For First Time, Turks in Istanbul Join in Armenian Genocide Memorials

On the 95th anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide, human rights activists and others in Istanbul have joined others worldwide in commemorating the 1915-17 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks. That event, known as the Armenian Genocide, or alternatively, the Armenian Holocaust, the Armenian Massacres or the Great Crime, has been denied 95 years by Turkey.

April 24th, 1915, is generally used by historians as the date of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey. Ankora is the capital of Turkey, and the second largest city.

While small in comparison to the worldwide marches, the demonstration in Istanbul is a major step. Turky has long had a taboo against not just referring to the Armenian Genocide as genocide, but referring to it at all. In this case, the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association, or İHD, organized a rally attended by about 100 people on the steps of the Haydarpasa train station. It is from there that the first group of 220 "deported" Armenians left on April 24, 1915.

Demonstrators carried black and white photos of some of the deportees, most of whom never returned. At the same there, police were watchful, particularly of a group of counter-demonstrators, which included former diplomats waving the Turkish flag.

Marchers will be out worldwide to commemorate, and to protest Turkey's attempts to quash a bill in the U.S. Congress. On March 4, the US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee voted to approve a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. H.R.252.

H.R.252 calls on the U.S. to recognize the Armenian Genocide. It waits to be introduced to the full House of Representatives for a final vote. The Turkish government has mounted a campaign to stall or kill the bill.

Written by Michael Santo
Submitted by Michael Santo on Sat, 2010-04-24 15:29