ANKARA: Quiet Commemoration 95 Years After Armenian Deportation

April 26 2010

"This pain is our pain, his mourning is the mourning of all of us"
was written on the banner on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of
the deportation of Armenians. More than 500 people gathered around
the banner in Taksim/Istanbul for a silent commemoration.

Erol ONDEROÄ~^LU [email protected] Istanbul – BÄ°A News Center26 April
2010, Monday More than 500 people, among them Turkish intellectuals
and human rights defenders, sat down quietly on Istanbul’s centrally
located Taksim Square around a banner saying "This pain is our pain,
his mourning is the mourning of all of us". They commemorated
in silence the 95th anniversary of the deportation of Armenian
intellectuals. Candles had been lit around the banner.

During a few days around 24 April 1915, 220 Armenians were exiled from
the Ottoman Empire by force and then killed. Among them were artists,
authors and other representatives from the intellectual and cultural
world. They were taken to AyaÅ~_ and Cankırı in northern Anatolia
where they were killed.

Commemoration events were furthermore held at the HaydarpaÅ~_a Train
Station on the Anatolian side of Istanbul and at the Galatasary Square
on Istanbul’s lively district of Beyoglu. Intense security measures
accompanied the events.

Provocations were greeted with applause 67 intellectuals had initiated
the commemoration on Taksim Square.

Small groups of people calling themselves idealistic provoked the
silent group by gatherings in front of the nearby French Consulate
and a hotel opposite Taksim Square.

The groups shouted "Go to Erivan, traitors" at the participants of
the silent commemoration, who responded with applause. The groups
furthermore shouted slogans such as "This is Turkey, love it or leave
it" and "A Turk has no other friend than a Turk", while the police
let them draw closer to the quiet group.

Aktar: One more part of the taboo got broken Publisher Omer Laciner
told bianet, "This was a good start. We want this to become
a tradition". Journalist Cengiz Aktar emphasized the historic
significance of the commemoration, "One more part of the taboo in
Turkey has been broken" he said.

Dancer Zeynep Tanbay addressed the crowd and the journalists with
reading the call for the event once more: "We had a population of
13 million people in 1915, 1.5 to 2 million Armenians were living
in this country. In Thrace, at the Aegean, in Adana, Malatya, Van,
Kars… In Samatya, Å~^iÅ~_li, on the Princess Islands, in Galata… On
24 April 1915 they started to ‘send them away’. We lost them. They do
not exist anymore. They do not even have graves. The weight of the
"Great Pain" has ever been growing in our conscience of the "Great
Disaster" throughout the last 95 years".

The silent event was also attended by Galatasaray University lecturer
Prof. Dr Ahmet İnsel, journalist Perihan Magden, writer Yalcıın
Ergundogan and lawyer Eren Keskin amongst others. (EO/VK)