TURKEY INITIATES RECONSTRUCTION OF RUINS OF ARMENIAN CITY OF ANI

ISTANBUL, MARCH 31, NOYAN TAPAN - ARMENIANS TODAY. The Ministry of
Tourism of Turkey initiated a program of reconstruction of ruins of the
historic Armenian city of Ani. According to the Turkish "Zaman" daily's
correspondent from Erzrum, excavations will last in Ani for 10 years,
after what the reconstruction is envisaged. Professor Hamza Gundogdu,
the Chief of the Art History Department of the "Ataturk" University
was elected by the Ministry for implementation of the program. He
will gather a staff to start works in Ani just this year. Lecturers
and 35 students will be involved in works. This year the excavations
will start from the so called Arslanl door of the Ani ruins and will
get to the door of Kars. Work will be done near Manuchehri in 2007,
and near the castles and city of Ani in 2008. In 2010 th inner
part of the castle will be taken out, and in 2011-2015 work will
be done for strengthening ruins and taking out the inner riches of
the castle. Before excavation works, Gundogdu carried out necessary
researches and assured that he will do an impartial work. The first
excavations were carried out in Ani in 1892 by Nikoghayos Marr.

The excavations were again re-started in 1917. Turkish Professor
Kemal Balkan was engaged in that affair in 1964. His works lasted two
years. Beyhan Karamaghal from the "Hajettepe" University implemented
the same work in 1988-2005.

The interesting issue of this initiative of the Turkish Government
is the one that, as the "Marmara" daily of Istanbul emphasizes, name
of Armenians was mentioned nowhere. It's written under the picture
representing the present state of the city of Ani that Ani which
is the first city captured by Turks, has "numerous historic riches"
belonging to Seljuks.