PanARMENIAN.Net - According to the Turkish Press, the Church is ready for its opening ceremony, where the Turkish Prime-minister Redgep Erdoghan and Members of the Cabinet will be present. It was also stated that the Representatives of the Armenian Diaspora and the Armenian Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs are also invited, though the Ministry doesn't seem to have received any official invitation yet. The date of the opening ceremony has been postponed more than once. At first it was supposed to be held on April 24, but later under the pressure of the Armenian Diaspora the date was changed and was fixed on April 15, at present it is said that the opening ceremony is going to be held on April 11.
However the Holy Cross Church is reconstructed. In the opinion of the Armenian historian Samvel Karapetian Akhtamar is a universal property that is why the Turkish government decided to reconstruct it. The Akhtamar Church has no analogs in the world's architecture. "Akhtamar is unique, and the Turkish government will have great profits from the flow of tourists. The matter of the contents of the inscription on the wall of the temple is a question of minor importance. Presently Greek, Armenian and Assyrian monuments are being reconstructed throughout Turkey and the Turks will decide themselves which monument will carry writing about its belonging," Karapetian said.
Over the past two years, Turkish authorities have raised loud clamors over the restoration of a 10th century Armenian Church on Akhtamar Island. Until now it is not clear whether this restoration project is a gesture of peace or a crude gloss over the reality of the Armenian Genocide and the destruction of Armenian cultural properties. Komitas Institute in London quotes the words of the Head of the Turkish Historical Society, Yusuf Halaçoğlu from New Anatolian, "We have nothing to hide
Opening of the Agdamar Church will be a gesture towards the Armenians and the whole world
Meanwhile, debates about placing a cross on the belfry of the Church are being held. According to the Minister of Culture Attila Koch "if the cross indeed existed, it should still be there", Hurriyet writes mentioning that the Holy Cross Church was built by King Gagik I Artsruni (915-921 A.D.) of the Vaspurakan kingdom. In its turn the Armenian Marmara mentions, that the issue of placing the cross on the belfry of the Church itself has become a vexed question for the Turkish Government. "Engineer Yagub Hazan, who has taken up the responsibility of the reconstruction of the Church, mentioned that during the research they have found one picture only, where the cross is not distinctly marked, and the engineer doesn't think it worthwhile to place the cross on the dome of the Church.
Meanwhile, architect Zakaria Mildanoğlu, who has been selected by the Armenian Community to control the reconstruction works, objected to the engineer's point of view and appealed to the international legislation, which stipulates that the original should serve as a sample in monument reconstruction. He mentioned that by his initiative a group of specialists has designed a cross of 2.5 meters of height. Besides an official involved in the works; Dzhahid Zeinadli has announced that they don't want to place the cross on the dome of the church avoiding fire in the church that may be caused by the lightening", Marmara writes.