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Непрочитано 17.05.2008   #1
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По умолчанию To Be an Armenian in Turkey...

To Be an Armenian in Turkey...
Translated by the Armenian Weekly translation team
The Armenian Weekly
June 16, 2007

The following article, originally written in Turkish, was circulated on the
internet in early June. The name of the author is not known.

It is a strange feeling to be an Armenian in Turkey…
Even though after the so-called assassination of Hrant Dink, thousands of
people shouted “We are all Hrant, we are all Armenian,” even though many
others mistook that slogan for something else, it really meant “We are all
It is a strange feeling to be an Armenian in Turkey. In fact, one can
hardly get there just by shouting.
To be an Armenian in Turkey is to be asked to prepare topik (1) by friends
who know. It is telling the government official your name and getting a
peculiar look from him, then being asked “Are you Armenian?” with a
scornful stare. It is having your name misspelled everywhere. During
military service, to be an Armenian in Turkey is to be asked by your
friends to say kelime-i shahadet (2) (“just for once”).
And yet, it is to fall in love with the Maiden’s Tower (3), to be absorbed
in thought watching Istanbul from the Galata Tower (4).
To be an Armenian in Turkey is to have children who read anti-Armenian
remarks in their school books; it is to have no answer when they ask what
it means. To be an Armenian in Turkey is to be mentioned as “an Armenian
friend…but a really nice fellow.”
And yet, it is to sing Turkish classical music from the heart at a table
with fish, with raki (5), with midye dolma (6).
To be an Armenian in Turkey is to be called by some friends on some
occasions, who say “Don’t worry, they are ignorant. We know you, we love
To be an Armenian is to hesitate to say your name when you meet someone,
and when you do, it is the habit of trying to guess what the other person
is thinking from his or her face.
It is to brood over what you are going to tell your children if they hear
the ministers calling a terrorist leader an “Armenian seed.”
To be an Armenian in Turkey is to be asked what you think about the French
laws… It is to have to start your answer with a “so-called.” To be an
Armenian in Turkey is to be unable to become a dustman, unable to become a
civil servant.
And yet, it is to remember how much you love Turkey, when you throw simit
(7) to the seagulls on a ferry.
To be an Armenian in Turkey is to have non-Armenian teachers placed in your
schools—teachers who are told by some “important” people to be their “eyes
and ears.”
It is to find a subtle way to discourage your children from wanting to be
governors or ministers when they grow up. It is to have to convince them to
be something else, without breaking their hearts, without explaining
everything. Because to be an Armenian in Turkey is to be unable to become a
policeman, a civil servant, a deputy, an army officer, even though you are
a Turk. Unlike Turks in Germany, who can be all those things.
And yet, eating arabasi (8) soup, watching Hababam Sinifi (9), loving cig
kofte (10) is to be Armenian.
To think, to produce, to be an artist is to be Armenian.
Whenever the idea of emigration comes up, it is to think how much you love
this place.
To be timid like a pigeon.
And yet, it is to proudly sing the Independence March (11) every morning
and shout “Happy to be a Turk” in a Turkey where you don’t have a say…
Only when a Turk of Armenian descent becomes a civil servant or army
officer will I believe that I am regarded as a Turk. Until then, I’ll be
singing Edip Akbayram’s Aldirma Gonul (12).
That’s what it is to be an Armenian in Turkey—to be attacked by some when
you sing Sari Gelin (13) in Armenian, and then say “never mind” and start
singing it in Turkish. And, sometimes, it is to lie on the street with a
hole in your shoe, eternalizing your ideas, making thousands of people
learn to sing Sari Gelin in Armenian.
In short…
It is not an easy thing, to be an Armenian in Turkey. And yet it is
beautiful, different as much as beautiful. It’s a love affair, to be an
Armenian in Turkey.
When you are told to “leave if you don’t like it,” it is to say, “And yet,
this is my country as well.”

1 Armenian dish made with chickpeas, sesame seeds and onions.
2 Profession of faith in Islam, which means “I testify that there is no god
but Allah and I testify that Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.”
3 A tower that sits on a small islet located in the Bosphorus off the coast
of Uskudar, Istanbul.
4 A tower located in Istanbul, to the north of the Golden Horn.
5 An alcoholic beverage of Turkey.
6 Dish made with mussels.
7 Circular bread with sesame seeds.
8 A kind of chicken soup with batter.
9 Popular comedy film directed by Ertem Egilmez.
10 Raw kofte (meatballs), a specialty of Urfa region.
11 National anthem of Turkey.
12 A popular song, whose title roughly means “Never mind, my heart.”
13 Armenian/Turkish folk song.


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Непрочитано 30.05.2009   #2
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По умолчанию To Be an Armenian in Turkey

Got my 08 spring Turkey tag for our 3rd season.
Cant hardly wait till april. Get into the woods hearing those thunderchickens sounding off.

Anyone else going out ?
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