Turkish Police Ban Genocide Commemoration in Istanbul

Garo Paylan was among those participating in a Genocide commemoration after it was banned by police
Garo Paylan was among those participating in a Genocide commemoration after it was banned by police

Garo Paylan was among those participating in a Genocide commemoration after it was banned by police

Paylan Urges Discussion of Armenian Genocide in Parliament

For the second consecutive year the police in Turkey banned a planned commemoration of the Armenian Genocide which was scheduled to be held in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square.

Eren Keskin, co-chair of the Human Rights Association, which organized the annual event with the Istanbul Branch and Commission Against Racism and Discrimination condemned the decision, saying that negotiations with the police yielded no results, hence she moved the event in front of her organization’s offices.

Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkey’s parliament representing the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) said the ban by police was proof the democracy in Turkey was regressing.

“For years, there was a will to confront the genocide that took place 104 years ago. Nevertheless, they [the authorities] have also taken a step back from this will of confrontation. I am really sorry. Every crime which is not confronted repeats itself and, unfortunately, this crime is also repeating itself today. The great brutality that Armenians were subjected to 104 years ago is being perpetrated against the Kurdish people today,” said Paylan who urged Turkey’s government to confront its historical reality and promising to continue to fight for rights and rule of law.

“I curse the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide,” Paylan said in a Facebook post.

He also posted a photo of Faik Ali Ozansoy, the Governor of Kütahya during the Armenian Genocide, who refused to obey the Ottoman government’s orders to deport and massac the Armenian population.

“I respectfully bow before all those who, at the cost of their lives, refused to carry out the genocide order, in person of Kütahya Governor Faik Ali Ozansoy,” added Paylan on Facebook.

Paylan also issued a statement on April 24, calling on the Turkish Grand National Assembly to hold discussions about the Armenian Genocide in the Turkey’s legislature.

On April 24, 1915, political scientists, writers, poets, journalists, teachers, scientists and many other Armenian intellectuals were arrested in Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. They were also deported to Ayash and Changhir, but later most of them were killed.

While the lives lost in 1915 cannot be recovered, in the interest of co-existing, it is important and valuable to acknowledge the painful past in our society and work toward improving relations with one another.

The Parliament should restore the rights and keep the memory of those intellectuals who were working toward the betterment of the Ottoman and Armenian people, and who were developing the educational institutions, were writing, producing, thinking, who, nevertheless, were killed on this land.

April 24, 1915 is accepted by the entire world as a day that the Armenian Genocide began. The Armenian Genocide has been a subject of discussion in numerous parliaments of the world, but has never been discussed in the Turkish parliament. Meanwhile, the parliament, where this great tragedy should be discussed, is that of the country where the tragedy has taken place. In other words, that is the parliament of Turkey.

For 104 years, Armenians around the world have been demanding the restoration of justice. Justice can be restored only within the conscience of the Turkish people and inside the Turkish parliament. The legislature that should be discussing the tragedy that happened to the Armenian people, first and foremost, must be the parliament of Turkey. And we urge to hold a parliamentary discussion on this matter.


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