Armenian community receives official support
Vercihan Ziflioğlu LOCAL
Bakırköy Mayor Ateş Ünal Erzen said that the municipality will cover all expenses incurred by the Yeşilköy Armenian School Graduates Association. DAILY NEWS photo.
Armenian community members in Istanbul came together in a cordial meeting with Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin and Bakırköy Mayor Ateş Ünal Erzen and gave messages of peace, fraternity and dialogue
Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin is taking a close interest in the problems of Turkey’s Armenians, community members have said in the wake of a recent meeting with Cabinet minister in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district.
“[Şahin] has always showed close attention to every sort of problem [that we have had.] He did not turn us down,” Arev Cebeci, an Armenian community representative who had applied to run for the Republican People’s Party (CHP) but was ultimately not selected as a candidate for the opposition party, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Oct. 9.
“What we want to explain is very important. We [express] our problems more clearly in this manner,” he said in relation to the recent contact between minority communities and Ankara on the ministerial level.
Şahin came together with members of the community on Oct. 9 for the commencement ceremony of the Yeşilköy Armenian School Graduates Association for the new season. CHP deputies Mevlüt Aslanoğlu and Süleyman Çelebi, as well as Bakırköy Mayor Ateş Ünal Erzen also attended the cordial meeting in the district’s Yeşilköy neighborhood.
Erzen said during the meeting that all expenses incurred by the graduate association throughout the season would be covered by the municipality. The municipality will meet over 40,000 Turkish Liras in expenses, Erzen told the Daily News.
Şahin, meanwhile, highlighted the dialogue between Turks and Armenians, who have been living together for centuries, and issued messages of fraternity and friendship.
During the meeting, Cebeci also highlighted Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s statement admitting that the state had seized property from minorities but was now “giving it back” through a recent decision. “When will our rights be restored? When will we assume official posts and achieve the status of equal citizens? When will we be able to become civil servants? I don’t want to tell stories to my children anymore, [I want to tell] the truth,” Cebeci said.
“These are the truths and realities. Mr. Arınç has issued a very courageous and appropriate statement,” Şahin said but avoided addressing Cebeci’s comments.
The selection of a new patriarch and the new draft constitution were also brought up during the meeting.
Patriarch Mesrop II of Turkey’s Armenians has not been able to perform his duties since 2007, as he has been afflicted with frontal dementia. For that reason, the Interior Ministry appointed Archbishop Aram Ateşyan, the head of the Spiritual Council, as the deputy patriarch in an unprecedented move. The entrepreneurial delegation, an Armenian organization independent of church authorities, filed a lawsuit against the ministry on the grounds that it intervened in the process. The trial is still underway.