Cultural genocide

  • by Western Armenia, November 08, 2023 in Culture

Numerous facts testify that along with the mass massacres and deportation of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire, the Young Turkish government deliberately and plannedly sought to destroy the material evidence of the Armenian civilization. Realizing the role of the church and faith in the life of the Armenian people, the Turkish government purposefully killed Armenian clergymen, destroyed churches and monasteries, thousands of medieval manuscripts, seized church property. One of the Arab eyewitnesses of the Armenian massacres, lawyer Fayez el Ghosain, writes in his memoirs. "...After the massacres of Armenians, the government created commissions that deal with the sale of abandoned property. Armenian cultural values are sold at the cheapest price... I once went to a church to see how the sale of these things is organized. The doors of Armenian schools are closed. Science books are used by Turks to package cheese, dates, and sunflowers in the market."

According to 1912-1913 According to the official historiography compiled by the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and submitted to the Turkish government, the number of Armenian churches and monasteries in the entire territory of the Ottoman Empire exceeded 2000 (including unique early Christian monuments of the IV-V centuries), most of which were looted, burned and destroyed during the genocide. :

Regarding the historical and cultural heritage of the Armenian people, the policy of destruction adopted by the Young Turks continued even now, because they were seen as unwanted witnesses of the Armenian presence.

Since the 1920s. The process of changing the place names of Western Armenia has also started in Turkey. Currently, more than 90% of Western Armenia's place names have been Turkified. Armenian geographic names were replaced by Turkish ones, hundreds of architectural monuments were systematically destroyed or their Armenian identity was neutralized.

According to UNESCO in 1974 According to the data, out of 913 Armenian historical-architectural monuments that remained standing after 1923, 464 have completely disappeared, 252 are in ruins, and 197 are in need of complete repair.

Armenian architectural buildings have been consistently blown up, used as targets during military exercises by the Turkish army, and stones are used as building materials. In some rural areas, they serve as barns, warehouses, and prisons. In many cases, Armenian churches have been converted into mosques.

The destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage or its appropriation is the continuation of the Turkish policy of genocide against the Armenians.