Armenian Church in Turkey Demands List of ‘Categorized’ Armenians

15/8/13

ISTANBUL—The director of a Turkey-based Armenian church organization has asked the Interior Ministry to submit to it the list of Armenians codified in Turkish records as ethnic minorities.

Nazar Ozsahakian, the Chairman of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Foundation, has demanded the list, citing a Turkish law on freedom of information as a justified reason for accessing the records.

Knowledge about the Turkish government’s secret use of codes to categorize minority citizens was discovered last week by the Turkish-Armenian news agency Agos, despite evidently being in use since 1923. Armenians are marked with a number 2, Greeks are marked with 1, and Jews with number 3 in Turkish government registries.

Ozsahakian has told the Ministry’s Population and Citizens’ department that the list of Armenians residing in the Istanbul region is necessary for them ahead of the foundation elections.

“Since 1923, the Armenian community has been marked with code number ‘2’ in the population registers; the records are available in your agency. It is mainly the voters in the Sariyer region that elect [members of] the Bolajikyo Holy Trinity Episcopal Foundation. The Armenian community members of Sariyer are the main voters of our church’s foundation. But we are planning to conduct the election outside of the region as well, involving also the voters currently residing in Istanbul in order to allow for a more democratic poll. Hence, pursuant to the Law on Information, we request you to provide the Armenian community’s list, which bears the code number two,” reads the request.

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