After the February 6 earthquake, an intensive migration movement began in occupied Western Armenia. Reasons such as lack of housing, inconvenience of living in tents and difficulties in meeting basic needs are only the visible side of migration. However, the main reason is the state policy, which is different from the obvious reasons. The forced migration of people living in earthquake-affected cities is characterized by a policy of denial and assimilation.

Berivan Gunesh, co-chairman of the Tigranakert Urban Development Committee, drawing attention to the fact that the government composed of the Justice and Development and Nationalist Movement parties, with the help of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, has forced the people of the region to migrate to the west. “We should consider the provinces of Aydin, Mugla, Izmir, Antalya and Mardin, where the government has been investing in industry and energy for years. Recently, the government has prepared serious investment programs, especially in these states. In this regard, a cheap labor policy is applied to the migrant population here.”

Noting the direct link of migration to the policy of assimilation, Gunesh assesses its historical context as follows: “In the 1500s, Yavuz Sultan Selim implemented a policy of displacement towards Armenians, Kurds and Alevis, which continued during the Republic period. The policy of forced migration is still carried out by the state, even after this earthquake. 

The earthquake is seen as an opportunity to complete a 500-year policy of assimilation.” The Republic of Western Armenia has repeatedly referred to the assimilation policy carried out by the Turkish authorities through its various channels, but it should be noted that these efforts are no longer able to stop the process of ethnic unconsciousness of the indigenous people living in its own territory, yet neither internal migration nor forced emigration can prevent them from finding their roots and appropriating the title of citizen of the Republic of Western Armenia and all the rights derived from it.