Once upon a time, there were Armenians in İzmit

Fourth book of Hrant Dink Foundation’s oral history project “Sound of Silence”, which has been going on since 2011, “Armenians from İzmit Speaking” is published.

The book consists of interviews with people who are descendents of Armenians from places like İzmit, Bahçecik, Adapazarı, Karamürsel and Geyve which were the parts of İzmit District of Ottoman Empire. In the book, there are 9 interviews that are compiled by Ferda Balancar, one of the coordinators of the project, and also “Deportations by İzmit Lieutenant Governor” chapter of “Armenian Genocide” by historian Raymond Kevorkian and an epilogue by Aras Ergüneş. Ergüneş is a research assistant in the Department of Philosophy of Kocaeli University and has been carrying a research that aims to reveal the cultural memory of Bardizag (Bahçeçik) since 2011, with Gülbin Kıranoğlu and Erman Ohanoğulları.

In the book, there is also a selection of song lyrics and tongue twisters. Selected from musicologist, conductor, songwriter and author Mihran Tumacan’s book “Hayreni Yerk u Pan” (Hometown Songs and Oral Tradition of Armenians), these lyrics and tongue twisters belong to Armenians who lived in and around İzmit.

30 people (one from the US, 2 from Canada, 2 from Germany, 6 from Armenia and 19 from Turkey) were interviewed between January 2015 and August 2015. Nine of these interviews are included in the book and the families of five of them are from Bardizag, which means “small garden” in Armenian. The families of the rest of them are from Karamürsel, Armaş, Adapazarı and İzmit. 


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