CAUCASUS > Armenian candidate reveals Anatolian roots

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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Hovhannisian gained headlines after
staging a strike against Sargsyan.

Hovhannisian gained headlines after staging a strike against Sargsyan.

Vercihan Ziflioğlu Vercihan Ziflioğlu vercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr

Raffi Hovhannisian, the most prominent rival of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan for the country’s Feb. 18 presidential elections, has revealed that he is the descendent of Armenians saved during the 1915 events by their non-Christian neighbors.

“My mother’s family comes from Garin [the present-day eastern province of Erzurum], and my father’s family is from Harput [the former name of the eastern province of Elazığ],” Hovhannisian recently told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that he often visited East Anatolia.

“My grandmother Khengeni was saved from the genocide by a Turkish family in Erzurum. My grandfather Kaspar was saved by a Kurdish family in Harput,” he said.

The son of Richard Hovhannisian, a professor in the United States, Raffi Hovhannisian was born in the U.S. and came to Armenia in 1988 to help rescuers after a strong earthquake that hit the country at the time. Two years later, he decided to settle permanently in the country.

Speaking about relations with Turkey, Hovhannisian said ensuring that the 1915 mass killings of Armenians are recognized as “genocide” would be a must if he is elected.

“Turkey, based on its own needs and interests, should recognize the great genocide and national dispossession of the Armenian people, seek full redemption and effect restitution, restore Armenian cultural heritage, ensure a secure right of return,” he said.

Hovhannisian, meanwhile, said Turks who saved Armenians during the mass killings would be commemorated in Yerevan on the centenary of the event in 2015.

Hovhannisian, a former foreign minister and the founder of Armenia’s Heritage Party, gained headlines after staging a hunger strike against Sargsyan two years ago.

“It was a fast for freedom, rule of law, and the supremacy of rights,” he said.


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Notice on comments


2/24/2013 6:02:47 PM

Correction: Wikipedia used to be a source of objective information, way before it was taken over by Armenian and Greek nationalist editors who are bent on re-writing history there. It is now the least reliable source for all matters concerning Turkey, Ottomans and their history. See examples below!

Antranik Keusseyan

2/2/2013 9:35:10 PM

More from WikipediA "...During a video interview with Raphael Lemkin, the interviewer asked him about how he came to be interested in this genocide. He replied; "I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times. First to the Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action." I now rest my case... AK

Antranik Keusseyan

2/2/2013 9:31:13 PM

WikipediA is a good educational starting point -- Genocide is "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars. While a precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG).

Ken Alden

1/27/2013 7:44:38 AM

The prelude to the "Days of sorrows", was the name used by the Armeniians to depict the Tragedy that befall them during the Ottoman attempt to Ressetle the civilian population into Syria, composed of very old men, woomen and Children. Their military escort was indifferrentto their suffering and as such ended in the Tragedy. Two Pasha's in charge of the operation faced Military Tribunal, were found guilty of Neglegenceand condemned to death. The evnets that made resettlemt were military nessesit

Ken Alden

1/27/2013 7:37:10 AM

.....According to figures of the Armenian National Congress Commitee, there were 36 registered "Freedom Fighter" Groups operating behind Turkish lines, takking totalling 10.463 (According to Western estimates there were 57.000 men They were fed and sheltered by Armenian Population, operated at night and melded into local population by day.The evacuation was a urgent Militsri nesseccity, to deny suport to a enemy who was raising havoc to Military and local Non- Armenian population!......

Ken Alden

1/27/2013 7:29:09 AM

the Word "Genocid?e was created do describe the "Third Reich's" design on Jewish People. It bacame a custom made word for the Armenians, there is no ned to explain their own betrayal of the Country of their Birth! No need to admit that they were exploited by the West, just to discomford the Ottomans. One can hardly meet an Armenian these days, who will proudly inform you, "You know, we are Victims of Genocide" What Genocide?

Antranik Keusseyan

1/27/2013 12:11:27 AM

Murat, you're singing in a blizzard! History books already registered what needs to be registered! You obviously also don't know about the economy of your own country! Turkey's economy is in good shape; paused to be 1 of the 10 largest economies in the world. The problem you have is in future direction: you cannot become fully westernized because of inner forces, and you have stumbled on leading the Islamic World. Leading countries all have balanced societies, unfortunately you killed yours.


1/25/2013 7:24:10 PM

"Unfortunately, men with poor vision cut it short... " Yes, just imagine if there were no Tashnak and Hincak, a Church at their service and their murderous armed revolts and collaboration with Czar's armies, imagine no Greek invasion of Western Turkey. Just imagine a diaspora not bent on blood feud, re-writing history and politics of hate. This could have been a very different country, richer and more at peace with itself and neighbors.

Antranik Keusseyan

1/23/2013 7:15:10 PM

If we bring the Azeris into this discussion, then we need to bring in the Palestinians, others, & lose focus! We all have something to say, but no one can erase the pages of history... The saddest thing in all this is, Armenians, wherever we ended in our Diaspora, added to the prosperity of host Nations. We would have loved to do it in our own homeland. The "good" Armenians contributed to in Turkey are many, & are imbedded in Turkish history! Unfortunately, men with poor vision cut it short...

Ozan Leman

1/23/2013 4:44:06 AM

I wonder if the 1 million Azeris who were ethnically cleansed from their homeland are allowed to return. You know the ones who are living in soviet era housing units in Azerbaijan
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