INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE DEVOTED TO THE PROBLEMS OF HAMSHEN AND HAMSHEN
30 July 2008
On July 23 in "Congress" hotel in Yerevan was held an international
scientific conference on the subject "Hamshen and Hamshen Armenians:
history and culture" by the initiative of the RA NAS (National
Academy of Science) Institute of Oriental Studies and Yerkir Union
for Repatriation and Settlement. Specialists from Armenia, Russia and
Turkey appeared with reports. The conference was quite comprehensive:
Were made reports devoted to the problems of Hamshen and Hamshen
The director of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Ruben Safrastian,
was the first to take the floor with words of welcome accentuating
the importance of studying the problems of Hamshen Armenians. The
conference participants were welcomed by Deputy Minister of Culture
Gagik Gyurjyan, Vice President of the RA NAS – Vladimir Barkhudaryan,
the representative of Foreign Ministry’s Committee for Diaspora – Artak
Zakaryan, the representative of "Yerkir" Union – Sevak Artsruni. In
conclusion of his contensive speech S. Artsruni called for the ones
present to honor the memory of Hrant Dink with a minute of silence.
The first session presided by Professor R. Safrastyan began with
the report of the Yerevan State University senior lecturer of the
Department of Study of Turlic Language, 0Noravank" Foundation expert,
Candidate of Philological Science Ruben Melkonyan "The problem
of ethnic identity in Turkey and Hamshen Armeniahns." The report
was mainly touching upon the problem of "crisis identity" and the
phenomena caused by it.
Speaking about the problem of the apostate Armenians in Turkey,
the reporter presented some nuances of their present condition and
stressed up that the Hamshen Armenians were different from the other
groups of forcedly Islamized Armenians by a number of peculiarities,
and, accordingly, the scientific approach to the problem was also to
The Second report was made by the Turkish Hacettepe University
lecturer, Doctor Erkhan Erson who presented economic, social and
cultural components of identity of the western group of Hamshen
Armenians. The Turkish scientist accentuated that as a result of a
number of phenomena of up-to-date world are upset important elements
of the Hamsen Armenians’ mode of life exerting serious influence on
transformation of Hamshen identity.
The report of the prominent research worker of the RA NAS Institute
of Archeology and Ethnography, head of Armenological Center in
"Noravank" Foundation, PhD Harutyun Marutyan was devoted to the role
of traumatic memory in preserving Armenian identity in Turkey. It is
of special importance the scientist’s conclusion that when it is the
matter of peoples’ identity, th an one is to be led predominantly
by general, flexible formulations and not by rules, definitions and
formulas inherent to exact sciences. In H. Marutyan’s report, along
with theoretical basis, where are also brought examples taken from
different sources, which made the report still richer.
At the second session of the conference, presided by H. Marutyan,
were presented the reports about dialect and culture of Hamshens,
some of which are worth being singled out.
The report of the Docent of Turkic Language Study Department, Candidate
of Philological Science Lusine Sahakyan was devoted to the language
policy of the Ottoman Empire in Hamshen district, were presented
the consequences of that policy. The author presented the Armenian
literary translation of some songs from the repertory of the Armenian
musical choral "Vova" as well as their profound and thorough analysis.
The report of Ayshenur Kolivar of Hamshen origin was devoted to so
called "Hamshen Language" in Western Armenia.
The report of Karine Brutyan, the lecturer of Folklore Study
Department, Yerevan State Conservatory after Komitas, was extremely
interesting and highly professional. It was titled "Review of musical
heritage of Hamshenian Armeniajns."
The third session, presided by the director of the RA NAS Institute
of History, correspondent member of the academy, professor Ashot
Merlkonyan, began with the report of a well known=2 0anthropologist,
Docent of the Department of Turkic Studies of the Yerevan State
University, senior scientific worker of the Institute of Archeology
and Ethnography Nvard Kochar – "The place of Hamshen Armenians
in the system of other Armenian ethno-territorial groups." The
facts represented as a result of anthropological analysis about
anthropological belonging of the Hamshenian Armenians, in particular,
to Armenoids, were a worthy response to the confirmation of some
Turkish "scientists" that the Hamshens come from Turks.
The philologist who has been engaged in the problems of Hamshen
Armenians, Chief Editor of the newspaper "Dzayn hamshenakan" (Voice
of Hamshens), Vice-Chairman of the friendly association "Hamshen"
Sergey Vardanyan presented an interesting report about the regions
bordering Hopa and Ajaria, as well as about the apostate Hamshen
Armenians exiled from there to the Middle Asia in 1944 and researches
conducted in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kirgizstan.
The report of the head of the Yerevan State University Department
of Study of Turkic Language, Candidate of Historical Science, Docent
Alexander Safaryan was titled "V. Gordlevski about Islamization and
national-religious minorities of the Ottoman Empire." The reporter
presented the origin of the problem and the approach of the Russian
scientific school to it. In his report A. Safaryan also mentioned
the importance of studying=2 0the problem of Armenians’ apostasy in
The report of the president of the scientific-cultural center
"Hamshen," Artavazd Tulimjanyan, representing Russia, was devoted
to the present condition of Hamshens inhabited in the RF Krasnodar
krai. The author of the report has been long conducting research in
this direction. At the conference he also raised the question of the
Hamshens inhabited in Russia requiring undelayable solution.
Te last report pf the conference was devoted to the Armenian
architecture in Hamshen. The author of the report is Doctor Margarit
Hakhnazaryan, however, the report was presented by the specialist of
Armenian Architecture history Samvel Karapetyan. The Conference was
followed by interesting question, answers and discussions.
One may state as a fact that the conference was a success, and at
the same time it became a stimulus of studying the problem of Hamshen
Armenians scientifically. It has also proved the existence of Armenian
specialists engaged in the problem and its details.