Restoration Problem for the Historical Armenian Protestant Church
The 114-year-old Armenian Protestant Church, which is located in the center of Elazig and abandoned to its fate long ago and used as flour factory, market square and animal market. The church area which is actually being used as a parking area is now in the restoration dilemma.
The Armenian Protestant Church, which was built in Elazığ between 1904-1907, is in danger of collapse.
For the restoration of the church a large amount is required. The construction was taken under protection in 1973 by the Diyarbakır Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage. Mr. Süleyman Türker who owns the 500 square meter area where the church is located, stated that he can’t afford the cost of the restoration work which is expected to be around 2 million Dollars.
The church door has the sign of “E” (է) in Armenian, is listed as a Syriac Church among the 265 Cultural Heritage Sites on the website of the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism.
“We have no economic power to restore the church. If our government wants to do this, we are ready to help. Because the restoration of the historical building is done by hand work. This requires a serious amount of money. The state can nationalize it. The historic church can be opened for tourism. It can also be used a conference hall”the land owner living in Istanbul, Lawyer Süleyman Türker said.
Culture and Tourism Provincial Director Ahmet Demirbağ said that they can contribute 60 percent of the expenses if the historical place belongs to individuals. “We don’t have any authority if this place belongs to individuals. We have had several attempts on this issue. We can only help such projects if the land holder says ‘I want to do restoration and open it to visits’. If we receive such an application, we can send this project to our ministry. In this way, we can support around 60 percent. Works must be done by preserving the historical texture. For instance, it can be turned into a museum” Demirbağ said.