Surp Sarkis Church, one of four Armenian churches in Turkey’s southeastern city of Diyarbakır, is on the verge of collapse, JinNews reports.
Built in the 16th century, the church was used by the Armenian community in the city until 1915 when the entire Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire was sent on a death march under the pretext of relocation.
Inheritors of one of the greatest civilisations in Anatolia and Mesopotamia, the Armenian people were virtually wiped out of existence in less than a year in systematic massacres as well as hunger and disease on the road to the Syrian desert.
The church, which after 1915 was turned into a rice mill then a storage facility, has in recent years started literally falling apart due to lack of repair and restoration, damage caused by treasure hunters, and the looting of stone parts.
Representatives of an Armenian foundation in Diyarbakır and of the Chamber of Architects have met with state authorities to call for protection of the remaining parts and restoration of the church, but with no success.
It is clear that failure to save the church will mean the loss of a unique cultural heritage for the city.