Spreading title deeds on a coffee table, leaders of the Syriac Christian community in southeastern Turkey enthusiastically spoke about how they settled a controversial issue regarding the return of their properties. In 2014, ownership of churches, monasteries and cemeteries belonging to the ancient community were transferred to the state after Mardin, the southeastern city where they are located, was designated as the "greater city municipality." The community fought for their return but faced bureaucratic red-tape and a lengthy legal process. Finally, they were formally handed title deeds yesterday, crediting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for helping them to settle the issue.I have been following the fortunes of the ancient and historic Mor Gabriel Monastery for some time, with emphasis in the last several years on disputed land seizures by the Turkish Government. I am not sure whether all the problems are resolved yet, but this latest report seems to count as good news.
Properties were returned to the Foundation of Mor Gabriel Monastery that represents the small community concentrated mainly in Mardin. ....
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