Raffi Bedrosyan
Author, Canada

Your paper is extremely valuable to anyone interested in Armenian issues of the past and present, but particularly essential and thought-provoking for anyone interested in getting involved in the future of Armenians in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora. I am sure you have heard from hundreds of readers deservedly praising and complementing your work, but I believe you would be more interested in hearing comments which may help improve the paper to be even more comprehensive and objective.  

While I agree with all of the valid points raised in the paper, I believe there is one critical issue missing. I apologize in advance for pointing out that the Armenian world and realities presented in the paper lacks one critical component of history and even more critical component of the future – which is the reality of the forcibly Islamized ‘hidden’ Armenians in Turkey. These people are the third and fourth generation descendants of the Armenian orphans who survived the 1915 Genocide, the living victims of the Genocide, forcibly Turkified and Islamized in Turkish orphanages, Turkish military schools, or taken into Turkish and Kurdish homes as maids, servants, adopted children, wives, mistresses or worse. It has now become apparent that most of these people never forgot their Armenian roots despite the horrible conditions that they endured, and secretly passed on the Armenian identity to the next generations. Certain events in Turkey in the 2010’s, in particular the reconstruction of the Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir (Dikranagerd) gave these hidden Armenians the courage to ‘come out’ and declare their Armenian identity, expressing their desire to return to Armenian roots, culture, language and in some cases, convert back to Christianity. This phenomenon, and the events that triggered it (and my role in these events) are explained in detail in my book ‘Trauma and Resilience. Armenians in Turkey – Hidden, not hidden and no longer hidden’. 

As described in my book, I have triggered some of the events helping the hidden Islamized Armenians return to their Armenian roots, by organizing Armenian language classes for them in different Turkish provinces, and by organizing trips to Armenia for hundreds of them from Diyarbakir, Van, Mush, Dersim, Sasun, Antep, Urfa and the Hamshen Region of northeastern Turkey, where the hidden Armenians continue speaking a dialect of Armenian even though they were Islamized several centuries ago. I have established a vast network called Project Rebirth, through which tens of thousands of hidden Armenians are in constant communication with me and more critically, with one another, cooperating, coordinating and organizing activities. I believe these efforts to organize the hidden Armenians should be expanded and structured beyond my individual means, by support from Armenian NGOs, cultural/political organizations and perhaps, even the Armenian government.  

I would welcome your comments, advice and further dialogue on raising awareness of this issue in your paper.


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