NORAYR

When we went into the streets or when we had issues with the Turkish History teacher in the lyceum, we saw that we were different. They separated us from the others. 

When the Genocide is recognised in Turkey, we will have an easier life, we will have more freedom.

KAMER

There was one voice, and it was silenced. But it returned with thousands of voices.

ARTIN JAN

We have always been here, we should always be here. Because our lands, the lands of our fathers have always been here. I cannot go anywhere else. God knows, if I was living in 1915, I would protect my lands until the end. I would not leave.

JESSICA

It was difficult when I was a child. They asked me what my name was, and I said Jessica. They asked where I was from. My mother and father did not want me to say that I was Armenian. But I would say that I was Armenian.

ANNA

We are here only for work. Of course we will go back to Armenia in the end. Right now I do not want to go back, because the situation in Armenia is not so well.

MARAL

I used to say that I was Turkish with Armenian origins. Now I say that I am Armenian, because the university makes me think in different ways. Yes, I am an Armenian in Turkey. I am an Armenian woman actually. This also puts a level on this label. It is nice to be different, to be Armenian.

NAIRA

I did not know how to behave in the beginning. I did not even know what would happen if I spoke Armenian in the street. Muraz told me that I could speak Armenian and that no one would say anything to me.

AYKUN

There is a huge garden behind my school, and I passed my childhood right there. They sold it and they will build a commercial centre. I am afraid to enter the school now.

SONA

It is really hard to live here. As much as you get familiar with the city and accept it as your home, it is really hard not to feel like you’re always the other, the one that’s the deviation from the norm. As much as you accept it as you home, it is really hard to escape what others qualify you as.

 

THIS IS OUR HOME

Turkey is their home. They played upon its streets and alleyways as children. Istanbul is the labyrinth of their upbringing. As adults, they attend Turkish universities in this cosmopolitan city west of the Bosphorus, enlightened and bonding with Istanbulites of all nations.

Yet in their dwellings and upon its thoroughfares, they feel vulnerable, unsettled. Insecure.

Their speech is subtle and brave, an even tenor that emits the worries they feel, the concerns of being Armenian and the consequence it can bring, troubled that this potential discomfort even exists.

Presented together with their portraits, these are places of refuge they love, seeking comfort, a bonding and reaffirmation of self-context. It is in these oasis’ where they connect to the land and themselves.

Their identity.

It is where there is warmth.

 

This is Our Home is part of the Glazed Time project about Armenians living in Turkey. A photographic collaboration between 4Plus collective in Armenia and Nar Photos Agency Turkey, http://www.4plus.org/glazedtime.