Aram Ateshian: Mass at Akhtamar cancelled due to security problems

Armenian archbishop announced on Tuesday that a religious event planned for September in a historic church in the eastern Turkish province of Van has been canceled due to security, Daily Sabah reports.

Aram Ateshian, acting head of the Armenian Patriarchate, said they cancelled the event scheduled for Sept. 6 at Akhtamar Church due to security problems. Atesyan said the mass and related events may be held in the future but for now, visitors were afraid of visiting the region.

“Many people cancelled the bookings here and when we realized the attendance would be low, we decided to cancel it as it wouldn’t be a major event as we intended to do,” Ateshian said. He underlined that people were naturally scared because of rising violence and they were concerned as well. “We will hold the mass on another date if the situation improves,” he said.

Turkey has been hit by violence since a suicide bomb attack by a suspected Islamic State of Iraq and a-Sham (ISIS) supporter killed 33 activists in Suruç on July 20.