In Turkey, there are topics that are not talked about. Among them is the story of the “rowdy” (Turkish: kabadayı) Sarkis Tekian, who survived the Armenian Genocide thanks to his struggle.
Tekian said that his grandfather was born in Kayseri and went to serve in the Ottoman army. Partly thanks to this, his family was saved from death.
“My grandfather died at the age of 90. He was a major merchant, and he sold 500-1000 sheep per deal. Then in Kayseri, you’d count 5 big merchants, one of them being my grandfather.
Then came the people who coveted our work and earnings. When I was 18 years old, they attempted to drive us out of our land. Of course, I began to fight against them. Otherwise, everything would be taken away from us. I was faced by two people who wanted to beat me, but I stabbed them.
I got imprisoned. After being released, I again had to defend my family with a knife. Eventually, they would understand that it was useless to try to deal with me, and we would be left alone. Now, no one comes close to us.
Worst of all is that being a kabadayı is considered something bad, but kabadayı and mafia are different things. kabadayı is like a gentleman. He always stands side by side with the poor and the oppressed. That’s who a kabadayı is. I am a kabadayı, and am I really bad?
I do what I can for everyone. I have never done anything bad to anyone. I was once attacked by 8 people with knives. I stabbed three of them, the rest fled. I have a cross with Jesus Christ on my neck. Christ guarded me. For this, I combined 4 things: courage, truth, calculation, and patience,” said Sarkis Tekian.
Earlier in Kayseri, correspondent of Armenian media agency NEWS.am visited the residence of Sarkis Tekian. A few years ago, he himself tried to visit Armenia, but the border guards did not allow it. “I know that Armenians are an honest and dignified people who love the truth. I hardly know Armenian, but I know the Lord’s Prayer,” Tekian said.