We and our surnames

  • by Western Armenia, February 03, 2024 in Patrimony

Widespread name changes  of Armenian place names were  carried out:according to the state decree developed and implemented by the turkish government.

According to the above mentioned, it was necessary to get rid of names foreign to them in a very short period of time, as they clearly realized  that a significant part of the words  were  Armenian names.

The decree states that these names must be chosen correctly, otherwise there may be a risk that their initial names will remain in use.

In 1916 the decree  in the Ottoman Empire provided to  get  rid not only of Armenian place names, but also of place names of other Christian peoples, Bulgarians, Greeks, foreign to the turks.

Ruben Hovhannisyan writes about it. " Denial of  genocide is just considered as a  final stage, when after the destruction of a nation, its culture and historical memory are uprooted."

And began an extensive process of name changes of  the cities and villages, monasteries, churches, cathedrals, chapels, impregnable forts and fortresses, bridges, thousands of administrative-territorial and physical-geographical names of the homeland of the Armenian people, which were completely looted, mostly deserted, destroyed or half-destroyed, and sometimes set on fire.

Here is what the "Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia" writes about eliminating the name Western Armenia and introducing the name Anatolia (Greek for east, sunrise) in its place: "Since 1923, Anatolia has been referred to in Turkish literature as the whole of Asian Turkey, including Western Armenia and Kurdistan, thus distorting the geographical content of that term." The Turkish authorities call it Anadolu with their mispronunciation.

The term Armenia was used by Turkish authors until the end of the 19th century. Thus, the Turkish historian of the second half of the 19th century, Osman Nuri, repeatedly mentions the name Armenia in his three-volume work "Abdul Hamid II and his period of power

The meticulously organized and methodically implemented process of name changes was slightly slowed down by the turkish authorities only during the Second World War, after which the process gained momentum again. This led to the fact that in Western Armenia in the 1920s-1930s, Armenian roots were still preserved to some extent in the place names indicated in the maps, but in the maps of the 1970s, they were reduced to a minimum.

Purposefully and consistently implementing the state decree of 2010,  turkish authorities had already renamed more than 1/3 of the rural settlements of Western Armenia.

HR. Acharyan expresses the opinion that an interesting phenomenon is observed in the process of changing Armenian place names to turkish, that is, the Turkish authorities sometimes referred to Armenian when performing these name changes.

For example, Tekir says about the name that it means "kingfish" and writes: "... this Turkish word was borrowed from the Armenian word king, and the Armenians took it back in a modified form for the second time, as if it were a word from the turks."

And indeed, in Kilikia, in the province of Marashi, in the province of Aleppo, in the province of Zeytoun, in the basin of the Pyramos or Ceyhan river, there is a river called the King's Water, which became Tekirsu, where "su" means water. Moreover, in the same province, not far from the village of Kanchi, extends the mountain range of the King, which also became Tekir.