Below is a public statement from the Chairperson of Izmir Council of Peace
Zeynep Tozduman, made on April, 2013
Frome ZEYNEP TOZDUMAN - Izmir,Turkey
April 24, 2013
FROM ALL THE PEOPLES OF ANATOLIA SUBJECTED TO GENOCIDE
I apologize for every single day that we have remained silent since the days of genocide.
I apologize for our grandfathers who cooperated with the murderers carrying out the brutal massacre of 1.5 million people in Anatolia.
I apologize from your young girls for permanently burying their hopes into their dowry chests.
I apologize from all your people left dead without a proper burial, shroud or cemeteries.
I apologize for causing you to add the word 'converted - Donme' to your vocabulary.
I apologize from all your girls and women abused and raped, forcefully converted to Kurd, Turk, Alevi or Islam.
I apologize for forcing you to become the Diaspora and scatter like pomegranate seeds to all corners of the world.
I apologize for forcing you to long for your homeland with broken hearts from the faraway deportation points.
I apologize for preventing you from giving your children proper names and education in your mother tongue, a basic human right.
I apologize for confiscating your houses, properties, lands, farms, orchards, and shops to create our national economy, based on a disease of racism in this country.
I apologize for denying even the veryexistence of the original peoples of these lands after subjecting them to economic, cultural and political genocide.
I apologize for confiscating your places of worship (monastery, church, synagogue, Jem house, etc.) and converting them to mosques, museums, community centres or stables.
I apologize from the survivors of the genocide for even forbidding them from dreaming in their own language.
I apologize for forcing racism on you by making you repeat every morning 'So happy to be a Turk'.
I apologize for presenting your properties as gifts to your own murderers.
I apologize for transforming the Anatolian garden of different peoples to a cemetery of different peoples.
I apologize for realizing too late that the sorrow expressed in the song 'Sari Gelin' was in reality the sorrow of the genocide.
I apologize for wiping out the various original peoples of Anatolia, living on these lands long before the arrival of the Turks, and for trying to create a single nation state.
I apologize for creating a hell of murders in this country, instead of a heaven of humanity.
I apologize for burying all the namedAgop, Kiriakos, Samuel, Ani, Maria or Sarkis in my city Smyrna as well as the rest of the country, burying our humanity in the process.
I apologize for committing crimes against humanity for one thousand and four hundred years in these lands.
I apologize for not realizing that fascism would eventually arrive and start killing us as well in these lands.
I apologize for not being able to put a stop to the denial and assimilation policies for one hundred years.
I apologize especially for our inhumane behaviour during the genocides of the Armenians, Assyrians, Pontic Greeks, Yezidis and Alevis.
And I apologize once again on this April 24 genocide commemoration day, for our inability to protect you and preserve our humanity.