Mosque Foundation Funds Restoration of Istanbul Armenian Church

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MALATYA, Turkey (Today’s Zaman)–A Malatya foundation established to build mosques has assumed the financial costs of the restoration of a historic Armenian church located in the neighborhood where assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was born, Today’s Zaman reported.

The head of the Carmuzu Tepebasi Mosque Building and Preservation Foundation, Latif Yildirim, said they started planning the project to help restore the Armenian Tashoron Church in 2008 and wrote letters to the Prime Ministry and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism as well as Armenian businessmen to win their support. They also spoke with the Armenian Patriarchate in March, he said.

Money had been allocated for the restoration by the Culture and Tourism Ministry in 2009; however, due to budgetary problems, the foundation decided to take on the costs of the restoration. While noting that their project, which they call a “project of peace,” is a model of good relations between different faiths, Yildirim said, “We do not think we will experience financial problems.”

Armenian Archbishop Aram Atesyan said the church is a cultural treasure and added, “We will be very happy if such a project is carried out.” He also noted that there are some other churches in need of restoration and highlighted that this must also be done. The muhtar (local official) of the neighborhood in which the church is situated, Mustafa Sahin, said such a project would contribute to peace and stressed, “Whether used as a place of worship or as a museum, the historic church will contribute to unity and solidarity in the area as well as to tourism.”

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