The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has condemned the demolition of the historical Surp Toros Armenian church in Turkey.

“USCIRF condemns the demolition of the historical Surp Toros Armenian church in Kւtahya, Turkey, despite holding status as a protected site,” USCIRF Vice Chair Tony Perkins said.

“Turkey must ensure the protection of its diverse religious and cultural heritage,” he added.

The historical Armenian church in Turkey’s western province of Kutaya was demolished after it came into private ownership.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır MP, ethnic Armenian Garo Paylan has submitted a Parliamentary question regarding the demolition of the Surp Toros Church despite being designated as an “Immovable Requiring Protection” by the Kutahya Regional Board of Cultural Heritage Protection.

Paylan asked the Minister the following questions:

  • How was the Kutahya Surp Toros Armenian Church demolished despite the protection order?
  • Has an investigation been launched against the person who demolished the church?
  • Has an investigation been launched against the public officials who made way for the demolition of the church under protection?
  • Why do you remain silent to the destruction of ’ cultural heritage?
  • Will you take any action to ensure that the church will be rebuilt to its original?

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