BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Once again I am overcome with the irrepressible urge to toy with the coincidence of Turkey with turkey, right around the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. as opposed to Canada’s which is in October.
Whom, but someone who we would describe pejoratively as a turkey, would continue to manifest hatred against people, a group of human beings, against who such a turkey had already committed genocide more that a hundred years before? Unsurprisingly, at least to most readers in on this platform, that’s what continues unabated in Turkey. Hateful turkeys are still spewing their bile and venom against Armenians on both an institutional and individual level.
So, I thought a sampling (no presumption of completeness here) of such expressions that occurred over the past year would be of interest to Armenians and those in Turkey who might want to take a step out of the hate-mire in which they are wallowing.
The efforts by the Bolis Patriarchate to regain ownership of the Sanasarian Khan, initiated in 2013 and having resulted in a positive outcome, were seemingly quashed. After going through the hierarchy of Turkey’s courts and winning the case, the Patriarchate’s victory was met with foot dragging by the Directorate General of Foundations (Vakf [Turkish version of the Arabic Waqf]– a system of donation to charitable trusts based on Islamic law). Then, Vakf appealed to the same high court that had found in favor of the Patriarchate, and the same court reversed itself. This is an obvious case of Armenian hate bubbling to the surface and perverting justice.
Unknown perpetrators vandalized the Sourp Hreshdagabed Armenian Church in Balat (a neighborhood in Bolis), with graffiti saying, “You are finish”. Minority Foundations Representative Moris Levi condemned the “hate crime,” filing a complaint as well. Sourp Hreshdagabet was first built in 1635 as a wooden structure. It burned in 1692, 1729, and 1827, and rebuilt of wood. After the last fire it was rebuilt as a masonry building upon the order of Sultan Mahmud II, with the entrance constructed of stones from the historic church in Smyrna. It was renovated in 2005 and restored in 2012. Can there be any more obvious a case of hate than this?
The Oshavank church in Ouzoundereh, province of Gareen (Erzeroum) was slated to be rebuilt as a tourist attraction. The local governor described it as “a legacy of the Georgians”! Once again, look at the depth of hatred that an Armenian church has to be attributed ot another of our neighbors. Plus, I suppose we should be “grateful” that it’s not being razed outright and at least will continue to exist.
A Turkish citizen filed a suit against the author and editor of the book “The Armenian Genocide and Islam” over its inclusion of assertions about the Armenian Genocide. See how deep the hatred reaches? This bogus case should have been dismissed out of hand, yet…
An international conference on “Social, Cultural and Economic History of Kayseri and the Region,” which was set to take place at the Hrant Dink Foundation’s Havak Hall was banned at the last minute after speakers had travelled from far and wide to attend. It was initially planned in Gesaria (Kayseri), but was blocked by local government interference and moved to Bolis. Think of how much hatred there must be that they are willing to subject the country to that kind of embarrassment just to avoid mention of the role Armenians played in one part of the country.
Never one to disappoint when it comes to foolish statements, Turkey’s President Erdoğan came up with this lulu about Armenians: “They used to wander as nomads,” said Erdogan. “Before now, they used to wander in different places as nomads. While they were similarly living as nomads in Turkey, the forced deportation took place.” The depth of hatred that drives someone to utterly misrepresent history and justify flagrant human rights abuse is breathtaking.
The historic Sourp Sarkis Armenian Apostolic Church of Dikranagerd, thought to date back to the 16th century, is in ruins due to destruction and raids by treasure hunters. Located in the Sur district of Diyarbakir which is largely the old Armenian neighborhoods and was bombed extensively when Ankara was battling Kurds. It is at risk of further destruction. Since its confiscation in 1915, this church has been used as a warehouse, barn, or granary throughout most of the 20th century. A plaque has been installed on the church walls nothing has been done to protect this piece of Armenian heritage. It reminds me of the Sour Garabed church renovated in Dikranagerd a few years ago. What hatred makes someone let such a treasure go to waste?
The Holy Mother of God (S. Asdvadzadzeen) church in Sepasdia/Sebastia (Turkish Sivas) will be renovated by the cultural arm of the central government and turned over to the local authorities of Gurun (where it is found) to be used as a museum. Once again, I guess we’re supposed to be “grateful” it is not being demolished. But the building’s obvious usurpation and use by perpetuators of the great crime against Armenians is another hateful poke in the eye to victims of the Genocide and their descendants. Can you say “multi- and trans- generational hate?”
Apologies if I have soured your stomach after its Thanksgiving overindulgence. That personal agida should motivate you to work on reclaiming all Armenian community properties as a first and most obvious step towards regaining all our stolen property and wealth that is now being enjoyed by a fourth thieving generation of the hateful turkeys of Turkey.