Mr. Demirjian, whose grandfather was sheltered by a Kurdish family as a child, held on to his secret. In recent years, though, as Turkey has allowed minorities to identify themselves more freely, he embraced in full his family’s truth. He changed his name to his family’s Armenian one, participated in the restoration of a church in this city, took Armenian language lessons and started delivering Agos, an Armenian newspaper published in Istanbul, to others in this area with a similar past. When his cellphone rings, it blares a song by the Armenian-Syrian singer and songwriter Lena Chamamyan.
Those efforts have largely been possible because the Kurds were willing to acknowledge their role, as agents for the Ottoman Turks, in the genocide a century ago. That the Kurds themselves suffered under the Turks, who have long denied the existence of a separate Kurdish identity, made reconciliation between Kurds and Armenians easier.