Armenian Foreign Ministry Statement on Destruction of Khachkars In Naxchivan

Armenian Foreign Ministry Statement on Destruction of Khachkars In Naxchivan

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 18th, 2005, 3:24 pm #1

ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY ISSUES STATEMENT OVER DESTRUCTION OF ARMENIAN KHACHKARS IN NAKHIJEVAN

Yerkir
15.12.2005 18:34

YEREVAN (YERKIR) - Armenian Foreign Ministry issued a statement
on December 15 over the destruction of the Armenian khachkars
(cross-stones) at an Old Jugha Armenian cemetery.

Armenian Embassy in Tehran is informed that dozens of Azerbaijani
soldiers, armed with sledge hammers and heavy equippement are
destroying the Old Jugha cemetery khachkars that are still standing
following a similar act in 2002, the statement said.

After the detruction, the kchachkars are loaded on trucks and then
unloaded into the Arax river. The vandalism done by the hands of
soldiers points to the Azerbaijani government's efforts to detroy
all the traces of the Armenian people in Nakhijevan, the statement
continued.

The statement further noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
is outraged and concerned by this incident and called on Baku and
Nakhijevan to immediately cease these actions. It also appealed to the
UNESCO and other international bodies to send a group of experts to the region to investigate the destruction and take appropriate measures.
Quote
Share

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 18th, 2005, 3:26 pm #2

AZERIES CONTINUE DESTRUCTION OF ARMENIAN CEMETERY IN JULFA

Armenpress
Dec 15 2005

YEREVAN, DECEMBER 15, ARMENPRESS: Three dioceses of the Armenian Church
in Iran have applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organizations
requesting their swift reaction to another act of vandalism in
the Armenian cemetery in the Jugha region (presently Julfa) in the
Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhichevan.

The Armenian embassy in Iran presented a series of photographs
showing around 100 Azerbaijani soldiers armed with sledge-hammers
and military hardware destroying unique cross-stones in the cemetery
that miraculously survived a similar attack in 2002. The embassy
described this act of vandalism as continuation of the cultural
genocide committed by Azerbaijan.

Armenian authorities and organizations have several times asked UNESCO
and other international organizations to set up a commission to examine
the damaged historical monuments on location, as well as turn the
Jugha cemetery into an international historical and cultural neutral
zone. Previous acts of vandalisms were witnessed by Iranian border
guards on the other bank of the River Arax. The historic cemetery,
located 10-km from Julfa (Iran) and across the northern bank of the
Arax River, has three hills, each representing different eras from
the twelfth to seventeenth centuries.

At the beginning of twentieth century, the cemetery in which ancestors
of former Nor Jugha Armenians were buried, had some 12,000 khachkars
(cross stones). Due to premeditated destruction by the Azeri
government, the cemetery now has less than 2000 unique khachkars,
most of them vandalized.

Apparently the Azeris, who had stopped the vandalism under the
pressure of the international community three years ago, have decided
to complete their initial plan to thoroughly cleanse the site.
Quote
Share

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 18th, 2005, 3:27 pm #3

AZERBAIJANI SOLDIERS DESTROY ARMENIAN KHACHQARS IN NAKHICHEVAN

Pan Armenian
15.12.2005 22:33 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The Armenian Embassy in Iran received an information
from the Armenian eparchy of Atrpatakan that about 100 Azerbaijani
soldiers burst into Old Julfa cemetery, which is on the bank of the
Araks river, and began destroying and smashing into dust Khachqars
(cross-stones) with hammers, spades and heavy equipment. These are
Khachqars, which were saved in 2002 from being vandalised by the
Azerbaijanis, Armenian Embassy in the IRI reports. This incident is
another step taken by Azerbaijan in order to distort the history,
which aims at erasing the Armenian trace in Nakhichevan. In this
connection the leaders of three Armenian eparchies of Iran, on behalf
of the Armenian nation expressed their indignation and resentment. They
appealed to the international community, international organisations,
particularly, the UNESCO, for the latter to take steps, according
to its mandate and capacity, in order to prevent another cultural
genocide by Azerbaijan. Besides, the Armenian Embassy in Iran via
its diplomatic channels informed the Foreign Ministry of Armenia of
the fact and will keep an eye on the subsequent developments.
Quote
Share

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 18th, 2005, 3:28 pm #4

Aus: International Council of Monuments and Sites

http://www.international.icomos.org/ris ... an2002.htm

Destruction of the Armenian Cemetery at Djulfa

For a long time there have been complaints about the destruction of
Armenian monuments and sites in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, three
of the neighbouring countries of Armenia. A particularly sad example
is the destruction of the Armenian cemetery in the former town of
Djulfa, situated in the south of Nachitchevan, a region under the
sovereignty of Azerbaijan. This cemetery, which had been in use from
the early Middle Ages to the destruction of the town in 1605, was an
outstanding testimony of Armenian culture because of thousands of
tombstones mostly from the 15th and 16th centuries in the shape of
so-called Khatchkars. The destruction process, which began in 1998
when 800 Khatchkars were removed, was temporarily halted following
protests from UNESCO, but in November 2002 it was taken up again. When
ICOMOS was informed and given photos of this barbaric act in a remote
frontier area by RAA (Research on Armenian Architecture) in January
2003 and by ICOMOS Armenia in February 2003, the destruction, which
cannot have been carried through without the consent of the Azerbaijan
government, was already completed: "On January 10th Mr Haghnazarian
[author of the following report] was called by the very distressed
Armenian Bishop of Tabriz (Iran) who informed him that he went to the
Iranian side of the river Araxes opposite the cemetery of Djulfa some
days ago to see with his own eyes what had seemed incredible to him:
The 1500-year-old cemetery had completely been flattened in the
meantime."

There only remains the hope that under the guidance of UNESCO it will
be possible to investigate the situation on the spot and to take care
of the remains of the tombstones, transported away by Azerbaijan
railways probably to be used as material for building
measures. Hopefully, strong protest will at least prevent the
demolition of more Armenian heritage sites in Azerbaijan in the
future. The intentional destruction of the cemetery of Djulfa should
be considered as a crime against the common heritage of
humanity. Apart from that all that remains is deep sorrow for the
irreplaceable loss.

Here is the report of RAA:

Khatchkars are cross-stones about one metre wide and up to 2.50 metres
high, richly decorated with Christian symbols, flowers and arabesque
climbing plants as well as with subjects from daily life. These
delicately engraved stones represent a 1500-year-old tradition of
Armenian stone masons. Khatchkars are unique and were used as
free-standing steles but also as ornaments in the masonry of Armenian
churches and cloisters. Since the early Middle Ages they have been
used as tombstones on cemeteries.

One of the outstanding cemeteries because of the unusually great
number of Khatchkars is the one in the former town of Djulfa (old name
Djugha) in the south of Nachitchevan right on the bank of the river
Araxes which forms the border to Iran. Alexander Rotes mentions this
cemetery in his description of journeys in 1648 and reports of 10.000
fully decorated cross stones. In 1605 the Armenian people of Djulfa
were forced by Shah Abbas to settle in Persia in order to have trade
and commerce developed by them in his country. He destroyed the town
to prevent their return, however left the cemetery untouched. At the
beginning of the 20th century 6000 reclining and standing Khatchkars
were still counted.

After Armenia was incorporated into the Soviet Union Nachitchevan in
the south of Armenia was declared a part of Azerbaijan at Stalin's and
Lenin's behest in 1922. Nachitchevan is still under Azerbaijan's
political sovereignty.

During the Soviet reign this historically and culturally unique
cemetery of Djulfa was not at all under the protection of historical
monuments of Azerbaijan. On the contrary. After 1922 a large number of
Khatchkars disappeared. Considering the close watch of the border of
the prohibited military zone this could not have happened without the
government's knowledge. And more destruction was yet to come.

In November 1998 eye witnesses from the Iranian border zone observed
tombstones being excavated by a crane and loaded onto railroad wagons
on the cemetery grounds across the river Araxes. The ripped-up ground
was then made even again by bulldozers. This destruction lasted for
three weeks and about 800 Khatchkars were taken away. There is reason
to believe that these cross-stones - if not destroyed right away -
were used as building material for foundations of new houses to hide
their removal. The transportation by the State Railway is clear
evidence of the planned action by the Government of Azerbaijan.
Protests on behalf of UNESCO and affiliated organisations finally put
a stop to these barbarous activities.

To our great regret the cultural outrage is going on. Reliable sources
informed us that the destruction not only of the tombstones but also
of the still existing, though greatly reduced churches and cloister
grounds in the area was resumed on 9 November 2002. A great number of
workmen are again dismantling valuable relics of Middle Age Christian
culture partly by demolishing them and partly by taking them away on
trucks to an unknown destination. And yet again this cannot be done
without the permission of the government.

One cannot avoid drawing a parallel to the fundamentally motivated
destruction of the Buddha statues by the Taliban in Afghanistan, which
was accompanied by world-wide protest. Similar to that case we are
here confronted with the systematic obliteration of religious
monuments of a foreign culture, the only difference being that the
destruction in Nachitchevan concerns the European history of
civilisation.

Azerbaijan signed the UNESCO World Heritage Convention in 1993 and is
represented in the parliamentary assembly of the Council of
Europe. Azerbaijan consequently committed itself to the aims of this
institution and should be asked to account for its action in
Nachitchevan.


Dr. Armen Haghnazarian
Dr. Dieter Wickmann
Quote
Share

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 18th, 2005, 3:30 pm #5

Regnum News Agency, Russia
Dec 16 2005

Speaker of Armenian parliament addressed UNESCO on destruction of
Armenian monuments in Nakhichevan


Speaker of the Armenian parliament Artur Bagdasaryan will probably
send a letter to the international community and UNESCO, asking to
prevent cultural genocide of Armenian historical monuments in the
region of Old Julfa (Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan), at the banks of the
Araks River, a REGNUM correspondent was told by the press office of
Head of parliamentary faction of the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation Dashnaktsutiun Levon Mkrtchyan.

According to Mkrtchyan, such actions of the Azerbaijani side are
linked directly to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement. `How can
they speak about settlement if they conduct such a policy? It is
evident, that in such a state an Armenian cannot fell himself safe,'
said Levon Mkrtchyan.

Head of the Defense, National Security and Interior Affairs
Parliamentary Commission, member of Orinats Erkir party Mger
Shakhgeldyan stated, that from a human point of view, such actions of
Azerbaijan are unacceptable, and declared that the international
community must be informed about this actions.

According to the Armenian Embassy in Iran, citing the Armenian
Eparchy of the Iran province of Atropatena, `Almost 100 Azerbaijani
servicemen penetrated the Armenian cemetery near Nakhichevan at the
bank of the Araks River and using sledgehammers and other tools,
began to crush Armenian graves and crosses, that were saved by a
miracle in the attacks of 2002.'

According to the source, `this fact is another step of the
Azerbaijani government, aimed at distortion of history and
liquidation of the Armenian traces in the territory of Nakhichevan.
According to the embassy's report, the Armenian monuments and graves
in this region continue to be the subject of planned acts of
vandalism by Azerbaijanis. In the light of these actions, spiritual
leaders of three Armenian eparchies express their indignation and
address the international community, international institutions such
as UNESCO, to help prevent another cultural genocide by Azerbaijan.'
Quote
Share

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 18th, 2005, 3:31 pm #6

RA FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS UNESCO DIRECTOR GENERAL'S ATTENTION TO
VANDALISM OF AZERIS ON OLD JUGHA ARMENIAN CEMETERY


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 16, NOYAN TAPAN - ARMENIANS TODAY. In addition to RA
Foreign Ministry's December 15 statement, RA Foreign Minister Vartan
Oskanian sent a letter to Koichiro Matsuura, Director General UNESCO,
for the purpose of calling his attention to the destructions of the
Armenian medieval monuments of Nor Jugha (Nakhichevan) cemetery by
Azeris. The letter was also sent to other international instances.

Below is the letter submitted to Noyan Tapan by RA Foreign Ministry's
Press and Information Department:

Dear Director General,

I wish to call your attention to an act of great cultural and
political significance. At this moment, Azerbaijani soldiers,
supported by arms and equipment, are destroying the remnants of
historically and religiously significant headstones in a medieval
Armenian cemetery in Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan.

This area, which is situated between Armenia and Iran was home to a
majority Armenian population for generations. The cemetery in question
held more than 10,000 individually carved, artistically unique
headstones called Stone Crosses (khachkars). The Azerbaijani
government began their destruction in the 20th century, continued with
great force in 2002, and during these last three days has resumed this
work with a vengeance ` to attempt to wipe out traces of
Armenian presence on those lands.

These acts of vandalism and violence, this callous demonstration of
malice and intolerance comes at a time when the OSCE, the Council of
Europe and the international community at large are extolling the
virtues of preserving our common patrimony.

Director General, it is with a great sense of anger and regret that I
write this letter. I do so, however, hopeful that the ire and
disapproval of the international community will be brought to bear on
Azerbaijan in order that they cease from carrying out these acts which
are tantamount to ethnic cleansing, only this time, there are no
people left, and they have resorted to cleansing the memory of those
people.

I urge you to use your office to put a stop to what amounts to
destroying our common cultural heritage.
Quote
Share

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 18th, 2005, 3:32 pm #7

Pan Armenian

Oskanian Called upon UNESCO to Stop Destruction of Armenian Monuments in
Nakhichevan

17.12.2005 00:24 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Today Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian addressed
a letter to UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura. The letter says, `I
wish to call your attention to an act of great cultural and political
significance. At this moment, Azerbaijani soldiers, supported by arms and
equipment, are destroying the remnants of historically and religiously
significant headstones in a medieval Armenian cemetery in Nakhichevan,
Azerbaijan. This area, which is situated between Armenia and Iran was home
to a majority Armenian population for generations. The cemetery in question
held more than 10,000 individually carved, artistically unique headstones
called Stone Crosses - khachkars. The Azerbaijani government began their
destruction in the 20th century, continued with great force in 2002, and
during these last three days has resumed this work with a vengeance - to
attempt to wipe out traces of Armenian presence on those lands. These acts
of vandalism and violence, this callous demonstration of malice and
intolerance comes at a time when the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the
international community at large are extolling the virtues of preserving our
common patrimony. Director General, it is with a great sense of anger and
regret that I write this letter. I do so, however, hopeful that the ire and
disapproval of the international community will be brought to bear on
Azerbaijan in order that they cease from carrying out these acts which are
tantamount to ethnic cleansing - only this time, there are no people left,
and they have resorted to cleansing the memory of those people. I urge you
to use your office to put a stop to what amounts to destroying our common
cultural heritage.'
Quote
Share

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 18th, 2005, 3:33 pm #8

Panorama.am

17:54 16/12/05

WITH THE MATTER OF OLD JUKHA

THE SPEAKER OF THE NA WILL TURN TO THE EC
Today the head of the ARA grouping Levon Mkrtchian gave his estimation of
the fact of cultural Genocide in Old Jukha saying that the Na speaker ought
to turn to the EC and UNESCO.

In spite of the fact that according to the Constitution the NA already has
the right to appear with resolutions and messages, the president of the NA
Arthur Baghdasarian will turn to those institutions taking into account the
orientations of the deputies as the `Regulations of NA' law is not changed
yet.

L. Mkrtchain considers the cultural Genocide not only a cultural but also a
political problem. As he says: `In a country, where even Armenian trace and
the Armenian gravestones are being annihilated, an Armenian man can never
fell safe. This has an immediate relation to the problem of Mountainous
Kharabakh.'
Quote
Share

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 20th, 2005, 5:11 pm #9

Taken from the Iranian side of the border, on the Djulfa to Surp Stephanos monastery road.

http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Photos/Pictures109.htm
Quote
Share

VirtualAni
VirtualAni

December 28th, 2005, 10:15 pm #10

ASBAREZ ONLINE (http://www.asbarez.com)
12/20/2005


ANCA Calls on US Ambassador to Azerbaijan to Visit Destroyed Nakhichevan Armenian Cemetery

WASHINGTON, DC--The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has
called on
US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish to immediately and forcefully halt
the
ongoing demolition of medieval Armenian cemeteries and historic carved stone
crosses (khatchkars) in the southern Nakhichevan region of Julfa by the Azeri
armed forces.
The cemetery, home to more than 10,000 individual khatchkars, was
subjected to
sustained attacks throughout the 20th Century and again, starting in 2002,
when
Azeri forces crushed hundreds of the crosses and shipped the rubble from the
region by rail. The most recent attacks have been the worst yet.
In a letter sent today to Ambassador Harnish, and copied to the White House
and Members of Congress, ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian called on the US envoy
to:

1) Immediately travel to Julfa to personally survey the damage and intervene
against any continued demolition.

2) In the name of the US government and on behalf of the conscience of the
international community, demand that Azerbaijan respect the terms of its 1993
agreement to join the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, and immediately end
this destruction.

3) Demand that, to the extent possible, these sites be restored, under the
appropriate supervision of Armenian experts and other internationally
recognized authorities on Armenian religious monuments.

4) Offer a full and public reporting on this systematic, state-sponsored
eradication of these treasures of world cultural heritage.

The Foreign Minister of Armenia, Vartan Oskanian, in a December 16 letter,
urgently called on UNESCO Director General Koichiro Matsuura to bring an
end to
this destruction. In the letter, he expressed, with a ~Sgreat sense of anger
and
regret,~T his hope that ~Sthe ire and disapproval of the international community
will be brought to bear on Azerbaijan in order that they cease from carrying
out these acts which are tantamount to ethnic cleansing--only this time, there
are no people left, and they have resorted to cleansing the memory of those
people.~T The Minister went on to explain that ~SNakhichevan was home to a
majority Armenian population for generations.~T
The International Council on Monuments and Sites--the leading
non-governmental
organization working preserve the world's cultural and religious
landmarks--has
posted an article about this issue on its website. To view photos of the Julfa
cemetery and learn more about the response by ICOMOS to this issue, visit:
www.international.icomos.org/risk/2002/ ... an2002.htm


Azeri Attack on Armenian Cemetery Captured on Video Now Available to Public

On December 14, an Armenian film crew on the Nakhichevan border documented the
Azeri Army's systematic destruction of the historic Armenian cemetery and
cross
stones (khatchkars) in the Julfa region of southern Nakhichevan. The shocking
12-minute video can be viewed online at:
www.hairenik.com/Haireniktv/HA_TV_Clip04.htm
Quote
Share