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Turkey bans Armenian Genocide commemoration ahead of May elections

The Istanbul governor has blocked the commemoration of the 1915 atrocities amid reactions to the opposition leader’s proclamation of his Alevi roots.
Portraits of Armenian intellectuals, detained and deported in 1915, are displayed during a rally on the Istiklal avenue in Istanbul, on April 24, 2017 to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.

ISTANBUL — Turkish authorities banned the commemoration of the 1915 Armenian Genocide for the second year running Monday in a decision condemned as “unacceptable” by organizers. 

The blocking of a memorial event in Istanbul came as issues affecting Turkey’s minorities took hold ahead of next month’s elections, following opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s declaration of his Alevi faith last week. 

The April 24 Commemoration Platform condemned the move in a statement. “There is no reasonable justification for banning our commemoration this year, as it was last year,” it said.

“It is unacceptable to ban this event in a climate where racist meetings and demonstrations are freely organized, where those who continue to demonize the descendants of the Armenians and Assyrians who were killed in 1915 and continue to alienate minority communities with racist hate speech are walking around freely.” 

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