Armenian victims of atrocities and a forced deportation carried out by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 were commemorated in İstanbul on the 102nd anniversary of the events on Monday.
Participants carried photographs of victims and posters reading ” Armenian Genocide: Recognize, apologize, compensate” during the program, which was organized by the Human Right Association (İHD) in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
The commemoration took place in front of the Turkish-Islamic Arts Museum, a former prison where Armenians were held prior to deportation.
Attendees called for removal of the names of Enver Pasha and Talat Pasha, who they deem responsible for the deportations and atrocities committed against Armenians, from streets and schools in Turkey.
In the meantime President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a message for a religious ceremony held at the Armenian Patriarchate in İstanbul.
“On this day, which carries special significance for our Armenian citizens, I once again respectfully commemorate all the Ottoman Armenians who lost their lives amid the conditions of World War I and extend my condolences to their children and grandchildren,” said Erdoğan.
“I commemorate with compassion and respect all the Ottoman citizens, regardless of their ethnic and religious identity, who lost their lives under similar conditions during this war.”
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) Armenian deputy Garo Paylan also called on the Turkish government to recognize 1915 as “genocide,” echoing a statement released by his party calling the events “genocide.”
Two other commemoration activities were also announced at the Şişli Armenian Cemetery and in Tunel Square, in İstanbul’s Beyoğlu district.