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Prowling around the church-mosque enclosure, I found some of the prison bars still attached to the window frames, although the building has been functioning as a mosque since 1986.The main gate was closed but I pushed it open and found not only that the structure of the magnificent building is still intact but that scaffolding has been placed against the walls for a renovation.The ‘Liberation’ Mosque is a fine, neo-classical, almost Gothic construction with striped black-and-white stone banding, unusual for a Muslim holy place but a jewel in the Tepebasi district of the old town of Gaziantep.
A small matter for a guy who’s shooting from the hip across the Muslim world, you may say. But my guess is that Donald Trump will be as cowardly as them, bowing towards the sensitivities of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wretched generals, those of them who still have jobs after Erdogan’s post-attempted-coup purge of the last nine months.
But he congratulated the Caliph Erdogan on winning his dictatorial referendum and I doubt that Trump has the courage to offend him this month by telling the truth about the slaughter of one and a half million Armenian Christians during the First World War. Yet the deliberate mass slaughter of the Christians of the Turkish Ottoman Empire – the victims had their throats cut, Isis-style, or were shot or tied together and thrown into rivers – was the first industrial holocaust of the 20th century.
The women were raped or sold into slavery or starved to death.
In the later 1915 Armenian Holocaust – even Israelis use this word for the Armenian genocide – a million and a half Armenians were slaughtered by the Turks.
It is a shock to realize that Aintep’s vast toll of dead were only a small fraction of this terrifying war crime.