FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2017
Contact: Sevag Belian (613) 235-2622
Montreal — On Thursday, May 18, 2017, members of the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC) and the Armenian Youth Federation of Canada (AYF Canada) joined representatives from the Kurdish community in Montreal at a peaceful vigil to stand against Turkish President Tayipp Erdoğan’s brutal dictatorship in Turkey and the celebration of the 17th anniversary of the “Turkish Peace Garden” / ”Türk Barış Bahçesi” at the Biodome in Montreal.
The vigil that was organized by the Rojava Solidarity Working Group called upon the Canadian government and the Turkish diplomats to challenge Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s descent to absolute autocracy and his regime’s continuous crackdown on civil society in Turkey.
“It is rather ironic that the Consul General of Turkey is celebrating the 17th Anniversary of the “Turkish Peace Garden” in Montreal, considering that what is currently being demonstrated by his superiors in Turkey is far from being anything peaceful” said Apraham Niziblian, a member of the ANCC.
Since reclaiming power after the failed coup attempt of July 2016, and especially after the highly controversial constitutional referendum that granted the president unprecedented powers, Erdogan and his regime have been merciless in silencing their opposition and suppressing the people’s fundamental rights of freedom of speech, assembly and association. Erdoğan’s purges have particularly targeted the academic and judicial ranks of the country, while attempting to systematically oppress the rights of various minority groups in the country. Since July 2016, tens of thousands of people, including journalists, lawyers, judges, military officers and activists have been arrested including 12 members of parliament from the pro-Kurdish leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and 80 Kurdish co-mayors.
Despite attempts by the police to disperse the peaceful attendants, the activists continued to make their voices heard until the end of the event. Many representatives from various organizations had come together to send a strong and united message to stand up against the brutal regime in Ankara and restore peace and dignity for all citizens in Turkey.
“It is absolutely imperative to come together and collectively stand up against the injustice that is taking place in Turkey today, and to make sure that our Canadian government is aware of what is happening to minorities and civil society activists in that country” concluded Niziblian.
On Friday, May 19, the ANCC also participated in a joint Press Conference at Centre Saint-Pierre in Montreal, hosted by Quebec MNA, Mr. Amir Khadir. The press conference featured federal member of parliament, Ms. Hélène Laverdière, politicians from various levels of government and activists from different human rights organizations.
The ANCC is the largest and the most influential Canadian-Armenian grassroots human rights organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout Canada and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCC actively advances the concerns of the Canadian-Armenian community on a broad range of issues and works to eliminate abuses of human rights throughout Canada and the world.