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ICC Note:

Turkey’s government has pledged to return church properties appropriated by the state in Mardin province. This follows comments by Turkey’s deputy prime minister, and would affect over a hundred church properties. No further details have been released by the government. Turkey has a long record of seizing church properties, effectively preventing entire communities from having access to a place of worship. Such was the case in Mardin. Hopefully, the government is sincere in its pledge and the church properties will be returned promptly with no delay.


11/25/17 Turkey (Agos) – Many of the Syriac worship and cemetery in Mardin were first transferred to the Treasury by the Mardin Governorate and then assigned to the Presidency of Religious Affairs. The transfer to the Diyanet over the reactions was canceled and places of worship and cemeteries were given to the General Directorate of Foundations. After the situation was revealed by Agos, the Presidency of Religious Affairs, especially the related institutions, said that the news was “deliberate and lie”. The subject was on the agenda of Prime Minister Hakan Çavuşoğlu. “We made mistakes,” Cavusoglu said on Wednesday (November 22nd) at the editorial panel prepared by Anadolu Agency.

Cavusoglu said in the program:

“We do not confiscate the churches. These are already churches belonging to minority foundations. We are restoring them. Unfortunately, there is a misunderstanding by our attendants there that the cemetery belonging to our Syrian brothers will be transferred to the Diyanet, the property will be given there, the Treasury will be transferred to it, and there it will be transferred there. That’s really what happened. They were transferred to the Ministry of Finance, but there was such a mistake that they were at the desk, regardless of who they belonged to, whether they belonged to Christians or Muslims. Now we, as the General Directorate of Foundations, are returning these caretakings and places belonging to Mor Gabriel. There is no problem anyway. ”

Minister Çavuşoğlu, did not give information about how to make the return process.

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