Turkish nationalists do not know a moment’s peace because of the recent liturgy in Surb Khach (Holy Cross). Hearing their statements mixed with fear one can say western Armenia is on the point of being joined to Armenia.
Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli is the “father” of such talks. He announced his intention to start work in the Turkish parliament, in cooperation with the heads of the party’s 40 regional chapters, by meeting for a namaz at Surb Khach church on October 1, in response to the Armenian liturgy.
The Turkish Minister of Tourism and Culture immediately responded to the Turkish nationalist’s initiative. He stated that Bahçeli has the personal right to a prayer at any clean place. However, mass religious services with the participation of all the party members run counter to the Turkish Constitution and to the Law on Parties.
The heads of some of the party’s regional chapters responded to the minister’s statement. They are mostly critical of the minister for permitting the liturgy in Van, which has no Armenian community, or the liturgy in the Sümela Monastery in Trabzon, which has no Greek community. Specifically, the MHP member Arif Akkus asked the Turkish authorities who are the Armenian churches opened for and how many people profess Christians without a place for religious services.
The MHP member Erkan Akcay claims the liturgy in the Sümela Monastery was a reminder of Pontus. The liturgy in the church on Akhtamar Island, with an Armenian structure in the east, revealed Armenia’s aims, the Turkish MP said.
The Turkish nationalists’ fear of Armenians and Armenia is expressed in the statements they make and events they organize. For example, after American-Armenian mountaineers installed the Armenian national flag atop Mount Ararat, the frightened nationalists climbed the mountain, carrying banners saying “no” to those who had installed Armenian flags on Mount Ararat. Last year, when the Armenian-Turkish protocols were signed, Devlet Bahçeli addressed Premier Recep Erdogan and stated the committee of historians that was supposedly to be formed was to discuss such issues as whether Ararat was part of Armenia or not, whether eastern Turkey was western Armenia or not.
A namaz the Turkish nationalists plan to organize in the Ani is evidence of their fears to losing the lands they acquired by killing 1,500,000 Armenians.