ISTANBUL (Agos, Armepress) — While clashes and curfews continue in Diyarbakir, the Turkish cabinet took an urgent decision to expropriate Surp Giragos Church, the largest Armenian church in Middle East.
Left to its own fate for years, the church was finally restored and opened to worship in 2011. With the same decision, Assyrian, Chaldean and Protestant churches have also been expropriated.
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 the Sur. With this decision, many places in Abdaldede, Alipasa, Cemal Yilmaz, Camikebir, Cevatpasa, Dabanoglu, Hasirli, Inönü, Iskenderpasa, Lalebey, Malikahmet, Özdemir, Süleymangazi, Savas, Semhane and Ziyagökalp neighborhoods and two neighborhoods in Yenisehir province are expropriated.
Aside from Surp Giragos, Surp Sarkis Chaldean Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, Virgin Mary Ancient Assyrian Church and the Protestant Church are have also been expropriated.
Speaking to Agos, Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality Cultural Heritage Director Nevin Soylukaya stated that all churches and properties belonging to the foundations have been seized. Soylukaya also said that some properties belonging to the municipality are also expropriated and they will initiate legal action. She urged the owners of the expropriated properties to take legal action.
Walls of Diyarbakir and Hevsel Gardens were added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015. And Sur province is considered as a buffer zone for Walls of Diyarbakir.