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Two Armenian Women Attacked in Istanbul in Past 24 Hours

Two Armenian Women Attacked in Istanbul in Past 24 Hours

Second attack not confirmed independently

ISTANBUL, Turkey—Two elderly Armenian women were attacked in Istanbul’s Samatya district on Jan 22 and 23, less than a month after an 84-year-old Armenian woman was brutally murdered in Istanbul, raising the number of violent attacks against elderly Armenian women to at least four in recent months.

The Jan. 22 attack happened around 5 p.m. when the victim, 83-year-old Sultan Aykar was about to enter her ground-floor apartment. She then saw the intruder and, frightened, she fell. The attacker proceeded to kick her. Hearing her screams, neighbors came down, scaring off the masked man, reported Bianet. The neighbors described the attacker as a male between the ages of 35 and 40, with gray hair, and dressed in black. During the attack, Aykar suffered damage to her eye. She has now lost sight in that eye, despite surgery on Jan. 23. The victim’s daughter, Menzar Etik, said her mother did not have any enemies, as she was a quiet woman. Etik did not believe the attacker’s intention was robbery, as the attacker did not attempt to steal her purse, and there was nothing more than a broken TV in her apartment.

Today (Jan. 23), another attack was reported on yet another elderly Armenian woman. The attack happened on the street, near the Samatya High School, sources reported. The two assailants ran away. The victim was covered with blood. Shortly thereafter, she disappeared. Community members and plainclothes policemen have been unable to find or identify the woman.

The Armenian Weekly could not independently confirm the report on today’s attack.

In turn, Agos editor Rober Koptas told the Weekly, “We spoke to churchmen, taghagans, shopkeepers, police, and lots of people but none of them confirmed it.”

The Samatya area is home to many Armenians. The community is weary of these attacks, and calls for caution have been made.

In recent years, there have been several attacks against Armenians in Turkey. In early December another Armenian woman was attacked and robbed; while months earlier an Armenian woman was attacked by a taxi driver and called an infidel.

On Jan. 6, three assailants tried to kidnap an elderly Armenian woman, according to Turkish sources. The attempt failed.

According to human rights activists, the common thread that runs through all of these crimes is not just their being motivated by hate or being committed in an environment that breeds intolerance against Armenians, but also the efforts of the authorities to play them down and cover them up.

The Armenian Weekly will continue following up on this issue.

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