Armenians in Turkey

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Armenians in Turkey (Armenian: Հայերը Թուրքիայում, Hayery T’urk’iayum; Turkish: Türkiye Ermenileri), are ethnic Armenians living Turkey and one of the indigenous peoples of Turkey. Until the Armenian genocide of 1915, most of the Armenian population of Turkey (then the Ottoman Empire) lived in the eastern parts of the country that Armenians call Western Armenia (roughly corresponding to the modern Eastern Anatolia Region).

Armenians in Turkey
Türkiye Ermenileri
Հայերը Թուրքիայում
Mother language in 1965 Turkey census - Armenian.png
Distribution of Armenian speakers in Turkey according mother tongue, census in 1965
Total population
50,000[1]–60,000
Islamized and Crypto Armenians:
2,000,000–5,000,000[2][3] (Hamshenis: 150,000[4])
Languages
Turkish (majority)
Armenian (minority)
Religion
Christian cross.svg Christianity (Armenian Apostolic)
Allah-green.svg Islam (Sunni and Alevi)

Demographics[change | change source]

Istanbul[change | change source]

Of the 60,000 Christian Armenians living in Turkey, 45,000 live in Istanbul.[5] Today, in the Kumkapı quarter in Fatih, Istanbul, the various churches Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Syriac as well as the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey. In some ways, the quarter has even regained its reputation as an Armenian quarter. Yet, the majority of Armenians residing in Kumkapı today are immigrants from Armenia, while of the original Armenian population, only a few individuals still call Kumkapı their home.[6] The Armenian population in Turkey, which makes up the largest Christian community in the country, “resembles an iceberg melting in the sea” with its some 60,000 members, the newly elected Armenian Orthodox Patriarch of Istanbul has said.[7] At present, the Armenian community in Istanbul has 20 schools (including the Getronagan Armenian High School), 17 cultural and social organizations, three newspapers (Agos, Jamanak, Marmara), two sports clubs (Şişlispor, Taksimspor).

Dersim[change | change source]

According to Mihran Prgiç Gültekin, the head of the Union of Dersim Armenians, around 75% of the population in villages of Dersim are "converted Armenians."[8][9] The greater part of hidden Armenians of Dersim, according Gultekin, is afraid that the nationalist regime may be back and may repress them. Currently over 200 families have announce their Armenian descent in Dersim, Gultekin said.[10] In April 2013, Aram Ateşyan, the acting Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul, stated maybe that 90% of Tunceli (Dersim)'s population is of Armenian origin.[11] In 2015, a group of citizens in Dersim (Tunceli) established the Dersim Armenians and Alevis Friendship Association (DERADOST). The opening ceremony of the association was attended by Hüseyin Tunç, then Deputy Mayor of Tunceli, Yusuf Cengiz, President of Tunceli Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representatives of non-governmental organisations and some citizens.[12][13] On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, president of the association Serkan Sariataş said that the state should face its past history as soon as possible.[14] Through the 20th century, an many of Armenians living in the mountainous region of Dersim had converted to Alevism. During the Armenian genocide, many of the Armenians in the region were saved by their Kurdish neighbors.

Muş[change | change source]

In 2014, Armenians from Muş also established an association. Daron Moush Armenians Solidarity Social Tourism Association made an official application after the formation of a board of seven members. The association, which started its activities in Muş and started accepting members, elected its president next week.[15] Speaking at the foundation ceremony of the Daron Muş Armenians Solidarity, Social and Tourism Association in Muş, board member Armen Galustyan said, "Regardless of religion, Armenianism is a race, a nation, just like the Turks, Kurds and Arabs. Armenianism is not an enmity."[16][17]

Hatay[change | change source]

Vakıflı, located in the Samandağ district of Hatay province of Turkey, is the only Armenian village in Turkey with a population of 160 people, all of whom are Armenians. The entire village population is Armenian.[18]

Rize[change | change source]

The Hemshin people, also known as Hemshinli or Hamshenis or Homshetsi,[19][20][21] are an ethnic group who are affiliated with the Hemşin and Çamlıhemşin districts in the province of Rize, Turkey.[22][23][24][25] They are Armenian in origin, and were originally Christian and members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, but over the centuries evolved into a distinct ethnic group and converted to Sunni Islam after the conquest of the Ottomans of the region during the second half of the 15th century.[26]

Notable people[change | change source]

  • Mimar Sinan (1488/1490–1588), Ottoman architect of probably[27][28][29][30][31] or maybe[32][33] Armenian origin
  • Balyan family[34]
    • Senekerim Balyan (1768–1833)
    • Garabet Amira Balyan (1800–1866)
    • Nigoğayos Balyan (1826–1858)
    • Sarkis Balyan (1835–1899)
    • Krikor Balyan (1764–1831)
    • Hagop Balyan (1838–1875)
    • Simon Balyan (1848–1894)
    • Levon Balyan (1855–1925)
  • Damat Mehmed Ali Pasha (1813–1868), Ottoman grand vizier of Hemshin Armenian origin
  • Abraham Pasha (1833–1918), Ottoman Armenian diplomat
  • Hagop Kazazian Pasha (1836–1891), was a high-ranking Ottoman Armenian official
  • Vartan Pasha (1813–1879), was an Ottoman Armenian statesman, author, and journalist
  • Daron Acemoglu[35] (born 1967), economist
  • Garo Paylan (born 1972), politican
  • Rober Hatemo (born 1974), singer
  • Şahan Arzruni (born 1943), pianist
  • Hayko Cepkin (born 1978), musician
  • Jaklin Çarkçı (born 1958), mezzo-soprano
  • Masis Aram Gözbek (born 1987), conductor of Bosphorus Jazz Choir
  • Ara Güler (1928–2018), photojournalist
  • Sami Hazinses (1925–2002), actor
  • Anı İpekkaya (born 1939), actress
  • Sirvart Kalpakian Karamanuk (1912–2008), composer
  • Cem Karaca (1945–2004), rock musician (Armenian mother)
  • Toto Karaca (1912–1992), actress
  • Ferdi Özbeğen (1941-2013), musician (Armenian mother)
  • Udi Hrant Kenkulian (1901–1978), oud player
  • Yaşar Kurt (born 1968), rock artist
  • Adile Naşit (1930–1987), actress (Armenian mother)
  • Selim Naşit Özcan (1928–2000), actor (Armenian mother)
  • Kenan Pars (1920–2008), actor
  • Ruhi Su (1912–1985), folk musician
  • Anta Toros (born 1948), actress
  • Onno Tunç (1948–1996), musician
  • Arat Dink (born 1979), son of Hrant Dink, editor of Agos
  • Hrant Dink (1954–2007), former editor of the weekly Agos
  • Vartan İhmailan (1913–1987), writer
  • Hrand Nazariantz (1880–1962), journalist and poet
  • Sevan Nishanyan (born 1956), writer and linguist

References[change | change source]

  1. Lowen, Mark (2015). "Armenian tragedy still raw in Turkey 100 years on". BBC News. "From a pre-war Armenian population of two million, just 50,000 remain in Turkey today."
  2. Danielyan, Diana (2011). ""Azg": Is the awakening of Islamized Armenians in Turkey possible?". Hayern Aysor. "Dagch says according to different calculations, there are 3-5 million Islamized Armenians in Turkey and that the Foundation’s most important mission is to awaken them."
  3. Khanlaryan, Karen (2005). "The Armenian ethnoreligious elements in the Western Armenia". Noravank Foundation. "Thus, we can come to the conclusions that in the geographical areal of our research the number of “Anatolian” “Official” Armenians is insignificant, less then 5.000, the number of “Islamized” Armenians excels the number of one million and reaches 1.300.000 and “Crypto” Armenians are more then 700.000."
  4. Goble, Paul (2017). "Islamicized Armenians in Turkey: A Bridge or a Threat?". The Jamestown Foundation. "One such group is the Hemshins of Turkey, a community of approximately 150,000 people who have Armenian backgrounds, often speak Armenian but have become Islamicized."
  5. "Foreign Ministry: 89,000 minorities live in Turkey". Today's Zaman. "Containing detailed statistics about the minority groups in Turkey, the report reveals that 45,000 of approximately 60,000 Armenians reside in İstanbul."
  6. "Managing the difficult balance between tourism and authenticity: Kumkapı". Hürriyet Daily News. "Today, the various churches Armenian, Greek Orthodox and Syriac as well as the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, which are situated in Kumkapı, immediately remind the visitor of this multi-ethnic past. In some ways, the quarter has even regained its reputation as an Armenian quarter. Yet, the majority of Armenians residing in Kumkapı today are immigrants from Armenia, while of the original Armenian population, only a few individuals still call Kumkapı their home."
  7. "Armenian population of Turkey dwindling rapidly: Patriarch". Hürriyet Daily News. "The Armenian population in Turkey, which makes up the largest Christian community in the country, “resembles an iceberg melting in the sea” with its some 60,000 members, the newly elected Armenian Orthodox Patriarch of Istanbul has said."
  8. "Mihran Gultekin: Dersim Armenians Re-Discovering Their Ancestral Roots". Massis Post. "75 percent of Dersim population is converted Armenians, founder of “Union of Dersim Armenians” Mihran Gultekin told reporters in Yerevan (Dersim is a region of eastern Turkey, which includes Tunceli Province, Elazig Province, and Bingöl Province)."
  9. "Documentary on Islamized Armenians of Dersim Screened at Columbia University". Armenian Weekly. "Mihran Prgiç Gültekin, the head of the Union of Dersim Armenians, estimates that about 75% of the village’s population are “converted Armenians."
  10. "Mihran Gultekin: Dersim Armenians Re-Discovering Their Ancestral Roots". Massis Post. "The greater part of hidden Armenians of Dersim, according Gultekin, is afraid that the nationalist regime may be back and may repress them. Currently over 200 families have announce their Armenian descent in Dersim, Gultekin said."
  11. "Tunceli'nin yüzde 90'ı dönme Ermeni'dir". İnternet Haber. "Erkam Tufan, “Tunceli civarında çok fazla sayıda Kripto Ermeni olduğu söyleniyor bu doğru mudur?” şeklindeki sorusuna Ateşyan şu yanıtı verdi: [...] “Doğrudur Tunceli'nin yüzde 90'ı belki dönme Ermeni'dir. Neden derseniz 30 yaşlarında bir çocuk geldi bana ve ''benim köküm Ermeni'' dedi. ''Ben dönmek istiyorum'' dedi. Ben de ''ispatla dedim'' ispatlayamadı, kabul etmedim. Ama inatla gitti geldi, vazgeçmedi. Gitti, geldi rahatsız etti beni, daha sonra babası aradı. Beyefendi dedi ''ben belediye çalışıyorum emekli olayım bende İstanbul'a gelip döneceğim. Buradaki halkın yüzde 90'ı Ermeni'dir, lütfen kabul et'' dedi. Bende kabul ettim ders aldı, vaftiz oldu, kilisemizin üyesi oldu.”"
  12. "Tunceli'de Ermeni ve Alevi dostluk derneği kurdu". Hürriyet. "Tunceli'de bir grup vatandaş, Dersimli Ermeniler ve Aleviler Dostluk Derneği (DERADOST) kurdu. Moğultay Mahallesi Ata Sokak’taki bir iş hanında kurulan derneğin açılışına Tunceli Belediye Başkan Yardımcısı Hüseyin Tunç, Tunceli Ticaret ve Sanayi Odası Başkanı Yusuf Cengiz, sivil toplum kuruluşu temsilcileri ile bazı vatandaşlar katıldı."
  13. "Tunceli'de Ermeni ve Alevi Dostluk Derneği Kurdu". Haberler. "Tunceli'de bir grup vatandaş, Dersimli Ermeniler ve Aleviler Dostluk Derneği (DERADOST) kurdu. Moğultay Mahallesi Ata Sokak'taki bir iş hanında kurulan derneğin açılışına Tunceli Belediye Başkan Yardımcısı Hüseyin Tunç, Tunceli Ticaret ve Sanayi Odası Başkanı Yusuf Cengiz, sivil toplum kuruluşu temsilcileri ile bazı vatandaşlar katıldı."
  14. "DERADOST başkanından Erdoğan ile Davutoğlu'na Ermeni Soykırımı çağrısı". Ermeni Haber Ajansı. "Ermeni Soykırımı'nın 100. yılında Dersimli Ermeniler ve Aleviler Dostluk Derneği (DERADOST) Başkanı Serkan Sariataş, devletin bir an önce geçmiş tarihiyle yüzleşmesi gerektiğini söyledi."
  15. "Muş Ermenileri derneklerine kavuştu". Agos. "Sasonlular, Sivaslılar, Malatyalılar ve Dersimlilerden sonra Muşlu Ermeniler de bir dernek kurdu. Daron Muş Ermenileri Dayanışma Sosyal Turizm Derneği, yedi kişilik yönetim kurulunun oluşmasının ardından resmi başvuruda bulundu. Muş’ta faaliyetlerine ve üye kabul etmeye başlayan dernek, önümüzdeki hafta başkanını seçecek."
  16. "Muş'ta Ermeni derneği açıldı". Hürriyet. "Muş’ta Daron Muş Ermeniler Dayanışma, Sosyal ve Turizm Derneği’nin kuruluş töreninde konuşan yönetim kurulu üyesi Armen Galustyan, “Dini ne olursa olsun Ermenilik de Türk gibi, Kürt gibi, Arap gibi bir ırktır, bir millettir. Ermenilik bir düşmanlık değildir” dedi."
  17. "Muş'ta Ermeni derneği açıldı". Haberler. "Muş’ta Daron Muş Ermeniler Dayanışma, Sosyal ve Turizm Derneği’nin kuruluş töreninde konuşan yönetim kurulu üyesi Armen Galustyan, “Dini ne olursa olsun Ermenilik de Türk gibi, Kürt gibi, Arap gibi bir ırktır, bir millettir. Ermenilik bir düşmanlık değildir” dedi."
  18. "Türkiye'deki tek Ermeni köyü: Vakıflı". Ermeni Haber Ajansı. "Türkiye'nin Hatay ilinin Samandağ ilçesinde bulunan ve 160 kişilik nüfusunun tamamı Ermenilerden oluşan Vakıflı, Türkiye'deki tek Ermeni köyü. [...] Köyü, diğer köylerden ayıran nokta ise köy ahalisinin tamamının Ermenilerden oluşması."
  19. Vaux (2001), p. 1.
  20. Simonian (2007).
  21. Dubin & Lucas (1989), p. 126.
  22. Vaux (2001), pp. 1–2, 4–5.
  23. Andrews (1989), pp. 476–477, 483–485, 491.
  24. Simonian (2007a), p. 80.
  25. Hachikian (2007), pp. 146–147.
  26. Simonian (2007), p. xx, Preface.
  27. Danforth 2021, p. 125.
  28. Muller 1958, p. 305.
  29. Chisholm 1910, p. 426.
  30. Ralph 2005, p. 82.
  31. Dadoyan 2017, p. 53.
  32. Jackson 1913, p. 143.
  33. Sitwell 1938, p. 74.
  34. Robinson 1996, p. 286.
  35. Sorman 2013, p. 31.

Sources[change | change source]

  • Morris, Benny; Ze'evi, Dror (2019). The Thirty-Year Genocide: Turkey's Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894–1924. Harvard University Press. p. 211. ISBN 978-0-674-91645-6. But in 1939 the French transferred the Hatay to Turkey, and most of the Armenians left again. A few remained, though. Today one can visit their descendants at Vakifli, on the slopes of Musadağ. It is the only Armenian village in Turkey.
  • Simonian, Hovann H., ed. (2007). The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-135-79829-1.
    • Hachikian, Hagop (2007). "Notes on the Historical Geography and Present Territorial Distribution of the Hemshinli". The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey.
    • Simonian, Hovann H. (2007a). "Hemshin from Islamicization to the End of the Nineteenth Century". The Hemshin: History, Society and Identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey.
  • Vaux, Bert (2001). "Hemshinli: The Forgotten Black Sea Armenians". Harvard Working Papers in Linguistics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  • Dubin, Marc S. & Lucas, Enver (1989). Trekking in Turkey. South Yarra, Vic.: Lonely Planet. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-864420374.
  • Gellman, Mneesha (2016). Democratization and Memories of Violence: Ethnic minority rights movements in Mexico, Turkey, and El Salvador. Routledge. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-317-35831-2. Today, there are roughly 60,000 Armenian citizens of Turkey living in Istanbul (...)
  • Dadoyan, Seta B. (2017). The Armenians in the Medieval Islamic World: Armenian Realpolitik in the Islamic World and Diverging Paradigmscase of Cilicia Eleventh to Fourteenth Centuries. p. 53. One such case is that of the Ottoman imperial architect Sinan, an Armenian from Caesarea (...)
  • Ralph, Peters (2005). Beyond Baghdad. p. 82. Sinan, born an Armenian Christian.
  • Jackson, Thomas Graham (1913). Byzantine and Romanesque Architecture, Volume 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 143. They are many of them designed by Sinan, who is said to have been an Armenian.
  • Muller, Herbert (1958). The Loom of History. pp. 305. Although Turks today bridle at the suggestion, Sinan was probably an Armenian.
  • Danforth, Nicholas (2021). The Remaking of Republican Turkey. Cambridge University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-108-83324-0. Mimar Sinan's Armenian ancestry can now serve as evidence of Ottoman pluralism.
  • Chisholm, Hugh (1910). The Encyclopaedia Britannica; A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. Encyclopaedia Britannica. pp. 426. Sinan, an Armenian architect.
  • Sorman, Guy (2013). Economics Does Not Lie: A Defense of the Free Market in a Time of Crisis. Encounter Books. p. 31. ISBN 978-1594032547. (...) Daron Acemoğlu, an Armenian from Turkey (...)
  • Ersoy, Erkan Gürsel (2007). Ethnic identity, beliefs and yayla festivals in Çamlıhemşin. in The Hemshin. p. 320.
  • Agadjanian, Alexander (2016). Armenian Christianity Today: Identity Politics and Popular Practice. Routledge. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-317-17857-6. Exact numbers of Armenian in Istanbul vary by source; there are probably around 60,000 or 70,000.
  • Sitwell, Sacheverell (1939). Old Fashioned Flowers. Country Life. p. 74. The architect Sinan, perhaps of Armenian descent, raised mosques and other buildings all over the Turkish Empire.
  • Robinson, Francis (1996). The Cambridge Illustrated History of the Islamic World. Cambridge University Press. p. 286. In Istanbul they were propagated in buildings designed for the Ottoman sultans by the Armenian Balyan family of architects (...)
  • Goble, Paul (2017). "Islamicized Armenians in Turkey: A Bridge or a Threat?". Jamestown Foundation. One such group is the Hemshins of Turkey, a community of approximately 150,000 people who have Armenian backgrounds, often speak Armenian, but have become Islamicized.
  • Cheterian, Vicken (2015). Open Wounds: Armenians, Turks and a Century of Genocide. Oxford University Press. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-19-026350-8. This village, the sole remaining Armenian village in Turkey, has only 130 inhabitants.