AGHJAYAN DELIVERS TALK ON 'HIDDEN ARMENIANS' IN ANKARA (FULL TEXT)
By George Aghjayan // January 18, 2014
On Jan. 18, writer and activist George Aghjayan delivered a talk in
Ankara on Turkey's "hidden Armenians." He was speaking during a panel
discussion held in memory of Hrant Dink. Below is the full text of
The first time I traveled to Turkey was in 1996. I spent three weeks
covering the length and breadth of the country, from Istanbul to Van,
from Erzurum to Musa Dagh. The land had been calling me for some time,
yet the trip was extremely difficult emotionally and physically. Even
though I had left many things undone, it took 15 years before I could
even begin to put behind the emotional scars from that trip.
It was the re-consecration of the Surp Giragos Church [in
Diyarbakir/Dikranagerd] and the conference on the social and economic
history of the Diyarbakir province organized by the Hrant Dink
Foundation that brought me back in 2011. I found a much different
reality in Turkey and have now returned 4 additional times since 2011.
I am profoundly thankful to the organizers of this event for providing
me yet another opportunity to be here and to reflect on the cruel
murder of Hrant Dink.
Hrant observed, "When we talk of 1915, we should not just speak
of those who perished, but also of the experiences of those who
survived." Over the almost 20 years now that I have been traveling
to Turkey, I have met many Armenians, and I would like to share a
few of their stories.
I think of my first trip to Keserig where we met a very old Armenian
woman. My uncle, whose family was from Keserig, was asking if she
recognized our family name. As the conversation progressed and the
crowd around us grew, I remember a man getting very angry with us
and screaming, "Why do you ask about the Armenians?" I distinctly
remember another man shouting him down, telling him to go away, and
kindly offering to show us where the church and other significant
places had been. It occurred to me that, quite reasonably, the first
of these men represented the descendants of those who committed the
genocide. If not literally, surely in spirit, those who deny the
genocide and reveal their racism today are linked to the criminals of
the past. The second man, in turn, represented those whose humanity
demanded that they rescue Armenians.
I think of the visit to my grandmother's village of Uzunova where one
of the leading men revealed that both his grandmothers were Armenian.
My own grandmother was a young girl when she was taken as a slave to
a Muslim family. Her father murdered, her mother and two sisters sent
on the death march never to be seen or heard from again, she survived
six years in servitude before her sole surviving sister rescued her.
When I met this man, I felt the bond of two sons of the village-his
grandmothers were taken and never escaped, while mine was rescued. We
were two sides of the same coin.
I think of our wonderful friend Armen who has bravely embraced his
Armenian and Christian heritage, and his brothers who have remained
Muslim. They open their home time and time again to Armenians visiting
their village, and share their knowledge of the history of the region.
This family, like so many others, has seen the crimes against both
Armenians and Kurds...crimes of hate and racism.
I think of Asiya from Chungush, about whom my friend, Chris Bohjalian,
so eloquently wrote in theWashington Post. On one visit to Chungush,
as we were about to drive away, her son-in-law tapped on the window
of our van. Upon rolling down the window, he indicated that his
mother-in-law was Armenian. Not knowing exactly who or why this man
had approached us, we began to drive away. He stopped us again by
banging on the window, this time with greater anxiety. As the window
was being rolled down, he thrust his phone to my friend Khatchig
Mouradian, and on the phone was a video of Asiya telling the names
of her Armenian relatives. We would meet Asiya that day.
I think of entering a village near Moks, where I knew Armenian were
still living in the recent past. On the main road to the village, we
stopped a man who was walking by and asked if he knew of any Armenians
living there. He said there was an elderly Armenian woman who was very
sick and homebound. He indicated this woman's son was working in the
field just up ahead of us. So we drove on and eventually came upon a
man working in the field. However, when we inquired about his mother,
he indicated she was too ill to talk to anyone and was not Armenian
in any case. His explanation for the confusion was that the other
man had something against him and that is why he had claimed that
his elderly mother was Armenian.
So, you see, those who descend from the remaining Armenians deal
with their heritage in very different ways. The reception they have
received from the Armenian community and their Muslim neighbors has
been equally varied.
I recall the genocide survivor memoir titled, In the Shadow of the
Fortress. It is a fascinating account from the village of Hussenig of
what it was like for those who survived the genocide in hiding. The
author recounts how after each round of deportation, there would be a
period of calm followed by pronouncements that it was now safe for the
Armenians to come out of hiding. After a period of time, the Armenians
who naively believed such promises would be rounded up and marched
off. This happened time and time again. Similarly, many of those who
hide their identity today have survived over the decades by remaining
silent, by not believing that the climate had in fact changed.
Throughout the years, they have learned that those who believe in
change and reveal themselves ultimately suffer persecution.
The Islamized Armenians must be welcomed back to their Armenian
heritage. Not as second-class citizens, and definitely not to
experience a new kind of discrimination. Every single Islamized
Armenian is a precious miracle of the survival of identity and is the
key to the return of the Armenian presence to these lands. Armenian
culture and heritage was born of this land, and after a thousand years
of assimilation and purposeful destruction, we demand the right of
Today, there is a window of opportunity that has opened a crack. It is
our challenge-those of us here today and others who are like-minded-to
open the window wider, and permanently. If we fail, we may never have
another opportunity. That is what the criminals are counting on.
Kurdified - Turkified Armenians
Posted 21 January 2014 - 12:21 PM
AGHJAYAN DELIVERS TALK ON 'HIDDEN ARMENIANS' IN ANKARA (FULL TEXT)
Posted 22 April 2014 - 10:44 AM
French journalists launch TV project on Turkey's Islamized Armenians - Video
April 19, 2014 | 03:29
French freelance journalists Anna Benjamin and Guillaume Clere have
been working already for eight months on a documentary film titled
Turkey: Heritage of Silence, Islamized Armenians.
The film will tell the stories of Turkey's citizens who find out about
their Armenian roots, Nouvelles d'Arménie reported.
According to Benjamin and Clere, `it's difficult to speak about this
topic,' tell the forgotten story of the Armenian Genocide survivors,
and present the events that occurred in 1915.
The documentary will officially be presented in April 2015, and it
will be interactive, as audience participation will be required.
All Armenians across the globe will be able to post announcements to
find their relatives who have scattered around the world as a result
of the genocide.
`We aim to present this Internet platform in English, Armenian, and
Turkish,' the film's co-producers stated.
Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:39 AM
Below we read that the Ministry of Diaspora has held a session with Islamized Armenians, inviting them to COME HOME ԱՐԻ ՏՈՒՆ.
DEAR MS HRANOUSH, HOW ABOUT YOU RE-INVITE THOSE 2 MILLION THAT HAVE ABANDONED SHIP AND EMIGRATED SINCE THE ADVENT OF THE SO CALLED INDPENENDENCE.
HOW ABOUT THOSE RATS ABANDONING SHIP?
WHO REPLACES THOSE RATS WHO ABANDON SHIP AND SEARCH GREENER PASTURES IN OTHER SHORES?
Իսլամացած Հայեր Արի Տուն Ծրագրի Մասնակից
08/05/2014Posted in: Հայաստան, Սփիւռք
Արի տուն ծրագրի 6-րդ փուլի բացման մասնակցած է 182 սփիւռքահայ` 15 երկրներէ, անոնց շարքին կան նաեւ պատմական Տիգրանակերտէն ժամանած իսլամացած հայեր: Այս մասին կը յայտնէ yerkirmedia-ն։
Խումբի ղեկավար Գաֆուր Թուրքայ` Օհաննէս Օհանեան, ըսած է, որ Ցեղասպանութենէն մազապուրծ եղած եւ աշխարհով մէկ տարածուած հայերու մէջ ամենադժուարը իրենց` Արեւմտեան Հայաստանի մէջ մնացածներու համար էր, անոնք իրենց հողի վրայ կորսնցուցած են անունը, ազգանունն ու կրօնը: Թուրքայ նշած է, որ Տիգրանակերտի մէջ արմատներուն վերադառնալու մեծ շարժում սկսած է: Ինքը եւս վերջերս վերադարձած է քրիստոնէական արմատներուն` վերագտնելով իր հայկական` Օհանեան ազգանունը: Տիարպեքիրի հայերը Արի տուն ծրագրին մասնակցելու հնարաւորութիւնը ստացած են գանատահայ ճարտարագէտ, բարերար Ռաֆֆի Պետրոսեանի աջակցութեամբ:
Edited by Arpa, 05 August 2014 - 09:45 AM.
Posted 09 August 2014 - 12:45 PM
Poetic Justice: Diyarbakir Armenians Baptized at Etchmiadzin
By Raffi Bedrosyan on August 8, 2014
Special for the Armenian Weekly
The homecoming trip of the (no more) hidden Armenians from Diyarbakir to Armenia finally began this week, after months of planning, preparation, resolving issues, and seemingly endless three-way long distance discussions from Diyarbakir to Yerevan and Toronto.
One moment they burst into dancing in the streets as soon as they hear a playful tune, and the next moment they cry uncontrollably at a scene which may mean nothing to passersby but has reminded them of something, someone – all the way back to 1915.
And now, the “new” Armenians of Diyarbakir are strolling in the streets and museums of Yerevan, tiptoeing into the various churches scattered all over Armenia. Emotions are near the surface… One moment they burst into dancing in the streets as soon as they hear a playful tune, and the next moment they cry uncontrollably at a scene which may mean nothing to passersby but has reminded them of something, someone – all the way back to 1915.
Yerevan is full of Armenian kids from all over the world as part of the “Ari Dun” program at the invitation of the Ministry of Diaspora, which has also helped organize our itinerary. Government officials arranged to meet the Diyarbakir group on our first day, along with hundreds of the Diaspora kids. The Diyarbakir group was extremely anxious about how they will be greeted. The Armenian officials were equally curious about these Turkish/Kurdish speaking individual— ranging in age from 18 to 83—mostly middle-aged, and representing all socio-economic and education levels. Among them are teachers, students, doctors, housewives, and retired individuals. Some of them are sophisticated urban dwellers; others are going abroad for the first time.
I am acting as the translator (from Armenian to Turkish and back), but my task needs to be more than just to relay statements and messages. On the one hand, I have to be able to convey, from Turkish to Armenian, the incredible desire and courage of these individuals in becoming new Armenians; and on the other hand, I have to be able to convey, from Armenian to Turkish, the honest sincerity of welcome of the government officials. But I am happy to report that by the end of the meeting, the previously anxious Diyarbakir Armenians and the previously serious-looking government officials were dancing the Diyarbakir “halay” together to Armenian music, while the kids from the Diaspora, Russia, the U.S., France, Iran, and elsewhere, watched these grown-up kids in amazement. A government official says his parents are from Mush, another one says from Sasun, then one of the Diyarbakir Armenians screams “My father is from Sasun, too,” and the common stories from Sasun pour forth. They don’t need my translation anymore, they have already started comparing Sasun village names and hugging one another…
I had been a bit apprehensive when the Diaspora Ministry representatives told me they had planned two hours of Armenian language lessons each day as part of the itinerary, thinking that our group would be more interested in sightseeing. To my surprise, they all burst into enthusiastic applause and were deeply grateful for the lessons.
When we visited the Madenataran with its manuscript treasures and the village of Oshagan where Mesrob Mashdots, the creator of the Armenian alphabet, is buried, they understood better the mystery of the strange letters that they saw for the first time in their lives just two years ago.
As I reported in previous articles, almost all of the group members have some degree of “Armenianness” in their family, some from one parent, some from both. They have mostly decided to come out as Armenians, but not as Christians—yet. Two of them have already been baptized in Diyarbakir’s Sourp Giragos Church, changing names, identity and religion. Gafur Turkay has become Ohannes Ohanian, his wife Nurcan has become Knar, proudly wearing not one but all three cross necklaces given to her as presents after her baptism. One of the teachers in the group is determined to be baptized at Etchmiadzin. The risks he is taking are enormous. He is a primary school teacher in a government school. He may lose his job, friends’ circle, or worse; but his mind is made up. In addition, if he is baptized in Etchmiadzin instead of back home at Sourp Giragos, he will gain bragging rights over Gafur/Ohannes as being a more complete Christian Armenian… I have arranged for the ceremony beforehand with Bishop Pakrad Galstanian of Etchmiadzin, formerly the Canadian Diocese Primate.
We also have a lady who has spent many sleepless nights trying to decide whether she should also get baptized. Her dilemma is even more dangerous. She feels she has an obligation to her long-suffering late father, a hidden Armenian, who had encouraged her to become a Christian Armenian before he passed away. But her devoutly Moslem Kurdish husband has forbidden her from taking this step. The night before our trip to Etchmiadzin, she tells me she will not be able to go ahead with the baptism.
In the morning, we are off to Sardarabad, visiting the Victory Museum, understanding the significance and consequences of the 1918 events. As we approach Etchmiadzin, the lady with the dilemma walks from the back of the bus to where I am sitting, and tells me her final decision: “My father suffered a lot. I know he is still suffering even though he is dead. I need to do this to end his suffering. If I will suffer as a result of this, I am prepared for it.”
“My father suffered a lot. I know he is still suffering even though he is dead. I need to do this to end his suffering. If I will suffer as a result of this, I am prepared for it.”
So we end up witnessing a double baptism ceremony at Sourp Asdvadzadzin Church in Etchmiadzin for the “new” Stepan who took his Armenian grandfather’s name, and for the new “Anjel” who took her Armenian grandmother’s name. I am certain this was the first time in Etchmiadzin, or all of Armenia, where the Armenian baptism ceremony was carried out in Armenian along with the Turkish translation word-for-word. At the end, Pakrad Srpazan concluded with the statement: “To become a Christian, one needs to be brave, to become both an Armenian and a Christian, one needs to be doubly brave.” Everyone had tears in their eyes, including PakradSrpazan.
Isn’t it ironic that these individuals chose to become Armenian on the same day when Turkish Prime Minister and presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on national TV: “They [opposition] said I was of Georgian origin. Even uglier, they accused me of being an Armenian, sorry to say” ?
And isn’t it doubly ironic that if Erdogan does become President, the presidential mansion that he will reside in was once owned by an Armenian family known as the Kasapyan family?
Our reporting of the journey through Armenia toward a new life for the (no more) hidden Armenians will continue.
To read Bedrosyan’s previous article, click here.
Posted 29 August 2014 - 10:44 AM
What's Next for the 'Hidden Armenians' of Diyarbakir/Dikranagerd?
By Raffi Bedrosyan on August 28, 2014
The historic first trip to Armenia of Diyarbakir's "hidden Armenians"
is coming to an end and it is time for us to assess its impact,
consequences, and next steps.
At the end of the first week, we organized a "Dikranagerd Night" at a
beautiful location called the HyeLandz Eco Village in the village of
Keghatir. We invited government officials, academicians, and
researchers following our group, as well as some of the new-found
relatives of the hidden Armenians, whose ancestors had managed to
escape to Armenia after 1915. This reunion between the Islamicized
Armenians of Diyarbakir and their Christian-Armenian relatives was a
special one. Needless to say, the dancing and singing kept the whole
village awake until the early hours of the morning. During the last
few days, the group visited Lake Sevan and there--whether Muslim or
Christian--they all reinforced their "Armenianness" by dipping into the
holy waters, some just their toes, some their entire bodies... Then they
were off to a government camping facility in Dzaghgatsor for a few
days, where they had a chance to rest after a whirlwind tour of
Armenia, and learn more of the Armenian language, songs, and dances.
They all enjoyed the camp, except for the morning gym classes and the
"beds from the Stalin era."
Scenes from the trip
On this drive back home to Diyarbakir to resume their lives, perhaps a
bit apprehensive about their emerging new identities, I would like to
share some of the life stories of these no-more-hidden Armenians.
There is enough material for a book or movie for each of the 50
members of the group. Through interviews by the media or Ministry of
Diaspora officials, the Armenians of Armenia have started to find out
about them. The most interesting responses have been to the question,
"When did you realize you had Armenian roots?" Some of them found out
they were Armenian when they were already adults, at the deathbed of
their parents or grandparents. Some discovered when they were in
compulsory military service in the Turkish Army, when their commanders
told them they couldn't be trusted because of their "background." Some
found out when they were little, when other kids shouted "Armenian" to
them in the street or at school; they knew it was a swear word,
without knowing its meaning. As they rushed home crying, their parents
had to explain that Armenian is not a swear word, but their identity.
Some hidden Armenians tried hard to appear as devout Muslims; one even
became an imam, a Muslim religious leader, while keeping his identity
hidden. However, most hidden Armenians tried to ensure that their
children married into other hidden Armenian families. Even the imam
gave his daughter to another Islamicized Armenian boy, raising
questions among his Muslim followers. No matter how much these people
tried to hide their Armenian roots, however, it seems that their
neighbors or government officials knew about their origins. During
disagreements with shopkeepers, businesses, neighboring women or kids
at school, the insult of "gavur" (infidel) or "devil-rooted Armenian"
easily came out, no matter how devout they appeared to be.
"...we will keep on expanding our efforts in Diyarbakir and in other
regions of Turkey, pushing the envelope on rules and regulations in
order to facilitate the 'coming out' of our hidden Armenian brothers
and sisters--the grandchildren of the 'living' victims of the
One tragicomic story involves three Muslim-Kurdish boys about 8-9
years old; one of them was from a hidden Armenian family, but unaware
of his roots at the time. They stole some of those famous Diyarbakir
watermelons from the orchard of a hidden Armenian Islamicized man. The
man caught the three little thieves, but let the two real
Muslim-Kurdish boys go and gave a good beating to the hidden Armenian
boy. I leave it to the psychologists to ponder the reasons for this
man's actions. Years later, this hidden Armenian boy found out about
his real identity, and still thinks about this incident.
The participants in the trip visit Garni.
Another interesting fact that emerged from the interviews is the
special place Yerevan Radio has in all Kurdish families' lives,
including our hidden Armenians group. As the Kurdish language was
banned--and even possessing a Kurdish music tape was a punishable crime
in Turkey for several decades--all Kurds tuned in to Yerevan Radio,
which broadcast Kurdish news and music for a couple of hours each day.
The members of our group all remembered how, when they were growing
up, everyone would stop work at their homes or at shops to gather
around the radio and hear Yerevan Radio's Kurdish news.
I am confident that the groundbreaking nature of this historic first
trip will open the road for other hidden Armenians to follow, but I
would like to report on three additional successful outcomes resulting
from this trip.
Firstly, two university graduates in our group who wanted to further
their graduate studies in Armenia will be able to fulfill their
dreams. Through an agreement with Armenian government officials, they
will attend Armenian universities with free tuition, mastering the
Armenian language during the first year and continuing on in their
desired field of study.
Secondly, some members of the group inquired about obtaining Armenian
citizenship, perhaps with future plans of retiring in Armenia. As per
the existing citizenship requirements, the Armenian government demands
documents and proof of Armenian ethnic origin; of course, no such
documents exist among our hidden Armenians, except the memories passed
on from their parents and grandparents. In discussions with government
officials, I proposed the possibility of a baptism document as proof
of Armenian origin. I suggested that if a hidden Armenian "comes out"
and gets baptized in Armenia--similar to our two members who got
baptized in Etchmiadzin (see previous article)--then this should be
sufficient proof to apply for Armenian citizenship. The proposal was
received favorably and will now be discussed in Cabinet, hopefully
leading to approval by the government.
Thirdly, learning the Armenian language, history, and culture is
essential to re-discovering Armenian roots. The Virtual University run
by the AGBU in Yerevan is offering online courses in these subjects.
The administrators have agreed to offer these courses for free to all
applicants from Turkey. This will have a huge impact on the hidden
Armenians of Turkey, wherever they are--in Dersim, Van, Mush, or
Diyarbakir--as they can start learning on their own, and in their own
homes, even in the absence of organized language courses.
The participants in the trip attend Armenian language and history classes.
Although this trip was the start of a new reality within the Armenian
world, and was received with great enthusiasm by both government
officials and the public in Armenia, I must admit that not everyone is
on board. There are still quite a few Armenians who disapprove of the
time and effort in bringing out the hidden Armenians. Perhaps it is
untimely to air our dirty laundry, but I believe the arguments put
forth by these disapproving Armenians must be discussed, as some of
these people hold important posts within the Armenian Church and in
political organizations in the diaspora and in Istanbul. These
disapprovers argue that Muslim Armenians are not really Armenian until
they convert to Christianity by getting baptized. But then, they argue
that they cannot get baptized unless they show proof or documentation
of their Armenian origins, until they speak fluent Armenian and "pass
tests of being a good Armenian." I believe it is shortsighted and
unrealistic to have such requirements for hidden Armenians living in
Van or Dersim, who are surrounded by Muslim Turks and Kurds, working
in government jobs. The other argument I find incomprehensible is that
the emergence of hidden Armenians in large numbers undermine the
veracity of the 1915 genocide, and that it is tantamount to
strengthening the Turkish case for denial. I have even received
comments that Turks will now use the hidden Armenians as proof that
the genocide never happened. I should stick to engineering or music,
they say, instead of getting involved in these issues. These comments
can be dismissed, were it not for the fact that they come from
individuals in undeservedly responsible positions in the diaspora and
Regardless, we will keep on expanding our efforts in Diyarbakir and in
other regions of Turkey, pushing the envelope on rules and regulations
in order to facilitate the "coming out" of our hidden Armenian
brothers and sisters--the grandchildren of the "living" victims of the
genocide. There is a Turkish term for these hapless survivors: kilic
artigi, meaning "remnants of the sword." The attempted murder of a
nation and the total confiscation of its wealth took place within
Turkey, and as we approach the Centennial, we must realize that its
resolution will also take place within Turkey. No matter how many
events we organize in the Armenian Diaspora or in Armenia, no matter
how many third-country parliaments and politicians appear to
sympathize with our cause, at the end of the day, the only change will
come from within Turkey when the peoples of Turkey realize the truth
about 1915 and force their government to stop the denial and deal with
the consequences. One of the key components toward this goal will be
to re-create an Armenian presence within Turkey. The continuing
dialogue between Armenian and Turkish civil societies and opinion
makers, combined with the emergence of hidden Armenians within Turkey,
are essential toward eliminating both past and present barriers.
I will conclude this series of articles with a tribute to the courage
and determination of our hidden Armenians, and a few questions for
readers to ponder: How will they be received back in Turkey? How will
their families, neighbors, employers, and employees react to their new
identity? Just consider Stepan's case, the newly baptized man who
works as a teacher at a government school. All of his students are
Muslim. He told me he knows there are several kids in his class who
come from hidden Armenian Islamicized families, but he doesn't know if
the kids know about their roots. How will the Muslim kids (or their
parents) react to him coming out? How will the hidden Armenian kids
(or their parents) react? How will his own kids react?
We are in uncharted waters, but sooner or later, truth and justice will prevail.
Posted 01 September 2014 - 09:46 AM
«Ակօս» թերթի հայերէն յաւելուածի խմբագիրներէն Բագրատ Էսդուգեան Օգոստոսի սկիզբը Տերսիմի Մնձուրի փառատօնի օրերուն այցելած է նաեւ Տերսիմի Շորտա գիւղը, ուր ան յայտնաբերած է, թէ գիւղի բնակչութիւնը ամբողջութեամբ հայերէ կը բաղկանայ:
Էսդուքեան կը գրէ.
«Սակայն այդ բոլորին մէջ արտակարգօրէն ցայտուն եւ եզակի դարձաւ Մազկերտի հայկական Շորտա գիւղի խրախճանքը, ուր ծանօթացանք գիւղի բնակիչներուն հետ եւ պարզուեցաւ, թէ ամբողջ գիւղը հայերէ կը բաղկանայ. մէկ մասը հպարտութեամբ կը յայտնէ այդ պատկանելիութիւնը, իսկ մէկ մասն ալ կը գոհանայ «հայրս հայ է» կամ «պապս հայ է» ըսելով:
Գիւղի հրապարակին վրայ ամբողջ ժողովուրդը շուրջպար էր բռնած, իսկ գիւղի կանայք խորոված միսով ու սիսեռով պատրաստուած Տերսիմի խոհանոցին յատուկ ճաշեր կը սպասարկէին ներկաներուն: Ահա այդ թոհուբոհին մէջ յանկարծ պարզուեցաւ հսկայ «աֆիշ» մը, որուն վրայ պատկերուած էին նախորդ տարուան Մայիսին «Կեզի» զբօսայգիի ցոյցերուն ժամանակ երկրի տարբեր քաղաքներուն մէջ զոհուած երիտասարդներու դիմանկարները, որոնք եւս ծափողջոյններով դիմաւորուեցան բոլորին կողմէ:
Ինչպէս ամէն ուրախութիւն, ժամերը յառաջացան ու Շորտա գիւղի խրախճանքն ալ հասաւ իր աւարտին: Ետ դարձի պահը հասած էր, երբ նկատեցի մեր բարեկամուհիներէն մին, որ նստած կը շաղակրատէր գիւղի կանանց հետ: Զգուշացուցի, թէ՝ կ՛երթանք: «Դուք գացէք, ես հոս եմ, հարսիս մօտ կը մնամ», պատասխանեց, բայց զարմանքս նկատելով՝ կողքիս երիտասարդ կինը ցոյց տալով բացատրեց, թէ ան կողակիցն է իր սիրելի մէկ բարեկամին, որ Պելճիքա կը բնակի ու քաղաքական մտավախութիւններով կը խուսափի Թուրքիա գալէ:
Քանի որ հարսեր ալ ունինք այս գիւղէն, ուրեմն կասկած չունիմ, որ Շորտա կը շարունակէ պահել իր հայկական դիմագիծը»:
Posted 25 September 2014 - 01:23 PM
VARDO VARTO VARDAVAR***
Վարդօ Թաքուն Հայերու Պատմութիւն(History of the Hidden Armenians)
*** I have known several Vardavars /Vartivars that we endearingly called them VARDO/VARTO.
The O ending seems to be from Kurdish. We also know many names that endearingly end in O, like Garo, Sako, Maro, Arsho,.Arshaluys, Arshak, Arshavir etc. (I was surprised to know that Arshaluys is also a male name).
Kirmanja zane*** lo?- Do you know Kurdish?
***Ծանօթ ես/Ծանես/Ծանիր զքեզ/Know thyself?****
The Armenian village Varto/Vardo was named as a Diminution of Vardavar, (or was it Vardan?) A Suburb of Mardin. Both Hrant and Rakel Dinks were born there.
Խումբ մը հալէպահայ «խենթ»եր՝ Մայիս 28ի տօնակատարութեանց ներկայ գտնուելու ձգտումով, Արեւմտահայաստանի ընդմէջէն կ՛ուղղուէին դէպի Արեւելահայաստան: Անոնց ինքնաշարժը ցուցարարներու կողմէ կը կասեցուէր: Ովքե՞ր էին այդ տարօրինակ բնաւորութեամբ մարդիկը
A group of crazy Armenians from Aleppo were traveling through Western Armenia to get to Hayastan for the May 28 celebrations. When suddenly their convoy was stopped by strange looking people .Who were those strange looking people?
Your Honour the President of the Court and the Honorable Judges,
My story begins with the Armenian Varto/Vardo tribe which is one of the 1915 leftovers. I was born in 1959 into the Armenian Varto tribe which was in Mardin borders; in Sirnak district now. Today the town is called Yolagzi. (I cannot find it on the map) The name Varto comes from my grand grandfather's name, Vartan (?). The remaining of the tribe migrated to İstanbul in 1978. Until migration, their life in the village, and then in the city was spent by struggling at the courts against the fraud deeds that the landlords of the neighboring villages manufactured. These neighbor villages were built on our lands.
Here we see how one day the teacher suggested that Vardavar be renamed Vardo.
Many people couldnt hold back their tears. The life story of Rakel Dink, (maiden name Yaghbasan), is a remarkable one. She was born in a village in the southeast of Turkey, the daughter of a leader of an Armenian clan, known as the Ermeni Varto clan. Several families of the clan escaped from the genocide in 1915 and settled in the Cudi mountains, in the present-day province of Sirnak. They lived there for twenty five years, isolated from the outside world.
Խումբ մը հալէպահայ «խենթ»եր՝ Մայիս 28ի տօնակատարութեանց ներկայ գտնուելու ձգտումով, Արեւմտահայաստանի ընդմէջէն կ՛ուղղուէին դէպի Արեւելահայաստան: Անոնց ինքնաշարժը ցուցարարներու կողմէ կը կասեցուէր: Ովքե՞ր էին այդ տարօրինակ բնաւորութեամբ մարդիկը
Եղբայրս՝ Վարդավառը, օր մը դպրոցէն տուն եկաւ՝ ըսելով. «Հայերէնի ուսուցչուհին զիս Վարդօ վերանուանեց»: Այդ օր բոլորիս համար ալ զարմանալի թուեցաւ եղբօրս ստացած վերամկրտումը, քանի որ այդ՝ բացի մեծ հօրս քրիստոնէական կարեւորագոյն աւանդութիւններէն եւ
անունը ըլլալէ, նաեւ կը յիշեցնէր մեր հայկական եւ քրիստոնէական կարեւորագոյն աւանդութիւններէն եւ տաղաւարներէն տօներէն մին.
A group of crazies fromAleppo Armenians were traveling towards Western Armenia and on, when suddenly a mob stopped them. They were kurdified hidden Armenians.
***BTW, the VARD in Vardavar is not from the meaning of rose, the flower. It is from WARD= from the Hittite WATAR- WATER.
Եղբայրս՝ Վարդավառը, օր մը դպրոցէն տուն եկաւ՝ ըսելով. «Հայերէնի ուսուցչուհին զիս Վարդօ վերանուանեց»: Այդ օր բոլորիս համար ալ զարմանալի թուեցաւ եղբօրս ստացած վերամկրտումը, քանի որ այդ՝ բացի մեծ հօրս անունը ըլլալէ, նաեւ կը յիշեցնէր մեր հայկական եւ քրիստոնէական կարեւորագոյն աւանդութիւններէն եւ տաղաւարներէն տօներէն մին: Ու պահ մը յիշեցի, թէ ինչպէս նոյն ուսուցչուհին, բարի կամեցողութեամբ, փորձած էր անունս հայացնելով վերածել՝ Մարիանայէն Մարինէի:
«Մարինէ» հայկական անունս, ինքզինք պարտադրեց ուսանողութեանս երկրորդականի շրջանին, սակայն «Վարդօ»ն՝ դժգոհանքիս առընթեր, շարունակեց իր իշխանութիւնը մինչեւ անցեալ Մայիս, երբ դարձաւ իմ հպարտանքիս շարժառիթներէն մին:
Խումբ մը հալէպահայ «խենթ»եր՝ Մայիս 28ի տօնակատարութեանց ներկայ գտնուելու ձգտումով, Արեւմտահայաստանի ընդմէջէն կ՛ուղղուէին դէպի Արեւելահայաստան: Անոնց ինքնաշարժը ցուցարարներու կողմէ կը կասեցուէր: Ովքե՞ր էին այդ տարօրինակ բնաւորութեամբ մարդիկը
Մշոյ դաշտի Վարդօ գիւղի պահանջատէր հայերն էին: Այն գիւղը, որուն մէջ հազարամեակներ առաջ սկիզբ առած էր վարդավառեան տօնակատարութիւնները Աստղիկ դիցուհիի հովանաւորութեամբ, վարդերու տարափով, ուրկէ ստացած էր իր անուանումը ու մինչեւ մեր օրերը պահպանած զայն: Մշոյ դաշտի հիւսիս արեւմտեան շրջանը, Մուշ քաղաքէն 60 քլմ. դէպի հիւսիս, շրջապատուած Պինկէօլեան լեռներով, ջրառատ գիւղ մըն է Վարդօն, տասնմէկ հազար բնակչութեամբ: Երկու մեծ երկրաշարժներու (1946 եւ1966 թուականներուն) թիրախ դարձած, որոնցմէ վերջինին վէրքերը չեն սպիացած տակաւին: 1071 թուականին սելճուքներու արշաւանքով եւ Մանազկերտի ճակատամարտով Վարդօն կ՛անցնի սելճուքներու տիրապետութեան տակ, իսկ 1514ին՝ օսմանեան: Ու բարեկամս շարունակեց պատմել. «Անոնք իրենց հուժկու մարմիններով մեր ինքնաշարժին ընթացքը կասեցնելով՝ կը ջանային բան մը ըսել գանգատ էր, թէ աղերս, չէր հասկցուեր, աւելի ճիշդը այս երկուքին հանրագումարը, որ ահազանգի մը պէս կը հնչէր անոնց ցասկոտ եւ պահանջատէր շրթներէն. «Ժամանակին այստեղ հայեր կ՛ապրէին, այժմ եւս կ՛ապրին»: Տարօրինակ էր անոնց արտաքինն ու խօսակցութիւնը: Գիւղի բնակիչները ամբողջութեամբ հայեր էին: Բազմաթիւ փոքրիկ շրջակայ գաւառներով այս աւանը իր բնակչութեամբ՝ Ցեղասպանութեան ժամանակ առերես իսլամութիւն ընդունած, արտաքուստ թուրք, քիւրտ մուսլուման ներկայացող, բայց իր ազգային կրօնական նկարագիրը գաղտնի շարունակող, ներամփոփ, խառն ամուսնութիւններէ հեռու մնացած մեր արիւնակիցները կը ներկայացնէր: Խուսափելով ձուլումէն, կրցած էին իրենց հայկականութիւնը պահպանել մինչեւ մեր օրերը: Անոնք կը փնտռէին իրենց «եղբայրներ»ը: Տարիներ շարունակ զրկուած իրենց մայրենի լեզուով արտայայտուելու իրաւունքէն՝ պարտադրաբար թուրք կոչուած էին, քանի որ սահմանադրական օրէնքը կ՛ըսէ, թէ Թուրքիոյ տարածքին ապրող քաղաքացիները բոլորն ալ թուրքեր են: Իսկ Արեւմտահայաստանի եւ արեւմտահայութեան հարցերու ուսումնասիրութեան կեդրոն «Ակունք»ը Երեւանէն կը գրէ. «Այսօր Թուրքիոյ մէջ հայը ազգութիւն չէ, այլ խորհրդաւոր թշնամի»:
Ու Նեմրութ լերան շրջակայքը՝ հազարաւոր տարիներէ ի վեր ապրած բնիկ հայեր, իրենց թմբիրէն ելած կը պարզէին իրենց ինքնութիւնը: Զարթօնքի մէջ էին, կը շփէին իրենց քունէն բացուող արտեւանունքները:
Բարեկամիս Հալէպ վերադարձի նոյն օրն իսկ պրպտեցի «Ֆէյսպուք»ը՝ արձակագիր Պետրոս Հաճեանի բառերով՝ «Դիմատետր»ը: Մինչ այդ կ՛այպանէի բոլոր «Ֆէյսպուք» օգտագործողները, այդ օր այդ «բարիք»ին շնորհիւ կրցայ կապի մէջ մտնել խեղճ ու անտէր հայերու հետ, որոնք ոչ միայն Վարդօ գիւղի, այլ Արեւմտահայաստանի տարածքին մեծ մասին ծագումով հայ բնակիչներն էին: Խեղաթիւրուած անուններով, խոր սրտի վիշտով ու կսկիծով մարդիկ, որոնք ծածուկ կը մնան աշխարհի, նոյնիսկ իրենց Սփիւռքի արիւնակիցներու ոչ միայն աչքերէն, այլ նաեւ՝ սիրտերէն: Ո՞վ կրնար գուշակել, թէ Tulin Eroglu-ն կրնար Թալին Էրմէնիօղլու ըլլալ, որ Facebook-ի վրայ թրքերէն լեզուով կը խոստովանի ըսելով. «Լաւ որ երաժշտութիւնը լեզու չունի, թէ ոչ՝ այս հայկական գեղեցկութենէն զրկուած պիտի մնայինք»: Խօսքը Facebook-ի իրենց համար վերապահուած էջի մասին է, որուն անունն է «Վարդօ Էրմէնիլերը»: Կը պարզուի, թէ էջի հեղինակը ծնած է Վարդօ, աւարտած՝ Վարդոյի լիսէն, աշխատած՝ Նիկոլ Գալանտէրեանի անուան բեմարուեստի մանկավարժական համալսարանը, սակայն ներկայիս կ՛ապրի Գերմանիոյ մէջ, իսկ անձնանունը անյայտ կը մնայ մեզի
Ու ասոր նման իրար ետեւէ կը յայտնագործեմ նաեւ՝ Սասուն, Մուշ, Պիթլիս, Արաբկիր, Սեբաստիա, Պինկէօլ, Վան, Աղրըտաղ, Տարօն էրմէնիլերը էջերը: Իւրաքանչիւր «էջ» անուններու եւ պատմութիւններու աշխարհ մըն է, հայու աշխարհ Բոլոր Էրօղլու ազգանուն կրողները ունին հայկական ծագում, որ կը նշանակէ՝ հայորդի: Վարդոյի հայերը իրենց էջին իբրեւ դիմանկար զետեղած են ծեր մամիկ մը՝ ձեռքին զէնք Անոնց ցաւերուն ու հայ ըլլալու տառապանքին, ինչու չէ, յետամնաց գիւղաքաղաքի մը մարդիկը ըլլալուն՝ կարելի է հաղորդակից դառնալ այս միջոցով եւ թերեւս մտածել լուծումներու մասին, անշուշտ հայրենի պետական աջակցութեամբ եւ մակարդակով, ծածուկ կամ բացայայտ: «Անատոլուի Հայեր» էջը կը գրէ թրքերէնով. «Մեր նպատակն է Արեւմտահայաստանի եւ աշխարհի տարբեր մասերը սփռուած հայեր իրարու կապել եւ իրենց անցեալին հասու դարձնել»: Կը մտածեմ, թէ ինչպէս լուցկիի ցպիկը ե՛ւ աւերող, ե՛ւ պիտանի յատկանիշներ ունի, նոյնը կարելի է ըսել նաեւ համացանցին եւ այս հրաշք պատեհութեան՝ «Ֆէյսպուք»ին համար, ուր փոքրիկ սեղմումով մը «like» ընելով կամ «հաւանել»ով, որ իմ հայերէն թարգմանած տարբերակս է, կրնամ ցաւած հայու մը աչքերուն ժպիտ պարգեւել: Իմ երկու բառովս, մխիթարական խօսքովս զգացնել, որ իրենք առանձին չեն: Նախ պէտք է ընդունիլ ու կազդուրել զանոնք խօսքով: Ու հոն՝ այդ «էջ» ըսուածին վրայ ամէն յանցանք եւ թերութիւն բացայայտ է: Իսկ ինչ որ կը հրատարակես՝ բոլորին սեփականութիւնը կը դառնայ, ու իրենց վիշտը կը համակէ քեզ: Այս միջոցով կարելի է ծանօթանալ իրենց ներքին կեանքին: Մշոյ բարբառին՝ աղաւաղուած թրքերէնով կամ ալ քրտերէնով՝ Վարդոյի հայերէնին: Անոնցմէ մաս մը նաեւ կը ճանչցուին իբր «զազա», եւ իրենց լեզուն զազերէնն է: Վերջերս Հայաստանի մէջ տեղի ունեցաւ իրենց նուիրուած գիտաժողով մը, որուն հրաւիրուած էին նաեւ իրենք: Այս համագումարին իրենց մասնակցութիւնը բերած էին մեծ թիւով եւ այնքան շոյուած ու «հայ» զգացած էին:
Մեկնաբանող «commenter» մը Հայաստանէն Facebook-ի վրայ կը հարցնէ. «Ի՞նչ լեզու է»: Տեսանիւթերու ընդմէջէն կը ծանօթանամ անոնց երգ ու բառին, խանձուած դիմագիծերուն, հայկական աչքերուն, ամենակարեւորը՝ հայու տանջուած, բաբախող սիրտին: Անոնք շատ անգամ թուրքերու կողմէ կը շփոթուին քիւրտերու հետ եւ իրենց ճակատումներուն ընթացքին կամ իրենց իրաւունքներու հետապնդման ճամբուն վրայ կը նահատակուին իբր քիւրտ խռովարարներ: Կը պատահի նաեւ հակառակը, երբ թուրքերը կ՛եզրակացնեն, թէ այն ինչ որ խորհրդաւոր է կամ ահաբեկչութեան հետ կապուած՝ ուրեմն հայեր կան անոր ետին կամ ալ ծագումով հայեր են: Կ՛ունկնդրեմ Վարդոյէն՝ Հայկ Եազճեանի «Հանին» սկաւառակը՝ հայահունչ երաժշտութիւն, երեք հազար տարիներու խորքէն հնչող իր պարզ հնչերանգով, հայկական տուտուկի եւ քամանչայի ընկերակցութեամբ:
«Մեր տանիտէր պարտքկոր ընկան լէլէ, լէլէ, լէլէ ջան» կամ՝ «Լորի, լորի, լորի քամին», որուն բառերը կը շարունակուին զազերէնով, որ կ՛ըսէ՝ «Քնացիր մանկիկս հանգիստ քունով, գոնէ գիտեմ, թէ աչքերուս առջեւ ես, մինչեւ գայ «արթննալու» օրդ լորի, լորի, լորի քամին»:
Դարձեալ մէկը՝ ըստ երեւոյթին ինծի պէս նոր ծանօթացած այս մարդոց, այս անգամ Հայաստանէն կը գրէ. «Ի՞նչ լեզու է»: Տեսահոլովակներուն բոլոր դէմքերը արցունքոտ աչքերով, մանկական ցեխոտած դէմքերով, պատռտած հագուստներով, թշուառ մարդիկ են: Աստուա՛ծ իմ, մարդ որքան անխիղճ ըլլալու է, որ իր ականջները կարենայ փակել անոնց աղաղակին ու կոչին
Անոնք՝ կորսնցուցած իրենց մարդկային տարրական իրաւունքները, լեզուն եւ բարեկեցութիւնը, ուրիշի իշխանութեան տակ տակաւին կը շարունակեն գոյատեւել: Ծայրայեղ թշուառութեան մէջ ապրող հայեր: Հարց կու տամ ես ինծի. «Եթէ հոն մնացած ըլլայի, արդեօք ես ալ նոյն վիճակին մէջ չէի՞ ըլլար»:
«Անատոլուի Հայեր» էջին մէջ կը կարդամ թրքերէնով. «Իմացիր, թէ այն, ինչ որ տխուր սիրտով հեռացած ատեն ձգած ես, վերադարձիդ այլեւս չես գտներ»:
Անոնք իրենց հողին վրայ կ՛ուզեն ապրիլ իբրեւ հայ: Այս մարդիկը ամէն ժամանակէ աւելի պէտք ունին մեր կարեկցութեան ու աջակցութեան: Անոնց վրայ իշխող պետութիւնը ներքնապէս քայքայուած է, եւ անոնք երկրորդ եղեռնի մը վախով ու սարսափով կ՛ապրին: Միթէ՞ Արցախը, æաւախքը եւ Սփիւռքը Հայաստանի վիրաւոր հատուածներն ու զաւակներն են, իսկ ասոնք՝ ո՞չ:
Այսօր աւելի շատ հայութիւն ունինք Արեւմտահայաստանի մէջ, քան՝ Հայաստանի Հանրապետութեան մէջ: Անոնք երեք ու կէսէն չորս միլիոն հայութիւն են (ըստ Հայկազուն Ալվրցեան)ի, մեծ մասամբ քրտացած եւ թրքացած, որոնց հսկայ մէկ տոկոսը կ՛ուզէ վերադառնալ իր արմատներուն: Անոնց մեծ մասը գաղտնօրէն պահպանած է իր քրիստոնէական աւանդութիւնները, ամուսնացած՝ իրենց բախտակից ծպտեալ հայերու հետ, արտաքնապէս ներկայանալով իբրեւ թուրք կամ քիւրտ: Իսկ տարբեր փաղանգ մըն ալ թուրքերու եւ քիւրտերու կողմէ մուսուլմանութիւնը բռնութեամբ դաւանած է: Նոյնիսկ անոնց մէկ մասը տեղեակ անգամ չէ, թէ իրենց մեծ հայրերն ու մայրերը բռնի կրօնափոխութեան ենթարկուած են: Սակայն հսկայ մեծամասնութիւնը՝ ամուր գրկած իր գաղտնիքը, կը սպասէ արմատներուն վերադառնալ»։
Արեւմտահայաստանի հողին վրայ ոտք դնելու առանձնաշնորհումին տակաւին չարժանացայ, սակայն օրն ի բուն այդ հողերուն վրայ արեան գնով ապրող, այդ հողերու իսկական տէրերուն, որոնք ամուր կառչեցան իրենց հողին, այդ հայերուն հետ հոգեկան կապի մէջ ըլլալը զօրաւոր ներուժ կը պահանջէ
Վերջերս Ալաշկերտի շրջանէն ծագումով հայեր կը գրեն. «Ի՛նչ Զատիկ, ի՛նչ հատիկ, երբ մենք ուրախ չենք եւ ուրիշի իշխանութեան տակ եւ անոր սպառնալիքներով կ՛ապրինք»: Մշոյ դաշտի Վարդօ գիւղի կամ Մուշի, Տիգրանակերտի, Տարօնի, (եւ կարելի է շարել գրեթէ մեր բոլոր բռնագրաւուած գիւղերու եւ քաղաքներու անունները) մեր արիւնակից քոյրերն ու եղբայրներն են: Կորսնցուցած՝ լեզու, երջանկութիւն, բարօրութիւն, բայց ո՛չ հող, թէեւ ուրիշին կարծուած եւ ուրիշէն խլուած մեր հողը իր իսկական սեփականատէրերուն ոտքերուն, անոնց ոտքերուն տակ է: Ամուր կառչած իրենց հողին՝ դեռ կը սպասեն զիրենք լքած, բայց անգամ մըն ալ ետեւ չդարձած հարազատներուն
Just as the name VARDAN-VARTAN means RED as in Vordan Karmir. The reason why we call him KARMIR VARDAN.
The Armenian village Varto/Vardo was named as a Diminution of Vardavar, (or was it Vardan?) A Suburb of Mardin. Both Hrant and Rakel Dinks were born there.
In fact her name is Rachel, Rahel in Armenian
There is not much to go about the Armenian name Rakel, Rakhel, Rahel .
The nglos pronounce it as reych@l.
(I dont get it., specially the ewe-female sheep ՄԱՔԻ/Maqi part, except in Arabic RAH means WENT and Rouh=GO)
The name "Rachel" is from an unused root meaning: "to journey as a ewe that is a good traveller."
Here is what Hrant/Hrand is.
Why is that planet named Hrat, composed or hoor=fire and at=cut.?
HRANT =From the name of the planet Hrat or Hratn.
ՀՐԱՆՏ =ՀԲ նույնացնում է Հրատ կամ Հրատն մոլորակի անվան հետ: Արևմտահայերի մեջ հանդիպում ենք Հրանդ ձևով, որ խուլ բաղաձայնի ձայնեղացման արդյունք է /Տ -Դ/:
In English Mars is also known as the Red Planet.
Posted 29 September 2014 - 10:13 AM
Recently the media and some researchers have been focusing on the identity issues of the Hamshens, living on the territory of Turkey. Various comments are made without taking into account the historical reality of islamization and turkification policy and ensuing consequences, and there is no clear-cut distinction between the concepts identity and origin as well.
Still in the 18th century the generations of the Hamshen Armenians, who were forced to convert to Islam, today live in ChamliHemshin (formerly called Lower Viche Vizhe), Hamshin (formerly called Hamshen), Pazar (formerly called Atina), Fynldyqly (formerly called Viche Vizhe), Ardashen (formerly called Artashen), Chaylei (formerly called Mavari), Ikizdere (formerly called Kuray-ı Sab) districts of Rize Province in Turkey, the part of which comprises the historical Armenian Hamshen district. In the course of time part of the Hamshens moved to Hopa and Borchka districts of Ardvin province. There are villages of the Hamshens in Erzurum, Sakarya and Düzce provinces as well. One can come across the Hamshens in small and big cities of Turkey. And the part that has preserved Christianity, its national image, due to the resistance, spread over the southeast seaside areas of the Black Sea and later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most of the Hamshen Armenians, having survived the Genocide, settled in the northeast (Russian) seaside areas of the Black Sea, by preserving language, religion and national customs in Armenia.
Assimilation policy of the Ottoman Empire and later that of the Republican Turkey proceeded in several stages, with violent and various systematized methods, as well as through language assimilation. Not content with a religious conversion and understanding the role of ethnic differentiation of the language, the authorities of the Ottoman and the Republican Turkey found very important the turkification of the peoples who were subjected to them, thus, completing their assimilation process. The generations of the Hamshen Armenians, Islamized in this reality, gradually lost important components of the Armenian identity in the Ottoman-Turkish environment, such as the language (except for the Hamshens living in Hopa and Borchka districts and a few villages of Sakarya province) and religion, were cut off from the Armenian culture and were completely assimilated into the Turkish society, preserving only their local ethnographic, as they call it, Hamshen identity.
In general, language is one of the means of ethnic resistance and self-defense, which expresses and maintains national peculiarity and scopes. National identity features and numerous peculiarities typical of the given ethnos are enshrined in the mentality, word-stock and folklore. It is the language that passes a national culture, traditions to generations by playing a role of ethnic differentiation as well. Language and self-consciousness have always been closely related. Language is perhaps one of the most decisive factors of the formation of national self-consciousness and identity.
Ruling circles of the multinational Ottoman Empire and Republican Turkey knew quite well that assimilation of foreigners was quite a complicated process, especially when there was an “ethnic incompatibility” (for more details about the role of the language as a defender of ethnos see Nalchajyan A., Ethnic Psychology, Yerevan, 2001, p. 427-428), as it is called in modern ethno psychology term, between the dominant nation and others. Language could always keep alive the national self-consciousness of the peoples under its subordination. Hence, the policy of foreigner assimilation and destruction, adopted by the Ottoman Empire as well as by the Turkish Republic, was conditioned by the destruction of these circumstances.
As a result of such pressures, Turkish language was reinforced at the expense of the Armenian language among the Hamshens. Though the Hamshen Armenians settled in Turkey initially pretended to accept Islam, unfortunately both time, environment, Turkish consistent policy of assimilation and the atmosphere of fear and various repressions reached their aim. And today, the Armenian identity of some of them is expressed merely through the memory of genetic origin and preservation of some cultural layers.
A German author Hübner M. writes “one cannot possess identity, it comes up automatically, but when it is acquired, still it cannot be considered safe. There is always a need and necessity to protect the identity from the foreigner.” (Hübner M. “La beurette” Vom aus der Vorstaedte ins Herz der französischen Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main, 1996, p. 23).
Assimilation policy of the foreigners in the Republican Turkey is legally stipulated in Article 88 of the first Constitution dated 1924, which was changed into Article 66 in 1982 – “Everyone bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship is a Turk.”
On October 2005 the Turkish government considered and approved the “National Security Document” submitted by the Security Council, which once again emphasizes the fundamental principles of the Republic of Turkey “one state one nation, one flag one language provisions”. The document stipulates the principle of considering every citizen of Turkey “Turk by nationality”.
Though Prime Minster of Turkey R. Erdoğan admits in his announcement, made on November 2005, that there are approximately 30 ethnic groups in the country with “their internal identities”, however, he immediately reminds that they have an “upper identity”, that is, the citizenship of the Republic of Turkey.
Today, in the identity document (Kimlik) of the Christian Armenians living in Turkey, which is used within the borders of the country, the word “Christian” is mentioned in front of the religious affiliation and the word “Turk” in front of the nationality in the passport. The Armenians also have a code numbered 31, which prompts the relevant instances about their national belonging.
Up till now active actions are taken to tangle the identity of the Islamized Hamshens. Misleading scientific books (there are Hamshens among the authors) are published to reject both the Armenian origin of the Hamshens and the Armenian traces left in Hamshen on the whole.
As an interesting fact it should be noted that the Hamshens of Hopa and Borchka districts managed to preserve their Armenian local language – Hamshen dialect in the vast Turkish ocean and still use it in their everyday speech. As our studies show, today the number of the Hamshens in Hopa and Borchka districts is about 25-30,000. However, the young generation is already forgetting or does not use its dialect and mostly focuses on the Turkish. At the same time it should be noted that they don’t know Armenian letters, except for a few intellectuals, who learn Mesrobian letters for the scientific-cognitive purposes. Due to the preservation of the Hamshen dialect, some Hamshens of these districts admit their Armenian origin. Irrespective of the Turkish propaganda, they understand quite well that Turkish is not their spoken language. Generally speaking, Marxist and consequently atheistic ideas are spread all over Hopa and Borchka districts, which, as we think, play a certain psychological self-defensive role in the Islamic-Turkish environment to maintain its own kind and ethnographic description. However, there are Hamshens who either refrain from speaking about their origin or consider themselves Turks or Hamshens (the Homshets) at the best. Some Hamshens living in Hopa underscore that they know about their Armenian origin, know that once they were the part of the Armenians, were the carriers of the Armenian culture, but in the course of time they lost ties and they consider themselves neither Armenian nor Turk, but rather Hamshen. We believe that such perception of the identity is also a model of maintaining their kind in the Turkish reality and adapting to that environment.
Unable to uproot the Armenian language from the Hamshens living in Ardvin province once and for all, the Turkish authorities muddle up and falsify the history of Hamshen, the origin of the Hamshens through official historiography and declare that their Armenian speech is a Turkic dialect.
The turkification took much deeper roots among the Hamshens of Rize Province. The Hamshes of Rize Province have forgotten their mother tongue – Armenian language, and speak Turkish. Though some admit their Armenian origin, they immediately add that they have been already turkified. They are of the opinion that they come from the Turkic tribes. In one of his articles Chamlehemshin journalist and a specialist in the national history Jean Ugur Biryol writes: “Today most Hamshens deny the fact of being Armenian. In fact, local Armenian is expressed through the usage of place names used in this district and names of the objects maintained in the everyday life.” (Biryol C. U., Hemşinliler üzerine, Hemşinliler Ermeni mi?, Radikal, 2005, Haziran 12). Here you can come across those who do not consider themselves Turks but simply they know a Hamshen (Hemşinli), the ancestors of which were Armenians. In a number of districts of Rize the radical Islam keeps on bolstering its position, which has substantially affected the identity of the Hamshens and one can meet fanatic Mohammedans. One can come across those with Marxist ideas and active leftists among them as well. However, Turkish nationalist ideas are rooted in Senoz valley of Çayeli district. A triple-crescent flag of the Turkish nationalists can be seen hanging from the windows of the Hamshens’ houses. Even in their environment the word Armenian (Ermeni) has a negative and offensive meaning. Senoz valley gave birth to the prominent political and military figures, lawyers, doctors and teachers. Ex-prime minister of Turkey Mesut Yilmaz from the Vasap dynasty (it is a corrupted version of the Armenian name Vasak) comes from Khakhonj village (present-day Çataldere) of this district. According to the non-official data the number of the Hamshens living in Rize together with the ones settled in other towns makes about 60 thousand.
Through a famous falsifier M. Sakaoğlu the Turkish historiography declares that the Hamshens haven’t known any other language except Turkish. The Turkish language they speak is a dialect of ancient Oguz or Saka tribes (Sakaoğlu M. Ali, Dünden Bugüne Hemşin. Karadeniz’den Bir Tarih, Yeniyurt Yayınları, Ankara, 1990, s. 53-54). Admitting that the language of the Hamshens living in Hopa is the Armenian dialect, another Turkish falsifier M. Kırzıoğlu ( Kırzıoğlu M. F., I. Selim Cağında Hopa ile Arhavi Köyleri, TFA icinde, yıl 17, cilt 10, no. 201 (Nisan 1966), İstanbul, s. 4104.) suggests concocted theories about the origin of the carriers of the very language. M. Kırzıoğlu’s concoctions, unfortunately, became an integral part of the Hamshens’ identity. Many of them are so far from the Armenian roots, that they consider themselves to be descended either from Oguz, Balkar and Akada tribes, or from Central Asia and Khorasan.
And even if the Hamshens living in Rize know about their Armenian origin (and they do know, because they use numerous everyday Armenian words, place and plant names in their spoken Turkish language), they prefer keeping silence or simply rejecting. So, this is the current state of the Armenian generations, who were forced to convert to Islam in the 18th century and in future.
The policy of islamization must be assessed as one of the forms of the genocide manifestations, to which this part of the Armenians was subjected – they were forced to be far from their roots and national origin, and culture. Raphael Lemkin’s definition of genocide, as specified in his book “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe” (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944), also included the things which can be considered as non-physical, but particularly psychological effects of genocide, which he personally described as follows: “Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation,… First of all, a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves should be distinguished.” The objectives of such a plan would be the destruction of the political and social institutions, culture, language, national feelings, religion, personal security and disintegration of the economic existence of national groups and so on. “Genocide consists of two stages, the first one is the destruction of the national model of a group under pressure, and the second one is the compulsion of the oppressor’s national model. This compulsion, in its turn, can be implemented on the suppressed population, which is allowed to stay in the territory after the extermination of the population by the oppressor’s kinsmen and its colonization.” (http://www.genocide-...m.am/arm/un.php).
Article 1 of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide dated 1948 says that Genocide is a crime irrespective of the fact whether it is implemented during a peace or war-time period, and that the signatory parties are obliged to prevent it and punish those who implement genocide. Article 2 of the Convention says that Genocide is a crime of intentional destruction of a national, ethnic, racial and religious group, in whole or in part.
Thus, as the result of this systematic assimilation policy, the Hamshens, who were forced to convert to Islam, lost their real Armenian national identity, retaining only the local ethnographic description through recollections about their Armenian origin.
About the AuthorLusine Sahakyan Head of the Department of Armenian-Ottoman Relations at Institute for Armenian Studies of Yerevan State University
Posted 29 September 2014 - 04:21 PM
Rachel Dink, Hrant Dinks widow, addressed a speech to the guests as well. She called on the Armenians of Dersim not to fear the idea of returning to the roots.
ՌԱՔԵԼ, ՌԱԽԵԼ, ՌԱՀԵԼ
Our latter day Warrior Sister, not unlike Shoushanik of Vardananq., our own Joan of Arc if you will. , and Soseh Mayrik reincarnated?
Armenian Dersim support day was conducted in Lausanne city of Switzerland, Armenpress reports citing the Turkish Demokrathaber.net. Issues on the genocide policy implemented against the Armenians of Dersim and their present state were discussed during the event.
Representatives of the Union of Dersim Armenians delivered a speech at the event, noting that Hrant Dinks belief and position, which cost him an entire life, have always inspired the Armenians of Dersim. They drew attention to the fact that what happened with the Armenians of Dersim before and after 1915 was genocide.
Highlighting the repair works of churches, monasteries and schools in the region, Stefan Jem Halavurt said that their upcoming plans include starting of religion classes and construction of a church in the center of Dersim.
Hovsep Seyran, another participant of the event, stated that the genocide is going on today too, just in different forms. According to him, the attempts of destroying the culture and the traces remained from the past are genocide-associated activities.
Rachel Dink, Hrant Dinks widow, addressed a speech to the guests as well. She called on the Armenians of Dersim not to fear the idea of returning to the roots.
Singer Hasmig Harutyunian and world famous duduk player Jivan Gasparyan performed at the event.
Զուիցերիոյ Լոզան քաղաքին մէջ Հայ Տերսիմ խորագրով իրականացած է Տերսիմի հայերուն զօրակցութեան օր Տերսիմի հայերու նկատմամբ կիրառուած ցեղասպան քաղաքականութեան եւ անոնց ներկայ վիճակին վերաբերեալ: Ըստ Armenpress.am-ի՝ այս մասին կը տեղեկացնէ թրքական Demokrathaber.net-ը:
Ձեռնարկի ընթացքին ելոյթներով հանդէս եկած են տերսիմահայերու ընկերութեան ներկայացուցիչներ Սթեֆան Ճեմ Հալաւուրթը եւ Ռոպեր Ռեճեփ Քայեանը, որոնք նշած են, որ Հրանդ Տինքի` սեփական կեանքը արժած հաւատքն ու կեցուածքը մեծապէս ոգեշնչած են Տերսիմի հայերը:
Անոնք ուշադրութիւն հրաւիրած են այն փաստին վրայ, որ 1915 թուականէն առաջ եւ յետոյ տերսիմահայերու հետ տեղի ունեցածը իսկական ցեղասպանութիւն եղած է: Կարեւոր համարելով տարածաշրջանին մէջ եկեղեցիներու, վանքերու եւ դպրոցներու վերանորոգման աշխատանքները` Հալաւուրթը յայտնած է, որ իրենց յառաջիկայ ծրագրերուն մէջ են կրօնական դասընթացներ սկսիլը եւ Տերսիմի կեդրոնը եկեղեցի կառուցելը:
Ձեռնարկի մասնակիցներէն Յովսէփ Սէյրանի փաստած է, որ ցեղասպանութիւնը այսօր ալ կը շարունակուի տարբեր ձեւերով: Անոր համոզումով` անցեալէն մնացած հետքերու եւ մշակոյթի ոչնչացման ուղղուած ջանքերը եւս ցեղասպանութեան ուղեկցող գործողութիւններ են:
Իր խօսքով ներկաներուն դիմած է ձեռնարկին ներկայ Ռաքէլ Տինքը` Հրանդ Տինքի այրին , որ տերսիմահայերուն կոչ ուղղած է չվախնալու սեփական արմատներուն վերադառնալու գաղափարէն: Միայն այդպէս հնարաւոր պիտի ըլլայ հասարակութեան նպաստել իրականութեան հետ առերեսուելուն: Մէկս միւսիս աւելի մտերմացնողը մեր ընդհանուր ցաւերն են,- ըսած է Ռաքէլ Տինքը:
Ձեռնարկին ելոյթներով հանդէս եկած են երգչուհի Յասմիկ Յարութիւնեանը, աշխարհահռչակ դուդուկահար Ջիւան Գասպարեանը
1. Shoushanik. The brave flag bearing daughter of Vardan.
2. Joan of Arc.
btw. Dink is a kind of cheese.
We are forever grateful to Hrant who dropped the turkifying JI from his surname.
PS. Please help me. I cannot find what the Armenian name of Dersim was. Is it a contraction of Տէր Սիմոն/Der Simon? Remember also that in Aramaic DER means convent as in Der El Zor or Der al Arman ,Armenian Convent in Jerusalem. Dersim=Mnadour?
Posted 30 October 2014 - 11:04 AM
RECLAIMING IDENTITY: MORE "HIDDEN" ARMENIANS IN TURKEY RETURN TO THEIR ORIGINS
Genocide | 29.10.14 | 11:31
By Gayane Mkrtchyan
All the names of locations in Turkish - Ghamishli, Syria, Sasun,
Lusakert tell me that I am listening to another of stories of
thousands of Armenians, but with one difference that this family did
not emigrate, it returned to Turkey continuing to live on their own
land only after converting.
"Since birth we've known that we are Armenians from Sasun. We had a big
family but only three of us survived - my grandfather, my grandfather's
brother and his son. At that time, a woman takes them to Ghamisha,
Syria, however, a part of the family returns to Diarbekir, the other
part years later, in 1946 - to Armenia, Lusakert," Turkay Abdulgafur,
a member of local Armenians' union, the head of St.
Kirakos Church Chairmen's Board in Diarbekir, said.
He is one of the Armenians in Diarbekir who got baptized in St.
Kirakos Church and changed his Muslim into Christian on his ID card.
"On Turkish ID cards they necessarily specify the religion you belong
to. During the last 3-4 years 25 people from Diarbekir got baptized and
changed Muslim into Christian on their ID card. It is very difficult
to be an Armenian in Diarbekir, moreover, to officially say about that,
but the movement has already begun," Turkay Abdulgafur said.
Diarbekir (former Tigranakert) is situated in the south-east of Turkey,
at the foothills of Sasna Mountain.
At the end of the 19th century 10,000 Armenians lived in Diarbekir,
and they had St. Sargis five-altar and St. Kirakos seven-altar
churches. The majority of Armenians were killed in 1895 during Hamid
Massacres, 5,000 Armenians were killed during the 1915 Great Genocide.
Today Diarbekir has a population of around 845,000, the majority of
whom are Kurds.
"Some 3-4 years ago there were only a few Armenians in Diarbekir who
did not conceal their Armenian identity, but today as a result of our
efforts their number has grown. We organize various events together
with those Armenians, for instance, at St. Kirakos Church once a week
we prepare breakfast, at the latest breakfast 82 people gathered,
today there are around 140-150 Armenians in Diarbekir. Many of these
are Muslims by identity, but introduce themselves as Armenians, thus
they recognize their national identity as well," the Armenian from
Turkay Abdulgafur said that when after the Great Genocide Armenians
living in Turkey got spread all over the world just like pomegranate
seeds, for 99 years they have had various hardships in different
parts of the world, but it was twice as difficult for them.
"After surviving the Genocide we were made to convert to Islam not
being able to introduce ourselves as Armenians, did not have an
occasion or an opportunity to voice our identity in public. To save
our existence we had to pretend to be fanatic Muslims not to endanger
our families and ourselves," he said. "All Armenians know about their
identity, but they were subjected to 100 years of assimilation, as
a result they almost completely turned Kurdish, we can even say so,
and that is exactly why we must take serious steps for revealing
Being well-aware of the political atmosphere in Turkey he mentioned
that Turkey now has lived great progress as compared to what it was
only three years ago, and that is also the credit of the Turkish
intelligence who endanger their lives to speak about the events
of 1915, they criticize the government for refusing to face their
Canadian-Armenian pianist, construction engineer Raffi Petrosian and
his adherents joined efforts for realization of Diarbekir St. Kirakos
Church repair works, it is considered one of the biggest cathedrals
of the Christian world. In 2011 a mass was held there.
"St. Kirakos church must attract all hidden Armenians in Turkey like
a magnet. And this turned into a reality much earlier than we thought.
Many Armenians who were forced to convert after 1915 (or were simply
orphans brought up by the Turks or the Kurds) today start thinking
that they have Armenian roots in their family, they revive their
identity and return to their origin.
Today we have already baptized a few people in St. Kirakos Church. And
the majority say they are Armenians, but still continue as Muslims,"
Upon his initiative 50 'hidden' Armenians from Diarbekir in summer
visited Armenia within the framework of the 'Come Home' project
organized by the Ministry of the Diaspora.
"This is a new reality we must accept, understand that apart from
Armenians in Armenia, Artsakh, Diaspora now there are also Islamic,
hidden Armenians, of whom there are many in Turkey. We must encourage
them to feel, to be more Armenian.
"That is why in Diarbekir, together with the local City Hall lessons
of Armenian were held. And graduates of that program were brought to
Armenia as a prize to have successfully accomplished the training. It
was with great joy and excitement that we came to Armenia. I was
excited to show them around in Armenia, and they were excited to see
Armenia," Petrosian said.
Posted 06 November 2014 - 10:50 AM
MORE HIDDEN ARMENIANS REVEAL THEIR TRUE IDENTITY IN TURKEY
18:44, 05 Nov 2014
Public Radio of Armenia
Armenians live in Turkey at the expense of violation of their identity
and often have to hide it, Turkish Armenian Abdul Gafuri said in an
interview with Public Radio of Armenia.
According to him, the hidden Armenians of Turkey have recently
started to reveal their Christian faith. Over 25 Turkish Armenians
have already baptized and changed their ID cards, he said.
There are two Armenian communities in Turkey - Christian Armenians,
who number 60-70 thousand, and Islamized Armenians, whose number
reaches about 4-6 million in Western Armenia and other parts of Turkey.
Abdul Gafuri lives in Diyarbekir and says that being an Armenian
there is not easy. After the Genocide Armenians scattered all over
the world like pomegranate seeds, and those who stayed in Turkey had
to hide their identity.
"There have been times when we have had to present ourselves 'more
Muslim than the Muslims" in order to survive. We Speak Armenian at
home, but pretend Muslims outside," he said.
The 4-5 million Armenians, who changed their religion nearly a century
ago, are alienated from Armenia and the Diaspora, and feel closer
to Turks and Kurds," Abdul Gafuri says. He advises to take steps to
He said there are about 150 Islamized Armenians in Diyarbekir, who have
changed their religion, but still maintain their Armenian identify.
"A few years ago one could meet just 3-4 Armenians in Diyarbekir,
who would reveal their true identity. Today their number has grown and
they meet once a week at St. Kirakos Church. There were 82 Armenians
at the most recent dinner," he said.
Four years ago, when Islamized Armenians started to reveal their
identity and launched a campaign to raise awareness about the Armenian
Genocide, Abdul Gafuri became one of the first to baptize and change
his ID card to change the religion from Islam to Christianity.
Speaking to Public Radio of Armenia, Abdul Gafuri noted that Turkey
is seriously preparing for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian
Genocide. As for the appointment of Etyen Mahcupyan as adviser to
Turkish Prime Minister, Gafuri said it could possibly provide an
opportunity to the Turkish Government to get to know more about the
Posted 18 November 2014 - 09:37 AM
WE NEED SERIOUS EFFORTS TO REVEAL TURKEY'S CRYPTO-ARMENIANS, SAYS CHURCH LEADER
10:40 * 17.11.14
Most of Turkey's crypto-Armenians know about their ethnic origins,
but those who are descendents of Genocide survivors have assimilated
to Kurds in the past 100 years, says the ethnic Armenian head of
Diyrabekir's St Kirakos church's council.
"I think serious work needs to be carried out to bring those people
to light," Turkai Abdulgufur told Tert.am.
He said that an increasing number of Diyarbekir-Armenians admit their
ethnic origins (compared to just a couple of people three or four years
ago) and, thanks to the past years' considerable efforts, they now
often gather for joint events, such as dinner at the St Kirakos church.
"There were 82 people at the latest dinner event. There are now about
140-150 Armenians most of whom have a Muslim identity, but they also
take their Armenian identity under care," he said, noting that the
town is now in a state of relative calm compared to the tensions
observed 3-4 years ago.
As for his Armenian roots, he said he has known about it since birth.
"We [our ancestors] had a big family in Sasun, of which only three
people survived - my grandfather, my grandfather's brother and his
nephew. We, who stay in Turkey, know that we are Armenians, and we
spoke the little Armenian we knew in family, but out of our family,
we lived with the identity of Muslims," he added.
Abdulgufur admitted that he was registered as a Muslim in his previous
ID document, adding that he later changed his identity as a Christian
after being baptized.
"[The process] began with me; 25 people were baptized in Diyarbekir
in the past three to four years and had their religious affiliation
changed," he noted.
Abdulgufur added that Armenians now set up associations of compatriots
in different cities and towns to unite their efforts for future
Asked whether he is aware of Turkey's countermeasures ahead of
the Genocide centennial, the church leader said he knows that the
country is seriously preparing for the anniversary. "There are serious
preparations of which we aren't aware. But we can state that steps
are being taken drain intellectuals ideas," he replied.
Posted 29 January 2015 - 10:54 AM
Islamized Armenians are baptized and learning the language - diaspora minister
YEREVAN. - The Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia continues to carry out
activities with the Islamized and clandestine Armenians.
Diaspora Minister Hranush Hakopyan told the aforesaid to reporters,
but she added that, for understandable reasons, this work is not
"But we are pleased with the results. The Government of Armenia helps
them visit the historical homeland.
"Moreover, an exception is made for the [respective] people over the
age of 20 to be permitted to participate in the [ministry's] Come Home
[motherland visiting] program, which is intended for
"Two of them were not only baptized, but they stayed in Armenia to
learn Armenian. Later, they will return to Tigranakert [i.e., today's
Diyarbakir, Turkey] to open an Armenian school there. Hundreds of
people in that region want to learn Armenian," the minister stated, in
Armenia News - NEWS.am
Posted 05 March 2015 - 08:34 AM
DERSIM LEADERS EMBRACE ARMENIAN ROOTS, PLAN ARMENIA TRIP
By Raffi Bedrosyan on March 4, 2015 in Featured, Headline, News //
Armenian Weekly readers will remember well the historic first journey
taken by 50 "hidden Armenians" from Diyarbakir (Dikranagerd) last
August to Armenia. These brave individuals were the grandchildren
of forcefully Islamicized/Turkified/Kurdified Armenians from 1915,
who had the determination and guts to return to their roots after
the reconstruction of Sourp Giragos Church in Diyarbakir, the first
Armenian church to be resurrected in Turkey since 1915. As a reward
for participating in an Armenian-language course organized by the
local Diyarbakir Sur municipality and the Church Foundation, they were
taken on an unforgettable journey to Armenia, to better understand
their forgotten history, culture, and heritage.
Armenian language students in Dersim
I am happy to report that the "coming out" of the hidden Armenians
is not restricted to Diyarbakir. Now, it is the turn of the hidden
Armenians of Dersim (officially, the Tunceli province) in Turkey.
Dersim is a vast mountainous region with beautiful valleys, dotted
with hundreds of picturesque villages between Erzurum (known as Garin
by Armenians) and Erzinjan (known as Yerzinga) in eastern Turkey.
Prior to 1915, Alevi Kurds and Armenians populated the region. The
Alevi Kurds, who have traditionally been sympathetic to the Armenians,
did not participate in the 1915 massacre and plunder of the Armenians;
in fact, they saved tens of thousands of Armenians, either by
protecting them against the Ottoman Turkish Army within their own
villages, or providing them safe passage toward Russian Armenia.
In the Armenian language classroom
As a "reward" for protecting the Armenians and for "rebelling" against
the new regime, the Alevi Kurds paid dearly 20 years later, in the
1930's, when the Republican Turkish Army indiscriminately killed most
of them, including thousands of assimilated, Kurdified Armenians. The
army's methods varied from assembling the civilian population--men,
women, and children--into caves filled with poisonous gases, to
killing them with machine guns.
Fast forward to today, and hidden Armenians are emerging from among
the Alevi Kurd population of the region, reclaiming their Armenian
identity, changing their Turkish/Kurdish names to Armenian ones, and
beginning to learn Armenian. After overcoming numerous obstacles,
and logistical and organizational challenges, an Armenian-language
course was launched on Feb. 1, with dozens--young and old--registering
for the three times-per-week classes. An Armenian and Alevi cultural
association has also been formed, named "Deradost," which stands
for Dersim Armenians and Alevis Friendship Society. There is also
"Dersiyad," which promotes cooperation and support among Armenians
in Dersim, as well as Dersim Armenians in Istanbul and abroad, mostly
Mihran Prgitch lectures the students
Similar to the initiative that took Diyarbakir's hidden Armenians to
Armenia, a trip is now planned for some of Dersim's hidden Armenians
to visit Armenia in late March. But there is an added significance
and a historic first in this trip: All 12 of the participants are
elected village officials of hidden Armenian villages in Dersim. During
this trip, they will learn about Armenian history and culture, but,
through TV and media, they will also show the Armenians of Armenia
and the diaspora the historic Armenian churches and monuments from
their own villages, prior to 1915 and now. The trip is sponsored
by an individual from Canada, as well as by the Calouste Gulbenkian
Foundation, following several e-mails and phone calls between Lisbon,
Dersim, Istanbul, Yerevan, and Toronto.
Details about this historic trip and the reflections of the Dersim
village officials during their visit to Armenia will be revealed in
Posted 05 March 2015 - 09:05 AM
THE EMEKSIZ SISTERS OF ISTANBUL: "THE ARMENIANS CALL US TURKS, AND THE TURKS CALL US ARMENIANS"
19:13, March 4, 2015
The Emeksiz sisters of Istanbul are on a mission to tell people in
Armenia about the fate of their Armenian grandfather Khachik and
others who shared the same fate due to the 1915 Genocide.
The two sisters, both Emeksiz, are named after their Armenian
grandfather Khachik Emeksizian.
Born in the Uzunmahmud village in the Ottoman Kaza of Ordu on the
Black Sea, Khachik Emeksizian was seven years old in 1915. The boy
survived the Genocide because he was taken to a nearby village and
given to a Turkish family who raised him as a Muslim. The law at the
time was that children seven and younger would not be sent on the
road to exile but would be distributed to local Turkish families.
The sisters, who call their grandfather Hachik (there is no letter
"kh" in the Turkish alphabet), claim they feel neither Armenian or
Turkish; just human beings.
"We are a part of history, and I want that within Armenian society
my grandfather be known as an Armenian," says the elder sister Emeksiz.
"What happened to my grandfather wasn't of his choosing and neither
There were some 13,565 Armenians living in the Ordu Kaza (on the eve
of 1915 according to Raymond Kevorkian's The Armenian Genocide.
Uzunmahmud is said to have had a population of 388. Kevorkian states
that most of the Armenians of Ordu had roots in Hamshen and had settled
relatively late in Ordu. Three thousand of the kaza's Armenians resided
in the principal town (Ordu) and the others lived scattered in about
Seven year-old Hacik never forgot that he was Armenian. He never forgot
his parents, the house he lived in and where it was located. He even
kept the root of his surname in the hope that one day he'd find lost
relatives through the name.
The sisters told me that two years after the Genocide their
grandfather found out that some people had come to the church in
his old village. It turns out they were looking for Armenian orphans
to send to the United States, France and elsewhere. Hacik told the
sisters that he didn't want to go and returned to his adoptive family.
At the time, the boy was afraid that surviving family members might
look for him and not find him.
One of Hachik's cousins was sent to France in this fashion. Decades
later, the sisters did a last name search and found the cousin.
At the age of twenty, Hachik married one of the daughters of the
household and started a family.
"I am very angry because my grandfather was left alone without a
family or possessions," says the younger sister Emeksiz. "We know
the family had land that was used by others."
Hachik Emeksiz had six sons and many grandchildren. They all know
his story but not all want to accept it. Emeksiz says her grandfather
always told them the story, saying it was their history as well and
that they must know it.
"My being angry will not change my grandfather's life or past. But
he is not alone. There were thousands of children like him," says the
younger Emeksiz. "We just want to talk about this matter to Armenians
and Turks because Armenians call us Turks and Turks call us Armenians."
She tells me that her grandfather always brought up the name of his
sister, Nazlou. She had long hair, down to her waist, and he always
played with her tresses.
"I am mad that they left no one from my grandfather's family and he
had to start his story anew," says the younger sister. "For example,
we have relatives on our grandmother's side but no one on his side
of the family. There were six or seven children in my grandfather's
family. The family which adopted him wasn't his real family.
The sisters say they do not talk about their grandfather being Armenian
everywhere. It could make them hate targets of Turkish nationalists
I am neither religious nor a nationalist. This creates problems in
certain circles," says the elder Emeksiz. "Many of my cousins don't
want the word to get out. They want this story to be forgotten."
Nevertheless, she says that she tells the story about her grandfather
being Armenian and that many Turks are amazed to hear that Armenians
lived in Anatolia. They even ask when Armenians came to those lands.
Grandfather Khachik died fourteen years ago and the sisters now regret
not spending more time with him. They didn't live in the same house
but visited periodically.
"When he died, only then did we realize that we should have spent more
time with him and listened to him a bit more, says the elder Emeksiz.
"We should have recorded what he said. I feel that we should do
something for him."
The elder Emeksiz studies film making at an Istanbul university. She's
decided to makr a film about her grandfather and the family story.
"My grandfather was seven when he was orphaned. There were thousands
of kids like him. I want to tell this story to people through film."
Posted 25 March 2015 - 06:20 AM
DERSIM ARMENIANS IN SEARCH FOR THEIR TRUE IDENTITY
19:34, 24 Mar 2015
Nine Mayors from Dersim have arrived in Armenia at the initiative
of the "Modus Vivendi" center and with the support of the Armenian
Ministry of Diaspora. The Mayors have visited Tsitsernakabersd to
pay tribute to the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims. They
have also been at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Khor Virap,
the History Museum of Armenian and Matenadaran.
The Mayos met with reporters today to share their impressions. They
spoke about the serach for their identity and the problems of returning
to their roots. They also presented the joint programs with Zazas
Head of Modus Vivendi Center Ara Papyan said the initiative aims to
provide Dersim Armenians with an opportunity to get to know Armenia
ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Ara Papyan said they have worked with the Dersim Province for several
years now. They often organize festivals featuring groups from Armenia.
Many residents of Dersim now openly accept their Armenian descent and
even baptize. Others, however, continue to hide their true identity
out of decades-long fear.
Considering all this, it's hard to calculate today what percentage of
Dersim residents is of Armenian descent. The number could be between
20 and 90. One thing is clear: people in Dersim have started to return
to their Armenian roots.
Chairman of the Dersim Union of Armenians and Alevis Sercan Saritas
attaches importance to the organization of Armenian language courses.
"We want to intensify the social communication. During a festival in
July we'll host guests from Arnenia," he said.
Representative of the Armenian Union of Dersim Miran Pirgic said "we
have a pain and we should think what we can do jointly." "Genocide
is seated so deep in people that our brothers in Istanbul even find
it hard to accept our Armenian descent, because the names of all our
brothers in Dersim are changed, "Turkified" or "Kurdified." However,
the reality cannot be hidden any more. We have already disclosed
the truth. We only need the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey and the
Etchmiadzin Catholicosate to accept us," he said.
The Mayors said a number of joint events will now be organized. Joint
organizations have been set up to implement joint programs. The guests
also said they have compiled the list of Armenian churches in Dersim.
They intend to maintain and renovate the 162 churches. They work in
cooperation with the Istanbul-based Union of Armenian Architects.
One of the Mayors said that because of the importance the Turkish
authorities attach to the cooperation with the European Union, they
sometimes ignore the initiatives of Dersim Armenians. But they exert
greater pressure through the Istanbul Patriarchate, i.e. by creating
problems with the baptism.
Posted 28 March 2015 - 10:12 AM
ZEKI SAROJAN WAS BAPTIZED IN ETCHMIADZIN UNDER THE NAME ARMENAK
March 27 2015
"Hrant Dink's assassination gave courage to many Armenians living
in the city of Dersim to speak out about their Armenian roots,"
told the Armenian-origin Zeki Sarojan in conversation with us.
Both his mother and father are Armenians, but converted to Turks. In
his words, after the death of Hrant Dink, when many Armenians living
in Turkey were afraid to speak out of their Armenian roots and
even left Turkey, many crypto Armenians in Dersim began to reveal
themselves. "Six month ago I came to Armenia and was baptized in in
Etchmiadzin under the name Armenak. Armenak was a revolutionist in
Turkey and was one of the leaders of Rural Workers' Liberation Army,
who was killed by the Turkish government authorities.
Both my mother and father are Armenians. My father's grandfather
was selling fabrics in Dersim, he was a rich and famous Agha. After
the death of my father's grandfather, the Turks began the Armenian
massacre, my father's grandmother and her three sons was left orphaned
and during the massacre, another rich Turkish Agha who was her
husband's partner hid them in his house. The Turks knew which family
they are hiding and demanded them to surrender, but this Turkish Agha
has fought and has not handed over my father's grandmother with her
three sons. So, they were rescued. Neither my father nor my mother
remember anything from the genocide, my mother was only telling that
her uncle hardly escaped. "
Zeki Sarojay's Armenian surname is Karibyan.
Read more at: http://en.aravot.am/2015/03/27/169476/
Posted 27 April 2015 - 09:54 AM
HIDDEN ARMENIANS OF TURKEY SEEK TO RECLAIM THEIR ERASED IDENTITIES
For the first 25 years of his life, Armen Demirjian thought he was
Kurdish. Then the elders in his village told him his family's secret:
His grandfather was Armenian, a survivor of the genocide carried out
by the Ottoman Turks a century ago. New York Times reports.
"I was completely confused," said Mr. Demirjian, 54. "I was very sad
as well. I was raised with the Kurdish culture and history."
Mr. Demirjian, whose grandfather was sheltered by a Kurdish family as
a child, held on to his secret. In recent years, though, as Turkey
has allowed minorities to identify themselves more freely, he has
embraced in full his family's truth.
He changed his name to his family's Armenian one, participated in
the restoration of a church in this city, took Armenian language
lessons and started delivering Agos, an Armenian newspaper published
in Istanbul, to others in this area with a similar past. When his
cellphone rings, it blares a song by the Armenian-Syrian singer and
songwriter Lena Chamamyan.
"From now on," he said, "I want to carry on with my Armenian heritage
The genocide and expulsion of Armenians from eastern Anatolia in World
War I, an atrocity whose centennial will be commemorated this week with
ceremonies around the world, is largely a story of the dead: Historians
estimate that nearly 1.5 million Armenians were killed. But there
are also the stories of the tens of thousands of survivors, mostly
women and children, who were taken in by local Turkish families. They
converted to Islam and took on Kurdish or Turkish identities.
Now, a growing number of their descendants are identifying as Armenian,
and their personal experiences contrast with the perennial denial by
the Turks and the lasting pain and anger of the Armenians.
The Turkish government has long denied that the massacres amounted to
genocide -- they say the killings were a tragic consequence of war,
not a planned annihilation. Armenians, both in a vast international
diaspora as well as in Armenia itself, have long demanded an apology
and recognition from Turkey.
The Armenians in southeast Turkey, whom historians have called
"hidden Armenians" or "Islamized Armenians," want those things, too,
but for the most part they are less beholden to the painful past.
"If you compare our anger to the anger in the diaspora and in Armenia,
ours would be like 1 percent of their anger," said Aram Acikyan, who
works as a caretaker here in Diyarbakir at the Surp Giragos Church,
the largest Armenian church in Turkey and the Middle East. The church
was restored in recent years with the help of the local Kurdish
authorities, and now symbolizes efforts at reconciliation.
Those efforts have largely been possible because the Kurds were willing
to acknowledge their role, as agents for the Ottoman Turks, in the
genocide a century ago. That the Kurds themselves suffered under
the Turks, who have long denied the existence of a separate Kurdish
identity, made reconciliation between Kurds and Armenians easier.
"The freedom we have here to say, 'I am Armenian,' is all thanks to
the Kurdish movement," said Mr. Acikyan, 48, whose grandfather survived
the genocide and was taken in by a Kurdish shepherd and his wife.
Many of the hidden Armenians here who are rediscovering their roots
have found it easier to discard their Kurdish or Turkish identities,
and to embrace an Armenian one, than to relinquish their religion.
Most have remained Muslim rather than converting to Christianity,
the religion of their ancestors, and so the restored church here in
Diyarbakir feels more like a cultural center than a house of worship.
Easter at the Surp Giragos Church this year was a splendid affair, with
the sun shining brightly and plenty of colored eggs and traditional
braided breads. A priest flew in from Istanbul to celebrate Mass.
Yet when the service began, many of the few hundred people who had
gathered preferred to stay outside, under the sun in the courtyard,
chatting and smoking, or eating a breakfast of cheese and olives and
eggs at the cafe. And when holy communion was administered, roughly
a dozen people, maybe fewer, lined up.
"I love coming to the church," said Ozlem Dikici, who was sitting in
the courtyard. "But I am Muslim. I pray five times a day."
Ms. Dikici's husband, who recently took an Armenian name, Armenak
Mihsi, sat next to her and repeated the story he was told by his
grandfather: The family was wealthy and had connections with the
Ottoman elite, and so was warned about killings and deportations.
"Only five years ago did I really accept this," Mr. Mihsi said. "For 20
years, it was confusing. It's not just being Armenian, but there is the
Christian side of it, too. It's very difficult to change religions."
Many of the Armenians who converted to Islam became even more religious
than their fellow countrymen, as if to prove that they were good
Muslims and to overcome prejudice and suspicion.
Mr. Mihsi, for example, has made the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca,
in Saudi Arabia, 10 times.
Through the generations, even while living as Muslims, many were aware
of their Armenian heritage. "It was all anyone talked about in this
region," said Aziz Yaman, 58, but only within the family, in private.
Even today, he added, his family keeps to one old Armenian custom --
making wine, and drinking it.
"Everyone has their own story," he said.
Mr. Demirjian, a man of good cheer, smiled broadly when speaking
recently about coming to terms with his Armenian identity. Sitting
at a cafe here, he arrayed in front of him some of the relics of
his family's past. A government document listed his grandfather as a
Christian. He showed his father's passport, stamped by Saudi Arabia
from a long-ago pilgrimage to Mecca. There was also a magazine article
about a relative who became an antiques dealer in New York.
Each item represents a chapter of his family's story: a Christian
identity erased, conversion to Islam, flight and exile, and, more
recently a rediscovery.
Turkish officials say that there are most likely several hundred
thousand people in eastern Turkey with some Armenian blood, but that
few have traveled the path that Mr. Demirjian and others at the church
here have. One local official said there were only 200 to 300 Armenians
Many are still hiding their heritage, Mr. Demirjian said, because
they are frightened. The word Armenian is used as an insult in Turkey,
as a suggestion that someone is a traitor.
"There are many other stories like mine, in all the cities and towns
around here," he said. "In this region, when you pick up a stone,
under it is a story of an Armenian."
Posted 14 May 2015 - 11:39 AM
DERSIM-ARMENIANS BAPTIZED. PROCESS OF RETURNING TO ARMENIAN ROOTS CONTINUES
10:10, 13 May, 2015
YEREVAN, 13 MAY, ARMENPRESS. 17 Dersim-Armenians take the step of
returning to their Armenian identity, so that they were baptized in the
Armenian Church of Istanbul-YeÅ~_ilkÃ¶y and adopted the Christianity.
The Patriarchal Vicar of Constantinople His Grace Archbishop Aram
Ateshian presided over the baptismal ceremony.
The Founder and former President of the Union of Dersim-Armenians
Miran Prkich in a talk with "Armenpress" stated that along with the
marriage baptismal ceremony, two couples married at the church. He
said that the Dersim-Armenians passed courses of 6 month before
the baptism, which were prepared by the Armenian Patriarchate of
Constantinople. "As in the other matters, in this case also we will
be more progressive and introduce quickly our own nation to the
Dersim-Armenians," Prkich highlighted.
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