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To The Summit
Van - Dogubayazit
Day 1 - Towards 3200m
Day 2 - Acclimatization
Day 3 - Towards 4200m
Day 4 - Summit Day
Issues & Thoughts

Issues & Thoughts

This page describes in greater detail some issues and some of my thoughts that are worth mentioning.

Permit Issue

The permits for the climb to Ararat were arranged by the Turkish Travel Agency on behalf of the Greek Mountaineering Federation. In due course, the agency had informed the Federation that all permits are arranged and that we have all the necessary documentation for the climb. However, ten days before the departure of the first expedition, the Federation receives a telephone call from the Turkish Embassy in Athens, Greece requesting all the passports of the participants to be sent to them, in order to issue a special visa for the climb. This request was a bit strange and it was also impossible to fulfill within the given timeframe, as many members of the expedition were already traveling elsewhere. The Federation contacted the Turkish Travel Agency asking them to send all the documentation that was previously issued by the Turkish authorities giving us the permission for the ascent on Ararat. The documents were sent to the Federation as requested. They were issued by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture indicating that there were no concerns by The Ministry of Internal affairs for the climb for all of the names of the members of both expeditions. However, the document explicitly states that was not recommended that the three Greek citizens Serko Agabadian, Garo Agabadian and Garabet Gentanian to ascent the mountain. Obviously this segregation of those three names out of a total of 37 was based on the fact that their last names had the characteristic Armenian ending in -ian. I also personally saw an email sent by the Turkish Agency confirming that the Turkish authorities avoid issuing permissions to people of Armenian origin. This made us all concerned but never the less we continued our trip.

What is the significance of this? It is clear that the Turkish Government has something to hide or to be concerned about when EU Citizens holding EU passports are not recommended to travel in Turkey because they are of Armenian origin. This event is non-other than a serious violation of my human rights, at least on the basis of discrimination. And it does not take much to figure out the reason that the Turkish government do not recommend people of Armenian origin to travel to Turkey. It's called Armenian Genocide and their concerted efforts not to face up to the truth.

Keep Mount Ararat Clean

Ararat is probably the dirtiest mountain I have ever seen. It is disgusting to see this Holy Mountain not being taken care of. There is litter scattered all over the paths leading up to the summit. Plastic water bottles, is the most common item. Particularly around the camp areas litter is even more noticable. Behind the big rocks I could see attempts of burning the garbage that the expeditions leave behind. However, this job has not been properly done and the litter which has not been totally burnt lies scattered on the slopes of the mountain. Strong winds, which are common on Ararat, spread the litter all over the mountain.

Most interestingly, we were told by the Turkish guides that Mountain Ararat has been declared as a "National Park" by the Turkish government. However, it is not merely enough to appoint an area as a National Park; you must also actually treat the area accordingly.It is of utmost importance to be friendly to the environment. There is also an issue with "toilets". People have used the surrounding areas the camp sites as an open air toilet to do their need. So did I, because there is no other alternative. I am sure that this can be organized in a better way going forward, and at the same time preserve the mountain and its natural environment. A project that I will start in the future "Save Ararat" will be focused on the environmental issues of this Holy Mountain.

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