The foundation of St. Giragos (Surp Giragos) Armenian Church, which is located in Sur district of Turkey’s primarily Kurdish-populated Diyarbakır city, has filed a petition with the court that the decision to expropriate the church be declared null and void.
Ali Elbeyoğlu, an attorney of the foundation, noted that the respective lawsuit is filed against the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning of Turkey, according to Agos Armenian bilingual weekly of Istanbul.
The attorney stressed that the nationalization of this church runs contrary to the Turkish law on conservation of cultural heritage as well as to international agreements, including the Treaty of Lausanne.
According to the Turkish Council of Ministers’ decision, all structures in Sur district, including St. Giragos Church, were expropriated for “protection.”
St. Giragos, which is one of the largest churches in the Middle East, reopened as a functioning church in October 2011.
It was renovated with co-funding by Diyarbakır Armenians throughout the world, and Diyarbakır City Hall.