Vakıflı: The last Armenian Village in Turkey

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The village of Vakıflı in the southern Turkish province of Hatay near the Syrian border, population 150, is the last remaining Armenian village in Turkey. Lately, interest in the town and the history of Armenians has been growing.The history of Christian and Armenian settlement in this region is also a story of the early Christians, to which the four churches in Samandağ still bear witness today. But the history of the Armenian villages on Musa Dagh comes to an almost complete end with the year 1915, the beginning of the brutal expulsion of the Armenian population of Anatolia.There are thus few reminders left today at the foot of Musa Dagh. Visitors still come to Hıdırbey, the village neighbouring Vakıflı, to see the centuries-old sacred Tree of Moses. A few restored buildings provide a glimpse of Armenian history.Further up the mountain is the village of Yoğunoluk, which is described in detail in Werfel’s novel. A small mosque now stands on the foundations of a former Armenian church there.The next village, Batıayaz, features an impressive unfinished three-aisled church. This sacred building was meant to stand for a new beginning when the Armenians who had once fled returned to their villages after the First World War.The Hatay region, together with modern-day Syria, was part of the French protectorate until 1939. But when the province was then incorporated into the Turkish Republic that year, mistrust returned. Most Armenians emigrated to Lebanon or SyriCheck out the full story on Qantara.


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