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Lebanese-Armenian Protesters Trap Turkish Ambassador in Beirut Theater

Lebanese-Armenian Protesters outside the movie theater. Image from AztagDaily

Lebanese-Armenian Protesters outside the movie theater. As the Daily Star reported, they were shouting slogans such as “Truth will triumph” and “We remember”. Image from AztagDaily

Around 60 members of Lebanon's Armenian Tashnag Party trapped the Turkish ambassador to Lebanon inside a movie theater on Wednesday, protesting the Turkish Government's official stance on the 1915 Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire. Ambassador Suleiman Inan Oz Yildiz was attending the premiere of “Son Mektup,” a Turkish movie set during the Battle of Gallipoli (1915-1916). The incident was also reported on the Official Centennial's Commemoration's Website.

The time chosen to promote a movie set during the same year as the Armenian Genocide isn't being interpreted as a coincidence. Indeed, in a statement released online on Lebanese Armenian Daily “Aztag”, the Turkish government was accused of trying to distract the world's attention from the Armenian Genocide Centennial, which will be commemorated worldwide on April 24th of this year.

The statement, published in Armenian and Arabic, was summarized for Global Voices by Lebanese-Armenian activist Yeghia Tashjian:

“The main goal of the film was to shift the attention from the Armenian Genocide to the Battle of Gallipoli, despite the fact that the Turkish government has not commemorated the Battle in public events in the past. The Turkish government has recently decided to finance and promote events pertaining to the battle to distract the world's attention from the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Therefore the Tashnag Youth and Student Association (Tashnag) took the initiative to once again remind the world of the history and the sufferings of Armenians and Arabs under Turkish rule. As a result the Turkish Embassy's security guards clashed with peaceful protesters in front of the cinema. The guards started to shout “Erdogan, Erdogan” while the protesters responded “Genocidal, Genocidal”.

The Centennial Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide holds particular importance in Lebanon with Lebanese Armenians comprising around 4 per cent of the country's population. Numerous events are planned for the days leading to April the 24th anniversary, such as a talk by The Independent's Robert Fisk entitled “One Hundred Years and a Day” hosted by the American University of Beirut's “Lebanese Armenian Heritage Club” as well as a National March organized on the day itself.

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  • Johnny Turks

    “Animosity breeds animosity, İt is a vicious circle”.

    “You will hear extraordinary horrible stories practiced by Turks. Well, don’t believe a word of them. They are grossly exaggerated if not wholly false. You will be surprised at the gentlemanly way the Turks has fought us. ” [Jim Haynes Cobbers – Stories of Gallipoli 1915 p. 178) ]

    “Turks have treated our captured men and officers excellently”[The diary of the Aus. Official Corres. C.E.W.Bean]

    Turks are clean fighters
    “During the war British high command wanted to give the soldiers on the front gas masks. The soldiers protested “The Turks are clean fighters. They don’t use gas.” [The Britische Orientalist, Aubrey Herbert wrote in his famous book “Mons, Anzac & Kut ANZAC, 1915″ . Monday, August 16th, 1915. No. 2 Outpost. ]

    “You will hear extraordinary horrible stories practiced by Turks. Well, don’t believe a word of them. They are grossly exaggerated if not wholly false. You will be surprised at the gentlemanly way the Turks has fought us. ” [Jim Haynes Cobbers – Stories of Gallipoli 1915 p. 178) ]

    ” I reckon the Turk respects us, as we respect the Turk, Abdul’s a good, clean fighter – we’ve fought him, and we know” [Lieutenant Oliver Hogue]

    “The Turks have always proved themselves perfectly willing to have armistices and have actually asked for one at Helles which was refused by our General Staff. “[Ashmead-Bartlett’s Diary,1915]

    ” They (Turks) too were fighting for their country. Good and fair fighters. No. They fought very fair and honestly like us. Both sides lost their very valuable men.” [E.W.BARTLETT – was born in Australia , 1891. 11. Light Horse Regiment. One Hundred years old. He was one of last two hundred who left the Dardanelle.]

    “The Turkish sniper understood that we were searching for him. He shot once and the doctor got wounded. When he realized that he was a doctor, he didn’t shoot again.”
    [ Exerted from Sydney Alexander Moseley, former war correspondent during the Gallipoli Campaign ]

    “ After the terrible punishment inflicted upon the brave but futile assaults all bitterness faded … The Turks displayed an admirable manliness … From that morning onwards the attitude of the Anzac troops towards the individual Turks was rather that of opponents in a friendly game.”
    [Charles. E Bean, the Australian official historian, The Story of Anzac, Vol II, Sydney, 1924, p.162]

    “The Anzacs left Gallipoli without hatred in their heart for their enemy or bitterness at the incompetence of their own high command.” [A.K. Macdouggall, Australian historian]

    • Ani Toroyan

      Turks burnt the Armenian church in Adana and my uncle was killed with his new bride. My grandmother became blind from grief. My maternal grandmother walked to Syria a day she was only five years old.

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