One of the important problems of Turkish society today is the “identity crisis”. People who have been assimilated into the Turkish state at different times and their descendants are beginning to have serious doubts about their ethnicity, which are gradually deepening and turning into a crisis.

In this regard, the results of research conducted by English and German specialists are quite interesting, according to which 38-40% of the Turkish population do not consider themselves Turks. The “identity crisis” has different ways of developing and solving itself, which are often related both to the specific person and to the environment and circumstances surrounding him/her. In our opinion, it is precisely in this phenomenon that the process of searching for one’s roots is actively observed among the Islamized Armenians of occupied Western Armenia and their descendants. It should be noted that the paths to these roots or their significance may be different. Recently, practical examples of the above have been observed even more often in occupied Western Armenia, one or two of which should be distinguished.

  For example, Yashar Kurt, a well-known singer-songwriter in Western Armenia, admitted that he had been searching for his identity for many years and finally rediscovered his Armenian identity. It is interesting to note that his acquaintance and cooperation with singer Arto Tunjboyajyan and the Armenian Navy Band were important in this regard. In the interview with the newspaper “Agos”, Yashar Kurt expresses his thoughts on his ethnic identity with the following self-proclaimed statement:

“I’m probably Armenian…” and adds.

“I’ve opened a little hole in my identity now and I’m speaking more on my own behalf. There’s a door you’ve opened, but you can’t get in. There’s a gap there. Maybe the themes of my songs will change. I’m forty years old and I haven’t had much time to master my new identity, but I’m slowly starting to use some things.

  For example, when I was translating the Turkish state for the Armenian Navy Band, something very strange happened. A man asked in one of the stores. “Where are the friends from? When I said from Armenia, he asked. “Are you also Armenian?” This question was asked of me for the first time, and I answered, “Yes, I am Armenian…” People in identity crisis feel the need to confess at some point, and even then, the real prospect of being persecuted and isolated from society in the Turkish state is not an obstacle. A similar self-confessional letter was recently published in one of the Polish-Armenian electronic periodicals, where a Kurdish Armenian simply asked, “Who am I?”

In the letter, the author says that he is 28 years old and after studying his origin, he discovered that he is Armenian. Moreover, his Armenian origin was known to his family and friends, and therefore, even during children’s fights, his relatives blamed him for it. In order to prove that he was not Armenian, he became a devout Muslim, visited the mosque, but this did not change the attitude of his relatives. By the way, his parents did the same, even his grandfather sold his property and went to Hajj. However, this did not work out either. In Liz’s village in Mush, they continued to call themselves Armenians. He says he feels neither Muslim, nor Christian, nor Turkish, nor Kurdish. In recent years, Armenian self-awareness has begun to dominate, but he does not know Armenian and understands that he cannot be called a full Armenian.

“As you can see, I am experiencing identity confusion. Who am I? Armenian, Turkish, Kurdish…” He poses this question to readers, expecting an answer that is both complicated and unambiguous.

To be continued…

Ashkhen Virabi=yan

Journalist and analyst of Western Armenia TV