ARMENIA HOPES RECONSTRUCTION OF SURB KHACH ARMENIAN CHURCH IN TURKEY NOT TO BE SINGLE CASE
ARKA News Agency, Armenia
March 30 2007
YEREVAN, March 29. /ARKA/. Armenia hopes that reconstruction of Surb
Khach (Saint Cross) Armenian Church on the Akhtamar Island (Van Lake)
of Turkey will not be a particular case, says the statement of Press
Secretary of Armenia’s Foreign Ministry Vladimir Karapetian posted
on the Foreign Ministry website.
According to Karapetian, the reconstruction and opening of the Surb
Khach church by the Turkish authorities is a positive phenomenon as
it is one of the most prominent Armenian medieval cultural monuments
neglected since 1915.
Karapetian pointed out that the Turkish authorities and the mass
media do not mention the historical and cultural value of the church
and its Armenian and apostolic origin to cut short the attempts
of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Surb Khach
church is just one of the numerous Armenian architectural monuments,
thousands of which are already annihilated (e.g. Tekor Church, Surb
Karapet Monastery in Mush, Sub Hovhannes Cathedral in Bagaran, tens
of churches in Ani) or being destroyed, Karapetian said. According
to him, the reason is indifference and Armenian origin of the churches.
"But, they speak about "Anatolian culture" in Turkey, which cannot
be imagined without its Armenian component," the statement says.
Karapetian reported that Armenian official delegation of the Ministry
of Culture and Youth will participate in the Surb Khach opening
ceremony, which is a positive step. He expressed his regrets though
that many residents of Armenia ancestry of which had built the church
will not have the opportunity to participate in the opening.
"Armenian side would really like to consider this event a real step
aimed at reconciliation and rapprochement of Armenian and Turkish
peoples. But it is very difficult to do when the Turkish authorities
fail to give a real historical and cultural evaluation and perception
of the monument and the people and civilization that created it:
even in the museum of "Anatolian civilizations" it is very difficult
to find the word "Armenian", Karapetian said adding that restoring
the church is important for both Armenian and Turkish societies.
A country that lays a claim to become a part of today’s civilization
cannot deny historical presence of a whole people, its culture and
civilization, Karapetian said.
Armenian delegation headed by the Deputy Minister of Armenia’s Ministry
of Culture and Youth Gagik Giurjian is to participate in the opening
of the restored Surb Khach church.
Earlier, the All-Armenian Catholicos Garegin II refused the invitation
of Van Governor to participate in the opening ceremony saying that
the church will be operating as a museum and that the secular opening
ceremony will not be in conformity with the canonical devotions of
the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Surb Khach (Saint Cross) church is a prominent monument of
Armenian medieval architecture. The church was built in the golden
age of Vaspurakan kingdom in 915-921 by Manuel architect.
Under the pressure of the international community Turkey allocated
$1.5mln for the restoration of the church. The restoration works were
carried out by the Turkish Ministry of Transport and Tourism and the
municipality of the City of Van.
Armenian Genocide is considered to be the first genocide of the 20th
century, organized and systematically executed by the Young Turkish
government. More than 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered in
different regions of Western Armenia that was part of Ottoman Empire
at that time.
The Armenian Genocide is recognized by many countries, among them
Uruguay (the first state that officially recognized the Genocide
in 1965), Lithuania, Russia, France, the Lower Chamber of Italian
parliament and the most of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus,
Argentina, Belgium, Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber
of Commons of Canadian parliament and Seym of Poland.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress