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Armenians in Turkey ( ; , the latter meaning Istanbul-Armenian) have an estimated population of 40,000 to 70,000. Most are concentrated around Istanbulmarker. The Armenians support their own newspapers and schools. The majority belong to the Armenian Apostolic faith, with smaller numbers of Armenian Catholics and Armenian Evangelicals.


Armenians living nowadays in Turkey are a remnant of a once much larger community that existed for hundreds of years and long before the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. Estimates for the number of Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire in the decade before World War I range between 2 to 2.5 million. During the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians of Turkey were active in business and trade, just like the Greeks and Jews of Turkey.

Starting in the late nineteenth century, political instability, dire economic conditions, and continuing ethnic tensions prompted the emigration of as many as 100,000 Armenians to Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. This massive exodus created the modern Armenian diaspora worldwide based on mainly Ottoman Armenian populations emigrating in large numbers, in addition to some emigration from the Caucasus which was more towards Russiamarker.

In 1894–1897 at least 100,000 Armenians were killed during the Hamidian massacres in 1894, 1895, 1896. Further massacres ensued in 1909, also known as the Adana Massacre, that caused the death of an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Armenians. The Armenian Genocide followed in 1915–1916 until 1918, during which the Ottoman government of the time ordered the deportation of up to 1.5 to 2 million Armenians allegedly for political and security considerations. These measures affected a huge majority, close to 75%-80% according to estimates, of all the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Many died directly through Ottoman massacres and atrocities, while others died as a result of mass deportations and forced population movements, and more through unlawful Kurdish militia attacks.

As for the remaining Armenians in the Eastern parts of the country, they found refuge by 1917–1918 in the Caucasus and eventually within the areas controlled by the newly established Democratic Republic of Armeniamarker and never returned to their original homes in Eastern Turkey (composed of the 6 vilayets, namely (Erzurum, Van, Bitlismarker, Diyarbekir, Kharputmarker, and Sivasmarker).

Some Armenians, about 300,000 according to some estimates, were adopted by Turks and Kurds or married with Muslim populations in a process of Turkification and Kurdification to avoid facing a similar fate.

Most of the Armenian survivors ended up in northern Syriamarker and the Middle East in general, with some temporarily returning to their homes in Turkey at the end of World War I particularly during the French Mandate, as a result of France being allocated the control of southeastern Turkeymarker and all of Cilicia according to the Sykes–Picot Agreement. The Armenian population suffered a final blow with ongoing massacres and atrocities throughout the period 1920–1923, the period of the Turkish War of Independence, the ones suffering most being the remnants of the Armenians in the East and the South of the country, as well as the Greeks in the Black Sea Region. Mass deportations of Turkey's surviving Armenian population continued especially after the withdrawal of the French forces from the area. The few remaining Armenians left anyway.

By the end of the 1920s, only a handful number of Armenians were left in Turkey scatterered sparsely throughout the country, with the only viable Armenian populace remaining in Istanbulmarker area and the environs.


The present Armenian population is estimated between 40,000 and 70,000 mostly living in Istanbulmarker and the environs. Even the small number of actual Turkish Armenians living in Turkey is diminishing further due to emigration to Europe, Americas and Australia.

The community is recognized as a separate "millet" in the Turkish system and has its own religious, cultural, social and educational institutions and its distinct media. The Turkish Armenian community struggles very hard to keep its own institutions and schools open and media running, against diminishing demand due to emigration and quite considerable economic sacrifices.

The Turkish Armenian community is divided into a majority Apostolic Orthodox Armenians belonging to the Armenian Apostolic Church with a small minority belonging to the Armenian Catholic Church and the Armenian Evangelical Church.


The number of Armenians in Constantinople did not exceed more than 1,000 households – some 5,000 to 6,000 souls – in both the city proper and Galatia, the former Italian suburb across the Golden Horn. These figures are based on 1478 census of the shops in Constantinople and Galatia conducted by the judge (qadi) and police chief (za’im) of the city. Five of six thousand Armenians was not a great number among a population estimated 100,000 to 120,000 – just a bit more than 5 percent. It was in fact the smallest among the major group listed: 57,000 Muslims (9,500 households), 22,500 Greeks (3,750 households) and 9,900 Jews (1,650 households).

According to 1844 statistics Constantinople had population of 891,000 people, 475,000 Muslims, 222,000 Armenians, 132,000 Greeks and 25,000 foreigners.According to 1885 official population census, the capital of the Empire, had 873,565 residents. But only 384,910 were Ottoman Turks (or Muslims). Other 488,655 were others, 156,861 Armenians, 152,741 Greeks, 44,361 Bulgarians and 129,243 foreigners.

The Armenian community in Istanbul has 30 schools, 17 cultural and social organizations, two daily newspapers called Jamanak and Marmara, two sports clubs, named Shishly (Şisli) and Taksim, and many health establishments as well as numerous religious foundations set up to support these activities.

Crypto-Christian Armenian Turks

However many say that the actual number of people of Armenian ethnic origin currently living in Turkey is higher than the official numbers given (40,000-70,000), which comprise Armenians as per the definition of a Christian minority (ekalliyet).

During the Armenian Genocide many Armenian orphans were adopted by local Muslim families, who sometimes changed their names and converted them to Islam. One source cites 300,000 but another analysis considers this an overestimate, leaning towards 63,000, the figure cited in the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople's 1921 report to the United States Department of Statemarker.

When relief workers and surviving Armenians started to search for and claim back these Armenian orphans after World War I, only a small percentage were found and reunited, while many others continued to live as Muslims. Additionally, some Armenian families had converted to Islam in order to escape the genocide.

Because of this, there are an unknown number of people of Armenian origin in Turkey today who are not aware of their ancestry as well as around 300,000 "secret" Armenians, called Crypto-Christians. : Prof. Cöhce ise, bu konuda daha iddialı. Ermeni mühtedi ve evlatlıklar arasında, 'Kripto Hıristiyanlar' ya da 'Gizli Ermeniler' olduğunu, bunların Müslüman görünüp Gregoryan geleneklerini sürdürdüklerini söylüyor. Cöhce, bu insanlar üzerinde son dönemlerde kimliklerine döndürmek için çalışmalar yapıldığını, yakın gelecekte bunların Ermenilerin hayallerini gerçekleştirmek için kullanılacaklarını ileri sürüyor.

Cöhce: "Türkiye'de yaklaşık 100 bin 'mühtedi' Ermeni var." The figure [of 300,000] may have been accurate in 1915, but several generations have passed since then, so figures must be much higher, particularly for mixed heritage. The figure of just how many individuals of some Armenian descent existing in Turkey is hotly disputed, because of the natural progression of populations. But most conservative estimates would put them passed the one-million mark by the late 20th century.

Others dispute the high number of "secret Armenians" of Armenian ethnicity as this may have changed through Turkification by time and through marriage with general Turkish and Kurdish populations and borders of Armenianness may be blurred and many may actually feel more Turkish than Armenian by now.

According to an article by Zaman columnist Erhan Başyurt, İbrahim Ethem Atnur of Atatürk University alleges that the state colluded with the Armenian Patriarchate to artificially increase the Armenian population by raising orphaned Turks as Armenians. : Raporda, Türk çocuğu olduğu hâlde Güllü ve Cemile adındaki iki kız çocuğuyla, Çengelköy'de ikamet eden Yüzbaşı Abidin Bey'in evinden Nimet adındaki bir Türk kızının zorla alıkonarak Ermeni Patrikhanesi'nde üç gün tutulduğu, Müslüman oldukları anlaşıldıktan sonra ailelerine teslim edildikleri, fakat bir süre sonra yeniden kaçırıldıkları kaydediliyor. Yine Üsküdarlı Papaz Samayan Efendi tarafından alıkonan Cevri isimli kızın Türk ve Müslüman olduğu ispatlandığı hâlde teslim edilmediği vurgulanıyor. Türk kızların zorla Hıristiyanlaştırıldığı kaydediliyor. Amaç, Ermeni nüfusunu yüksek göstermek.

See Atnur's Türkiye'de Ermeni Kadınları ve Çocukları Meselesi for details. Through the book, the article also quotes Şeyhülislam Mehmet Nuri Efendi as having written "Bazı kötü niyetliler tarafından birçok Müslüman kızlarının ailelerinden alınarak Patrikhane'ye, Rum ve Ermeni yetimhanelerine nakledildiği bir kısmının da Hıristiyan aileler nezdinde hizmetçi olarak kullanıldığı bilgilerine ulaşıldığını." (January 2, 1922) In the 1960s, some of these families converted back to Christianity and changed their names.

According to the Armenian Embassy in Canada,
The genocide, as we have seen, destroyed western Armenia and numerous other Armenian centers in Turkey. By the Second World War, Constantinople or Istanbul was the sole urban center with an Armenian presence. In 1945, an arbitrary property tax on the minorities impoverished many Greek and Armenian businessmen. Ten years later, mobs looted and burned Greek and Armenian businesses in Istanbul. At present there are some 75,000 Armenians in Turkey, the majority of whom live in Istanbul, where conditions, despite cultural pressures and occasional hostile acts, are not as unfavorable as one may imagine. Twenty schools, some three dozen churches, and a hospital maintain a strong Armenian identity. A number of Armenian newspapers, including the daily Marmara continue to publish, and Armenian organizations go about collecting donations and sponsoring cultural activities. The Armenian patriarch is also invited to official Turkish state ceremonies. Major problems include the lack of a seminary, Armenian institutions of higher education, and linguistic assimilation.

Journalist Hrant Dink says that the current population of around 50,000 is half of what it was eighty years ago as a result of a deliberate attempt instituted during the Single Party Period to reduce the population of the minorities.

Vakıflı Köyü, Samandağ, an Armenian village in Turkey

Vakıflı Köyü (Armenian: — Vakif) is the only remaining ethnic Armenian village in Turkeymarker. Located on the slopes of Musa Daghmarker in the Samandağmarker district of Hatay Provincemarker, the village overlooks the Mediterranean Seamarker and is within eyesight of the Syrianmarker border. It is home to a community of about 130 Turkish-Armenians.

Hemshins of Armenian origin

The Hemshin Peoples are a number of diverse groups of people who in the past history or present have been affiliated with the Hemşin area which is in Turkey'smarker eastern Black Sea region.

They are called (and call themselves) as Hemshinli ( ), Hamshenis, Homshentsi (Armenian: Համշենի) meaning resident of Hemshin (historically Hamshen) in the relevant language. The term "The Hemshin" is used also in some publications to refer to Hemshinli.

The area was annexed by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century and during the Ottoman period, there was a process of migrations and Islamization. The details and the accompanying circumstances for the migrations and the Islamization process during the Ottoman era are not clearly known and documented.

Most sources agree however that prior to Ottoman era, the great majority of the residents of Hemshin were mainly ethnic Armenians and members of the Armenian Apostolic Church and practiced Christianity. They also kept a lot of the elements of Armenian ethnicity in their traditions and local language to this day.

As a result of those developments, distinctive communities with the same generic name have also appeared in the vicinity of Hopamarker, Turkeymarker as well as in the Caucasus. Those three communities are almost oblivious to one another's existence.

Within Turkey, are found the Hemshinli of Hemshin proper (also designated occasionally as western Hemshinli in publications) are Turkish-speaking Sunni Muslims who mostly live in the counties (ilçe) of Çamlihemşin and Hemşin in Turkey's Rize Provincemarker.

Also in Turkey are the Hopa Hemshinli (also designated occasionally as eastern Hemshinli in publications) are Sunni Muslims and mostly live in the Hopa and Borçka counties of Turkey's Artvin Provincemarker. In addition to Turkish, they speak a dialect of western Armenian they call "Homshetsma" or "Hemşince" in Turkish.

In addition, outside the republic of Turkey, Homshentsik (also designated occasionally as Northern Homshentsik in publications) are Christians who live in Abkhaziamarker and in Russia's Krasnodar Krai. They speak Homshetsma as well. There are also some Muslim Hemshinli living in Georgiamarker and Krasnodarmarker, Russiamarker and some Hemshinli elements amongst the Meskhetian Turks.


The traditional Armenian political parties were known to be very active in Armenian-Turkish political life from the 1890s to 1915 at least) and this included the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF - Dashnagtsutiun), the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party (Hunchak) and the Armenakan Party, the predecessor of the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar Party). But the activities of all these Armenian parties were curtailed after 1915 and it has been the status quo ever since that they play no legal role in Turkish-Armenian politics, though remaining very active in the rest of the Armenian diaspora.

However Armenian vigilantes belonging to these same parties, and most prominently the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) launched a campaign of assassinations of political Turkish leaders perceived to have had an active role in "planning" and "ordering" the Armenian Genocide and convicted by the Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919-20. The ARF's campaign known as Operation Nemesis was continued relentlessly to pursue such leaders worldwide and at least 7 of the Ittihadist leaders were killed by the Armenian vigilantes. These included: Talât Pasha (assassinated on March 15 1921 in Berlin), Enver Pasha (killed on August 14, 1922 in Tajikistanmarker), Behbud Khan Javanshir (assassinated on July 18, 1921, in Constantinople), Said Halim Pasha (assassinated on December 5, 1921, in Rome), Bahattin Şakir (assassinated on April 17, 1922 in Berlin), Jemal Azmi (assassinated on April 17 1922 in Berlin) and Jemal Pasha (assassinated on July 25, 1922 in Tbilisi).

In stark difference from all other Armenian diaspora centers, that are highly politicized and where the traditional political parties of the diaspora such as "Dashnags", the "Hunchaks" and the "Ramgavars" play an important role in many aspects of Armenian political and community life and in pursuit of the Armenian Question and Armenian nationalism, the Turkish Armenians remain, for very obvious political and historical reasons, generally immune, at least publicly, to any allegiances to any of the traditional Armenian political parties, as these parties remain de-facto prohibited parties in Turkey. Thus at many times, the political as well as the religious leadership of the Turkish Armenians and the Armenian-language media in Turkey as well have been known not only to shun off the political standpoints and tactics of the Armenian parties in the diaspora, but also to remain very critical regarding the more militant positions those parties take regarding the Armenian Question, as they may relate directly to the status of the Armenians in Turkey and the fear of possible repurcussions on the well-being and the future of the Armenian community of Turkey. This is a unique position unparalleled anywhere else in the diaspora.

Some even point to the fact that in the early 1920s, there were a number of Armenians in Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's movement, even actively aiding him in his Turkish National Movement and supporting his Kemalist ideology and secular movement. The Armenians perceived in the secular state established by Atatürk a way of survival for the remnants of Armenians still in Turkey. They were encouraged by him ordering the trial of a number of leaders of the previous Ittihadist regime for the accusation of committing atrocities against the minorities in Turkey during World War I, including against the Armenians.

The Armenians of Turkey were also highly critical of the activist role that the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), the Justice Commandos Against Armenian Genocide (JCAG), Armenian Revolutionary Army (ARA) and other Armenian guerrilla organizations played in targeting Turkish diplomats and interests worldwide at the height of their anti-Turkish campaign in the 1970s and 1980s. The fears of the Turkish Armenians were justified with the fact that at many times, Turkish-Armenian institutions and even religious centers were targeted by threats and actual bombings in retaliation of the acts of ASALA, JCAG, ARA and others.

The Turkish-Armenian Artin Penik committed suicide in 1982 by self-immolation in protest of the attack on 7 August 1982 in Ankaramarker's Esenboğa International Airportmarker by the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia. Penik died five days after he set himself on fire in Taqsim plaza, the main square of Istanbulmarker, Turkeymarker, but his stance was highly mediatised by the Turkish mass media as a protest of most Turkish-Armenians against such attacks. Nine people had been killed and more than 70 wounded in the attack on the Turkish airport.

Another turbulent point for the Armenian community of Turkey was the highly-publicized public trial of the Armenian gunman and one of the perpetrators of the operation, the 25-years old Levon Ekmekjian, who was found guilty and eventually hanged at Ankaramarker's civilian prison on January 30, 1983. He had been sentenced to death in September 1982 after having confessed that he had carried out the airport attack with another gunman on behalf of ASALA, and despite the fact that he publicly condemned violent acts during his own trial and appealed to the Armenian militants to stop the violence.

The Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission (TARC) was set up in July 2001 a joint project of a number of Turkish and Armenian intellectuals and political experts to discuss various aspects of the Turkish-Armenian relations and approving a set of recommendations to the governments of Turkeymarker and Armeniamarker on how to improve the strained relations between the two countries.

Thousands of Turks joined Turkish intellectuals in publicly apologizing for the World War I era mass killings and deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The unprecedented apology was initiated by a group of 200 Turkish academics, journalists, writers and artists disagreeing with the official Turkish version of what many historians consider the first genocide of the 20th century. Their petition, entitled “I apologize,” was posted on a special website

On the occasion of a World Cup qualifying match between the two national football teams of Turkey and Armenia in the Armenian capital Yerevanmarker, and following the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan's invitation to attend the match, on 6 September 2008, the Turkish President Abdullah Gül paid a breakthrough landmark visit to Armenia that he said "promises hope for the future" for the two countries. The Armenian president Sargsyan will reciprocate the visit to Turkey during 2009.

Local politics

The Armenians in Turkey used to be active in Turkish politics. The Turkish-Armenian Sarkis ”Aghparik” Cherkezian and Aram Pehlivanyan (Nickname: Ahmet Saydan) played a pivotal role in the founding of the Turkish Communist Party. There used to be Armenian activists in many other Turkish political parties as well. However no Armenian has been elected as Member of Parliament to the Grand National Assembly of Turkeymarker since 1960.

Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist, writer and political activist, and the chief editor and publisher of Agos had carved himself a position of that of a very prominent figure for conveying the ideas and aspirations of the Armenian community in Turkey not only for Turkish-Armenians but for many Armenians worldwide. His newspaper Agos had played an important role in presenting Armenian historical grievances through publishing of articles and opinions in the Turkish language addressed to the Turkish public opinion. His assassination in front of his newspaper offices on January 19, 2007 turned into an occasion for expression of national grief throughout Turkey and the rallying of great support for the concerns of the Armenian community in Turkey by the general Turkish public.


Dink was best known for advocating Turkish-Armenian reconciliation and human and minority rights in Turkey; he was often critical of both Turkey's denial of the Armenian Genocide, and of the Armenian diaspora's campaign for its international recognition. Dink was prosecuted three times for denigrating Turkishness, while receiving numerous death threats from Turkish nationalists. At his funeral, one hundred thousand mourners marched in protest of the assassination, chanting "We are all Armenians" and "We are all Hrant Dink". Criticism of Article 301 became increasingly vocal after his death, leading to parliamentary proposals for repeal of the law.


Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople

The Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul established is 1461 is religious head of the Armenian community in Turkey. It has exerted a very significant political role earlier and today still exercises a spiritual authority, which earns it considerable respect among Orthodox churches. The Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople recognizes the primacy of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, in the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Armenian Church, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzinmarker, Vagharshapat, Republic of Armeniamarker, in matters that pertain to the worldwide Armenian Church. In local matters, the Patriarchal See is autonomous.

Archbishop Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan of Constantinople is the 84th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople under the authority of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians.

Christmas date, etiquette and customs

Armenians celebrate Christmas at a date later than most of the Christians, on 6th of January rather than 25th of December. The reason for this is historical; according to Armenians, Christians once celebrated Christmas on 6 January, until the 4th century. 25 December was originally a pagan holiday that celebrated the birth of the sun. Many members of the church continued to celebrate both holidays, and the Roman church changed the date of Christmas to be 25 December and declared January 6 to be the date when the three wise men visited the baby Jesus. As the Armenian Apostolic Church had already separated from the Roman church at that time, the date of Christmas remained unchanged for Armenians.

The Armenians in Turkey refer to Christmas as Surp Dzınunt (Holy Birth) and have fifty days of preparation called Hisnag before Christmas. The first, fourth and seventh weeks of Hisnag are periods of vegetarian fast for church members and every Saturday at sunset a new purple candle is lit with prayers and hymns. On the second day of Christmas, 7 January, families visit graves of relatives and say prayers.

Armenian Churches in Turkey

Turkey has hundreds of Armenian churches, the majority of which are either in ruins or are being used for other purposes. Armenian churches still in active use belonging to various denominations, mainly Armenian Apostolic, but also Armenian Catholic and Armenian Evangelical Protestant.

Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Churches in Turkey

Besides the Surp Asdvadzadzin ("Holy Mother-of-God") Patriarchal Church in Kumkapi, Istanbul, there are tens of Armenian Apostolic churches. Many of them might be inactive because of lack of a congregation or lack of clergy.

In Istanbul:

  • Christ The King Armenian Church (Kadıköy, Istanbul)
  • Church of the Apparition of the Holy Cross (Kuruçeşme, Istanbul)
  • Holy Archangels Armenian Church (Balat, Istanbul)
  • Holy Cross Armenian Church (Kartal, Istanbul)
  • Holy Cross Armenian Church (Selamsız, Üsküdar, Istanbul)
  • Holy Hripsimiants Virgins Armenian Church (Büyükdere, Istanbul)
  • Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Apostolic Church (Bakırköy, Istanbul)
  • Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Beşiktaş, Istanbul)
  • Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Eyüp, Istanbul)
  • Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Ortaköy, Istanbul)
  • Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Yeniköy, Istanbul)
  • Holy Nativity of the Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Bakırköy, Istanbul)
  • Holy Resurrection Armenian Church (Kumkapı, Istanbul)
  • Holy Resurrection Armenian Chapel (Taksim, Istanbul)
  • Holy Three Youths Armenian Church (Boyacıköy, Istanbul)
  • Holy Trinity Armenian Church (Galatasaray, Istanbul)
  • Narlikapi Armenian Apostolic Church (Narlıkapı, Istanbul)
  • St. Elijah The Prophet Armenian Church (Eyüp, Istanbul)
  • St. John the Baptist Armenian Church (Üsküdar)
  • St. John The Evangelist Armenian Church (Gedikpaşa, Istanbul)
  • St. John The Evangelist Armenian Church (Narlıkapı, Istanbul)
  • St. John The Forerunner Armenian Church (Bağlarbaşı, Uskudar, Istanbul)
  • St. George (Sourp Kevork) Armenian Church (Samatya, Istanbul)
  • St. Gregory The Enlightener (Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch) (Ghalatya, Istanbul)
  • St. Gregory The Enlightener (Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch) Armenian Church (Kuzguncuk, Istanbul)
  • St. Gregory The Enlightener (Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch) Armenian Church (Karaköy, Istanbul)
  • St. Gregory The Enlightener (Sourp Krikor Lousavoritch) (Kınalıada, Istanbul)
  • St. James Armenian Church (Altımermer, Istanbul)
  • St. Nicholas Armenian Church (Beykoz, Istanbul)
  • St. Nicholas Armenian Church (Topkapiı, Istanbul)
  • St. Santoukht Armenian Church (Hisar, Istanbul)
  • St. Saviour (Sourp Pergitch) Armenian Chapel (Yedikule, Istanbul)
  • St. Sergius Armenian Chapel (Balıklı, Istanbul)
  • St. Stephen Armenian Church (Karaköy, Istanbul)
  • St. Stephen Armenian Church (Yesilköy, Istanbul)
  • St. Takavor Armenian Apostolic Church (Kadekoy, Istanbul)
  • Saints Thaddeus and Barholomew Armenian Church (Yenikapı, Istanbul)
  • St. Trinity (Sourp Yerrortutyoun) Church (Pera, Istanbul)
  • St. Vartanants Armenian Church (Ferikoy, Istanbul)
  • The Twelve Holy Apostles Armenian Church (Kandilli, Istanbul)

Other areas:

  • Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebastea Armenian Church (Iskenderun, Hatay)
  • Holy Mother-of-God Armenian Church (Vakıflıköy, Samandag, Hatay)
  • St. George (Sourp Kevork) Armenian Church (Derik, Mardin)
  • St. Gregory The Enlightener Armenian Church (Kayseri)
  • St. Gregory The Enligtener Armenian Church (Kırıkhan)
  • St. Giragos Armenian Church (Diyarbakır)
  • St. Vartanants (Ferikoy)

Armenian Catholic Churches in Turkey

  • St. Mary Armenian Catholic Church (Beyoğlu, Istanbul).
  • St. Jean Chrisostomus Armenian Catholic Church (Taksim, Istanbul)
  • St. Leon Armenian Catholic Church (Kadıkoy, Istanbul)
  • Armenian Catholic Church of Immaculate Conception (Koca Mustafa Paşa, Istanbul)
  • St. Saviour Armenian Catholic Church (Karaköy, Istanbul)
  • St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Catholic Church (Ortaköy, Istanbul)
  • St. Paul Armenian Catholic Church (Büyükdere, Istanbul)
  • St. John the Baptist Armenian Catholic Church (Yeniköy, Istanbul)
  • Assumption Armenian Catholic Church (Büyükada, Istanbul)

The active Armenian Catholic churches remain as follows: The Armenian Archbishopric in Beyoğlu, Istanbul located within the St. Mary Armenian Catholic Church, also the St. Jean Chrisostomus Armenian Catholic Church in Taksim, Istanbul and St. Leon Armenian Catholic Church in Kadikoy, Istanbul.

Armenian Evangelical Churches in Turkey

  • Armenian Evangelical Church (Pera, Istanbul)
  • Armenian Evangelical Church (Gedik Paşa, Istanbul)
  • The first Arm. Evangelical Congregation in the world


Schools are kindergarten through 12th grade (K–12), kindergarten through 8th grade (K-8) or 9th grade through 12th (9–12). Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu means "Armenian primary+secondary school". Ermeni Lisesi means "Armenian high school".The Armenian schools apply the full Turkish curriculum in addition to Armenian subjects, mainly Armenian language, literature and religion.

  • Aramyan-Uncuyan Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Bezciyan Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Bomonti Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Dadyan Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Kalfayan Cemaran İlköğretim Okulu
  • Karagözyan İlköğretim Okulu
  • Kocamustafapaşa Anarat Higutyun Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Levon Vartuhyan Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Feriköy Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Nersesyan-Yermonyan Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Pangaltı Anarat Higutyun Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Tarkmanças Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu
  • Yeşilköy Ermeni İlköğretim Okulu

  • Getronagan Ermeni Lisesi
  • Surp Haç Ermeni Lisesi


Turkish Armenians also have their own long-running hospitals:
  • Surp Prgiç Armenian Hospital (Սուրբ Փրկիչ in Armenian - pronounced Sourp Pergitch or St Saviour). It also has its media information bulletin called "Surp Prgiç"
  • Surp Agop Armenian Hospital (Սուրբ Յակոբ in Armenian pronounced Sourp Hagop)


Most Turkish Armenians are bilingual and use either or both Armenian (The Western Armenian dialect) and Turkish languages as a mother language, and Turkish in their daily lives.

Western Armenian, originally the Istanbul Armenian dialect

Western Armenian, ( , , (and earlier known as , namely "Terkahayeren" (Turkish-Armenian)) is one of the two modern dialects of the modern Armenian, an Indo-European language.

The Western Armenian dialect was developed in the early part of the 19th century, based on the Armenian dialect of the Armenians in Istanbulmarker, to replace many of the Armenian dialects spoken throughout Turkey.

It was widely adopted in literary Armenian writing and in Armenian media published in the Ottoman Empire as well as large parts of the Armenian Diaspora and in modern Turkey.

Partly because of this, Istanbulmarker veritably became the cultural and literary center of the Western Armenians in the 19th and early 20th century.

Western Armenian is spoken by the Armenian diaspora, mainly in North America and South America, Europe and most of the Middle East except for Iranmarker, where the Armenian population because of proximiity to Armeniamarker uses Eastern Armenian, while keeping the traditional Mashdotsian spelling. Adoption of Western Armenian is also mainly due to the fact that great majority of the Armenian diaspora in all these areas (Europe, Americas, Middle East) was formed in the 19th and early 20th century through Armenian populations emanating from the Ottoman Empire.

The Western Armenian language is markedly different in grammar, pronunciation and spelling from the Eastern Armenian language spoken in Armeniamarker, Iranmarker and Russiamarker although they are both mutually intelligible. Western Armenian in marked difference also still keeps the classical Traditional Armenian orthography known as Mashdotsian Spelling, whereas Eastern Armenian language adopted reformed spelling in the 1920s.

The Western Armenian language is still spoken by the present-day Armenian community in Turkey.However Turkish is replacing Western Armenian as a mother language, and UNESCOmarker has added Western Armenian in its annual "Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger" where the Western Armenian language in Turkey is defined as a definitely endangered language.

Armeno-Turkish, Turkish in Armenian alphabet

From the early 18th century until around 1950, and for almost 250 years, more than 2000 books were printed in the Turkish language using letters of the Armenian alphabet. This is popularly known as Armeno-Turkish.

Armeno-Turkish was not used just by Armenians, but also many non-Armenian elite (including the Ottoman Turkish intellectuals) could actually read the Armenian-alphabet Turkish language texts.

The Armenian alphabet was also used alongside the Arabic alphabet on official documents of the Ottoman Empire, written in Ottoman Turkish. For example, the Aleppomarker edition of the official gazette of the Ottoman Empire, called "Frat" (Turkish and Arabic for the Euphrates) contained a Turkish section of laws printed in Armenian alphabet.

Also very notably, the first novel to be written in the Ottoman Empire was 1851's Akabi Hikayesi, written by Armenian statesman, journalist and novelist Vartan Pasha (Hovsep Vartanian) in Ottoman Turkish, was published with Armenian script. "Akabi Hikayesidepicted an impossible love story between two young people coming from two different communities amidst hostility and adversity.

When the Armenian Düzoğlu family managed the Ottoman mint during the reign of Abdülmecid I, they kept their records in Ottoman Turlish written in Armenian script.

Great collection of Armeno-Turkish could be found in Christian Armenian worship until the late 1950s. The Bible used by many Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was not only the Bible versions printed in Armenian, but also at times the translated Turkish language Bibles using the Armenian alphabet. Usage continued in Armenian church gatherings specially for those who were Turkophones rather than Armenophones. Many of the Christian spiritual songs used in certain Armenian churches were also in Armeno-Turkish.

Armenians and the Turkish language

Armenians played a key role in the promotion of the Turkish language including the reforms of the Turkish language initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Bedros Keresteciyan, the Ottoman linguist completed the first etymological dictionary of Turkish. Armenians contributed considerably to the development of printing in Turkey: Tokatlı Apkar Tıbir started a printing house in Istanbul in 1567, the historian Eremia Çelebi, Merzifonlu Krikor, Sivaslı Parseh, Hagop Brothers, Haçik Kevorkyan Abraham from Thrace, Eğinli Bogos Arabian, Hovannes Muhendisian, Rephael Kazancian were among many. Bogos Arabian issued the first Turkish daily newspaper, Takvim-i Vekayi and its translation in Armenian. Hovannes Muhendisian is known as the "Turkish Gutenberg". Haçik Kevorkyan updated the Ottoman Turkish alphabet. Yervant Mısırlıyan developed and implemented publishing books in installments for the first time in the Ottoman Empire. Kasap Efendi, published the first Comic magazine Diyojen in 1870.

Agop Martayan Dilaçar (1895–1979) was a Turkish Armenian linguist who had great contribution to the reform of Turkish language. He specialized in Turkic languages and was the first Secretary General and head specialist of the Turkish Language Association (TLA) from its establishment in 1932 until 1979. In addition to Armenian and Turkish, Martayan knew English, Greek, Spanish, Latin, German, Russian and Bulgarian. He was invited on September 22, 1932, as a linguistics specialist to the First Turkish Language Congress supervised by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Istepan Gurdikyan (1865–1948), linguist, Turcologist, educator and academic and Kevork Şimkeşyan both ethnic Armenians were also prominent speakers at the first Turkish Language Conference. Agop Martayan Dilaçar continued his work and research on the Turkish language as the head specialist and Secretary General of the newly founded Turkish Language Association in Ankaramarker. Atatürk suggested him the surname Dilaçar (literally meaning language opener), which he accepted. He taught history and language at Ankara University between 1936 and 1951 and was the head advisor of the Türk Ansiklopedisi (Turkish Encyclopedia), between 1942 and 1960. He held his position and continued his research in linguistics at the Turkish Language Association until his death in 1979.


Armenians keep a rich cultural life and do participate in the the Turkish art scene.


The pan-Turkish Kardeş Türküler cultural and musical formation, in addition to performing a rich selection of Turkish, Kurdish, Georgian, Arabic and gypsy musical numbers, also includes a number of beautiful interpretation of Armenian traditional music in its repertoire. It gave sold-out concerts in Armeniamarker as part of the Turkish-Armenian Cultural Program, which was made possible with support from USAID.

The "Sayat-Nova” choir was founded in 1971 under the sponsorship of the St. Children’s Church of Istanbul performs traditional Armenian songs and studies and interprets Armenian folk music.

In classical opera music and theatre, Toto Karaca was a major figure on the stage. In the folk tradition, the effect of Udi Hrant Kenkulian as a legendary oud player is indisputable.

In contemporary music, Arto Tunçboyacıyan and his brother the late Onno Tunç are two veritable jazz musicians, composers and arrangers. The Turkish rock artist Yaşar Kurt declared he was of ethnic Armenian descent. Another famous Armenian rock musician is Hayko Cepkin.

Cinema and Acting

In movie acting, special mention should be made of Vahi Öz who appeared in countless movies from the 1940s until late 1960s and Sami Hazinses, who appeared in tens of Turkish movies from the 1950s until the 1990s. An equally prolific Armenian-origin movie actor is Turgut Özatay, movie actor and director Kenan Pars (real name Kirkor Cezveciyan) and theatre and film actress Irma Felekyan (aka Toto Karaca).


In photography Ara Güler is a famous photojournalist of Armenian descent, nicknamed "the Eye of Istanbul" or "the Photographer of Istanbul".


Turkish Armenian novelists, poets, essayists and literary critics continue to play a very important role particularly in the litearary scene of the Armenian diaspora, with works of quality in Western Armenian.

Robert Haddedjian chief editor of Marmara newspaper published in Istanbulmarker remains a pivotal figure in the literary criticism scene. Zareh Yaldizciyan (1923–2007), better known by his pen name Zahrad was a renowned Western Armenian poet.


Istanbul is home to a number of long-running and influential Armenian publications. Most notably "Jamanag" and "Marmara" also have a long tradition of keeping alive the Turkish Armenian literature, which is an integral part of the Western Armenian language and Armenian literature.

  • Jamanag (Ժամանակ in Armenian meaning time) is a long-running Armenian language daily newspaper published in Istanbul, Turkey. The daily was established in 1908 by Misak Kochounian and has been somewhat a family establishment, given that it has been owned by the Kochounian family since its inception. After Misak Kochounian, it was passed down to Sarkis Kochounian, and since 1992 is edited by Ara Kochounian.
  • Marmara, [279033] daily in Armenian (Armenian: Մարմարա) (sometimes "Nor Marmara" - New Marmara) is an Armenian-language daily newspaper published since 1940 in Istanbul, Turkey. It was established by Armenian journalist Souren Shamlian. Robert Haddeler took over the paper in 1967. Marmara is published six times a week (except on Sundays). The Friday edition contains a section in Turkish as well. Circulation is reported at 2000 per issue.
  • Agos, [279034] (Armenian: Ակօս, "Furrow") is a bilingual Armenian weekly newspaper published in Istanbul in Turkish and Armenian. It was established on 5 April 1996. Today, it has a circulation of around 5,000. Besides Armenian and Turkish pages, the newspaper has an on-line English edition too. Hrant Dink was its chief editor from the newspaper's start until his assassination outside of the newspaper's offices in Istanbul in January 2007. Hrant Dink's son Arat Dink served as the executive editor of the weekly after his assassination.
  • Lraber Lraber,(Լրաբեր in Armenian) is a trilingual periodical publication in Armenian, Turkish and English languages and is the official organ of the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople

Other Armenian media titles include: "Sourp Pergiç" (St. Saviour) the magazine of the Armenian Sourp Pergiç (Pergitch) Hospital, also "Kulis", "Shoghagat", "Norsan" and the humorous "Jbid" (smile in Armenian)

Famous Turkish-Armenians

Turkish Armenians in the Diaspora

Despite leaving their homes in Turkey, the Turkish Armenians traditionally establish their own unions within the Armenian Diaspora. Usually named "Bolsahay Miutyun"s (Istanbul-Armenian Associations), they can be found in their new adopted cities of important Turkish-Armenian populations. We can mention "Organization of Istanbul Armenians of Los Angeles", the "Istanbul Armenian Association in Montreal" etc.

Armenians from Republic of Armenia in Turkey

With the establishment of the Republic of Armeniamarker, and because of economic hardship in the new republic, and the differential in renumeration of work, many Armenian nationals from the republic work in Turkey. The official numbers are not validated, as it is a highly seasonal process, but estimates vary between 40,000 and 70,000

Armenians from the modern Republic of Armenia work in Turkey, as temporary residents, but it is alleged also at many times illegally.

In similar fashion, some Turkish nationals work in the Republic of Armenia, mainly in the construction sector.

See also



This article contains some text originally adapted from the public domain Library of Congress Country Study for Turkey.

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