Turkey’s Assyrians fear annihilation after government seizes church properties

The ongoing legal conflict surrounding the Turkish authorities seizure of dozens of owneds from the Syriac Orthodox Church has left the theological minority fearing for their existence in the country where it all began.

Authorities recently appropriated hundreds of thousands of square meters of shore including at least two 1,500 -year-old use convents on the premise that their ownership deeds had lapsed. An plead against the confiscation by the Mor Gabriel, a 5th-century monastery and one of the oldest still are working in the world, was dismissed in May by a government commission tasked with liquidating the assets.

Our churches and convents are what beginning Syriacs in these grounds; our existence relies on them, Kyriakos Ergun, the chairman of the Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation, told Middle East news website Al-Monitor. While the country should be protecting this legacy, we instead envision our culture is at risk.

For times, the designations to the qualities had been indexed in Turkey’s national moor registry as belonging to the hamlets colonized by Syriacs. But in 2012, the greater metropoli of the southeastern city of Mardin was established and the Syriacs’ legal status as well as their capacity to own property was said to have dissipated.

As a result of the change, innumerable convents and religions as well as graveyards have subsequently been given over to the country Treasury and then to the Department of Religious Affairs( Diyanet ), a foremost nation institute which presides over Muslims theological facilities.

The land tussle has numerous within the Syriac community, who often referred to as Assyrians, deeply concerned about their future in the place in which their predecessors have resided from as far back as their appearance from ancient Mesopotamia in 3500 B.C.



Leaders of various Assyrian organizations in the U.S and Europe have issued explanations the coming week criticizing Turkeys seizure of Assyrian religious owneds. A joint affirmation from list of presidents of the three more prominent make-ups Assyrian Universal Alliance USA, American Mesopotamian Organization USA and Restore Nineveh Now Foundation USA solicited that the U.S government, along with the United Society and international human rights groups, require that Turkey stop this policy of religious and indigenous xenophobium and immediately render the convents and schools to their rightful owners.

The Syriacs, deemed the oldest indigenous minority of Turkey, were once a large ethnic group in the Ottoman Empire but their numbers diminished as a result of alleged mass murder and eviction at the sides of the Young Turk governments Kurdish tribes during the course of its Seyfo Genocide from 1914 to 1920.

Death toll thinks have varied, but it is believed that 150,000 to 300,000 perished.

However, according to news and intelligence site Catholic Culture, the Turkish government has not yet moved ahead with the quality seizures and officials have declared that the assets will not be expropriated if the Syriac Orthodox Church can present and register certifiable evidence of ownership.

According to the 2017 report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom( USIRF) while the Turkish government has increasingly limited a wide range of human rights, particularly in the aftermath of the failed July 2016 takeover detat attempt, it has nevertheless taken some positive steps to improve theological discretion living conditions in Turkey.

The report indicates that the government has recalled dimensions expropriated from religion minority communities and rendered dual citizenship to Greek Orthodox Metropolitans so they can participate in their religiou Holy Synod, but notes that all religious groups are subject to position authorities restraint their own rights to maintain places of venerate, teach clergy, and volunteer religious education.

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