1761) What do the Armenians of Turkey think?

What do they have to say? And what are they going through? Do we actually want to listen to them? Are they the "traitors" that their Diaspora countrymen pretend they are? We wanted to meet and speak to them directly.

The simplest question to ask them would be: "Do you experience any problems in Turkey?" In fact, who do not have problems in this country? The journalist, who is writing this article, has lost her mother in a car accident. As for her father, a former journalist, university professor and Social-Democrat Minister of Culture, was assassinated by Islamist terrorists. When you live in Turkey, problems do not occur because of your nationality, your gender, or your ethnic group. They just overwhelm you, "full stop" but the burden is shared collectively. Turkey is such a beautiful country, nice to live in, where people show solidarity in sharing problems and who use their sense of humour to overcome them.

Of course, it will be too easy to pretend that the Armenians living in Turkey have the same problems as everyone else. However, we can affirm that they experience the same problems as the minorities living in any democratic country. The first conclusion that we can draw from our meeting with the Armenians of Turkey is that some people try to provoke them. Their life is disturbed, not necessarily by the Turks but rather by external interventions, particularly by the Diaspora.

We have ourselves experienced quite a striking situation, when we went to meet the Armenians of Istanbul. We had to look for the "Armenian area" in Beykoz, which is an area we do not know well. So, we had to stop at a grocery shop to ask the way. We asked a Turk, seated comfortably outside his shop:

- Sorry to disturb you: where is the Armenian area?

The man gave us a suspicious look:

- Why do you want to go there?
- We want to meet some friends.

The man got up, approached our car, examined us, and examined particularly inside the car, controlling us like he was a policeman. He insisted:

- Who are your Armenian friends?

Running out of patience, we explained:

- Listen, we are journalists. We are here for an interview and it is not your concern with whom…
Then, the man said politely:

- Please excuse me for my conduct! But nowadays, we are really worried for our Armenian friends. There is a bit of tension and we are suspicious of foreigners. We like them, you know, and we do not want anything bad to happen to them . . . I know all of them: they are our friends.

We were touched. Later on, we will have the opportunity to see for ourselves the strong friendship between Turks and Armenians when listening to and observing the people living in that area.



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