By Emil Danielyan
The Turkish government has denied reports that scores of Armenian nationals living in Turkey have been arrested since the latest advance of an Armenian genocide resolution in the U.S. Congress, official Yerevan said on Thursday.
An Irish newspaper reported last week that about 100 Armenians were rounded up by the Turkish police in recent days and are facing deportation to Armenia. The paper suggested that the Turkish authorities ordered the crackdown in retaliation for the anticipated adoption by the U.S. House of Representatives of a resolution recognizing as genocide the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
“I have unofficial information confirming the fact of such arrests,” Karen Mirzoyan, Armenia’s permanent representative to the Istanbul headquarters of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization, said on Monday.
The reports led Armenia’s Foreign Ministry to ask for an official clarification from Ankara. In a statement, the ministry said it has been told by the Turkish authorities that 542 foreigners have been arrested of late for breaking Turkish immigration rules and that only one of them is an Armenians citizen.
The Turkish government claims that at least 50,000 Armenians live and work in Turkey. Many in Armenia dismiss the figure as grossly inflated.