ASIA/TURKEY - Properties returned to the churches after legal diputes

Mardin - The Court of Appeal returned 439 acres of land that had been confiscated from the Syriac Orthodox monastery in Mor Hananyo, located in Mardin, in the southeast of Turkey. As Fides learns, at the end of a legal dispute, the church authorities obtained a favorable verdict. Although the title deed of the land clearly indicates that it belongs to the foundation of the monastery, the land had been confiscated by the state and then was returned to the Church in 2006. The Treasury had lodged an appeal against this provision which the Court of appeal rejected, restoring outright ownership to the Foundation of the monastery. The abbot of the monastery, Gabriel Akyüz, expressed great satisfaction.
The monastery in Mor Hananyo, founded in the fifth century, is an important Syrian Orthodox monastery, better known as "Saffron Monastery", the warm color of the stone used to build it.
The different Christian denominations in Turkey have opened legal disputes with the state for the return of property wrongly seized. Among other legal actions, months ago the Administrative Court in Istanbul ordered the restitution of property rights of a large plot of the land to the Syrian Kadim Meryemana Foundation, linked to the Syrian Orthodox Church, to which the land had been confiscated in 1970.
Many seizures date back to 1970 when the Treasury had canceled all donations and transfers of property made in favor of non-Muslim religious foundations that occurred after 1936, referring to rules that, in that year, had blocked the acquisition of property estate by non-Muslim religious bodies.