The Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) commemorated the mass arrest of Armenians on 24 April 1915 in Istanbul, which marked the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, that resulted in the total annihilation of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire except for a tiny community in Istanbul.
Zafer İncin, the chair of IHD branch, said at a gathering in the Aegean city of Izmir on Saturday that the first attempt at a forced mass disappearance in the history of mankind was committed not by the Nazis during the Second World War, but by the Ottoman state 107 years ago.
“The history of forcible disappearance began 107 years ago in these lands. On 24 April 1915, 250 Armenian individuals were arrested in Istanbul on the orders of the Union and Progress government’s interior minister Talat Pasha.”
“Most of these individuals were the most respected representatives of the Armenian people. These intellectuals, deputies, authors, poets, lawyers, physicians, journalists, pharmacists, musicians, politicians, were at the same time the most brilliant minds of Ottoman society. They were first taken to Sultanahmet Prison. They were then embarked on a train to be taken to Ankara. They were not told why they were arrested and where they were being taken to (…) 174 of these individuals were taken to remote valleys and mountains by the police and the gendarmerie, where they were murdered in cold blood.
Stating that the policies of denial served only to extend crimes into the future, he said:
“The state authorities made this truth inaccesible through their policies built on denial, and they made it impossible for the people to come to terms with the truth (…) 107 years after 24 April 1915, we are now calling upon the authorities: Denial is the most comprehensive violation of human rights. Denial is the continuation of the crime. Admit all the crimes against humanity that were committed in these lands. Stop the denial.”