LA Times Distorts Truth About Ani

LOS ANGELES–In an article in the Thursday edition of the Los Angeles Times–entitled "As a Rare Cathedral Crumbles–Two Rival Nations Point Fingers" the author Amberin Zaman–a special correspondent to the Times–discusses a new controversy surrounding the ancient Armenian city of Ani.

The article–filled with distortions and peppered with Turkish accounts of the actual events–reads more like a press release for the Turkish government–than an objective report–using journalistic standards.

The article focuses on alleged damage to the ancient ruins caused by dynamite blasts from four quarries in Armenia.

Several months ago–a war of words ensured between the Turkish and Armenian governmen’s and now the article claims that the Turkish government is concerned about the fate of the ancient.

"Turkish officials say the deafening explosions have shaken the area for two years despite their pleas to Armenia for the quarrying to stop. The United States–France and the United Nations have backed Turkey’s appeal," reported the LA Times.

"Not only the cathedral but most of the monumen’s here will soon collapse," Beyhan Karamaragli–a Turkish archeologist told Zaman–adding "This is cultural genocide."

The author then discusses the Armenian Genocide–as a contentious issue between Armenia’s and Turks–without even a mention that the Turkish government is responsible for the state of disarray of not only Ani–but countless other Armenian churches and monumen’s–which it is systematically destroying as a continuation of its campaign of genocide.

Gagik Gurjan–head of the cultural heritage department of the Armenian Culture Ministry–told the LA Times that "geologists at the quarries had been consulted and that they had reported that the quarrying of stone there could not be damaging the cathedral in Ani."

"I think some people in Turkey are using this situation for political ends," he told the Times. "If the Turks hadn’t destroyed these monumen’s themselves over the centuries–they would have nothing to complain about now."

"What’s more," he explained to Zaman–"there is a gorge between them–and the shock waves from the explosions could not reach or in any way affect any building or monument in Ani."

"Turkish historians insist that Ani holds greater significance for Turkey because it was one of the first Anatolian cities to be conquered by the Seljuk Turks when they swept in from Central Asia in the early 11th century. Armenian rule–they say–did not last more than 50 to 70 years before defeat by the Seljuks," reported Zaman for the LA Times.

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