Friday, June 08, 2007

Armenians in Turkey.

A few days ago there was a news report that the Turkish government wants to renovate the ancestral home of the late Armenian prime minister Andranik Margaryan in the town of Moush. There was a mention of the current demographics of the town - the majority are Kurds, and there are around 3,000 Armenians living there, too. I did not know that there were Armenians in Turkey besides the small community in Constantinopolis, and a village near the Syrian border.

Their situation must be tough as we saw last year when Hrant Dink was murdered in Istanbul for being an Armenian.

Today Jilda at Cilicia.com has posted an entry about the Armenians in Turkey.

IN Turkey of course, they are daily torn between their identity to live in, and the threaten represented by this very same identity; between a natural love for the land they live on since long and the risk this very same land is to them, regardless to the legitimacy of their presence there… etc To shorten the list : permanent fight on the wire (or blade) of the razor - another French expression.

It does confirm that they are between a rock and a hard place. She also touches upon the issue of them being constantly criticized by the rest of the diasporans. The frequency of scathing attacks on Mesrob Mutafian is disturbing. Before Hrant Dink was became a hero after his murder, he was frequently criticized as well. I've always found such criticism unfair and immoral. But it is easy to sit somewhere in the West and justify your existence by attacking the most vulnerable of the Armenian communities in the world.

2 comments:

j said...

Mutafian went to the so-called Turkish -Armenian dialogue conference ( at SMU in Dallas over a month ago) at Raindrop Turkevis ( a well-funded turkish texas group google their site and see) on "armenian-turkish dialogue" . Did not inform the community.or invite anyone on a so-called dialogue. The Turkish participants were denialists . One Turkish sociologist there not only denied the genocide - as they all did-but supported the deportations as justified. the lraper site of the patriarch implied in strait words that the turks back then should have "punished the troublemakers".
did he visit the community? no. .

yes mutafian is in a difficult position-but when he goes that fart, it is hard not to critique.

Kesdjan said...

Dear J,
How do you know that [Arch. Mutafian]went 'that far'. Do you know what is best, how best we can get to an understanding and resolving this century-long problem? Just like Nazarian has said, it is easy to criticize when you live on this side of the world. And, I continue: when you do not have to be careful about the language you speak on the street, when your children are safe at school, when you do not get threatening letters pinned on your churches and your schools, when you are not called an 'infidel' by your shcool mates or colleagues or neighbours, when you have a homeland where you can live freely and you don't know what it feels like to be a stranger all your life because you had to uproot from a country where you did not feel safe but which, for generations, was 'home' and still feels home. Just like Hrant Dink said, you live here, in N.America or in Europe, with the memory of the genocide which, at best you remember every year on April 24th. The Armenians in Istanbul live the genocide on a daily basis, and this for the last 100 years or so. Don't you think they are in a better position to know how to negotiate. They live and know those whose ancestors were involved in the event in question. You, on the other hand, you were born somewhere else, all you know about the events of 1915 and before is what you have been told and you probably have never even spoken to a Turk in your life. What therefore is your opinion on Arch. Mutafian or anything else on this matter based on? Memories of those who remember or who themselves hae been told and emotions based on that.
And, don't forget, it is an Armenian from Istanbul who was murdered for speaking up on these matters (not one of us righteous Armenians here in the West). So, let us respect his memory and the work he started by trusting the likes of him who are continuing his work.
Be open minded. Inform yourself. Look for the other side of the coin. Be objective.