Renovated Armenian church opens in Istanbul
The renovated Armenian Church of Surb Vordvots Vorotman has opened in Istanbul as part of the project "Istanbul: capital of European culture 2010", Armenia Today reports.
Turkish Minister for Trade and Customs Hayat Yazyji was responsible for the reconstruction and attended the opening.
Commenting on the French law on prosecution for denial of the Armenian Genocide, the minister said that Turkish-Armenian relations should not only be viewed in the context of a short period of World War I. Armenia and Turkey have been friends for 1000 years, he says.
There were no problems between Armenians and Turks in the Ottoman Empire until the 20th century. About 100,000 Armenians live in Turkey, Yaryji noted.
He underlined that the Turkish position on events in 1915 is based on historical documents.
The Church of Surb Vordvots Vorotman opened on October 14, 1828, and closed during WWI.
Stepan Grigoryan, head of the Analytical Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation, told Vestnik Kavkaza that, despite signing protocols between Armenia and Turkey, the rapprochement is at a stalemate. State and public attitudes differ. Turkey has reconstructed more than one church. The Church of Surb Khach on Ahtamar Island and a church at Diyarbakir were rebuilt earlier. Such steps show Turkish interest in normalizing relations with Armenia, the expert says.