Return to identity: A story of Dersim Armenian family





The documentary “Pure State of the soul” by Turkish Armenian director Ugur Yusuf Ires will screen at the cultural center of the Yerevan State University tomorrow. The film presents the story of the director’s family, namely his grandfather Harutiun Ires, who regained his identity at the age of 71, regained his ‘pure state of the soul after he was baptized as Christian Armenian.

The constant arguments between the director’s grandparents lie in the basis of the documentary. “Although they were speaking Zazaki, we could understand from some Turkish words that all disputes were about religion,” Yusuf Ires told reporters in Yerevan.

“For ten years grandma was trying to persuade her children and grandchildren that they were Turkish and Muslim. She was confident it would be easier for them to live with that consciousness. But there is a reality called genetic memory. This is what motivated the creation of the film,” the director said.

Harutiun’s daughter Karin Gulteki returned to her Christian roots three years ago. She was baptized in Germany, as the tax for baptism in Armenian Churches of Turkey is too high. “I’m glad to have found my true identity and individuality,” the Dersim Armenian woman said.

“Turkey does not miss any opportunity to pressure Armenians,” said Mihran Gulteki, founder of the Union of Dersim Armenians. He said “Turkey is implementing a special policy of repatriating Turks from foreign countries and settling them in Western Armenia, where an estimated 3-4 million hidden Armenians live. According to him, the number will even grow if it becomes safer for Armenians to live there.

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