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Renovation of AkhTamar - Lobby against recognition of genoci

 
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 PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:12 am    Post subject: Renovation of AkhTamar - Lobby against recognition of genoci Reply with quote Back to top

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RENOVATION OF AKHTAMAR CHURCH USED BY TURKEY

IN LOBBY AGAINST RECOGNITION OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE


Montreal, March 23, 2007 - The Turkish government has funded the renovation of the historic Armenian church located on Akhtamar Island in Van with an ulterior motive - to use it as a propaganda tool as it lobbies governments and legislators around the world against recognizing the Armenian Genocide.


The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism has spent $1.5 million dollars on this project. The Governor of Van, with the assistance of Turkish Embassies around the world, has invited 3,000 people to attend an opening ceremony at the site on March 29, 2007. These include many Armenians in Armenia and throughout the Diaspora of whom several are in Canada. At first glance that may sound like a good thing, but there is a decidedly self-serving side to these actions by the Turkish government.

Harut Sassounian, Publisher of The California Courier, reported on March 22, 2007 that the Turkish newspaper Zaman has let the cat out of the bag as to why the Turkish government would spend so much money to renovate the Akhtamar church. Last week a Turkish delegation led by Mehmet Dulger, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Turkish Parliament, came to Washington to lobby against the adoption of the Armenian Genocide resolution by the U.S. Congress. They brought with them copies of a photo album of the renovated Akhtamar church published by the Turkish government, and used them in meetings with U.S. Congressmen saying: "Turks, whom you accuse of genocide, have renovated an Armenian church with taxes collected from Turks." Zaman also reported that the album will be distributed worldwide to all organizations advocating "Armenian genocide claims", and that representatives of countries who have adopted or are planning to adopt an Armenian Genocide bill have been invited to the opening ceremony on March 29.

The renovated Akhtamar church is referred to in the invitations as "The Monumental Museum of Akdamar Church", and an enclosure provides a historic overview of its construction and expansion in the 10th, 13th and 18th centuries without any mention whatsoever that it was ever an Armenian church. In other documentation, the carvings on the walls are said to "show an influence of 9th and 10th century Abbasi art, which was itself influenced by Central Asian Turkish Art." It has now been designated a museum and not a church open for Christian worship, and it remains under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and not of the Armenian Patriarchate. The cross on the dome of the church has conspicuously not been replaced. All of this is insulting to the memory of Armenians who lived and worshipped in Van until they were brutally killed.

There were thousands of Armenian churches and monuments before the Genocide of 1915 in what is present day Turkey. The vast majority of them were confiscated from the Armenian Patriarchate, converted to non-religious use, abandoned to the ravages of time, or outright demolished by Turkish officials some as recently as just a few years ago. This is insulting to all Armenians.

The Republic of Armenia is forced to respect official state-to-state protocol, so as not to inflame Turkey, and will therefore be sending its Deputy Minister of Culture to the opening ceremony on March 29. However, at a news conference in Yerevan on March 21, Armenia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Vartan Oskanian expressed regret that the Turkish side does not respond to any initiatives directed at normalizing relations with Armenia. As if in answer to this comment, the Turkish military summarily vetoed a proposal by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism that the border with Armenia be temporarily opened for the one day of the opening ceremony in Van.

It is up to Armenians throughout the Diaspora to counter this latest propaganda initiative by the Turkish government. The Congress of Canadian Armenians is part of this worldwide effort. Nothing short of the Turkish government finally recognizing the Armenian Genocide will satisfy Armenians, and every year more countries are joining the growing voice asking Turkey for this recognition. Canada did so in April 2006.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Congress of Canadian Armenians is comprised of the following participating organizations (in alphabetical order): AGBU Alex Manoogian School, AGBU Montreal Chapter, Armenian Democratic Liberal Party, Holy Cross Church of Laval, St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Montreal, S.D. Hunchakian Party, Society of Armenians from Istanbul, Tekeyan Cultural Association.

www.canarmcongress.com
 
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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

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Article de Harut Sassounian , éditeur du "California Courier"
Traduction Louise Kiffer
Edition du 22 mars 2007

Nul Arménien qui se respecte ne devrait accepter l’invitation de la Turquie à Akhtamar

Le gouvernement turc a lancé une campagne mondiale pour exploiter, dans un but de propagande, la rénovation de l’Eglise Sourp Khatch (Sainte Croix) du 10ème siècle sur l’île d’Akhtamar, en Arménie occidentale occupée par la Turquie. Ankara a envoyé des invitations pour les cérémonies "d’inauguration" à plus de 3000 invités de par le monde, y compris des autorités d’Arménie et des Arméniens de la Diaspora.


D’après le journal turc "Zaman" l’intention du gouvernement turc est d’utiliser la restauration de l’église le 29 mars, comme faisant partie de ses efforts accélérés à l’encontre de l’adoption de la résolution sur le Génocide arménien par le Congrès U.S.

La semaine dernière, lorsqu’une délégation turque est allée à Washington pour faire pression contre cette résolution, Mehmet Dulger, le Président de la Commission des Affaires Etrangères du Parlement turc, a annoncé qu’il avait apporté avec lui des photos de l’église d’Akhtamar rénovée. Dulger dit qu’il montrerait l’album de photos publié par le Ministère de la Culture et du Tourisme aux membres du Congrès U.S., et leur dit : "Voyez, les Turcs, que vous accusez de génocide, ont rénové l’église arménienne avec les impôts versés par les Turcs. Et ces photos en sont la preuve". Le gouvernement turc aurait dépensé plus d’un million et demi de dollars pour la restauration.

Zaman a signalé que l’album serait distribué dans le monde entier à toutes les organisations qui soutiennent la "prétention du génocide arménien". "En outre, les ministres de la Culture de tous les pays qui ont adopté ou vont adopter les projets de loi sur le génocide arménien... sont invités à le consulter" a écrit Zaman.

Pour faire un usage maximum de la propagande à cette occasion, un fonctionnaire du Ministère de la Culture a même suggéré que la frontière arméno-turque bloquée depuis longtemps soit temporairement ouverte pour les invités d’Arménie souhaitant la traverser pour entrer en Turquie. Il a aussi parlé de la possibilité d’un vol direct spécial d’Erevan à Van pour cette occasion. Toutefois, le commandement militaire turc a mis son veto à ces deux suggestions.

Les officiels turcs ont trouvé des explications ridicules lorsqu’on leur a demandé pourquoi l’église rénovée de la Sainte Croix n’avait pas une croix sur son dôme. Ils ont dit aux reporters que la croix pourrait causer une panne d’électricité qui mettrait le feu à l’église ! Un autre officiel a prétendu ridiculement qu’il n’avait pu trouver aucune ancienne photo de l’église avec une croix sur son dôme.

Même la date des cérémonies prévues a été sujette à de nombreuses spéculations politiques et à une comédie d’erreurs. Le gouvernement turc, à l’origine, avait fixé la date du 24 avril. Mais à la suite de réclamations du Patriarche arménien, la date fut modifiée au 11 avril. Lorsque les officiels turcs apprirent que le 11 avril était en fait la même date que le 24 avril dans l’ancien calendrier, il la modifièrent de nouveau au 29 mars, espérant qu’ils pourraient ainsi devancer l’impact négatif sur la Turquie des commémorations mondiales du Génocide arménien qui se tient en avril tous les ans.

Une fois la date finalement fixée, le Ministère des Affaires Etrangères donna immédiatement des instructions à ses ambassadeurs et consuls généraux à travers le monde, pour étendre les invitations aux Arméniens ainsi qu’aux non-Arméniens à assister aux cérémonies du 29 mars. Des invitations furent reçues par des tas d’Arméniens dont les adresses avaient été fournies aux consulats turcs locaux par quelques individus arméniens qui répondent aux offres du gouvernement turc apparemment pour un gain personnel.

Les invitations ont choqué les invités par la description de l’Eglise de la Sainte Croix comme "Le Musée Monumental de l’Eglise d’Akdamar (sic)" Encore plus offensant est le dépliant inclus, sur deux pages, qui déclare que les sculptures sur les murs de l’église "montrent l’influence de l’art abbâsside des 9ème et 10ème siècles, qui a été lui-même influencé par l’art turc d’Asie Centrale".

L’invitation indique que les invités sont attendus à Ankara le 28 mars, qu’ils partiront pour Akhtamar le matin de bonne heure le 29 mars, et s’envoleront par avion privé d’Ankara à Van. Après la fin de la cérémonie d’ouverture - à laquelle il se peut qu’assistent le Premier Ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan ou le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères Abdullah Gül - les invités se verront offrir un déjeuner, puis un tour dans la cité de Van, y compris le château historique, et partiront ensuite pour Ankara plus tard dans l’après-midi. Après leur avoir demandé de s’envoler pour la Turquie, dans certains cas de l’autre bout du monde, les invités sont attendus sur l’Ile d’Akhtamar pour un peu moins d’une heure et demi, y compris la cérémonie d’ouverture et un récital par un pianiste turc.

Alors qu’il est manifeste que le gouvernement turc n’est intéressé que par la valeur de propagande de cette ancienne église arménienne, la raison pour laquelle quelque Arménien voudrait prendre part à ce stratagème profane est beaucoup moins évidente. Pourquoi tout Arménien qui se respecte, qu’il soit d’Arménie ou de Diaspora, se laisserait-il (ou elle, si c’est une Arménienne) utiliser par les autorités turques pour des buts anti-arméniens, spécifiquement dans les efforts de la Turquie à l’encontre de la reconnaissance du Génocide arménien ?

Les Arméniens doivent boycotter et dénoncer cette ruse cynique turque. Si les autorités turques sont sincèrement intéressées par la restauration de l’Eglise de la Sainte Croix, voici les mesures qu’elles doivent prendre :

1) La désigner comme église, et non pas musée, et l’ouvrir pour un office chrétien.

2) La placer sous la juridiction du Patriarcat arménien de Constantinople, et non pas celle du Ministère turc de la Culture et du Tourisme.

3) Placer une croix sur son dôme.

4) Ôter les fausses références à une influence turque inexistante sur l’architecture de l’Eglise de la Sainte Croix.

L’opinion publique mondiale doit être informée que la Turquie n’a que très peu de mérite à rénover cette église arménienne. Il y avait dans la Turquie d’aujourd’hui des milliers d’églises et de monuments arméniens avant le génocide de 1915. La plupart d’entre elles ont été confisquées, et converties à un usage non religieux, abandonnées aux ravages du temps, ou incontestablement démolies par les autorités turques. Pour avoir quelque mérite, la Turquie devrait restaurer ces églises et ces monuments, et les rendre au Patriarcat arménien.

Jusqu’à ce que les autorités turques n’aient pas mis en œuvre les quatre mesures ci-dessus, nul Arménien qui se respecte ne devrait en aucune façon assister ni soutenir l’usage par Ankara de la rénovation d’une église arménienne pour des buts de propagande turque.

Harut Sassounian, le 20 mars 2007
 
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 PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

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Source
mercredi 28 mars 2007, Stéphane/armenews
ARMENIE


Le catholicos refuse d’aller à l’inauguration de l’église de la Sainte Croix sur l’île d’Aghtamar

Le catholicos Karékine II, chef de l’Eglise othodoxe orientale arménienne, a annoncé mardi qu’il ne se rendrait pas à la cérémonie d’inauguration d’une église arménienne restaurée en Turquie malgré l’invitation des autorités turques.


"Etant donné que l’église restaurée sera transformée en musée (...) et que la cérémonie sera laïque et non dans la tradition de l’église apostolique arménienne, la Sainte Etchmiadzine (siège de l’église arménienne) ne prendra pas part à cette cérémonie", souligne l’église dans un communiqué.

L’église de la Sainte Croix a été bâtie sur l’île d’Akhtamar sur le lac Van au Xe siècle. Abandonnée après le génocide des Arméniens sous l’empire ottoman en 1915-1917, elle a été restaurée par les autorités turques et doit être inaugurée jeudi.

Le catholicos ainsi que le ministre de la Culture arménien ont été invités à cette cérémonie dans un geste sans précédent alors que les deux pays n’entretiennent pas de relations diplomatiques.

"Ces actes ne peuvent pas être considérés comme une mesure positive sur la voie du rapprochement entre les peuples arménien et turc", estime l’église orthodoxe arménienne.

Un responsable du ministère arménien de la Culture ainsi que des représentants de l’intelligentsia arménienne assisteront cependant à l’inauguration, a indiqué le ministère.

La frontière turco-arménienne a été fermée en 1993.
 
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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

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3/28/2007 17:13
TURKEY
http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=8852&size=A
The Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on lake Van reopened but only as a museum

by Mavi Zambak
Built in the X century it lies in one of the country’s most beautiful areas, the very site of the Armenian genocide occurred. The journalist Hrant Dink, killed a months ago, had asked for the churches restoration and reopening. For years the ancient frescos had been used for target practice; the sacred building blackened by barbecue smoke for picnics. Armenian religious authorities pro
test. Patriarch Mesrob II refuses to participate in the ceremony.

Ankara (AsiaNews) – Tomorrow March 29 the Turkish government will reopen – as a museum – the ancient Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar island in the middle of lake Van, on eastern Turkey’s border with Armenia. The date had been moved over 4 times. Tomorrow Turkish authorities will be present at the ceremony, including prime minister Erdogan, but the Armenian spiritual authorities will not be present. In fact the Ankara authorities have denied the use of the building as a Church and has also refused to place a cross at the summit of the dome, as the original Church once had.

Frescos destroyed and blackened

Lying in a splendid salt water volcanic lake, this suggestive church is reached by a short 15 minute baost trip. It is one of the most precious examples of Armenian tenth century art in existence, an architectural creation of rare beauty (view the photo album at following address: http://www.pbase.com/dosseman/akdamar ).

In the past the Turkish journal Milliyet, had denounced the alarming story that the bas relief which decorate the facade of the Holy Cross and depict scenes from the New and Old testament, were being used as target practice. In order to prove the damage caused they published photos illustrating the extent of the bullets destruction. Moreover, on hearing of a hidden treasure present on the island, local residents became "hunters" in search of the presumed riches, committing untold acts of vandalism in the process.

As if that was not enough, the island, a popular destination for holiday picnic makers, was literally invaded by barbeques some even installed within the church itself, with the tragic consequence that the frescos on the church interior were blackened beyond recognition.

In 2004 the newspaper Zaman also raised the alarm about the degraded state of Holy Cross Church, despite the fact that it is a tourist location of renowned popularity among visitors from all over the world, above all the Armenian Diaspora. In fact it is widely known that this area – among the most beautiful landscapes in Turkey – is sadly infamous for having been one of the sites of the Armenian genocide of 1915. Today for many Armenians, wherever they may be, Akdamar remains a place dear to their hearts, so much so that many try to visit it before they die. The sight of elderly Armenians falling to their knees in prayer as they set foot on the sacred island is not a rare one.

A year and a half ago, the Turkish authorities decided to restore this artistic patrimony, a plan to preserve the historic identity of the church was laid out and after 15 months of intense work the restoration– which cost over 2 million euros and was carried out by the Turkish architect of note Zakerya Mildanoglu –has finished.

But not without controversy.

Il restauro e il genocidio armeno


Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink – killed in Istanbul on January 19th – wrote an article for the Turkish paper Birgun which was republished by Milliyet the very day of his assassination: “Ten years ago I first appealed to the Van authorities. “Instead of inventing a monster in the lake to attract tourists why don’t you take care of the work of art which lies right under your nose. What need is there to waste your time on stupidities? Van is a veritable treasure from an Artistic point of view. Why do you not act seriously and sit down to ask yourselves: What if we restore the region? – And even if then Armenians did arrive, let them come to visit the birth place of their forefathers, what harm could they possibly do? “ And I even added: “If you need help we are ready. Turkey’s Armenians and those of the Diaspora are ready to volunteer their services, we are at your orders, let this be known! Come let us restore not only the Church but also our disenchanted souls”. Finally after a long wait restoration on Akdamar are completed (…) we are deeply indebted to Cahit Zeydanli for his meticulous work, he consulted experts from Armenia and also with architect Zakarya Mildanoglu, and Armenian from Turkey. They did their best and they have created something splendid. The did great things, but alas then politicians and bureaucrats became involved and the inauguration could not take place. Once the opening was put of from November 4th 2006 for reasons of inclement weather to April the 24th, as explained by Culture Minister Atilla Koc. Reactions were not short in coming. The Armenian Patriarch Mutafyan made known that in the case the inauguration actually happened on April 24th no Armenian should attend. Last week the question even arose in Parliament. CHP (Peoples Republican Party) deputy Erdal Karademir asked if the date of April 24th, the anniversary of the Armenian genocide, was a reflection of the politics of AKP (Justice and Development Party). For its’ part the nationalist press presented the event as “the inauguration of the Van vendetta”. They succeeded in transforming something positive into an error, a farce, a disaster. The government still has not taken up a clear position regarding the Armenian question. It is not concerned with resolving the issue, but in scoring points in a political battle, in basis of their opponents moves. They lack all credibility. The invite Armenian historians to the discussion table but then show no scruples in putting people on trial who have a different view point to the official line on the question. The restore the Armenian Church to attract tourists to the western Anatolia region, at the same time showing no sahme in scoring political points from it”.

After hypothesising over April 11th, now it has been decioded: tomorrow there will be the opening ceremony with the presence of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Minister for Culture and Tourism Attila Koc, the Minister for Armenian Culture Hasmik Poghosyan has also been invited. But the problems persist.

It is well known that the Border between Turkey and Armenia is closed, thus after various attempts to have a conduit opened, or a special airfield made available for the special occasion, so the Armenian authorities could make their way to Van directly from the Armenian capital, following Turkey’s repeated no, the group of Architects, historians and journalists today set out on an arduous 15 hour journey overland through Georgia, when Van lies a few hundred miles from Erivan.

A museum without a cross or religious ceremonies

The Armenian Patriarch Karekin Katolikos II has joined Turkish Armenian Patriarch Mesrob II in refusing to attend. Why? This historic Church has been transformed into a museum, a request for a cross to be put in place at the summit of the dome has been refused, there will be no bells and the opening ceremony will be equal to that of any secular museum.

“Seeing as it is not considered a Church, seeing as no religious celebration will mark this reopening, my presence there is really insignificant”, affirmed Patriarch Mesrob II, adding: “I pleaded with the President and Prime Minister to see that a cross be placed on the dome, I invited them to establish an annual Armenian festival in the area, but I have yet to receive an answer. Therefore my presence there on March 29th really has little sense”.

And the delicate relationship between the Patriarch and the Turkish authorities do not end here.

Days ago Mesrob II travelled under heavy police escort following death threats to Iskenderun, in ancient Alessandretta, a maritime city on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, to celebrate the 225 anniversary of the local Armenian Church. Well, there in that very city which is also home to the Catholic Vicariate to Anatolia, the mayor decided to erect a monument to the Turks killed by French and Armenians during the French occupation of 1918-38.

The Patriarch, could only comment on this gesture as a further provocation by nationalists to divide the population : “Instead of building a bridge of dialogue between peoples, in this way they heighten tensions, this can only be the work of nationalists”, he sadly commented to journalists.

Even regarding Hrant Dink’s assassination, nothing clear has so far emerged: “If we still cannot find the true perpetrators of this crime, it means that they are well protected and from on high”, is the Patriarchs embittered response.

 
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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

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FEDERATION EURO-ARMENIENNE
pour la Justice et la Démocratie
Avenue de la Renaissance 10
B-1000 Bruxelles
Tel: +32 (0)2 732 70 26
Tel/Fax : +32 (0)2 732 70 27

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE
pour diffusion immédiate
28 mars 2007
Contact: Varténie ECHO
Tel/Fax : +32 (0)2 732 70 27

FESTIVAL D'HYPOCRISIE : LA TURQUIE INAUGURE L'EGLISE SAINTE CROIX
D'AGHTAMAR


Après avoir « restauré » l'Eglise et le monastère Sainte-Croix
d'Aghtamar pendant presque deux ans, la Turquie organise son
inauguration officielle le jeudi 29 mars 2007 et a cyniquement invité la
communauté arménienne à y participer. Cette inauguration était
initialement programmée pour le 24 avril, date de la commémoration du
génocide des Arméniens. Cependant, devant le tollé provoqué par le choix
délibéré de cette date, Ankara a décidé d'avancer d'un mois son
opération de communication.

La Fédération Euro-Arménienne se félicite qu'en dépit des campagnes de
destruction des monuments arméniens en Turquie, ce monastère, construit
entre 915 et 921 sous le règne du roi arménien Gagik 1er et qui
représente un trésor du patrimoine culturel arménien, soit encore
debout. Cependant, elle dénonce dans le même temps toutes les actions
cachées derrière cette restauration, qui visent à détruire le caractère
chrétien et arménien des églises et autres monuments subsistants dans
l'actuelle Turquie.

En effet, sous prétexte de restauration, la Turquie efface toute trace
de présence arménienne sur son territoire : elle a rebaptisé le
monastère « Akdamar » (« veine blanche » en turc) afin qu'il ait un nom
à consonance turque et en a fait un « Musée monumental de l'église
d'Akdamar », du sommet duquel a été enlevée la croix qui la consacrait.

Contre toute évidence historique, Ankara présente l'église d'Aghtamar
dans ses brochures officielles comme un témoignage de l'art musulman
turc, bien que le monde entier sache que les Turcs vivaient sur les
steppes d'Asie Centrale à l'époque de l'édification d'Aghtamar. Dans le
même temps, diverses sources d'informations relatent la disparition, ces
dernières semaines, des derniers édifices arméniens- et notamment les
khatchkars, les fameuses croix en pierre sculptées - encore présents et
qui témoignent du caractère arménien de la région de Van.

A l'instar de la plupart des responsables d'Arménie et de Diaspora, le
catholicos Karekin II a refusé de prendre part à cette mascarade.

« L'inauguration de l'église arménienne d'Aghtamar s'inscrit pleinement
dans l'opération de propagande turque qui vise à contrer l'adoption de
la Résolution sur la reconnaissance du génocide arménien par le Congrès
américain. » a déclaré Hilda Tchoboian la présidente de la Fédération
Euro-Arménienne.

La Fédération rappelle qu'avant le génocide, on recensait plus de 2350
églises, monastères et monuments religieux arméniens sur le territoire
qu'occupe la république turque. Aujourd'hui, presque tous ont été
détruits ou confisqués et convertis à des usages non religieux, voire
parfois dégradants comme des étables ou des dépotoirs.

« Si la Turquie était réellement sincère dans ses intentions, elle
aurait restitué tous les avoirs spoliés des Arméniens et en premier
lieu, les édifices qui appartiennent de plein droit à l'Eglise
arménienne » a conclu Hilda Tchoboian.
 
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 PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

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Original
30. März 2007, Neue Zürcher Zeitung
it. Istanbul, 29. März


Armenische Kirche in der Türkei als Museum wieder geöffnet
Zeichen für einen Neubeginn in den Beziehungen zwischen Ankara und Erewan?


Auf einer kleinen Insel im Vansee im Osten der Türkei ist eine über tausend Jahre alte armenische Kirche als Museum wieder geöffnet worden. Dies gilt als Indiz dafür, dass auf Regierungsebene allmählich eine neue Bewertung der Geschichte des Landes einsetzt.


Mitglieder der türkischen Staatsführung und der armenischen Diaspora haben am Donnerstag die armenische Palastkirche Ahtamar (türkisch: Akdamar) auf einer Insel im Vansee in einem feierlichen Akt gemeinsam wieder geöffnet. Die Heiligkreuzkirche sei das Symbol einer Kultur, die 3000 Jahre lang dieses Land geprägt habe, sagte der Patriarch der armenischen Gemeinde der Türkei, Mesrob II. Die Wiederöffnung der Kirche signalisiere die «positive Entwicklung» der türkisch-armenischen Beziehungen.

Initiative der Regierung
Die Heiligkreuzkirche Ahtamar ist für die Identität der Armenier von besonderer Bedeutung. König Gagig Artsruni, der Anfang des 10. Jahrhunderts hier regierte, liess auf der Klosterinsel Ahtamar einen prächtigen Palast sowie eine Palastkirche errichten. Inmitten der grandiosen Berglandschaft rund um den Vansee war die Kirche des Heiligen Kreuzes jahrhundertelang Sitz des armenischen Patriarchats und Zentrum der armenischen Kultur. Heute existiert weder der Palast noch das Kloster mehr. Fast hundert Jahre nach der Vertreibung der Armenier aus Ostanatolien schien der Verfall der Kirche unwiderruflich, bis die Regierung des gemässigten Islamistenchefs Recep Tayyip Erdogan im Jahr 2005 beschloss, die Restauration der historischen Stätte selber zu finanzieren. Rund 1,5 Millionen Dollar sollen die Restaurierungsarbeiten gekostet haben.

Die Heiligkreuzkirche ist das erste armenische Monument überhaupt, das in der Türkei restauriert wurde. Seit der Gründung der Republik Türkei im Jahre 1923 wird die armenische Vergangenheit des Landes ignoriert, negiert oder als Zerrbild wiedergegeben. Im Museum der nahe gelegenen Stadt Van werden beispielsweise die Armenier lediglich als mordende Banden dargestellt, die muslimische Einheimische im Blut ertränken.

Keine Gottesdienste
Auch die Eröffnungsfeier verlief nicht ganz ohne Probleme. Für Unmut zwischen der Hauptstadt Armeniens, Erewan, und Ankara sorgte die Frage, ob die Kulturstätte eine Kirche oder ein Museum sein sollte. Das Oberhaupt der armenischen orthodoxen Kirche, Karekin II., bat um die Erlaubnis, einen Gottesdienst halten zu dürfen, was abgelehnt wurde. Ahtamar sei ein Museum, hiess es aus dem türkischen Aussenministerium, worauf der armenische Katholikos seine Reise in die Türkei absagte. Die Hoffnung, dass künftig wenigstens einmal im Jahr auch Gottesdienste in der Kirche stattfinden könnten, äusserte indessen der türkisch-armenische Patriarch Mesrob II. Das wäre ein Anziehungspunkt für die in alle Welt verstreuten Armenier und würde ein «Klima des Dialogs» zwischen Türken und

Armeniern ermöglichen.
Dass am Donnerstag direkt neben dem Eingang der Kirche vier riesige türkische Fahnen aufgestellt wurden, dürfte manche Armenier ebenso gestört haben wie die Tatsache, dass der Regierungschef Erdogan sein Versprechen nicht hat einlösen können. Erdogan hatte anlässlich der Eröffnung versprochen, einen Grenzübergang zu Armenien zu öffnen und einen Direktflug aus Erewan nach Van zu ermöglichen. Das wurde aber von der Armeeführung abgelehnt. Die Türkei hat keine diplomatischen Beziehungen mit dem Nachbarland Armenien.

Umdenken auf Regierungsebene?
Gäste aus Armenien mussten den weiten Umweg über Georgien nehmen, um Ahtamar zu besuchen. Dennoch gilt die Restauration und die Wiederöffnung der Heiligkreuzkirche als vielversprechendes Zeichen dafür, dass zumindest auf der Regierungsebene allmählich ein Umdenken bezüglich der tragischen Vergangenheit eingesetzt hat. Wie der Kulturminister, Attila Koc, bei seiner Eröffnungsrede betonte, will seine Regierung künftig die Zeugnisse aller Kulturen, die in diesen Ländern existiert haben, nach dem Beispiel Ahtamars schützen und an die nächsten Generationen weitergeben.





Quote:
armenische Palastkirche Ahtamar (türkisch: Akdamar)


Ich möchte darauf verweisen, dass der Name der Kirche "Sourp Khatch" (Heiliges Kreuz) war, jedoch durch die Legende der Insel mehr bekannt als "Akh Tamar".

Die Türken haben die "Kirche" dann türkifiziert in "Akdamar", was zwar ähnlich klingt, aber nichts mit dem eigentlichen Namen zu tun hat. Akdamar bedeutet "weisse Vene". Akh Tamar hingegen deutet auf einen Namen (Tamar).
 
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 PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:


Friday, March 30, 2007
Cengiz Çandar
Turkish Daily News
Source & Original


The so-called ‘Akdamar museum’

This is the day of the opening of a "church-museum," which the Minister of Cultural Affairs turned into a mess. Whatever the intention was, it looks like a "cultural genocide." Today is indeed the day of the opening of the Ahtamar Church, which has been just restored, to "tourism," and which is expected to attract many tourists to Eastern Anatolia.


However the Ministry has renamed the 1000-year-old Armenian capital "Ani" as "Anı" (which means "memory" in Turkish), and also removed the cross and the bells from the Ahtamar Church, which it renamed as "Akdamar" (which means "white vein" in Turkish.) This obsession with renaming, the cultural and religious intolerance shown towards the cross and the church bell, might well be perceived in the world as a "cultural genocide"; nobody should be surprised if that turns out to be the case.



The obsession with renaming:

The name Akhtamar comes from a myth about the lake Van. It is about the story of a young man, who was looking forward to reunite with his lover, Tamar, who was on the island along with the church in question. The man yelled "Ah, Tamar" while he was drowning. Why in the world we change that name into "Akdamar"?

What kind of a lack of imagination is that? We have renamed many historical areas within Turkey with completely made-up names like "Güzelyurt" (Beautiful Home), "Yeşilyurt" (Green Home), "Yeşilköy" (Green Village), "Gündoğan" (Rising Day). And now, "Ani" turned into "Anı", and "Akhtamar" into "Akdamar."

You restore a historical church and find absurd reasons for not putting a cross and a bell onto it? Who will believe that you are secular, or that you "respect all faiths," or that you represent "the alliance of civilizations against the clash of civilizations."

What you do is simply "cultural genocide." How come you have the right for that? And why?

Here is an excerpt from a news story published in the weekly Agos on March 23, and which tells about the letter sent by a group of intellectuals from the Istanbul Armenian community to Minister of Culture, Atilla Koç:

�…Emphasizing that the church on the island is named �Ahtamar Sourp Haç Church� and that it gets its name from the Sourp Haç festival celebrated on the second Sunday of every September, the intellectuals say: �This is an important day and an important festival for Armenians. This is also the reason for the existence of that church. Therefore, we think it would be appropriate to have the name of the church, just like the name of the island, to be changed to fit the its religious and historical significance… If required, the ownership of the property can be given to the community and the operation right to the relative state body. However, if this site will also be [serving as] a church, then it needs to be blessed and open to prayers'.�

Turkish Armenian Patriarch Mesrop II says: �Is it possible to have a church without a cross at the top? Furthermore, religious services will not be conducted at its opening. If I will not have a role there as a [man of] religion, there will not be a point in my going there.�


Appear righteous and benefit politically:


What do you think �our set� are trying to do? If you ask me, they would like �to appear righteous and benefit politically.� And naturally they make a mess out of it. The initial plans were for the opening of Ahtamar to take place on Apr. 24. A real cunning idea... As it is known to be the �Armenian genocide remembrance day in the world,� a trump for propaganda would have been used on that day.

Then the date became Apr. 11. According to the ancient Armenian calendar, Apr. 11 coincides with Apr. 24. They probably knew this also. They were still pursuing another cunning idea. At the end, it was decided that the opening of Ahtamar, now �Akdamar,� would take place on Mar. 29, as a restoration opening of a museum-church, without a cross or a bell.

What a disgrace. The cross a symbol for the Christian world that represents Jesus Christ's suffering for all humanity. Even if Muslims do not believe in the cross, and even if there are negative connotations of the cross throughout history for Muslims, would it not be necessary to �show respect toward everyone's faiths� in a secular country in 2007? Would such an attitude not glorify a Muslim Culture Minister and his government?

On one hand, they constantly pronounce Fatih Sultan Mehmet's name, yet on the other, they cannot even come near what he has done 550 years ago or his tolerance. They have learned nothing from him.



Hrant Dink foretold it:


A reminder, just in case you have forgotten, that Hrant Dink was treacherously murdered with a shot in the back on Jan. 19. During the time of his murder, the last Agos newspaper he prepared, Agos's 564th issue has just hit the newsstands. The headline of the newspaper was on Ahtamar and so was the editorial, which Hrant wrote and signed as �Agos.�

Here's what Hrant Dink wrote in his editorial:

Quote:
�The opening of the restored Surp Haç Armenian Church of Ahtamar Island has turned into a comedy. It could only be possible to put a right job on a wrong course so successfully. The impossible-to-hide hidden motive could not be more revealing. A real comedy… A real tragedy… The government hasn't still been able to formulate a correct approach to the �Armenian question.� Its real aim is not to solve the problem, but to gain points like a wrestler in a contest. How and when it will make the right move and defeat its opponent. That's the only concern. This is not earnestness. The state calls on Armenian historians to discuss history, but does not shy from trying its own intellectuals who have an unorthodox rhetoric on the Armenian genocide. It restores an Armenian church in the Southeast, but only thinks, �How can I use this for political gains in the world, how can I sell it?�


They shot Hrant on the day this article was published. It lost its charm in entity. There has been no charm ever since that day. Bad smells come from the Hrant Dink murder investigation.

And today, they replace the cross with the icing on the cake, when they open the Ahtamar Sourp Haç Church as �Akdamar.� Then the �alleged genocide� and �alliance of civilizations� rhetoric will follow.
 
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 PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:



By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier

National Interest

TURKEY UNDERMINES ITS OWN PROPAGANDA BY DESECRATING ARMENIAN CHURCH

The Turkish government finally carried out last week its much touted but ultimately failed public relations effort for the reopening of the Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar Island . It was a textbook case of how not to carry out a propaganda campaign.


By orchestrating such a high profile show, Ankara intended to impress the international community by trying to make the point that while Armenians are accusing the Turks of having committed genocide against them, the Turkish government was so magnanimous and gracious as to spend $1.5 million of its own money to renovate an ancient Armenian Church.

Due to sheer incompetence and no small degree of malice, Ankara botched just about every aspect of this ceremony. Here is a short list of the many missteps of the Turkish authorities which undermined their own objectives and interests:

1) Changed the date of the opening ceremonies 3 or 4 times, thus making it obvious to the world that Turkey was trying to find the most politically opportunistic time to score the maximum possible propaganda effect.

2) The Turkish Consul General in Los Angeles sent a large number of invitations to Armenians less than two weeks before the "Akdamar" (sic) ceremony. This mailing list was recently acquired from a "moderate" Armenian and the invitations were sent out in cheap brown envelopes, similar to the paper bags used by grocery stores.

3) Leaked to the Turkish media a fake list of the names of Diaspora Armenians who were supposedly attending the reopening ceremony, while in reality, not a single one of them was at Akhtamar.

4) Labeling the Armenians that were invited by Ankara to Akhtamar as "moderates," served to undermine their credibility and standing in the Armenian community.

5) Forced the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople to attend the ceremony without allowing him to say even a prayer.

6) Invited Armenian Church leaders to the reopening of a sacred Armenian Church, and then told them that it would be a museum and not a church, and that there would be no religious ceremony, no cross on the Church’s dome and no affiliation with the Armenian Patriarchate. No wonder not a single Armenian Church leader showed up at the ceremony either from Armenia or the Diaspora, except for the Patriarch.

7) Invited high ranking Armenian government officials and then not allowed them to cross the border, thus forcing them to drive 15 hours to get to Lake Van via Georgia, rather than the 4 hours needed directly from Armenia.

8.) Invited to the ceremony Israeli and American diplomats whose governments have refused to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide

9) Rejected the offer from a world famous Armenian-American pianist Shahan Arzruni, formerly of Istanbul, to perform at the opening ceremony on Akhtamar Island . Instead, they arranged for a Turkish pianist who played Turkish, Jewish and Armenian music.

10) Hoisted huge Turkish flags all over Akhtamar Island , including a large one on the church wall itself along with a massive banner of Ataturk.

11) When a couple of pious Armenian visitors lit candles inside the church, Turkish security agents quickly put out all the candles and confiscated them.

12) When Atilla Koc, the Minister of Culture of Turkey, was asked if mass could be held at the renovated Church once a year, he responded by saying that he is waiting for a decision from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thus making it perfectly clear that the whole ceremony was a big political charade.

If Turkey wanted to impress international public opinion and win over Armenians everywhere, it should have done the exact opposite of what it actually did. As an Armenian Church leader recently told this writer, if the Turks truly desired to befriend the Armenians, they should have placed crosses all over the Holy Cross Church, instead of Turkish flags and posters of Ataturk. Rather than impressing Armenians, Turkey actually ended up insulting them by desecrating their historic Armenian Church!

Cengiz Candar, in his commentary published in the Turkish Daily News, had very harsh words for the Turkish authorities. He described their actions at Akhtamar as a "disgrace" and even "cultural genocide."

One can always count on Turkish officials to undermine their own state interests. That is why they are often referred to as "the gang that cannot shoot straight!"

By Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
 
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