An Assyrian Orthodox Church in Bağlar district of Diyarbakır (Amed) in southeastern Turkey is in danger of ruination, Yeni Özgür Politika reports.
The Assyrian Orthodox Church in Diyarbakır is over three hundred years old. Before a trustee was appointed to the Peoples Democratic Party’s (HDP’s) Diyarbakır Municipality, the municipality made an attempt to repair the church, but could not get permission to proceed. It has been reported that Turkish authorities have never taken the necessary measures to help protect the historical sanctuary.
The church has been plundered by treasure hunters over the years and then used as a barn and a warehouse. It was also reported that it had also been converted into a “police station” for several years. The church faces total destruction unless it is subject to restoration.
“The church is being destroyed day by day as the authorities do not take any further steps to save it from demolition”, said Sadık Budak, the mukhtar of the Alipınar neighbourhood, where the Assyrian Orthododox Church is located. Budak noted that the Provincial Directorate of Culture and the Museum Directorate had been informed about the situation of the church, but they had not responded as yet to any of the appeals of the local people.
Although the church was renovated in 2006-2007 with donations from Syrians living abroad in the diaspora and from Istanbul, officials from the Assyrian Virgin Mary Church Foundation in Amed asserted that the state does not financially assist Christian foundations such as themselves over the issue of required renovation works.
Since the ownership of Orthodox Churches belongs to Turkey’s Ministry of Treasury and Finance, local Christian foundations are not able to conduct renovation projects for such churches, even when they face collapse, officials from the Virgin Mary Church Foundation said.