Armenian churches in Turkey

‘De Standaard’ published my series of Armenian churches in Eastern Turkey today.
Many facts prove that along with the massacres and deportation, the Young Turk government also implemented a premeditated and planned destruction of the material testimonies of the Armenian culture, the so-called cultural genocide. Realizing the role of the church and Christian faith for the Armenian nation, they intentionally massacred Armenian clergymen, destroyed churches, monasteries, thousands of medieval manuscripts and other church property.

Ooggetuige Armeense kerken

My text in dutch:

Stille getuigen

Ze staan op afgelegen plekken langs het Meer van Van en in het Turks-Armeense grensgebied. Ze worden gebruikt als stal of opslagplaats voor hooi in Koerdische dorpen die niet op de kaart staan. Tientallen Armeense kerken en kloosters, uitgestrooid over de Anatolische heuvels, vechten tegen het verval. Al honderd jaar lang.

De idyllische eerste aanblik van overwoekerde ruïnes, verhult een zwarte bladzijde uit de geschiedenis van Turkije. Nadat de Jonge Turken in 1915 de volledige Armeense bevolking van Oost-Turkije hadden uitgeroeid, volgde de ‘culturele genocide’. In een poging de sporen van de historische Armeense aanwezigheid in Turkije uit te wissen, werden heiligdommen en begraafplaatsen doelbewust verwaarloosd, gevandaliseerd, beschoten, vernield. Van de meer dan 2000 kerken die het Armeense patriarchaat in 1914 telde, staan er vandaag nog bitter weinig overeind.

In 2005 begon het Turkse Ministerie van Cultuur met de restaurantie van de Armeense kathedraal op het eiland Akdamar in het Meer van Van. Dat het bekende monument werd heropend als museum en niet als kerk, is vele Armeniërs een doorn in het oog. Zij beschouwen het als een poging om het Turkse imago op te smukken.

Cengilli, Turkey, July 30, 2015 Armenian church in the Kurdish village of Cengilli near Kagizman. Armenia accuses Turkey of deliberately neglecting and destroying Armenian historical monuments, as part of a cultural genocide. In 1974 UNESCO stated that after 1923, out of 913 Armenian historical monuments left in Eastern Turkey, 464 have vanished completely, 252 are in ruins, and 197 are in need of repair.

Cengilli, Turkey, July 30, 2015
Armenian church in the Kurdish village of Cengilli near Kagizman.
Armenia accuses Turkey of deliberately neglecting and destroying Armenian historical monuments, as part of a cultural genocide. In 1974 UNESCO stated that after 1923, out of 913 Armenian historical monuments left in Eastern Turkey, 464 have vanished completely, 252 are in ruins, and 197 are in need of repair.

About admin

Nick Hannes (°1974) is a photographer based in Antwerp, Belgium. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts KASK in Ghent, he worked for various media in Belgium and The Netherlands. Meanwhile he reported on social and political issues in the Balkans and the Middle East. In 2009 his first book ‘Red Journey’, a documentary about transition in the 15 former Soviet republics, was published by Lannoo. 'Mediterranean. The Continuity of Man', a documentary portrait of the Mediterranean region, follows in 2014. His latest book is 'Garden of Delight', a series that won the Magnum Photography Award 2017 and the Zeiss Photography Award 2018. Since 2008 Nick teaches documentary photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK/School of Arts) in Ghent. He is represented by Panos Pictures (London).
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