UNESCO’s Ottoman Celebration Protested

YEREVAN (Hayots Ashkhar)–UNESCO’s plans to mark the 700th anniversary of the establishment of the Ottoman Empire in 1999 continues to provoke heated protest from the Armenian nation–particularly in Armenia–where youth and student organizations have begun to categorically oppose UNESCO’s proposed project.

The concept of celebrating the 700th anniversary of the Ottoman Empire was proposed by Turkey–however–the international group has not voted to ratify final plans to proceed.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Nigol Aghbalian Student Association and the ARF Armenia Youth Organization–in an announcement in Hayots Ashkhar Daily Monday–called on all student and youth groups to attend an assembly at the Yerevan State University Tuesday. The meeting will aim to coordinate efforts for protesting UNESCO’s plans.

In connection with this–the head of the National Academy of Science Fadey Sargsian addressed a letter to UNESCO president Federico Mayor–in which he voiced his strong opposition to Turkey’s proposal.

Sargsian–in his letter–explained to Mayor that the Ottoman Empire does not represent the bastion of civilization–culture and human development as widely regarded.

"In its 700 years–the Ottoman Empire oppressed and planted seeds of fear in its neighbors–eliminating their cultures beginning with the Greek Byzantines…" said Sargsian–"The climax of the Ottoman barbaric policies came with the 1915 Genocide of the Armenia’s in the Empire."

The academic further declared in his letter that such a celebration would not only insult the history of the Middle East–Asia-Minor and the Balkans–including the memory of thousands of heroes who have fallen for freedom in this region–but more importantly it would undermine and compromise the integrity and principles–on which UNESCO bases its activities.

National Assembly members Jemma Ananian–Ashot Navasardian and Rev. Hiusik Lazarian also expressed their opposition to the UNESCO plans in an interview with Hayots Ashkhar.

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