By Harut Sassounian
Haber Turk TV recently interviewed one of the thousands of Turkish gravediggers who try to recover Armenian treasures leftover from the genocide era of a century ago.
It is not enough that 1.5 million Armenians were killed and dispossessed of their properties and homeland, now some Turks are ‘proudly’ rummaging for precious metals by desecrating Armenian graves and other ancient Armenian sites such as churches and homes.
Here is the text of the interview on Haber Turk:
“How can Armenian Gold be Stolen?”
Host: Oylum Talu
Guest: Ugur Kulac
Guest: An infidel does not show the place of the treasure to a Turk because we are trying to find their money. We are looking for money of Armenians or Greeks.
Host: So you are a professional treasure hunter?
Guest: Yes, I am.
Host: You are a very interesting person. First of all, your books are amazing. I want to give these books to the people as a gift.
Guest: Thank you.
Host: Maps, explanation of maps. It is a very amazing book. What is a treasure hunter?
Guest: The treasure hunter is a gold digger. The only thing the treasure hunter thinks of is gold; nothing else. Of course, they are destroying places where they dig carelessly. The treasure hunters know many secret places which are even unknown to archaeologists. That is a gold finder.
Host: Wow! So cool! Gold finder! How many treasure hunters are there in Turkey?
Guest: There are more than 500,000 treasure hunters who are registered with my company.
Host: 500,000 treasure hunters?
Guest: I am in this field for about 18 years. I have been producing these devices and selling them. Right now, I have sold them to 25,000 people. And now we are 130 companies in Turkey. We are serving in this field for the people. For example, if the state would ask treasure hunters to bring all historical materials, these materials would then be more than the materials in the museums.
Guest: The treasure works in Turkey are in three types. In tons, pots and kettles.
Host: What are you talking about? Pots, tons and kettles?
Host: You mean, they put all the gold into the kettle, they covered the top because there were no banks at that time. They escaped…
Guest: Of course.
Guest: The history of this work is approx. 100 years. At the time of the deportation, some minorities were deported out of the country. They could not take their belongings with them. They buried them in different places, thinking that they would return. But most of them could not find any way to return. But their children, at a certain time of the year, are coming to Turkey where their ancestors lived. And then they dig and take the money where their ancestors buried. They have the maps. They stay as a guest of their ancestors’ neighbors. When the owner of the house falls asleep, they go out and dig the ground, take the money and leave. Treasure hunting is divided into two groups. The first group is near term — hunting of minorities’ belongings. The second group is composed of those who are looking for treasures of ancient civilizations. [The guest then demonstrates how he finds treasures through his search device which unfortunately does not work!]. If you get caught the first time by the state, there is no penalty! The region of Izmit was the capital of the Roman Empire and there are very nice buried treasures in there. Of course, there are small buried treasures which belong to minorities of the near past. Magic must be done over there. The treasure is given to the genies for protection. We are looking for gold coins. Gold is very important for treasure hunters. For example, statues made of gold or anything else or gold coins. These are very valuable. They can be sold everywhere. They melt them and sell them or directly sell to smugglers or can be sold to the state. Let them give me permission, I will find the money to repay the Turkish government’s debt to the International Monetary Fund.
Host: Why is then this gold not coming out?
Guest: Because these countries do not want this gold to come out of Turkey! Treasure hunters are not interested in ancient cities or areas. The only interest for them is to find the grave, dig it, and take the valuable things and leave.
Host: Why don’t archaeologists like you?
Guest: Because we break the historical materials.
Host: So you say that “we are looking for the money of the deported minorities in the last 60 to 90 years?”
Guest: I have parliamentarians, doctors, businessmen, professors as customers. Now Spring is coming, the treasure hunters liven up. They have been patient for months. They will attack now. It is always like that every year. The materials found in the digs made this year will be sold abroad again. We are not materialistic. We believe in spirituality too. Muslims must be rich and powerful. Why should we be poor? We are a special country created by Allah!
Host: Thank you very much.
These thieves are not only stealing the treasures belonging to Armenians and other minorities, but are also breaking Turkish laws. It is incredible that such thieves are appearing on Turkish television and recounting their criminal activities with such brazen arrogance! Turkey has strict laws for treasure hunters whose permits are limited to 30 days and an area of 100 square meters. There is a long list of “cultural areas” such as religious sites and graves where even licensed treasure hunters are not allowed to dig.