Armenian Church Seeks Reparation in Lawsuit Against Turkey
04/30/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – After a six-year struggle for a court hearing, the Armenian Apostolic Church Holy See, known as the Catholicosate of Cilicia, successfully refiled a lawsuit against the government of Turkey. In 2015, the Catholicosate, currently headquartered in Antelias, Lebanon, filed a lawsuit for the return of its historic seat and primary location in Sis, Turkey that was confiscated in 1921 during the Armenian Genocide. The lawsuit is part of Armenian’s larger goal of returning all properties and assets confiscated by Turkey during the eight-year genocide.
Due to technicalities, the lawsuit bounced between local courts, Turkey’s Constitutional Court, and the ECHR. A pre-trial hearing finally took place on March 30, 2021 in the Kozan Civil Litigation Court. At that time a judge agreed to accept the lawsuit, which the Catholicosate’s lawyers consider a positive development. The next hearing is scheduled for May 6, 2021.
The team of lawyers suspects the lower Turkish court will reject the lawsuit, at which point an appeal will be made to the Constitutional Court. Rejection is also suspected at this point which will allow the Catholicosate to file with the European Court of Human Rights.
When the original lawsuit was filed in 2015, Catholicos Aram I said, “This is the time that we move from the stage of [Genocide] recognition to reparation. After 100 years, I thought it was time that we put the emphasis on reparation. … This is the first legal step. This will be followed by our claim to return all the churches, the monasteries, the church-related properties and, finally, the individual properties.”
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