Saturday, 3 August 2013
An official document penned by the Istanbul Provincial Education Directorate has surfaced, revealing that Turkey’s population administration system has been recording citizens who have Armenian, Jewish or Anatolian Greek (Rum) origins with secret “race codes.”

The Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper Agos published as its headline story on Aug. 1 a report on an official document that openly states “citizens with Armenian origin are coded with ‘2.’” The implementation is reported to have been in place since 1923, the foundation year of the Turkish Republic.

A Turkish citizen’s mother whose origin is Armenian requested to register her child at an Armenian kindergarden, but the school responded by asking her to prove she had the “2 code” in order to check that she had not changed religion, according to the document. In Turkey, only minority communities’ members can register their children at minority schools, according to the education law.

The document, sent from the Istanbul Provincial Education Directorate to the Şişli District National Education office, stated that “since 1923, the secret code of Armenians is ‘2’ on identity registration certificates,” according to the Agos report.

“Since 1923, identity registration certificates have a secret ‘race code,’” the document added.

The family’s lawyer, İsmail Cem Halavurt, said the struggle to register children at the Armenian kindergarden was still continuing.

“We are now waiting for an official document saying, ‘Yes, your race code is 2, you can register at an Armenian school,’” Halavurt told the Agos.

Interior Ministry officials were not available for comment when approached by the Hürriyet Daily News, and referred reporters to the Directorate General for Population and Citizenship Affairs, which is a body working under their own ministry.

An official from the population administration told daily Radikal that the practice was being conducted “to allow minority groups use their rights stemming the Lausanne Treaty,” signed between Turkey and Western countries, which led to the establishment of the modern Turkish Republic.

As part of the practice, Greeks were coded 1, Armenians were coded 2, and Jews were coded 3. Other minorities or groups are not coded, the official told daily Radikal.

While there was no immediate official response to the report, opposition parties’ lawmakers harshly criticized the alleged document.

“If this is true, it is fatal. It must be examined. I will bring this onto Parliament’s agenda,” Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Altan Tan, a deputy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), stated that there had long been such allegations, but they were always denied by the authorities. Tan urged Interior Minister Muammer Güler to make a statement on the issue.

“If there is such a thing going on, it is a big disaster. The state illegally profiling its own citizens based on ethnicity and religion, and doing this secretly, is a big catastrophe,” Tan said.
Source: Hurriyet

Non-muslim groups expect government to act after coding scandal

2 August 2013 /E. BARIŞ ALTINTAŞ, İSTANBUL

An official response to a query accidentally revealed that the Turkish state has been numbering its non-Muslim citizens, but not a single government official has made a statement concerning the issue.
Earlier this week, it became evident from an official response from the Education Ministry to a query that non-Muslim minorities in Turkey were monitored and filed based on their ethnicity. They were also assigned numbers, in a practice that dates back to the establishment of the republic.

According to a report by the Agos daily, since 1923 Armenians, Greeks and Jews have been assigned code numbers in official correspondence between government institutions. A letter sent by the İstanbul Directorate of National Education to its Şişli branch indicates that Armenian citizens are given the code number two.

This confidential categorization by the state is normally kept by census bureaus and revealed only when there is an official request from another government institution. According to this racial code system, Greeks are given the number one and Jews the number three.

The Interior Ministry on Friday issued a response to Agos' report, admitting that the “ancestral codes” have been kept since the Ottoman times and said they were periodically relayed to the Education Ministry, indicating that these records are being actively used today. The ministry defended that the codes were only used for “educational purposes,” as Turkey's three minority communities -- Jews, Greeks and Armenians -- have the right to run their own schools as per the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, a right denied to other minority groups such as the Syriacs.

The response to the scandal has been immense, with community leaders and intellectuals condemning the number. Despite the outrage, however, not a single government member made a statement condemning the oppressive numbering system. There were also reports on Friday that there were other groups that were filed under numbers. Radikal reported on Friday on its website that the Syriacs were numbered four, while there was a fifth category for “Other.”

Years of discrimination

Rober Koptaş, an Agos journalist and a member of Turkey's Armenian community, said nobody could rule out the possibility that the “codes” were used for other purposes than just assigning to the right minority schools. He noted: “There is not a single non-Muslim public servant in Turkey, or students in military or police academies, which means that these codes can be used for other purposes.” He said the codes are an appalling violation of equality. He also said he wondered if there were other codes for individuals who are of different ethnic backgrounds such as Kurds, Arabs and the Laz, or for other religious communities such as the Alevis? “As people who demand equal citizenship but have systematically been discriminated against, we always felt that some kind of mechanism was in use, and now, for the first time, we have seen it.”

Koptaş told Today's Zaman he hoped the painful discovery will also spell the end to this atrocious tradition of secretly labeling ethnic groups. “We should capture this moment and as journalists investigate and find out completely what is behind it and how it worked. It is a good thing this document came out, and there are now things to be done both on the part of the government and the opposition, and hopefully it will serve a cause.”

The journalist said the government's silence is “unacceptable.” “We expect an end to this, not only on paper but also in practice.” He also said it now had to be completely revealed how the codes work.

Laki Vingas, a representative of the Greek Orthodox community and head of the Minorities Foundation in İstanbul, like Koptaş, said he was not surprised: “This is not really surprising. These are things we are used to.” However, he noted that they certainly did not know that they were being number-coded. “Years ago some people would be forced to drop out of Greek schools, and that would usually be because they would have some Albanian blood, or some Yugoslavian blood or something else, despite being members of the Orthodox faith. This is not really a surprise for us.” In fact, Vingas' revelation about people having to leave the minority school system because of ancestral backgrounds indicates that other groups than is previously believed are being coded.

Government should act

But what will be done, will human rights groups, citizens or minority group lawyers have to file lawsuits? “I am of the opinion that there is nothing left for us as citizens to do, as the state has to guarantee equal citizenship. The outrage, the backlash, has been very fast here; the public is reacting, and this is an opportunity for us to discuss these. I am of the opinion that a rapid result will ensue,” Vingas told Today's Zaman.

Professor Baskın Oran, an academic well known in the area of minority research, was quoted in the Radikal daily on Friday as saying: “This is the first time I have heard of this practice. This coding was created to finish off Turkey's non-Muslim communities.”

The secret categorization of minorities was revealed when a parent asked an Armenian kindergarten for a document proving there was no legal obstacle to the enrollment there of her child. When the Şişli branch of the directorate made enquiries with the census bureau into the background of the family, it was seen that religious minorities are given specific code numbers.

The family is currently waiting for a response from the Education Ministry stating that they are of Armenian descent. The confusion in the system stems from the fact that the mother is an Armenian who converted to her family's religion after being registered as a Muslim at birth.
Source: Today's Zaman



2 comments:

Maria José said...

Bedford father jailed for beating children and forcing them to read Koran as punishment

http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/News/Father-jailed-for-beating-children-and-forcing-them-to-read-Koran-as-punishment-20130731174717.htm

Anonymous said...

And yet idiot far leftists are still insisting on letting this hell hole into the EU...

*eye roll*

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