Armenian Turks are now publicly declaring their decision to convert to Christianity, a century after their ancestors were forced to convert to Islam or face execution.
Descendants of Turkey’s Christian minorities, who became Muslims during the Armenian genocide, are seeking to return to the Christianity of their grandparents and great-grandparents and being baptised as they discover their history.
According to a statement from international advocacy organisation Barnabas Fund, many thought they were of Turkish Muslim heritage like their neighbours. This was because their ancestors had hidden their true identities for fear of mistreatment and prejudice.
The Assyrians and Armenians who converted to Islam had their conversions registered with the government and were given new Muslim names. Women from the Christian minorities were forced to marry Muslim men, and children were adopted by Muslim families.
According to Barnabas Fund, Christian leaders have said that, having discovered their Armenian and Christian roots, some of those descendants are now relieved to find a reason for feeling that, despite their Muslim religion and names, they knew they were somehow different from the majority and ‘something was not quite right’.