ASIA/TURKEY – A university conference on «crypto-Armenians»

Istanbul - The Foundation Hrant Dink –born to cherish the memory and ideals of the Turkish writer and journalist of Armenian descent who was assassinated in January 2007 - has begun work on a study conference on the phenomenon of «crypto- Armenians», people belonging to the Armenian people who converted to Islam to escape the mass murder of 1915. The initiative will be implemented in partnership with the department of scientific history of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. According to Turkish sources consulted by Fides Agency, the study seminar will deal with, for the first time, a sensitive issue. Several researchers consider verifiable in terms of historical conversion to Islam of at least 200 thousand Armenians - mostly women and children - that in the time of the "Great Evil" saved themselves from the extermination by declaring that they had embraced the Islamic religion and often taking to heart the secret of their Christian faith. A reflection of this trend is found in a socially widespread suspicion and discrimination that continue to affect Turkish citizens of Armenian origin in the ordinary dimensions of civil and social life. Scholars of different orientations will also be able to examine the side effects of this dimension of the Armenian genocide not yet explored.