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Most of 500,000 Hamshens in Turkey are Muslim. Do you consider them Armenian?


Hrant Dink on Kurdified Armenians




For the past two months I have been reading Hovan H. Simonian's "The Hemshin": history, society and identity in the Highlands of Northeast Turkey. READ IT. I saw the book on Amazon. It is pricy, so I borrowed it from the Royal Library. I most certainly will buy it one day; one read is not enough.

I found out about the Hemshin people a year ago, and my heart just went out to them. I do not care whether they are Muslim or other, I share their blood and they share mine.

I was so happy reading the dialog between Bulig and Paul, I wish they would pick up and continue, here on this forum, or anywhere else, as long as I can ear-drop.They were really connecting. And I wish someone would translate Tigran Amadouni's "Are the Armenians Hamshenziner? Can I ask this?" into Armenian or English. Google is not up to it.

Last but not least, let's not forget those Muslims of Lebanon and Syria; they gave us a home in their countries, where we built our churches, schools, newspapers. There we floorished and multiplied. We became an asset to our new homelands.

No more bickering, PLEASE, we can't afford to stand divided any more. Our nation needs us, Christian or Muslim, Tashnag or Hunchag, lipanantsi or ethiopiatsi or any tsi for that matter.

Shenorhavor Nor Dari Poloris.

Great Renaissance of Armenian Nation

We all know our history: the history of Armenia and Armenians. And we know that Armenia was the platform of great invasions (Macedonian, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Turk and Mongol). Each invasion had its great and destructive influence, including deportations to Persia and even to Central Asia.

These great invasions had also great religious influence. The first temptation was Persian Zoroastrian. Soon after it was the Muslim Arabs and then the Muslim Turks.

There is the story of a European traveler in Asia Minor/historic Armenia, and in the Kurdish regions meeting a Kurdish tribe known as Mamigon. The tribe's leader shows him the flag of his ancestors, transferred from generation to generation. The conclusion of the European traveler is that the Mamigon tribe could be the Armenian Mamigonians, and the flag the Mamigonian flag.

Now, who is Armenian?

If this Mamigon tribe exists, and if its proven that they are the descendants of the Mamigonians, then they are Armenians. And the Hashmetsis, who have evidence of being Armenian, are Armenians, as well as the Derbent Armenians.

Independent of religion, the Armenian Nation is one and indivisible.

The 21st Century will be the Great Renaissance of the Armenian Nation.

Simon Dedeyan

Hemşin III

Re: Hamshens (Cont.), Paul Manoukian
Jesus (Hz.Issa ) lived around 30 to 40 years. He died between 30 to 40 A.D., and you found His path just in 301 A.D. It took you quite a long time ...and when you chose Christianity, did you all convert freely or your leaders chose that religion and your ancestor had to follow what had been chosen? What happened to your pagan ancestors? Would you say that your pagan ancestors were not Armenian the moment they rejected Christianity? Do you really believe that they converted to Christianity in one day? You are wise and I hope you don’t believe that. I'm sorry to talk in this way but in all religions, at first converted people are not many. Your pagan ancestors also ran away from their land to keep their religion. Guess what? Your first Christians destroyed the pagan temples to build their church. The Ottomans also changed churches to mosques. When I look from that side, I don't see that you are right and others are wrong. It's like convertor is also converted. I don’t agree that you are the first Christians. The Assyrians are older than you, but they did not have the kingdom to declare it.

Forget about past. Today what's your estimation of Hemsins reconverting to Christianity? 1% to 2%? To convert 1-2% of us, is it worth to get 99%’s anger and rejection? I’m being honest about it. The more you you stress the word "converted’’ the more furious we get. Above, I reminded you that conversion applies to all Armenians or to all human beings. Please see from that side.

Turkey doesn’t grant automatic citizenship to Turkic people, but I know that many people stay  here illegally. And I don't support EU membership. We do not belong to that group, mentally, culturally or through religion. I have been to almost all the European countries and I don’t see any benefit  that we can get from them.

I understand your explanation of discovery. But to me, unfortunately, it's like discovering America while you are already in America. May be you did not know, but there was an ignorance in the majority of Armenians. Therefore, you have now a conflict re whether we are Turk or Armenian or whatever. But I don’t have any problem. If you have a conflict, we know what we are and we don’t need to be anything to be Hemshinian.

Laz  are hardly more than 1 million to 1.5 million. I mean the real Laz. Many people mistakenly refer to all the Black Sea region people as Laz. As they live by the sea, they did not have to emigrate to big cities like Hemsinlis. If you visit Rize/Artvin in winter, you can find many Laz people, but not many Hemsinlis. Therefore, counting Laz people is easier than counting Hemsinlis. For Hemsinli it's hard to estimate as today the majority live in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and in Bursa. But more than 1 million certainly.

Best regards.

Hamshen Have Own Identity

It's funny to see many discussions about whether Hemshens are Armenian or not. No one has the right to decide on behalf of the Hemshens. The religion of the Hemshens is Islam. It shapes their culture and can not be separated from their identity. Most people, like me, get angry when you emphasize our religion. You can be proud of your religion but not be arrogant. You have to understand that there is no way for us to change. Yes, we are converted from Christianity, but Christianity is not the original religion of the Armenians. Isn't it so? Since there is no pagan Armenian, it means you all converts, too.

The majority of the Hemshens don't consider themselves Armenian. I can't tell you why, but its not about external influences, at least not today. No one is forcing us to be something else. We just do what we feel. Maybe in the past we had a language similar to Armenian but the rest of culture (music, dance, food, tradition, lifestyle) are different from Armenian. Today the Hemshens have their own identity which is different from Armenian. Putting the Hamshens under the Armenian umbrella is not right.

Hamsheni Inquiry

Hi Bulig,
I am interested in the Hamshens and their culture. What do you do as main job/trade? What is your national food, your preferred meal? What is your traditional feast? What do you do on that day? What do you consider yourselves to originate from? The reason I am asking is that throughout the Internet and Facebook there is not a single piece of information about Hamshens written by them. I watched the Youtube clip. The language sounds like Armenian. If so, how did that happen? Please try to respond: I am keen to learn about the Hamshens.

Hemshen Culture

Here is some information about the Hamshens, but referring only to Rize Hemshen. Things may be different for Hopa Hemshens or the rest.

Bakery is the main trade of Hemshens. They have learned the trade in Russia or in Georgia (before the '50s, it was common to go Russia for work ). Today in big cities most of the bakeries or patisseries are owned by Hemshenlis. But surely the educational level has increased in the past 20 to 30 year: now you cannot be definitive about their main trades and crafts.

The best-known food of Hemshens is the "muhlama’’, made of corn flour, butter and cheese. When you visit a Hemshen house, if  they don't have anything to serve, you will probably get muhlama, yogurt, sometimes honey, and bread called "pelit"--it is similar to pita bread but a bit thicker. The honey of the Hemshens is well known. It used to be served in Ottoman palaces. Most villagers, even today, try to retain this tradition of keeping bees.

Their feasts are mostly related to the Muslim culture--Ramadan, Eid, etc., but like Armenians we have Vartevar. It's not a festival (at least not in my time), just a gathering after the harvest season for tea.
Our old people consider January 13-14 New Year, according to the Old Calendar. We don’t know why or which calendar they mention but that night is special for single people because of the salty bread tradition. According to the salty bread ("salty pelit’’) tradition, Hamshens prepare very salty bread, eat it and go sleep without drinking water. If you see yourself drinking water in your dream, you may get to marry from that house or place. Also in past, they used to put one little coin, one corn grain and one pumpkin grain in that bread. Whoever found the coin in the bread meant he would be the leader and control the money; whoever found the corn grain would prepare the corn field.

Rize Hemshens' main instrument is the tulum (bagpipe). Kemençe (lyre ) is not common in our  celebrations/weddings. It is more of a  Horum (Roman/Greek ) instrument, but I have heard that Abkhazia Hemshens use kemence.

Hemshens have differences in their languages. I’m searching why we have so many differences, even though we were/are one. The major differences are between Hopa and Rize. They cannot understand each other’s. Rize Hemshens do not speak the same language as Hopa. From the Rize Hemshen point of view, we don’t see it as a different language. For us it’s a dialect of our village and we automatically use it when we go back. Certainly day by day we lose the language since we don't use it as often as before but still there are many words we know.

Regarding YouTube or Facebook, I have already said that I don't like seeing people talk on behalf of the Hemshens. I know that some people pretend to be one of us to provoke us. I have watched some videos which have false stories. So they are not objective and can't be trusted. 

I hope I have answered you questions.


Thank you Bulig, much appreciated.

In my research, I found out that for many items, we have sometimes to make a decision out of vagueness. Armenian being such a minority, difficult and not so pretty language compared to french and italian for example , that it is almost impossible for anybody to speak it but Armenians. Yet, amongst Armenians it is scarcer and scarcer to find Armenian speaking people in the diaspora. But the dialogue spoken in the video is 95% Armenian originated.

Here is another piece to the puzzle, the feast in January is also an Armenian tradition because Armenian Apostolics celebrate Christmas on the 6 January (not 25 December) which brings their new year 6 days afterwards relatively speaking. Armenians are Indo-Europeans and the bagpipe is an Indo-European instrument.

Galicia (present day Turkey was also home of the Galicians, an older celtic tribe, which as we know is the origin of the Scots and Irish who have made their bagpipes famous and the Irish play the Irish harp). Armenians and Irish share a common blood type and DNA which is unexplained.

The Turks are an altaic people like the Finns and the Hungarian Magyars. Because Armenian are such a small number, we desperately seek to find our "cousins" everywhere. However reading various comments in Hamshens you tube videos, there are many Hamshenis who do not share that view.

Is this mainly due to 1. Some Hamshenis are atttached to the Sunni Muslim faith that they view that association as scandalous? Or 2. there has been a mixing of Hamshenis/proper Turks that the Hamsheni is only a tradition more than an ethnic group for some.

Please let me know, I want to dialogue in an earnest yearn of discovery and I find your responses as extremely logical that we yearn to learn more.

Cheers and hoping to read you soon.

Hi Paul, Thank you

Hi Paul,

Thank you for your comments. I will try to answer your question the best way I can.

Why we don’t share the same views (this is my  opinion and findings) ? There are many influences but the most important is probably the psychological. I don't want to mention the discrepancy in our history (Turkish vs Armenian views). In our families it's the same: some support the Turkish perspective, some the Armenian, even though not stating their Armenian origin but saying that they're "kind of Armenian.’’

There is one big misunderstanding in the psychological view. You may have heard that Hemshenis don’t like to be called "Armenian’’.  It is true. But most researchers link this behavior to an ethnic perception. However, it's not about ethnic background; it's all about religion. You, Armenians, clearly state your Christian identity. Therefore the perception of an Armenian is doubtlessly Christian, is it not so? So how can the Hemshenis fit in that?

Beside all these, nationalism is also very strong in our region. Most people think that if they choose the Armenian identity they will be regarded betrayers. It is again related to the Armenian behavior  as common view of most or all Armenians is somehow against Turkey and Turks. So if Hemshenis chose to be Armenian how can they still be [Turkish] nationalists? You can find many people with different views but our love for our country cannot be discussed. So maybe it's better for us to be Hemshen than any other...

If you check YouTube and Facebook, you will see that many Armenians criticize Hamshenis. Most Hemsheni people cannot understand English. Hopefully those comments are opening doors for resistance and pushing aggression. Honestly, I don’t understand the increase of Armenian interest in us in last couple of years. We were not lost or hidden. I or each Hemsheni state their Hemshen origin in priority, to differentiate ourselves from others. By others I mean Laz and Horums (Eastern Romans=Rum= Anatolian Greeks ). The most common mistake is that all southeast Black Sea coast people are Laz. There are at least four to five different groups just among the Rize.

Regarding celebrating New Year on Jan. 13-14, I don’t think it's related to Christianity. An Armenian book mentions that it dates back to pagan times. However, I also found that some Greeks--whose ancestors were from Trabzon--also knew about the date. But it is still unclear to me. I am still searching.

On YouTube you can find songs by "Hopa Hemsinli"s. I understand in recent years he has taken lessons in eastern Armenian. I don’t support the learning of eastern Armenian to protect the language, just as they wouldn't be protecting their identity by converting one religion to the other. If the aim is to keep what we have then it's not the way to do it. The eastern Armenian language they adopt will not be similar to ours. However, Hopa Hemsinli use some words from eastern Armenian in general which my side does not use. Therefore, I’m curious how they learned these words, as in general what we speak in the Hemshinli region is much closer to western Armenian.

I'm open to any questions if it's not racist. I'm also sensitive about my people, my land and my religion. Looking forward to hearing your comment.



Hello Bulig,

I received your message and to be frank, I had tears in my eyes. Emotions from a bad night where my dear Mum got really painful at the back so I had to wheel her across the house to the toilet and slept very little and emotions from your comments which surprised me.

Because for a moment I had doubts about my research and studies and reading your message I knew from what you said that you were an Armenian due to the attachments to your roots and dialect and reading your explanations and that brought tears of joy or happiness. I cannot explain it we are a weird people. First there are no racist statements because the true meaning of that word is different races and we are not. I will try to comment I hope from the heart.

Armenians are proud of Hamshenis. When we were marched to our death, all the pretty ones disappeared either killed, raped or somebody's forced maid or wife. As a consequence all western Armenians in the Diaspora are [somewhat disfigured], and when we start discovering the Hamshenis, we found that they were a good looking people of what we could have possibly have been. It is psychological.

Yes Hamshenis were only discovered by western Armenians almost a decade ago. When I was telling the community around me back then, I was met with skepticism and they thought I was going overboard. Little by little, it became known, before that we had no idea. imagine today, on the web, in 2013, you are the only English speaking hamsheni that is open to dialogue, so what were the odds before. The channel France 24 aired a documentary "'the Hidden Armenians" and that started it. Behind the scenes, it all started when 2 french Armenians, in a tourist bus, overheard the bus driver talking to somebody in Armenian. They were surprised, so they asked the driver if he was Armenian...No, he said, I am hamsheni...that was the beginning...

Hamshenis today are 2 main groups, those who live in Russia, mainly Christians but fiercely tribal and have associations called "Hamshen Armenians"...and those in Turkey, mainly Sunni Muslims. In the video that you have seen, it is possible that this was made by those who live in Russia.

Most Armenians in Russia speak eastern Armenian, so that was why a few words in that dialect crept in the video. I have friends of both dialects, and I am surprised to see that even in Australia, those who speak the western dialect are very hostile to the eastern dialect. But the eastern dialect are not hostile to the western dialect, they are more European in their thinking. So I understand your reaction and attachment to your dialect, it is so typical western Armenian. Eastern Armenian is found in Persia and Armenia. But most of the Diaspora is western Armenian.

Now you started your response by saying about different perceptions and views. But it happens that I agree 100% with your comments. It is not ethnic, it is religious. The Armenian Christian identity is clear because it marked our history. But Armenian is an ethnic identity, and nobody has the right to differentiate or exclude. It is not subject to debate. Hamshenis if identified as ethnic Armenians are Armenians whether christian, Muslims or pagans.To the "odars" (foreigners), we are all put in the same bag. Many Australian scholars refer to the Hamshenis as being my compatriots whether I like it or not. But we Armenians, consider any converted Armenian as being stolen from us by force due to our history and feel humiliated by that defeat.

Many Hamshenis in Europe (not a lot) have converted to Christianity as the case of the President of Armenians in Sweden, who is a Hamsheni. But rooted in that is Christian philosophy which I will try to summarize so that you do get to comprehend us and not feel insulted. All true Christians (only 2%) know that Christ has said that "go and baptize them in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit", and that not doing so is not worthy to be his disciples. However, the true Christian believe in his faith. Therefore, it is also believed that true charity is to wish to others what you wish to yourself. In the western world, we have been forced to accept homosexuality , but if somebody is heterosexual and charitable, he would want the homosexual to be like him and not something he dislikes. However very few carry that message of comprehension and they all go for confrontation. If I am eating a succulent kebab, I want my friend to eat the same. if my friend is eating dried beans , and I tell him that it is okay, then I am not true to my feelings, wishing the good things for me and not caring for others. This is christian philosophy and is not a sense of insult or racism.

As to ethnic diversity, the Georgian president has offered the Laz Georgian automatic Georgian citizenship and has estimated that number to be 5,000,000. There are also the Pomaks (Bulgarians). The Ottoman empire had the Mamelukes who were kids from their christian empire (Serbians, Croatians, Greeks), so I can understand the desire of one to identify himself/herself to a group. January 13-14 is not linked to Christianity, It is linked to a calendar that was adopted by Orthodox faith and is not used in western Christianity.

Finally your comments about your dialect identify you as being close to Armenians linguistically. As we do not differ on views of land and religion , we must differ on that of people. You view your people as the Turks..we view you as Armenian, hence all our difference. We view that attachment as treason, you view not being attached to the Turks as treason. We view that if a duck is born in a stable, he is still a duck. We perceive that the Hamsheni view is that if a duck is born in a stable , he is a horse. And there is the gap between us. However nothing stops the duck and the horse to become friends... On that note, I hope I did not give you a headache and do not rush for the aspirins, but a good old "arak" to relax.

Hope to read you soon.
Warm regards,


Hi again.

I don’t know where to start, but as I’m sensitive re the word "converted’’, I will start from there. Why do you think we were stolen? Being Christian, you are also a convert. Why do you see yourself (all Armenians) undoubtedly right and others wrong? I understand that you wish others to be like you but why is that right? Don’t forget that a colorful mosaic is better than white marble. And don’t forget that, I can also say that you still have not found the right path. Would that make you happy? You have to look at both side.

Being a Hemshinian, I or we, have no problem if our ancestors were Christian or pagan or whatever since the religion of that time before people accepted another religion. Maybe with force, maybe not. Everyone is attached to his/her beliefs and rejects external influences.

I heard that Armenians have internal conflicts but did not know about a hostility regarding the language. What I tried to say is that to learn Anatolian Turkish, you have to go to Kazakhstan or Kyrigizstan. They also speak a Turkic language which is 90% foreign to me. Or the Hungarian language: only the grammar is the same as Turkish, but the words are totally different. It's the same here: you have to go to Armenia to speak the Hamshen language. I realized that after listening to some songs. The words are different from what my family used to speak. I recently learned about Abkhazia Hemshins. We had no idea about them. For me,  they are now Armenian but not Hemsinian or, as you call, Hemsin Armenian. They have a language similar to Eastern Armenian. Their culture (food, dance, tradition) are the same as that of other Armenians. I  can only be sorry for them.

Laz can not be more than five million. I'm not sure, but they are almost the same number as us. Sure Georgians want them back so that in the future they can claim rights on Artvin and some parts of Rize. This is how we think in general. Of course if Georgians are sincere then Laz should accept it. But again, the Laz will chose me/us against anyone including Georgians, because we have lived together for many, many years. Laz today dance Hemsin and play Tulum. Their culture is not Georgian. 

You see Hemshinians as traitors; we see being Armenian treasonous. How come Armenians have wide knowledge of other Armenians around the world but not about Hemshinians who live on their land?  Because we are Muslim you ignore us and do not want to accept that--unless you are blind. The first option is stronger, if I accept the Armenian thesis. Of course I would like to get your opinion. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
Best Regards.

Hamshens (Cont.)

Hi Bulig,

"Converted" means "coming from". Armenia was the first Christian country in the world. It converted in 301 AD (from paganism).

We use the term "by force" because the Hamshenis converted to Islam during war and occupation, and not willingly and voluntarily. That is why “converted by force" is used. It was not done by free choice, but by the power of war and conflict.

I do not mind when you say I have not found the correct path. I appreciate your honesty and frankness. Many--mainly atheists--around me have told me that. I will not take offense by your words. As for the "mosaic" analogy, that is art and is subject to the taste of each individual. It is the soul that should be pure and in one colour. It's very hard for humans to achieve it.

The Turks are members of the Turkish commonwealth--a group of countries stretching from Turkey to the Uyghur province, in northwest China, birthplace of the Turkic peoples. As a matter of fact, one of the points of discussion by the European Union (EU) with Turkey’s entry is the Turkic people, because Turkey grants automatic citizenship to Turkic people (Turkmenistan, etc...). The EU is worried that this would cause an influx of people from outside Europe into the EU.

Hemshen is a dialect of the Armenian language. It is like American English--a dialect of the English language. It is called Hemshen in Turkey because of the fear of being identified as Armenian. Hemshen is a provincial name. For example, my paternal ancestors came from Malatya, but being Malatiatsi is not a nationality, it is a provincial location within a nationality. Among the Armenian Diaspora, there are “Marash” and “Kharpert” associations, like the Hamshenis. They are all Armenians. Recently 220 Hamshens settled in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh). They were considered Armenians even though they are Muslim. They came from a Central Asian republic where they were they had been for a very long time.

I researched the Laz population statistics and could not find any mention of 5 million Laz which I saw in an article covering the recent visit of the Georgian president to Turkey. One article mentioned 200,000 and another mentioned between 750,000 and 1,500,000. The third one, I copied and pasted as it mentions the Hamshenis.
List of ethnic groups living in Turkey could be as follows: [24]
1. Turkic-speaking peoples: Turks, Azeris, Tatars, Karachays, Karapapak, Uzbeks, Crimean Tatars and Uyghurs.
2. Indo-European-speaking peoples: Kurds (Kurmanj and Zazas[25][26]), Bosniaks, Albanians, Pomaks, Armenians, Hamshenis, Gorani and Greeks.
3. Semitic-speaking peoples: Arabs, Assyrians/Syriacs and Jews.
4. Caucasian-speaking peoples: Circassians, Georgians, Laz and Chechens.

What is the number of Hamshenis, according to you?

I already covered the discovery of Hamshenis by the Armenians in my last comment. It was my job within my association to discover and make known the Hamshenis to the Armenians around the world. This is how I discovered your comments on the Keghart website. It took me three years to find somebody such as yourself. People like you are rare.

Armenians are 8.8 million around the world. Some 5.8 million live outside Armenia. Of these 2.2 million approximately do not speak Armenian. Thus Armenians considered Hamshenis a mystery. Because Armenians who intermarry lose their “Armenianess” and cease to participate in Armenian activities in the Diaspora, Armenians generally and loosely consider all the “mixed” Armenians as lost to us. Not in a mean way but in a sad way. Thus Armenians comment about Hamshenis not as Muslims, but because we do not know if they are intermarried with Turks and therefore not really Armenians.

My observations are that there are many Hamshenis who still speak the Hemshen language and therefore are not mixed with Turks since in an intermarriage the language cannot be preserved and the most widely used language prevails. I could be wrong. You could probably inform me next time whether my observation is correct. Looking forward to your coming response.
Best regards.

More About Hamshen

First of all, I want to say "hello" to you all, Keghart readers.

I haven't read Paul's last comment, so I'm going to talk to Bulig, mostly, to give him another Armenian's point of view. Some things you should know about me that would show you not all of us, Armenians, think alike. I am atheist, proud Armenian, and respectful of non-fascist Turks (or any nice person, for that matter).

To begin with, let me say that I'm against Christianity. The man who introduced Christianity in Armenia was not even Armenian- Surp Krikor Lusavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was Persian. To convert Armenians to Christianity he massacred thousands of my compatriots.

I, as many Armenians, accept you, Hamshens, as Muslims. Because we've come to understand that nationality is not based solely on religion. 

Regarding your question as to why Armenians have ignored you until in recent decades, I believe it may have to do with a couple of changes in the Armenian world. The first one is that Armenia is no longer a Soviet country, and eastern Armenians and western Armenians are starting to get in touch (until now, the Soviet idea that western Armenians are not 'pure' Armenians survives within some eastern Armenians, though it is vanishing, luckilly). The other big reason is that Armenians, along with liberalism, are starting to think in ways that are different from that of the previous generations' thoughts. We now are more open-minded, and that might just be one of the few good impacts of liberalism on the Armenian nation. We are open to Hamshentsis in a way that 40 or 30 years ago was impossible. To give you a hint, Istanbul Armenians (most of them devout Christians and very conservative) are against the acceptance of Hamshen Armenians and kurdified Muslim Armenians, because as you said, they think that they are all traitors. But I disagree with them... I know that turkification or even islamization were a consequence of a feeling that could be associated with fear. Regardless of the cause, the result is what is going on right now. But luckilly Hopa Hamshentsis are more open to their roots and keep in touch with the Hamshentsis that live outside of Turkey, which gives them the feeling of warmth that perhaps Rize Hamshentsis feel by staying proud Turks.

It is a very complex matter indeed.

I don't see you as traitors, brother... not by any means. Your forefathers did what they needed to do to stay alive and preserve their lands and heritage, just so their offspring could enjoy it. You and the Hamshentsis that live in today's Hamshen are among the luckiest Armenians in my opinion, as you got to be born and to live in your fatherland, the actual land that belonged to our ancestors. As a Vanetsi,  I hope one day I'll get to step on our very own ancient Tushpa.

I wish you all the best. 

Abri Hamshenahaye

Sireli yeghpayrs, Tigran Hamam Amatuni Kostanian,

Abri arevt. Halal e geradzt kate. Toun isgagan Hay es, enger ou yeghpayr. Ashkharhi vor goghmn al ellas hbardoutioun e poloris hamar. Shad gouzeyi gabi metch mdneel kezi hed. Kre indzi kou e-mailt yev yes gue gabvim hedt im antsnagan e-mailovs.

Who is Armenian?

I am Armenian. I am proud to be Armenian. I am the son of sun. Adonai ehad.


You are not Armenian but Israeli if you recite Adonai Ehad. Mr. Armen. You can lie only to yourself.

Armenian is ...

Armenian is whoever feels Armenian and is proud of our history and is unbiased. Who gave you authority to call someone Armenian or not or so-called Armenian. Does your name, family name make you Armenian? You had no say in your religion. You were baptized when you were several months old. Sometimes you may attend church for a wedding. Does your attendance of Armenian school make you Armenian? Thank and pray for what you have, and make the world a better place than it is today.     


Hemshen Armenian

I live in USA, born to an Armenian family & I'm proud they sent me to Armenian school. My family is Christian. 
Absolutely our Hemshentsi, Moslem brothers & sisters are Armenian. Religion in history caused more problems than can be documented.

My Hemshen Armenian brothers & sisters, we count every day for you to come out, declare your nationality and to the arms of your awaiting people. Ignore those who do not understand the difference between nationality & religion, many of them pose as Armenian.  History comes, goes and continues, but our proud Armenians shall always survive. What religion you choose, or perhaps were forced to choose, is something for you to decide.

A day will come when our people will live in one nation, we join our lands and show a new century to the world - we are a symbol of resilience. President Obama, whom I love, called Armenians yesterday on the White House website, INDOMITABLE - meaning UNCONQUERABLE, RESOLUTE, DETERMINED.

They are Armenians

«Ան որ առաքելական չէ. Հայ չէ», «Ան որ .....ական չէ. Հայ չէ», «Ան որ քրիստոնեայ չէ. Հայ չէ», «Ան որ այստեղացի չէ. Հայ չէ» եւ այսպիսի կարգախօսքերով. մենք մեր ձեռքով բաժնած ենք ազգը տարբեր կարգերու: Ուրեմն, հայ ըլլալ կը նշանակէ առաքելական, ...ական, այստեղացի՞ ըլլալ: Եթէ այդպէս է, ապա ո՞րքան է հայ ազգի թուաքանակը: Կը կարծեմ թէ նորէն պէտք է խմբագրուի «հայ ըլլալու» հասկացութիւնը: Վերոյիշեալ պատկանելիութիւնները համարելով լոկ պատմական մշակութային աւանդ, պիտի սահմանել 21րդ դարուն հայ ըլլալու իմաստը: Հայ ըլլալու իմաստը պիտի կայանայ. Հայաստանի, որպէս պետութեան, հզօրացման շահախնդիր մարդու կերպարով: Հայաստանի հզօրացման գործին մէջ գուցէ մէկ լումայ, գուցէ ամէնասուղը՝ կեանքը ներդնէ, բայց երբ ան, որպէս անհատ, շահախնդիր է իր հայրենիքի հզօրացմամբ, ուրեմն ան է ժամանակակից հայը: Այլապէս՝ մեզմէ ո՞վ լիիրաւ քրիստոնեայ է: Մեզմէ ո՞վ գիտէ տարբերութիւնը. քաղկեդոնականի, կաթոլիկի եւ բողոքականի միջեւ: Այլեւս ո՞վ մաքուր ...ական է: Ի՞նչքան է եւ ո՞վ այստեղացի է: Ո՞վ հայերէն գիտէ: Ո՞վ հայրենիքի մէջ կը բնակի: Եւ շատ ու շատ «Ո՞վ»-ով սկսող հարցումներ, պիտի բաժան բաժան ընեն Հայ Ժողովուրդը: Հայ աշխարհիկ եւ հոգեւոր պետերը, պարտաւոր են իրենց իշխանասիրութիւնը մէկ կողմ դնելու, եւ ձեռք մեկնելու իրար: Տրամաբանական եւ շինիչ խօսակցութեամբ. կարելի է գտնել լաւագոյնը կամ չարեաց փոքրագոյնը, Հայաստանի հզօրացման ճամբուն վրայ: Արիւն կորսնցնելու տեղ չունինք այլեւս: Պիտի գտնել, թերեւս մի կում հայի ջիղ, մի պուտ հայի արիւն ունեցողը, եւ դաշնակից դարձնել անոր՝ վաղուայ Հայաստանի քաղաքացին:

Are We Armenians?

We are discussing whether the Hamshentsis are Armenian. A good question, but I have a better one: are we, the non-Hamshentsis, Armenians? If yes, in what way? What privilege do we have besides the religion? Are we Armenian because we are Armenian or are we Armenian because we are Christian?

If you think being Christian makes you Armenian, then what is the difference between an American Christian and an Armenian? Do you know the difference between nationality and religion? For the record, Christianity is not an Armenian religion. Unfortunately, we lost our religion long ago. Neither is Islam Armenian. So please stop arguing about Christianity being the "pass mark" for being Armenian.

As far as Armenian identity is concerned, being Christian or Moslem is the same. It's nationality that counts. Let's stop being fanatics and think again.


I want to die as Armenian, not Christian

Today Churches, Mosques, Sinagogues etc. are businesses; they make money,  but they do not give you money or help. 

I do not believe in religion any more. I do not want to die being Christian Armenian, I want to die for Armenian rights and for my land Armenia.

Kevork Gulluian

Remembering the Origin

If the Hamshentsiner remember their Armenian origin and although converted to Islam, keep the Armenian Christian Tradition, then we believe that they are Armenians. Historically we know that under the Arab rule and Ottoman Oppression centuries ago they were converted to Islam.
I have met Moslem Turks from the Trabzon region, Turkey. They know and confirm that they are Georgians, converted to Islam. Will  Saakashvili reject these Georgians if they request their Georgian Identity? Surely not. Moslem Adjars in Georgia were also originally Christian Georgians, and many come back now to their Christian origin. 
Welcome to Hamshentsiner to their Armenian Origin.            

Armenian or not


Your first sentence  clarifies who is Armenian or not. I have several contacts in Turkey that are "Hands on " anything Armenian.  Simon's first sentence does not apply to present day Hamshentzis. Very few of them mention their past background without any refferal to their real feelings. Some might feel stronger than others but so far there has been no movement toward  " coming home". Thus I can not consider them Armenian because  political atmopshere of today allows  the contrary.

Take the example of certain Kurds from Dersim (Tunceli in present Turkey). Due to relaxation of Turkish policies these Kurds are saying that they were muslim Kurds but now they accept their origins and would like to join their brethren. They have formed  Social Solidarity Association of Dersim Armenians (Dersim Ermenilerin Sosyal Yardimlasma dernegi). There you are..THOSE ARE ARMENIANS...not the ones who say  " well...in the past we might have been Armenians but today we are Turks and Muslim"

Hamshen, Dersim

Dear Serj,

Though I share your admiration and joy while hearing from Dersim Armenians and similar Armenians, there are some ideas regarding Hamshentsis that you should revise.

First, we should remember and highlight that Dersim Armenians as well as  all crypto Armenians (Vanetsiner, Mshetsiner, Dikranagerdtsiner, etc) have lived as Turks or Kurds for fewer than 100 years while Hamshentsis have lived as Muslim Armenians starting nearly 350 years ago, and have tried to hide their Armenian roots since the Genocide as well. Which is why Islam is much stronger within Hamshentsis. Think of religion as something which is not superficial. When they equal armenianness to Christianity, they feel like they don't belong with us. Those who think like that will probably look for comfort in turkification.

This last phenomenon happens mostly in Rize and western Hamshen, whilst in Hopa, Artvin and all eastern Hamshen people are slowly re-embracing their armenianness, most without giving up their Muslim beliefs. This same thing happens to kurdified Armenians. Some get back to Christianity and some stay Muslim. In a way, those who embrace their Armenian heritage and stay Muslim end up having better understanding about what is being an Armenian than our older Christian fanatical generations. It's actually a funny paradox, in the end.

Last but not least, I've tell you that there are actually some Hamshentsi groups that are getting in touch with fully self-identified Armenians. As this is a public group I won't name them. "Payts amen meg teh jishd tseverov pndre, bidi kdneh ays mer Hamshentsi hayrenagitsneru masin khoomper voronq guzen Hay ashkharhin veratarnal. 
Parevner and greetings to all.

Are the Armenians Hamshenziner? Can I ask this?

Sorry for my "perfect" english......

In German:

Ob eskimos hamshenziner  sind? ich weiss es nicht, es kann sein, dass manche hamshenziner dorthin gegangen und bäckerei dort aufgemacht haben! das weiss ich nicht. es ist aber möglich. ein anekdote; ein mann hatte die voll von hamshenziner. er sagt , ich will sie nicht mehr sehn. und er geht zum ende der welt. zu den eskimos. endlich keine hamshenziner mehr dort. ein monat, ein jahr vorbei. eines abends an einem see. es kommt invalider mann . mit einem bein. und er singt .halb englisch halb homshetsma;AAKAGE ERTAÇİ- ertatshi - ERTUŞ KUZİM İSTİ HED(ertush kuzim istihed - how can it ?- sonne hängt - ich will von hier weggehen).. der mann ist schockiert. er sagt. wenn ein hamshenziner mit einem bein hierher kommen kann. dann gibt es keinen platz auf der, wo man keinen hamshenziner sehen kann.... hamshenener sind keine eskimos. unter den eskimos können manche hamshenziner sein .vielleicht.

Wenn sie so fragen, ob hamshenziner armenier sind? Ich kann auch fragen. sind  armenier vielleicht hamshenziner ?  Weil hamshen ist historisch geografisch  nord hayassa. wir leben hier seit tausenden von jahren. als hamshener seit 680.

In English (Try Google)

The song of Homshetma translated to Hayeren


parevner, kalisperas

Tigran Hamam Amatuni


What's the big deal about religion. Christianity as a religion is nearly extinct. It has survived as a cultural identity. Less than 10% church attendance in Western Europe. Of those that go, many do so for the companionship, or community activities or other non denominational reasons. Science and the results of space travel, DNA technology, modern communications, all chip away at superstitions and religion. Perhaps religion will change again as it had 2000 years ago, (Zoroastrianism ) and as it changed 1000 years earlier (Armenian Pantheon), and before that. ...

Focusing on religion is a waste of time. Beside, Islam is a primitive religion. Far more primitive than Christianity, but probably more advanced than animism. I suspect that when the Hamshentzis come in contact with modern Armenian life and society, they will at least become ambivelant about their Islamic culture. Just look at the Christian Hamshentzis. Without much of anyone noticing, they pretty much blended themselves into the greater Hay society. I suggest that they have been so brain-washed against Armenians, that if we approached them as Hayasa and instead of as Armenians , that they might find us more acceptable. Beside, Armenians were a Phryrgian tribe that conquered us the Hayassa and perhaps the Azzi Hayassa 1250 BCE. Isn't it about enough? They too merged with us. There are no self identifying Armenians left as opposed to Hays.

So welcome Hamshetskans, and fill up every corner of Artsakh with your beautiful babies and the sound of your bag pipes and get ready for the wedding, because the young men will be knoking at your doors, asking for your beautiful daughters. What a proud looking people and what beauties. We would be lucky to have them add to the genetic pool.


We are not adding anything to the genetic pool. I am sepastatsi. We come from the west side of lake Van and they are from the north side of the lake. They left the area 300 years before us.

Who is armenian, how can we be Armenian?

To read the English translation or in any other (except in Armenian), click on the translation service provided above.

zuerst möchte ich mich für mein schlechtes englisch entschuldigen. ich möchte zu dem thema hemschin folgendes ergänzen. bevor wir hemschinlis zu einer prüfung unterziehen, ob sie armenier sind, sollten wir definieren, was ist armenier zu sein?das ist die erste.. zweitens, wenn man feinde unter den armeniern sucht, sollte man folgende frage erlauben; waren die türken oder hemschinlis, die im armenischen parlement, eigene parlemanterier erschossen hat. oder die ganze korruption in armenien von türken oder hamschetzis gemacht werden? verhindern die moslemische armenier die wirtschaftliche entwicklung in armenien?verhindern die hamschener die minimale konsens unter armenischen welt?wer ist armenier? wann ist man armenier? versteckt euch nicht hinter falschen bergen. geht an die gipfel des ararats und mount khackars, schaut das gesamte hayassa-hayastan, von west nach ost, von nord auf süd. und schaut die geschichte der ar-mans, von urarteans bis heute... da liegt die lösung.

parevner, kalisperas

Tigran Hamam Amatuni Kostanian/Hamshen-Hayassa



I would like all of you to know that Hamshen people would consider it an insult to be called Armenian. They may speak with an Armenian dialect and have Armenian blood, but their thoughts , feelings and upbringing are totally anti Armenian. We need to approach them with extreme tact and understanding so not to arouse in them any animosity towards us, first by accepting their religion and not blaming them for changing it. This way we can learn about them and their history.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say "parev" to Papken. We were born in the same refugee camp in Bourj-Hammoud.

My Point Exactly

My point exactly. They and us are not Armenians. We are Hays. Our  land has been called Hayk far longer than Armenia. So if the "Armenian" nomenclature got burned, let's use Hayasa. After WWII, most Jews didn't like being called Jews, so now they're called Israeli. Get it?


 In my opinion they are Armenian (Hayk). I call them "brother" no matter their religion.



To Vasken Ekmekjian

Totally erroneous  or contrary to what  the ´Hamshentsi¨ publication of Yerevan describes. The Hamshentsis  would  consider  that  an honour to be  addressed to as Armenians. Would you be able to prove  what  you state by giving an example? Can you prove your point with any document that they would consider  it  an insult?

I previously wrote  here that there are  many a Turkish agents within us. Be careful not to be guided  by them. Names? it is very easy to change, especially with 120 Turklish officers being trained  in Ankara to speak, read  and write in Armenian.  These officers are trained  to implant discord amongst  us, diffuse erroneous information, and keep the millions of islamized Armenians and/or Hamshens away from joining mainstream Armens....

We are up against  great Turkey, remember  that. 

Trust  Turks? Not  in a million years...

Hamshentsis' Origins

In Spanish there is a saying: ¨Todos tenemos razon¨ (We all have reason, or all of us may have something right/correct  here).

Compromise-convergence is a better way to iron out puzzles, problems, rather than getting polarized.

Having read only two editions of the Hamshentsis newspaper from Yerevan, I sum up their locations thus:

First, there are different types of Hamshetsis. Those  who live mainly around Sochi (Russia); those on the west of the present Republic of Armenia, and partially in Kurdistan..There are some 16 miilion Kurds there. .Also there are about a million Kurdish (Turkish-speaking Armenians, islamized in those territoires), plus some one-million Hemshentsis. Shall we try to win back those Islamized Armenians and Hemshentsis--Which is much better--than leaving them to their fate?

But please, let  us first reorganize our Diaspora to become a super structure with a supreme council, whether this will be denominated or joined up with the already formed Western Armenians National Council in Paris, together with the World Armenian Congress of Moscow and our own old one formed in 1979 in Paris.   LET US ALL JOIN UP and have courage to converge/cooperate and be one FIST. Is this impossible? Only we can together, with the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh make things happen. Otherwise,  like one of the commentators said: "It is only talk."


Who is Armenian

I have read your article and found it very interesting but somewhat "Academic".  

I did not have in mind neither an Inuit nor a Spanish being Armenians.

I do not know if the Hamshens were Muslims before the massacres or the atrocities by the Turkish regime towards the Armenians or were they converted to Islam to survive.

Today, in Anatolia, there are hundreds of thousands Armenians calling themselves Kurds (either Islamized or Christians in secret for the same reason). They are very slowly coming out and declaring their true origin due to the very slow pace of change within the Turkish Authorities of today, willing to put some "water in their wine" to join the European Union.  

I think that I do not have the right to refuse to acknowledge someone calling himself Armenian, Arabic, French or whatever origin.

I'd rather be INCLUSIVE instead of EXCLUSIVE concerning the acceptance of Hamshens (or others) as Armenians due specially to our dwindling numbers of our Nation whether in Armenia itself or the bigger DIASPORA. These Hamshens or converted Kurds, et al. may, someday, be of help to our Nation, the day we get some of our territories back from Turkey. I am sure you are going to say "WISHFUL THINKING" but it is in my right to wish.

At my very young age, in the Armenian school, I was shocked and frustrated being called "NON-ARMENIAN" by my beloved Armenian classmates, whose parents belonged to one of our political parties.


It isn't important whether or not the Armenians think they are Armenian. It is important whether or not the Hamshens think they are Armenian.

Avedis,How right you are


How right you are. No matter what we say and do the final say rests with Hamshentsis. There is one fact that  some of you missing; Hamshentsis today refuse to be associated with Armenians. Not because they are afraid of Turks  but because they believe they are Turks.

Here is an anecdote that happened to me. Several years ago I met a man from  Hopa area. I used to see him now and then. Once the subject  of knowing languages came up. He was sorry that he did not know any French  or English  and  he only spoke Turkish and his local dialect. I asked him if he can count in his dialect. He started  meg, yergu, yerek  and I continued saying tchors, hing, vetz...It was a Kodak moment...he was really surprised and asked me how come I knew his dialect. I told him he was speaking in Armenian.....he got irate and left me on the spot. Never saw him again.

This is one small sample. But knowing the pressures and the brain washing of Turkish society that does not surprise me. There are several books in Turkish that deal with Hamshentsis and none of them remotely associates them with Armenians. Only one book mentions in passing.

Like Avedis said...leave them alone;  if they accept and come to their origins fine, but I do not think fomenting any trouble among them is going to benefit anybody.

Hamshens--Armenians or not Armenians

Parev, Kalimera, Hi,

wir hamschener sind armenier. ob moslems, christ oder ateist.. wir sind armenier und bleiben als armenier..

die armenier der diaspora oder von nor-hayastan anders denken oder sagen, ist nicht unser problem.

wir leben noch  in historischem land hamschen-hayassa. das ist unser land. das war unser land. das wird unser land bleiben.


parev, kalimera, merhaba,

biz hemsinliler ermeniyiz. müslüman, hristiyan veya ateist, hepimiz hemsinliyiz ve ermeniyiz.ermeni olarak ta kalacagiz.bizler kimseyde yaranmak, aferim almak heveslisi de degiliz.

diaspora ermenilerinin veya yeni dogu ermenistanlilarin bir kismi,  bizler hakkinda farkli düsünebilirler. bu bizim sorunumuz degil. bizler atalarimizin topragi hemsin- hayassa da hala yasiyoruz ve sonsuza kadarda hemsinliler-amatuniler  olarak yasamaya kararliyiz. bizlerin kendi dili, kültürü ve tarihimiz var. biz bununla gurur duyuyoruz.

hemsin-hayassa bizim tarihsel topragimiz  bizim vatanimiz. tekrar söylüyorum; biz burada yasiyoruz ve yasamaya da devam edecegiz.

I am happy to say I am a Hamshen Armenian -- yes, Homshetzihay em..

Tigran Hamam Amatuni Kostanian
Grandson of family Hamam/Shapuh Amatuni on Hamshen-Hayassa

Turkish to English translation. Thank you AM

We Hemshinlis are Armenian. Whether Moslem, Christian or atheist, we are all
Hemshinli and Armenian. And we will remain Armenian. We do not care to suck
up to anyone or to hear people say 'Bravo!'

Some people among the Diaspora Armenians or the new [?] Eastern Armenians
may think differently about us. This is not our problem. We are still living
on our ancestors' land, Hemshin-Hayassa, and we are determined to live as
Hemshinlis-Amatunis until eternity. We have our own language, culture and
history. We are proud of these things.

Hemshin-Hayassa is our historical land, our fatherland. I repeat: we are
living here and we will continue to live here.

Shnorhavor Surp Zadig.

God Bless

God bless you. Armenian blood is Armenian.

Hamshentsi Armenians?

Happy Easter to all! 

96 years ago Armenian leadership celebrated the Easter in Exile! let us remember them today.

They were the courageous leaders who wanted to bring democratic change to the only homeland that they had, the  Ottoman Empire! As I look at the Arab revival now, it reminds me of the Armenian revival in the Ottoman Empire. It was a risky business then and as it is now, but people were willing to sacrifice their lives for the ideals of freedom of speech, citizenship rights and equality, respect of property and others.  

As for Hamshetsees. What a difficult question you pose! 

It reminds me of African/ Ethiopian Jews who were accepted by the Jewish state and immigrated to Israel. I think they had kept the Jewish faith. Although they are black. I wonder how they are integrating in Israeli society. To my knowledge they were ostracized.

Belonging to a family, race, country or any group one has to have something in common with that group, ie; faith, language, customs, traditions. What do Hamshetsees have in common with Armenians?

Could any one answer this question? or may be a Hamshetsee could answer it.

Rita Kuyumjian 


There is no answer to this question whether they are Armenian.  The enirety of Anatolia is Armenian. 

I visited the village of my grandfather and met the people there.  They know full well what happened, AS PRACTICALLY EACH PERSON THERE is a descendent of a male perpetrator and a female victim.  Every person in the village is partly Armenian by blood, and they know it, not just from vague stories, but BECAUSE BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THE YOUNG GIRLS WHO WERE RAPED AND BECAME THE MOTHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS AND AUNTS OF EVERYBODY IN THE VILLAGE TOLD THEIR SONS AND DAUGHTERS AND GRANDCHILDREN AND NIECES AND NEPHEWS WHAT THEY ARE. 

The Hamshens were forcibly converted, and so was all of Anatolia.  All this swathe of humanity will one day see this history, and the entire region will convert back to reality and good.  Achieving this, is the sacred responsability of every Armenian, entrusted to him or her by the grandmothers who walked and survived.  In a way, being Armenian, is being true to that sacred duty for humanity.

Hamshentsi(s) other than in Turkey

Dear Berge,

I recall that You and I - amongst many others - have in the past conducted dialogue/correspondence on forum  hayastan @usc.edu. We were in good terms.

While on a Pilgrimage/trip to Armenia, I discovered  these people. The Hamshentsis have a periodical there, went  to their editorial offices, but it was closed.The guard/doorman gave me a couple  of old editions  of the periodical of the same name. It described  that around Sochi, where Olympic games are to take place, live a lot  of Hamshentsis. They do speak Armenian, though  they are islamized, and their dialect is a totally different. They can be relatively easier converted back to christianity.

best rgds,


Hamshen Armenians

It is not important what we Armenians think if Hamshen Armenians are Armenian or not. To be an Armenian one has to discover, accept, live the Armenian language, history, values and traditions and transfer them to the next generation.

Notwithstanding the obvious obstacles that seperates the Hamshenli population from the classical or modern Armenian language, the Armenian Apostolic faith, the history and other elements, the most crucial event remains to see if Hamshen people consider themselves Armenian or not. If they don't then even knowledge of the language or being Christian wouldn't matter anyway. One might know only English and not be a Christian but would still be an Armenian, even thought that would be an odditiy and out of the norm.

If the Hamshen people would consider that they were robbed from their roots against the will of their ancestors and were subjected to forced conversions and cut off from their Armenian language then that would make it easier for them to rediscover their lost culture and traditions. But we have to help them achieve that and not be assuming the role of passive bystanders.

I wish to add the following important comment.

If by any chance (let's suppose) the Hamshen Armenianians wished to be free and independant from Turkey, and if they possessed the political power, nationhood fabric and economic and military power to achieve that goal, they should not be integrated or annexed into the Republic of Armenia, they should be an INDEPENDENT nation of Muslim Armenians, or Hamshenli Armenians. This I say for their own good and for the good of the modern Republic of Armenia.

Hamshen Armenians

I totally agree with this idea.

These people were not willingly converted to Islam. They are victims; so they should decide themselves what they consider they want to be.


Hi Dear Papken,

If you are who I think you are, on this Good Friday...

I remember, how could I ever forget, after your father was killed by "Armenians"? Your mother wearing black, walking pregnant with you ...how can I forget? I was a teenager then.

I am sorry for all the suffering that you have gone through. Sorry for all the pain, loss of your father, a father that you never knew. Shame on those who took him away from you. I am amazed that you still have the strength and love towards your ethnic roots after what you have gone through. You must have such courage and bravery.

You do not know me, but I remeber you as a child with your mother walking around. Later I came to the U.S. I read this post by pure coincidence. I remembered your name, it was after your father, and recognized your last name.

I am sorry if this will make you sad, but I hope that you will have a closing and look forward to life and your family with joy and a happy future.

Happy Easter kid, and all the best to you.




Do you consider King Dikran as Armenian?

He wasn't Christian, either.

Did King Trdat Speak Armenian?

I have always assumed that Armenian was the language in King Trdat’s court. He may have been of Persian descent, born into a pagan family, but he surely shaped our identity as well as his by converting into Christianity and ordering his subjects to do the same. No other event has shaped our identity as our conversion to Christianity did then, not necessarily for good, according to our eminent writer Raffi.

As to Hamshen Muslims, I have yet to meet one in person or in the cyber world. I feel kinship with them because they are of Armenian ancestary. However, I cannot regard Hamshen Muslims as Armenians, in the sense that being Armenian has shaped my entire life in Diaspora. They may make exemplary citizens of Armenia, much like Yezidis do, should they decide to immigrate and populate Armenia. I would think that some Hamshen Muslims similarly reciprocate a feeling of kinship with Armenian Christians. However, I think it would be unfair for both to think that each can disregard the cultural and religious realities that have shaped each through the ages and assume they can bridge the big divide just like that.

If we consider denying Hamshens

If we consider denying Hamshens because they are Muslims, you should review the history of Christian Armenians. You will stumble upon so many examples of Christian Armenians who brutally behaved towards their Christian fellow Armenian brothers, and you will find no difference.
If you have doubt I can give you one example, it is one of the most shameful pages of the Armenian history. It took place in “Beirut 1958”. My family is one of the victims of that crime, we have experienced its bitter taste.
An “Armenian” to me is through his roots and soul but not through political beliefs, religion or language.
Yes, I consider Hamshens as Armenians, since the soul is the same no matter what is the religion or color.

Talk, and nothing more

All the above said is very beautiful talk, yes TALK, and nothing more.

It has become very modaic to talk in the western/European lexicology about democratic values, freedom of thought and faith, forget about nationalism and talk about citizenship and loyalty to laws and values etc etc and God knows what other BS. It sounds all very nice and talking otherwise often is considered inappropriate, a disgrace and taboo and mouths are thus shut.

I would very much like to believe in this approach, embrace it with all my heart. However, theory/wish and reality are two different things. These values may work if and only if ALL sides accept it as such. You cannot fight like a gentleman when your opponent is a sneaky bastard! That's the simple truth, which if you fail to see and accept you are doomed.

I would consider the Hamshentsis Armenians if they would consider themselves such. But would not accept them unless they discard their religion. Better be an Armenian atheist than Armenian Moslem. I have nothing against Islam if it stays within its boundaries without trying to penetrate my world. Islam inherently is a very agressive religion. As long as they are a very small minority it's OK but as soon as they become a large minoirty (mind my word, I'm not speaking about majority yet) they will make a hell of your life. They'll try to impose their laws and views all around. If you do not see what's happening in France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Denmark etc then you are real blind. Do you wish to see a civil war in Armenia like the one in Lebanon (or inter-confessional tensions crippling a country)? I sure don't. Then, even if we consider them Armenians, let them stay out. I'd rather amputate a gangrenous leg than try to keep it and die of it feeling happy that I am taking it with me in my coffin!

Has any of you asked himself what would have happened if our forefathers had accepted all other Armenians throughout history? Our Catholicoses and priests have massacred thousands of Armenians, wiped hundreds of villages on their way to force them to become Christian. Later they have done the same with the Tondrakians and Paulikians. Our people has just chopped away many of its children who had unacceptable relations/affiliation with other religions or ethnic groups (by marriage). Was that right or wrong? With your views it certainly looks very bad. But would you be the Armenian you are today hadn't they done so? Even if you still mantained the name "Armenian", which I suspect, you would be something else that the wildest imagination cannot embrace. I believe that we would have been a race or a group of people with an ethnic identity complex very much like the Azerbaijanis today.

So please, keep them out. Let the Hamshentsis be Hamshentis and the Armenians be Armenians. Why try to mix them? Go and mix the Belgians with the French and the Austrians with the Germans!

Definitely they are

Definitely they are Armenians.

The only issue is to be aware of imposters and abusers.


Who is an Armenian?

If a person accepts and shares the  Armenian history culture and values and commits himself/herself defending of these values and the Constitution,  territorial integrety  and freedom of the Republic of Armenia  irrespective of his/her religion, laguage, creed and race is Armenian. If a Hemşinzi agrees to thıs he/she is an Armenian.


Հայը ան է որ արիւնային և կենային կապակցութեամբ կը պատկանի հայկական արմատներու և  ընդունելով իր ինքնութիւնը համարձակութիւնը կ՝ունենայ արտայայտուելու,  համոզուած  է հայոց պատմութեամբ, հոգեկան բաւարարուածութեամբ կը սնուի հայկական մշակոյթով, համաձայն է Հայաստանի Մայր Հայրենիքի իրականութեան, անկախ իր  քաղաքացիական պատկանելիութեան,  կ՝ընդունի հայկական հարցի իրականութիւնը, և կը ձգտի նիւթապէս ու   բարոյապէս անոր իրականացման:

իմ կարծիքովս եթէ Համշէնահայեր նկատուողները ընդունին և  ամբողջացնեն  նշեալ տուեալները, ապա անոնք լիարժեգ հայեր են ու ողջունելի:

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