Armenians have no peace in Turkey, neither on the ground, nor under the ground
Author: Mkhitar Nazaryan
Translation: Lusine Melkonyan
A year ago, oppositional deputies in the Turkish parliament raised the question of how the permission for the construction of toilets in the territory of Artamed city (Van Province, in Turkish: Edremit), where according to scientists, artifacts of historical value were discovered was obtained? In the indicated place ancient Armenian cemetery is located. It was here that the Turks built toilets and changing rooms in order to serve visitors to neighboring public beaches.
These actions of the authorities were seriously criticized by the opposition MP Murat Bakan, who demanded explanations from the ministers of culture and urban planning of Turkey. Months later, the relevant structures, as they say, did not even lift a finger and did nothing.
The question was again raised in the Turkish parliament by the ethnic Armenian deputy Garo Paylan, who asked what measures are taken by the relevant bodies? Culture Minister Numan Kurtulmus replied that they are consistent in this matter, and a corresponding decision has already been made that public toilets and changing cabins will be dismantled from the Armenian cemetery in the upcoming 60 days. Instead of 60 days, indicated by the minister, 11 months or 330 days have passed.
Until now, neither toilets, nor changing cabins have been dismantled. And the bones, which during construction have appeared on the earth surface, remain lying under people’s feet. In fact, even the remains of our ancestors cannot find peace. The initiator of this construction was appointed Atif Cicekli, trustee of the Artamed city hall in the province of Van. He is party member of Erdogan and is known for putting pressure on the Kurds. Now, when the Armenian deputy of the opposition Democratic Party of Peoples Garo Paylan again brought the issue to the agenda of the country's parliament, the Minister of Culture Kurtulmus was forced to admit that the mayor of Artamed refused to obey the order of the Ministry to dismantle these buildings.
As a justification, it is noted that there is no Armenian cemetery in this territory. If the minister does not lie, it means that Atif Cicekli is lying. First of all, because the Turkish media repeatedly raised this problem and reported that human bones are everywhere in the area because of the construction work. And then, there are irrefutable historical facts that residents of the old Armenian settlement are buried in this territory.
Next to the public beach of this part of Lake Van, an Armenian settlement was previously located. Even the current name of the city, Edremit, is derived from the Armenian “Artamed” (“Arti mot”, “Dashti mot”, meaning near the field), since this territory was located between apple orchards and vineyards.
By the way, Vostanik Adoyan was born in this district, who later became a world-famous American artist known as Archile Gorky. His canvases are exhibited in the museums of modern art in New York, London, Paris.
Now, we have a situation where this issue has become the subject of criticism and discussion of Garo Paylan and even Kemalist deputies and since there is no interstate relations between Armenia and Turkey for joint discussions and finding solutions by the relevant authorities of the two countries, the need for the Constantinople Patriarchate, taking measures with the mediation of Holy See of Echmiadzin, arises. It is very important that this question be brought to the international level, as an extreme manifestation of vandalism. Moreover, with an emphasis on the fact that the cemetery of a national minority is desecrated not by private individuals, but with the permission of state officials.
The construction of toilets in the Armenian cemetery is a terrifying example of desecration of the memory of those who passed away, which does not fit into the framework of common sense and conscience. However, this is happening in a state that is still applying for the EU membership.
The Turkish Armenians, Armenians of the Diaspora and the Republic of Armenia should use all possible platforms and channels to include the fact that the Turks desecrated the graves of our grandfathers in the European records and documents. Such a state should not become a member of the European family, since in this country not only the rights of the living but also those of the dead are violated.
People cannot not find peace even under the ground, if the Turks govern that territory.
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