DIYARBEKIR, Turkey — The Gomidas Institute, with the support of the Turkish Human Rights Association, is organizing a series of commemorative events in Diyarbakir between April 22 and 24, 2015 to mark the centennial of the Armenian Genocide. The focus on Diyarbakir is for good historical and political reasons.
The Ottoman province of Diyarbakir was a key theatre of the Armenian Genocide. Its governor Reshid Bey in 1915 played a prominent role in the mass murder of Armenians. Some of the victims — such as the local prelate Mgrdich Chlghadian — were killed in the city, thousands more were killed outside, and even more further afield.
Today, the people living in Diyarbakir recognize the Armenian Genocide and wish to make amends. The city’s co-mayors and regional representative’s at the Turkish Parliament speak out on the Armenian issue with a clear voice. Diyarbakir city has already supported the reconstruction of Sourp Giragos church, one of the largest Armenian churches in the world. Armenians can live freely in this city. At last year’s commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, the men and women who stood up for Armenians represented millions of people. They included prominent politicians, lawyers, human rights activists, and others.
The Gomidas Institute has been active in Turkey since the 1990s. While opposing the official denials of Turkish state intellectuals, the Institute has also built bridges with Turkish civil society and sought just resolution of outstanding issues. The Institute has organized successful projects in Diyarbakir before, including the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide – and this coming year’s commemoration builds on earlier successes.