Racism to be denied on 1915 anniversary

Racism to be denied on 1915 anniversary

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Racism to be denied on 1915 anniversary

This file photo shows last year’s demonstrations held against racism in Istanbul’s Taksim square.

Two nongovernmental organizations have sprung into action to stage a series of demonstrations to commemorate the forced deportation of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and denounce racism, as the 97th anniversary of the events draws near.

“We sum up the rationale behind these activities in a single sentence: The recognition of the Armenian genocide represents the fulfillment of an ethical, legal, political and social responsibility,” Ayşe Günaysu, a member of the Human Rights Association (İHD), recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The principal demonstration is to be staged in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, although the İHD and the “Say ‘No’ to Racism Initiative,” which are jointly organizing the commemoration, are set to announce further details pertaining to the location and timing of demonstrations in other cities across Turkey several days before the commemoration on April 24.

“Lies cannot under any circumstances prevail until eternity, if we are willing to see the truth,” said Günaysu, who is a member of both the İHD’s administrative board and its Commission against Racism and Discrimination.

The two NGOs organized simultaneous demonstrations in Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, as well as in other provinces across Turkey, last April 24 to commemorate the event.

“The acknowledgement of this [past] pain will lead to real democratization in Turkey. Racism and hatred will lose ground, and we will further approach humane [standards of] living,” she said.

Günaysu also drew attention to the death of Sevag Şahin Balıkçı, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent who was allegedly killed by a stray bullet on April 24, 2011, while performing his military service.