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The Cultural Genocide

of the ethnic, religious and cultural heritage of the Armenian Church

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Horomos_(Ghoshavank)_today.jpg

Ruins of the Horomos St. John the Baptist Monastery, 931-936 A.D. Horomos has been blown up by artillery fire on military exercises of the Turkish army,

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Acts and measures undertaken to destroy any nation’s or ethnic group’s culture are 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 to its national, spiritual and cultural destruction. The concept of cultural genocide was not included in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Many facts prove that along with the massacres and deportation, the Young Turk government was also implemented a premeditated and planed destruction of the material testimonies of the Armenian culture. Realizing the role of the church and Christian faith for the Armenian nation, they intentionally massacred Armenian clergymen, destroyed churches, monasteries, thousands of medieval manuscripts and other church property.
An Arab witness of the Armenian Genocide, Fayez el Hussein, writes in his memoirs “… After the massacres of the Armenians, the government established commissions that were engaged in selling the leftover property. Armenian cultural values were sold at the cheapest prices… Once I went to a church to see how the sale of these things is organized. The doors of the Armenian schools were closed. Turks used the textbooks and scientific books in the market for wrapping cheese, dates, sunflowers… “
In 1912-1913 the Armenian Patriarchy of Istanbul presented an account of the churches and monasteries in Western Armenia (Eastern Anatolia) and in the Ottoman Empire. More than 2300 were accounted for including the early unique Christian monuments of IV-V centuries. But most of them were looted, burned and destroyed during the genocide.
The policy of destruction adopted by the Young Turks with regard to Armenian historical and cultural heritage has been continued in Republican Turkey, where these relics have been viewed as the undesirable witnesses of the Armenian presence.
At the end of 1920s, Turkey began changing the names and titles (toponymy) of certain locations in Western Armenia. Nowadays 90% of the Armenian cities, towns and buildings in Western Armenia have been Turkified. The names of Armenian geographical sites have also been replaced with Turkish names. Devising a systematic 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 complete repair.
Armenian architectural buildings are consistently being demolished with dynamite explosions and used as targets during Turkish military training exercises; the undamaged stones are also used as construction materials. In some rural places, Armenian monasteries and churches serve as 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 demanding from the Turkish government to pay attention to and take care of the Armenian language, culture and educational system of the Armenian Diaspora living in Turkey, also demanding an appropriate regard to the Armenian historical monuments that are in modern Turkey’s territory.
Cultural genocide against the Armenian heritage on the territory of Turkey continues …

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https://www.mfa.am/en/cultural-genocide/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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