The delegation of students was headed by Lusine Sahakyan, Associate Professor of the Division of Armenian-Ottoman Relations and researcher Diana Hayrapetyan.
The purpose of the trip was to acquaint the students with the activities of the Armenian centers in Istanbul, create feedback, exchange materials and obtain professional literature.
Mher Hovhannisyan, Deputy Director of YSU Institute for Armenian Studies, noted that the main components of the master's program implemented since 2013 are the provision of quality education and organization of scientific-theoretical internships.
Students attended a lecture on Turkish national minorities at the Bilgin University, visited the Islamic Research Center in Skyutar, as well as a number of important historical and cultural sites.
Particularly, at the Armenian cemetery in Skyutar (now Üsküdar) district, the universitarians paid tribute to the well-known Western-Armenian writers and figures, including Petros Duryan, the Balian family graves, who were well-known and prominent in the Ottoman Empire.
On the same day, the students also visited the Dolmabahce palace built by renowned Armenian architects and then visited the Hrant Dink Foundation where they held discussions with employees Burju Bejamin, Cem Arslan and Vahagn Keshishyan. During the meeting, the staff presented the fund's activities, implemented projects, work style, and students talked about the topics of their master's theses, getting advice on literature and topics. An agreement was reached on further cooperation, exchange of literature between the parties.
YSU students also visited the Bilgin University in Istanbul and the mosque of Aya Sofia, at the invitation of historian Bulenta Bilmez.
During the visit, genocide scholars got acquainted with the works of the Turkish Center for Islamic Studies, registration procedures, online inquiries and had the opportunity to study Armenian materials (some of which, unfortunately, were consistently refined). As a result of the agreement between the Director of the Library and the Head of the Armenian-Ottoman Relations Department, university students will have access to the library materials in future.
On the last day of the visit YSU lecturers and students met with the employees of the Armenian "AKOS" periodical. Bagrat Estukyan, the editor of the Armenian section of the newspaper, presented the journal's activity, talked about the role of a newspaper in the community, and told about the community's current problems.
On the same day, they were hosted by the Armenian "Araz" publishing house, got acquainted with the published books, the works of contemporary Armenian writers and reprints of the Western Armenian writers' works. By the way, the publishing house publishes works in Western Armenian, Turkish and English.
"Istanbul is a country of contrasts where the breath of Europe and Asia is mixed. We have not noticed any manifestation of Anti-Armenian sentiment, but in any case there was cautiousness. It was a very exciting journey, during which we managed to communicate with the Armenian community as well as the Hamshen intellectuals living in Istanbul, learning about their new cultural achievements,” - says Emma Chobanyan.