Armenians in Turkey: The Struggle Must be Continued
On April 24 Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day was held on Shishhane square in Istanbul. Rakel Dink, the wife of journalist Hrant Dink murdered on January 19, 2007, the family of Sevag Balikchi, killed on April 24, 2011 during the military service, deputy from pro-Kurdish Democratic Party Garo Paylan, representatives of the European anti-racist movement, members of the European parliament and others attended the event. Meltem Ural delivered a speech on behalf of the Memorial Platform:
"Today we once again came to honor the memory of those who fell under the infernal genocide 104 years ago. 104 years ago a considerable crime was committed. No one could predict how huge the extent of the crime would be. The normal course of life of our people was stopped suddenly. That day the Armenians of Istanbul as usual returned to their homes from work. But the peace of many families was disturbed; they started to smash in the doors of apartments one after another.
The genocide began with the detention of 250 Armenians. 174 were shot without the decision of the court. This start then led to even more horrendous consequences. In 1914 the total amount of population in Anatolia was 14 million people, 30 percent of them were non Muslims. Within three years it fell by three percent. Today the number of non Muslims per thousand people is one and a half people. This statistical ratio shows how severe the losses were.
The events that started from April 1914 until 1915 show that the genocide was planned and systematic.
And we must stand up against what happened a century ago. We must continue to fight for the truth as the democracy of many countries forces us to shut our eyes to century-old bloody events. They try to convince our people that there was no genocide 104 years ago. And we must continue with this struggle because through thick and thin, despite the atrocities committed 104 years ago our people could survive.
The massacre that began on April 24 dealt an irreparable blow to the cultural aspect of our people. We could no longer live side by side with Muslim people. And we can be struck once again if suddenly it is announced about the possibility of co-existence.
To revive we must not forget that the oppression of Armenians that started in 1915 destroyed our culture; it was the beginning of series of lies, numerous secrets, hypocrisy and distortion of facts. Normalization of oppression, normalization of mass murders; these are the consequences of century-old tragedy and an obstacle for the full revival of culture.
Whether we realize it or not but since April 24, 1915 life in Turkey is meaningless for us. The values of our people, the peculiarities of our culture were shaken. And all the traces of cultural heritage left by the Armenians many years ago were annihilated. Thousands of historical buildings; churches, schools were deliberately turned into ruins. Armenians were treated as if they had never lived on this land. The tragedy has dissociated several generations of people living on the territory of Anatolia. The devastation that has affected several generations can be eradicated only through the continuance of struggle.
And we want to state once again what was said last year; to strengthen the dynamics and to resume the peaceful life, and not enforce aggression and conflicts, conditions should be provided for the comfortable existence of representatives of each social group, there must be a society that shall withstand the racism and the hatred. We must stand against the century-old hatred. It is necessary to eradicate the tradition of teaching children to hate. Without implementing the mentioned eradication process, oppressions and murders will take place as before, such as the murder of Hrant Dink or Sevag Balikchi.
It is our duty; a duty in front of our conscience, a duty in front of Hrant Dink, Sevag Balikchi, a duty in front of our brothers who have to live away from their native lands. This duty is to resist the century-old hatred. We pledge our word to keep the promise and bend our heads in an homage to all those who became the victims of 1915."
And this was the event entitled «We remember what we lost» held on Shishhane square. A memorial service was to be held in memory of Hrant Dink near the Museum of Islamic art in Sultanakhmet region but the authorities hampered the execution of the event. Along with that a commemoration ceremony in memory of Sevag Balikchi was held in the Armenian cemetery Shishli.
Translated from Turkish.