Hear My Story

By Faruk, Turkey, 28 October 2010

Editor’s note:
The following was posted in Keghart.com’s Comments section . We’ve assumed it is a genuine query, and bring it to the attention of our readers because of the many tragedies it recounts in so few words.

I don’t feel too much Armenian blood in my veins, but I feel great distress for what Armenians have suffered. Armenian culture, songs, memories, sorrow really affect and overwhelm me. I would like to see Armenians here again as neighbours, friends, colleagues. Again, in Akbez, again in Kayseri, again in Maraş. I understand how an Armenian may feel, but also how Turks feel, but there is no need to discuss this here.

By Faruk, Turkey, 28 October 2010

Editor’s note:
The following was posted in Keghart.com’s Comments section . We’ve assumed it is a genuine query, and bring it to the attention of our readers because of the many tragedies it recounts in so few words.

I don’t feel too much Armenian blood in my veins, but I feel great distress for what Armenians have suffered. Armenian culture, songs, memories, sorrow really affect and overwhelm me. I would like to see Armenians here again as neighbours, friends, colleagues. Again, in Akbez, again in Kayseri, again in Maraş. I understand how an Armenian may feel, but also how Turks feel, but there is no need to discuss this here.

I told that I voluntarily converted, because it was really so. You need to listen the whole story before drawing your conclusion.

There was a rich Armenian family in Akbez (now a town in Hatay province, Turkey) in the 1800s. He had many sons and daughters, but one of his children was different. His name was (with a big probability) Avadis. He was born in 1854. He liked to play with Turkish children and befriend them. Even as a child, he liked the imam of the town, and took lessons from him along with his Muslim friends. His father advised him, warned him, threatened and finally beat him, but Avadis disobeyed, remaining close to his Muslim friends. As a young boy, he converted and renamed himself Hüseyin Nusret.

His father sent him to Armenian schools, where he studied hard and came back an educated man. He started to work in Ottoman Land Registry Office in Aleppo. His family managed to marry him to an Armenian girl, but he was still Muslim in heart and in practice. Before the big troubles began in Cilicia ("Gavurdağı" in Turkish), the family decided to move to Beirut, as far as I know. He refused to go and stayed in Akbez.

His wife migrated with the family, leaving her husband and two little sons. His Turkish friends soon got him to marry a Muslim woman. He fathered many children from his second wife. His children also married with Muslims, so the entire family is Muslim now. But his youngest child, a girl named Turanda chose to run away with an Armenian boy to Beirut, where they married and had a number of children. They were quite wealthy.

My grandmother used to say that (I wasn’t born yet) in Akbez Armenians and Muslims often clashed. When the Ottomans were in power, Armenians were attacked. When the French occupied, Turks were humiliated. Finally, all the Armenians in Akbez (or Eybez, the old name) were told to leave the town overnight and those who stayed behind were massacred. My Armenian grandmother was a devoted Muslim. She even went to Mecca as a pilgrim, but as the daughter of an Armenian convert, she was teased many times in her later life.

I am one of the grandchildren of Avadis, or Hüseyin Nusret. I would appreciate if you searched for him in this book about Akbez. I am sure we can find traces of him and his family.

4 comments
  1. To Faruk

    I had posted this comment before. I am posting it again hoping that Faruk or someone else who lives in Turkey may be helpful.

    To Faruk

    My late father-in-law, Mehran (Hovsepian) was born Altebarmakian in a town he called Ereyle in the province of Konya in Turkey. He was born in 1914 and his family was not subjected to deportation thanks to his father’s – Hovsep’s – business partners who were Turks. His younger sister was born around 1917 in the same town.

    However, his father died not much later due to illness. In early 1920’s, my father-in-law’s mother realizing they are the only or one of the few Armenian families remaining in Ereyle moved the family to Lattakia Syria to be close to her sister’s family. It is in Lattakia that my mostly Turkish speaking father-in-law was taught Armenian, under the tutelage of a famous Armenian writer, Armen Anoush. My father-in-law thus grew up in Lattakia and lived in Beirut as well. The family name became Hovsepian after their father Hovsep.

    While they were in Beirut, the Turkish family who were my father-in-laws’ father’s business partners made an effort and came to Beirut and tracked down my father-in-law’s family consisting of his mother, brother and sister for a reunion for old time’s sake. Thus my wife’s paternal grandfather is buried in Ereyle – Turkey. I have always been curious as to where Ereyle is in the district Konya. Ereyle may be what my father-in-law remembers the name of the city or town he was born in as he left at a young age. I will appreciate if you would find out about Ereyle or a town with similar sounding in Konya and let me know of its whereabouts.

    Google has not been of help to me in this regard.

    Thank you


    1. Ereğli instead of Ereyle?

      Could it be that it’s Ereğli instead of Ereyle. It’s located east of Istanbul and north east of Adapazari, on the Black sea. However that’s not in district of Konya which is in central Anatolia.

    2. Ereğli (Konya province, Turkey)
      From Encyclopedia Britannica:

      Ereğli, town, south-central Turkey. It stands near the foot of the central Taurus Mountains on the northern approach to the Cilician Gates, a major pass. A frontier fortification of the Byzantine Empire, then known as Heraclea Cybistra, the town lay in the way of invading armies and was captured by the Arabs in 806 and again in 832. Near the end of the 11th century, it came under the Seljuq Turks; after their decline it was occupied by Mongols (13th century). The Turkmen Karaman dynasty followed the Mongols until their principality was annexed to the Ottoman Empire …

      Click here for the History of Ereğli.
      Click here for the map of Ereğli.
      Click here for all the results for that village from Google.

      Note that there are two cities called Ereğli in Turkey.  The one you need is the central location in the province of Konya, the other one is north of Turkey on the Black Sea.
       

      Good luck, hope keghart.com team was helpful.

      1. Konya Ereğlisi,
        Dear Keghart Team and friend

        You validated what my father-in-law told us for so many years. I checked Wikipedia and there among three listings of Eregli, I found the following listed:Konya Ereğlisi, which is what I had also heard from him and had disassociated Konya from Eregli, knowing that the family came from the district of Konya. Incidentally I have read that the the governor of the district of Konya was friendly towards the Armenians. Regarding the faring of the Armenians during the genocide in the district of Konya, my train of thoughts go to Dr. Zaven Misserlian’s book about his father. I do not have the book anymore to verify my recollection.

        The next big question naturally pops in my mind is the following: are there other Armenians who trace themselves to the Eregli in Konya? My father-in-law is the only person from whom I have heard the name of Eregli. I have not come across the name in my readings as well.

        Somewhere in Eregli, at one time there must have been a cemetery where the local Armenians buried their deceased. I doubt very much if that cemetery is still around. In that cemetery, my father-in-law’s father Hovsep was buried sometimes early 1920’s. He was the last of their family, who had lived there for generations, to be buried there.

        Thank you Keghart team, you most definitely were helpful.

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