When Naira Mkrtchyan stepped into the office of Marmara in 1997, she did not imagine that the Armenian-language newspaper published in Istanbul, since 1940, would become her second home. Since then, the Yerevan-born cybernetic engineer-turned-journalist has been one of the voices of the Armenian community in Istanbul. One of the largest officially-recognised minorities, Armenians in Istanbul have a history that stretches back to medieval times, yet exact figures of their current presence are lacking. In 2011 estimates set the community at around 60-70,000 polsahays, as “Istanbul” Armenians are called.
Naira, now 46, is one of the estimated 10,000 (and/or more) “migrants,” that are Armenians who have settled in Istanbul in the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union that hit hard the newly-established Republic of Armenia, driving thousands away in search of work.