Funeral of Murdered Armenian Woman in Istanbul Evokes Memories of Earlier Cover-Ups

ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)—The funeral of 84-year-old Marissa Kuchuk (Küçük), who was brutally murdered in her apartment in Istanbul, was held on Jan. 5, amid fears that violent acts against the country’s Christian minorities will continue to be swept under the rug.

In recent years, there have been several attacks against Armenians in Turkey. On April 24, 2011, Sevag Balikci was killed by a fellow soldier.
In recent years, there have been several attacks against Armenians in Turkey. On April 24, 2011, Sevag Balikci was killed by a fellow soldier.

Armenian Weekly Columnist Ayse  Gunaysu pointed to possible attempts to silence the family of the victims. “Before the service, while waiting in the church yard, there was a heavy silence—the silence of those who know but are unable to speak about what they know. The family was asked not to talk to the ‘outsiders.’”

“I noticed, thanks to my experience during the military dictatorship years, that there were dozens of policemen in plainclothes inside and around the church,” she told Armenian Weekly Editor Khatchig Mouradian in an interview.

Kuchuk’s funeral  was held at the Armenian Church in Samatya (current name Mustafapasha), where hundreds gathered to pay their respects. “Both inside the church and the churchyard were full of people of all ages,” said Gunaysu, who attended the funeral. “While the coffin was being carried on the shoulders [of mourners], I saw Marissa’s daughter, hardly able to walk, held by the arms by two other middle aged women.”

On Dec. 29, Marissa Kuchuk was stabbed seven times and her throat was slit. The perpetrator(s) carved a cross on her chest using a sharp object, according to some Turkish newspaper and TV reports.

Gunaysu, who is also an active member of the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association, talked to the Armenian Weekly about the necessity and, at the same time, the impossibility of protesting against Kuchuk’s murder,  because that would leave the victim’s family in a difficult situation.

Gunaysu and others from the Human Rights Association had visited the victim’s family a few days earlier. “The funeral and the visit we paid the family made me lost in a suffocating feeling that we can do absolutely nothing to help the family and their neighbors, because whatever we would do to protest this murder would make them feel even more uneasy,” she said.

“They know that they would be the ones who would pay for it in one way or another, while our protest would only provide us with the satisfaction of having fulfilled our ‘duty,’” she added.

Gunaysu pointed to “an enormous abyss separating us from the family. While we would try to defend human rights, they would be all alone in their daily lives in a world of denial.”

In recent years, there have been several attacks against Armenians in Turkey. Earlier in December, another Armenian woman was brutally attacked and robbed. Months earlier, an Armenian woman was called an infidel and attacked in a cab by the driver himself. On April 24, 2011, Sevag Balikci, an Armenian serving in the Turkish Army, was killed by a fellow soldier in what was clearly a hate crime on Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day. In January 2007, Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered in broad daylight in Istanbul.

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.


  1. These Brutal Cowardly Acts against our Armenian women,young men and our journalists is Apalling. perpertrated by these Beasts that always try to supress and continue their Bully Tactics against the Armenian people. This must be Stopped once and for all……

  2. It is not the first time that an old woman is strangled.

    Some years ago, 3 of them ad been strangled, each time the same way.

    But the news have not been published. And nobody never asked a question.

  3. Shame on turkey. seems like there has been no change or no difference between the ottoman turks and present day turks. They’re still evil and murders .

  4. The evil state propaganda against Armenians over these years in Turkey has made Armenians easy targets for the kill.

    Yes, there a some decent Turks who are against such evil acts, but sadly far and few.

    • GB,

      The same satisfaction that their grandfathers were getting by opening the pregnant Armenian women’s womb with their swards to see the unborn babies gender.
      Turkish society and their live is nothing but a brutal tragicomedy to me. A bunch of brainwashed Armenians and Greeks that proudly call themselves Turks who swear with either by religion that was imposed on them with a sward or by Ataturk. A few sane once are either locked in the prisons or are being watched carefully to see when they are going to cross the line to be thrown into a prison or meet the bullet.

  5. How can Azeris talk about peace if the option they put forth for us can only make us easy targets. If Armenians are killed by turks in Turkey which at least have some sympathizers to Armenans then Azeris have plans to do it to us for centuries. We must stand gurad and be strong.

    Strenghtening our borders against Azeri aggression and take no prisoners when they cross it to obduct or shoot at our citizens.

    This Article gives us a message we must not take lightly that our enemies in Turkey are among the friends coexisting for now, but want another degree of change, each to satisfy their goals. And even if our few friends prevail, the enemies will lerk around like dorment viruses. Imagine what the hateful Azeris would do with almost all the poppulation bred and raised to hate.

    However, we do manage to anger them by just being there between the two Turkish states.

  6. Even her Turkified last name did not save this poor women from the brutal murder. The message is very clear —Turks want Christians, and particularly Armenians, out of Turkey. Ethnic cleansing and genocide are still in progress in this backward and fascistic country.

    • Stella,

      Yes, Turks want to hrass Armenians out of Turkey, to complete their fortather’s plan. Turks know us Armenians as family loving and they want to use that to drive us out by putting our families at risk, just like in the genocide time when they threatened many Armenians into converting.
      How this old tactics for supposedly modern Turkey going to benefit them, is questionable. But, as skelletons are plenty in the Turkish closets, every new act of violance and anti-Armenian threats are suppose to keep the secrets safe.
      Turks, more than ever are facing their own citizens comming out of the dark. And the nationalists want Armenains to hide in order to keep the subject off discussions.
      Since the genocide took place, Turkey hasn’t changed much, accept that instead of mass deportation and killing of Armenians which would be more visible to the world they rely on other hrassment activities.
      This is further exasperated by their panic of the issue of genocide still on their forign and domestic affairs, in oppose to what the Ottomans expected when they planned the unthinkable.
      Today’s Turkish high ranks think similar to the young Turks, with signs of strong Turkish and pan-Turkic mentality, but in a different time of history.
      They are hopping for more isolation of Armenia from diaspora, and NKR and Russian support criticism to get back at Armenians.

  7. “On Dec. 29, Marissa Kuchuk was stabbed seven times and her throat was slit. The perpetrator(s) carved a cross on her chest using a sharp object, according to some Turkish newspaper and TV reports.”

    Are these newspaper reports online? Any links? I’m guessing they’re on the Turkish version and not on the English.

  8. I am mourning with the family of Marissa Kuchuk. The bestial and brutal way of her
    killing shows that there are too many inhabitants in this country committing murder of religious reason.

    Murder is happening everywhere in the world. And thanks God in most countries murderers with such abnormal human feelings are punished severely.
    But Turkey is a country, unable to safeguard the life of its minorities.The official
    reaction of such deeds is supporting and not persecuting the murderer by not giving him the necessary punishment.

    Politically Turkey tries (unsuccessfully) to play a role in the world. But I am sure
    and convinced that Turkey will NEVER enter the EU ! Who wants to be neighbour of a country in which religiously motivated murder is not punished in an adequate manner ?

  9. I read recently famous Arab poet
    Abdul- Muhsin Al Kadami
    I can translate his stanza…Just!!!

    “Those Tatars are sadist …
    They only like to see blood
    They enjoy to slay the throat
    From side to side
    And see the head hanged
    with opened eyes…
    They enjoy the view
    and feel brave they have done it…

    The more they kill
    the more they are praised by their fans…”
    Those Tatars are born to Slay, Rape and Confiscate…!!!

    From the book Dr. Naeem Alyaffi and Mahir Almunjid…
    “The Turkish picture stanzed through Arab poetry from 1870-1920”
    Dar Al Hiwar publisher, Syria, Ladikia…1995

  10. There is something odd about what appears to be a Turkish flag draping the coffin in a Christian funeral …

  11. I am the granddaughter of Maritsa Kucuk.. I can’t explain the pain we are suffering right now.. My yaya was taken away from us with such violent act that we will never forget it… Why would anyone want to harm and hurt a fragile and helpless elderly is beyond me… I am so disgusted and revolted about the way they took her away from us.. I keep asking myself why why? What did she do to deserve this unimaginable act of hatred and cruelty? I hope these animals will get what they deserve before another family has to go through this.. May you rest in peace my sweet Angel Yaya.. We love you so much and miss you.

    • Linda:

      I second what Ms. Boyajian wrote below.
      My condolences. (an Armenian-American).

      Based on my long readership of AW, I can state that many, many readers of AW share your pain and outrage now.

      May your dear Yaya rest in peace.

  12. Linda, thank you for bravely sharing your pain with readers here. I am so sorry for the distress your family is enduring. I hope the guilty are found and punished, for your family’s sake, and for the sake of security of Armenians and other Christians in Turkey.

    This is senseless madness.

  13. I wasn’t going to make a comment about this murder because it isn’t unusual that elderly people or even normal people are targeted by killers in every part of the world. An elderly woman was stabbed to death 2 years ago just a street away from my house in the “most democratic country of the world” and a Turkish off license owner was killed in his shop because he didn’t want to give away a bottle of wine to an intruder. I know these examples will not calm you dawn or reduce your anger as the grand daughter of this lady however, this murder has been presented a racially motivated murder by the Armenian paper called Agos in Turkey. I personally do not believe that this murder was carried out by crazy nationalists. The killer(s) most probably didn’t know if she was an Armenian or Turkish in the first place. I am hoping that her killer(s) will be caught before they kill another one.May her poor soul rest in peace

  14. The cowardly murder may have been a simple robbery in which the perpetrator attempted to throw the investigator off the track by mutilating the victim in a way suggesting racial hatred. As a former police officer, I have investigated a few similar crimes.

    It is also possible that the deep state targeted this poor lady both to terorize the Armenian commmunity and to discredit the current regime, which was the same method they used against Hrant Dink, in which his status was both a pretext and a motive.

    Two things are clear: first, some Turkish fascists – Ergun Kirlikovali types come to mind – will think or say that an Armenian is the guilty party, just as he blamed Armenians for killing Hrant Dink. Second, if the murderer is caught, there will be a laughing Turkish policeman bringing him tea and treats, and a judge searching for a way to release him, if the murderer is a Muslim, This time the Turkish cop will be smart enough not to be photographed laughing.

    • A lot of things are possible. Including anti-Christian motivations. But given that this is Turkey if an Armenian is targeted out of hate, it’s because of anti-Armenian rather than anti-Christian. The anti-Christian is something you’d expect in Syria or Egypt. I’ve heard of one murder of in Egypt where an Armenian was killed because she was Christian.

  15. To John the Turk..

    If this wasn’t a racially motivated murder why was there a cross cut into her naked body?

  16. Linda, we are so sorry that your yaya died in such a horrific way. Her soul is in heaven right now. I hope this time this sick and evil person will get what he deserve. we pray for you and for the whole family. God will help you to deal with such a great pain. We love you.

    • Thanks for sending…All the details of killing …
      The above article is too polite …
      Please every one should read to see the hatreds in their hearts and butchers hand how they carved cross on her heart…
      Thanks for reading…

  17. Dear Linda,
    I ask you to accept my condolences, may The Holy Trinity help you and your family to overcome this painful situation. Knowingly that your government has a big roll to play to make me convinced, and stop me thinking that what is still going on, and happen to your yaya, is not a continuation of the 1915 genocide.

  18. First of all thank you for all the support and well wishes. My mom and dad are in Turkey with our family and they said their last goodbyes to my sweet yaya. I can tell you guys exactly what happened from the Agos Article.. My Aunt always checks up on my yaya before she goes to sleep so on that awful night when she couldn’t reach her she called my Uncle Zadik who only lives 5 minutes away from her to check and see if she was ok… My uncle goes to my yaya’s house and puts the key in but says my mom always locks the door from the back.. He opens the door and it’s dark but he sees that someone is lying on the floor and thinks she fell or something.. After he turns on the lights. He sees my yaya on the floor naked and covered in blood.. She was stabbed 7 times and her throat was slit.. THe animals even carved a crucifix on her poor naked body.. Her face was so badly bruised that someone punched her in the face and neck first and that’s how they got in… This was no random robbery.. My uncle said that there was money around and they didn’t take it.. I am crying as I write this because I keep thinking about how her life was taken away from her so violently and keep wondering if she felt fear and pain and I can’t imagine anyone’s life ending that way. I am revolted and disgusted and will never forget how she was taken from us so tragically. How can someone have so much hatred and cruelty to do something so horrific.. How can you hurt an innocent soul.. My yaya never hurt anyone. She was a goofball and loved life and that was taken away from her viciously.. I pray to god that we get some kind of closure to his awful murder. I love you yaya and we shall meet in Heaven.

    • Thank you again Linda for your courage during this time of great sadness. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to relive this while writing your message. My deepest condolences.

      May the full truth come to light and may the guilty be brought to justice.

    • Dear Linda,

      I am also very sorry how brutally she was taken away from you. May your grandmother rest in peace in heaven. My grandmother passed away at the age of 86 in Armenia two months ago. It was very painful for me even though I knew that she lived a very happy life and did not even have any serious disease. I can only imagine how hard it is for you now. The most important thing for your family now is their safety. Please be careful and stay safe.

  19. I am so speechless to tell you about your loss!! May our lord bless your Yaya!! your yaya was not the only Christian, who was vanished in Turkey!! Thousands of Christian women raped and killed in the name of fake nationality and fake religion in a fake country called Turkey!! I wonder how those million Turkish women living in free Christian Europe, calling themselves proud Muslim Turks!!

  20. I am the great grand daughter of Maritsa, it is so sad that someone would do this to such an insolent lady. She never hurt anyone she was a lovable goofball. I used to talk to her every Friday and now I can’t do that anymore because of the unspeakable act those monsters did. I love you and you will be in my prayers. R.I.P

  21. The suspect, identified as Murat N., is a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin and was detained as a suspect in five attacks, one of which resulted in death

    • How convenient: a suspect is found who just happens to be a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent.
      Turkish Police, as in Turkish, claim they found a blood match.
      And supposedly he was working alone.

      Let me see what we have here:

      {The suspect lives alone and allegedly committed the assaults for theft, according to unnamed sources.} (HDN March 4, 2013)
      {… This was no random robbery.. My uncle said that there was money around and they didn’t take} (Linda, Jan 9, 2013)

      I am biased, so I will go with what Linda’s uncle saw.
      And if I recall correctly, witnesses reported two people working together in these attacks.

      So, considering that Turkish police covered up the Hrant Dink murder, the murder of Pvt Sevag Şahin Balıkçı is ruled accidental by a Turkish prosecutor, and on, and on…what are the chances that Turkish police, under tremendous pressure to ‘solve’ these crimes, which tarnish Turks’ image internationally, found a Turkish-Armenian with a criminal record, beat a confession out of him, planted blood evidence ? Naaah: not in Turkey.

    • This news can only be taken with a cupful of salt.We’ve seen many such cover ups.Same old tricks.

    • I wonder how much bribe money fake ‘Murat” got from turkish foreign ministry!!

      Davood oghloo needs some fake documents to introduce Angela Markel for his “clever” finding. After all, Ahmed pasha knocking the door for an EU discussion!!

      I am sure after few months foxy Davood, will claim that killers of those 3 Kurdish women in France was an Armenian…..or Armenian Genocode orchestrators were all Islamized Armenians!!

      As usual turkish dirty political tactics and fake news can convinced people like Necati, who is always high in his Raki and melon!!

  22. Very good going Necati,
    I wonder if your people can also reccomend younger brother Axerbaijan to arrest the hundreds of Axeris who raped ,totured and killed Armenians in Sumgait,Bakli and now JUST TODAY I WATCHED ON T.V. WHAT IS BEING TAUGHT TO their kids in classrooms as history…Ermenis are killing Axeris and BACKDROP HUGE PHOTO OF SAFAR OGHLU!!!!
    So on hand you show to the others,East and West that you are a civilized people and have caught the murderer (one of them or two) in istanbulla on the other hand the HATE CLASSES IN BAKI TO LITTLE BROTHERS´ KIDS
    We (most of us hopefully ) know this tactic…One a showcase for Euro Ams etc., the other is ACTUALLITY ..HATE IN PRACTICE!!!!!!
    Akh those Ermenis…kill them hate them fporever!!!!
    What a people we have had to live with it?????
    Hope we have thsoe frontiers/borders closed forever.
    IOf Euro Ams still think (like the Russiaqn did) they can change your NATURE…then let them go do that .We shall sit still and watch.
    Peace??? indeed we want we extended our hand you did not take it-EVEN WITHOUT ANY PRECONDITIONS…remember. then you retorted give back OR PLACE BACK nk aRTSAKHJ TO aXERIS…is that right????so that they would by and by be sub,mitted to NAKHIJEVAN ARMENIANS F A T E ??????

  23. It appears as Dilara and Necati are right Avery. Sometimes the truth doesn’t conform with what we would believe.

  24. I refuse to believe what they say until the Turkish police confirms the following.

    1.The envelop with blood stain should be send out to at least two different labs in two different countries for a blood match analysis.
    2. the age of the blood stain found on the envelope should be defined (if such test exists).
    The real motives and people behind those murders should be investigated. If his motive was theft why did not he simply rob his victims? Why did he have to kill them? How much money did he steal? Did he still valuables as well? How did he know those women were Armenian? And, last but not least, why did he decide to target Armenian elderly and not Turkish or Kurdish? Why would a religion or ethnicity make any difference for a thieve?

  25. Here I am again, the granddaughter of Maritsa Kucuk and I believe that there is something fishy going on here…I saw a video clip of him being escorted out after he was arrested and the media was asking him why he killed one of his own and His response was..”I don’t remember anything. If I did, I would have told you everything.. I don’t remember, I don’t remember… BULLSHIT!!!! How much did they pay him to say that? Where are his watchdogs now.?? He was working with two people and How convenient and odd that he is Armenian… I hope he gets what he deserves in jail..

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