BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
This was one of those weeks when, seemingly, there were simultaneously lots of topics to write about, but also, nothing to write about. I considered a community involvement phenomenon I’ve noticed, RoA’s upcoming 20th re-independence anniversary, Erdogan’s (portentous?) fall from his (high) horse, the Arab world’s rumblings/developments and their relevance to us, and on and on. But Wikileaks came to the rescue.
The particular document refers to the Turkish government’s anti-Armenia paranoia. Its information might even explain why they tie Armenians in to the PKK and Kurdish stirrings in general. The key quote is:
“Ankara was basing its suspicions on the meticulous population registry (nufus kutugu) of family lineage which, among other things, shows how many citizens— especially concentrated in certain regions of the east and southeast— actually have an Armenian background underneath their forebears’ voluntary or forced conversions or adoptions during the period when Armenians were being deported and murdered en masse by the Ottoman authorities and local Muslim bands.”
So, the Turkish government knows, far better than any Armenian or Armenian organization, how many crypto-Armenians there are in Turkey. And this doesn’t even include, presumably, those forcibly de-Armenianized during the bulk (and earlier part) of the Ottoman Empire’s existence.
So it’s time for our Ph.D. candidates to start digging up the documentation in the “nufus kutugu” and compiling massive family trees. Simultaneously, Armenians visiting the Western, occupied, part of our homeland, should start a hair collection. They should get a strand of hair from any crypto-Armenians they encounter, along with any family information they can (or feel safe enough) to provide, including village of family origin. Then, let the DNA analysis begin! (CSI to the rescue!) This genetic database, crossed with the genealogical data the Turks have been so kind to compile, and combined with equivalent genetic and genealogical data on Armenians outside Turkey (primarily, though not exclusively, in the Diaspora) could generate another powerful legal argument in the pursuit of our rights.
Who knows? Perhaps a few million people might be afforded the opportunity to return to their roots! And these are in addition to the Hamshentzees who are already a known group of Islamicized Armenians who still speak our mother tongue.
As a bonus, this kind of Western Armenia-directed effort might make some of the (mis)rulers of the RoA behave a little better towards Diasporans who seek to set up shop and residence there when they realize RoA is no longer “the only game in town” for Diasporan attention.
Let’s start amassing data and reconnecting with the almost-forgotten portion of our homeland.