New postponement of Syriac monastery case and clear pattern of Turkish delay in court proceedings

mgmt1 400px  London, UK

The Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA), the recognized United Nations NGO representing the Aramean (Syriac) people worldwide, reports that the court trial held in relation to one of the several Mor Gabriel Monastery trials, on Wednesday, 17 February 2010, in Midyat, Turkey, has once again been postponed.

The case heard on February 17 related to the Head of the Religious Foundation of the Monastery, Mr Kuryakos Ergün, as a defendant, for the “intentional violation of the Forestry law”. Given that this case relies heavily on the status of the other cases, including the “Forestry” Case, which was appealed to the Supreme Court in Ankara, the Judge determined that this trial should be adjourned till 5 May 2010.

At the moment there are several trials in relation to the Syriac Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery (Please see “Appendix 1” for a further explanation of each case). These cases include:

  1. Forestry Land Case 1 – inside the outer wall – 20. Law Department –2009/14177 basic
  2. Forestry Land Case 1 – outside the outer wall – 20. Law Department –2009/14178 basic
  3. State Treasury Land Case – 20. Law Department –2009/15267 basic
  4. Yayvantepe – 4. Law Department –2009/12705 basic
  5. Eglence – 4. Law Department –2009/12707 basic
  6. Kuryakos Foundation Case – Midyat Local Court (adjourned)

Not surprisingly, the Turkish State has postponed all the above cases or postponed the decisions relating to them. This is consistent with other delays within the Turkish judicial system and has been recognised on by the European community as a major flaw in the Turkish judicial process.

Philip Hanna, SUA’s Global Legal Counsel, states that, “The European Court of Human Rights Annual Report 2009 (“Report”) makes it abundantly clear that Turkey has a track record for delaying proceedings. The data shows that Turkey was by far the worst violator with judgment entered in 356 cases before the European Court of Human Rights. In 341 cases out of the 356, the Court found Turkey guilty of committing violations of the European Convention of Human Rights (“Convention”). It is worth noting that the Report shows that Turkey again has topped the rankings of Countries in term of violations of the Convention. The second most common violation committed by Turkey was in respect of the length of proceedings with a damning 95 cases. This was also the highest number violations for length of proceeding committed by any one country. Let’s be frank here, numbers don’t lie”.

Daniel Gabriel, the SUA Human Rights and UN NGO Director, also expressed his concern, “Unequivocally, the Report confirms the pattern of delays by the Turkish judicial system in Mor Gabriel’s proceedings. If you examine the reasons for the Court constantly adjourning the proceedings they are at best unconvincing and weak. This seems to be more of an attempt by Turkey to overburden Mor Gabriel with high legal costs, hoping that this will eventually convinvce Mor Gabriel to withdraw its appeals.”

In what appears to be a systemic problem within Turkey, the SUA notes that there a large number of similar unjustified delays being faced by other Syriac (Aramean) villages in southeast Turkey. Daniel Gabriel continues “Mor Gabriel is not the only injustice Syriac Arameans face today. Throughout the southeast of Turkey there are approximately 30 Syriac Aramean populated villages which face similar issues of land theft, occupation and judicial prejudice and unfairness. The defenceless community needs pressure to be placed on Turkey to rectify the current occupation.”

The SUA continues to ask that all media, human rights organizations and politicians to maintain and increase their interest and passion in relation to this critical issue for the Aramean (Syriac) people. If you require any further information, please contact Mr Daniel Gabriel (SUA’s Director of Human Rights and NGO) on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For more information, especially on legal issues, you can also contact Mr Philip Hanna (SUA’s Global Legal Counsel) on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



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