights violation carried out by the state.

“Denial is the most comprehensive, effective, permanent, and widespread human rights violation, as it leads to countless human rights violations, encourages and emboldens them.

“The demands, wishes, and requests of Armenians, who have been uprooted from their homeland and scattered around the world due to the genocide, regarding the incomprehensibly large losses they have suffered must be met. Denial is an obstacle to such compensation and justice. Therefore, we have been making a call for years: Recognize the genocide, apologize, and compensate!”

“Armenians cannot live their own mourning”

Following Keskin, Armenian writer Murat Mıhçı also noted that very few people spoke about the genocide today, stating that the commemoration and speeches held there were very important in this sense.

Mıhçı said, “The Armenian people are so tired now that they want to skip directly from April 23 to April 25. Armenians are afraid now, and they cannot mourn for themselves.”

Finally, Yıldız Önen from the April 25 Platform noted that the April 24 commemoration they wanted to hold in Kadıköy was also banned and called on the Istanbul Governorship to reconsider their decision.



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