The Armenian highlands were never called “Eastern Anatolia” 

  • by Western Armenia, March 06, 2023 in Politics

The government of Sultan Abdul Hamid  II fictitiously replaced the name Armenia with terms such as Kurdistan or Anatolia.

Since 1880 (following the Treaty of San Stefano of 1878), it is forbidden to use the name Armenia in official documents.

The process of “nationalization” of geographical names was continued by the ideological successors of the Young Turks, the Kemaists. It gained momentum during the Republican era. From 1923, they officially renamed the entire territory of Western Armenia “Eastern Anatolia”.

It is more than obvious that Ottoman historians and chroniclers, unlike modern Turks, knew very well the location of Armenia and did not confuse it with Anatolia.

In European and Ottoman, Armenian, Russian, Persian, Arabic and other sources, Armenia is not confused with Anatolia. This reflects, among other things, the fact that even after the loss of the state, the Armenian people still constituted a majority in their homeland, which was also recognized by the Ottoman invaders. Therefore, today it is very painful to see some Armenian historians in exile and even some diplomats and analysts also in exile in Armenia, who started to replace the term “Western Armenia” with the term “Eastern Anatolia”.

These men willingly undertook the task of promulgating the 1880 decree of Abdul Hamid II. Incredibly, some exile historians even use the term “Anatolia” to describe the entire Armenian highlands.

This is unacceptable to us, because replacing Western Armenia with the term “Eastern Anatolia” would mean a deliberate rejection of our homeland, our historical and cultural heritage, denying the genocide committed against the Armenians, burying its consequences in oblivion. It also means supporting Turkey’s negative position towards the rights of Western Armenia and the Armenian nation.

To deny the rights of Western Armenia obtained in 1920, believing that in exchange it could obtain statehood (for Eastern Armenia including Artsakh), is what is called a political (de facto) deception which will only lead to a legal (de jure) impasse.

Armenag Aprahamian

President of the National Council of Western Armenia