CHICAGO, Ill.—Armenians from across Greater Chicago converged on Daley Plaza in the city’s central business district to mark the 99th Anniversary of the Armenian genocide and to protest the Turkish government’s ongoing campaign of genocide denial. The Armenians were joined in the protest by Pontian Greek and Assyrian Christians, whose people were also victims of the genocide, as well as by Moslems from Palestine, Iraq, Nigeria and Sudan. The protest was organized by the Armenian Youth Federation “Ararat” Chapter on April 24.
In addition to carrying signs, waving flags, and chanting slogans, the protestors distributed thousands of leaflets calling for an end to Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide. The leaflets urged passersby to contact their state legislators to oppose Turkey’s blatant attempts to win support for its denial campaign by lavishing gifts on members of the Illinois legislature. The Chicago Tribune has reported that from 2009 to 2012, 32 of the 43 foreign trips received as gifts were by legislators traveling to Turkey, including four trips by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
“The people of Illinois need to send a message loud and clear to their state legislators that our state is not for sale, and we will not tolerate Turkey’s attempts to export lies,” stated Mike Demirjian, Chairman of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Illinois.
Demirjian noted that the Turkish Human Rights Association had issued a declaration calling on the Turkish government to halt its denial of the Armenian Genocide and to begin discussions with the Armenian people on the issues of restitution for “the incalculable losses their ancestors and they themselves have suffered and continue to suffer because of the Genocide and its denial.”
“Spending money on PR firms and lobbyists here in Illinois and around the world, the Turkish government thinks that it can somehow re-write history,” stated Mike Demirjian, Chairman of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Illinois. “Prime Minister Erdogan needs to understand that the world will no longer tolerate his antics, and that even Turks in Turkey have had enough of his genocide denial agenda.”