But, will the Europeans make this the case that will stick? From the TimesOnline:
ON A tiny island in the middle of Lake Van, on the far eastern edge of Turkey, a team of architects is working feverishly to restore one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the world.
Holy Cross Church, on Akdamar island, was built by the Armenian King Gagik in AD921 and was once the spiritual focus for more than a million Armenian Christians.
Today there is no one left to worship in it. The entire Armenian population here was killed or driven away by Turks and Kurdish militias during the First World War, in what Armenians claim was the first genocide of the 20th century “” a charge vigorously denied by the Turkish State.
The Turkish spin may deny this jihad genocide, but there is evidence to the contrary.
For 90 years the church was left to rot. Its frescoes disintegrated as the rainwater seeped in, and its delightful carvings were used for target practice by local gun-toting shepherds.
In the run-up to planned EU accession talks next week, however, Turkey has come under intense pressure to acknowledge its bloody past and improve its treatment of minorities.
Four months ago the restoration work finally began, and today Muslim stonemasons are busily rebuilding this church without a congregation. The scaffolding-clad church is proof that attitudes are changing, but it is also a poignant symbol of how much work “” economic, political, cultural and historical “” still needs to be completed.
The membership negotiations are expected to take ten years or more, and there is no guarantee that Turkey will ever enter this hitherto white, Christian club, for the idea faces widespread public hostility within Europe. For many, this poor, populous and overwhelmingly Muslim country is simply a different culture, separated from, if not actually inimical to, Europe.
Please read it all.