Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Diyarbakir expropriated by Turkish government

A list of lands and buildings in Diyarbakir’s Sur district—including the Surp Giragos Armenian Apostolic and the Armenian Catholic Churches—have been expropriated by the Turkish government, according to reports.

Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos reported that an “urgent expropriation” cabinet decision was taken regarding 6,300 plots of land, citing the March 25 issue of the Official Gazette of the Republic of Turkey (T.C. Resmi Gazete), the country’s official journal that publishes new legislation and official announcements. Based on the report, the Surp Sarkis Chaldean Church, Virgin Mary Ancient Assyrian Church, and the city’s Protestant church have also been expropriated.

Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality Cultural Heritage Director Nevin Soylukaya told Agos that some properties belonging to the municipality have also been expropriated, and that the local government will initiate legal action. Soylukaya also said that some properties belonging to the municipality are also expropriated and they will initiate legal action. She also urged the owners of the expropriated properties to take legal action.

Armenian Weekly contributor and member of the Surp Giragos Church reconstruction project Raffi Bedrosyan said that there will be a strong effort to reclaim the lands. “All legal and political channels will be mobilized within Turkey and internationally to stop this legalized robbery,” Bedrosyan told the Armenian Weekly.

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