ANKARA — Armenian member of the Turkish parliament, member of the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party Garo Paylan has presented an inquiry to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Davutoglu
regarding the expropriation of a number of areas and structures in Diyarbakir, Sur, that included Surp Giragos Church.

The Prime Minister was specifically asked about the reason of “immediate expropriation” of a total of 6300 areas, what legislations are to be made under the act, and how the rights of the citizens living in Sur will be protected. In addition, the inquiry requests to clarify whether the expropriation decision affects the Armenian, Assyrian and Chaldean churches. At the same time it is requested to clarify by what standards and laws the “under risk” areas were selected.

Paylan also asked whether the decision to expropriate the property of churches of minorities does not contradict the legislation and the Treaty of Lausanne.

While clashes and curfews continue in Diyarbakir, the Turkish cabinet took an urgent expropriation decision. Adnan Ertem, General Director of the Directorate General of Foundations of Turkey, has given a comical explanation in connection with the expropriation of Surp Giragos Church.

Ertem told Agos Armenian bilingual weekly of Istanbul that the expropriation of all buildings in Sur is not aimed at historic structures. He argued that this expropriation plan envisions the preservation of the historic structures around which numerous illegal buildings were constructed.

According to the Turkish Council of Ministers’ decision, all structures in Sur district of Diyarbakir, including the Surp Giragos Church, have been expropriated.

The Surp Giragos, which is one of the largest churches in the Middle East, had reopened as a functioning church and was reconsecrated in October 2011.

The church was renovated with the co-funding by Diyarbakir Armenians throughout the world and Diyarbakir City Hall.

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