ASIA/TURKEY - The appeals of Christian communities against the expropriation of churches in Diyarbakir increase

Tuesday, 3 May 2016 area crisis  


Diyarbakir (Agenzia Fides) - While in Diyarbakir the curfew ordered by the Turkish authorities continues, the appeals filed by the legal representatives of foundations linked to the Christian community against the order of urgent expropriation also multiply in which the Turkish government, in late March, seized a large area of the metropolis, located on the bank 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 arise in the urban area seized: 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 representatives of the Syriac Foundation and members of the local evangelical Christian community had appealed against the expropriation to the Court in Diyarbakır already in mid-April (see Fides 19/04/2016). Now - local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides - also the Foundation of the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Giragos filed before the State Council an appeal that asks to cancel the order of expropriation. The request directly calls into question Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, and the Minister for the Environment and Urban Planning, Idris Gulluce. According to Ali Elbeyoglu, lawyer of the Foundation, the reasons for the expropriation are not clearly indicated, contrary to the provisions of the current legislation.
The provision of government expropriation (see Fides 30/03/2016) was also published in the Official Journal of the Council of Ministers. The seized area was justified as a preventive measure to safeguard the historic center of Diyarbakir by the devastation caused by the conflict. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 03/05/2016)