Decision to allocate Syriac churches, monasteries to Turkish religious directory cancelled
The governor’s office in the southeastern province of Mardin has cancelled its decision dating back to 2014 to allocate churches and monasteries belonging to Syriac Christians to the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), Doğan News Agency reported on July 5.
In its decision on July 3, the Mardin Governor’s Office’s Liquidation Committee said a legal amendment was necessary “for the problem’s exact solution” and until the legal amendment went into force, “the current situation was intact.”
The Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation’s head Kuryakos Ergün, who was present at the committee’s meeting on July 3, confirmed to Doğan News Agency that it had made the cancellation decision.
However, he also said the case was still unsolved for them until ownership of the properties is transferred to the foundation, and vowed that the foundation’s legal fight would continue until then.
The issue emerged after Mardin province was given “metropolitan municipality” status and its villages were attached to the central city’s administration. Then following a legislative amendment introduced in 2012, the Governorate of Mardin established a liquidation committee, which started to redistribute the properties of various institutions.
The committee registered the churches, monasteries, and cemeteries belonging to the Syriac communities in the province with the Treasury and allocated them to the Diyanet. This move was appealed by the Syriacs, one of the world’s most ancient religious communities, who filed lawsuits to the court.
On July 3, the liquidation committee said the allocation decision was cancelled but the properties were still registered with the Treasury.
Officials noted that the use of the monasteries and churches would continue “as it stands,” adding that a legal amendment would be needed for the cancellation of the registration decision.