22 Feb 2015

Cultural genocide of armenian heritage in Turkey

Acts and measures undertaken to destroy the culture of a nation or an ethnic group is called ''cultural genocide''. The word ''Genocide'' coined by Raphael Lemkin, does not only refer to the physical extermination of a national or religious group, but also its spiritual and cultural destruction. The concept of ''national and cultural genocide'' has not yet been included in the 1948 UN Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of Genocide.




Many facts prove that simultaneous with the massacres and deportation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire,  the government of the Young Turks masterminded and implemented systematic destruction of the material testimonies of the Armenian civilization. Realizing the role of the church and Christian faith within the Armenian nation, the Turkish government purposefully massacred Armenian clergymen, destroyed churches, monasteries and other properties of church, including thousands of medieval handwritten manuscripts.






An Arab witness to the Armenian Genocide, Fayez al-Ghussein, writes in his memoirs “… After the massacres of the Armenians, the government established committees that were engaged in selling the abandoned property. Armenian cultural values were sold at the cheapest prices. I once went to the church to see how the sales of these things were organized. The doors of the Armenian schools were closed. The Turks used science books in the bazaar for wrapping cheese, dates, sunflowers”.







In 1912 the Armenian patriarchy of Istanbul presented an account of the churches and monasteries in Western Armenia (Eastern Anatolia) and the Ottoman Empire. More than 2000 monasteries and churches were accounted, including the early unique Christian monuments of IV-V cc. Most part of them were looted, burned and destroyed by the Turks during the genocide.









At the end of 1920s, Turkey began the process of changing the names of certain locations in Western Armenia. Presently 90% of the Armenian cities, towns and buildings in Eastern Turkey Western Armenia (Eastern Anatolia) have been Turkified. Armenian geographical sites' names have also been replaced with Turkish names. Devising a systemanic method of destruction, hundreds of architectural monuments have been destroyed and all Armenian inscriptions erased.




In 1974 UNESCO stated that after 1923, out of 913 Armenian historical monuments left in Eastern Turkey, 464 have vanished completely, 252 are in ruins, and 197 are in need of repair. Armenian architectural buildings are consistently being demolished using dynaminte and are used as a targets during Turkish military training exercises; the undamaged stones are used as construction materials. In some rural places, Armenian monasteries and churches serve as a stables, stores, clubs and in once case, even a jail. On many occasions the Turkish government converted Armenian churches into mosques.




On June 18, 1987 the council of Europe adopted a decree wherein the 6th point mentions that: the Turkish government must pay attention to and take care to heed the language, culture and educational system of the Armenian Diaspora living in Turkey, simultaneously demanding an appropriate regard to the Armenian monuments that are situated in Turkey’s territory.





The policy of dewas continued in Republican Turkey, as these relics were viewed as undesirable witnesses of the presence of the Armenians.

Cultural genocide   Armeniangenocide100.org

Cultural genocide   www.genocide-museum.am

Cultural genocide   www.mfa.am

Cultural genocide   www.raa.am  

The destruction by Azerbaijan of thousands of medieval Armenian gravestones at a cemetery in Julfa

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