EU Voices Serious Concern Over Assyrian Monastery Decision

DUNAYTIMES 28.11.2012 – The European Union has reacted to the latest court verdict against the Mor Gabriel Monastery stating that it is seriously concerned about the developments.

The Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that the Aramean (Syriac) Orthodox monastery is occupying state land, even though monastery officials have been paying taxes on it for decades. Peter Stano, the spokesman for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Füle, said they were “seriously concerned” about the reversal by the Supreme Court of Appeals of a local court’s decision in favor of the monastery. He added that their concern was aggravated by the fact that the litigation was launched by state institutions.

Stressing that Turkey had to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens as a negotiating country for accession to the EU, Stano made it clear the commission would follow closely all cases regarding property rights of the Syriac community and, in particular, of the Mor Gabriel monastery. At the end of June, the EU had raised the issue of Mor Gabriel at the 50th Association Council with Turkey, stating: The EU continues to be concerned about the continued court cases regarding land ownership of the Syriac Orthodox Mor Gabriel monastery.