The latest target of treasure hunters is Surp Dırtad Monastery in Doğanköy (Tortan) village of Erzincan. Locals are at a loss, since authorities don’t do anything despite their complaints about increasing attacks by treasure hunters.
Surp Dırtad Monastery in Erzincan has been subjected to increasing attacks of treasure hunters especially for a couple of weeks. While plunder of Armenian cultural heritage goes unpunished, the monastery in Erzincan is the latest target of treasure hunters.
Speaking to Agos, village residents stated that treasure hunters came to the monastery with pickaxes last week and hunters threatened them with death after they warned the hunters. Stating that local authorities are aware of the situation and they keep reporting the situation to the gendarmerie, villages said that no action has been taken on the ground that “treasure hunters must be caught on the action”.
Recently, a villager submitted a petition to Erzincan Governor’s Office for demanding protection. The governor’s office replied the petition and stated that the church is under protection since 2005.
In 2005, Surp Dırtad Monastery was registered as an archeological site with the name of “Doğanköy Church”. However, the monastery is about to collapse, since it is not renovated.
According to Raymond Kevorkian’s “The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History”, at the beginning of 20th century, there were 46 Armenian households in Tortan (Doğan) settlement and there was a school with 70 students. In the settlement, there was also Surp Asdvadzadzin Church.