..in anticipation of getting substantial remuneration in return for participating in the final destruction of these monuments, destruction by "restoration" done in the name of "reconciliation". Once again the US embassy, with its long history of sponsoring this sort of cultural destruction, emerges as the financier behind it all, using poodle organisations like the Hrant Dink Foundation (which has its own back catalogue of similar destructions, such as at the Havav fountains).
EXPERTS VOLUNTEER TO SAVE NON-MUSLIM HERITAGE IN TURKEY
Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey
March 16 2016
Around 140 at-risk churches, schools, synagogues and monasteries
across Turkey are being cataloged by an international team
A new project to protect Anatolia's non-Muslim architectural heritage
is bringing together volunteers from Turkey, Greece and Armenia.
Well over 100 at-risk churches, schools, monasteries and synagogues
will be logged and catalogued by experts from the three nations.
The project is being organized by the Association for the Protection
of Cultural Heritage, as well as Anadolu Culture, two initiatives
that support different communities in Turkey.
Architects, art historians and engineers have come together to review
Turkey's Greek, Armenian and Jewish heritage.
Cagla Parlak from the Association for the Protection of Cultural
Heritage said they aimed to reach an estimated 140 structures around
Turkey which are at risk.
According to Parlak, there is not much work directly related to
non-Muslim cultural heritage in Turkey. There is a lack of art
historians, architects or engineers who know about these special
structures, she added.
There are only a couple of people who could be termed experts on
Armenian art history, she said, pointing to a lack of expertise on
art history surrounding restoration projects in Turkey.
"Also, budgets for restorations are limited, so with this project, we
are specifying which structures are in need of primary restoration,"
The group will document findings from their visits to sites in seven
regions across Turkey, including the Central Anatolian province of
Kayseri, the southern province of Adana and Ä°zmir.
Financed by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the project took a year to
come together and ran parallel with the foundation of the association
The project has publicized its first results in a book called "Kayseri:
With Its Armenian and Greek Cultural Heritage" in February.
The team conducted a risk assessment of 18 Greek and Armenian
buildings in Kayseri such as the Surp Asdvadzadzin Church, Surp
Stepanos Church, Sakis Gumusyan School, the School in Molu and the
Agios Georgios Church.
Kayseri, like many other parts of the country, was home to various
minorities until the beginning of the 20th century, but their numbers
fell during the beginning of the republican era.
The year 1915 saw mass relocations which the Armenian diaspora
and government describe as "genocide;" 1923 saw a population
exchange between Turkey and Greece; 1942 witnessed a wealth tax
that hit non-Muslim communities, while 1955 featured the Events of
Sept. 6-7, during which many minority citizens left the country due
to anti-minority violence.
The new book reviews Kayseri's multicultural and socio-economic past.
The Armenian population in the city was around 15,000 at the end of
the 19th century, the book states. Today only one Armenian lives there,
according to local media.
Over 10,000 non-Muslim monuments
The group uses an inventory prepared by the Istanbul-based Hrant Dink
Foundation, registration decisions by local heritage protection boards
and literature reviews, Parlak said.
The Hrant Dink Foundation was founded in the name of a Turkish-Armenian
journalist who was assassinated by a Turkish nationalist in front of
his Agos newspaper in 2007.
The foundation worked for more than two years making an inventory to
gather information about Turkey's cultural heritage.
According to the research, there are 4,600 Armenian, 4,100 Greek,
650 Assyrian and 300 Jewish structures across the country.
"The team benefited from the Hrant Dink Foundation's inventory as
well as written sources and local historians. NGOs were interviewed
to identify the sites," Parlak said. "The cooperation between the
public sector, civil society and universities was important."
When the group goes to a site, they observe the structure, take
photographs and GPS coordinates. An inventory form is filled in and
the last part of the documentation consists of a risk report.
"A scoring system has been developed on the importance or the risk
each structure faces. Each structure is ranged in according to its
risk rating," she said.
"If a structure is at the top of the list, this means that this
building should have priority for restoration in that region,"
These reports will eventually be presented to the Turkish Culture
According to the project, the group will organize four trips with
local historians and three with international experts.
So far the experts visited Kayseri, Adana (Armenian and early-Christian
structures) and Ä°zmir with a focus on Jewish cultural heritage,
as well as Greek and Armenian buildings.
The team will visit the southeastern province of Mardin in to examine
Syriac heritage at the end of March, when a Syriac expert from Sweden
will join the team.
Most the structures are public spaces such as churches, chapels,
monasteries and schools, Parlak said.
Civil architecture, such as housing, is not added to the risk analysis,
she said, adding that if an authentic example has been encountered,
these structures are reported separately, such as Ä°zmir's cortijos -
a type of traditional housing used by Sephardic Jews from Spain.
There are buildings which are excluded from the report, Parlak said,
such as churches still in use or those turned into a museum or mosque.
"Our main aim is to ensure the protection of abandoned structures,"
she said. "At the moment this is just in theory. We don't know if
our suggestions will be taken seriously."
But Parlak is hopeful for the future of cultural heritage in Anatolia.
"Last week we were in Kayseri and we visited the governor's office,
cultural heritage preservation board and municipality. We told them
we could support them on experts and our offer was taken positively,"