Sept 15 2010
It is apparent that Turkey will not have the cross atop the Armenian
church for the September 19 historic liturgy in Van's Akhtamar island.
Now the authorities try to put the responsibility on local Armenian
"Clergymen from the Armenian Patriarchate from Ä°stanbul are to decide
where to temporarily display the cross, in or outside the church,
until it is erected on the church after the service when preparations
are complete," Today's Zaman reports.
Armenian side maintains that neither inside nor outside is not a
solution. If Turkey is sincere in returning the Armenian churches to
their owners it needs to respect the religious rights of Christians
and their traditions by allowing to put a cross on top of churches.
Coincidentally, in November of 2009 Turkish media protested the
Swiss minaret ban. In fact, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan joined his voice to a chorus of international criticism
of Switzerland's ban on minarets, saying the Swiss ban reflects an
increasingly racist and fascist stance in Europe.
Today, of course, many Armenian and Greek churches in Turkey are
turned into state museums, including the Hagia Sophia, which was once
the pride of the entire Christendom.
Before the "cross controversy" many people in and outside of Turkey
had believed that the reopening of the Armenian church in Eastern
Turkey could be a start of a new era between the two people. After
Turkey revealed last week that it will not have cross on the top of
the church before Sept. 19 "due to technical reasons," the top three
hierarchical sees of the Armenian church and thousands of tourists
canceled their reservations to participate in the pilgrimage to this
church, where the last time corporate prayer was heard 100 years ago
before the Armenian Genocide.
Whether ironically or providentially, the name of the church in Van
is Holly [sic] Cross.
ERECTION OF CROSS ON AKDAMAR ARMENIAN CHURCH
Sept 16 2010
Difficulties over the erection of a 100-kilogram cross on the Cathedral
of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island in Lake Van have been partially
solved as the cross was temporarily placed on a wooden base.
The Turkish government agreed to open the 1,100-year-old Cathedral
of the Holy Cross for a one-day religious service on Sept. 19, an
event that is to become an annual occurrence.
Many believe a religious service at the historic church, which is now
a state museum, could be a symbol of reconciliation between Turkey
and Armenia, two neighbors bitterly divided over history and the fate
of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Turkish-Armenians had welcomed the move and Karekin II, the Catholicos
of All Armenians, had agreed to send two senior clerics to the church
for the service. However, a decision to not send the clerics was made
after a controversy erupted over whether a cross would be erected on
the steeple of the church for the service.
Officials say there were difficulties in erecting the cross on the
steeple in time for the historic service. This has led to a temporary
solution. Clergymen from the Armenian Patriarchate from Ä°stanbul
are to decide where to temporarily display the cross, in or outside
the church, until it is erected on the church after the service when
preparations are complete.
ARMENIAN PUBLIC FIGURES REFUSED TURKISH PRIME
MINISTER'S INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN LITURGY IN ARMENIAN CHURCH
Sept 15 2010
Yerevan, September 15, Interfax - Some representatives of public,
analytic and journalist circles of Armenia refused the invitation
of Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to participate in a
Liturgy at the Armenian church of the Holy Cross in Turkey.
The church located on the island of Akdamar in the Van Province
was restored on the initiative of the Turkish Culture and Tourism
Ministry and opened as a museum in March 2007. Late July 2010, Turkish
authorities permitted to celebrate a Liturgy there once a year. The
first service is to be celebrated on September 19.
One of the invitees political analyst Ovannes Nikogosyan told Interfax
that a final decision to refuse visit to Turkey was taken.
"Such a decision was taken as the Turkish government refused to set up
a cross on the dome of Armenian church. It's impossible to celebrate
a Liturgy in the church without cross. We believe that refusal of
Turkish authorities to set up a cross on the church proves that this
event is just a political performance," Nikogosyan said.
According to him, the other reason is that Turkish authorities refuse
to return the Church of the Holy Cross under jurisdiction of the
TURKISH HOSPITALITY: ARMENIAN REPORTERS TAKEN
Sept 13 2010
Early in the morning of September 13, at 5.00 Turkish time (7.00
Yerevan time) three Armenian journalists of Panorama.am, 'Aravot'
and Yerevan press club landed in Istanbul airport and were soon
In the check control point of the airport Armenian journalists were
taken hostage with some other Armenians as well, who arrived in Turkey
having other mission. Most of them were salesmen.
After getting their entrance visas, Turkish officer took the passports
of the Armenians without making any comments and gave it to the police
officers. Those called our compatriots' names cynically and checked
if they had a ticket back with them and rummaged in the wallets to
find money with them.
The situation didn't change even when they were told Armenian reporters
were taken hostage. Even more our reporters were soon separated and
kept for about an hour since the Turks weren't sure what to do with
them - to let free or to keep.
An hour later, when representatives of "Hrant Dink" foundation and
Boris Navasardyan the President of Yerevan Press Club interfered the
incident, our reporters were set free.
The salesmen told later they were surprised since they've been visiting
Turkey for 10 years and have never appeared in such a situation.
Sept 14 2010
London based institute of Komitas and Istanbul based "Birzamanlar"
publication published a book in English and Turkish on Holy Cross
Church of Akhtamar Island, Van, "GazetePort" reported.
"Akhtamar: Treasure of medieval Armenian architecture" cover
professional research results of 1980th by Stepan Mnatsakanyan.
"168-paged book by Ara Sarafyan and Osman Qyoqer will be an aid
to the Turkish reader to find information about medieval Armenian
architecture," GazetePort reported.
Saturday, 18 September 2010
TURKEY WON'T HAVE THE CROSS ATOP ARMENIAN CHURCH
FOR HISTORIC LITURGY
HOSTAGE IN ISTANBUL AIRPORT
ARMENIAN AND TURKISH CO-PUBLISHERS TO PRODUCE
BOOK ON HOLY CROSS OF AKHTAMAR