What/Where is “Ancient Turkey” Or “Eastern Anatolia”!? A Letter to Director/CEO of the British Museum

What/Where is “Ancient Turkey” Or “Eastern Anatolia”!?  A Letter to Director/CEO of the British Museum

13 June 2012

Director/CEO The British Museum  

Dear Sir, 

Below I am copy-pasting a page from your website (and the link immediately below) relating to “Ancient Turkey” which in turn relates to your displays in Room 54 (of the British Museum) also named or classified as “Ancient Turkey”!

I have taken many Armenian visitors to the British Museum over the years – including groups from Armenia and, last year, a group of 40 Armenians from Holland on a 3 day weekend trip to London. And on every occasion we have all been greatly disappointed at the level of, what can unfortunately only be described as, deliberate bias, or at worst distortions and  ahistorical ignorance.

One wonders how can British Museum’s learned experts honestly explain what is meant by “Ancient” Turkey!? What is “Eastern Anatolia”!? (For your information the Ottoman Empire or Turkey was created following the collapse of the Byzantine Empire at the end of 15th century, in 1453 AD, and “Anatolia” is a Greek term already meaning ‘land to the east’, hence your “Eastern Anatolia” – which has its origins in the dodgy depths of official Turkish state ‘scholarly’ genius – is a misnomer and certainly non-scholarly and quite ignorant (‘Eastern land to the east’??!!!) and devised by Turkey and its state ‘scholars’ purely and simply as a substitute for the use of Armenia/Western Armenia/Historical Armenia.

British Museum, it seems, has sadly adopted this Turkish fake ‘scholarly’ invention as sacred policy and is consistently using all its rotten products and language.

Worse, while sadly the term “Turkey” and other variants is used very liberally (when referring to displays dating back to 3rd Millennium BC) in vain will you find a single mention of Armenia/Armenian/Western Armenia or Historical Armenia!

Incredibly even when Armenian words are used (see below “Karmir Blur” which is Armenian for Red Hill located in present day Republic of Armenia) in vain will one be looking for any explanation as to the Armenian language, the location of “Karmir Blur” (‘Red Hill’) and its relevance to the Urartian/s!! And while several references are made to Mount Ararat as the only derivative of Urartu which has survived incredibly no explanation is made as to which country it has been historically associated with (CLUE TO THE BRITISH MUSEUM: CHECK THE BIBLE!!) where this mountain is located (historical Armenia) or what it signifies for the Armenian people!?

The sole welcome but still rather mean exception to this blanketing of Armenia is the few words under the 2 burnished wine jugs “… Academy of Sciences of Armenian SSR” and reference to “Yerevan Philharmonic Orchestra” in connection with a violin sounding board made out of old Urartian timber with no explanation as to where Yerevan is (or its people = Armenians) and what is its connection to Urartu!!??

What a great pity that an great scholarly institute and centre of excellence as the British Museum cannot speak the truth in connection with its displays (or its written explanations on its website) and for some reason has to meticulously and deliberately avoid the use of the word Armenia/Western Armenia/Historical Armenia in order, presumably, not to offend official Turkey and its well-funded and decades long efforts to wipe Armenia out of history and historical memory?

Finally thanks God Nazi Germany and its ideology was destroyed by the civilised world otherwise one shudders as to what would have happened to broad European history and the role of Jews and Slavs, for example, in the development of (European) civilisation!?


Bernard Nazarian



Urartian, 7th century BC

From Karmir Blur, Republic of Armenia

These round, red-burnished jugs are typical of Urartian sites and are sometimes of very fine quality. They were used for removing small quantities of wine from huge storage jars. A store-room next to the wine cellars at Karmir Blur contained 1036 wine jugs of this type.

The Urartian name for Karmir Blur (‘Red Hill’) was Teishebaini, ‘the city of Teisheba’ (the god of storms). A fortress was built here by King Rusa II (about 685-645 BC). This has been excavated, but only small areas of the partially-fortified residential town have been explored. It seems the houses were clustered together in groups, with up to five houses in each, and the groups were arranged along eleven streets.

The citadel itself is thought to have been used by an administrator, perhaps a governor, and his court. It consisted of 150 rooms and projecting towers built over a storeroom on a platform of stone rubble. The palace ceremonial quarters were on an upper floor, located above the storerooms and workshops. Seven wine cellars were found with pithoi (large storage vessels) sunk into the floor. These had a total capacity of 9000 gallons. In addition there were granaries estimated to hold up to 750 tons of grain. ‘They had timber roofs, the pinewood beams of which were so well preserved that a local violin-maker was able to use a piece of the wood to make the sounding board of a violin which was played by a member of the Erevan Philharmonic Orchestra.’ (Piotrovsky)

The Urartians were the neighbours and main rivals of the north Mesopotamian Assyrians during the ninth and eighth centuries BC. They disappear from history in the sixth century, perhaps as a result of invasions of nomadic groups such as the Scythians from central Asia, associated with the Medes from western Iran

B. Piotrovsky, The ancient civilization of Ur (Geneva, Nagel, 1969)

D. Collon, Ancient Near Eastern art (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

M. Joukowsky, Early Anatolia (Kendall Hunt, 1996)

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