The Surp Astuanzazh Armenian Church in İstanbul’s Bakırköy neighborhood was daubed with hate speech on Tuesday as “1915, blessed year” was written on the side of the building in reference to the massacre of more than 1 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
Tensions have been growing since Turkey announced in January that it would host international events to commemorate the centennial of the Gallipoli Campaign on April 24, a date that overlaps with the annual commemoration of the massacres, which many countries consider to be genocide….
Today’s Zaman visited the site on Wednesday morning and found that the graffiti had been painted over. But an administrator at the church said, “This type of thing happens all the time.” The Armenian Patriarchate of İstanbul refused to comment on the matter. No criminal complaint has been filed.
The incident comes hot on the heels of another racist slur against Armenians in Turkey. It was reported on Tuesday that Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek had filed a criminal complaint against Turkish-Armenian journalist Hayko Bağdat on defamation charges after Bağdat posted lighthearted tweets on his Twitter account referring to the mayor as an Armenian after the March 2014 local elections.
Gökçek appears to believe it an insult to be called an Armenian as his lawyer petitioned the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office, saying, “The statements [by Bağdat] are false and include insult and libel.”