Alot of the people in this thread are projecting their world view on these people. What if they learned they were of a different ancestry, they would want to embrace this and they are assuming this is the same for the Hemshins. But Turkey is only like the Westernized countries most of the Armenian diasporans posting here live in only on the surface. So you can not assume because you would be interested in investigating and affirming your hidden ancestry that it is the same for people in Turkey.
Personally I am Greek and I discovered a site about the muslim Greek Pontians written by muslim Pontians called Sumela.
(The site is dead so I have linked to an archive version.) Do I assume that this means most of these people are dying to be called Greek Pontians to invite repression because of this one site and what these people are saying in the relative freedom of the internet? There have been articles in the Greek press about these muslim Pontians, some of them have declared themselves Greek and moved to Greece. But when they do this they are not accepted in Turkish society any longer and this publicizes them and the Turkish authorities know them now, and they are not really accepted in Greek society because they are muslim and "Turks". So they are misfits. But there is a difference between these muslims of Turkey the Hemshin and the muslim Pontians, can these Hemshin realistically declare themselves Armenians and expect to immigrate to Armenia and find a job when the Armenian economy is even worse than the Turkish?
Why would they want to be called Armenian? To not be accepted by both Turkish and Armenian society? Remember they live in Turkey, being considered Armenian will endear them with the Armenian diaspora like the posters on this board and gain them friends in Armenia, but will this save them from the repression of Turkish authorities? Turkey is the kind of a country where if the Greek government tried to protect these muslim Pontians and their culture this would just cause a nationalist Turkish backlash of the Turkish population and repression on the part of the Turkish state. If Armenia tried to become the protector of the Hemshin it would be equally counterproductive and Armenia has a much weaker position as it has a weaker military. Remember the Lausanne treaty
and the interventions to protect Christians under Turkish misrule have only made the Turkish population to hate Christians more and repress the Christians under their rule more. A Westerner may think that these Christians should be treated better anyway, so why are the Turks getting offended about what they are perceiving as foreign interference when these new supposedly improved Kemalists are suppossed to be anti-Sharia(Sharia which implies muslim domination and non-muslims are relegated as conquered inferiors). But what someone living in countries where the values of the Enlightenment and Renaissance have penetrated perceives is different what a muslim Turk will perceive. So you cannot take your perceptions and assume that they are dying to be called Armenian. For the muslim Pontians to be considered Greek could pose an advantage economically since the Greek economy is stronger than the Turkish, but even this is not enough incentive to risk repression only to not really be well accepted in Greek society and earn enimity from Turkish society for declaring to be non-Turkish.
Are you people who are saying you have met Hemshin, have you met them in their native villages or outside of Turkey. Is the person saying he meet a Kurd dying to be recognized as a Kurd, did he meet this Kurd outside of Turkey or outside of the Southeast or did he meet him in the Southeast of Turkey full with all the village guards, brutal Turkish police, informers, counter-guerillas, etc.? Because a Kurd in Istanbul has more freedom than a Kurd in the Southeast and a Kurd in Germany has much more freedom than both.
Edited by Nikephoros_Phokas, 12 September 2003 - 02:30 PM.