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miércoles, 4 de septiembre de 2013

"Making History" - Armenia Youth Federation of South America press release

Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Buenos Aires, Argentina, to support Istanbul’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. Armenian Youth Federation released the following statement:

“Making History”

Sport, that should unite nations, can be used to hide the reality of a country. In Argentina, the military dictatorship that ruled between 1976 and 1983 used the '78 World Cup to show an image of a modern, united and strong country that contrasted with the reality of a society that suffered the horrors of systematic violations of human rights. Today, Turkey struggles to host the 2020 Olympic Games and, consequently, tries to appear as a growing country, with pluralistic and democratic values .

However, we must remember the current situation in Turkey. The delegation that accompanies  Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Buenos Aires includes Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs and former Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who refused to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey if Obama used the word “genocide” and Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu who participated in an ultranationalist rally in 2012 where people sang “You are all Armenian, you are all bastards”, “Mount Ağrı (Ararat) will become your grave” and cheered Ogun Samast , murderer of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink . Obviously , that is not the spirit of brotherhood among nations that promote the Olympics.

But it is not about these political figures. The current situation concerning human rights in Turkey is alarming. Persecutions, arrests and even assassinations of journalists have led Reporters Without Borders to call Turkey “the world’s biggest prison for journalists, with 72 imprisoned and dozens of ongoing trials”.

The persecutions, arrests and even killings of journalists has led to Reporters Without Borders in 2012 to qualify Turkey as “the world's biggest prison for journalists, with 72 imprisoned and dozens of ongoing trials”. Amnesty International last report included within the multiple violations to human rights that “freedom of speech was still subject to restrictions”, “the police force resourced to extreme repression to break up pacific demonstrations” and “the investigation and indictment of presumed abuses against human rights committed by civil servants was not enough” since “unfair trials recalling antiterrorist laws persisted”. Banning of political parties, mainly Kurdish, persecution against students, and violation of rights consecrated by ILO are included in the list as well.

The motto of Turkey's candidacy is “Making History”. So, what’s wrong if Turkey is elected to host the 2020 Olympics? We are convinced that “History will not be made” and “History will be covered”. Electing Istanbul for the 2020 Olympics Games will serve to deepen the degree of vulnerability of the already oppressed minorities and encourage the Turkish authorities to continue their xenophobic and discriminatory policies.

Armenian Youth Federation of South America

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