A joint delegation of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia), the Australian Hellenic Council (AHC) and the Assyrian Universal Alliance Australia (AUA Australia) visited the Federal Parliament last week to draw attention to the plight of Armenian, Greek and Assyrian church properties in Turkey, and again advocate for parliamentary recognition of the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian Genocides.

The delegates visited the offices of a number of parliamentarians where they discussed the recent resolution adopted by the American Congress calling upon the Republic of Turkey to return those churches and monasteries confiscated during and after the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian Genocides from 1915 to 1923. At the meetings, representatives of ANC Australia, the AHC and AUA Australia presented a multimedia pack containing information regarding the condition of churches in Turkey, demonstrating how many had been converted to mosques, barns, storage houses or completely destroyed.

ANC Australia Executive Director Varant Meguerditchian said: “By bringing to light the current derelict condition of the thousands of Armenian, Greek and Assyrian church properties which were confiscated during the genocide, we emphasised that the consequences of this crime against humanity are contemporary. “The lack of an appropriate acknowledgement of the three genocides within Turkey has led to the continued destruction of cultural monuments belonging to the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian ecclesiastical authorities.”

Assyrian and Greek community leaders agreed with their Armenian community counterpart. “Recognition of the Ottoman genocide of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the government of Australia would be a welcome step in bringing an end to the ongoing destruction of religious monuments in Turkey,” said AUA Australia Representative Ninos Aaron.

“Just as the Turkish government demands the protection of Ottoman monuments in south-eastern Europe, so our communities demand the protection of our cultural heritage in Anatolia”, added AHC (NSW) Coordinator, George Vellis.