ISTANBUL (Marmara)–Armenian residents from Batman province in Turkey have begun demanding assets–churches and cemeteries–which have been abandoned since 1915.
The Istanbul-based Sassoun Armenian Relief and Cultural Society, whose members are descendents of Armenia’s from Batman, Bitlis, Moush and Van has begun a movement to reclaims Armenian churches, cemeteries and other assets.
Established in 2006, the organization’s has begun researching real estate deed registries to pinpoint the said assets, announced the organization’s president Aziz Daghc.
“The organization was established in Istanbul, since government officials are more willing to work with non-Muslims,” said Daghc.
These abandoned assets have either been confiscated by the state and are being used for various purposes or have been sold to third parties. The organization is meticulously researching each asset to approach the proper entities for their return to the community.
For example, in the Batman province, efforts are underway to have control signed over to the Armenian community of the Gomg Church, which is being used as a barn, atop the Mareto Mountain and the Ardzvig village church and cemetery.
Daghc has sent an appeal to the proper authorities in Batman province pointing out that the region has no mechanism to defend the Armenian population, which regularly is under attack solely because of their national origin.
The appeal also cites provisions of the Lausanne Treaty, which call for the state to protect churches, cemeteries and other assets belonging to minorities and not purpose them for other uses or sell them to third parties.