According to “Haberturk”, Director General of Turkish Waqfs Burhan Ersoy said that the Main Administration of Waqfs has restored 12 churches.
The liturgy at the Surb Khach (Holy Cross) Church on Akhtamar Island in Lake Van on September 6 was attended by the Director General of the Waqfs Burhan Ersoy.
At the liturgy, Ersoy told the “Anadolu” agency that the Surb Khach monastery had been renovated in 2005. Distorting historical facts, the Turkish official said that the Surb Khach monastery allegedly bears traces of not only Armenian but also Byzantine, Sassanid, Abbasid, and Turkish Muslim architecture.
Ersoy also emphasized “the kindness of the Turkish state towards Christian minorities”, noting, in particular:
“The restoration of this church has been completed, and the liturgy is celebrated here once a year. The state allows this. We, as an agency, provide support. The main department of the Waqfs restored 12 churches. We are sensitive toward the renewal of churches and religious beliefs.
As you know, the general leadership of the Waqfs manages 161 foundations. We monitor these community donations, as well as the synagogues and churches registered by the “Jewish Religious Buildings Open to Believers” foundation. We, as representatives of the state of the Republic of Turkey, show the necessary tenderness. Freedom of religion is important to us.”
In conclusion, the Turkish official said that 270 thousand people visit the Surb Khach monastery on Akhtamar island annually.
As a reminder, after the renovation of the Surb Khach monastery on Akhtamar island, the “benevolent” government bodies of Turkey turned it into a museum. Turkish authorities rarely restore minority cult sites, and most renovated churches have been turned into museums or cultural centers only for tourism development.