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Turkish Government-Appointed Trustee Builds Toilets in Historic Armenian Cemetery

EDREMIT (A.W.)—A Turkish government-appointed trustee of Van’s Edremit Municipality has built toilets in a historic Armenian cemetery in the vicinity of a new public beach, reports indicate.

A Turkish government-appointed trustee of Van’s Edremit Municipality has built toilets in a historic Armenian cemetery in the vicinity of a public beach, according to reports. (Photo: T24)

Turkey-based T24 news reported that the bones from the cemetery were scattered after a public beach was installed on the site. The site at which historic artifacts dating to 3000 B.C. have been found, according to the report, is said to be damaged by the new construction. A total of 24 graves were discovered in the area once heavily settled by Armenians.

The beach was opened on July 23 by Van trustee Murat Zorluoğlu and Edremit Municipality trustee Atıf Çiçekli, who were both appointed by government as part of an ongoing crackdown against Kurdish politicians.

Edremit is a district of Van Province of Turkey and is situated on the coast of the Lake Van, 18 kilometers (approx. 11 miles) from the city of Van. The current name of Edremit originates from Armenian name of Artamet, which literally means “Near the Fields” in Armenian, as it lies near the fields of grape and apple trees at the coastline of Lake Van.

Artamet was founded as a small town at the shores of Lake Van in Tosp district of Vaspurakan province, in the middle of Historic Armenia. Throughout history, the city has had various names: Artemida, Zard, Artashessyan, Avan, Artavanyan, and Edremit. In the 10th century, Artamet was known as a feudal city with a population of 12,000. It was renowned for growing the best apples in Armenia.

At the beginning of the 19th century, Artamet boasted approximately 500 households, 435 of which were Armenian. After the first Hamidian Massacres of 1894–1896, the Turkish population grew and Turks soon outnumbered the Armenians.

Prior of the Armenian Genocide, Artamet had 10 Armenian churches and a Greek church. Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and other local Christians were almost entirely killed or driven out between 1915 and 1923. After their legal owners were massacred, thousands of historical monuments were annihilated as well.

In recent months, Turkey has stepped up political pressure on Kurdish politicians. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed trustees who are loyal to him to head dozens of municipalities after Turkish authorities arrested at least 74 co-mayors and 12 Parliament deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over the past year.

4 Comments on Turkish Government-Appointed Trustee Builds Toilets in Historic Armenian Cemetery

  1. This is not at Edremit. It is at Dilkaya, better known as Khorkum, the birthplace of Arshile Gorky. And those 24 graves are not Armenian but Urartian-period graves, discovered and excavated in 1984. All that is in the T24 article, so why produce such a garbled version of it here? The destruction is disappointing but unfortunately not in any way unusual – similar damage to cultures of all periods, as well as the loss of huge areas of agricultural land, is now happening on a massive scale in Van, which over the last 5 years has seen scores of enormous TOKI housing developments each containing tens of thousands of apartments sprout up around the city. At Edremit, the recent construction is so extensive it is called “New Edremit”. TOKI, the state-owned (as in owned by whatever party is in power) housing developer, operates without any oversight and is so corrupt that there is a specific law in place in Turkey that makes it a crime to say it is corrupt.

  2. Ma perchè continuiamo ad avere rapporti diplomatici con gli assassini???

  3. avatar Boghos L. Artinian // August 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm // Reply

    Cultural shock?

    To build toilets in a historic Armenian Cemetery is of course offensive to us Armenians. But considering the fact that if nature calls while you are strolling in a Muslim city, you are led to a toilet in a mosque by the police, it may seem quite ordinary and not an intentional act for Turks to build toilets at sacred sites.

  4. There is no need really to leave a comment, when anyone who readS this article, will understand what kind of people live and even call themselves “Europeans” and not the real name that describes them “BARBARIANS”…..Sofia

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