NEW YORK—The Tufenkian Foundation this week announced a new initiative on behalf of Kashatagh (formerly Lachin), the province of Nagorno-Karabagh that provides vital links to Armenia. The initiative will focus on restoring and protecting Kashatagh’s historic monuments and cultural artifacts, which attest to the region’s Armenian character and background. The initiative comes only days after an OSCE summit called for Karabagh’s withdrawal from so-called “occupied territories,” and is designed as a direct response to this affront to Karabagh’s sovereignty and self-determination.
“Many people know Kashatagh to be the vital, strategic link between Karabagh and Armenia,” noted Foundation director Antranig Kasbarian. “Less known is that the region has Armenian roots historically—roots that were torn out via massacre and deportation in 1918-20. Now that the region has been liberated, we believe we must emphasize that Azerbaijan’s claims to it are artificial, and cannot enjoy support from the international community.”
To kick off this effort, the Foundation has begun renovating the historic St. Minas Church, built in the 16th century and found in the village of Hak—which traces its Armenian ancestry to the 11th century. After its Armenian population was wiped out in a massacre by Azeri forces in October 1918, Hak was reclaimed by Armenian forces in 1992 and is now subject to an active resettlement policy by Karabagh authorities. Alongside the church renovations, the Foundation will also renovate nearby Armenian cemeteries and will build a new water supply for the village, which currently houses 50 inhabitants.
This effort has been made possible by a generous grant from Virginia Davies of New York City. Other supporters have also come forward with offers of assistance, which will be publicized in coming weeks.
For more information on the Tufenkian Foundation, visit www.TufenkianFoundation.org. For more on the Kashatagh Initiative, email Rick Barry at RBarry@Tufenkian.com.