Samatya attacks ‘not nationalist crimes’

Samatya attacks ‘not nationalist crimes’

Samatya attacks ‘not nationalist crimes’

Police is searching a particular suspect for the recent attacks on old Armenian women in the Samatya neighborhood of Fatih, mayor Demir says.

There is “little chance” that the recent attacks on elderly Armenian women are motivated by nationalism, Fatih Mayor Mustafa Demir has said.

“We need to be prudent when speaking about those attacks. I would like to wait before I speak,” Demir told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

“In all those attacks there has been theft as well, so it seems there is little chance of it being nationalist crimes if you look into the details.”

Samatya, which has seen several attacks on elderly Armenian women in recent months, is an Istanbul neighborhood located in the Fatih district.

Demir, however, said he sympathized with a rally staged earlier this month protesting the attacks. “I understand those rallies to draw attention to the incidents. There is a reflex in the community after the murders of Priest [Andrea] Santoro, Hrant Dink or Zirve,” Demir said, referring to three separate murders of minorities or non-Muslims in Turkey. “But the consciousness has been really high since the Dink murder. I think those [recent] attacks should not be held in the same regard as what has happened in the past.”

On Dec. 28, 2012, Marissa Küçük was stabbed seven times before her throat was slit in her home in Samatya. Two separate attacks were carried out in the past month against elderly Armenian women in the Samatya and Bakırköy districts as well. One of the women, 87-year-old Turfanda Aşık, lost an eye, while the other woman was robbed and severely injured. Most recently, 84-year-old Sultan Akyar was attacked in Samatya, after which she required eye surgery.

Demir added that the municipality is in contact with the police department, which is searching for one suspect who is allegedly responsible for four attacks.

The mayor added that Armenians were an important part of Samatya, adding that he hoped that “this richness would not be lost.”