ASIA/TURKEY - Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, intimidation and fears for Turkish Armenians increase

Friday, 2 October 2020 middle east   oriental churches   wars   geopolitics  


Istanbul (Agenzia Fides) - The resurgence of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan around the Nagorno-Karabakh region is having worrying repercussions on Armenians living in Turkey. On the evening of 29 September, a convoy of cars paraded in front of the headquarters of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople, in the Kumkapi district (photo), while the occupants of the cars obsessively honked their horns and waved flags of Azerbaijan and Turkey. Ömer Çelik, the spokesman of the AKP (Justice and Development Party, currently in power) said that the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia will have no consequences for Turkish citizens of Armenian descent. In his statement, the spokesman for the party founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stigmatized the wave of insults and intimidation against Armenians unleashed on social media, after the provocation of the car parade with clear intimidating intent in front of the Armenian patriarchal headquarters: Çelik also reiterated via twitter that Turkey "does not allow discrimination among citizens". The Armenian deputy of the Turkish Parliament Garo Paylan, representative of the People's Democratic Party (HDP, opposition formation that unites pro-Kurdish and left-wing forces) has submitted a motion to Parliament regarding the statements with which the Turkish authorities have sided with Azerbaijan in the resumption of the conflict in the Caucasus. These positions - denounced Paylan, a native of Diyarbakir - have made the Armenian citizens of Turkey even more potential targets of intimidation and violence of a sectarian and xenophobic origin. The same concerns were also expressed by Yetvart Danzikyan, editor-in-chief of Agos, a publication published in Armenian and Turkish.
Paylan also asked for confirmation or denial regarding the news - also relaunched by French President Emmanuel Macron - according to which 300 jihadist militiamen from Syria reached the scenarios of the new Caucasian conflict crossing the Turkish territory, with the tacit consent of the authorities of Ankara.
In a climate of concern for the Armenian community living in Turkey, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, Sahak II Maşalyan, paid his inaugural visit to Bartholomew I on September 26th at the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which had been impossible due to the pandemic. During the meeting, the two patriarchs also discussed the new difficulties associated with the resumption of the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan and expressed a common wish that the conflict can be resolved quickly with God's will. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 2/10/2020)