Turkey Moves to Deport Armenian Workers after French Vote

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan (Photo by Nanore Barsoumian)

From The Armenian Weekly

ISTANBUL–Turkey is set to amend a law that aims to rid the country of illegal workers. Many view this move as retaliation against Armenians, in light of the new bill criminalizing Armenian Genocide denial in France.

Different estimates in Turkey put the number of Armenian citizens in the country at as low as 10,000 and as high as 100,000. Many of them are women, and they are employed in low-skill jobs.

“This country, which Mark Levene called ‘the Genocide zone,’ throughout its history has made it a habit to deport, expel, and relocate innocent people as retaliation and punishment for things they did not do, or have no connection to at all,” human rights advocate Ayse Gunaysu told the Armenian Weekly Editor Khatchig Mouradian.

The amendment to Law No. 5683 on Residence and Travel of Foreign Subjects will be ratified on Feb. 1. In the past, people from the region migrated to Turkey on tourist visas, finding employment and becoming illegal workers. After a few months, they would leave and reenter the country on a new tourist visa (a process called “visa runs”). The workers hailed mostly from countries such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Ukraine, Indonesia, and Armenia. The new system will force migrants to stay out of the country for 90 days between two entries. Authorities are set to strictly enforce the new law, penalizing visa overstays and runs.

However, the amendment allows for employees who wish to keep their workers to pay a salary of TL 1,330 ($744), and an insurance premium, reported Bianet.org. The minimum wage in Turkey is TL 701 ($392), and it is unlikely that an unskilled worker will make significantly more than that.

Back in March 2010, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan hinted at retaliation against Armenian migrant workers if Genocide resolutions were passed in foreign parliaments. In a discussion about Genocide resolutions in the U.S. and Sweden, he told the BBC’s Turkish Service that of the 170,000 Armenians living in Turkey, only 70,000 are Turkish citizens. “We are turning a blind eye to the remaining 100,000… Tomorrow, I may tell these 100,000 to go back to their country, if it becomes necessary.”

It appears the French bill was the last straw for Erdogan’s government. On Jan. 25, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters that “Turkey’s response to the adoption of the bill had long been decided.”

President of the Migrants’ Association for Social Cooperation and Culture Sefika Gurbuz called the law a “threat to Armenians,” reported Bianet.

Meanwhile, Gunaysu characterized Turkey’s response a “black comedy.” “The ongoing blackmail and threats  against France is itself proof of guilt as well as a manifestation of lack of dignity and self-respect, despite—of course—pathetic demonstrations of national pride,” said Gunaysu.

Gunaysu, who is a member of the Committee Against Racism and Discrimination of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, pointed out the country’s history of deporting innocents peoples. In 1915 the Young Turk regime began its systemic deportations of Armenians as a main tool to rid the Eastern provinces of a native population. “They still tell lies that it was because treacherous Armenians, whereas hundreds of thousands of Armenians were not engaged in any political activity whatsoever,” said Gunaysu. Then it was the turn of Turkey’s Kurdish and Greek populations. “The republican period is full of Kurdish deportations, especially in 1938 during and after the Dersim massacres,” she said. “In 1964, the Turkish government expelled 40,000 Anatolian Greeks, forbidding them to bring along any personal belongings over 20 kg and $20,  as a retaliation against Greece in connection with the Cyprus issue—a deportation which is still terribly painful in the memories of these people.”

Gunaysu added, “The mindset from which this policy of retaliation originates is racist, inhuman, and brutal.  The rulers of Turkey have once more proven that [the government] still follows the same path as that of  their  predecessors  back in 1915 and all along the history of the Republic.”

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  1. Christo said:

    So, now the diaspora is supposed to stop all activities because of a bunch of illegals in RoT! We as Americans should thank Obama, since one of his closest allies is Erdogan, and I’m sure this new tactic had the blessing of the state department.

    • Levon Lokmanian said:

      We should all vote third party ,neuther gop nor democrats they both play games with us and bow down to the turkish boots

  2. Anastasia said:

    This action Turkey has taken out on the Armenian workers
    Is just giving the world’s perception of Turkey as 100% Guilty for such a
    Mortifying Genocide inflicted upon our Ancestors!!

  3. Hayq said:

    And this is why not the Armenian Genocide should have been recognized in 1920!

    The Turkish in majority do not have fault in this. It is their government, and therefore it should be punished to ensure that things like this never happen again!

  4. Barry said:

    Regardless of what this lady thinks if they are ileagal immigrants they simply shouldn’t be there. They are taking the jobs of real citizens. I’m from Australia I know my government won’t stand for something like this. Just goes to show how simple the armenian people are. Typical of them crying. Let me guess this is an act “genocide”. PATHETIC!

    • Basil said:

      Got to love those “Christos” and “Barrys” here, spewing their turkish hate. I hope you keep that in mind when Germany starts deporting 2 millions tolerated Turks from Germany. But from our experience with your Khocali, unjustified crying is a turkish thing..

    • V.K said:

      Barry, you are an Australian, you shouldn’t throw rocks when you are living in a glass house..we all know where the majority of the Australians came from, what they did to the aboriginies…Go to the site, Ancestry.com and see if your great grandfathers were the convicts and the murderers that Britain got rid of by sending them to the land of the aboriginies..

  5. Stepan said:

    Maybe France, Germany & Europe should the same to over estimated 1.6M illigal Turkish immigriants, and and estimated 3.8M illigal Muslim workesr in Europe proper.

    But based on European democratic values which has its foundations in Christianity, they will not do so, one cannot say the same about the Turks, because their values are based on mass killings and deportaions of millions of Christians from their ancient lands commulating in the first and largest Genocide based on religious and racial basis, the Armenian, Assyrian & Greek Genocide of 20th Century.

    The Turks may have changed their ways to more western, changed their alphabet to latin, pretend to adopt European and democratic values, but they cannot ever change unless they face their demons and finaly wake to the fact that their nation was built on the blood & bones of martayrd Christians.
    The only way to stand up to them is never fall for their threats.
    Thank you France

  6. zohrab said:

    continution of the past i hope he deports them europe is looking i wonder what will they say to that if they sent the turks back to erdogan.i do not want to see any armenians working there and i dont want to see any turkish goods sold in armenia.turkey wants everything her way never mind the other side i think they are still mongols how they dream of becoming european unbeleivable

  7. Harutuyn said:

    If this is the case with this erdogan then he mind as well send millions of bags to europe so his people can come back to turkey, aftewr all it is a 2 way road what goes around for sure it will come around

  8. antoine p. said:

    you bustards of LING TIMOOR ,you can never change,you are continuing the policy of the criminal ottoman sultans, your END is near,before your end comes,get on your knees and ask the ARMENIANS for there forgiveness,you VAMPIRES,CRIMINALS, WOOMEN AND CHILDREN ABUSERS AND EXPECTING MOTHER KILLERS WITH THER UNBORN BABIES, not only FRANCE,all the countries of the world will piss on you ,like FRANCE did.

  9. Christo said:

    what an interesting picture. I have never seen anyone point with the middle finger, guess that’s the way asena pointed these barbarian turks running away from Ghengis Khan.

  10. gary_s said:

    When European countries start deporting the millions of illegals Turks, the Turks won’t be able to complain!

  11. Andranik said:

    Why are these traitors working as agents in Trkey? They should go back to Armenia and live in dignity, not on the payroll of stinking trks. This murderers are like a virus, if you have too much contact, you get infected. The best solution against bacteria is desinfection…

    These Armenians should LEAVE IMMEDIATELY!

  12. Hay said:

    I understand that many of these people are extremely desperate for jobs and a living, but I will never understand how they can work and live in Turkey. I would rather die of starvation than step foot there, unless it is of course on our ancestral lands once they are once again rightfully called Armenia.

  13. A_Hye said:

    No no maybe just deport them to the middle of a desert with no food or water….they know how to do that better.

  14. bigmoustache said:

    the struggle is never over.
    we must wage a campaign of protests and get more media attention than the turks did regarding france

  15. the Truth said:

    Well, sad – this is the criminal Turkey! Nothing New!‎
    But maybe could EU use the policy of turkey and deport all illegal Turks (at lest step by step) ‎and issue a ban for thousands of guest workers from Turkey, who have the habit to go back ‎to Anatolia simply to bring a young Turkish-Muslim or Muslim -Kurdish virgin bird back ‎home ‎

  16. ARA said:

    I think we need to act now and deport the turkish gov and illegals they have in our occupied lands- they need to leave now! we know they can butcher women, children and the elderly-but our generation and others-younger and older-can wipe em out-Turks-Leave now we do not have to throw u out-though that is nice compared to what u did to our grandparents and ancestors families- Ur history is POOR, evil and barbaric- get out and we will cultivate our lands and live in our occupied lands u stole- all over and not just to us- We know ottoman history-oops toilet time!

  17. Z. Ken Darian said:

    Ms Gunaysu says it elegantly, there is not much that I can add. It might take another 100 years for Turkey to to become brave enough to come to terms with their history. Mean while we have to be viligent>

  18. HRAIR said:


  19. Raffikian said:

    Mrs. Clinton where are you, where is the human rights you advocate, is this the best friend of US that you are proud of? as usual might is used on defenseless people,

  20. Sedat said:

    Where is the problem of removing illegal immigrants. If Turkey is such a bad country full of bad people, the oh so Righteous Armenian people should return to Armenia. The truth is those people working in Turkey have seen the real face of Turkish people, not the brain washed view they knew prior to going to Turkey. The Turkish Prime Minister should give those poor soles asylum from the self centred unproductive place left.

    • Basil said:

      Sure Sedat, working for Armenians (!) in Istanbul (!) will suurely show them the real face of Turkish people… you wish that was their real face.

  21. leo said:

    yes its good someone recognizes our suffering and the genocide. with all the reasons given in columns and articles for the passing of the bill at this time why has no one mentioned one major reason for it. namely turkey giving russia permission to build the south stream project which seriously undermines europes preferred nabucco?

  22. Arziv said:

    Turkey as a sovereign nation has every right to protect its borders and combat illegal trespassers. Turkey is a launching pad for illegal immigration into europe. The turks simply gather these groups in holding centers and then dumped them over the border into greece. Armenians should not begrudge a turkish law preventing illegal residency. We have nothing to say; we may not like it of course becuase it will affect numerous armenians working in turkey; ; but it is turkey’s call just like the French senate’s passing of the law. was a French call. As far as Armenians are concerned they should, if they so desire, ” regularize their papers” and become bona fide residents in turkey; thet is if turkish law allows it.

  23. Alex Postallian said:

    What is really bothering turkey, is that Armenians are SURVIVORS,and fighting back. This shows the world that a little country like Armenia,survived,all that a country 20 times its size can deal out. Soo surviving makes a monkey out of a monkey,a coward out of a coward.Soo let us join to help those poor remaining in that sewer Be careful who vote for.Remember all the politicians are LIARS.Let us get a little muscle,and quit going around,with those scared eyes,trying to be politically correct.The tukies (gooble,gooble) play a dirty game.

  24. Alex Postallian said:

    I forgot,let us send that sweet,brave lady in the French Senate,Valerie Bowyer,a big,big,bouquet of flowers,and our undying thanks.You got my Email I go for $100.

  25. Christo said:

    The beauty of this is that most of those illegals are ethnically Armenian, but most probably are not citizens of the Republic of Armenia. Therefore, most probably the RoA will inform them that they were citizens of the Soviet Union, therefore, they are not allowed to be relocated in RoA. They are like the boat people. A group of people with no country, and I’m sure any American ambassador would be more than happy to provide all necessary paperwork in order to relocate them as far away from RoT borders as possible. With all the benefits of Section 8, EBT, SSI etc. Just like my granddady used to say, RoT leaders used to demand from American administrations, just get them away from my borders, move them across the Atlantic.

  26. Hrant K. said:

    Barry those illegal immigrants are on their ancestral homeland, its the turks who have stolen their land,
    just like your english and scottish forfathers robbed the “Aboriginies” theirs’, who happen to be the real land owners. Why not lighten up and learn from Ms Gunaysu, who is a real human being defending the injustices and crimes commited by her turkish leaders against the Armenian,Greek and Assyrian natives!!! Spare us your Crocodile tears and lift your austridge head out of the dark hole and stop defending your turkish bribers!!!

  27. gary_s said:

    Instead of feeling bad about what Turkey did to its Christians, it tries to get revenge.
    Good point, Leo. Perhaps, it had something to do with the South Stream.

    • Garo said:

      let the shoon Turks deport as they wish , the bastards think the world is not watching, don’t worry very soon they will get what they deserve, they will hall hard and with a big thud the whole world will laugh at them , gavours

  28. leo said:

    turkey deserves all punishment it gets. its action in the past and present are disgusting and criminal. lets not naively think France is in love with us. the French are doing what is pragmatic for their economic and geopolitical interest. they achieve many goals at once with this move. anyway expect more punishment from France or other EU states when the south stream begins its implementation stage.

  29. Raffi Bairamian said:

    turkey is losing its battles against the international community because of its denialist policy regarding the Armenian Genocide , and the day will come when turkey will lose its war and recognize the Armenian Genocide and return Western Armenia`to its real owners the Armenian People. Meanwhile turkey will use bully policy againts us , but at the end it will give up and justice will prevail .

  30. just work hard for your country said:

    Your western old Armenia, used to be the East Rome as well. Also, United States used to belong only American Indians, now 1.37% of entire population is natives.
    I actually wish there were no occupations and wars in this filthy world history!
    But don’t you think it is strange living adjacent with your 25 times more populated “so called” murderers who did not change religion and social status of Armenians for almost a thousand year?
    Is there any Israel adjacent to Germany on the map ???

  31. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    I am certain the Turks are as good as us or any other people. They just happened to be on the cutting edge of the historic Islamic-Christian conflict, carrying the sword of Islam and its honor against the Christians. Those atrocities were committed all because of this historic conflict fueled by their religion. When all nations are secularized and shed all of their religions, it will be so much easier to settle for the truth and once and for all, end this conflict.