Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Turkey doesn’t protect the cultural heritage of their land correctly.

In an article which I wrote for the Turkish Daily News 2 ½ years ago, I accused Turkey not to take care of the cultural heritage of the land now know as Turkey. Before the conquest by the Ottomans of the Byzantium empire( Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων) in the 15th century the Empire was also know as of Imperium Graecorum, East Roma Empire based upon Hellenic-Roman traditions and their language was Ancient Greek. Turkey these days are the home of many Christian, Orthodox Christian and Armenian buildings. In fact, Turkey sits on Gold, Silver and Bronze regarding its heritage. Only it doesn’t protect the many ancient buildings that well as you can witness in several parts of Turkey were ‘Christian’ buildings are simple neglected, destroyed or in the best case (Churches) turned into museums.
These days another story occurred in the Turkish newspapers which shows that Turkey isn’t act ethically at all when other religions are involved; A derelict church in Istanbul’s Silivri region will be restored and again put to use as a mosque. The St. Dimitrios Church was built in 1831 and was was primarily made up of Greek Orthodox residents until the population exchange in the early 1920s. New residents preserved the cross and the figurines on the church, but converted it to a mosque by constructing a wooden minaret next to the building. They used the church as a mosque until a new mosque was built, after which the St. Dimitrios Church was abandoned. The wooden minaret collapsed after a while and eventually the abandoned building became a sty and depot. The abandoned building is currently registered to the Silivri Municipality as a “derelict church,” and according to the law it is a first-degree historical site that needs to be protected. Now the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has already started to restore the church as a mosque and the provincial historical sites’ protection board has approved the building of a new minaret next to it. Facing sharp criticism from all sides; architects, the Greek-Orthodox Church etc.
What I don’t understand in this; why always must Churches turned into Mosques? A Church is sacred ground for Christians. How would they react when a Mosque turned into a Church? Which is impossible regarding the structure, design and cultural belief. Is putting a minaret on a church sufficient to call it a House of Prayer, a House of God? I have my doubts.

Il Y avait un Jardin

C'est une chanson pour les enfants
Qui naissent et qui vivent entre l'acier
Et le bitume, entre le béton et l'asphalte
Et qui ne sauront peut-être jamais
Que la terre était un jardin.

Il y avait un jardin qu'on appelait la terre
Il brillait au soleil comme un fruit défendu
Non ce n'était pas le paradis ni l'enfer
Ni rien de déjà vu ou déjà entendu

Il y avait un jardin, une maison, des arbres
Avec un lit de mousse pour y faire l'amour
Et un petit ruisseau roulant sans un vague
Venait le rafraichir et poursuivait son cours.

Il y avait un jardin grand comme une vallée
On pouvait s'y nourrir à toutes les saisons
Sur la terre brûlante ou sur l'herbe gelée
Et découvrir des fleurs qui n'avaient pas de nom

Il y avait un jardin qu'on appelait la terre
Il était assez grand pour des milliers d'enfants
Il était habité jadis par nos grands-pères
Qui le tenaient eux-mêmes de leurs grands-parents

Où est-il ce jardin où nous aurions pu naître
Où nous aurions pu vivre insouciants et nus.
Où est cette maison toutes portes ouvertes
Que je cherche encore et que je ne trouve plus

By George Moustaki

Day Opening - August 26

Gate of wishes - Mrtvica canyon, Montenegro