This Week in Armenian History

Birth of Parsegh Tuglaciyan (April 1, 1933)

Parsegh Tuglaciyan (known in Turkish milieus as Pars Tuglaci) had an extensive production in Armenian and Turkish linguistics and philology as the author of many dictionaries and encyclopedias, as well as a scholar of the cultural and public role of Western Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
He was born in Istanbul on April 1, 1933. After elementary school at the New School, founded by educator Hovhannes Hintlian, he continued his studies at the Melkonian Educational Institute in Cyprus. Following graduation in 1951, he went to the University of Michigan, which he finished in 1955. That same year, he went to work at the military academy of Ankara as teacher of English and French.
In the 1960s, Tuglaciyan started publishing various bilingual and multilingual dictionaries about different scientific disciplines, which were well received and sometimes went through several editions. In 1971-1973 he published the encyclopedic dictionary “Okyanus” in ten volumes, which was the most extensive monolingual dictionary of Turkish published at the time (it had reached its sixth edition in 1982).
Besides many other works written about Turkish subjects, Tuglaciyan realized some of his most durable works within Armenian Studies. He usually wrote in Turkish, and sometimes in Armenian and English. One of his important works was “The Period of Westernization of Ottoman Architecture and the Balian Family” (1982), a sizeable work in Turkish, where he highlighted the contribution of the Balian family in the history of development of the architecture of the Ottoman Empire, breaking the wall of denial around it. This book was also published in English in 1990 with the title “The Role of the Balian Family in Ottoman Architecture.” He also wrote other works on Armenian subjects: “Aivazovski in Turkey” (1983, Turkish), “The Princes’ Islands of Istanbul throughout History” (1989), and “The Armenian Churches of Istanbul” (1991), both in Armenian, Turkish, and English.
In the 2000s, Tuglaciyan published a four-volume work in Turkish, “Western Armenians throughout History.” Each volume, averaging 900 pages, chronicled in full detail the role of Armenians from 289 A.D. until 1966, underscoring their role before 1915 and their absence after that year. The last volume (1923-1966) was published in 2009, but illness did not allow the author to complete his magnum opus with the last volume, which would have encompassed the period 1966-2010.
Tuglaciyan also made translations from French into Armenian (Prosper Mérimée and Guy de Maupassant), and published novellas and short stories in the Armenian press of Istanbul.
He passed away on December 13, 2016, in Istanbul.
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