MP Garo Paylan’s questions below are important, and have wider implications than simply this one incident. The damage that has been done to Surp Toros Armenian Church demonstrates the same contempt for the Christian history and heritage of Asia Minor that we see in the conversion of Hagia Sophia and the Monastery of Chora to mosques, and the conversion of other ancient churches to mosques as well. This contempt for Christianity and Christians is also manifested in the ongoing denial of property rights and legal identity to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Turkey, see here.

“18th century Armenian church heavily damaged in Turkey,” The US Armenians, June 24, 2021:

Surp Toros Armenian Church, which was built in Kayseri in the 18th century, has been heavily damaged by treasure hunters, Agos reports.

A 2-meter pit has been dug in a room of the Surp Toros Armenian Church in the Tavlusun District of Melikgazi district. Inscriptions have been sprayed on the walls of the church.

HDP Diyarbakır Deputy Garo Paylan has addressed a parliamentary question, demanding an answer from the Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.

“Although the church, which was built in the 19th century, is one of the most important historical and cultural structures in the region, it has been abandoned for decades due to neglect and indifference, and nowadays it is again exposed to the attacks of vandals and treasure hunters,” Paylan said.

The MP requests answers to the following questions:

1. Why don’t you protect the Kayseri Surp Toros Armenian Church?
2. Has an investigation been opened against those who destroyed the Surp Toros Armenian Church in Kayseri?
3. Why do you remain silent against treasure hunters who haunt cultural assets belonging to Christians?
4. Why are the historical buildings belonging to Christians within the borders of Kayseri province not protected by your ministry?
5. Will you restore the Surp Toros Armenian Church in Kayseri?”