YEREVAN. – The existence of four to five million Zaza people in Turkey, and with whom Armenians have very friendly relations, is very important for Armenia.
Ambassador Ara Papyan, Modus Vivendi Center Director and political scientist, told the aforesaid to reporters, within the framework of Saturday’s second international conference—in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan—on Zaza Studies.
In his words, the Zaza people live in Central Anatolia, their population is four to five million, and they are primarily Alevi, in terms of religion.
“Classical Oriental Studies considers Alevism to be a part Shia Islam, but they [i.e. the Zazas] don’t consider themselves adherents of Islam; the Sunni [Muslims] likewise don’t consider them Muslims,” stressed Papyan. “This is very important for Armenia; first of all, from the viewpoint of security. We [i.e. Armenians] don’t have good relations specifically with Turkey, where the majority of the Zaza people live; and it’s important for us is that there are a 4-5-million [strong] people in Turkey with whom we have friendly relations.”
He added that the Zazas are very well disposed towards Armenians, and that they had saved many Armenians in the years of the genocide.
Ara Papyan added that Armenia is a leading country in Zaza Studies, a branch of Iranian Studies.