The historical Armenian church of Saint Bartholomew near the city of Başkale in the Province of Van continues to reside in a dilapidated condition. After the withdrawal of the units of the Turkish army from the territory of the temple in 2013, the Saint Bartholomew church has been vainly waiting for restoration works.
In the 1990s, the territory of the church served as the site of the Turkish special forces’ military base. In 2011, the commission for tourism of Turkey approved a project of the church’s restoration that hasn’t been yet implemented.
The head of the Turkish association of environmental protection Ali Kalcyk heavily criticized the sufferance of the Turkish government. “In spite of an existing law on the preservation of the property of minorities, history is being destroyed. In the past, Armenians were being killed. Now, the history and the traces of the Armenian presence in Turkey are being wiped out”, said Kalcyk.
Ali Kalcyk repeatedly addressed the government with this issue but didn’t achieve any results. “The whole history is now being destroyed in Van.”
The Saint Bartholomew Church was built in the 4th century at the site of Saint Bartholomew’s grave. It has been visited by the Armenians up until WWI and the Armenian Genocide. The first mentions of this church come from a document dated back to 1338. The church was severely damaged in a 1966 earthquake.