Alan Fabbri, Mayor of Ferrara, a city in northern Italy, near Bologna, rejected complaints by Turkish ambassador, Murat Salim Esenli, over an event about the Armenian Genocide held on April 24 with the participation of Armenian-Italian writer Antonia Arslan.
At the commemoration held in Ferrara’s Abbado Theater, Ms. Arslan discussed the Genocide in conversation with Moni Ovadia, director of the Teatro Comunale di Ferrara Foundation—which actively sought to organize the event—and Vittorio Robiati Bendaud, writer and coordinator of the Rabbinical Tribunal of Center-North Italy.
Mayor Fabbri told Mr. Esenli that his letter was “an offense to the values of Ferrara, which has always fought for freedom and democracy,” and categorically rejected the Turkish ambassador’s request to “reconsider his stance” on the Genocide. “We are always against every type of denialism.”
The theater, Mayor Fabbri wrote, “is the temple of freedom,” which could not subjected to the interference by “the ‘diplomacy’ of a third country that certainly does not stand out because of its democracy.” He adds: “We cannot permit memory to be offended.”
On this opportunity, Mayor Fabbri said that the city of Ferrara would bestow honorary citizenship on Ms. Aslan and Taner Akçam, a Turkish historian who has written extensively about Turkey’s planning and execution of the Genocide.