Several years ago, first visited the Armenian church in Brussels, I was very shocked to find diligently praying Kurds. Many Kurds, and yes even speaking the Kurdish language, it was in the courtyard of the church built by all the canons of the Armenian temple architecture. To my surprise friends said that it was a long and sad story, but for me to understand what was happening, they introduced me to several of these "Kurdish".
The story of my new friends "Kurd" was striking, and very clearly reminded me of the documentary footage of Western Armenia: torn, empty, bloodstained. Before his eyes swept paintings ruthlessly destroyed scimitar peaceful Armenians. But I saw and survivors of the Turkish atrocities: the Armenians, who were lucky enough to survive surrounded by enemies and keep in secret from those around her Armenian "I". And all this in terms that prohibit them speak the Armenian language, profess the Armenian Christian faith.
Many of them islamize. In addition to the Armenians of Istanbul, in other regions of Turkey, the Armenians would be dangerous to speak Armenian, even the simple mention of his ethnicity. Even in the most "European capital" of Turkey's Armenians are afraid to speak in public places in their native language. This situation persists to this day.
I have long and eagerly asked questions of my new friends: how they living in Turkey, Armenians, succeeded in similar conditions, risking their lives to preserve their identity and, moreover, the faith? I was interested in the origin of their names (they are Turkish names) and why do they have with the Turkish name? It turned out that in 1936, was passed in Turkey are still active racist laws (Hell canon), under which the Turkish government by force has replaced the Armenian name for Turkish. That decision, which, incidentally, concerned not only Armenians but also other Christian nations, "explained" concern for national minorities that Turks do not harm them. In fact, the law reflects the desire to assimilate non-Turkish people living in the state of nations.
Turkey hoped that after some time they forget their roots: not having the right to speak your own who can not be national names, profess their own faith, they are intended Turks were gradually transformed into Turks. You must know that Turkey is in the public registers recorded all its citizens the encrypted code: every nation, every religion is designated a special code. It is understandable that people with non-Turkish Code has always been under scrutiny intelligence state.
I was surprised that even adult children (35-45 years), these men very well spoken, read and write in Armenian, and parents - no. I could not understand how this was possible? It turns out that, starting from 60-ies, Istanbul Armenians began to be interested in the fate of Anatolian Armenians as well as to hear about, and what more Armenians live. However, while the Armenians were forbidden trip to Anatolia, and the Mount Ararat more so, and not allowed to go near. But since the Istanbul Armenians were very different from the population of other regions of Turkey, and then they go to Anatolia could not: they would soon recognize that caused big problems. Then they decided to pretend to be journalists, and visit the Anatolia press card. So they went almost all the villages of Anatolia, which found living under the protection of Kurdish sheikhs and yeah a lot of Armenian families. Armenians say they were mainly in the Kurdish language.
Journalists familiar with them, telling them about the then-Soviet Armenia, and offered to take their children to study in Istanbul: rescue from imminent assimilation. Of course, the most difficult thing was to take these children in Istanbul. Withdrew their often one, rarely - for some children, from different localities, as there was a huge danger to be lighted. "Journalists" risked a minimum of freedom. So were saved many Armenian kids, among whom, incidentally, was Hrant Dink.
Expenditures for maintenance and education of children took the Armenian community of Istanbul. Children are taught in Armenian schools (in Istanbul, there are several Armenian schools and Armenian churches), they lived in boarding houses. Children are surrounded with care and warmth of adults, and even now they face brightens at the memory of those years, I think, not make a mistake, calling the period of their life period of recovery and return to the roots. Many of the rescued children now occupy important posts, have a good position, and, most importantly, it is - mostly true patriots, tirelessly seeking a just solution to the question of the Armenian Genocide. These children are now often seen in the Armenian diaspora organizations.
Unfortunately, a few Patriots organizers save our children, the Turkish government has accused that they seek to transform Turkish children (do not forget, the names have saved from the assimilation of Turkish children were) in Armenians. Activists of this noble movement were arrested and sentenced to various prison terms. Other activities of the Armenian patriots became impossible.
Recently, however, there are many details that the Anatolian Armenians increasingly express their Armenian origin, regardless of religious affiliation. There are cases when Islamized Armenians without fear of standing up for every Armenian in the region, but the most interesting facts in the appeals court to change the name on the Armenian. Many of Islamized Armenians baptized in the Armenian churches.
In the 80 years, owing to the difficulties of artificially created for them by the Turkish government, the majority of the Armenians in Istanbul began to travel to Europe and America. So, if in 60-ies in Istanbul, about 200 thousands of Armenians by the beginning of the 90 they have only 30 thousand. Most of the Armenian schools were left without pupils, which meant that they had to shut down: by law, if there are not enough students, the school have the right to close or convert to Turkish. Thus, the dying Istanbul Armenian community, unfortunately, can cause loss of many, many Armenian children in Western Armenia.