Expropriation of Surp Giragos Armenian Church Suspended

Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir (Photo: Berge Arabian/Agos)
Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir (Photo: Berge Arabian/Agos)

Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir (Photo: Berge Arabian/Agos)

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Armenian Weekly)—The Supreme Court of Appeals in Turkey has annulled the decision to expropriate Surp Giragos of Diyarbakir, reported Istanbul-based Agos.

The decision to expropriate the largest Armenian church in the Middle East was adopted in March 2016. In addition to Surp Giragos, the Surp Sarkis Chaldean Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, the St. Mary Syriac Church, and the Protestant Church were among some of the other sites in the city that were subjected to expropriation by the Turkish cabinet.

The Surp Giragos Armenian Church Foundation had previously appealed to the State Council for the annulment of the expropriation.

The Turkish court had then sent an inquiry to the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urban planning, questioning the expropriation of the church. After the lack of answers regarding the expropriation of the church, the court decided to suspend the decision.

The court ruled that Surp Giragos Church is registered in the list of immovable properties and that it is protected by the Law on the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Property. The ruling also stated that an expropriation of the church opposes agreements made during the Treaty of Lausanne.

According to that document, minorities are given equal rights for founding, administrating and controlling religious, charitable, and social institutions, while the Turkish government guaranteed that it will protect the churches and religious institutions belonging to minorities.

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