Book Reviews

The Armenians in Modern Turkey

Talin Suciyan, received her PhD at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, where she currently teaches a course titled Near and Middle Eastern Studies.

During the Armenian genocide of 1915, over one million Armenians perished at the hands of Ottoman gendarmes and various other so called security agencies.

Up to that time, thousands of Armenians had worked for the various levels of governments in official and responsible positions; some had even managed to better the treasury of the empire.

It should be noticed that Armenians had farmed most of the eastern and southeastern Asia Minor successfully and excelled in trade, and jewellery making. Millions lived peacefully with Turks, Kurds, Jews, and Pontic Greeks for centuries.

Occasionally, Kurds confiscated Armenian wealth under several guises, and the government exploited their dominance during the genocide as well.

Armenian intellectuals lived mostly in Istanbul; believing that Germany, France, Britain and the U S A would politically at least, protect them.

As it happened, German officials contributed or instigated the genocide pointing out to Ottoman officials that Armenians could potentially contribute to a revolution and claim many parts of the Ottoman Empire.

Suciyan analyses the social conditions of Armenians remaining in Istanbul and in the Provinces, the legal aspects after the Turkish Republic was formed in 1923, anti-Armenian campaigns, and religious crises within the community up to 1950`s.

The book is detailed, and well researched based on Turkish government archives, and interviews with Armenian still living there, and those who managed to escape to neighbouring or western jurisdictions.

She documents how the government discriminates all non-Muslims by barring them from government employment, and entices Turks to patronize only Turkish enterprises.

Even after 1950`s when the U S A started to exchange high-school students, all Christians were barred from applying or practice guiding tourists for fear of telling visitors prevailing living conditions.

Many Armenian families in the provinces were forced to convert to Islam to escape persecution, but were still denigrated by being called `converts`.

In short, even today, after 100 years, the successor of the Ottoman Empire, supposedly laic Republic of Turkey treats all non-Muslims as second-class citizens, and occasionally uses naive individuals to eliminate Armenian newspaper editors, as was the case a few years ago with Hrant Dink.

The author ably demonstrates and documents how the Turkish government actually discriminates against Armenians overtly and covertly.

This outstanding, and well-researched book should be in all public-  and private libraries of al Armenians world over.

After all, it is due to the genocide that Armenians were forced to emigrate to literally all over the world from Chile to China and beyond.

Highly recommended.





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