“This mosque is in fact a symbol of the old city of Gaziantep, but in its neo-classical and Gothic architecture, it does not look like a traditional mosque. Its appearance immediately indicates that the building was built by Christians,” writes Robert Fisk, noting that the most famous mosque in Turkey used to be the Armenian church of Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) built by Sarkis Balian, famous Ottoman architect of Armenian descent, over a century ago.
“The only symbol testifying to its origin can now be considered the year of its construction – 1892. The year is carved in stone on one of the walls of the church,” notes Robert Fisk.
The Independent columnist also tells the story of Armenians in the city of Ayntap and the terrible tragedy of 1915 when 32,000 Armenians were deported from the city to the Deir ez-Zor desert (now in Syria).
The deportation of Armenians on August 1, 1915, from Ayntap paved the shameful path of human history towards Auschwitz, and the transformation of the Armenian church into a Turkish mosque is a milestone along this long road, writes Fisk in conclusion.