Park in southeastern Turkey built atop Assyrian, Armenian graves

A plot of land in Turkey’s southeastern Mardin province containing Assyrian and Armenian graves has been transformed into a park, left-wing news site Duvar reported on Monday.

The newly-landscaped park in Mardin’s town of Dargeçit, part of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) ‘’nation parks’’ project, hosts a recreational facility and a wedding hall, Duvar said.

The project in the neighbourhood known to locals as  “Tirbik,’’ had been launched by the town’s state-appointed official in 2016, despite repeated warnings from residents on the sanctity of the land.

The Turkish interior ministry in March of 2016 replaced the mayor of Dargeçit with a state-appointed official.

"It is neither ethical nor conscientious to build a recreational centre and park atop a cemetery,’’ Duvar quoted Dargeçit resident Abdulmesih Ergün as saying. 

"This was once a Christian cemetery. There were once Assyrians and Armenians here,’’ Ergün said. 

Mardin in the beginning of the 20th century was home to over 12,000 Assyrians and over 7,500 Armenians.