The Syriac Catholic Patriarchate land, which includes a church, is in a poor condition now. Photo: Hürriyet Daily News
Syriacs continue battle over religious buildings by Vercihan Ziflioğlu. ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News, August 8, 2013.
Turkey’s Syriac community is determined to continue their legal battle over religious buildings in Mardin, and is willing to take the ECHR option
Mardin’s Syriacs will continue their legal battle after Mor Gabriel, seeking to reclaim their rights to Syriac Catholic Patriarchate land and the Mor Efrem Monastery.
Despite a decree signed in 2011 to return property taken away from them, minorities have yet to take their lands back. Münir Üçkardeş, a member of the Mardin Syriac Catholics Foundation, said the Constitutional Court had ruled against them, who will take the issue to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
“We are sons of this country, we don’t want to complain about our country ,” Üçkardeş told the Hürriyet Daily News during an Aug. 5 iftar dinner where members of minorities gathered and presented their problems to state officials. “If step back from the mistake, we could withdraw from taking the issue to the ECHR.”
“Mor Gabriel is a 1,700-year-old monastery located in Mardin’s Midyat district. In 2008, the Forestry Ministry, the Land Registry Office and the villages of Yayvantepe, Çandarlı and Eğlence sued the monastery for allegedly occupying their fields. The court recognized the monastery as an “occupier,” after which the case was brought to the ECHR.”
The Directorate General of Foundations head Adnan Ertem said some developments could happen in the Mor Gabriel case, but the other buildings exceeded the body’s authority.
“As the Directorate General of Foundations, it is impossible for us to respond to all problems,” Ertem told the Daily News. “Issues of expropriation are subjects of general law, so there is not much we can do about the patriarchate land.”
Mor Gabriel is a 1,700-year-old monastery located in Mardin’s Midyat district. In 2008, the Forestry Ministry, the Land Registry Office and the villages of Yayvantepe, Çandarlı and Eğlence sued the monastery for allegedly occupying their fields. The court recognized the monastery as an “occupier,” after which the case was brought to the ECHR.
Ertem also criticized the community for “not appealing between 1940 and 1960,” noting that legally, appeals should have been made in the 10 years following the expropriation, and once this term is exceeded, it leads to foreclosure. “Minority communities should self-criticize on that issue,” he said.
Ankara has been working on the return of Syriac Orthodox and Catholic Patriarchates to Turkey from Damascus and Beirut, respectively.
“Ankara is making a call to patriarchs and probably mulling returning the lands by allocating them, without giving the ownership,” Üçkardeş said. “However, our patriarchs will not return on such conditions.”
Currently, both the patriarchate land, which includes a church, and the Mor Efrem Monastery are in poor condition. Books, paintings and icons are not treated well and need to be treated well in order to avoid irreparable damage.
\ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)
1: an ancient empire of Ashur
2: a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern
Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)
a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of
its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender
4: a democratic state that believes in the freedom of
religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the
principles of the United Nations Charter —
Ethnicity, Religion, Language
Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
\ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)
1: descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur
2: the Assyrians, although representing but one single
nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now
doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle
ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding
hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the
East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.
These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the
Christian Era. No one can coherently understand the Assyrians
as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church
from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly
difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for
in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control,
religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a
criterion of nationality.
the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya,
Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean,
Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu,
Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye,
Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. —
1: a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of
the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.
2: has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical
Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.