Turkey Tags Minorities With ‘Race Code’

St. Giragos Armenian Church in Turkey

State Racism Still Alive in Turkey, Leaked Document Reveals

ISTANBUL—Turkey’s Interior Ministry has confirmed that minorities in the country are given secret codes depending on which community they belong to and that such information is sent to the Education Ministry. This confirmation comes less than a week after the categorization system was revealed by the Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper, Agos.

Concern over the “race codes” was raised on August 1 after Agos uncovered an official document penned by the Istanbul Provincial Education Directorate, revealing that Turkey’s population administration system has been categorizing citizens who have Armenian, Jewish or Anatolian Greek origins with secret “race codes.”

“Minority citizens’ race status is given to the Education Ministry based on information taken from the state register of the Ottoman period,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement that was sent to Agos on August 1. The statement also said that contemporary state registers do not record any information about the race or religion of citizens.

“There are no categories of race, breed, or sect in the state registers,” said the statement sent to Agos.

Race statuses for minorities are taken from their nationality or race information during Ottoman times and sent to the Education Ministry, according to the 40th and 41st articles of the Lausanne Treaty, which was signed between Turkey and Western powers in 1923 and paved the way for the establishment of the Turkish Republic.

“Citizens with Armenian origins are coded as ‘2,’” Agos said in its lead story on August 1.

The uncovered document, sent from the Istanbul Provincial Education Directorate to the Şişli District National Education office, stated that “since 1923, the secret code of Armenians has been ‘2’ on identity registration certificates,” according to Agos.

“Since 1923, identity registration certificates have had a secret ‘race code,’” the document added.

An official from the population administration told the daily Radikal that the practice was being conducted “to allow minority groups to use their rights as dictated by the Lausanne Treaty.”

As part of the practice, Greeks are classified as “1,” Armenians are coded as “2,” while Jews are registered as “3” in the system. Other non-Turkish groups are not coded, an official told Radikal.

Opposition party lawmakers harshly criticized the alleged document.

“If this is true, it is grave. It must be examined. I will bring this to Parliament’s agenda,” Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told Hürriyet Daily News.

Altan Tan, a deputy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), stated that there had long been such allegations but that they were always denied by the authorities. Tan urged Interior Minister Muammer Güler to make a statement on the issue.

“If there is such a thing going on, it is a big disaster. The fact that the state is illegally profiling its own citizens based on ethnicity and religion, and doing this secretly, is a big catastrophe,” Tan said.


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  1. Fredrick said:

    Does this remind anyone of Hitler’s Germany? They used to categorize Jews, Blacks Poles etc. We all know where they ended up.

    The big elephant in the room is religion. Why don’t they use the same categorization for Islamised Jews, Greeks and Armenians? It has nothing to do with race. The world needs to take its head out of the sand and call it for what it is.

  2. rita said:

    In my opinion the whole world should code turkey as a big “0” or even less than a zero.

  3. sylva-MD-poetry said:

    Who said that Turks them selves are pure race…If their sultans married to Russian Ukrainian, Bosnian
    (They call them in Arabic “Jawari”) how they can be a pure race?…They raped as they invaded…their genetics is changed completely…I think the best if they want to identify their Turkish origin better to do DNA… A daughter of Shaik Azhar once told me that many Egyptians who were married to Turks, these girls were never Turkish…they were kidnapped from christian families and brought to Egypt telling they are Turkish…the same way as their sultans did from Sultan Salim first and all through.

  4. mgl said:

    And there are still Armenians living in such country?
    Wow what a “surprise” to have coding for them.

  5. Ani said:

    What do you expect from a morally bankrupt country like Turkey?
    After denying the Genocide, this should not be a surprise.
    They want to make sure that these three groups do not get high level positions in governement etc..
    They may even use it in the future for another ethnic cleansing.

  6. hayrenaser said:

    what else is new,
    every government does this in one way or another,
    let no one live in hiding, it is time for all to come out of the closet, walk around proud of who they are, instead of attempting to blend in, everyone everywhere should live openly and freely, life is to short to pretend to be something you don’t feel like inside or is in conflict to your true identity ( except for murderers and other anti-social/life criminals) …and this applies to everything across the board…NO MAJORITY HAS THE RIGHT TO DISCRIMINATE (TO DEFINE WHAT IT IS TO BE TURK, ARMENIAN, AMERICAN OR ZIMBABWAN)…AND THIS ALSO GOES TO ARMENIANS IN ARMENIA (AND SPECIALLY THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH)

  7. GB said:

    Turkey still appreciate Nazi Germany racist policy toward Jews, and other minorities. I wonder how Islamic AKP party eagerly attached to European civilization, where Turkish famous penal code 301, written on top of Allah’s book.

  8. Samuel Darbinian said:

    Turkish government by tagging & secret codings of non moslem minorities intend to preserve the superiority
    ballance of majority turkish poulation be ensured. It is a security clearance to serve the purpose.to suppress
    the entery to higher education those students doesnt fit their lifetime personal record with secretly designated
    standards for minorities, in opposit case doup & fasilitate the entery for those students better machs for turkishnesfavoraties especialy those who are more harmful for their own communities.
    Also they excercise their secret codings standards in employment & job sites.It is a lot probable Mr Hrant
    Dink & Mr Sevak Balkci have been murderd beacause of turkish government somehow faild to apply its
    system of secret tagging against them decided eliminate them, for well being of turkishness.

  9. Ani said:

    I guess they’re getting ready for another ethnic cleansing.
    They just want to make sure beforehand that we do not hold positions of power in their morally bankrupt country.

  10. AL said:

    Why would any Armenian still live in turkey. Is turkey better than Armenia? You would rather hide your Armenian identity and live in denial in turkey than live in your own country? At least live in a Christian country

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