Mass at Akhtamar Another Show By Turkey, Says Genocide Museum Director

Holy Cross Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island

YEREVAN (PanARMENIAN)—Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, historian Hayk Demoyan said that the planned religious ceremony scheduled for September 19 at the Holy Cross Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island is just another show by Turkey.

“The 10th century Holy Apostles (Surp Arakelots) Armenian temple has been converted into a mosque. I would rather have the Turkish authorities restore this temple to its original state, instead of organizing a ceremony at Holy Cross,” said Demoyan, describing the planned one-day religious service as an act which is meant to fool the international community, rather than appease it.

He added that it would be prudent if Armenia refrained from sending an official delegation to participate in the ceremony at the Holy Cross church, which was once the seat of the Armenian Catholicos.

The 1,100-year-old Akhtamar Church was opened in 2007 at a ceremony that hosted officials from Armenia and Turkey following a controversial two-year long restoration process by the Turkish government. The restoration cost some $1.7 million.

Earlier this year, Turkey gave permission for an annual religious rite that would take place every year at the church in the second week of September, upon proposal by the Van Governor’s Office and approval by Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay

The Turkish authorities, who have not placed a cross on the church yet, continue violating provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne signed in 1923, Demoyan told a press conference in Yerevan.

According to the historian, Armenian-Turkish relations should not be assessed as a separate process any longer, but rather it should be addressed within the context of regional development between neighboring countries.

“The first stage of the Armenian-Turkish relations ended with the signing of the two protocols, but not their ratification. The Turkish side devalued the essence of those documents,” Demoyan said.

“These two protocols helped to expose two bluffs by Turkey, which had been misleading the international community ever since Armenia’s independence. The first was that Armenia had territorial claims. The second one concerned the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish side did not ratify the protocols, which envisioned the subcommittee on historic issues, because they came to understand that irrespective of the signing and ratification of the protocols the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide would continue to be a separate process,” added Demoyan.

The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute’s aim is to accurately document and illustrate all materials related to the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. Demoyan has held the post as the museum’s director since 2005.


Related posts

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. manooshag said:

    Hye, the Turk is a Turk is a Turk… still in their Ottoman mentality of eliminating, demeaning – obviously
    using another ‘in your face’ tactic of denials still – restructuring Holy Cross Armenian Church at Aghtamar – not as the Christian edifice with the Armenian cross atop – as it was originally, but today a Turkish museum, to benefit the Turks’ goals to gain tourists – for a Turkey. Hence, today, Holy Cross church is not an Armenian church, but continuation of the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation begun in the 1890s and still perpetrated today, 2010… Turks rebuilt the edifice, debasing the Armenian victims – the memories of our Survivors as well, which is the mentality of the hordes of the Turks from the Asian mountains into today… Seeking in all manners and ways to pursue – still – their mode of ‘honoring’ an Armenian church – by ridiculing the use of our Holy Cross Church of Aghtamar – ‘permitting’ our holy
    services observed there only one day a year!! Add to that the elimination of the Christian cross as well!!
    A Turk is a Turk is a Turk – still in the Ottoman mode… Turks’ leaders continue to treat the Armenians as
    victims – as subhumans – enjoying this method of treating humanity as objects to be used for the pleasure of the Turk leaderships – still inhumanity to humans – ongoing.
    Where are the Muslim religious centers treated with such disgusting display of hatred? Where else in the world are Muslims denied recognition of their Muslim religion? But the Muslim can pursue the discrimination against the Armenian religion as if the Muslims are a superior religion, but they are debasing their own religion themselves by such actions against Armenians – Turks, obviously, still need to use Armenians as victims – even after slaughtering, terrorizing, torturing, kidnapping and burning churches filled with women and children… after victimizing the Armenian nation – the unrepentent Turk seeks to eliminate the Armenians – since 1890s-2010… even today, pursues the Turkish Genocide of the Kurds who have seeking to be free of the tyranny of the Turk (labeling Kurds as ‘terrorists’…).

    • Satenik said:

      I share your sentiments. You are of course perfectly right in your analysis of the treatment of religion. Fortunately Turkey has to wait a long long time for her application to the EU to be even considered and now the whole world knows that Turkey is enjoying her “affairs” with all the failed and bully states which have been condemned for their undemocratic laws, but there again what do you expect from Turkey? With an article #301 Turkey is always at the forefront of the oppressive regimes. Turkey is a pathetic state in denial of her past and her wretched present. They still consider the Kurds as “mountain Turks” well good old sick man of the world! No change there!

  2. Pingback: Liturgy at Akhtamar Another Show By Turkey, Says Genocide Museum Director | OBL News

  3. Peniamin R. Chavdarian said:

    Dear Hayk Demoyan,

    Thank you for the work you do as director of the Armenian Genocide Museum. I have a suggestion for your consideration with respect to the article on Surp Arakelotz. Could you inform the readers as to where to send e-mails to confirm supporting your thoughts and ideas, similar to what ANCA does, so people like me would take action. I believe the more we, Armenian individuals collectively, support you and other leaders by sending e-mails to those you recommend, the more we would get attention to the issues you so rightfully expressed.

    Thank you for your consideration,
    P. Chavdarian

  4. Arn.SWEDEN. said:





  5. Satenik said:

    To see our sacred and beloved Akhtamar still in chains by the barbarians is heartbreaking. When will our treasures be free?