Ankara police block HDP MP Paylan, accompanying delegation from visiting destroyed Armenian cemetery

HDP MP Garo Paylan, Ankara Architects Chamber Chair Tezcan Karakuş and an accompanying delegation on March 16 attempted to examine an Armenian cemetery in Ankara's Ulus district to see the extent of destruction caused by TOKİ construction. They however faced a police barricade and were not let inside the site.

Duvar English

Ankara police on March 16 prevented Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Garo Paylan, Ankara Architects Chamber Chair Tezcan Karakuş and an accompanying delegation from examining an Armenian cemetery in the Ulus district which was destroyed as part of a construction project undertaken by the Housing Administration of Turkey (TOKİ), online news portal T24 reported.

“The Armenians who lived here have buried their deceased with prayers and erected tombstones. The tombstones of those deceased had been already demolished. And now concrete is being poured on the graves of the deceased. Which conscious accepts this?” Paylan asked in a public statement.

“Christian conscience would of course not accept this; our conscience is aching. But, does the conscience of Muslims, who make up the majority on these lands, accept that concrete is being poured on the deceased?” Paylan asked.

After the release of the public statement, Paylan and the accompanying delegation were able to see the cemetery and its destruction from the window of a nearby building, due to the presence of the police barricade at the site.

A view from the Armenian cemetery on which construction is being undertaken. 

Last week, Ankara Architects Chamber petitioned TOKİ and the Culture and Tourism Ministry to stop construction at the burial site, noting that construction on any faith's cemetery is disrespectful. 

"It's inhumane to pour concrete, build stores on the graves of the Anatolia's residents, regardless of their religion, race or language," the chamber said.  

Bones found during the construction process were sent to a lab at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, the chamber noted.

Human bones were found during the TOKİ construction.