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Turkey’s Secret 'Ancestry Codes' Track Non-Muslim Minorities

Turkey has been secretly coding its Armenian, Greek, Jewish, Syriac and other non-Muslim minorities since the beginning of the republic in 1923.
Human rights activists sit behind pictures of Armenian victims at Taksim square in central Istanbul April 24, 2013, during a demonstration to commemorate the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: ANNIVERSARY POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTXYYD8
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It all started when a mother in Istanbul tried to enroll her child at an Armenian school. Like so many other Armenians who wanted to save themselves from the 1915 massacre, this woman's family had converted to Islam. Now she wanted to assume the identity of her ancestors. She underwent baptism, and her identity card was changed to show she is a Christian.

She thought her identity as a Christian would be enough to enroll her child at an Armenian school, but she soon found that it would not be so easy. There were bureaucratic steps to be taken. She was told, “You must get an official certification from the National Education Office attesting that there is no impediment to your [child's] enrollment in this school.”

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