More than 40 years ago, Kirkor Çapan, an ethnic Armenian, and his father set up what today is one of the last Christian funeral homes still operating in Istanbul. But the funeral parlor is not a religious island unto itself. With so few Christians left in Turkey, the stonemasons and carpenters working with Çapan are Muslim Turks.
Almost a week after the conclusion of a trial concerning the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the verdict continues to reverberate in Turkey. It is shaking the faith of minority groups that they can get a fair hearing in the country’s courts and is raising questions among rights activists about the judiciary’s independence.
Turkey’s parliamentary campaign debate about the government’s treatment of ethnic minorities prompted hope among the country’s ethnic Armenians, its largest non-Muslim minority, that greater tolerance could be in the wind. But as Turkish-Armenians take stock of their situation post-election, a mood of caution still prevails.