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Petition to: The British Museum, London.

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  • Petition to: The British Museum, London.

    Stop misrepresentation of Armenian Heritage as "Ancient Turkey"

    This is causing stir among experts and the petition needs the weight of your name.

    Here are two examples

    Rouben Galichian

    He has written to the museum giving specific arguments against the descriptions used, and even suggesting helpful changes for accuracy.

    His conclusions are clear:

    � Hence the name �Eastern Anatolia� (Eastern East) and �Ancient Anatolia� are misnomers.�, and

    �As Turkey as a country, or its people - for that matter, did not exist prior to the fifteenth century, when writing or speaking about ancient times, the terminology �Ancient Turkey� is incorrect and meaningless�, and

    �Other ancient classical period maps, reconstituted by German and British cartographers of the nineteenth century, based on the writings of Greek and Roman geographers and depicting the ancient world, there seems to be no �Ancient Turkey� or �Ancient Anatolia� appearing anywhere.�

    Christopher Walker

    No reputable historian or ethnographer, while researching Turkish or non-Turkish people, artefacts, languages or ethnicities, has ever used the phrase 'Ancient Turkey'. The recognised term has been Anatolia, or sometimes Asia Minor. You will not find any use of 'Ancient Turkey' in the whole of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, nor in the works of Bernard Lewis, a historian of considerable Turkophile sympathies. (see his Emergence of Modern Turkey, pages 3, 331-2, and 433-5.) Professor Colin Renfrew, in his Archaeology and Language, uses the term nowhere.

    One Turkophile writer and popular historian, Lord Kinross, the biographer of Ataturk, has a whole chapter of his Turkish travelogue Within the Taurus (1954) entitled 'Armenia'. It concerns Kars and Ardahan. In writing about antiquities, Kinross never used the phrase 'Ancient Turkey'.

    So 'Ancient Turkey' is a new coinage, designed by someone within the British Museum. It is a coinage that - since all historical terminology in this arena has a political connotation (see the Bernard Lewis work noted above, page 3) - will delight 'extremist and ultranationalist Turkish individuals and organisations'.

    Their theoretical position is that the Turks are autochthonous, have always been in Anatolia. This view conflicts with that of reputable historians (and many Turks themselves, who frequently used, and may still use, European AD or CE dating minus 1000 years), that the Oghuz Turks first moved into Anatolia in about AD 1000 [CE]. The fact that the Urartu language was, like the Turkish language, agglutinative proves nothing about ancestral presence.

    The real Ancient Turkey lies somewhere on the borders of Kazakhstan and China. Only fragmentary evidence exists today of this original homeland. Anatolia, colonized initially by Oghuz Turks about one thousand years ago, is not 'Ancient Turkey'.

    Please sign the petition!