19 March 2010, 18:00

Turkey makes films about Armenian women kidnapped during WWI

Young Turkish film directors Muzhde Arslan and Aitar Demirtas are making films about the Armenian girls who were kidnapped during World War I and then forced to marry Turks.

"Later these women feared confessing that they were Armenians. In my film 'Disbelievers' Daughters' I try to narrate their tragic fate. It's difficult, as they aren't alive. Their stories can be learnt and restored only from their descendants," Mr Arslan said.

Film of his colleague Demirtas 'Asine' deals with the same subjects. According to the director, he wants to make a film with the aim to bring "the topics banned in Turkey for long to the attention of the public": "My grandmother Asine was an Armenian, who was forced to marry my grandfather during World War I. I've learnt this story quite recently was pretty much surprised that I have Armenian roots," said Mr Demirtas.

Stepan Grigoryan, head of the Analytical Centre for Globalization and Regional Cooperation, said in his interview to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent when characterizing the situation of Armenians living in Turkey that "today the Armenians living in the Turkish environment are extremely wide awake and cautious."

According to Aikazun Alvartsyan, a senior scientific worker at the Centre of Armenian Studies of the Yerevan State University, "unfortunately, the Armenians' century-old instinct of self-preservation in the Turkish environment prevails over the full-fledged cultural and spiritual life and knowledge of the Armenian language."

Mr Alvartsyan has expressed his regret that 80 percent of Istanbul Armenians are already Turkic-speaking. The Armenian community of Turkey, first of all, of Istanbul, where the overwhelming majority of Armenians living in this country are concentrated, "while having great potentials, is weakly tied to its Homeland." "A great problem is also in sharp shortage of Armenian language teachers," he said.

As stated by Ruben Melkonyan, a turcologist and deputy dean of the department of oriental studies of the Yerevan State University, told journalists that Turkey's long-term policy was in Islamization of Armenians; and today about one million of descendants of the Armenians who had been violently converted into Islam live in Turkey.

Author: Lilit Ovanisyan; Source: CK correspondent

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