IGDIR, Turkey (Combined Sources)—A sign near the entrance to the town of Tuzluca (Koghb) in Turkey’s Igdir province welcomes visitors in four languages, including Armenian.
Mehmet Gultekin, Mayor of Tuzluca and a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, said that the word “Welcome” was written on the sign in Armenian because the town borders Armenia and used to be inhabited by Armenians, who called it Koghb.
Gultekin stressed that although the names of many places in Turkey have been renamed, people continue to call them by their Armenian names.
“Before the establishment of the Turkish Republic, Tuzluca had been an Armenian-populated area. An Armenian cemetery has been preserved, which is called [the] Armenian cemetery [by] people. Armenians lived here; they created this region and wrote history. We treated all this with respect and wrote ‘Welcome’ in Armenian. We don’t feel uncomfortable writing in Armenian. On the contrary, we are very happy. We’ll again make friends with Armenia, trade together and develop tourism. Armenians are our brothers and nothing will hinder our plans,” Gultekin said.
Meanwhile, ermenihaber.am reports that the so-called “Turkish Organization for Fighting Against Baseless Armenian Allegations” (ASIMDER) has demanded the removal of the Armenian sign at the entry and exit of Tuzluca.
As a sign of protest, ASIMDER has reportedly raised a six-meter long Azerbaijani flag in front of the organization’s office in Igdir. The organization said they have sent an official note to the government and the governor’s office, demanding that the sign be taken down.