Inquiry launched over video clip shot at iconic monastery

Inquiry launched over video clip shot at iconic monastery

Inquiry launched over video clip shot at iconic monastery

A large-scale investigation has been initiated after the emergence of footage showing a band dancing to electronic music at a former Orthodox monastery in Turkey’s northeast.

The inquiry includes officials of the Trabzon Governor’s Office and the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism, who reportedly allowed the video clip shooting at the Sümela Monastery.

The shootings were carried out without the permission of the Tourism and Culture Ministry and authorized inspectors are expected to arrive in Trabzon today, according to a source.

The debates started after footage of disk-jockey Ahmet Şenterzi and his team of 30 people shooting a video clip at the 1,600-year-old monastery complex went viral on social media, triggering the anger of some Turks and Greeks.

Murat Çavga, the head of the Association of Tourism Operators and Travel Agencies (TİSAD), shared the footage with a critical caption.

“As long as those responsible do not explain the reason behind this permission, the public conscience will not be relieved,” Çavga said, questioning the purpose of this disco-like entertainment in a structure where the state allows one day of worship per year.

Greece’s Foreign Ministry said on Feb. 7 that images were “offensive” and “a desecration of the monument.”

The ministry called on Turkish authorities “to do their utmost to prevent such acts from being repeated” and to respect the site, a candidate for UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites.

The Sümela Monastery, which derives its name from “Sou Mela” in Greek, meaning “Black Mountain,” stands carved into the steep cliffside of the mountain 300 meters above the picturesque Altındere Valley and is one of the most important tourist attractions in Trabzon.