Diyarbakir’s Surp Giragos Armenian church expropriated

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PanARMENIAN.Net – Surp Giragos Church, the largest Armenian church in the Middle East, is among the buildings in Sur province of Diyarbakir that were expropriated by the decision of Turkey’s cabinet. Syriac, Chaldean and Protestant churches were expropriated too, Agos reports.

While clashes and curfews continue in Diyarbakir, the cabinet took an urgent expropriation decision. Abandoned for years, the church was finally restored and opened to worship in 2011.

According to the cabinet decision published in Official Journal on March 25, an “urgent expropriation” decision is taken concerning 6.300 plots of land in Sur province. With this decision, many properties in Abdaldede, Alipa?a, Cemal Y?lmaz, Camikebir, Cevatpa?a, Dabano?lu, Has?rl?, ?nönü, ?skenderpa?a, Lalebey, Malikahmet, Özdemir, Süleymangazi, Sava?, ?emhane and Ziyagökalp neighborhoods and two neighborhoods in Yeni?ehir province were expropriated too.

Speaking to Agos, Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality Cultural Heritage Director Nevin Soylukaya stated that all churches and properties belonging to foundations have been expropriated. Soylukaya further noted that some properties belonging to the municipality have suffered the same fate, adding that they will initiate a legal action and urging the owners of properties to do the same.

Sur is the only center that has places of worship for non-Muslims. Surp Giragos Church, Surp Sarkis Chaldean Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, Virgin Mary Ancient Syriac Church and Protestant Church in Sur are currently closed to worship.