CHP deputy: Turkey may seize assets of other minorities after Syriacs

Mor Gabriel Monastery in Mardin's Midyat district.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Selina Doğan has criticized the seizure of Syriac assets by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs and said she was worried the same could happen to other minorities in Turkey, the Diken news website reported on Tuesday.

Doğan, who met with Syriac community representatives in Mardin, expressed concern about the confiscation and said: “We are worried that what is happening today with the Syriacs will be extended to other minority groups. We want justice for all minorities.”

Some of the assets, including churches in Mardin province that were owned by the Syriac community, were seized by the Treasury and subsequently transferred to the Religious Affairs Directorate.

Representatives of the Syriac community shared their feelings and said the number of Syriacs in Turkey, which had already declined due to instability in the country, would decrease after this. They said were considering launching legal proceedings to resolve the crisis.

Doğan added that seizing the property of the Syriac community contravened the agreement of Lozan, which ensured the property of various ethnic, religious and cultural communities in Turkey.

Renate Sommer, a member of the European Parliament from the Christian Democratic Union, part of the European People’s Party, also harshly criticized the decision and said the Syriacs were at risk of being wiped out in Turkey.

The Syriac community has a total of seven foundations in Turkey, most of which are located in the southeastern province of Mardin. According to Turkish officials, there are approximately 25,000 Syriacs living in Turkey, 18,000 of whom are in İstanbul, with the rest scattered in eastern and southeastern provinces. ( June 27, 2017

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