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Armenian Factor In Protests In Turkey And Azerbaijan

Naira HAYRUMYAN
LRAGIR.AM

The Armenian factor is acquiring more significance in the context of ongoing processes in Turkey and Azerbaijan. The reason is not the money spent by the Armenian government to throw a monkey wrench into the affairs of the neighboring countries. All happens automatically because, despite the genocide, displacement and other methods, the Armenian spirit is still alive in these countries. Appeals to restore the monument to the Armenian genocide were voiced in Taksim Square in Istanbul which used to be an Armenian cemetery for centuries. The monument was established in 1919 and was demolished in 1940. It was stated in the square that the stairs in the Gezi Park were built from Armenian gravestones. Turkish authorities blamed everyone for the protests in Gezi Park, including extremists, foreign forces and the West. Armenians have not been mentioned among the organizers yet. Meanwhile, in Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev called Rustam Ibrahimbekov, his future opponent in the next presidential elections, a henchman of Armenians.

Experts in Armenia reasonably warn that the participation of Armenians in protests in Turkey may lead to a new bloodshed. Armenian Nor Zartonk is among many other protesting organizations. But it is evident that the protests may become a stimulus for many Armenians hiding their identity to announce about their origins.

Serious processes have kicked off in Turkey which may not be limited to protests against Erdoghan. Different ethnic and religious groups which were forced to join the empire and which were deprived of history, freedom of expression, where everyone was considered “Turk” cannot exist for a long time. Meanwhile, everyone has the right to freedom of expression and identity.

Azerbaijan also has major identity-related issues. No one can say whether there is a state-building ethnos in this country. Turkic-speaking Azeris who are not Sunni like in Turkey but Shiites like in Iran, a lot of Kurds, representatives of other ethnicities, they all want to express their identity.

But now it is impossible in Azerbaijan. In sedentary nations, identity is associated with a particular territory, property, monuments. Deprivation of Armenians of identity in modern Turkey was accompanied by depriving them of their place of residence. And the issue of restoring the right to expression of one’s identity cannot pass unheeded in their area of residence and property. Just like in modern Azerbaijan: even after 500 years, traces of Armenian identity and property will still be found there. Not only appeals to restore the monument to genocide will probably be voiced in Turkey.