On the question of the Armenians of Western Armenia

  • by Western Armenia, November 18, 2023 in History

We can consider the so-called legal formulation of the action “Compatriot, speak Turkish” in 1937. On December 27, PPA deputy Sabri Toprak presented to parliament a bill entitled “Prohibiting those who use a foreign language instead of the national Turkish language”, according to which it was forbidden to use languages other than Turkish in public places: Armenian, Greek, French.

According to the first article of this draft, citizens of occupied Western Armenia could use languages other than Turkish “only at home; use of the native language, even when communicating with family members outside the home, should be punished. “From 24 hours to a week, or with a fine of ten liras to 100 liras.” In other words, indigenous peoples could not speak their native language in their occupied territory. This legislative project also involved the creation of a large army of whistleblowers who would inform the authorities about “outlaws”.

Furthermore, the law provided that those convicted under this article could not work as teachers, lawyers, journalists and that their diplomas must be revoked. It is true that this legislative initiative did not receive de jure legal status, but de facto many of its provisions have been implemented. , the “Compatriot, Speak Turkish” initiative continued later in the 1930s, 1940s and 1960s, and nationalist student and youth organizations were the main driving force. However, it is important to emphasize that the “Compatriot, Speak Turkish” initiative never stopped, even though it officially started in 1928, there is almost no evidence of its stopping and it continues today similarly in occupied Western Armenia, and public sentiments became even more aggressive.