The Council of State granted a motion for stay of execution for expropriation of Surp Giragos Armenian Church in Sur district of Diyarbakir.
With the lifting of the curfew in some places of Sur, which lasted for 6 months, the extent of the devastation is revealed. In fact, according to the people who saw the region, the real devastation happened in the places that are still under curfew.
Europa Nostra Award ceremony was held in Istanbul because of the ongoing curfew in Diyarbakir. Speaking at the ceremony, Diyarbakir Surp Giragos Armenian Church Foundation Chair Ergun Ayık said, “We wish we held this ceremony in our church. We miss the good old days.”
Surp Giragos Church won 2015 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award for its restoration, but cannot receive it because of the curfew in Sur. The ceremony will be held in Istanbul on May 5.
Surp Giragos Armenian Church Foundation filed an annulment action against the expropriation in Sur province of Diyarbakir. In the petition for annulment, it is pointed out that the expropriation is against the law.
The debates that started after the urgent expropriation decision, which involves the churches in Diyarbakir, made the history of Sur, Suriçi a current issue. Having an important role in the history of Anatolian Armenians and Christians, Diyarbakir, and especially Suriçi, have been at the center of such practices throughout its history. Zakarya Mildanoğlu tells about the story of Suriçi churches and the expropriation history of Diyarbakir.
The expropriation decision made by the cabinet in Sur province of Diyarbakir caused disquiet. Stating that the cabinet should correct this decision, Archbishop Aram Ateşyan said that they demanded a meeting with Minister of Environment Sarı. Lawyer of Surg Giragos Church Ali Elbeyoğlu said, “The execution of this decision shouldn't be under the initiative of the government. We will appeal this decision. The decision of the cabinet should be corrected by the cabinet itself.”
General Directorate for Foundations Director Adnan Ertem spoke about the urgent expropriation decision taken by the cabinet. He said, “We want to preserve the historical structures.”
Surp Giragos Church, the largest Armenian church in Middle East, is among the places in Sur province of Diyarbakir that are expropriated by the decision of the cabinet. With the same decision, Syriac, Chaldean and Protestant churches are also expropriated.