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

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.


Will Turkey, Syria renegotiate Adana agreement?

An ambulance carries a member of the Syrian Kurdish (YPG) militia, who was killed during clashes in Syria, before his funeral in Kirkuk, Iraq. (Reuters)
Updated 22 min 40 sec ago

Will Turkey, Syria renegotiate Adana agreement?

  • Unal said the Adana deal bound the Syrian government to fight the PKK on its soil, and to cooperate with Turkey on all related issues, including exchanging intelligence

ANKARA: With references to a possible renegotiation of the terms of an agreement between Turkey and Syria becoming widespread, experts say it may pave the way for reopening diplomatic channels between the two neighbors.
The 1998 Adana deal allows the Turkish military to enter 15 km into Syria to combat “terrorist activities,” and was used by Ankara to justify its latest operation. But the “safe zone” proposed by Turkey extends a further 15 km into Syrian territory. Egypt and Iran are guarantors of the Adana deal, under which Damascus ended its support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently said: “The Adana agreement between Turkey and Syria — still valid — can be the better path to achieve security. Iran can help bring together the Syrian Kurds, the Syrian government and Turkey so that the Syrian Army, together with Turkey, can guard the border.”
Hasan Unal, a professor at Istanbul Maltepe University, said any renegotiation of the Adana deal would require talks between Ankara and Damascus.
“Should these negotiations lead to normalization (of relations) between Turkey and Syria, it would be a major step forward in terms of putting an end to the war in Syria and stabilizing the region,” he told Arab News.
Unal said the Adana deal bound the Syrian government to fight the PKK on its soil, and to cooperate with Turkey on all related issues, including exchanging intelligence.
The deal “created such a positive atmosphere that for more than a decade the two countries moved closer,” he added.
Unal said the deal needs to be renegotiated to give Ankara greater advantages in its struggle against the PKK and the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), while legalizing the Turkish troop presence in Syria.
Dr. Kerim Has, a Moscow-based analyst on Russian-Turkish relations, told Arab News: “Full implementation of the agreement requires direct and open dialogue between Ankara and Damascus.”
This, he said, “would reduce tensions and hostilities in the region, prevent a new conflict between the Turkish and Syrian armies, and strengthen the legitimacy of the Assad regime.”