Religion: Ankara to restore road to Mor Gabriel Monastery

(ANSAmed) – ISTANBUL, MAY 22 – The Governor’s Office of the city of Midyat, in Turkish Mardin province, has allocated a budget of one million Turkish Liras (420,000 euros) for the restoration of the road leading to the Syriacs’ Mor Gabriel Monastery, a move viewed by the Syriac community as contradictory as the monastery was previously labeled an ”occupier” and its lands were transferred to the Treasury.

David Vergili, a spokesman for the Brussels-based European Syriac Union (ESU), one of the most influential Syriac organizations in the diaspora, said the state tried to slide over the crucial problems by keeping people busy with formalist and cosmetic activities. ”The demand for the return of the all the lands of Mor Gabriel is stated in both the EU’s annual report and the U.S.

International Religious Freedom Report,” Vergili said. ”The progress of the law cases and the state’s attitude is evident.

Both the state and the parties of that subject agreed on the fact that the lands belong to the monastery. But they are making things difficult by making various proposals, such as renting the lands. his is against morality and human rights,” he said. Mor Gabriel is a 1,700-year-old historic monastery located in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Midyat district. In 2008, the Forestry Ministry, the Land Registry Cadastre Office and the villages of Yayvantepe, Candarli and Eglence sued the monastery for allegedly occupying their fields. The lawsuit was finalized last year, recognizing the monastery as an ”occupier.” The case was then brought to the European Court of Human Rights. The future of the monastery currently hinges on the ECHR’s decision.