Turkey's Armenians - The ghosts of 1915

The Economist 30 January 2013

MARISSA Kucuk was a little old Armenian lady who lived on her own in Samatya (pictured above), a picturesque neighbourhood of Istanbul where Christians and Muslims used to rub along peacefully. On December 28th Ms Kucuk, 85, was found dead in her apartment. She had been stabbed, repeatedly. Relatives said a crucifix was carved onto her naked corpse.

Last week, a masked assailant attacked another elderly Armenian as she was entering her apartment. He punched her in the head. When she fell to the ground he began kicking her. "My mother’s mouth was filled with blood…the neighbours came to the rescue when she screamed for help and the man fled,” Maryam Yelegen, told AGOS, a Turkish Armenian weekly.

The attack marks the fifth in the past two months against elderly Armenian women (one has lost an eye). All of the attacks took place in Samatya, which is home to some 8,000 Armenians and the seat of the Armenian Orthodox Patriarchate.

Opinion remains divided as to whether these are organised hate crimes targeting non-Muslims or just random theft. Istanbul’s governor, Huseyin Avni Mutlu, insists that it was the latter. "The incident was inspired by robbery, there were no racial motives. Be sure we will find the perpetrators. Good night,” he tweeted to some 100,000 followers. (continue reading...)