Armenians in Mush Launch Ethnic Union to Preserve Identity


Mush, Turkey

YEREVAN (Tert)—Armenians in Turkey’s eastern town of Mush have created a new Armenian organization called the Taron-Mush Union in an effort to preserve their national culture and identity.

Gevorg Chalesh, president of the newly-launched Taron-Mush Union, shared his plans and vision for the organization during a press conference in Yerevan on Monday. Chalesh said that the idea of uniting Islamized Armenians was not an easy one to realize in a town widely known for its religious fanatics.

“Our members are now Islamized Armenians who, despite having changed their religion, recognize their ethnic background, which is the most important thing. It is a very commendable fact. I heard from a Kurd one day that Mush and the surrounding regions have around 40,000 Armenians, of whom 90% have Armenian mothers and 10% [Armenian] fathers. That’s the situation in Mush,” Chalesh said.

Chalesh is in Armenia with a team to participate in the Pan-Armenian Games. “We immediately formed a team to come and take part [in the games]. It’s a pity though we suffered a defeat,” he said.

Speaking on the difficulties and challenges of setting up an organization like the Taron-Mush Union in Turkey, Aslan Hayetsi, another leading figure of the union, admitted that there are many risks in terms of angering Turks.

But he said the community should be resolute and fight to ensure that their children learn Armenian. “Everybody there knows we are an Armenians, and so we lead an ordinary life,” he said.

Simon Taronyan, a representative of Western Armenian organizations also attending the press conference, said he thinks it is time for Armenians around the world to forget about religious differences and recognize Armenians based on their ethnic origins.

“It doesn’t matter at all if one is a Muslim, Christian or someone with no belief; the important thing is that he or she considers him or herself an Armenian. There are Armenians everywhere—hidden and non-hidden—so we must be able to organize our communities and establish culture. We are trying to keep the center in Mush to put an end to those cowardly times,” he added.

The speakers at the press conference agreed that they now need school text books in Western Armenian, particularly on history, and said support from the Armenian government to assist in their efforts would be welcomed.


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  1. State-Of-Emergency said:

    If they’re going to be asking the Armenian government for assistance in learning the Western Armenian dialect, good luck! The government can’t even use the Eastern dialect properly, let alone the Western. The best they’ll get is a hodgepodge of Russian mixed with some local “barbar” and street language. Better yet, they’ll also learn some corrupted form of Turkish such as aziz, jan, jiger, and khoudra para….

  2. Norin said:

    It is true, Armenians are an ethnic group independent of religion, however, historically Christianity has become an integral part of our identity and we have fought, suffered, and died for our Christian values and beliefs. To simply now chalk that off to the wind simply because 3 generations later some Muslim descendants of a poor Armenian girl that was kidnapped and kept as a sex slave in a Turkish household now decides to “remember his Armenian grandmother” does not make that descendant an Armenian either. If those in Mush can so easily consider Christianity as not integral to Armenianism then certainly merely having one female Armenian ancestor 3 generations ago does not make one Armenian either.

    I find it amazing that our so called leaders have recently so casually begun to feel like they can simply change the rules and norms of our ethnic identity so easily for the rest of us and not get any push back. There are those of us that monitor these trends and if things get too outrages and detrimental for our ethnic identity due to the actions of our imbecile so called leaders, rest assured many of us will take whatever action is necessary.

    • Emil said:

      Well said, Norin! Armenian = Christian, otherwise we’d all be muslims many hundreds years ago. People, who identify them as Armenians should accept and respect, and live with this.

      • shirak said:

        you better respect people’s freedom of choice and religion . all muslim armenians are armenian . you can only choose whether you are armenian or not .

  3. Barséghian said:

    Yété as baronér, nestats US té UE, djanatchéin mér badmoutioun, angidaktsapar ge kenatadén, tchéin hayoyér mér iskagan sourp hayér vor vakhérou métch, turki darpér sourérou dag, badadervadz keloukh dzerétsin. As kenatadornérou dzenorknér ouréin as polor jamanag ? Kanté havasaragechervadz modétsoum ounéna, kar ge nédén, khorourt goudan, nestats hangist, pore goucht, azad zarkatsadz yérgirnéroun. Im masis, ge portsém hayoutian djampan bachpanél, anhavadém polor astevadznéroun, payts hargankov, lav xorénk as arévmedian hayéroun, mér horéroun, véradzenounti aritov, as sourp hayéroun haséré jamanag yév bayman vor garorén keloukh partsradzenél, VAKHEROV, intché garévor ? Hay armadnére vérahichén té as toursi tsoulvadz hayér lekén groni badjarov as iskagan héros hayér vor vortch tarvadzéin 100 dari. Tor as haroust goucht hayér vératarnan irents horéroun, as hayéroun dzerk barzén, artsagankén irents tsangoutiounéroun aradjin TEBROTS ! Ge yérévagék intché nebadage bahandjin ? ge hasgenak azgayn medahokoutioun ? Mi hartsoum, mér spiyurkahayoutian ousoutchitch té ousoudjouy ovkérén vor badrastén kal tasanvandér, MUS ? G’espasém, yév yérgar bidi spasém. Ge vestahadzném vor as ousoudjitch té ousoudjouyn amidjabés gounéna ir hargapajin, nor chenki métch, angorine sarnaran … amén intch NOR. Tas dalou dér, kenatadélou dér, égék, tochagavornér, abrénk miyasin mér horéroun, MER YERGIR, désnék, lesék, verloudzék, hédo khorourt tchék dar avéli hamést ge modénak.
    nérék fransa hayém tochagavor, artén amén intch badrastevadz abrélou mernélou IM YERGIR, votch fransa, votch améroica, vor méz tavadjanérén, dzakhérén mér technamoun, YEV GE CHAROUNAGEN. Norén gergeném, al choudvanits christonia tchém, garorém barzabanél, payts gouzém miyayn té miyayn iper Hay mérnél im horis tarvél, im nahadagnérou gork, mendz hayris gork.

  4. Armen said:

    If they consider themselves Armenian then they should return to Armenian faith. Islamic principles are incompatible with Armenian values. It is like saying one can be a Jewish Muslim. It does not compute. If these people are truly Armenian then they will return to the faith their ancestors died for. I know of no one who will ever accept the alternative.

  5. Stepan said:

    There should be an option, maybe atheism from Islam, but Christianity desirable. No sunni mosques in Armenia.