Tuesday, 10 December

They Moved to Turkey In Order to Buy a House In Armenia

A Stroll Through Istanbul - Part 3

When I asked Artash from Gyumri why he wound up in Istanbul, the young man answered, “The cheapest ticket I could find brought me here.”

After getting discharged from the army, Artash couldn’t find work in Armenia. He came to Turkey with his mother and sister.

Artash works in a small shoe factory alongside other Armenians, Georgians, Turks and Kurds in the Kumkapı neighborhood of Istanbul. He says he's gotten a lay of the land and knows who to make friends with and who to stay away from.

He says that if you treat people normally, they will do the same back.

Artash’s family lost their home in the 1988 earthquake. His mother raised the kids by herself in one of those temporary wagon shelters.

Back in Gyumri, Artash worked at a small amusement park for peanuts. He says he’d rather work illegally inTurkeyand make enough money to make a real difference in his life.

Artash says the police know everyone who is working illegally. It’s just a matter of not getting into trouble or making trouble. If you do, the authorities will let you go about your business.

“Otherwise, the cops can stop you on the street at any moment. In a few days they’ll send you back topArmenia.”

Artash’s mother Zima works as a housekeeper for a Turkish family. She cleans, cooks the meals and takes care of the old folk. His sister works at the gold market inIstanbul.

Artash has been tasked with the job of saving enough money to buy a house in Yerevan or Gyumri. He says he has no intention of permanently staying inTurkey.

The young man confesses that some people from Armeniahave found success in Istanbul but that they avoid talking about it.

“People are afraid to say too much. There’s a lot of theft going on here. Armenians have no qualms about stealing from other Armenians. There are Armenians who go into business with Turks, but since the Armenians are illegal all the paperwork is registered in their partners’ names,” Artash says.

Artash’s mom has had trouble adjusting to Istanbul, but she’s not one to voice her concerns. Her main objective in life now is to be able to buy a home for her kids.

“Do you think I wanted to come here? Armenians are an industrious people. They are ruining Armenia. I would have stayed in my homeland and worked. This isn’t our country. No matter how well the Turks treat us, it’s not the same,” says an emotional Zina.

Photos: Saro Baghdasaryan

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Comments (14)
1. Xunsap'ha13:29 - 15 November, 2012
Before you critisize the likes of Zina and Artash, note her words. "Do you think I wanted to come here? .... They (the rulers/government of Armenia) are ruining Armenia." How sad but how true !!!
2. Razmik18:03 - 15 November, 2012
Не "Кумкап", а "Кумкапы"
3. Raymond21:41 - 15 November, 2012
Laziness and ever constant complaining seem to be epidemic in Armenia. I wonder if this lady would clean the feces of someone in Armenia like she does of Turks in Turkey. Here, she would certainly complain that this kind of work is beneath her.
4. Վարազ Սյունի (Ամստերդամ)02:59 - 16 November, 2012
Հայաստանցի էժան աշխատուժը Թուրքիայի էկոնոմիկան է հզորացնում,ինչպես ժամանակին (և հիմա) միլիոնավոր անլեգալ մեքսիկացիները/լատինոներն են արել/անում: "2015 հանձնաժողովի" աչքը լույս:
5. Ed05:04 - 16 November, 2012
I respect Artash. Yete inch vor mekin petq e megadrvi, apa da mezanits yuraqanchurn e.
6. Kevin02:09 - 17 November, 2012
I am totally against Armenians moving to Turkey from Armenia for any reason. Our future is operating in reverse. Instead of Armenians going to Armenia, Armenians are moving out... and moving out to Turkey bothers me a lot. Yes, yes, I'm sitting comfortably in my diaspora community saying this. It was not my choice, I was born into that. And while the day will hopefully come that I can confidently move to Armenia, the Armenians there must stay and fix their country and make it an attractive place for Armenians to come from everywhere, free of discrimination and corrupt laws. The Armenians of Armenia are already there, the diaspora Armenians can't do this effectively. That being the case, part 3 was better than part 1 and 2 of this series, because at least this family knows their stay is temporary, unlike the first ridiculous woman raising her kids as Turks.
7. Xunsap'ha11:15 - 17 November, 2012
A diasporan has no right to critisize a local fleeing from poverty. It's ludicrous to live in relative comfort overseas and make critical comments at poverty stricken folks' desperate efforts to take care of life's basics. If their emigration doesn't suit your longterm plans I suggest you immigrate and fill the gap they left behind.
8. Kevin21:49 - 17 November, 2012
@ Xunsap'ha... On the contrary, a diasporan has every right to criticize our country, and in fact, because there is resistance of this concept, it is also one of the problems of Armenia in addition to the not-so-effective government and the corruption which is in place. The leadership of the diaspora also needs to be part of the government. Your logic works only on paper, and especially does not apply to Armenian culture in reality. If, say there were a million Armenians in the diaspora and eight million in Armenia, then I would also be saying 'a diaspora has no right to criticize Armenia' - but since the situation is in reverse, I say a diaspora has more right to criticize Armenia than anyone. Also, Armenia's government has a job to do, and that is to make Armenia an inviting place for everyone to come and build the country and contribute in their own way. I have not seen this yet, and the problems the Syrian-Armenians faced recently proves this. This all being said, I agree that I and every other Armenian who values his/her culture must eventually move to Armenia, it is the only way of the diaspora not assimilating.
9. Zaven22:33 - 17 November, 2012
@Kevin...Don't mix apples and oranges...Xunsap'ha took you to task for condemning people fleeing Armenia for a better life elsewhere, even if that other place is Turkey, while you sit somewhere in the disapora. That's being a bit hypocritical, wouldn't you say? Sure, you have a right to criticize the GOVERNMENT, but how can you in good conscience condemn those seeking a way to survive when you yourself probably pay taxes that wind up going to assist the Turkish military? Those who have left Armenia for Turkey are working illegally there and pay no taxes to Ankara. Do you now understand your dilemma?
10. Kevin23:17 - 18 November, 2012
@ Zaven... I didn't mean to mix apples and oranges, but time and again I read comments about how we can't criticize even the government because we don't live there, but as I explained in my post, nothing can be further from the truth. I never condemn anyone who is trying to survive, however, I will question anyone's choice when they decide to move from Armenia at a time when Armenia needs to retain its population and reverse this process. We can say they want a better life, but on the other hand who is in the best position to fix the country? It's the Armenian population that can make the difference and fix the country where finally diaspora Armenians can finally say, Armenia is truly our country and we will move there. The Syrian crisis lately has proven to us the opposite of this is true. In a sense, the general population of Armenia is not entirely innocent. When there is a crisis in Armenia, the diaspora goes into a frenzy for support. But when there is a crisis in the diaspora, Armenians of Armenia look like they could care less... and you can't deny this because what happened to the Syrian Armenians lately is very saddening and disgusting. When someone is down, you don't kick them to make sure they don't get up. This is what it was like when Syrian Armenians wanted to get to Armenia, and both the companies and population took advantage of them, raising ticket prices, charging fees for things that shouldn't be charged, etc. So why would I leave the comfort of my home, and move to a place like this? Setting the government aside, what did the general Armenian population do to welcome the fleeing Syrian Armenians? Armenia had a population of near 6 million at one point... today a little over half that, no one is going to convince me that Armenia can't accommodate a few tens of thousands Armenians temporarily until they get back on their feet. I feel guilty for saying this, but reading all the experiences of the Syrian Armenians lately, I felt like the ignorant population of Armenia exactly deserves the government it has. A "government change" would not likely help... the entire mentality of the population needs to change towards the diaspora community before they decide to move to Armenia in large numbers. But getting back to the topic, I did say that in this part, I was glad to see that this family has a firm objective in mind (unlike the others)... and they will ultimately return.
11. Zaven13:17 - 19 November, 2012
@Dear Kevin....Sorry but you are so far removed from the reality in Armenia that you make little sense. Please come and see for yourself what life for the average Armenian is like and then you can "question someone's choice" to leave or not. You make too many generalizations in your comments. When you write "I felt like the ignorant population of Armenia exactly deserves the government it has"....I really can't take you seriously...Sorry...When you rhetorically ask,"So why would I leave the comfort of my home, and move to a place like this?", your answer to yourself should be - to assist those in Armenia working to make the country a better place....I guess you see yourself outside the ongoing process for change and development in Armenia.
12. hasmik15:37 - 19 November, 2012
շատերն էլ տունը վաճառում են ու գնում...
13. Kevin20:25 - 19 November, 2012
So Zaven, I must be imagining things when I read even on HETQ how Syrian Armenians trying to repatriate have gotten RIPPED OFF and left in disgust huh? Those that came with money obviously have no issues... but those that needed help and were made to feel like foreigners saw a different picture than what our homeland is supposed to be. I agree that I am relying on second hand information, and I would need to experience going to Armenia on my own. But I am not convinced that all the negative experiences that diaspora Armenians have had are false either.
14. Ելենա Աթոյան10:00 - 1 December, 2012
|Շատերն են ասում, որ Հայաստանը կործանման եզրին է կանգնած: Ելնելով վերը ներկայացված նյութից, և ոչ միայն, հարց եմ տալիս` էլ ինչպես է լինում ԿՈՐԾԱՆՈՒՄԸ? Հայաստան երկրում մատնանշեք որևէ օրենք, որը գործում է: Այն, ինչ կատարվում է Հայաստսնում, ոչ այլ ինչ է, եթե ոչ 300-ի Կոմիտեի կառավարում վերջիններիս հայ ծախու ու դավաճան, ողորմելի դրածոների կողմից: Ծանոդացեք նաև Ալեն Դալլեսի ծրագրին և ամեն բան պարզ կդարնա:
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