Representatives of Turkish Armenian community have launched an online petition, denouncing recent statements by a prominent representative of the Armenian community Petros Shirinoghlu after meeting Turkish PM Recep Tayip Erdogan.
“It was with distaste that we followed the statement made by Surp Pırgiç Armenian Hospital Foundation President Mr. Bedros Şirinoğlu on 26 March 2010, after a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This statement that disinformed the public contains many points that demand clarification,” around 400 Armenians who have signed the petition said. “Bedros Şirinoğlu is not the ‘Leader of the Armenian Community’ as stated in the daily agenda issued by the Press Office of the Prime Ministry; he is the President of the Surp Pırgiç Armenian Hospital Foundation. Representing and expressing views on behalf of the Armenian community does not fall within the province of the Foundation administration. Consequently, Mr. Şirinoğlu’s statement binds only himself, not the Armenian community. We are awaiting a correction from those who have misinformed the public,” they have clarified.
After meeting with Erdogan Shirinoglu said that “Armenians feel themselves safe in Turkey.’ This has made the authors of the statement ask with dismay: “Perhaps we live in a different Turkey!”
Shirinoghlu may feel himself safe, but it is a lie that all Armenians living in Turkey feel themselves safe, they have written. “In this country, Armenians face racism and discrimination; Armenians here are used as bargain chips in international relations and acute anti-Armenian sentiments continue to survive in broad segments of this society. We would have expected Mr. Şirinoğlu to remember and remind the Prime Minister how Hrant Dink was assassinated three years ago and how no real steps have been taken to find the real perpetrators of this crime,” they have remarked.
The petition also denounces Shirinoghlu’s description of the Armenian Genocide as “a quarrel between friends”, which it has described as ‘an attempt to cover up this big crime against humanity, as a result of which Armenian population was forcibly scattered all over the world and diminished to 60 thousand in Turkey, which was over 1.5 million in the beginning of the 20th century.”