A special commission established under the Mardin Governor’s Office has cancelled a decision to transfer Syriac churches and monasteries to Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, the Birgün daily reported on Wednesday.
Some of the assets, including churches in Mardin province that were owned by the Syriac community, were seized by the Treasury and were planned to be transferred to the Religious Affairs Directorate.
Renate Sommer, a member of the European Parliament from the Christian Democratic Union, part of the European People’s Party, also harshly criticized the decision and said the Syriacs were at risk of being wiped out in Turkey.
The Syriac community has a total of seven foundations in Turkey, most of which are located in the southeastern province of Mardin. According to Turkish officials, there are approximately 25,000 Syriacs living in Turkey, 18,000 of whom are in İstanbul, with the rest scattered in eastern and southeastern provinces.