Turkey’s parliamentary campaign debate about the government’s treatment of ethnic minorities prompted hope among the country’s ethnic Armenians, its largest non-Muslim minority, that greater tolerance could be in the wind. But as Turkish-Armenians take stock of their situation post-election, a mood of caution still prevails.
Only some 300,000 ethnic Armenians are believed to have remained in Turkey after the 1915-1918 massacres of ethnic Armenians by Ottoman Turks. Today, most members of Turkey’s estimated 50,000-strong ethnic Armenian community reside in Istanbul; a tiny minority of ethnic Armenians, who converted to Islam, live in the regions of Tunceli and Artvin.
Diaspora Armenians may think first of genocide recognition when Turkey comes to mind, but for those Armenians who live in Turkey, another issue carries equal importance – seeing an ethnic Armenian elected to Turkey’s parliament.
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a reporter for ArmeniaNow.com in Yerevan.