Malatya Armenians expect from Turkey Genocide recognition, property return and equal rights

Malatya Armenians expect from Turkey Genocide recognition, property return and equal rights –

ARMENPRESS – The minorities, living in Turkey, including Armenians, by now cannot feel full-pledged citizens of the state, even having lived in those territories for many years. The stereotypes of an “enemy” and a “traitor” formed towards the Armenians make the Armenians feel alienated in the society, where they live. Nevertheless, the positive trend to return to the own identity continues among the Armenians, living in the historical Armenian sites of Turkey. Armenpress had a talk with Garbis Evyapan, the Chairman of the Union of Malatya’s Armenians, whose Malatya “Hayder” organization also carries out enormous work to not only preserve the Armenians’ identity, but also to restore the Armenian monuments.

– How many Armenians live in Malatya at present? Do they conceal their identity or speak about it openly?

– At this moment there are about 60 Armenians in Malatya. They all openly state that they are Armenians and do not hide their identity.

– In what state the Armenians’ cultural monuments are?

– The works, directed to the security of the Armenian cemetery of Malatya, tree planting, construction of the altar and body wash facility, have been completed. The restoration of the two local half-ruined churches is underway.

– Will events, devoted to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, be organized in Malatya?

– As our Union was established in Istanbul, it carries out its main functions right here. We will take part in the events, to be held in Istanbul. And concerning the possible commemoration events in Malatya, the local population will decide on that.

– Do you expect that Turkey will recognize the Armenian Genocide?

– Turkey should recognize the Armenian Genocide. The most important thing is that the Turkish state should constitutionally recognize the minorities as equal citizens of the country, who have lived under the Treaty of Lausanne for hundred years. Besides, the state should provide an environment, where the Armenians are able to practice their religion freely and live with their historical identity. The state should also return the property, seized from the Armenians. It is necessary that the state begins a special educational campaign, which will eliminate from the people’s mind the stereotypes of “revenge”, “betrayer” and “gâvur”, connected with the Armenians. The people should be explained that the Armenians and not only they, are the key elements of the country. And only when the people, not imposed by the state, but by their own will, begin believing these things, most problems might be considered settled. We especially want to be constitutionally entitled to equal citizenship.

Interview by Araks Kasyan


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