ISTANBUL—Ahmet Abakay, the head of Turkey’s Progressive Journalists’ Association, has revealed that his mother was an Armenian, who was left “in front of an Alevi family’s door” by Armenians during the 1915 genocide in his recently published book, adding that his relatives had reacted strongly to this revelation, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
Ahmet Abakay, a journalist and the head of the Progressive Journalists’ Association, told his mother Hoşana’s story in his book entitled Hoşana’s Last Words, in which he said that he was told by his mother that she was an Armenian only weeks before she died.
Abakay said his mother Hoşana told him her story, which she kept secret for her entire 82-year-long life, with one condition; that he should not tell it to anyone as long as she was alive.“My mother told me about her story 13 years ago and soon after, she died. I could write this only 10 years later, because I hesitated. I hardly wrote it, bursting into tears when writing all of the chapters and I was stuck. I did not imagine that it could get that sentimental for me to write it. My mother was left at some people’s door like an innocent kitten and that idea filled me with grief,” Abakay told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that his mother was one of many Armenian babies left to Turkish families, whose parents feared for their lives due to the massacres during the genocide.
“My mother made me promise not to tell her story to my wife, daughter or her sisters, as long as she was alive. I told this issue to my inner circle after I lost my mother, to learn whether there are other secrets that we are not told. But my sister told me not to reveal this on the grounds that I am a journalist, recalling what happened to Hrant Dink [Armenian-Turkish journalist murdered by a gunman in broad daylight in 2007 in Istanbul]. A majority of my relatives could not accept their [new] identity,” Abakay said. Some relatives denied the story, while others claimed that his mother was too old to be aware of what she was saying. Abakay said he received fierce reactions from some of his family members over his revelation in his book.
“My uncle’s children told me ‘how dare you call our aunt Armenian and insult our family’s honor. You will remove the Armenian part from your book, otherwise we will pull it off the shelves,’” said Abakay.
Abakay said his mother used to talk about one of her sisters left with Armenians in the past, but she had never talked about it in detail. Later on he learnt that she was from the southeastern province of Erzurum’s Aşkale district. “I want to research my identity but I doubt whether I can go any further. Now, I am content that I have received my identity back.”