25 ноября 2015 г.

The funniest thing is that even in the Armenian interpretation of "brave man" the word "Kocari" consists of two Turkic roots - "koc/qoc" (bold/brave) and "ar" [also "er" in Turkish] (man/male). In other words, here, too, neither the root of the word nor its meaning and variations bears any relationship to Armenian language and culture.

Author: Rizvan Huseynov, director of the Centre for the History of the Caucasus, associate professor of the branch of UNESCO/UNITWIN 

The Armenian authorities and their diaspora continue in their efforts to present the ethnic and cultural heritage of other peoples as their own. This time, the Armenian Ministry of Culture has taken a stab at the Turkish folk dance, the Kocari. Yerevan is proposing to include this dance in the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage as Armenian.

At the tenth session of the UNESCO Inter-governmental Committee of the Convention on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which takes place in Namibia from 30 November to 4 December, this initiative will be considered under the heading: "Kocari: a traditional collectivedance in Armenia". A report on this has been posted on UNESCO's website. A total of 35 proposals from different countries will be considered at the session.

How has a Turkish dance suddenly "migrated" and become Armenian?

As one would come to expect, Armenia's attempt to include the Kocari dance in the UNESCO list as an element of Armenian national heritage caused outrage in Azerbaijan and other Turkic countries. Academics caution that there are no scientific or historical grounds for presenting the Kocari dance as Armenian. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Turkic world and culture knows that "Kocari", translated from Turkic languages, means "nomadic" or "nomad" and has from ancient times been an element of purely Turkic culture.

Back in 1998, the academic and writer Robert Gottleib published an article "Astaire to Zopy-Zopy" in the "New York Times" in which, researching the dances and folklore of different countries, he wrote that the Kocari is a modification of the Azerbaijani dance "yally", as well as "uchayag", "tello" and "galadangalaya": "… as Azerbaijani folk dance (''One type of yally has various forms known as kochari, uchayag, tello, and galadangalaya; another type is a dance mixed with games called gazy-gazy, zopy-zopy, and chopu-chopu") "In Azerbaijani poetry and songs the words "koc", "Kocari" and other derivations of this root have various semantic interpretations and shades of meaning. However, in the Armenian language expressions and idioms containing "Kocari" and "koc" will not have any sense or meaning…unless you consider the version that was hurriedly concocted and posted on the UNESCO website. The Armenians' application to UNESCO points out that "the Kocari is an ancient Armenian men's folk dance. Thousands of years later, it has not lost its significance and has even become part of the ethnic and cultural heritage of the Armenian people. The Kocari takes its origins from the regions of Kars and Artvin in western Armenia. Ethnically Armenian, 'Kocari' translates literally as 'brave man'." The funniest thing is that even in the Armenian interpretation of "brave man" the word "Kocari" consists of two Turkic roots - "koc/qoc" (bold/brave) and "ar" [also "er" in Turkish] (man/male). In other words, here, too, neither the root of the word nor its meaning and variations bears any relationship to Armenian language and culture.

In Mahmud al-Kashgari's celebrated medieval dictionary "Diqan Lugat at-Turk", the root of the word "koc/qoc" means "ram", and the derivative from it "kocmek" means "to roam". As we can see, this Turkic word, in the literal sense, has "roamed" to the Russian language, in which it bears the same meaning.

A doomed Armenian show

We have become accustomed to Armenia turning meetings of the UNESCO committee on the protection of cultural heritage into a politically motivated show. We can all recall how at the 9th session of the inter-governmental committee of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in Paris on 26 November, 2024, Armenia submitted an application to include "lavash [lavas] as a traditional Armenian bread" in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This incurred displeasure in Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran, as a result of which UNESCO altered the wording to "lavash - a traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia". The UNESCO commission virtually admitted that lavash wasn't a purely Armenian invention but is an element of culture in Armenia. Thus, an attempt to legalize at UNESCO level the concocted term "Armenian lavash" was thwarted.

At the same time, spearheaded by the Azerbaijani political expert, Fuad Axundov, and with the assistance of the linguist Elsad Alili, the Centre for the History of the Caucasus devised a kind of ethno-linguistic "lie detector" to translate the words "lavash", "duduk" and "dolma".

It was established that in old dictionaries of the Armenian and Classical Armenian language - grabar - that were published in various periods in Europe and Russia, the words "lavash" and "duduk" are nowhere to be found. The word "lavash" is mentioned for the first time in a dictionary published in 1906 by the Armenian author, A.S. Dagbashyan. This once again reaffirms the arguments that it was much later that the Armenians adopted from the Turkic peoples lavash and other items of cultural and spiritual heritage.

Research into the words "duduk" and "dolma", to which the Armenian falsifiers of history lay claim, yielded similar results. Moreover, whereas the word "lavash" is encountered for the first time in an Armenian source in 1906, even an Armenian dictionary says nothing about "duduk". And all these words have been recorded in Turkic-language sources since ancient times.

Incidentally, at Azerbaijan's initiative, lavash was presented this year to UNESCO as the joint heritage of all the countries of the region: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, India, and others. According to the rules and procedures of the organization, this question will be examined at a session of the Inter-governmental Committee in 2017.

Armenian dances to the Azerbaijani meyxana

It should be pointed out that the Armenian language contains several thousand words borrowed from the Persian, Arabic, Turkic and other languages, whereas in Azerbaijani literary language, for example, there isn't a single word borrowed from Armenian. Moreover, over 40 per cent of Armenian first names and surnames are of Turkic origin, whereas there are no words of Armenian origin in Azerbaijani.

According to research carried out by Russian ethnographers in the 19th-20th centuries, it was strictly Turkic rites, customs, songs and traditions that were always carried out at Armenian weddings and other celebrations. And little has changed today. Armenian musicians make no secret of the fact that they play Azerbaijani songs and dances at celebrations. Things have reached a point where at weddings the Armenians even dance rhythmic Azerbaijani quatrains - the meyxana, which merely causes amusement among those who have only a slight knowledge of the oral folk arts of the peoples of the region.

Incidentally, there are quite a few honest experts among the Armenians themselves who are calling for the truth to be faced and to reject the appropriation of the heritage of others. "It was with immense satisfaction that I listened to real Azerbaijani mugams and I was delighted with the way they were sung. But the interpretation of Azerbaijani mugams in the Armenian style is quite nauseating! Why do we have to present Azerbaijani mugams as Armenian folk music?!" the artistic director of the Yerevan Puppet Theatre, Ruben Babayan, asks, replying to questions put by the Armenian newspaper "New Times".

"What is more, we are spoiling this music by presenting it in surrogate form…We are tainting it by presenting it as our own, and what's more we get angry when people rub our noses in the dirt like puppies," Ruben Babayan retorted.

Of course, the Armenians themselves know perfectly well that their attempts to juggle with words are a big con. That is why Armenia's Culture Minister Asmik Pogosyan is now confident that at the UNESCO session they will encounter opposition from Azerbaijan which, she says, "claims that the Kocari is a Turkic dance". However, the Armenians have no intention of giving up their policy of falsification and appropriation of other people's heritage. That is why Azerbaijan will clearly once again have to expose another Armenian lie from the UNESCO platform. Let's just hope Yerevan doesn't get roused again.