Scholars decry 'chauvinist approach' in a video for the historic Ani Castle
A Turkish academic with close ties to the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) has drawn criticism from scholars over a video he posted celebrating the conquest of the historic Ani Castle.
Muhammet Arslan, appointed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to oversee excavations in the region, shared footage of the castle set to triumphant music on the 959th anniversary of its capture by the Seljuks.
In the social media post, he aimed at two academics criticizing his approach as incompatible with protecting cultural heritage. The scholars accused Arslan of having a chauvinistic view of history that was at odds with the multicultural responsibilities of his role.
Archaeologist Erkan Konyar accused Arslan of misunderstanding the issue and warned that his celebratory rhetoric could inflame tensions. Colleague Yiğit Ozar said Arslan's perspective made it difficult to understand the nuances and diversity within the cultural sites now under his care.
The conquered Ani has long been a flashpoint between nationalists and those who advocate a more pluralistic view of the region's history. Critics argue that Arslan's position reveals an underlying ideology that could threaten scientific principles.