Turkey, under the leadershipi of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has seized roughly 50 churches and monasteries and declared them state properties.
The Islamization of Turkey continues, as the country moves more and more into the camp of anti-Christian.
Outreach to Muslims? At your peril, it seems.
According to a Turkish local newpaper:
“After Mardin became a Metropolitan Municipality, its villages were officially turned into neighbourhoods as per the law and attached to the provincial administration. Following the legislative amendment introduced in late 2012, the Governorate of Mardin established a liquidation committee. The Liquidation Committee started to redistribute in the city, the property of institutions whose legal entity had expired. The transfer and liquidation procedures are still ongoing.
“In 2016, the Transfer, Liquidation and Redistribution Committee of Mardin Governorate transferred to primarily the Treasury as well as other relevant public institutions numerous churches, monasteries, cemeteries and other assets of the Syriac community in the districts of Mardin. The Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation appealed to the decision yet the liquidation committee rejected their appeal last May. The churches, monasteries and cemeteries whose ownerships were given to the Treasury were then transferred to the Diyanet.
“Inquiries of the Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation revealed that dozens of churches and monasteries had been transferred to the Treasury first and then allocated to the Diyanet. And the cemeteries have been transferred to the Metropolitan Municipality of Mardin. The maintenance of some of the churches and monasteries are currently being provided by the Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation and they are opened to worship on certain days. Similarly, the cemeteries are still actively used by the Syriac community who visits them and performs burial procedures. The Syriacs have appealed to the Court for the cancellation of the decision.
“‘We started to file lawsuits and in the meantime our enquiries continued” said Kuryakos Ergün, the Chairman of Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation. Ergün said they would appeal to the court for the cancellation of nearly 30 title deed registries.
“Speaking to Agos, Ergün made the following remarks:
“‘For years, minority foundations could not acquire property in Turkey. Then legislative amendments were introduced in 2002 upon which we engaged in a number of initiatives. We were able to have some of the title deeds registered in the name of our foundation. And for others, the legal process was ongoing. It was not possible for us to follow-up all the title deeds. In the meantime cadastral works were carried out as well. At the cadastral offices, they did not show any sensitivity about the legislative amendment enabling the acquisition of property by minority foundations. In the face of the situation, we are filing lawsuits to the extent possible. In places where we couldn’t follow up the situation, some monasteries and other property were given to the legal entity of the Village.
“‘After Mardin became a Metropolitan municipality the governorate established a liquidation committee. The liquidation procedures began and many places were redistributed. We were expecting them to be transferred to the municipality however they transferred the assets to the Treasury instead. The Metropolitan Municipality of Mardin took the decision to Court. However we assume that the cases were dropped after a trustee was appointed.
We have also filed appeals to the Commission numerous times and taken witnesses however they told us that legally it was not possible to give it to us and that it’s transfer procedures to the Treasury had been completed. On the other hand the Treasury gave the church monastery and the cemetery to the use of Diyanet. Here we are talking about around 50 churches and monasteries. We are still working on identifying the properties transferred. We will file an application to the directorate General of Foundations and will also file a court case. So far we have filed court cases for around 20 title deeds and we will do the same for around 30 more.’”