Inquiry started against anti-Armenian slogans

Inquiry started against anti-Armenian slogans

ISTANBUL / ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Inquiry started against anti-Armenian slogans

Sunday’s rally in Istanbul that commemmorated the Azeri victims of the Khojaly massacre of 1992 staged many racist slogans and banners againt the Armenians. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

As authorities in Istanbul rolled into action to determine the identities of the protesters who carried provocative banners at a recently rally to commemorate the Azeri victims of the Khojaly massacre of 1992, the Turkish–Armenian weekly Agos also condemned the incident.

“Banners, words and behaviors [employed] by provocative groups that cast a shadow over the goal and spirit of the rally cannot be approved,” a statement from the Interior Ministry said late Feb. 29, amid criticism over the weekend rally that featured anti-Armenian slogans and chants.

Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, who participated in the rally and also came under fire for remarks he made there, had “no objective other than condemning the massacre,” the statement continued, adding that his remarks were “distorted” and “taken out of context.” The statement stressed that, “the rights of all citizens in Turkey are guaranteed and everyone is a first-class citizen, regardless of their ethnic identity, language and faith.”

Weekly Agos featured a written statement on its March 1 front cover condemning the incident and calling for peace and life instead of revenge and blood.

“Let us champion not fatality but vitality. Vitality is life and the right of all of us. The day when we stand solemn on that square and share in [each other’s] pain is the day when we will be able to sustain each others’ livelihoods. We hereby lay claim to that day, and we can only create that day in unison. Let us find vitality in each other,” said the headline story.

The interpretation of history cannot change as long as the Armenian identity is associated with bastardliness, and if the march of a group that spoke in praise of Hrant Dink’s murderers to the offices of the weekly Agos could only be intercepted at the last moment, as happened on Sunday, the statement went on.

“Moreover, those who aspire to pen a different future will see their pens broken, as you cannot write any words over blood,” added the statement.

The demonstration was heavy with ultra-nationalist sentiment, with some groups vowing “revenge” on Armenians. “You are all Armenians, you are all bastards,” one banner read, referring to the popular slogan: “We are all Hrant. We are all Armenians,” that has often been used by those protesting after the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.