Historic Armenian Houses in Mush to Be Demolished

An historic Armenian residence in Mush, Turkey

YEREVAN (Armenpress)—Historical Armenian houses that remain standing almost a century after the destruction of Armenian towns in Turkey’s Mush Province are set to be demolished for new construction, with the exception of three to five houses, which may be formally taken under state protection, according to Turkey’s Aykiridogrular.com news website, reports Armenpress.

According to the website, Turkey’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture aims to reconstruct the three to five of the Armenian houses and take them under state protection.

As reported earlier by the Turkish media, Turkey’s Housing Development Administration (TOKI) intends to build some 864 residential houses and 107 offices in the place of Armenian houses in the Kale District of Mush. The TOKI says it has garnered the support of 85% of the local population to carry out reconstruction work on the territory, which makes up about 15 acres

Many of the local population of the Kale District refuse to take the money offered by the Housing Development Administration to leave their homes. However, TOKI representatives have announced that they will demolish the houses in any case and that, if the population does not vacate voluntarily, their goods, too, will remain under rubble.

An electronic petition has been organized against the demolition of the historic Armenian houses in the Mush Province, the initiators of which wish to prohibit the destruction of the last Armenian historical traces in Mush.

“Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians are being subjected to genocide. The process, launched by the genocide in 1915, is currently continuing as a cultural and economic genocide. To kill a culture means to kill a part of mankind. It is a historical genocide,” says the petition’s statement.

The confiscation of properties from minority communities dates back to the early days of the Turkish Republic. The 1936 Law on Foundations, known as the 1936 Declaration, ordered all communities to submit a property declaration, listing immovable and other properties owned by each and every foundation in the community. Following the death of the nation’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, those property declarations were forgotten.

When the Cyprus problem escalated in the 1970s, the General Directorate of Foundations expropriated all immovable property from community foundations acquired after 1936. These expropriation acts were in violation of both the Lausanne agreement and property rights.

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