Syriac Monastery in Turkey Court Proceeding Status (March 2009)

serhan gungor midyat mor gabriel monasteryThe Syriac Universal Alliance (SUA), the acknowledged voice of and the only NGO among the Syriac (or Aramean) people, reports that the three court proceedings held today on Wednesday, March 4 2009, in Midyat, Turkey, have once again been postponed.

The three trials held today involved the following:

  1. Boundary Lines Case – The first court appeals proceeding has been initiated by the Monastery regarding its boundaries with the villages of Yayvantepe and Eglence and results from the redrafting of the Monastery Boundary Lines by Turkish authorities. This case has been postponed since 19 November 2008.
  2. Forestry Land Case 1 – The second court appeals proceeding has also been initiated by the Monastery against the Forestry Department in order to restore its property which is within and outside the outer wall of the Monastery. In dispute in this case is the removal of approximately 276,000 square metres of land from the Monastery. This case has been postponed since 14 November 2008.
  3. Forestry Land Case 2 – Besides a third trial, to be held on 6 May 2009, the Minister of Treasury has just recently initiated a fourth court proceeding against the Monastery, stating that there is more “Forestry Land” inside and outside the Monastery that it wishes to claim. Accordingly, in this case about 244,000 square metres of land might be confiscated from the indigenous Aramean people.

The trials relating to points 1 and 2 above were again heard together in the Midyat Court Room. On this occasion the Judge decided as follows:

  • On 7 April 2009, the Judge presiding in this matter will personally visit Mor Gabriel Monastery and investigate the boundary lines case himself.
  • On 4 April 2009, officials of the General Directorate of Forestry as well as of the Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Affairs will visit the Monastery and scrutinize the matter in detail. 
  • On 22 April 2009, the Judge intends to make a final decision on these two cases (Boundary Lines and Forestry Case 1).

Concerning the Forestry Land Case 2, the Judge of this court proceeding requested for more information. This trial has now also been postponed and scheduled for 22 April 2009.

Consequently, Turkish officials have successfully managed to delay the verdicts in all court cases until after the upcoming elections in Turkey on 29 March 2009.

Today, the Swedish Embassy was the observer on behalf of the European Union and SUA again attended the trials. We continue to request all media outlets, human rights bodies and politicians to maintain and increase their interest and passion on these issues, particularly as the Judge intends to make a decision in late April. 

The SUA will continue to keep you updated in relation to these trials. I 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 historical maters, you can also contact Mr Johny Messo (SUA’s President) on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .





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