The ceremony to be held at Sultanahmet Square in İstanbul today (April 24) to commemorate the ones who lost their lives in the Armenian Genocide of April 24, 1915 was cancelled.
The commemoration ceremony would be held by Human Rights Association (İHD) İstanbul Branch, Commission Against Racism and Discrimination and the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM) at 12 p.m.
İstanbul Governorship's request that the word "genocide" be removed from the statement to be read out during the commemoration was announced as the reason for the cancellation of the ceremony.
Three people have been detained
Three members of the İHD, Jiyan Tosun, Gamze Yaman and Leman Yurtsever, who were carrying the banner, have been taken into custody.
16 members of the European Parliament and İHD İstanbul Branch executives rejected the request of İstanbul Governorship regarding the removal of the word "genocide" from the statement.
A statement regarding the cancellation of the commemoration ceremony was then made at the building of İHD in Taksim at 1.30 p.m.
What happened on April 24, 1915?
In Agos newspaper, Rober Koptaş had explained why April 24, 1915 is considered a milestone as follows:
"The majority of over 200 Armenian intellectuals arrested by policemen with lists in their hands on April 24, 1915 had waged a lifelong struggle of ideas with pens in their hands.
"A great number of these people, who were journalists, writers, teachers, politicians, merchants and ecclesiastics, were massacred in Çankırı and Ayaş where they were sent into exile.
"Though the date of April 24, 1915 is not the starting point of the great calamity which is called a 'massacre', 'disaster', 'exile' or 'mobilization' in different parts of Anatolia and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, it is still one of the most important milestones.
"The elimination of the elites who shaped the cultural lives of a people created a great sorrow and impact, leading to a desertification which would also affect all of the next generations.
"As a result of the respect that they have for this group of creators, Armenians have adopted the date April 24 as a milestone. Commemorating them means commemorating all innocent losses of this old people." (PT/SD)
* Photographs: Pınar Tarcan - bianet
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