Armenian houses in Mush succumb to urban renewal

Historic Armenian houses in the Kale neighborhood of the eastern province of Mush are to be demolished within the framework of “urban renewal.” As part of the project, the Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) is preparing to demolish around 300 houses, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Armenians living in Germany and Istanbul have sent a letter to the Mush mayor on the subject. In the letter, penned by former Istanbul resident and current Germancitizen, Dr. Sarkis Adam, the preservation of at least one of the houses for transformation into a museum where the Armenian presence in the city could be commemorated is requested.

Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, Mush Mayor Necmettin Dede confirmed the decision to demolish the houses at Kale, but added that the demolition had not yet started.

Some of the houses at Kale belong to the Treasury while others are occupied by individuals without proper documents, Dede said. “Yes, Armenians lived here in this city, but this city has been invaded at least 20 times,” he said.

“The residents of Kale, hoping to find gold or other Armenian valuables hidden or buried in these houses, destroyed the wooden parts of the structures and removed old doors. We have learned that there were some people digging up the foundations of houses,” Dede added.

Adam’s letter states that a museum in the city would be of historic significance. “To transform at least one of the houses into a museum will not only be significant in terms of tourism, but will also no doubt be effective regarding the view of Armenians in the diaspora to Turkey,” it says.

“A museum built in Mush would display the rooted history and civilization in Mush.”

Dede said Adam’s letter has not yet reached them, but such a proposal would be evaluated in due course.

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