Restrictions on the Armenian Community and the Destruction of the Historic Armenian Presence in Turkey and Azerbaijan
The remaining Armenian and other Christian communities in Turkey face unfair official restrictions on their individual and communal rights on vital issues, including ownership of churches, selection of religious leaders and education, and freedom of expression. Recent examples illustrating the Turkish government’s attitude toward Armenians include the many ongoing prosecutions of journalists for even discussing the Armenian Genocide. Successive Turkish governments have also deliberately destroyed the immense cultural heritage of the Western Armenian homeland. This effort, alongside Turkey’s ongoing denial of the Genocide, represents the most recent stage of the Turkish government’s campaign to erase evidence of the historic Armenian presence in Eastern Anatolia.
Azerbaijan, having already driven out several hundred thousand Armenians more than a decade ago, has turned its attention to destroying the rich Armenian cultural heritage within its borders. The most recent attack, a desecration by Azerbaijani soldiers of the 7th Century Armenian cemetery in Djulfa, Nakhichevan, was caught on video-tape.