The mayor of Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality has invited all Armenians and other non-Muslim peoples whose ancestors were born in the southeastern province before being forced to flee during the 1915 events to return to the city, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
“An Armenian, an Assyrian and a Chaldean, whose grandfathers or great-grandfathers were born in Diyarbakır, have the same right to live in Diyarbakır as I have, [speaking] as a Kurdish person who was born in Diyarbakır. I would like to invite all the ethnic groups whose ancestors lived in Diyarbakır back to Diyarbakır again. Come back to your city,” Osman Baydemir told Turkish and Armenian journalists on Sept. 25 on the sidelines of a roundtable conference called “Expanding the Scope of Dialogue: Media and Armenia-Turkey Relations at the Current Stage” that was organized by the Yerevan Press Club in Diyarbakır.
Kurds, Armenians, Chaldeans, Yezidis and all the ethnic groups that once lived in Diyarbakır took part in the construction of Diyarbakır’s city walls, Baydemir said. “So all of these people have a right to this city.”
“Denying the crimes that were committed by some of our grandfathers would be the same as becoming a part of [those crimes]. We first have to accept the sufferings of the people in order to be able to heal the wounds,” the mayor said.
Baydemir said one of his biggest dreams was to construct a common monument in memory of all of those who were lost in the region, including Armenians, Turks, Kurds, Assyrians and Chaldeans up until the 1930s.
“I would like to visit this monument with Turks, Armenians and Kurds all together and cry for our lost ones all together. Turks, Kurds, Persians, Arabs – we all have to succeed in negotiation and dialogue in order to be able to live with each other.”