The city of Ani, Armenian monuments, The Treaty of Lausanne, and Turkey

“The Turkish Government undertakes to grant full protection to the churches, synagogues, cemeteries, and other religious establishments…”
Treaty of Lausanne 1923
Article 42

In 1974 UNESCO reported that there were only 913 Armenian churches and monasteries left in Turkey after 1915. By 1974, 464 had been completely destroyed, 252 were in ruins and 197 required extensive restoration. The Yerevan based Research on Armenian Architecture (RAA) has done extensive research since then. The picture hasn’t improved since 1974.

During his recent trip to Armenia, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) drove to the Turkish Armenian border overlooking the city of Ani to view first-hand the destruction of Armenian monuments in Turkey.

According to RAA and other first hand accounts, Turkey has engaged not only in a policy of willful neglect of thousands of Armenian cultural monuments, but also in the direct destruction of those monuments. RAA properly identifies Turkey’s crime: Cultural Genocide.

In an in-depth article in the Armenian Forum, Anahid M. Ugurlayan reaffirms that Turkey’s policy certainly violates the Lausanne treaty (1923).

Turkey has for decades refused to accept the authority of the Treaty of Sevres (1921), which recognizes western Armenian territories inside Armenia’s borders. Instead, Turkey continues to claim that is holds firm only to the Treaty of Lausanne (In fact earlier this year Turkey “celebrated’ its 80th anniversary of ratifying the Treaty).

Ugurlayan also notes that the Treaty of Lausanne is not the only binding international document which Turkey has failed to uphold. The 1954 Hague treaty and the UNESCO treaties of 1970 and 1972 are just a few others. Turkey actively uses these treaties to sue for possession of cultural artifacts that originate within its territory. “Using the UNESCO treaties, Turkey gets financial support from the international community to maintain selected monuments of universal significance. It discriminates, however, against important monuments of Armenian origin-such as the historical Armenian capital, Ani-in its efforts.”

Various international organizations have also reported the destruction of Ani. The Global Heritage Fund (globalheritagefund.org) lists Ani as one of many endangered sites. In 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002, the World Monuments Fund listed Ani on its List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

What can you do?

Contact UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and ask them to help stop the Turkish Ministry of Culture from completely destroying Armenian monuments in Turkey, beginning with those in the city of Ani.

Email Mr. Laurent Levi-Strauss, Deputy Director for the Division of Cultural Heritage and Chief of Section for Tangible Heritage at l.levi-strauss@unesco.org

What else can you do?

Don’t forget to help bring media attention to Turkey’s record. When the media reports inaccurately on Turkey, particularly in light of Turkey celebrating the 80th Anniversary of its founding, the ANCA ER encourages individuals to utilize the information above and respond to the media, clarifying Turkey’s horrific record of preserving cultural monuments. (Turkey, too, is party to the World Heritage Convention.)

For more information on the destruction of Armenian monuments visit http://www.antares.am/raa/start3.html

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13 Responses to “The city of Ani, Armenian monuments, The Treaty of Lausanne, and Turkey”


  1. 1 Bedros November 15, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    I wonder if you guys have ever been in Turkey and visit those “ruins” where your Armenian fellows pray. Those “ruins” are better than most of the mosques and we have no problem praying in those “ruins”. It is pity but only Armenian-Armenians complain about the Turkey but not the Armenian-Turks. I hope this conflict can be solved at one point because both Turks and Armenian-Turks are not happy with the current situation which is created by Armenia.

  2. 2 zum November 17, 2006 at 11:43 am

    Bedros, i suppose it is easy to say from a turkish standpoint of view.

    what armenians want is for turkey to regonize the “genocide on the armenians in 1915”. which hasn’t been done. not by the turkish government, not by many government.

    i know many “armenian -turks” are in total denial about the armenian genocide or even their armenian herritage.
    they wont speak their ” mother language “, wont teach armenian traditions to their kids and on and on. why?

    i don’t understand why. as a matter of fact, i don’t understand why there are over 1 million “armenians” living in turkey.
    this conflict could be ” eased ” , and i emphasize on ” eased”, if the world / turkey would finallly regonize and admit its fault on the armenian genocide.

  3. 3 Bedros November 20, 2006 at 10:39 am

    Hi Zum,
    Honestly I feel more like a Turk now just because of those pointless fights and latest incident in France. So my arguments might not be objective all the time :)

    Turkish government as well as Turkish people don’t accept term genocide because there were no organized killing against Armenian people by Ottoman government according to the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic archives. Since Armenia didn’t open their achieves to world we still don’t know what Armenian achieves say :) However, in Turkey, everybody accepts the fact that 300,000 Armenians got killed by both Turkish and Kurdish gangs who were located on Eastern Turkey.

    First of all, to deny something, there must be a fact that incident has occurred for sure. At this point neither Turks or Armenians are sure about that. Both countries have strict policy about their archives and which I believe causes the most of the problems.

    Armenians speak their own languages when they are with another Armenian speaking person. However, If there are some people around us we rather to speak in a language can everybody understand. There is no such law in Turkey bans speaking other languages than Turkish.

    You asked me why there are only one million Armenian live in Turkey. Let me explain the whole situation briefly. Most importantly you need to ask yourself why there are millions of Armenians live in France :)

    There is not even one Armenian got killed on the western part of Turkey during 1915. Let me tell you why, France organized Armenian people to fight against Ottoman Empire on the southern border of today’s Turkey and Russian’s did the same thing on the Eastern border of today’s Turkey. Russia gave guns to Turks, Kurds and Armenian villages at the same time. And they told the Armenians that Kurds and Turks are coming to kill them and vice versa they told the Turks and Kurds that Armenians are gonna do the same thing. It is a war strategy which allows Russian troops to move on the Eastern Turkey freely. And on the southern border France organized a new army by banding Armenian people together. During those years as I mentioned before there were a lot of killing. And again Turkish government accepts the fact that 300,000 Armenian people got killed by the gangs as well as Turks and Kurds got killed by Armenians.

    Since Ottoman Army was not powerful enough during that period they decided to move all Armenians who live in eastern Turkey to today’s Syria. Basically, Ottoman Empire was trying to get rid of the threat against their army in east. So only Armenians had to migrate to Syria was the ones in eastern Turkey. Again, unfortunately because of the unorganized immigration, many Armenians died on the way to Syria. I would like to mention one thing while we are at this point, most of the Armenians blame Ataturk for killing Armenian people during 1915, however the fact is during 1915 Ataturk was fighting against French and British Navies on Gallipoli Peninsula :)

    Turkey won battle against France on 12th February 1920 at today’s Syria border of Turkey. France left huge numbers of ammunition to Turkish soldiers at Maras and signed a peace treaty with Turks. When Turkey won the battle against France since Armenians were fighting against Turks, they thought Turks were gonna kill them so they all migrated to France. It is the reason there are millions of Armenians live in France but only one million Armenians live in Turkey.

    Let’s come to the genocide part. How it all started, I’ll give you the whole story as it read in Lord Kinros’ book. Lord Kinros is a British Historian who focused on Ottoman and Turkish history.

    When Turkey lost the WWI they established a new government in Ankara to fight against capitulations. Greco-Turkish war started because United Kingdom didn’t want any Turkish country in Anatolia. All genocide idea started at this point by UK. All POWs of WWI of Turkish army was held in Malta. When WWI ended Allied decided to free those Turkish prisoners mostly high ranking officers. However, since Turkey was fighting for their independence in Anatolia all the released POWs started going Anatolia to join the new formed Turkish Army under Ataturk’s command.

    At this point Britain came with an idea of “massacre of Armenians by Turks”. With this new idea they were able to keep those high ranking officers in Malta as prisoners based on claims without any proof. So as we all know if there is no commander commanding the soldiers technically there is no army at all. Most of the Turkish officers managed to ran away from POW camps at Malta and as Britain was afraid of all those Turkish officers joined new Turkish Army in Anatolia for their independence. Turkey won the war against Greeks and got its independence. However the devilish British idea of massacre is still somehow in the part of history.

    As you remember, after Turkey’s application for EU, so-called Armenian Genocide became on of the most important problems of Turkey’s EU membership. Why nobody ever talked about Armenian Genocide until Turkey’s application for EU membership. Why all those European countries waited for 85 years to tell there is a genocide ? Is it because Armenians are less valuable then Jews? or maybe they needed some devilish idea too to keep Turkey away from EU ? :)

    I hope I was clear, if is there any other question I’d be more than happy to answer you. And I am sure if either Armenia or Turkey proof something about the genocide has occurred Turkey will never have any problem accepting it. However, when you check the Turkish archives, which you can find online, there is not even one line of history tells us there was an organized killing of Armenians by Ottoman government.

    -b

  4. 4 zum November 20, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    Bedros,
    you make very interesting points in your comment above, and i applaud you for that. i even went to look up some of the mentioned points in your article.
    but then again, the beauty of this internet is agree to disagree.
    if you read my latest entry, there is some good writing on the armenians/ turks in syria, ataturk and more.
    and i always like to hear more.
    zum~

  5. 5 Haggop August 17, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    A Bedros i think youve been brain washed by those turks what archives they would of erased it how would u know. And how do you call your self Armenian.

  6. 6 Hagop August 17, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    Personally i think your one of them now. but. You say you look at some archives which is papers i don’t have to look at that my Great grand parents were in the genocide she told me how she would here one bye one surrounding villages were being completely anilated then she told me she would see big rivers being turned bright red from all the Armenians blood. family’s would just commit suicide jumping off cliffs. more stories from other great grand parents who were there and were lined up had to walk miles and miles with little or no food to Syria and killed when ever turks felt like it. what am i gonna believe turks or my blood. You Armenian-turks are a disgrace to our race by siding the turks.

  7. 7 William December 4, 2007 at 3:30 am

    I have been there and I have seen with my own eyes the evidence of genocide as well as speaking with many elderly Turkish and Kurdish people who had no problem telling the truth as they knew it by first hand accounts or family stories. Also I was amazed at the number of Kurds who spoke of their grandmothers or great grandmothers being Armenian.Young men in eastern Turkey still seek gold in the ruins of churches and homes.Also I have seen the destruction in Ani between the years 1995 and 1999 having visited three times, it is obvious. The Armenians of Istanbul in no way have freedom of speech and live constant fear. In Istanbul the Turkish goverment does not allow any repairs of the over 35 documented vacant churches there alone. It is a passive destruction but a destruction none the less. The last month I spent in Istanbul I compiled a list of these churches and sought them out to photograph. Beyond the list I could find no help with this from the Armenians of Istanbul. Most educated western Turks in my opinion are far more ignorant of the facts than Turks of eastern Anatolia who have learned their past from ancestors,not text books of propaganda.

  8. 8 Izzac September 6, 2008 at 7:53 am

    William, you are a full of shit. There is a big difference being a Kurd and being an Armenian.

    Your information on this web-site is fabricated to the point of contrary.

    Bedros has done his homework and very much agree with him. Armenians in Turkey do have their right’s to speak their own language and practice their own religion as I have recently visited various parts.

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