ASIA/TURKEY - Christian communities file an appeal against the expropriation of the churches in Diyarbakir

Tuesday, 19 April 2016 religious minorities  

Diyarbakir (Agenzia Fides) - The representatives of the Syriac Foundation and representatives of the local evangelical Christian community have appealed to the Court in Diyarbakır against the provision of urgent expropriation in which the Turkish government, in late March, seized a large area of the metropolis along the banks of the Tigris River, in the context of the military operations carried out in southern Turkey against Kurdish positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). All the churches in Diyarbakir rise in the urban area seized.
The order of expropriation of the government (see Fides 30/03/2016) was also published in the Official Journal of the Cabinet, and involved the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Giragos (Ciriaco), the Syriac church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Chaldean church of Mar Sarkis (St. Sergius), the Armenian Catholic church and a Protestant place of worship, in addition to more than 6 thousand homes, located mostly in the old Town. Already at the time of expropriation, no Christian church in Diyarbakir appeared open for worship.
The seizure of the area was justified as an emergency preventive measure taken to safeguard the historic center of Diyarbakir by the devastation caused by the conflict. Already in the first days after the expropriation, Nevin Solukaya, head of the Office for Culture of the city of Diyarbakir, had suggested to appeal against the nationalization.
The Armenian church of San Ciriaco, recently restored after years of neglect and exhausting negotiations with civil authorities, is one of the largest Armenian churches in the Middle East, and has a long history. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 19/04/2016)