Return of Mor Gabriel land rejected by court

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
The Supreme Court of Appeals yesterday rejected a plea by a Syriac foundation to overturn an earlier decision that gives the land of Mor Gabriel Monastery in Mardin to the Treasury. The court’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

In its ruling, the court said the land in question was not registered in the 1936 declaration, when all minority foundations were told to register their estates. Following the Lausanne Treaty a law was passed in 1936 that suggested the recording of all minority foundations. Apart from the property recorded in the declaration, the foundations were prevented from obtaining new properties.
The top appeals court said the Mor Gabriel Foundation failed to prove that it gained control of the land through donations.

The Mor Gabriel Monastery in the Midyat district of the southeastern province of Mardin has been engaged in a lawsuit since 2008. The Forestry Ministry claimed monastery lands constituted a forest and should be declared so. As more villagers began settling on the lands in question, the monastery was gradually encircled by the communities. The inhabitants of the villages of Yayvantepe, Çandarl? and E?lence subsequently filed a suit against the monastery in 2008 on the grounds that it was occupying their lands.