Briefings from the Turkish press

Sept. 1-13, 2021

How are the signals about the opening of the gates between Turkey and Armenia received at the border? (Source: Sputnik Turkiye)

There have been positive messages between Turkey and Armenia in recent days. Evaluating Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan’s statement, “We are ready to consult to re-establish road and rail transportation,” Kamil Arslan, president of the Iğdır Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said, “We are in favor of opening the doors.”

The Kars-Gyumri (Akyaka/Ahuryan) border gate between Turkey and Armenia closed on April 3, 1993 due to the spread of the war between Armenian forces and Azerbaijan and the occupation of the Kelbajar province of Azerbaijan. At the same time, the railway from Turkey to Armenia also passes through Kars. It is stated that the Alican Border Gate in Iğdır was closed in 1952.

The positive messages given today regarding the direct trade between Turkey and Armenia, which stopped with the cessation of the crossings, are also welcomed in the region.

Alican Border Gate, located approximately 15 kilometers from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is within the borders of Iğdır. Commenting on Sputnik, Iğdır Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Kamil Arslan stated that this border gate was closed in 1952 and said, “Our grandfathers traded with Russia from there before.” Arslan said the following about the signals for the opening of borders with Armenia:

Of course, trade has no nationality. We are in favor of opening the doors, but first of all, Armenia needs to end the conflict with Azerbaijan. Secondly, we are saddened by the fact that Armenia is making allegations such as the so-called Armenian genocide through Turkey. Opening this door benefits both sides. It is a door that will contribute to the region socially, culturally and economically. These signals that the door, and therefore the corridor, will open, created a positive atmosphere in Iğdır. This is what everyone expects. Opening the door will be of great benefit to both the Armenian side, the Turkish side and the region.

Sharing information about the fact that the gate has been idle for a long time, Arslan said, “The bridge here can be activated for short-term service. Previously, customs areas and buildings were built on that side. It’s on our side too. In other words, if the door is opened, there are even buildings that can serve physically. The largest truck fleet of the region is in Iğdır,” he said.

The recent excavations in Ani will increase the tourism in the region (Source: Anadolu Ajans)

Ani, which was known as the “city with a thousand and one churches,” “the city with 40 gates, “the city with a population of 100,000” and “the Cradle of Civilizations” in history and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016, was conquered by Sultan Alparslan on August 16, 1064.

Ani is the first gateway to Anatolia from the Caucasus and is of particular importance.

An excavation team of 35 people from 12 universities is working around the artifacts in Ani, where approximately 25 important structures, consisting of walls, mosques, cathedrals, palaces, churches, monasteries, fireside, baths, bridges and a partially destroyed closed passage, are still standing.

The head of the art history department at Kafkas University Faculty of Arts and Sciences and also the head of Ani Ruins Excavation faculty member Dr. Muhammet Arslan told Anadolu Agans that the excavations are done with a presidential decision and stated, “Excavations continue in different areas; these works continue in the Seljuk bazaar, Seljuk mansions, Seljuk great bath and also in the cemetery. We have started conservation work, especially in the Seljuk bazaar. In addition, we are carrying out some studies for the conservation of the artifacts we have unearthed.” 

Arslan added: “Ani is one of the most important cities of the Middle Ages and it is also an area on the definitive UNESCO World Heritage list. The tourism potential of this place is quite high. We continue our excavation works to reveal this potential, to take it further and to accelerate this potential. Together with our excavations and restoration works, a tourism base will be created and will contribute to the development of the tourism potential in the city.”

The issue of investigating the events of September 6-7, 1955, was brought back to the agenda of Parliament by Garo Paylan (Source: Agos)

Garo Paylan, an Armenian deputy from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party of Turkey, said that the proposal to investigate the events is brought to the agenda of the Parliament every year in order to shed light on the pogroms against minorities on September 6-7, 1955. But the ruling Justice and Development Party and its partner Nationalist Movement parties reject this proposal every year.

Noting that what happened in 1955 was not Turkey’s past, but its present and future, Paylan emphasized that the crimes that went unpunished were repeated.

According to him, the pogroms on September 6-7 in 1955 were carried out by an organized crime group operating in the country and then continued to commit crimes against those who were not counted among them, namely Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Alevis and most recently, refugees in Ankara.

Paylan reminded that one of the organizers of the pogroms, Sabri Yirmibeşoğlu, later held various positions in the state system and became the Secretary General of the Turkish National Security Council in the 1980s.

Cumhuriyet’s Sahin Aybek had an interview with the academic educator Erdal Kilic, the author of the book “Learning Method of Western Armenian” (Source: Cumhuriyet Gazete)

From his answers to Aybek’s questions, Kilic says that he was first introduced to the Armenian language when he was assigned as an assistant principal at Levon Vartuhyan Armenian school in Istanbul. Then he became the student of an experienced veteran teacher, Shogher Chaparian, who has worked for years at the Getronagan Armenian School. He has chosen to learn Armenian since he thinks that there are dozens of valuable works, written in Western Armenian, waiting to be read and understood in the context of medicine, history, geography, literature, music, theatre, architecture, art and culture belonging to the geographic region he lives in. During the four years of his tenure at the school, he regularly attended his teacher’s classes on weekdays. Even though he went to university as a lecturer, he continued language studies without breaking his ties with his teacher, and he decided to publish his Armenian lecture notes as a book in order to be useful to those who want to learn this language, to make a contribution and to raise awareness. In this process, his teacher showed her support by editing the book.

According to Kilic, publishing a book in Armenian as a Turk is more than just winning a bet; it is to draw attention to a good memory with his teacher and to set an example for people who are eager to learn a difficult language like Armenian.

Kilic explained that the book consists of the course titles that he has done with his teacher and the topics have been compiled into a book utilizing Chaparian’s methodology.

In the first part of the book, which is divided into four parts, grammar rules are given through examples. In the second part, more current topics that can be related to daily life are introduced and exemplified. The third chapter is aimed to enrich both vocabulary and sentence constructions under other topics, while the fourth part is to teach verbs through the conjugation tables of 55 verbs that are most frequently encountered in Armenian language and are shown in all tenses. One of the most distinctive features of the book is that, since the font looks different and difficult, all the Armenian words and sentences used in the book are written in Latin letters in parentheses right next to them. In this way, it is organized to learn the Armenian alphabet in a healthy way, to increase familiarity with the pronunciation of Armenian words and sentences and to be permanent.

Kilic is looking forward to publishing this very same book in English too and is also excited to translate many cultural books focusing on musicology from Western Armenian into Turkish to make them more accessible to Turkish researchers. In addition, an article on the differences between Eastern and Western Armenian, a comparative dictionary of Eastern and Western Armenian, grammar studies and Armenian text translations are among the projects that he would like to bring to the world of science in the coming period. He is also planning to publish his thesis on Turkish music into a book in the near future under the title Mecmûa-yı Letâif Fî Sandukati’l-Meârif (Transcription-Evaluation). 

The book titled “Missionaries, Armenians and the National Struggle in Antep” was published (Source:

As part of the celebrations of the Antep Defense’s centennial, the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality has published the book “Missionaries, Armenians and the National Struggle in Antep” written by Assoc. Dr. Ramazan Erhan Güllü.

The book shows how Antep was occupied by missionaries before the actual enemy occupation, how the missionaries wanted to change the mentality of the city by changing the physical structure of the city, and how the Armenians wanted to change the mentality of Antep. It reveals the forms in which its activities take place.

The book, which deals with the process leading to the Antep Defense, was created by combining four articles. While its aim is to examine different aspects of the political and social conflict process that started in the middle of the 19th century and ended with the National Struggle, from this point of view, it tried to present a holistic study rather than different articles arranged randomly.

The first two articles in the book focus on the reflections of the social and political work of the missionaries in Antep. The emergence of the Armenian problem, which was also triggered by the missionaries, and the conflict process after it is discussed in the following article, and it tries to explain how the Armenian problem was reflected in Antep until the end of the National Struggle. Along with these activities, the internal and external dynamics of the National Struggle and the elements of the Antep National Struggle are among the issues to be understood in the process. The last two articles are about Kılıç Ali Bey’s work in Antep, the importance and support of Mustafa Kemal Pasha and the Central Committee to the struggle in Antep, and Fahri Can’s work in the city. The work, which fills an important gap by comprehensively revealing the activities of American missionaries and Armenians before and during the Antep Defense, consists of 184 pages.

Tsoler Aghjian

Tsoler Aghjian

Tsoler Aghjian is a registered pharmacist from Lebanon who has pursued her PharmD degree from the Lebanese University and gained her experience by working in several community pharmacies. Her professional interests focus on patient coaching and medication therapy management. She speaks five languages: Armenian, Arabic, English, French and Turkish; she is currently learning Spanish and considers translation a hobby. Her favorite quote is Paracelsus’ “Sola dosis facit venenum”.
Tsoler Aghjian

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