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The defenders of human rights sent a letter to Etchmiadzin and Cilicia Catholicos at the 97th anniversary of 24 April 1915 Armenian Genocide. The group came together at the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, which was used as an Armenian prison in 1915 and they carried the photographs of 220 Armenian intellectuals that were arrested at one night.
Red carnations and candles with the names of the murdered Armenian intellectuals were placed in front of the "1915 is a genocide, genocide is a crime against humanity" banners; Krikor Zohrab, Yervant Agnuni, Simon Melkonyan...
Historian Ara Sarafyan who took part in the act thanked to the participant and reminded that there's still a pressure of Turkish government on the adoption of the genocide.
Melda Çılgın on behalf of Human Rights Association read the letters sent to the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia and Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.
"In the 97th year of the genocide process, which began with the arrests in Istanbul on April 24,1915, and which included the annihilation of the Armenians as well as the Assyrians and Greeks of Anatolia, we are writing this letter to directly address you and the children of the victims of the Armenian genocide around the world, whom you represent. We hereby declare our belief that it is only after the recognition of the Genocide and the restitution of and/or compensation for the confiscated property of Armenians that justice can be established" written in both letters.
The letters also contained the murder of Sevag Şahin Balıkçı while he was on mandatory military duty in the Turkish army in the city of Batman. "It is evidence that there has been no life security for Armenians since 1915, that the process of genocide is ongoing"
"Your demands are our demands"
The messages at the letter dedicated to Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Holiness Aram were as follows:
"The Cilicia Catholicosate, which has not only been one of the spiritual centers of the historic Western Armenia for hundreds of years but which also represents its cultural and social identity, was forcibly displaced to Lebanon from the lands where it belonged. As defenders of human rights in Turkey, we are writing this letter to you to express our belief that it is in these lands that your Catholicosate belongs."
"On August 31, 2011, you sent a letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey regarding the legislative changes concerning the restitution of some of the properties of non-Muslim foundations. You wrote, "The Armenian people will remain the rightful owners of the innumerable churches, hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, cemeteries, and various religious and public properties confiscated by the Turkish state in the days of Genocide in 1915." You then added, "The Armenian people will remain the rightful owners of the houses, businesses, and properties of their ancestors who were victims of the Genocide which was planned and perpetrated by the Ottoman Turkish government."
"In your letter, you declared that the Armenian people will never abdicate their demands on Turkey for justice regarding the Armenian Genocide, and for the restoration of human rights. You wrote, "Dear Prime Minister, your declarations regarding justice and human rights will only be documented when you recognize the Armenian Genocide."
"We are writing this letter to address you and thus all the Armenians in the world, to state that your demands voice the requirements of the most basic human rights, and that they are also our demands."
"We are against the hate campaings"
The messages at the letter dedicated to Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of Etchmiadzin All Armenians Holiness Karekin II were as follows:
"You visited Istanbul in 2006 on the invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Patriarchate of the Armenians of Turkey. Your visit met with attacks against your person and your See by proponents of hate in Turkey, due especially to a reply you gave in the press conference. You said, "For our people, the Genocide is not a matter of investigation; it is a factual event that took place, and must be recognized as such." Your words were themselves subjected to an investigation under article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, whose legitimacy we contest in the most absolute terms."
"We are writing you this letter to state that we share the views you voiced in the press conference in their entirety. As defenders of human rights, we deem the campaign against you by proponents of enmity and hate, as well as the investigation initiated by the Turkish judiciary, to be an attack against human rights."
The group marched quietly from Sultanahmet to Sirkeci post office and sent the letters to their owners. (NV)