The government of Turkey has seized more than 50 properties from the Syriac Orthodox Church in the country’s Mardin province.
The government’s religion ministry said that ownership permits had lapsed for the properties in question—including churches, monasteries, and cemeteries. Many of the properties are no longer in regular use, although Syriac officials report that the cemeteries, for instance, are still used on occasion for memorial services.
One of the properties, the Mor Gabriel monastery, has considerable historic value. The 1600-year old monastery is one of the world’s oldest.
An appeal by Syriac officials has been denied.