First, I would ask you to introduce yourself to our readers.
MalatyaHAYDer built a chapel and a Guard House while planting thousands of trees in Malatya Armenian Cemetery in 2013.
How did you come to believe that this issue would cause such a wide interest?
Islamized Armenians or their ancestors are mostly left overs of the Medz Yeghern. Because the issue is real but was tried to be hidden for years. People have always felt the hardship of the bare truth but was not able to speak out freely because of pressures of all kind. Many people were mentioning their armenian roots after some sincere discussion. Many were afraid to admit but curious to find and learn what really happened to their ancestors. We just made it possible to opening up the subject. The djinn is already out now…
Did you expect the organization of this conference to be hindered in any way by detractors or the police?
The subject is way too open to mis-understand, mis-behave and mis-direct from the aimed target. Therefore all kind of demonstration on the street was expected while organisation was programmed. But never expected any hindrance or act from police and nothing happened at the end. One comes to belief that these kind of open iscussions will free the countries and reach to the hoped democracy. Conference place chosen was not where ordinary people on the street could easily reach plus some security measures were taken.How long did it take you to study the fate of some of the Islamized Armenians?
The physical studies for organisation of the conference took about two years but the fate of many Islamised Armenians were always a bare truth within the community. So the materials were already everywhere in Anatolia.
How did you choose the lecturers and what were your criteria for selecting them?
The Organization Committee including the Science Committee was very careful to select the lecturers according to their presentations which were asked way in advance ( almost a year before the Conference ) We wanted all angles possible to be covered studied and mentioned as much as possible there.
Who funded the conference and the participation of lecturers?
There are funds for general activities of Hrant Dink Foundation to start with. Then funds from MalatyaHAYDer and some private funds came into picture.
Will there be a second edition of the conference as some questions and issues were not discussed in great detail?
Of course the issues will be studied more detailed and even deeper in the future. Presently we do not have studies in the same subject but there will be more activities for continue studying Armenian issues in general.
Will you continue your studies in this direction – “…finding and bringing together these people to the Armenian society”, as Raquel Dink said on the opening day of the conference and how do you think you could do this?
Cause to everything; Medz Yeghern is at the very center of The Armenian issue. Therefore all kind of studies will somehow be involved with the subject. As Rakel Dink have also mentioned, the people have same origin will finally find each other. The stories of left overs as well as the victims will continue to be told and the world will get necessary lessons in order not to repeat from this bare truth.
held conversation by Hripsime Erniasyan,
managing editor of newspaper Parekordzagani tzain
Translate from english: Krikor Arakelyan