Billboard on Armenian Genocide taken down
A controversial billboard in Boston’s North End that appeared to dismiss the Armenian genocide was removed Thursday.
“The ad was placed there in error,” said Jason King, a spokesman for Clear Channel Outdoor, which owns the billboard.
The company did not immediately respond to a request from the Globe for more information about its decision to remove the billboard.
That billboard, at Salem and Cross streets, had shown three hands: one making a peace sign with the Turkish flag on it, surrounded by two other hands with crossed fingers bearing the Armenian and Russian flags. The slogan “Truth = Peace” ran across the top.
The billboard is near Armenian Heritage Park, and the content that existed before being removed Thursday infuriated members of the Armenian community in Greater Boston, including Lori Yogurtian, founder of the Armenian Students Association at Suffolk University.
“It’s completely one-sided, completely perpetuating denial of something that has time and time again been proven as a fact,’’ she told the Globe on Wednesday.
According to the United Human Rights Council, an Armenian group, the Armenian Genocide occurred from 1915 to 1918, when 2 million Armenians were forced from their homes in Turkey. During that time, hundreds of thousands were massacred by Turkish militants or perished while emigrating from the country.
The billboard had said it was “proudly paid for by the Turkic Platform, Istanbul,” and listed the URL for a website called Fact Check Armenia, which alleges events of the period did not constitute genocide and says millions of Kurds, Turks, and Arabs also lost their lives at the time.
Fact Check Armenia did not return an e-mail seeking comment Wednesday night.
In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League sided with Armenian community leaders who objected to the content of the billboard. “This billboard denying the Armenian Genocide is no different and just as offensive as one denying the Holocaust,” Robert O. Trestan, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement.
James Kalustian, president of the Armenian Heritage Foundation, said he was outraged by the billboard.
“That some company would take funds from any organization and put that billboard outside of Armenian Heritage Park, which is a somewhat solemn location, is absolutely reprehensible,” Kalustian said.
On Sunday, the park will serve as the finish line for the city’s Third Annual Walk Against Genocide, which will honor victims of mass killings throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. It will also be the site of an April 24 ceremony marking the anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, Kalustian said.
Steve Annear of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com.