Research to identify the state of Armenian migrants in Turkey

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Armenian migrant in Turkey

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpg (1)A qualitative research on the situation of the Armenian irregular migrant workers in Turkey was accomplished in 2009, supported by Norwegian Government. This challenging unique undertaking included five focus group discussions, and up to 150 in-depth interviews with representatives of NGOs working on migration issues, businesses leaders, civil society activists, media, and the migrants themselves in Turkey. The research provides critical details on the state of Armenian migrant in Turkey, dispels anecdotal evidence, increases awareness among Armenian and Turkish stakeholders of issues related to Armenian irregular migration to Turkey, and generates ideas for solutions to problems faced by migrants. It has been widely quoted in Turkey, Armenia and internationally.

EPF commissioned Alin Ozinoğlu (Ozinyan) to research the state of Armenian migrants working in Turkey. The research was conducted from April to August 2009.

Key Findings

• Most of all the Armenian workers in Turkey are women.

• Schoolchildren with Armenian citizenship cannot go to public schools.

• When a child of an Armenian couple is born in Turkey, the parents can’t apply for the citizenship for their child. They can’t take him/her to Armenia, so the child cannot receive an Armenian passport either.

• Armenian citizens were full of mistrust to Turks before they came to Turkey. Their attitudes drastically changed shortly after they arrive.

Please download the report from here: Armenian Immigrants’ Children to Attend Turkish Schools (25.03.2010)

The Turkish authorities are trying to get over the awkward situation it found itself in after Turkish Premier Recept Erdogan’s notorious statement.

Turkish Vice-Premier Bülent Arınç made a statement on the education of the illegal Armenian immigrants’ children. Premier Erdogan’s meeting with one of the influential members of the Armenian community Bedros Şirinoğlu scheduled for March 26 should be considered in this context. Bedros Şirinoğlu also admitted his responsibility for Erdogan’s citing the wrong figures – 100,000 illegal Armenian immigrants in Turkey. In fact, 70,000 of the Armenians are Turkish citizens, and only 30,000 are illegal immigrants.

In his interview with Hurriyet, Archbishop Aram Atesyan, the Chairman of the Religious Council, pointed out that at his meeting with Vice-Premier Arınç ten days before he had informed him of the problem. The Turkish Vice-Premier promised his help. Atesyan pointed out his regret over Erdogan’s statement in London, but the Turkish Premier explained later he had been misunderstood. The Archbishop pointed out that illegal Armenian immigrants’ children in the streets are not of any benefit to Turkey. Therefore, they must be allowed to attend schools.

Vice-Premier Arınç pointed out that only Turkish citizens have the right to attend schools owned by national minorities residing in Turkey. The Turkish Government, however, believes that Christian children living in Turkey for various reasons must receive education. “I consider the problem from a human point of view. An ‘illegal Armenian immigrant in Turkey’ is not a problem for us. We allowed national minorities to open their schools, and the children of people that arrived here can attend them. I do not see any problem. I discussed the issue at the Government’s sitting. Premier Erdogan welcomed the idea and issued a relevant instruction to the Minister of Education. I think progress will be made. The term ‘illegal Armenian children’ is not an end in itself for us. Turkey will not sustain any damage if these children attend our schools,” Arınç said.

The report was pubished on – ENG: – ARM; – RUS.