The Christian Armenian community
The number of Christian Armenian citizens of Turkey today is estimated to be between 60,000 and 70,000. More than 90% of them reside in Istanbul, where they have numerous acting churches, primary and secondary schools, and a few newspapers and periodicals. One of the most important elements in the Armenian Identity of the members of this group seems to be their allegiance to Christianity, mainly through the channel of the Armenian Apostolic Church. In fact, one might even argue that Armenianness is an ethno-religious identity for the members of this group, rather than a purely ethnic one. For many people I met and conversed with, being Armenian automatically implies being Christian. Many use the two terms interchangeably. To the question “Is he a Muslim?”, I’ve heard people answering: “No, he’s Armenian.” Others when being asked about their religion, have answered “I’m Armenian.” Some, but few, didn’t even hesitate to classify Armenianness as a religion, while many others who found that it should be counted as a national or ethnic category, have nevertheless stated that “in our case it’s difficult and even incorrect to separate the two notions from each other”.