Breaking: Images Show Extent of Damage to Diyarbakir’s Armenian Catholic Church

On Feb. 14, reports emerged that the Armenian Catholic Church of Diyarbakir had suffered extensive damages during clashes between Turkish armed forces and Kurdish militants in recent months. A series of images depicting the extent of the damage to the church were posted on the “Armenian Church Surp Giragos and Surp Sarkis in Diyarbakir” Facebook page. The Armenian Catholic Church is located in the historic Sur district of Diyarbakir, which has been a target of military operations by the Turkish state.

Images show the extent of damage to the Armenian Catholic Church
Images show the extent of damage to the Armenian Catholic Church

There has been some confusion about which of the churches suffered in the clashes. The Armenian Weekly was able to confirm with Gafur Turkay of the Surp Giragos Foundation that these images are not of the Surp Giragos Church. Armenpress has also confirmed with Agos editor Yetvart Danzikyan that the church in question was the Armenian Catholic Church. Danzikyan reportedly noted: “There are churches in the areas where the clashes are taking place. No one was able to enter [the area] for two months. The leadership of Surp Giragos Armenian Apostolic Church will have a meeting with the governor today.”

The Armenian Catholic Church has been under government jurisdiction. It was renovated by the local municipality some years ago, and reportedly used by locals as a childcare center for the past four years.

Images show the extent of damage to the Armenian Catholic Church
Images show the extent of damage to the Surp Sarkis Armenian Catholic Church

Armenian Weekly contributor Raffi Bedrosyan in a Jan. 7 article had written that “[The historic Sur district] is now mostly in ruins. Most of the buildings have been destroyed by rockets and cannon fire from army tanks. The Surp Giragos Church has escaped relatively unscathed with only broken windows and some bullet holes. But the Armenian Catholic Church had its doors broken down and some internal damage. The most important mosque in Sur, the historic Kursunlu Mosque—originally the St. Theodoros or Toros Armenian Church, converted to a mosque in the 16th century—has been completely burned down.”

A photograph of an alleged Turkish police officer making the Gray Wolf salute while inside the Surp Giragos Church has been shared on social media.
A photograph of an alleged Turkish police officer making the Gray Wolf salute while inside the Surp Giragos Church has been shared on social media.

Meanwhile, in recent days, a photograph of an alleged Turkish police officer making the Gray Wolf salute while inside the Surp Giragos Church has been shared on social media. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) shared the photograph on its English-language Facebook and Twitter pages, stating, “Turkish police humiliating Christians in Surp Giragos of Diyarbakir, largest Armenian Church in the Middle East. In the picture, the status says ‘Sultan Alparslan’s grandchildren bring the infidels of churches to faith.’” The Armenian Weekly was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the image.

Note: In its initial report, the Armenian Weekly noted that the damaged church was known as the Surp Sarkis Armenian Catholic Church. The name of the church is not Surp Sarkis. Surp Sarkis is an Armenian Apostolic Church, also in Diyarbakir. We regret the error.

Images show the extent of damage to the Armenian Catholic Church
Images show the extent of damage to the Armenian Catholic Church
Images show the extent of damage to the Armenian Catholic Church
Images show the extent of damage to the Armenian Catholic Church

30 Comments

  1. These are heartbreaking images of the destroyed treasures of our heritage. The scoundrels are at again; why the US government continues to support these ‘legal’ (Turkish) terrorists, who covertly support ISIL, is beyond me.

  2. Will the New York Times or other newspapers and magazines publish this and similar articles that clearly indicate Turkish government involvement in continuing the destruction of anything called Armenian or Christian.
    Otherwise, Armenians are the only ones reading and feeling the hatred of the terrorists.

  3. We need to bring this to the international Media .. make a social media blast and why NOT even plan an immediate demonstrations .. NO one in America will think that these are Armenian churches , Turkey was showing these churches to promote tourism NOT too long ago , OUR land is beiong promoted as Theirs for years and we do NOT counter report any of it .. with a a photo and a historical explanations that prooves that they are ours..
    come on ANC , AYF this requires activism .. so let get together and finally do some thing about it.

  4. No matter who the Turkish government fights with, it makes sure to kill some more Armenians and destroy more memories of Armenians living in their historic lands … like the million and a half was not enough. Shame on them, they got away with Genocide and now, they’re repeating it, this time to the Kurdish population in Turkey and Syria. And today’s ‘civilized’ nations and their governments, including our own government and the EU, are mute, just as they were 100 years ago. This is the face of evil.

  5. These atricities need to be brought to the attenion of the world, including the world heritage organisation, the UN and the Vatican. We need to get every support possible to stop Turkey in its intentional destruction of our heritage.

    • It’s good to make sure info is correct, but I think the church was completely missing the roof before construction began. You can see the shadow from the roof in these pictures.

    • I have checked various social media outlets and this photo is nowhere to be found. Like you said it is either a photo taken before the reconstruction or a photoshopped photo. The Twitter account is a fake account. I feel really sad that the church has been partially destroyed. We as Turks will make sure that it is fully restored.

    • ATG,

      Watch the video. You’ll see that the images came from that video, which shows destruction as it’s happening. One of the images comes from around the 12 second mark of that video.

    • A Random Armenian,

      We are not discussing if the photos of destruction are fake. We are discussing whether the image of the police officer is fake. The image of the police officer is fake. It is a Kurdish militant dressed as a Turkish police officer.

      No point in supporting the Kurdish militants. Don’t forget that the Kurds also murdered Armenians in 1915. Plus that piece of land was originally Hayastan so you are not helping the Armenian cause by supporting Kurdish militants.

    • ATG,

      And how would you know that’s a Kurd?

      That photo was taken after reconstruction. Before, it did not have the pews you see below and also did not have a roof. A simple googling will show the before and after state of that church. Again, the roof had collapsed long before it was reconstructed.

      And after going through some Turkish security fan pages on social media, it’s clear that there is a propensity of Turkish security personnel to pose while making the grey wolf sign. So it would not be surprising that the person in the photo is a Turk.

  6. I always felt Turkey is a problematic part of Britain’s partnership in Europe, and as of NATO.

    Though, speaking from a English perspective, I can understand why my government is still supporting Turkey, Guns and money, it is simple, Turkish force is more powerful in the region, and is supported by a stable, consumer base economy.

    It might sounds harsh, but I feel there are only two way out:
    1. Surrender of PKK, and possible YPG, since YPG is also considered as enemy of Turkey.
    2. Civil war in Turkey, and establishment of Kurdistan.

    There is no third way, less Erdogan assassinated, and Kemalist step in ( which is highly unlikely, I afraid. )

    • It will be “Civil war in Turkey, and establishment of Kurdistan.”

      Neither PKK, nor YPG, nor Kurds at large are going to, quote, “surrender”. Kurds are too numerous now for the genocidal Turks to “solve the problem” their usual, traditional way: Genocide.

      When PKK and/or their allies can reach and kill Turk invaders in the middle of Ankara, the breakup of the unnatural, criminal state established by nomads from Uyguristan on the bones of massacred indigenous peoples of Asia Minor, is only a matter of time.

      [Car bomb attack on military in Turkish capital kills 28]
      http://www.todayszaman.com/national_car-bomb-attack-on-military-in-turkish-capital-kills-28_412606.html

    • There is every indication that No. 2 is plausible, with or without the civil war. It seems to me that independent Kurdistan is a matter of a few years.

    • Yeah but that’s still an image of a Turkish officer making the grey wolf sign.

      After googling I came across several social media accounts of turkish police services. Which may not be official, but contained many, many images of Turkish police making the racist grey wolf sign.

      So that photo is most likely real, no matter what sort of excuse you throw out.

    • No, like I said it was a photo posted from a fake account which pretended to be the Turkish police. It’s a Kurdish militant dressed as a Turkish police officer. I know you want Greater Hayastan back but Kurds who murdered Armenians will not give any land back to you. So you are better supporting the idea of Greater Hayastan than supporting the murderers of Armenians. I know you hate Turks but PKK cannot destroy Turkey and Turks.

  7. You are just blind guys. This is what Kurdish terrorists PKK made in Diyarbakır. They actually destroyed many mosques and old quarters of the city of Diyarbakir (Sur). This is my city do not play with truth please

  8. Not Photoshopped.
    [Police officer posing in ‘souvenir’ photo with Dink’s killer promoted]
    http://www.todayszaman.com/national_police-officer-posing-in-souvenir-photo-with-dinks-killer-promoted_274714.html

    Not Photoshopped.
    [The Surp Garabed Church near Mush, currently a barn. (Photo by Khatchig Mouradian)]
    https://armenianweekly.com/2012/04/06/an-easter-message-a-new-birth-of-the-armenian-spirit/#prettyPhoto/1/

    Not Photoshopped.
    [Anti-Armenian demonstration in Turkey. Banner reads: “Today Taksim, Tomorrow Yerevan: We will descend upon you suddenly in the night.”]
    https://armenianweekly.com/2012/04/06/an-easter-message-a-new-birth-of-the-armenian-spirit/#prettyPhoto/0/

    Not Photoshopped.
    [Congratulating the Nazis: “Ellerinize Saglik” (Well done!). Photo from the same demonstration. Source: http://www.habervesaire.com/haber/1868/%5D
    https://armenianweekly.com/2010/06/07/hitler-turkey/#prettyPhoto/1/

    You are very welcome.
    Anytime.

    • Avery

      Zaman is a newspaper owned by the ultra religionists. Why are you quoting from a newspaper which hates the Armenians?
      The Surp Garabed Church is a barn cause Kurdish owners turned it into a barn.
      There are nazis in every country. Even in yours. But they are not the majority so it makes no sense to post those photos and tell people that they are the majority.

  9. Turkish Girl,
    This is why the world call Turkey as a “Deep State” country, where every Turkish citizen, or animal, can share their thoughts and ideology inside an old ancient Christian Church!

  10. ATurkishGirl: ALL established Turkish newspapers hate Armenians. Just like Turkish society in general. I just saw an article in Hurriyet about the so-called “Khojaly massacre” lie!

    Turks committed genocide against 1.5 million Armenians and collectively so. The whole people was involved and the whole people is concluding the genocide by denying it.

    Turks have the nerves to call on Armenians to leave so-called “occupied” Artsakh while at the same time celebrating their occupation of Cyprus. Iste turk ikiyuzlulugu!

  11. ATurkishGirl: You are here trying to pit Armenians against Kurds. We know what they did and we didn’t forgive. You Turks go around telling Armenians that Kurds killed us (as if we don’t know that!) and you keep telling Kurds that Abdullah Ocalan is really an Armenian in disguise (big lie! he is NOT Armenian). But you don’t stop there, you actually claim that the whole PKK is Armenian. We are not stupid! I only have to look at a picture of PKK militants to see that they are Kurds.

    You are up to your old tricks, aren’t you?

    We Armenians don’t have to SUPPORT the PKK in order to sympathize with them. The PKK guerilla (NOT “terrorists”; it is the Turkish state that is the terrorist) is doing a good job and if they manage to establish Kurdistan in eastern Turkey that will only benefit us as it would work as a buffer state.

    Goes without saying, we won’t recognize it.

  12. How sad every day Turkey loses more and more of it’s ancient history. Since they prefer re-writing history I suppose they would rather the church not be there to remind them that Armenians had been there centuries before the seljuk turkic tribes of central asia invaded. Any building in Turkey that is over 100 years old was made by non Turkic hands.
    Most Turks have no clue that Izmir was “Smyrna” and that Istanbul was “Constaniople” they not only destroy or convert churches into mosques they then change the name of the town as if Armenians never existed. Just label us as traitors who deserved everthing they got (including women and children)

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