BY Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 10 October 2015
This is the sequel to “Pinocchio Was Born in Turkey” (August 15, Keghart.com) about the further liberties President Recep T. Erdogan and official Turkey take to glorify imaginary Turkish contribution to civilization. Part I cited 12 major historic instances where, unencumbered by facts, Erdogan and Co. play havoc with the truth. —Editor.
The Ankara regime and the Turkish establishment, knowing full well that the Ottoman Empire/Turkey were established by the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks through genocide, theft, rape, and other assorted unspeakable deeds, are permanently busy asserting Turkey’s legitimacy and imagined glory. To that end, one of the weapons the Ankara bureaucrats and Turkish “historians” use is to promote Turkish contribution to civilization. Thus the well-financed Turkish marketing gang is eager to place “Turkey’s heritage” in the global public’s eye. The UNESCO World Heritage List is such a forum. Fifteen “Turkish” sites appear on the list. However, a junior high student, checking the Internet, will quickly determine that only one “Turkish” site belongs in the list and even that has dubious Turkish pedigree. Here’s the UNESCO list.
The city has nothing to do with Turkish civilization. Immortalized by Homer in his two epics, it was built 4,000 years ago. During the many cruel centuries the Ottomans ruled the region, the effendis, the beys, and aghas were unaware of the city’s existence. It was only in 1870, in the last decades of the “Sick Man of Europe”, that archeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the city. He managed to do so only after bribing the Ottoman government to allow him to excavate.
The archeological complex is what’s left of the capital of the Lycian’s, an Indo-European people.
It was the capital of the Hittites. Dating from the 2nd millennium B.C., it has several famous gates (Lion’s and Royal). The Hittite Temple, from the 13th century B.C., is the best preserved of what remains. Many historians have made a credible case that the Hittites were related to the neighboring Armenians. Some people even believe that HYE (the Armenian word for Armenian) derives from the Hittites.
Turkish “scholars” acknowledge that the city was founded by Antiochus I of Commagene but they never mention that Antiochus was partly Armenian and the Commagene, the kingdom he ruled north of Syria after the break-up of Alexander Great’s empire, was closely related to the Armenian Orontid (Yervantian) dynasty and along with Sophene (Dzovpk in Armenian) was part of a larger Armenian state. The Turkish “historians” say Commagene was Macedonian, Persian, and Anatolian. Anatolian? Has there been such a nation? Only Turkish scholars know for sure. As well, the later kings of Commagene were all descended from the Armenian Onontids.
The Turks also don’t say that the giant stone heads of Nemrud have Armenian hairstyles and headgear. The Turks certainly don’t refer to the Armenian legend that Haig, the patriarch of the Armenians, killed Pel/Bel here and buried the ogre in the neighboring mountains. According to Armenians, this is where the Armenian nation was born.
5. HIERAPOLIS (Pamukkale in Turkish)
The city, famous for its ancient hot springs, was a Graeco-Roman metropolis. It was a flourishing spa thousands of years before the Turkish marauding hordes fled their desert homeland in Central Asia and razed the Middle East.
6. CATALHOYUK (Neolithic site)
The archeological site dates from 7,400 B.C. to 6,200 B.C)
7. PERGAMON (now called Bergama by the Turks)
Hellenistic city circa 3rd century B.C.
8. EPHESUS (now called Efes by the Turks)
A Hellenistic-Roman-Byzantian city, it was once the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
It’s the ancient Greek Saframpolis, famous for its saffron dying agent. It was an important caravan stop in Ottoman times.
So far we have seen that nine out of the 15 Turkish UNESCO World Heritage sites are not Turkish. Let’s look at the remaining six:
10. SELIMIYE MOSQUE (in Adrianopolis/Edirne)
The mosque, along with the school, clock tower, courtyard, covered market, library, were built by Armenian architect Sinan.
11. DIYARBAKIR FORTRESS & HEUSEL GARDENS
The Turkish “scholars” say that it was a Hellenistic, Roman, Sassanid, Byzantian, Islamic and Ottoman centre. They make certain not to mention that it was the capital of the invisible nation called Armenians and that the city was founded by Armenian King Dikran II and was named after him (Dikranagerd in Armenian).
12. BURSA & CUMALIKIZIK
The first capital of the Ottomans was known as Mysian Olympus by the Romans. Turks admit the influence of everyone from the Byzantines to Arabs to Persians on the architecture of the 14th century city but somehow forget to mention the Armenian influence.
13. GREAT MOSQUE & HOSPITAL OF DIVRIGI
Turkish propagandists boast that the religious building in Sivas has a “highly sophisticated technique of vault construction and creative, exuberant type of decorations, sculpture.” How could nomadic Turks, fresh from their arid desert, build such a “sophisticated” mosque in 1228? One doesn’t have to visit Armenian Ani to know that the “highly sophisticated” vaults are an Armenian invention. Some European scholars even believe Gothic architecture, celebrated for its soaring vaults, originated in Armenia. Throughout the Middle Ages (in Byzantium –and later in the Crusader era), Armenian architects and builders were pioneers in innovative construction—religious, military and civic. Divrigi is the Turkish version of the Armenian Tephrik. King Senekerim/Hovhanness of Vasbouragan swapped with Byzantium his domain for the Sivas region. Earlier, in the 9th century, it had been the stronghold of the heretical Armenian Paulicians.
14. HISTORIC AREAS of ISTANBUL
Since the Armenians, Greeks, and Jews made up the bulk of the Ottoman middle class in Constantinople… and since they were far more innovative, progressive and educated than the Turks, many of these houses were built by them. The houses were also certainly the work of architects from these three minorities.
15. GOREME NATIONAL PARK and ROCK SITES
The rock-hewn sanctuaries of Cappadocia are the result of erosion. Here Greek hermits and priests built many churches (Nazareth, St. Barbara, etc.) as they led a monastic life in a landscape sculpted by nature. Turkish invaders—as was their commonplace practice–killed the priests and destroyed the churches as they moved into central Anatolia in the Middle Ages. And now the descendants of those killers are earning tourist dollars showing international visitors the remnants of those same churches.
It’s not a surprise that not a single one of the 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Turkey can be said to be Turkish.
I loved the two-part article about Pinocchio and Turkey. Perhaps another fairy tale metaphor for Turkey is Tom Thumb. And yet another are Cinderella's three ugly sisters who grabbed the credit for Cinderella's housework.
I read that Turkey now wants to add our Ani to its UNESCO World Heritage list so as to attract tourist dollars and gain prominence. Of course its tourists flyers will say that the city was built by a long-lost Anatolian tribe led by a chieftain called Gagik.
Turkey has made a career of gobbling up, like a turkey, what belongs to others. Might as well call it the Turkic Republic of Illegal Appropriation.
Its funny to read "historian" Ronald Suny of urban blight Detroit commiserate with Turks for the loss of the Balkans in the decades before WWI. As if the Balkans belonged to the Turks. As everyone knows, except perhaps gauche/"tsakhaver", if not traitor, Suny, the Turks brutalized the Balkans for nearly 500 years. Thus no tears or commiseration are required when the native peoples of the Balkans rose up and kicked the Turks, except unfortunately from the area west of Constantinople which gives Turkey to give its false excuse to call itself European. Europe is not just a continent. Europe is a culture, a civilization (largely Hellenic/Roman/Christian). Turks? We know who they are, where they came from, what they did and continue to do.
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