On 3rd February 2012, Malatya Municipality ‘damaged’ an Armenian cemetery. In fact, it ‘accidentally [yanlışlıkla]’ bulldozed the cemetery chapel. According to the head of the chapel’s funders (1), Hosrof Köletavitoğlu, the Municipality wrecked the chapel just when the builders were ‘about to finish it’.
Remarkably, Malatya Mayor Ahmet Çakır’s excuse was that the Municipality ‘only [sadece]’ wanted the earthmovers to demolish the guard hut (which was built to protect the chapel from damage or destruction).
The Municipality cited ‘several complaints‘ from locals. Köletavitoğlu noted that the complaints were that the chapel ‘look[ed] like a church [Kiliseye benziyor]’.
Then the Municipality implied that the guard hut’s construction was unlicensed, so it had ordered the hut’s demolition. The Municipality claimed that the chapel was demolished as well because of a ‘misunderstanding‘. Köletavitoğlu stated that Malatya Municipality had licensed the construction of the guard hut as well as the chapel.
The funders’ former head, Garo Paylan, believed that the chapel was destroyed ‘because of the “genocide denial motion” in France’. Paylan explained that ‘the municipality first asked us to lower the roof of the chapel even though the project had been approved before’, while the French parliament considered the bill against denial of crimes against humanity (and thus against the denial of the Armenian Genocide).
1: the Association of Philanthropist Armenians from Malatya (Malatyalı Hayırsever Ermeniler Derneği (HAYDER)).