US Turkish community honors diplomats killed by Armenian groups
World15:5225 April, 2022

The deadly campaign began in 1973 with the assassination of Turkey's Consul General in Los Angeles Mehmet Baydar 

US Turkish community honors diplomats killed by Armenian groups
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Hundreds of people from the Turkish-American community gathered in the U.S. capital Sunday to commemorate the Turkish diplomats killed by Armenian terrorist groups and protest Armenian claims regarding the events of 1915.

Demonstrators from the Washington area, New York and New Jersey convened in front of the Turkish Embassy residence located on Sheridan Circle in the northwest of Washington, D.C.

Turks gathered on one side of the circle and Armenian demonstrators, fewer in numbers, gathered on the other.

Some Armenian associations in Los Angeles, California – home to the largest Armenian population in the U.S. – gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate General.

However, the number of Armenians participating in the demonstration was relatively low compared to previous years.

 

 

Organized by the Turkish-American National Steering Committee (TASC), the event started with the national anthem and continued with chanting and dancing.

During the demonstration, the attendees carried Turkish and Azerbaijani flags and chanted slogans in favor of the countries. Some banners read "History cannot be judged by politics" and "We reject Armenian lies" while others called for peace between Turkey and Armenia.

The demonstrators also called on the Biden administration, telling it not to use the 1915 events as a political tool while voicing their discomfort with the distortion of historical events.

Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Hasan Murat Mercan hosted a group photo with participants at the end of the gathering.

Last year, Biden called the events of 1915 a "genocide," breaking with the long-held tradition of U.S. presidents of refraining from using the term. The move was strongly rejected by Turkey as "null and void."

Nearly 80 people – 58 of them Turkish citizens, including 31 diplomats and members of their families – were killed in attacks from 1973 to 1986 carried out by Armenian terrorist groups.

The deadly campaign began in 1973 with the assassination of Turkey's Consul General in Los Angeles Mehmet Baydar and diplomat Bahadır Demir by a terrorist named Gourgen Yanikian.

"Statements that are incompatible with historical facts and international law regarding the events of 1915 are not valid. This includes the unfortunate statement made by U.S. President Biden today, which is the repetition of the mistake he made in 2021," said a Foreign Ministry statement.

Stressing that Ankara rejects "such statements and decisions, which distort historical facts with political motives," the ministry also condemned "those who insist on this mistake."

"One-sided and selective approaches that serve no purpose other than to draw enmity from history are morally problematic and politically ill-intentioned," it noted.

The ministry also asserted that commemorating "all sufferings experienced at that period, without ethnic or religious discrimination" requires a humanitarian and conscientious stance.

Turkey respectfully commemorates the sufferings of the entire Ottoman population, including Armenians, it added. "We reject the attempts to exploit this pain for political purposes."

Citing Turkey's proposition to establish a joint historical commission and open both countries' archives, Ankara reiterated its call to study "controversial episodes in history," such as the events of 1915, "without prejudice by respecting the scientific and legal principles in order to reach a just memory."

"Turkey strives for peace and stability in its region and in the world, and the spirit of cooperation to prevail. The normalization initiative with Armenia is another manifestation of this understanding," the ministry said.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Twitter also criticized some of the Western leaders' position regarding the events of 1915 and called it "hypocrisy."

"Some Western leaders recently argued that 'genocide' can only be determined by a court decision. So true!" Çavuşoğlu stressed as he shared a video of U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron.

"The very same leaders using the term 'genocide' with political motives for the events of 1915 despite the lack of a competent court decision is nothing but hypocrisy," he added.

Turkey will never accept efforts to politicize any human tragedy, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also said Sunday regarding the 1915 events.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken every possible step to recognize the painful memories in history, Altun said on Twitter.

"He (Erdoğan) has also fought every effort to shamelessly politicize any human tragedy. We will never accept such efforts and will always look toward building peace in our region," Altun said.

"Our common and honorable history with its happy as well as painful memories must not be the source of fake political crises but the basis of building our common future," he said, adding that Turkey is committed to this vision and is working with Armenia to normalize relations.

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