It was a solemn sports weekend in Istanbul on Sunday, with two memorial runs ahead of the anniversaries of two tragic events. On the city’s Asian side, people ran in memory of the victims of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. On the European side, runners honored the victims of the Srebrenitsa genocide in 1995.
In the Çengelköy neighborhood of Üsküdar, people gathered in front of a fountain built in memory of the victims of the 2016 putsch bid. Çengelköy was one of the places with strong public resistance against the putschists on the night of July 15, 2016, where locals, including the mukhtar of the neighborhood, were gunned down by putschist soldiers when they stood up against them. In memory of the 251 victims of the coup attempt, 251 people donned T-shirts bearing the names of each for the run on a route of 3 kilometers (1.86 miles). The run ended at a monument for the martyrs of the resistance against the putschists. There, runners delivered a Turkish flag they carried to the sister and daughter of two victims of the coup attempt.
The race was organized by the July 15 Association, in cooperation with the governorate, Üsküdar Municipality, the local Directorate of Youth and Sports and several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
In Bakırköy on the European side, the second edition of the International Srebrenitsa Bosnian Genocide Memorial Run was held by the Bosna Sancak Association and Bakırköy Municipality. Participants ran along an 8,372-meter course, symbolizing the 8,372 victims of the genocide. Along with locals, Bosnian runners also attended the memorial run.
Kada Hotic, a survivor of the genocide who serves as deputy chair of the Mothers of Srebrenica and Zepa Association, was among those watching the run. “Unfortunately, we were never given the opportunity to explain the genocide we suffered from in front of the international judicial system. But we never remained silent. We are thankful to everyone who supports us, who understands us. Being here at this event, which also represents the March of Peace, is very emotional,” she said. She was referring to an annual walk held every year in Bosnia-Herzegovina in memory of the victims of the genocide.