Turkish Military Proposes Neighborly Tour of Turkey

(Combined Sources)–After a century of neglect and political wrangling, Turkey recently restored an ancient church, a lone building on the tiny Akhtamar island, and announced it may host Armenian officials at a ceremony marking the renovation of the 1,000 year-old church. Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper reported on March 14 that the Turkish army is at odds with government officials who have proposed the temporary opening of a direct route for an Armenian delegation to attend the opening of Holy Cross Church on Akhtamar Island. While military guidelines would have Armenian officials first land in Istanbul, then fly back to Van (1,600 miles), government officials suggest the Alijan border with Armenia open temporarily to provide a direct route to Van (130miles). Military officials said they fear if the border is temporarily opened with neighboring Armenia, visitors would be traveling through corridors that are forbidden to even Turkish citizens, and called the option "unacceptable to many."

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