October 1, 2010 - 17:54 AMT
Turks do their best to insult and humiliate the already silent Armenian community of Istanbul
Muslim prayer in Ani and setting a cross on the church are political rather than spiritual moves.
Turkey could never be accused of lack of morals and respect for sacred things and places, but what Devlet Bahceli did in the Cathedral of Ani does not really fit into any framework. Bahceli insulted not only Christians (who have long been accustomed to it, knowing the ideology of his party and that of him), but also Islam. Against this background, setting a cross on the dome of Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar more looked like mockery and challenge issued to the Armenians, especially the Armenian community of Istanbul.

As a matter of fact, by turning 60.000 of their own citizens into hostages and lower class citizens without voting rights, the Turks are doing their best to insult and humiliate the already silent Armenian community. And this is done at the highest level and with full connivance of the Patriarchate, which has long lost its Christian values and only thinks of survival at any cost, even through the loss of national identity. And it must be admitted that the Turkish Government has succeeded so far. No force in the world, neither the U.S. nor the courts of human rights, is able to halt the barbaric nomads in their brutality towards historical monuments that make up the pride of any civilization.

The latest example is Resolution 1631 adopted by the U.S. Congress, which condemns Turkey for the destruction of Christian values and monuments in northern Cyprus. “We call on Turkey to put an end to the transformation of Christian churches and monasteries into mosques in the northern part of the island of Cyprus and to respect freedom of religion, the OSCE decisions on the protection of spiritual and cultural values of the member countries of the organization,” the resolution says. So what? The Turkish Embassy in Washington simply issued a statement saying the Congress passed a unilateral resolution without consulting the Turkish side.

Anyway, both the Muslim prayer in Ani and setting a cross on the church are political rather than spiritual moves. If we take as basis the fact that in pre-election campaign scrupulousness of resources leads to defeat, it must be said that Turkish politicians do not suffer from scrupulousness, especially when it comes to Armenians. We must also remember that October 10 marks a year since the signing of the ill-fated Protocols on normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. All the moves in the coming week will be targeted specifically at discrediting the Protocols in the eyes of that part of the Turkish society which still hopes (or pretends to hope) for some improvement in relations between the two countries. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s words, incidentally, should shatter the remaining illusions in this issue. And it’s not that Ankara seeks Karabakh conflict settlement. The thing is that the Azeris are a Turkic people, and whatever the world powers say, for Ankara they mean much more than the Armenians. As we have previously mentioned, this process was doomed to failure from the very start, since the signing ceremony in Zurich. The almost three-hour delay in the signing of Protocols because of Turkey should have alerted all the interested parties. However, it was viewed as a purely procedural delay, which gave Turkey a handle for further speculation over Karabakh and the Armenian Genocide.

And reverting to the subject of the prayer in Ani, let us say that current Turkish politicians have neither faith in, nor fear of God, otherwise they would not transgress the precepts of their own faith and would not desecrate the Koran by a sacrilegious prayer in the Christian church. There is no doubt that it is in fact a Christian church for the simple reason that the Cathedral is not transformed into a mosque and there is no crescent on it. In short, Turkey did the same as the Istanbul Patriarchate, chanting a liturgy in a church without a cross...

Karine Ter-Sahakyan