Letter: Stolen city

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The Independent Culture
Sir: How amusing that the ancient Armenian city of Ani is being characterised as multicultural by a modern Turkish archaeologist ("Struggle for soul of a closed city", 10 September), while the major culture of the site is ignored. Maybe someone will one day likewise look upon St Paul's Cathedral as an interesting site of a Mithraic temple.

Any reputable historian or traveller knows that Ani is overwhelmingly an Armenian site. Lord Kinross, the biographer of Ataturk, pointed this out four decades ago, and has some dismissive words to say about the official Turkish line. When the frontier was originally delimited in 1921 the Turks (in the person of General Kiazim Karabekir) demanded the inclusion of Ani in Turkey for no other reason than that Armenians should weep at the sight of it from across the river. All parties recognised that it was without military, economic or geographical significance.

In these post-Soviet times, we're meant to be able to tell the truth about historical matters. If Turkey cannot connect the adjective "Armenian" to Ani, isn't it time for that incomparable medieval site to be handed to its proper owner, the Republic of Armenia?


London W14