The mayor of Istanbul’s Fatih district has said recent assaults against elderly Armenian women in Istanbul’s Samatya district were likely petty thefts rather than hate crimes, adding that an organized provocation could also be behind the incidents.
In recent months, a Turkish woman was assaulted along with three Armenians, Mayor Mustafa Demir said, indicating that the assaults might not have directly targeted Armenians.
Demir said the investigation into the attacks was ongoing and they hoped the crimes were only robbery attempts rather than racist ones. “The jewelry of the assaulted women was stolen, also the murdered Maritsa Küçük’s home was ransacked,” Demir said.
“It might not be right to say it before the investigations are finished, but [the assaults] could be outside attempts at provocation.” Demir said they were in contact with Surp Kevork Armenian Church Foundation on the subject.
On Dec. 28, 2012, Maritsa Küçük was stabbed seven times before her throat was slit at her home in Samatya. Two other attacks were carried out in the past month against elderly Armenian women in the Samatya and Bakırköy districts as well.
One of the women, 87-year-old Turfanda Aşık, lost an eye, while the other woman was robbed and severely injured. Most recently, 84-year-old Sultan Akyar was attacked in Samatya, after which she underwent eye surgery. On Jan. 27, a march was organized in Samatya district to protest the attacks.