Akunq.net presents a publication by Turkish author Ozgur Ozdemir about the Armenian cemetery of Stanoz in Ankara, which is constantly being plundered.
“The Armenian cemetery of Stanoz in the Zir valley of Yenikent district of Ankara province has been the target of treasure hunters for many years. Although this cemetery is located 30 km from the city center in the zone of the 2nd-degree archaeological reserve, the destruction of the cemeteries continues.
The settlement of Stanoz in Ankara, which 100 years ago was inhabited by Armenians, today has turned into a ghost town. Currently, only one Armenian named George Balaban lives with his family in Stanoz.
After the flood of 1957, the residents of the district moved to Yenikent. In this settlement based on a deep valley, almost no buildings remain. Fieldwork is underway in the village today.
The cemetery was left to fend for itself after the flood. The last person buried in the cemetery was George Balaban’s mother who died in 1978.”
“The state was supposed to protect this cemetery”
A resident of the Suat Kawak district said that the state should have taken care of this cemetery. The group stated that the first inhabitants of this region were Armenians․ “There used to be Armenians here who were engaged in crafts. When they left, life stopped here.”
“We must respect this cemetery”
The head of the district Talaat Balanoglu notes that when Armenians are mentioned, they are first of all associated with money: “They think that the Armenians were rich, so they rob and plunder the cemetery”.
Fakhri Bayraktar, president of the Zir Social Assistance and Solidarity Union, in turn, stresses the need to respect the cemetery. “Thieves destroyed all the graves. Under the leadership of our mayor and with the support of a Muslim businessman, we closed the entire cemetery. But later, treasure hunters damaged the graves again.
People don’t respect the past. The grandchildren of the Armenians who had left these areas visit the graves of their grandfathers. However, Armenians hide their identity because they are afraid. If I want the grave of my ancestors to be respected in the Balkans, I must do the same here. “
“I don’t want to be buried here”
The only Armenian left in the Zir valley, George Balaban, does not want to be buried in this cemetery. Balaban says: “They won’t give me rest here. I want to be buried with my father in Jebeji.”
Originally translated from Turkish to Armenian by Meline Anumyan
Ankara’da definecilerin hedefindeki Ermeni mezarlığı: “Ermeni deyince zengin sanıp talan ediyorlar”