Senan Porteron, a blogger for the Turkey-based Radikal newspaper, who spend his childhood in Baku, Azerbaijan, tells about attitude to Armenians both in Baku and in Turkey.
Below are excerpts from his article.
“I was eleven. There was a very old building in our neighborhood in those days. That was a historical building, and no one lived there. One day, my father and I went to see the building. There were inscriptions in Armenian on the rear of the building. My father told me the building was left by Armenians.
“A few months later that building was destroyed, and a new 16-story building was constructed on the site. I was upset when I saw it destroyed. That must have been the only thing to remind you of Armenians. The day it was pulled down my father told me about their Armenian neighbors. They were very kind and hospitable people. They were on the same wave.
“Years passed. You can feel only hatred for Armenians in Baku, mainly among young people. Ramil Safarov is a glaring example. He got a life term for murdering a sleeping Armenian officer. However, justice did not triumph because the victim was Armenian. On August 31, 2012, Safarov was extradited to Azerbaijan and pardoned by President Ilham Aliyev.
“In Turkey the situation is not much different that in Azerbaijan. Everyone is speaking of ‘Armenians’ in an insulting manner. As years pass, the number of Armenians is decreasing, their culture is being destroyed. Armenians are pressed and called ‘strangers’. Armenians have not seen justice, equality or freedom. Unfortunately, they do not see it now either.
“Almost 100 years have passed since the 1915 Armenian Genocide, but the society has not changed. Some people are still seeking to wipe out Armenian culture. An action has been launched to save the remaining 20 Armenian houses in Mus.
“The destruction of Armenians’ property is a continuation of the genocide. Property of Armenians and Greeks is being plundered both in Mus and in other cities.”
According to the book entitled ‘Les Arméniens dans l’Empire ottoman à la veille du genocide’ by Raymond Haroutioun Kévorkian and Paul B. Paboudjian, in 1915 Mus had 299 churches, 94 monasteries, 53 places of sacred places, 135 Armenian schools and a cemetery. The Armenian population in 355 villages totaled 75,000.