Over 500 people gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square yesterday to protest the release of a Turkish soldier who is on trial in the murder of Sevag Balikci, a Turkish-Armenian soldier, on April 24, 2011.
The protestors say that the murder of Balikci was premeditated as it came on the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Kivanc Agaoglu, the defendant, claims that his gun accidentally went off killing the Armenian.
Around 500 demonstrators began marching toward Galatasaray Square at 7pm behind a banner that read “Militarism kills.”
Sevag Balikci’s family also attended the demonstration along with anti-war and human rights activists.
The protesters chanted slogans in Turkish, Armenian and Kurdish throughout the entire march.
“We are all Sevag, we are all Armenians,” “The murderous state will be called to account,” “Do not enlist in the military, do no spill a brother’s blood,” “Sevag, we will not forget you,” “Never to kill or die, never to become anyone’s soldier,” “Long live the brotherhood of peoples,” the demonstrators shouted.
The demonstration was organized by the Nor Zartonk initiative.
“Being an Armenian proved costly”
The Nor Zartok Initiative then read a press statement before the Galatasaray High School, adding that they were also going to make another press declaration before the courtroom on Sept. 7:
“It was said that Balıkçı had died accidentally due to a bullet fired from Ağaoğlu’s weapon while he was performing his mandatory military service on April 24, 2011, the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Being an Armenian once more proved to be costly, and racism snatched him away from us.”
“[Authorities] released Balıkçı’s murder suspect after the first hearing of the case, even though press workers, students, Kurdish politicians, revolutionaries and academics are incarcerated solely because they think, question and criticize.”
“We were tested in this trial through a variety of ruses. The murderers have been debunked, however. Witness Halil Ekşi changed his testimony and said Ağaoğlu had cocked his gun before firing and that Ağaoğlu’s relatives had told him to testify in his favor.”
“The murder suspect and the mindset he represents is yet to be convicted. It is still legitimate to kill an Armenian, just like back in 1915, and the murderers go unpunished.”
“Officials are trying to cover up murders committed in barracks as ‘jokes’ or ‘suicide.’ Those who refuse to partake in the state’s dirty and bloody system receive heavy prison sentences and are subjected to torture in disciplinary wards.”
“The dominant mindset is thirsty for more victims that it failed to homogenize. Thousands died, including many children, due to gunfire coming from barracks, mortar shells and mines in this war that has been going on for 30 years. Hundreds are killed inside of barracks, too, in consequence of acts of ‘suicide’ and ‘accidents’ called ‘dubious deaths’ but leave no doubt as to their true nature.”
“It is not just humans, but humanity itself that is dying in the barracks. We defend life and call on everyone to show the sensitivity to fight against militarism that is causing the deaths of children outside of the barracks, the deaths of youngsters inside the barracks and which has permeated every aspect of life. As for concrete steps, we are also calling upon youngsters to reject to perform their mandatory military service and refrain from spilling the blood of a brother. (EKN)