LOS ANGELES — Two volumes, Armenian Van and Armenian Bitlis & Mush, have been released in Turkish translation by Aras Publishers in Istanbul. Both volumes, edited by Richard G. Hovannisian, are from the UCLA international conference series “Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces,” begun by Professor Hovannisian in 1997. The first conference focused on Armenian Van/Vaspurakan (first published in English by Mazda Publishers in 2000), followed in 1998 by the second conference on Armenian Baghesh/Bitlis and Taron/Mush (published in 2001). Aras Publishers plans to translate into Turkish all fourteen volumes in the UCLA series, the most recent of which was released in 2016 by Mazda Publishers under the title, Armenian Communities of the Northeastern Mediterranean: Musa Dagh-Dört-Yol-Kessab.
Contributors to the Van and Bitlis-Mush volumes discuss the political geography and dynastic history and culture of the two regions from antiquity to the twentieth century, their art and architecture, classical historians and colophons, interactions with foreign powers, tribulations under Ottoman rule, role in Armenian liberation movements, fate during the Armenian Genocide and self-defense in World War I, and their presence in modern literature.
The two volumes were released to the public in Istanbul on November 9-10, 2016, during an international conference on Van sponsored by the Hrant Dink Foundation. During his keynote address, Professor Hovannisian reflected on growing up in the San Joaquin Valley of California among the immigrants and survivors from Van, Bitlis, and Mush. He then assessed the multifaceted information and insights gained from the 70 oral history interviews that he and his students at UCLA conducted with natives of the city and numerous villages of the province of Van.
Aras Publishers is currently translating the third volume in the UCLA series, Armenian Tsopk/Kharpert.