Armenian churches have never been specially registered in Turkey, but about 2,200 Armenian churches are known to have existed in the country before 1912, Samvel Karapetyan, an expert in Armenian architecture, told a press conference.
According to him, 1/10 of the Armenian churches at most have been preserved. “Only traces of some Armenian churches have been left. The others can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The most deplorable fact is that even the few remaining Armenian churches in Turkey are getting vanished. As the last traces of Armenian cultural heritage are being obliterated, we will have nothing to see in western Armenia in 10-15 years. In this respect, we are late every day – the traces of the master of the house are being obliterated inside the house itself,” the expert said.
As to how Armenian monuments can be preserved in Turkey, Karapetyan said that it can at least be done by means of photography. He also pointed out the State’s role in this process. Particularly, lawsuits can be brought against Turkey at international judicial bodies.
“Three years ago the Greek authorities of Cyprus filed 1,600 lawsuits against Turkey for damaging historical monuments in northern Cyprus. One of the lawsuits dealt with the Makaravank Armenian monastery. It is no secret that Greeks won one of the lawsuits, and Turkey paid a €1m fine,” Karapetyan said. He thinks Armenia might well follow suit.