Turkish police block Armenian ‘genocide’ rally in Istanbul

Armenians commemorate on April 24, the 104th anniversary of the killing of 1.5 million by Ottoman forces, as a fierce dispute still rages with Turkey over Ankara’s refusal to recognize the mass murder as genocide. (AFP)
Updated 24 April 2019
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Turkish police block Armenian ‘genocide’ rally in Istanbul

  • Troops from the Ottoman Empire — which preceded modern-day Turkey — were responsible for mass killing of Armenians
  • Turkey has always denied that the incident amounted to genocide

ISTANBUL: Turkish police on Wednesday blocked protesters trying to hold a commemoration in Istanbul of the 1915 massacres and forced deportation of Armenians.
Troops from the Ottoman Empire — which preceded modern-day Turkey — were responsible for mass killing of Armenians, but Turkey has always denied that the incident amounted to genocide.
France on Wednesday holds its first “national day of commemoration of the Armenian genocide” in a move that has angered Turkey’s government.
About 100 protesters, including some French and European Parliament lawmakers, attempted to hold a ceremony in Istanbul to mark the massacres, but were prevented by police, an AFP reporter said.
“It has been nine years now that these commemorations of the Armenian genocide are being held here, and it is the first time that the state prevents us,” said Benjamin Abtan, one of the activists at the Istanbul rally.
Armenians commemorate the massacres on April 24 — the day in 1915 when thousands of Armenian intellectuals suspected of harboring nationalist sentiment and being hostile to Ottoman rule were rounded up.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called French leader Emmanuel Macron a “political novice” for the French commemoration and pointed to abuses by French troops during the colonial era.
“If we look at those trying to give lessons on human rights or democracy to Turkey on the Armenian question and the fight against terrorism, we see that they all have a bloody past,” the Turkish leader said on Wednesday.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will lead the commemorations in Paris by giving a speech and laying flowers at a Monument for the Armenian Genocide erected on the north bank of the river Seine in April 2003.


Syrian journalist claims torture, humiliation at hands of Turkish forces while crossing border

Updated 18 min 32 sec ago
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Syrian journalist claims torture, humiliation at hands of Turkish forces while crossing border

  • According to Al-Shami in his video, he was arrested with two of his children
  • 419 Syrian civilians – among them 75 children and 38 women – have been killed trying to cross the border since conflict began

LONDON: A Syrian journalist has claimed on his YouTube channel that he has been assaulted and beaten by Turkish forces on the Syria-Turkey border.
Mazen Al-Shami posted a video to the social media network and also posted on Facebook, saying: “After nine years of the revolution, that is how my family and I are treated.
“A Turkish officer tortured me in front of my family and tortured my children on the Syria-Turkey border, it was his reaction when he found out I was a Syrian journalist.”
Al-Shami ended the post with the hashtags #Thank_You_Turkey and #Thank_You_Hotel_Opposition with a number of photos containing the injuries sustained by him and his son as a result of the assault.
According to Al-Shami in his video, he was arrested with two of his children along with other civilians as they tried to cross the border into Turkey from the Syrian Idlib region.
The Association of Syrian Journalists, which represents journalists opposed to the Bashar Assad regime, quoted Al-Shami as saying: “The opposition did not respond to my request to enter Turkey for a follow-up to my medical treatment.”
The association added that Al-Shami was beaten and severely tortured with “metal rods, iron chains and agricultural hand tools.”
Hundreds of Syrian activists have responded to the incident, saying the officer responsible must be held accountable and that the Turkish army is constantly targeting civilians trying to cross the border from Syria.
In a recent report, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that 419 Syrian civilians – among them 75 children and 38 women – have been killed trying to cross the border since the start of the country’s ongoing conflict.