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Turkey: Syrian Orthodox land – All people are equal, but some are less equal than others?

ICC Note:

A Syrian Orthodox Monastery in Turkey faces five lawsuits contesting the monastery’s right to own property. Some charges were brought by the Turkish government, suggesting that the State wishes to rid the community of the monastery’s existence. If accomplished, the State will take-over Christian owned land, which will be a devastating blow to the human rights and religious freedoms of all Turkish minorities, Forum18 reports.

By Dr. Otmar Oehring
 
11/9/2010 Turkey (Forum18 News Service) – Turkey’s Mor Gabriel Syrian Orthodox Monastery in the Midyat (Tur Abdin) district faces five separate lawsuits contesting its right to its own property. Some of these cases are being brought by the government, and the state’s actions suggest it wishes that the Monastery no longer existed. Otmar Oehring of the German Catholic charity Missio http://www.missio.de/de/themen/menschenrechte, in a commentary for Forum 18 News Service argues that as long as the international community shows an interest in the fate of the Syrian Orthodox community, nothing drastic will happen it. But this will not prevent the lawsuits dragging on, leaving the Monastery and the community insecure and emotionally and financially drained. Should international interest fade, the state and local tribal leaders will do what they have long sought to do: take over the Christian-owned land. The fate of the Syrian Orthodox is important not just for that community, but for the signal it sends to other minority religious communities – and indeed to all who want full equality for everyone in Turkey.

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