The Burunkışla village in the Sarıkaya district of Yozgat sets an example for tolerance and shows the peaceful attitudes of Turks and Armenians living together for centuries by voluntarily maintaining a cemetery left behind by Armenians who used to live in the village, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
Burunkışla’s Village Headman Necati Yalçın said his ancestors emigrated to Yozgat in 1924 from Greece’s Thessaloniki following the barter between Turkey and Greece and started living together peacefully with Armenians in the region, until they began leaving after 1966.
“Our Armenian friends come here every year in groups of 60 to 70 people and visit both our village and the cemeteries. Our connection [with them] continues; we visit each other. Thanks to our former district governor, the cemetery left behind by our Armenian siblings was fenced. As a village unit, residents of the village care for small issues, including cleaning, maintenance and reparation. Ultimately, our friendship is enduring,” said Yalçın.
Sembiya Arıkan, a 78-year-old villager, said she had Armenian neighbors and friends at school, adding that they were all friends.
“Our life was really good. There would be weddings and we would go together. We were friends with all of them,” said Arıkan, adding that their Armenian friends came to visit them every summer and they cherished their old memories together.