Photo courtesy of RFE/RL.
They certainly managed to make it to major Western news media organizations: BBC, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, RFE/RL, Al Jazeera English, to name but a few...
But, as captured by some of this coverage, there has been a major controversy involved regarding the official "status" of the Church: the authorities have designated the monastery as a "museum", and would not allow a cross on the cupola. The official explanation provided, however, were: "certain technical issues." (Nevertheless, the Governor of the Van Region reportedly said that the cross will be placed within 1.5 months. Not sure if this will materialize...)
All this in light of the Turkish refusal to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Thus, there were no official representatives from the Armenian Government or the Armenian Church, while those Diasporans who ventured out there have been shunned and criticized by their communities back home.
What is interesting, however, is the way the National Turkish Television Channel covered the event in its respective English and Armenian-language sections (yes, they do have content in Armenian). The English-language article, for example, conveniently left out any mention of the cross-related controversy, and highlighted the presence of more than 3,000 tourists and visitors who came to attend the event. There was also no mention of the fact that only 50 high-ranking officials and representatives, and some media, were allowed in the church, while the rest of the audience had to watch the service on giant screens outside.
The Armenian section, however, could not ignore these concerns, so it resorted to citing the official explanation. It even featured an excerpt from an interview with a visiting Armenian journalist - Meline Mouradian - who expressed her excitement about the event, and said she hopes that "all issues will be resolved before similar occasions in the future."
In the meantime, there was a rally organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Tashnagtsutyun) in Yerevan, where the supporters of the party, together with representatives from the Church, walked to Tsitsernakaberd (the Genocide Memorial) as a sign of protest against Turkey, the Turkish denial, and against, what they consider to be, the desecration of the Surb Khatch Church.
Great public diplomacy? Or propaganda? Certainly, it's a great overture by Turkish authorities, however, they should know better, and realize that by no means can this be enough to "satisfy" the moderate majority of Armenians around the world (I don't think the government should concern itself with the more radical nationalists - not just yet, at least). The problem with the cross and the fact that most of the visitors were not allowed to attend the ceremony (or even to get into the church, later), only added fuel to the ever-present Genocide issue.
Next time, perhaps...?