BY Z. S. ANDREW DEMIRDJIAN | USA Armenian Life Magazine | Issue #1818
heritage of the past is the seed that
brings forth the harvest of the future”.
Despite the Turks lost vast territories
of the Ottoman Empire after WWI, they ended up securing a huge chunk of it for
themselves mainly from the homelands of three indigenous peoples, such as
Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians. Currently, 97 percent of the occupied
territory lies in Asiatic Turkey and only three percenbt is located on the
European side of the Bosporus. This vast
land almost measures about 400 miles from north to south, and it extends over
1,000 miles east to west. Over half of present-day Turkey comprises the
Armenian Highlands, a country of staggering numbers of actual and potential
archeological sites nowhere else found in the world.
explore this archeological paradise, Turkey is enlisting the German, English,
and American archaeologists to excavate the antiquities, without allowing them
to make any reference to Armenia or Armenians. As a result, Turkey ends up
packaging and promoting the findings as belonging to Turkish Heritage. The
present excavations along the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers are all in
The Armenian nation needs to fight
back; otherwise, within a few decades Western Armenia will become a footnote in
the minds and books of the world if Armenians fail to reclaim their cultural
heritages. Ideas have changed the world;
ideas can also advance Armenia’s interests and causes. So, here are some
avenues to combat the usurpation of the Armenian heritage as belonging to
Turkey, which is a rather new comer to Anatolia and Armenian Highlands through
Armenia must make sure that whenever a site is accepted to be included in the
list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the correct name of the country should
be mentioned. That is to say, instead of stating Turkey, it should be listed as
found in Western Armenia, or on the Armenian Highlands in present-day Turkey (i.e.,
before its conquest by the Turks). For example, we cannot say Ziggurats are
part of Iraqi people’s heritage, but rather they belong to the Sumerians of
past centuries, but are now found in present-day Iraq.
Like Turkey, Armenia must establish an active, nonpartisan Armenian Cultural Heritage
Foundation or Organization with the explicit mission of informing, educating,
and inspiring our young generation and other nations about the vast and rich heritage
of the Armenian people in their ancestral homeland. If Armenians cannot invent
or innovate, they should emulate Turkey. There are at least several archaeological
excavations in each part or province of Turkey. How do they do it? They follow
four ways: Enlist the participation of international archeologists, obtain funds
from external sources, make sure the archaeological finds remain in Turkey, and
in the scientific reports that the finds were located on the Armenian
Similar to the Jewish Diaspora publishing organizations in the United States,
Armenians should come up with an organization(s) to help writers publish and
sell their books to the public and libraries around the world. Over 95 percent
of the text books adopted by colleges and universities in the U.S. are by
Jewish American writers promoted by the Jewish publishing organizations.
Armenian archeologists, historians, etymologists, philologists, and other
scholars, should name the sites in Armenian for all of the archeological sites
in the present-day Turkey, like naming Gobakly Tepe as “Portasar” in
Offer degrees in Armenian history with a concentration in Armenian Heritage.
Universities around the world with Armenian Studies Programs should also
emphasize the study and the writing of dissertations and their disseminations
about the Armenian Heritage discovered on Armenian Highlands. The Armenian
heritage is a goldmine for any research er to write about their discoveries and
how they have contributed to world civilization and particularly to the Western
civilization. After all, scholars are beginning to regard Armenia to be the
cradle of Indo-European civilization long before its flowering in lower
The Republic of Armenia’s tourist agencies should promote the idea that after
visiting the Armenian heritage sites in present-day Turkey, they should make
sure to come and see the rest of the Armenian heritage in Eastern Armenia as
well. In this way, non-Armenians would get to know that there is also a wealth
of archeological sites to visit in the Republic of Armenia. Archeological tourism
is burgeoning in the world and Eastern Armenia has a lot to offer to satisfy
the hunger to visit exceptional sites.
Armenian political and non-political organizations should offer scholarships
for studying and publishing about the Armenian heritage in the present-day
Turkey. A scholarly dissertation would advance the knowledge of the existence
and excitement of the Armenian heritage in places other than Eastern Armenia.
And finally, let us not forget that relating the archeological findings in
Western Armenia to that in Eastern Armenia, would synergize the tourism
industry of the Republic of Armenia. Tourism is the most lucrative industry,
especially for a developing country for the same capital investment is used over and over
again without being used up.
Let us not forget Turkification. The Armenian Highlands is purposefully called
“Eastern Anatolia” by the Turkish government in order to subject the
Armenian homeland to a total obscurity and even oblivion. The entire homeland
of the Armenian indigenous people is like a vast basket of mixed eggs. As they
hatch, they show the trajectory civilization progress of humankind from the
Stone Age times like the Gobakly Tepe monuments to Medieval Times of the
glorious days of the Ani, once the capital city of the Armenia kingdom.
The whole idea is that “doing
nothing” until we return to Western Armenia is not an option. We should
also take measures to combat the Turkish propaganda of denying Armenia’s rich
heritage and culture found in present-day Turkey. Hijacking the Armenian
Highland’s heritage is a serious crime just like stealing someone else’s
intellectual property or identity, but unfortunately the civilized world is not
organized to protect ancient sites and to penalize those who desecrate them wantonly.
Azerbaijan went unpunished or un-penalized for desecrating an entire old Armenian
cemetery in Nakhitchevan by bulldozing it into a ruble of oblivion.
The Armenian nation –Armenia, Artsakh
(Nagorno-Karabakh), and the Diaspora– should get organized to protect their
own heritage as actively as possible without depending on other organizations
or countries to come to their rescue. The Internet is an open battlefield for the
weak as well as for the strong to wage war for establishing the truth.
Embarking on a campaign to counter
Turkey’s denial of Armenian homeland in the confines of present-day Turkey,
would keep the memory of the world of the occupation of the Armenian Highlands
alive –before it is lost in the mist of time. Additionally, the benefit of
reclaiming our heritage centers on the opportunity to instill pride in our new
generation, pride of who we are, pride of where we came from, and pride of
where we want to be. Our new generation
is our only ardent hope for some day we’d be able to go home –back to Ararat.
With a proud memory of the Armenian Highlands, the dream of one day to return
there would be possible.