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Armenian Weekly Exclusive: Secretly Taken Photographs of Surp Giragos Desecration

Exclusive Photographs: Surp Giragos Has Been Off Limits to the Public Since the Most Recent Clashes between the Turkish Military and Kurdish Fighters in Diyarbakir

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—The Armenian Weekly has received a set of secretly taken photographs inside Diyarbakir’s Surp Giragos Armenian Apostolic Church, off limits to the public since the most recent clashes between the Turkish military and Kurdish fighters in Diyarbakir. The photographs were taken in July 2017.

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

Armenians from around the world flocked to Surp Giragos on Oct. 22, 2011, to attend both the consecration of the largest Armenian Church in the Middle East and the Badarak held the following day. The church had been recently renovated by the Surp Giragos Armenian Foundation, with the support of the local Kurdish-controlled municipality of the time.

During the past two tumultuous years, the church has been desecrated and largely damaged, as the photographs show.

These photos were captured by a Diyarbakir resident and sent to the Armenian Weekly on condition of anonymity.

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

(Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

10 Comments on Armenian Weekly Exclusive: Secretly Taken Photographs of Surp Giragos Desecration

  1. avatar Juan Morales // September 1, 2017 at 3:11 pm // Reply

    Evil will not overcome the will and the desire of people to be free, even in the darkest momments of history, murder, opresion, exile, discrimination and destruction of property, at the end, it is clear that nothing can kill a nation and Armenians, Greeks, Assirians and others are the vivid proof of that, lets fight this evil with solidarity, education, and cooperation between who suffer and the rest of civilized world.

  2. I wrote many times …
    “Please, Don’t Repair”
    They will destroy once again,…And they did it …
    Armenians are a foolish race …
    They should stop their foolishness,
    Diyarbakir is from where my genes arrived,
    From my mother’s and father’s side …
    My grandmother used to say … “we lived near Church Giragos.”
    Sylva Portoian, MD

    • avatar Martha Bedrosian // September 4, 2017 at 9:18 am //

      Sylvia,
      Did you mother mention names of nearby family friends or relatives? I am searching for my grandmother’s youngest sister’s family. Josephine Hakimian (maternal surname Nakashian) was taken as a child bride at age 11. My maternal grandfather stopped corresponding after told not to write in Armenian. Her to be husband was a Turkish. I have done my FT DNA with few leads on family finders. More people need to do the DNA testing to find survivor families. Her sister Rose ( my maternal grandmother ) came in in 1912 and married Tomas Khoshabjian (Palazizian maternal surname). These families lived close to the Sourp Griagos Church.

  3. The physical damage looks superficial – but far worse for the longterm is the reality that all this could happen in 2016, and that there is nothing to stop it happening again, and again. It is unfortunate that no details are provided as to what these photos actually show. The wooden pews have been set up on their sides to be used as barricades against the windows. The hole in the wall in the 9th photograph superficially looks like shellfire damage, but the debris on the floor beside the hole makes it more likely to have been a hole deliberately cut through the wall from the inside. And the 18yh photograph shows a sandbag-protected window lookout. So who has been using the church as a defensive position? The Turkish army?

  4. avatar Diran Harmandayan // September 1, 2017 at 8:34 pm // Reply

    These pictures should be published in the world press.

  5. Armenians have a sickness of building churches ,The Turks destroyed our churches let the Turks pay for it and let them rebuild our churches.

  6. Brothers and sisters, I am so sorry. Please be church to one another and make the way, love. Courage.

  7. As a Muslim ( I am also from Turkey), I have felt embarrassment and ashamed from what other Muslims did to a temple. It took decades for me to realize that there was actually a mass murder and ethnic cleansing happened in my beloved country. Like Hrant Dink said that; the land does not belong to humans but merely humans belong to land. I wish all Ethnic and religious minorities could have stayed in Anatolia and could have flourished their identities and cultures along side of Muslims. I believe the situation in Turkey would have been better for everybody.

  8. avatar Vagharshak Sevulyan // September 4, 2017 at 5:44 pm // Reply

    Yes, do not build new churches in enemy territories, we build these evil muslims will destroys houses of pray, instead well earn monies send to Armenia or Artsakh to buy military hardware defense the boards, after peace in Armenia and Artsakh then build. You see how Azeris buying weapons for attack us, wake up people ,

  9. Let’s be frank. Armenians and Turks “lived side by side” because Turkic peoples invaded our homeland. What choice did we have in the face of rape and pillaging, kidnapping and forced conversions? We taught nomadic peoples how to live a sedentary life and in some cases, these occupiers simply fed off Armenian industry and artistry.

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