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Hrant Gadarigian

Thousands March in Istanbul – We Are Here, We Remember!

On the evening of April 24 a crowd of several thousand gathered in the heart of Istanbul to commemorate the centenary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

Turkish police cordoned off an area adjacent to Taksim Square where a solemn vigil was held to remember and reflect on the destruction that befell Ottoman Armenians and to call on the current Turkish state to come to grips with its past.

Carrying photos of Armenian community leaders, who were the first to be rounded up and sent to their death, the crowd then sat in silence on Istiklal Avenue in a moment of silent vigil.

This was a gathering of not only Armenians, some from the local Istanbul community and others who travelled from the diaspora, but also of Turks, Kurds, Assyrians and other national minorities, who not only came to pay their respects but to join with Armenians in their call for recognition and justice.

For many in Turkey, the issue of the Armenian Genocide is seen as a vital part of the overall struggle for democracy in the country.

With the strains of Gomidas taken from an original recording wafting over the street one could hear the shouts emanating from a crowd of Turkish nationalists who were staging a counter-demonstration as few block away. Again, Turkish police kept them cordoned off.

In all, the event was a timely reminder that Armenians have not forgotten what transpired here 100 years ago in the city where Armenian community leaders were rounded up and deported, many to be murdered along the way.

In many respects, the descendants of those who survived the Genocide have come full circle.

But this is the first step on the long road ahead to show the world and especially Turkey that we have survived and will not be silenced.

Comments (5)

Assyrian friends: we Armenians are fully aware of the tragedies Assyrians faced in the Ottoman Empire. We are working hard to bring justice for ancestors and ourselves, but rest assured, we are with you 100%. We know that there must be attention given to the two other Genocides of the Greeks and Assyrians during WWI. At the moment we have our plates full, but this will change. Thanks to Turkey's evil government, Genocide recognition is a slow and demanding process because they spend a lot of money and time spreading their lies throughout the world and threats against other nations not to recognize their crimes against humanity. Your people should do like us in the struggle and start organizations and a movement to bring justice for your ancestors and their descendants, and the best place to start it is through our own organizations which can help. Be patient, both of our times for justice will come. I wish to see a joint committee in the future, comprised of Armenian, Assyrian and Greek organizations that will succeed against the evil Genocide denial of Turkey and bring justice for all of us.
Assyrian Woman
Assyrians were also slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks and Kurds. Up to 75 % of the entire Assyrian nation were murdered. Read more here, an academic study about the Assyrian genocide in 1915 http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1233&context=gsp
Thanks Joe D for the comment. as the above photo depicts, a contingent of Assyrians also participated in the vigil and march, reminding the world of the mass killings they suffered at the hands of the Ottoman Empire. No disrespect was intended.
Joe D
Please correct the article. The Assyrians did not join as bystanders, but were there too as victims marching on behalf of their ancestors who also lost over 750,000 at the hands of the Ottoman's genocidal policies.

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