Armenian Cemetery In Van Proves To Be Villagers Hoax


2009/06/04 | 13:34


A somewhat bizarre and otherwise revealing article appears in today’s
Hurriyet Daily News, regarding the planned construction of a school
on what was alleged by local villagers to be an Armenian cemetery in
the eatern province of Van.

It appears, according to Hurriyet, that two villagers admitted to
fabricating claims that the school was to be erected on a former
Armenian village called Aydýnocak. They said they invented the story
because they didn’t want to be bothered by noisy school children.

The area was officially assigned to the village as pastureland,
but some villagers alleged that it contained an Armenian
cemetery. Aydýnocak’s muhtar, or administrative head, Bahri Altýntaþ,
told Anatolia News that the village was upset about the stories that
bones were dug up in a school construction site.

"Two people from the village made the claim to journalists who came
to the village. We approached them and asked them to repeat their
claims to us. Both said they didn’t want a school to be built near
their homes and that was why they made the claims," Altýntaþ said. In
the past, Muslims and Armenians used to live side by side, said the
muhtar. "We respect all religions. We would never build a school on
top of a cemetery," he said.

He said some stones that had crosses on them were found elsewhere
and brought to the village, only to be shown as if they were dug up
during the construction. One villager, Fehim Yurdagul, said reports on
school construction had portrayed the village as anti-Armenian. "We
respect all beliefs of not only Armenians but everyone. Villagers
would never have allowed building on a cemetery," he said.

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