During recent anti-Kurdish operations in historical Western Armenia, the Turkish military stumbled upon a 1,500 years old karas (Armenian kind of vessel). The artifact was reportedly found at the house of a member of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê, PKK). The military operations are presented as “anti-terror operations” by the Turkish media. In particular, Daily Sabah reports:
Gendarmerie forces carrying out anti-terror operations in Turkey’s eastern Tunceli province have discovered a 1,500-year-old pithos, a ceramic storage container used to preserve grains, reports said Wednesday.
The pithos was reportedly discovered Tuesday, hidden in a secret part of a house located in Kolonkaya Village.
The vessel was handed over to a local museum. The experts confirmed that the 1,500 years old vessel is the largest single-piece artifacts discovered in the area with its 145cm (4,75 feet) of height and 95cm (3,11 feet) of width.
Such large vessels are quite common in traditional Armenian households of the countryside. Sometimes dug halfway into the ground, these vessels are called karases, and they have been a part of the Armenian culture since antiquity.
Being a quite common policy, the history of artifacts discovered in the Turkish territory is obfuscated, and even more so if the found items belong to era of Armenian habitation in historical Western Armenia, which is now known as Eastern Turkey or Eastern Anatolia. And now, the Turkish media “forgot” to mention that 1,500 years ago, the region of the karas’s discovery was a part of Armenian-populated Western Armenia, which was annexed by the Byzantine Empire in the 5th century.
Daily Sabah instead writes:
Tunceli was home to numerous ancient civilizations, including the Urartu, Roman, Byzantine, Sassanid and Seljuk Empires.
Not a mention of Armenia, but Daily Sabah for some reason included the Seljuk Empire that hadn’t been in Armenia until 500 years later than the vessel is dated. Apart from this, it appears that the Kurdish and Turkish media are now fighting for the right to the possession of the artifact.
In a separate material, Daily Sabah reports that supporters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Gel, YPG) make claims on social media that the artifact of “historical Kurdish heritage” is being looted by Turkish military from Afrin in Syria. On their Facebook page, Daily Sabah made a “fact check” post in regard to the Kurdish claim.
The Consul General of Turkey in Chicago made a similar claim, calling the Kurdish statements “fake news”:
In the end, an Armenian artifact from the era of Armenian habitation of Eastern Turkey is being reported without a mention of its true historical origin. Instead, the origin of the karas is “under debate”.
#Fakenews knows no limits.
— 🇹🇷 Umut Acar (@AcarUmut) 2 февраля 2018 г.
Unfortunately, the origin of many Armenian artifacts has been obscured, leading to their loss in some cases. After Armenians have been driven out from their historical homeland as a result of the Armenian Genocide in 1915, the Armenian cultural heritage has been tampered with and divided between the victors. And it seems that this process isn’t going to stop anytime soon.