Hemshin peoples

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The Hamshenis[a] (Armenian: Համշէնցիներ, romanized: Hamshents’iner) are an people of Armenian[1][2][3] origin who traditionally lived in the Rize and Artvin provinces in the Turkey. They are Armenian in origin, and were originally Christian and members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, but over the centuries evolved into a distinct group and converted to Sunni Islam after the conquest of the Ottomans of the region during the second half of the 15th century.[4]

Armenian: Համշէնցիներ, romanized: Hamshents’iner
Flag of the Hamsheni Armenians.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Turkey (Rize, Artvin), Russia (Krasnodar), Georgia, Abkhazia, Armenia.
Armenian (Homshetsi dialect)
Islam (Sunni)
Christianity (Armenian Apostolic)

History[change | change source]

The Principality of Hamamshen was founded in the 790.[7] After the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, Turkish influence emerged strongly in the region, after which the Seljuk Turks and other Turkic tribes established a strong presence in Central Anatolia and the Western Armenian Highlands, often referred to as Eastern Anatolia. In the 15th century, the principality of Hamamshen was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. During the Turkish rule, two most important developments are human migrations and conversions.[8][9] Most sources agree that prior to Ottoman era majority of the residents of Hemshin were Christian and members of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The details and the accompanying circumstances for the migrations and the conversions during the Ottoman era are not clearly known or documented.[10]

Language[change | change source]

Hamshenis are speak the Homshetsi dialect of Armenian. UNESCO has categorised Homshetsi as a language that is "clearly in danger".[11]

Genetics[change | change source]

The results of a 2011 genetic survey based on the Y-chromosomal markers of the Hemshin Armenians indicated the central part of the historical Armenian highlands as a plausible place of origin for the Hemshin population.[b]

Notable people[change | change source]

  • Damat Mehmed Ali Pasha (1813–1868) was an Hemshin statesman and diplomat. He served as the Grand Vizier of Ottoman empire from October 3, 1852, to May 14, 1853, on the eve of the Crimean War.
  • Mesut Yılmaz (1947–2020) - was an Hemshin politician. He was the leader of the Motherland Party (Turkish: Anavatan Partisi, ANAP) from 1991 to 2002, and served three times as Prime Minister of Turkey.
  • Tevtik İleri (1911–1961) - was an Turkified Hemshin civil engineer, civil servant, politician and government minister.
  • Murat Karayalçın (1943) - is a prominent politician of Hemshin origin.[13] He is a former foreign minister, deputy prime minister, and a former mayor of Ankara.

References[change | change source]

  1. Stokes 2008, p. 275.
  2. Wixman 2012.
  3. Waal 2018, p. 20.
  4. Simonian, Hovann H. "Preface" in The Hemshin: History, society and identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey. Hovann H. Simonian (ed.) London: Routledge, 2007, p. xx.
  5. 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."
  6. Russian Census, 2010.
  7. Simonian (2015), p. 3.
  8. Simonian, pp. 61–83.
  9. Beller-Hann, p. 340.
  10. Simonian, pp. 52, 58, 61–66, 80.
  11. Altunkaya, Tuba (2021). "Dünya nüfusunun yüzde 40'ı ana dilinde eğitimden yoksun: Türkiye'de 15 dil yok oluyor". Euronews. "Açıkça tehlikede: Abazaca, Hemşince, Lazca, Pontus Yunancası, Çingene dilleri, Süryaniceye benzeyen Suret, Batı Ermenicesi".
  12. Yepiskoposyan, Hovhannisyan & Khachatryan 2016, pp. 113–116.
  13. Karslıoğlu 2009, p. 235.

Sources[change | change source]

  • Beller-Hann, Ildiko. Hemshinli-Lazi Relations in Northeast Turkey. in The Hemshin. p. 340.
  • Karslıoğlu, Yusuf (2009). Doğu Karadeniz tarihi: otokton halkları ve etnik yapısı (in Turkish). Universal Yayınları. p. 235. (...) Ankara eski Belediye Başkanı Murat Karayalçın da Hemşinlidir.
  • Yepiskoposyan, Levon; Hovhannisyan, Anahit; Khachatryan, Zaruhi (2016). Genetic Structure of the Armenian Population. Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis. pp. 113–116. However, the results of the genetic survey based on the Y-chromosomal markers indicated the central part of historical Armenia as a plausible place of origin for the Hamsheni population (Margaryan et al. 2011).
  • Wixman, R. (2012). "K̲h̲ems̲h̲in". In P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill. (other designation, K̲h̲ems̲h̲ili), a numerically small group of Muslim (Sunnī) Armenians who had been converted from Christianity in the beginning of the 18th century.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: editors list (link)
  • Waal, Thomas De (2018). The Caucasus: An Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-19-068308-5. Hemshins, who live in northeastern Turkey, are recognizably both Muslim and of Armenian origin.
  • Stokes, Jamie, ed. (2008). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East. Infobase Publishing. p. 275. ISBN 978-1-4381-2676-0. The Hamshenis are an ethnic group of Armenian origin that inhabit primarily the coastal areas of Turkey, Russia, and Georgia; a small group also lives in Armenia. Some are Sunni Muslim while others are Christian.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Also known as Hemshinli, Hamamshenis, Hamshenis, Hamsheni Armenians or Homshetsi.
  2. "However, the results of the genetic survey based on the Y-chromosomal markers indicated the central part of historical Armenia as a plausible place of origin for the Hemshin population (Margaryan et al. 2011)."[12]