DETROIT, MI — Turkey-based human rights activist Sayat Tekir travelled to the United States to accept this year’s Armenian National Committee of America Eastern Region (ANCA-ER) Activism Award on behalf of Nor Zartonk Movement at the 9th Annual ANCA Eastern Region Banquet.
As part of his US tour, Mr. Tekir stopped in several communities and gave talks on the origins and current activities of “Nor Zartonk” Movement, recent parliamentary elections in Turkey, situation of minorities living in Turkey, etc. His itinerary included destinations such as Los Angeles, CA; Belmont, MA; New York, NY; and Dearborn, MI.
His public address in Manhattan was co-organized by the Armenian National Committee of New York (ANC of NY), St. Illuminator’s Cathedral, and Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA). The event took place on November 10 in the premises of the cathedral, where over 70 community members were in attendance.
In Massachusetts, Mr. Tekir gave his remarks at the First Armenian Church which was co-hosted by Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts (ANC of EM), ANC of Merrimack Valley, ANC of Central Masachussets, AYF Greater Boston ‘Nejdeh’ chapter, Bostonbul, Friends of Hrant Dink, AMAA, and NAASR.
“International pressure is important but never enough for transforming Turkey into a democratic country that will be able to face the dark and bloody chapters of its history and affirm the international crime that was perpetrated against the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek people. The international pressure should be paralleled with domestic activism through the organizations like Nor Zartonk in order to bring about societal change as well as truth and justice for the Armenian Genocide”, said ANCA Eastern Region Board Member Tsoleen Sarian.
His tour concluded in Michigan, where in the morning of November 14, Mr. Tekir spoke at the ANCA-ER daylong Advocacy Workshop. He spoke about their activities in the country, focusing especially on the Camp Armen and how through activism and perseverance they succeeded in returning the title of the building back to the Armenian community.
Sayat Tekir is human rights activist from Istanbul, Turkey. He is one of the founders and current spokesperson of the “Nor Zartonk” Movement. “Nor Zartonk” (New Renascence) is a human rights group based in Turkey that contributes to the social and cultural development of the society and plays an active role in achieving peace and welfare. The organization assists individuals to recognize equality, justice, democracy and peace as fundamental values and contributes the understanding of human rights as a whole without any kind of discrimination. The return of the Camp Armen to its rightful owners, the Gedikpasha Armenian Protestant Church Foundation on Oct. 27, 2015 is the most recent example of social resistance by “Nor Zartonk” lasting 175 days.
In his remarks to the audience Sayat Tekir stated, “Justice and the change of reality will never come from above. We should start from grassroots and work hard to achieve them. Yes, genocide happened in 1915. We, however, do not want to continue the discourse of they killed, broke and annihilated us. Yes they massacred us in a very brilliant operation but they did not annihilate. They will not be able to. Today we stand against the murderers, look into their eyes and repeat: we are here! We will always be here. We are not finished.”
There is still time to make a donation to ANCA Eastern Region 9th annual banquet and support the organization’s mission and current projects: www.ancaef.org/banquet.
The ANCA Eastern Region Endowment Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization that supports the ANCA Eastern Region in outreach to Armenian-American communities.