CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA TO SUE TURKEY OVER HISTORIC HEADQUARTERS IN SIS
By Weekly Staff on September 19, 2014
YEREVAN (A.W.)--Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia of the
Armenian Apostolic Church said the Holy See would soon initiate legal
claims against Turkey to regain ownership of the historic headquarters
of the Catholicosate of Sis.
A scene from the diaspora conference
"The Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia will
soon present its legal claims to Turkey's Constitutional Court,
demanding the return of its historic seat, the Sis Catholicosate,
to its rightful owners--the Armenian Church and the Armenian people,"
said His Holiness.
His Holiness Aram I's message was delivered before the attendees
of the fifth Armenia-Diaspora Pan-Armenian meeting at the Yerevan
Opera House on Sept. 19, organized and hosted by Armenia's Ministry
of the Diaspora.
During the speech, His Holiness Aram I said, "We cannot remain
indifferent towards the abuse of the rights of the Armenian nation.
Indifference amounts to the betrayal of the nation." Therefore, the
Armenian Genocide Centennial will be marked by such initiatives and
acts of commemoration that will leave permanent stamps on--and give
new direction to--the Armenian Cause. His Holiness discussed efforts of
recent decades, adding, "It is now time that we move Hai Tahd efforts
beyond the recognition of the Armenian Genocide into the legal sphere."
The Catholicos also added that during the past two years, under his
supervision, work has been done towards that goal in collaboration
with international law experts.
"If Turkey's Constitutional Court rejects our claims, we will
immediately present our case to the European Court of Human Rights,"
declared His Holiness. "If we win the case, the honor and victory
will belong to our nation and Church. And if we lose the case, that
will also be a victory, because in presenting our case we will have
reminded the perpetrators and the international community that the
Armenian nation remains committed to demanding its rights no matter
the number of years that distance it from the onset of the genocide."
Finally, His Holiness noted that this legal initiative would require
significant funding, but that he trusted that he would receive the
support of the Armenian people, because the Church is essentially
the people, and any Church center ultimately belongs to the people.
The city of Sis (modern-day Kozan) was where the headquarters of
the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia were located from
1293 to 1921. During the Armenian Genocide, the Armenians of Cilicia
were subjected to massacres. The last Catholicos in Sis was Sahak II,
who fled to Syria with the surviving Armenian population of Cilicia
His Holiness' speech was delivered during the opening ceremony of the
conference, which also featured speeches by Armenian Prime Minister
Hovik Abrahamian, Artsakh President Bako Sahakian, Catholicos of
All Armenians His Holiness Karekin II, Catholic Patriarch Nerses
Petros XIX, and Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau Chairman
CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA TO SUE TURKEY OVER HISTORIC HEADQUARTERS IN S
Posted 20 September 2014 - 10:46 AM
CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA TO SUE TURKEY OVER HISTORIC HEADQUARTERS IN SIS
- onjig likes this
Posted 21 September 2014 - 09:03 AM
Armenia to support initiative of Catholicosate of Cilicia to apply to
Turkey's Constitution Court
14:03, 20 September, 2014
YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 20, ARMENPRESS. Armenia will support the initiative
of the Catholicosate of Cilicia to apply to the Constitutional Court
of Turkey to return the residence in Sis. The Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Edward Nalbandian stated this while
answering a question about his attitude on the initiative. The
question was put forward at the course of the meeting with the
participants of the 5th Homeland-Diaspora conference.
As reports "Armenpress", among other things, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of Armenia Edward Nalbandian underscored: "Can
there be any other opinion, but that such a significant enterprise
must only be supported? We shall support that initiative." The
audience welcomed the answer of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the
Republic of Armenia Edward Nalbandian with ovations.
- onjig likes this
Posted 22 September 2014 - 12:09 PM
If Orcs respond, they can claim Laches and/or claim ownership the by Right of Theft and Murder.
A defense to an equitable action, that bars recovery by the plaintiff because of the plaintiff's undue delay in seekingrelief.
Laches is a defense to a proceeding in which a plaintiff seeks equitable relief. Cases in Equity are distinguishedfrom cases at law by the type of remedy, or judicial relief, sought by the plaintiff. Generally, law cases involve aproblem that can be solved by the payment of monetary damages. Equity cases involve remedies directed by thecourt against a party.
Types of equitable relief include Injunction, where the court orders a party to do or not to do something; declaratoryrelief, where the court declares the rights of the two parties to a controversy; and accounting, where the court ordersa detailed written statement of money owed, paid, and held. Courts have complete discretion in equity, and weighequitable principles against the facts of the case to determine whether relief is warranted.
The rules of equity are built on a series of legal maxims, which serve as broad statements of principle, the truth andreasonableness of which are self-evident. The basis of equity is contained in the Maxim "Equity will not suffer aninjustice." Other maxims present reasons for not granting equitable relief. Laches is one such defense.
Laches is based on the legal maxim "Equity aids the vigilant, not those who slumber on their rights." Lachesrecognizes that a party to an action can lose evidence, witnesses, and a fair chance to defend himself or herselfafter the passage of time from the date the wrong was committed. If the defendant can show disadvantagesbecause for a long time he or she relied on the fact that no lawsuit would be started, then the case should bedismissed in the interests of justice.
The law encourages a speedy resolution for every dispute. Cases in law are governed by statutes of limitations,which are laws that determine how long a person has to file a lawsuit before the right to sue expires. Different typesof injuries (e.g., tort and contract) have different time periods in which to file a lawsuit. Laches is the equitableequivalent of statutes of limitations. However, unlike statutes of limitations, laches leaves it up to the court todetermine, based on the unique facts of the case, whether a plaintiff has waited too long to seek relief.
Real estate boundary disputes are resolved in equity and may involve laches. For instance, if a person starts tobuild a garage that extends beyond the boundary line and into a neighbor's property, and the neighbor immediatelyfiles a suit in equity and asks the court to issue an injunction to stop the construction, the neighbor will likely prevail.On the other hand, if the neighbor observes the construction of the garage on her property and does not file suit untilthe garage is completed, the defendant may plead laches, arguing that the neighbor had ample time to protect herproperty rights before the construction was completed, and the court may find it unfair to order that the garage betorn down.
The laches defense, like most of equity law, is a general concept containing many variations on the maxim. Phrasesused to describe laches include "delay that works to the disadvantage of another," "inexcusable delay coupled withprejudice to the party raising the defense," "failure to assert rights," "lack of diligence," and "neglect or omission toassert a right."
Ownership by Right of theft and Murder.
The plaintiff having stolen by force and murder objects, title or property and having by those means killed or driven off to die all those who could feasibly claim ownership promptly there by bringing into play also the Christians own law of Laches.
Also bringing in to account that the plaintiff may and is willing to murder those seeking return of the afore mentioned rightfully stolen: objects, title or property.
Edited by onjig, 22 September 2014 - 12:11 PM.
- Yervant1 likes this
Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:09 AM
Armenia Supports Catholicosate's
Lawsuit Against Turkey
By Harut Sassounian
Over 1,000 attendees of the Armenia-Diaspora Conference in Yerevan,
organized by the Diaspora Ministry, cheered loudly when Catholicos
Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia made the surprising announcement
that the Catholicosate would file a lawsuit in a Turkish court
demanding the return of its properties confiscated during the
1915-1923 Genocide. His Holiness explained that before taking this
important decision, he had consulted with international legal experts
during the past two years.
Stating that remaining indifferent towards the violation of Armenian
rights is tantamount to treason, the Catholicos urged Armenians to
take the genocide issue out of the narrow confines of genocide
recognition and condemnation, and transcend the mindset that genocide
recognition is the ultimate goal of the Armenian Cause. Considering
that it is high time to transfer Armenian demands from Turkey to the
legal field. His Holiness announced that the See of Cilicia would file
shortly a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court of Turkey, seeking the
return of its erstwhile headquarters, the Catholicosate of Sis. Should
the Turkish Court reject the lawsuit, which is likely, the
Catholicosate will then appeal to the European Court of Human Rights,
said the Catholicos. He also expressed the hope that this lawsuit
would pave the way for other legal demands from Turkey for the return
of public, private, and religious properties belonging to Armenians.
While this is great news to all those who have been advocating for
years taking legal action against Turkey, such lawsuits require
painstaking preparation by top notch international lawyers. Moreover,
regardless of how just one's cause may be, no one can guarantee a
positive outcome in court, given various external influences on the
judiciary, and technicalities used as an excuse for rejecting a
lawsuit emanating from a century-old grievance.
The Catholicos hinted at some of these obstacles in his remarks,
acknowledging that "the framework of international law is not that
favorable to our Cause." More alarmingly, he seemed to dismiss the
devastating effect the loss of such a court case would have on the
Armenian Cause by claiming that "if we lose the lawsuit, we would
still be winners, because we would have reminded the genocidaire and
the international community that the Armenian people continues to
demand its rights, no matter how much time has elapsed since the
The Turkish government would certainly exploit such a negative
judgment by misrepresenting its victory around the world as a
rejection of all Armenian genocide claims.
Going beyond the Catholicosate's initiative, His Holiness urged the
Armenian government to file its own lawsuit against Turkey in the
International Court of Justice (World Court), where only states have
the right to sue. At the international Armenian lawyers' conference
sponsored by the Diaspora Ministry last year, a task force was formed
under the auspices of the Gagik Haroutunyan, Chief Justice of
Armenia's Constitutional Court, to study the legal ramifications of
filing a lawsuit against Turkey in the World Court. The task force is
reportedly assessing the various legal options available to the
Republic of Armenia.
Given the Armenian government's cautious approach to suing Turkey, it
was quite surprising that Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, during
the Sept. 20, 2014 Armenia-Diaspora conference, when asked by a
reporter about his reaction to the news that the Catholicosate of
Cilicia would file a lawsuit against Turkey, enthusiastically and
without hesitation responded: "there could be no two opinions about
it. Such an important initiative must only be supported."
Coincidentally, the conference attendees were handed the executive
summary and introduction of a lengthy report entitled, "Resolution
with Justice: Reparations for the Armenian Genocide." Funded initially
by a grant from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the report was
prepared by the Armenian Genocide Reparations Study Group, composed of
Alfred de Zayas, Jermaine O. McCalpin, Ara Papian, and Henry
C. Theriault. George Aghjayan served as a consultant. The extensive
report examines the case for reparations from legal, historical, and
It is clear that on the eve of the genocide centennial, several
serious efforts are underway to seek justice through various courts
for the massive human and economic losses suffered by the Armenian
people during the 1915-1923 Genocide.
Posted 23 September 2014 - 11:20 AM
TURCOLOGIST: IT IS HARD TO SAY HOW MUCH ARMENIA WILL BENEFIT FROM TURKEY'S RETURNING THE CATHOLICOSATE BUILDING IN SIS TO ARMENIAN CHURCH
by Ashot Safaryan
Monday, September 22, 18:06
As supposed, on the threshold of the centennial anniversary of the
Armenian Genocide, Turkey is doing active work with various structures
of Armenian Diaspora and church organizations, turcologist Ruben
Melkonyan, Deputy Dean of the Oriental Studies Faculty at the Yerevan
State University, has told ArmInfo. He thinks that Turkish President
Recep Erdogan's intention to meet with Head of the Armenian Apostolic
Church's Eastern Diocese of America Archbishop Khazhak Barsamyan
should be considered in this context.
Melkonyan thinks that Turkey will not revise its policy on denial of
the Armenian Genocide. "On the other hand, there will be attempts
to throw dust into the eyes of the Armenians worldwide by means of
various measures, for instance, returning part of the property to
the Christian churches in Turkey's territory. Ankara will do it with
special grandiosity, advertising and shows", he says.
The expert qualifies the recent statement of Aram I, Head of the
Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia, as a useful decision,
however, its consequences and final benefit for Armenia are not clear.
To recall, at the Armenia-Diaspora Forum in Yerevan, Aram I announced
his intention to apply to the Constitutional Court of Turkey to return
the Catholicosate building in Sis to the Christian church. He stressed
that he will also apply to the European Court of Human Rights if the
Turkish Constitutional Court rejects his claim. Aram I stressed the
need to constantly remind the people, international community and
Turkey that Armenia demands restoration of its rights.
Melkonyan thinks that Turkey may return some buildings and land plots
in Sis to the Armenian Church. "However, Sis lacks both Armenian
community and Armenian churches, i.e. the efficiency of that decision
may be too low for us, while the diplomatic effect for Turkey will
be much more significant", says Melkonyan.
Posted 27 September 2014 - 07:23 AM
TURKISH AUTHORITIES' POSITIVE RESPONSE TO CATHOLICOS ARAM I'S STATEMENT MAY CAUSE PROBLEMS - EXPERT
21:41 * 26.09.14
Expert in Turkic studies Ruben Melkonyan has fears that Turkish
authorities' positive response to Catholicos Aram I's statement on
the return of property to the Armenian Church may cause a number of
legal, political and organizational problems.
"Legally, the political authorities acknowledge the Constantinople
Patriarchate. That is, if they return the land property they will
return it to the Constantinople Patriarchate rather than to the Great
House of Cilicia because it is not a legal entity in Turkey.
Politically, there is no Armenian community in Sis (present-day Kozan),
and even if the property is returned, what function it is going to
perform? Moreover, it will be used for large-scale Turkish propaganda
before April 24, 2015," Mr Melkonyan told Tert.am.
Armenian News - Tert.am
Posted 29 September 2014 - 10:29 AM
Armenians' seeking organization in Turkey should be cautious - expert
13:58 * 28.09.14
It is for years that Armenians, including Islamized Armenians, have
been seeking to organize in Turkey's different regions, and have
formed a number of NGOs, expert in Turkic studies Ruben Melkonyan told
"By and large, I welcome the process. On the other hand, I am calling
for caution because Turkish authorities are trying to get some people
included in such unions and issue certain instructions to them. If we
deeply consider different NGOs' steps, we can see they often play into
the Turkish authorities' hands, which affords more opportunities to
Turkish authorities to get a better knowledge of Armenians' problems,"
Such NGOs are participating in different events in Armenia, and
Turkish authorities' can have access to the events in Armenia through
"Loyal ones are certainly among the organizers and rank-and-file
members of a union, seeking to organize local Armenians. On the other
hand, there are time-servers. I am calling for a more cautious
approach to the matter, considering it a phenomenon within Turkey," Mr
NGOs are dealing with the return of churches and other holy places and
even succeed in some cases.
"As regards the return of churches, I am concerned that more cases of
'return' will be recorded as the year 2015 nears, and only a small
part of the Armenian property seized in different years to the
Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul, with a serious propaganda to be
organized to show Turkey to the world as a civilized and tolerant
Posted 13 October 2014 - 10:45 AM
October 9, 2014 Thursday
Armenian Church Seeks Restitution From Turkey
By Vahe Harutyunyan
A plan by leading Armenian clerics to seek legal redress from the
Turkish judiciary for church property lost in the early 1900s takes
the campaign for genocide recognition to a new level, analysts say.
Aram I, the Catholicos or head of the see of Cicilia based in Lebanon,
announced the lawsuit at an annual congress of the Armenian diaspora
which opened in Yerevan on September 19.
`Here, before this meeting which represents our nation, we wish to
announce for the first time that next year, the Catholicosate of the
Great House of Cilicia plans to file a suit at Turkey's constitutional
court seeking the restitution of its historical centre, the
Catholicate of Sis,' he said.
The Armenian Apostolic Church is an ancient and unique institution,
not part of either the Orthodox or Roman Catholic worlds. It has two
spiritual sees, the Mother See at Etchmiadzin in Armenia, and the
`Great House' or holy see of Cilicia, in Lebanon.
The Great House of Cilicia was based in Sis, near the Turkish city of
Adana, from the 13th century to 1921, when its leaders fled a fresh
wave of killings. This followed the mass killings in 1915 which
Armenians call genocide, a term Turkey hotly disputes.
Armenians have spent many years lobbying countries around the world to
acknowledge that genocide took place and to press Turkey to do the
The planned lawsuit is a new approach which will take the dispute to
Turkey's highest court. Commentators have drawn direct parallels with
the legal action taken to secure material restitution in post-war
Germany for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, through compensation or
restoration of property.
The Armenian government has indicated it will support the church's
action. Asked about the plan during the same diaspora congress,
Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan said, `How can there be any other
opinion about this? It's essential to support this initiative.'
Catholicos Aram said a sound legal basis for the proposed court action
had been crafted over the past two years. He added that `if our
lawsuit is turned down by the Turkish constitutional court, we will go
to international courts'.
Ashot Melkonyan, director of the Institute of History in Yerevan, says
that as well as church property, large numbers of Armenian homes were
lost. `In the 1920s and 1930s, everything was transferred to state
ownership. Then the Turkish government sold some of it to the local
Muslim population,' he said.
The property claim is especially will be particularly as 2015 is the
year Armenia marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the bloodshed
with the Genocide Commemoration in April.
Ahead of the 2014 commemoration, Recep Tayyip ErdoÄ?an ` then prime
minister and now president of Turkey ` issued an unprecedented but
carefully-worded statement noting that `Armenians remember the
suffering experienced in that period, just like every other citizen of
the Ottoman Empire¦. The events of the First World War are our shared
The omission of the word `genocide' meant that his remarks fell short
of what Yerevan wanted. Presidential chief of staff Vigen Sargsyan
called it as `just another, though perhaps more refined, attempt to
deny and conceal the fact of the Armenian genocide'. (See Armenians
Call on Turks to Say "Genocide".)
At the same time, there are signs both countries want to revive a
process of rapprochement that began in 2008 but foundered in 2010.
Armenian foreign minister Nalbandyan attended ErdoÄ?an's inauguration
as president at the end of August, and handed him a formal invitation
to attend the 100th anniversary commemorations in Yerevan. (See
Armenia Sends Official to ErdoÄ?an Inauguration.)
IWPR wrote to the Turkish foreign ministry asking it to comment on
Catholicos Aram's statement, but it declined to do so.
One reason for bringing an action now is that Turkey is under pressure
to change its legislation on historical property claims.
`In 2005, Turkey, which is seeking to join the European Union, tried
to bring its legislation into line with the requirements set by
Brussels, which demand that illegally acquired property be returned to
its rightful owners,' Vigen Kocharyan, head of the European and
international law department at Yerevan State University, explained.
`But the process was not completed.'
If a submission to the Turkish judiciary fails, then Kocharyan points
to `a universal principle in international law according to which,
when the judicial resources of a state have been exhausted, one can
appeal to an international court'.
Manvel Sargsyan, director of the Armenian Centre for National and
International Studies, says that a formal application for compensation
or restitution is a new development in the long-running campaign by
Armenia and its diaspora.
`We can see an apparent shift from demands to acknowledge the fact of
genocide to a more concrete tactic of seeking compensation,' he said.
`This is a new approach. In the near future, the compensation issue is
going to be of increasing importance.'
Vahe Harutyunyan is a freelance journalist in Armenia. This article
was published at IWPR's CRS Issue 754.
The post Armenian Church Seeks Restitution From Turkey appeared first
on Eurasia Review.
Posted 28 April 2015 - 09:53 AM
THE CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA DEMANDS ITS PROPERTY IN SIS FROM THE TURKISH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
15:51, 28 Apr 2015
On Tuesday 28 April 2015, the attorney of the Catholicosate of Cilicia
in Turkey submitted a brief to the Constitutional Court in Turkey,
requesting the return of its Centre in Sis (Kozan), the Secretariat
of the Catholicosate of Cilicia informs.
Convinced that recognition of the Genocide and compensation should go
together, His Holiness Aram I, on the year of the 100th anniversary
commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, has filed a lawsuit
at the Turkish Constitutional Court for the return of the Spiritual
Centre of the Catholicosate in Sis. In initiating this effort, His
Holiness is setting a precedent for the descendants of the martyrs
to reclaim their family belongings.
Since 2012, His Holiness Aram I has presided over a committee of
Turkish and international human rights lawyers, preparing the current
litigation. The committee will explain the lawsuit through two press
conferences. The first will be held on Wednesday 29 April in Washington
DC and the second soon after in Geneva.
The Catholicosate of Cilicia settled in Sis, the former capital of
the Cilician Kindgom, in1295, after moving from several places due to
the political uncertainties in the region. In 1921, following the 1915
Genocide, the Ottoman authorities ordered Catholicos Sahak II Khabayan
and the clergy to vacate the location within two days. The Catholicos
and the clergy left the monastery in Sis, taking with them very few
objects, such as the basin pot for the preparation of the holy muron,
some manuscripts and liturgical items. After moving between Jerusalem,
Aleppo, Damascus and Cyprus, in 1930 the Catholicosate settled in
Posted 29 April 2015 - 02:12 PM
ARAM I DID IT
Naira Hayrumyan, Political Commentator
Politics - 29 April 2015, 13:52
The Catholicosate of Cilicia in Turkey submitted a brief to the
Constitutional Court in Turkey, requesting the return of its Centre
in Sis, the official website of the Catholicosate informed.
The press release briefs on the story of the Catholicosate of Cilicia
the seat of which was in Sis in 1295-1921. Afterwards the seat of
the catholicos moved from Jerusalem to Aleppo, Damask, Cyprus and
finally Antelias in 1930.
The claim was developed for 2 years by a committee of international
human rights lawyers. Is their involvement a guarantee that the
Armenian church will win the case? Apparently, the church intends
to go to the International Court after the procedure in the Turkish
Constitutional Court is complete.
The centenary of the Armenian genocide has actualized the illegitimacy
of Turkey's title to the property of massacred and displaced people,
communities and churches. This issue remains, despite refraining from
territorial or property claims during the centenary of the Armenian
genocide in Yerevan.
And now Catholicos Aram I puts his shoulder to the wheel. Experts
say the case of Sis Catholicosate may open Pandora's box, and more
and more claims against Turkey may be made not only by the Armenians
but also the representatives of other communities whose property was
stolen by modern Turkey.
The Turkish government fears such claims. Therefore, Erdogan's reaction
to the visit of presidents and other representatives of many countries
to Yerevan was so tough. These visits mean that the world "has doubts"
that Turkey may have stolen others' property.
For one hundred years the Turkish policy has been aimed at preventing
such claims. It used its loyal friends for this, such as Russia with
the help of which Turkey has been able to keep Armenia silent for
But who has helped to keep the Diaspora silent? Maybe the traditional
parties which always went for friendly relations with the governments
of their countries? These parties still refrain from talking about
lawful claims to Turkey.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation, for example, did not raise
any claims to Turkey on 24 April 2015. The representatives of these
political parties repeat after the Armenian government that in the
beginning they need to achieve the legal recognition of the genocide
and then go on to consider claims. After April 24 they announced that
the struggle is entering into a new stage. In fact, the government
and Dashnaktsutyun have thus provided the "front" for their activities
over the next 100 years.
Meanwhile, the guests who arrived in Armenia were surprised of the
lack of healthy nationalism in Armenians. The leader of the Coptic
Church Tawadros II said Armenia is a quiet country where people love
work and nature. During the global forum Against Genocide Crime the
scholars were trying in vain to persuade the Armenians that they have
the right to present claims to Turkey. The Armenians did not give in.
They are quiet and they love nature and work. And nationalism is
Returning from Armenia, Aram I realized that there is no need to rely
on Yerevan and it is time to act. Who will follow the catholicos?
Posted 11 May 2015 - 10:47 AM
ARMENIAN CHURCH MAY CLAIM THE RETURN OF PROPERTY CONFISCATED BY TURKEY - VIDEO
12:23, 11 May 2015
The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin may also file a legal claim,
demanding that Turkey return the property confiscated from the church
during the years of the Armenian Genocide, His Holiness Karekin II,
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, told the Voice of
America in an interview.
"An instruction has been given and this matter is being studied to
reveal the relevant documents. This process requires great efforts
to reveal the archive documents and prepare a well-grounded legal
package," he said.
"We believe that Turkey has no alternative to facing its history,
recognizing and condemning the Armenian genocide and restoring justice
towards our people," the Catholicos said in the interview.
His Holoness said the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide victims
in Turkey was a positive step.
Posted 12 May 2015 - 09:21 AM
13:32 12/05/2015 » SOCIETY
Aram I discusses Sis Catholicosate lawsuit with Taner Akcam
Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I, who is in the United States on a patriarchal visit, is closely following the processes regarding the lawsuit in the Turkish Constitutional Court to regain ownership of the Sis Catholicosate, the official website of Armenian Church Catholicosate of Cilicia reports.
In this connection, Catholicos Aram I, in Washington, met with Turkish historian Taner Akcam, a member of the lawsuit committee, who praised the implemented work.
Aram I underscored the need to continue working at the same pace.
It was decided to hold a news conference in Istanbul in connection with the lawsuit, in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in Turkey on June 7.
Aram I also keeps in touch with the other members of the lawsuit committee, and is closely following the international media coverage and Turkey’s counteractions.
Posted 19 May 2015 - 09:07 AM
ARMENIAN CHURCH LEADER SPEAKS ON SUIT TO RECLAIM PROPERTY SEIZED BY TURKEY
11:14, 19 May 2015
A lawsuit in Turkey filed by the Armenian Church to recover its ancient
headquarters, seized a century ago during the Armenian genocide, is the
"first legal step" of a goal to reclaim all Armenian property seized
by the Turks, His Holiness Aram I told The New York Times Monday.
The leader, Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, also said
that if the Turkish legal authorities rejected the lawsuit, it would
"deepen the divide" between Turkey and the 10-million-member Armenian
Aram I spoke in an interview at The New York Times while on a visit
to diaspora communities in the Northeast after having participated
in genocide centennial events in Washington.
He is a leading advocate of the effort to increase global recognition
of the 1915-23 killings of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks
as a genocide, a description embraced by Pope Francis, the European
Parliament and legislatures of more than 20 nations but angrily
rejected by Turkey's government, which calls it a distortion of
Legislatures of many American states also have called the killings
a genocide. The White House has yet to do so, but Aram I said, "I am
sure President Obama, in his heart, knows that this was genocide."
On April 27, lawyers for the church filed a suit with the
Constitutional Court of Turkey asserting that the headquarters of the
Catholicosate in Sis, part of the Kozan district in southern Turkey's
Adana Province, was wrongly seized and should be returned.
The headquarters, which dates to 1293 and included a cathedral and
monastery, was once the epicenter of Armenian Christian life. It was
among the tens of thousands of Armenian properties commandeered and
plundered during the last days of the Ottoman Empire and the scattering
of Armenian survivors. The headquarters was re-established in 1930,
in Antelias, Lebanon.
Aram I, who at 68 is the first Lebanese-born leader of the
Catholicosate of Cilicia, said he had decided to proceed with a
lawsuit after having consulted with 30 legal experts, including some
from Turkey. While the church's efforts to achieve an international
acknowledgment of the genocide were important, "after 100 years,
I thought it was high time that we put the emphasis on reparation,"
"This is the headquarters of the church," he said. "This is the
first legal step. That will be followed by our claim to return all
the churches, the monasteries, the church-related properties and,
finally, the individual properties. We should move step by step."
There has been, as yet, no response by the Constitutional Court to the
suit, and the Armenian Church leader speculated that its judges may
be ignoring it. But the mayor of Kozan, Musa Ozturk, signaled within
days of the suit that the church would have a fight on its hands.
"Not even an iota of land is to be handed over to anyone," Mr. Ozturk
said in remarks quoted by Turkish news media. The mayor said the
church had no proof of ownership.
Aram I acknowledged that the church did not have deeds, but said he
considered that level of proof to be absurd considering the obvious
nature of the properties. "The ownership is clear," he said. "They
are Armenian. Nobody can question the ownership or identity or history
of those properties."
The church's lead international lawyer in the suit, Payam Akhavan,
a McGill University professor and legal expert on genocide issues,
said in a recent telephone interview that he planned to take the case
to the European Court of Human Rights if the Turkish court rejects it.
Under the European convention on human rights, all domestic remedies
must be exhausted before such a case could be heard.
Mr. Akhavan said the lawsuit had been carefully framed to avoid
antagonizing the Turkish authorities over the genocide issue. "We
have a property claim," he said. "We're not asking for recognition
of the Armenian genocide. We have a very pragmatic claim."
Aram I said he had never been able to visit the ancient headquarters
and feared that the local authorities had made efforts to erase
its Armenian identity. He also expressed impatience with a view
that the church's confrontational stance, as seen in the lawsuit,
is inconsistent with the principle of forgiveness, a basic Christian
"Forgiveness comes when there is confession, repentance, acceptance of
sin," he said. "Reconciliation is part of our human faith and values,
but first of all, Turkey must reconcile with its own past."
Posted 09 June 2015 - 09:09 AM
Ramifications of Cilicia Catholicosate's
Lawsuit Against Turkey
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier
Armenians worldwide applauded the Cilician Catholicosate for filing a
lawsuit in the Turkish Constitutional Court on April 27, demanding the
return of its historic seat in Sis, Kozan district of Turkey's Adana
province. The Cilician See's former headquarters, established in 1293,
was confiscated by the Turkish government in 1921, at the culmination
of the Armenian Genocide.
Catholicos Aram I announced that should the Turkish court reject the
lawsuit, the Catholicosate intends to appeal the ruling to the
European Court of Human Rights, which requires that all domestic legal
remedies are exhausted before it considers appeals on cases filed
against Council of Europe member states. Skeptics of Turkish
acceptance of European Court decisions should know that the Republic
of Turkey has complied with all rulings since its acceptance of the
Court's jurisdiction in 1990.
The Catholicosate's lawsuit is a landmark case for several reasons:
-- It seeks to restore partial justice for the enormous human,
material, and territorial losses suffered by Armenians during the
-- It shifts `Hai Tad [Armenian Cause] efforts beyond the recognition
of the Armenian Genocide into the legal sphere,' as stated by
Catholicos Aram I.
-- It could set a precedent for similar legal claims, as His Holiness
informed The New York Times last month: `After 100 years, I thought it
was high time that we put the emphasis on reparation¦. This is the
first legal step. This will be followed by our claim to return all the
churches, the monasteries, the church-related properties and, finally,
the individual properties.'
Despite the noble objectives pursued by the Catholicosate's lawsuit, a
controversy surfaced in the Armenian community last week, when several
websites and newspapers reported that the Catholicosate of Cilicia had
demanded that the Turkish government `either return the property of
the Catholicosate of Sis or pay a compensation of 100 million Turkish
Liras ($37 million).' Garo Armenian, a prominent Armenian community
leader, wrote a cautionary article titled, `Our Sacred Sites are not
Personal Possessions.' He stressed that `the Catholicosate's lawsuit
raises a series of important questions which must be collectively
considered forthwith with prudent diligence in order to prevent any
undesirable precedents.' He also urged the Catholicosate to clarify
this issue if the news reports have not accurately reflected the
content of the lawsuit.
I contacted last week the Catholicosate's representatives seeking such
a clarification. I was assured in an e-mail by Father Housig
Mardirossian, Assistant to His Holiness Aram I, that `The lawsuit of
the Catholicosate has one clear objective: The return of the
Catholicosate of Cilicia.'
In response to my request for a copy of the lawsuit, Payam Akhavan, a
prominent international lawyer and lead counsel for the Catholicosate,
stated that `it is not possible or advisable at this stage to share
the full application while it is still pending before the Turkish
On questions regarding monetary compensation, attorney Akhavan
provided the following explanation: `The fundamental claim before the
Turkish Constitutional Court is that Turkey should return the
Monastery and Cathedral of St. Sofia, both because of the
Catholicosate's property rights, as well as its religious significance
for Armenians. The claim is not for compensation, given that this is
not merely private property, but rather, property of religious and
historical significance. However, I have been advised by our Turkish
lawyer that under Turkish laws and procedures it is necessary, with
respect to the property rights claim (and not the religious rights
claim) to reserve the Catholicosate's alternate right to seek
compensation by providing a provisional amount¦. But I want to
emphasize that the claim is not for compensation; it is for the return
of the property, to be used for religious worship and related cultural
I contacted an independent lawyer in Istanbul who confirmed that
Turkish law indeed required that a specific value be stated for a
property under litigation.
Now that the financial issue is clarified, there are other important
matters facing the Catholicosate and Armenians in general. Some of
these questions might be a little premature, but Armenians may want to
reflect upon them in order to anticipate the consequences of any
eventual decisions by Turkish or European courts:
1) What would the Catholicosate do should the Turkish court or
government allow the restoration of the Sis church and its use for
religious worship without returning ownership of the property to the
Catholicosate? Moreover, what if the Turkish government also offered
monetary compensation for the repair of the church headquarters while
retaining the property rights?
2) In case the Turkish Court or the European Court of Human Rights
decided to return the Sis church property, would the Catholicosate
relocate to its historic headquarters or continue to remain in exile
in Antelias, Lebanon?
In view of the Turkish government's recent overtures to the heads of
Assyrian and Syriac churches to return to their historic headquarters
in Turkey from temporary exile in Syria, Turkey's leaders may use the
Armenian lawsuit as a cover vis-Ã-vis their own hardliners, and
make a similar offer to the Catholicosate of Cilicia.
Pres. Erdogan may make such a gesture for three reasons:
1) To preempt a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in favor
of the Catholicosate, and avoid setting a legal precedent for future
2) To score a public relations victory in international circles,
particularly after his party's loss of parliamentary majority in last
3) To reap the economic benefits of foreign tourists and Armenian
visitors to the historic headquarters of the Cilician Catholicosate at
Posted 28 June 2015 - 12:07 PM
Not compensation but return of territories: Turkish lawyer of Aram I
on legal case against Turkey
14:37, 27 June, 2015
YEREVAN, JUNE 27, ARMENPRESS. The legal case on returning the Sis
Catholicasate to the Armenian side, filed by His Holiness Catholicos
Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia, can serve a precedent for the
return of other estates in the territory of modern Turkey. As
Armenpress reports, Cem Sofuoglu - Aram I's lawyer, who is currently
in Turkey, informed this in an interview with the Turkish periodical
`Radikal.' The lawyer highlighted that the demand of 37 million
dollars mentioned in the lawsuit was made taking into account the
procedure necessary for the legal case but their main aim is to get
back the territory of the property and not the compensation.
`If this case is settled in our favor, it will become a precedent for
the return of other churches and monasteries,' Sofuoglu said.
Reflecting on the events of 1915 and their perception, the lawyer
noted: `I acknowledge that the Armenians' exile was genocide. I know
that creator of the term `genocide' ` Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin
meant the exile of Armenians while preparing the UN Convention on
Genocide and created the term based on those events.' He added that
the only difference between the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide is
that what happened to Armenians took place 30 years before the
Holocaust and it has no judgement by an international instance like
the Nuremberg court.
The Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia Aram I first declared the
intention to demand the return of the Catholicosate of Sis during the
opening ceremony of the 5th Armenia-Diaspora conference. `If we win
the trial, honor and victory will return to our nation, homeland and
church. And if we lose it, we will win again, because we'll have
reminded the perpetrators of the Genocide and the international
community that the Armenian nation is claimant of its rights
regardless of how many years have passed since the Genocide,' the
Catholicos stated. The Catholicosate of Cilicia applied to the
Constitutional Court of Turkey on April 28 demanding to return Sis to
its historical Catholicosate.
In 1293`1441 the Seat of the Armenian Catholicosate was in Sis, the
capital of Cilician Armenia. In 1441, however, after the demise of the
Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (1375) and with the decision of the
national- ecclesiastical meeting of Etchmiadzin the Mother See was
transferred from Sis to Armenia and was reestablished in Vagharshapat.
- MosJan likes this
Posted 24 August 2015 - 10:51 AM
ARMENIAN DEMANDS VOICED IN TURKEY (PHOTOS)
We, standing on the Cilician soil tempered with the sweat and blood of
Armenians--especially on the Muron [i.e. Holy Chrism]-fragrance soil of
the historical Catholicosate of Sis [in modern-day Turkey]--demand the
return of our centuries-old Catholicosate, and reaffirm our people's
claimancy to the true sacred testament of the martyrs.
The aforesaid words by Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia of the
Armenian Apostolic Church, Aram I, were voiced at the Catholicosate of
Sis, and in Aram I's patriarchal message addressed to the Armenian
nation, informed the Facebook account of the Armenian Church
Catholicosate of Cilicia.
On August 22, a delegation from the congregation of the Catholicosate
of Cilicia paid a visit to the historical Catholicosate of Sis, where
a requiem service was offered for the souls of the dear departed
Armenian patriarchs that had lead the Catholicosate of Sis between
1293 and 1915.
Subsequently, the aforesaid congregation representatives read Aram
I's message, which was extended for the first time after one hundred
year at the ruins of the Catholicosate of Sis.
Catholicos Aram I, in his message, reaffirmed the commitment by the
Great House of Cilicia to pursue the demand for the righteous rights
of the Armenian people and the return of the Catholicosate of Sis.
Posted 12 December 2015 - 12:15 PM
LAWYER SOFUOGLU: 'THIS IS A LAWSUIT FOR FREEDOM OF WORSHIP'
Today's Zaman, Turkey
Dec 11 2015
Cem Sofuoglu, a lawyer representing the Armenian Catholicosate of the
Great House of Cilicia, has said that a case filed against the Turkish
state with Turkey's Constitutional Court by the Armenian religious
institution, which seeks to reclaim a piece of land within Turkey,
is not just a lawsuit for return of ownership but also for freedom
As Armenians have stepped up efforts toward global recognition of the
mass killings and forced relocations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire
as "genocide" on the centenary of the events, Sofuoglu submitted a
brief to the Constitutional Court on April 27, requesting the return
of land where the monastery of St. Sophia was located in the town of
Aram Keshishian, the head of the Lebanon-based Catholicosate of the
Great House of Cilicia, one of the two largest Armenian religious
institutions in the world, has personally applied to the Constitutional
Court for the return of the land on which the historic headquarters of
the Catholicosate of Cilicia once stood. The monastery was reportedly
seized by Ottoman authorities in 1921.
Reverend Housig Mardirossian, a representative of the Catholicosate
of Cilicia, and Sofuoglu spoke to the Cumhuriyet daily on Friday.
Elaborating on the current situation of the land, Sofuoglu said:
"It's now a protected area. Construction is forbidden there, so it has
been turned [by the municipality] into a children's playground. The
walls of the monastery have tumbled down."
Reverend Mardirossian spoke of photos from 100-120 years ago which
show that there was an immense monastery built upon the land. "All
that remains of the monastery are two towers," he says.
When asked whether the TL 100 million that is requested as compensation
will be used to rebuild the monastery, Sofuglu stated that it was a
legal obligation. "It's a part of the Constitutional Court's lawsuit
format. I was hesitant [to claim compensation] because the reverend
is sensitive about money issues. But I had to do my duty, and so
I put forward an arbitrary amount, although I wasn't ordered to do
that. 'We only want our monastery back' he told me," Sofuglu added.
After so many years spent seeking international acknowledgment of
the events of 1915 as genocide, attempting to recover land is a new
step for Armenia, which is expected to begin a new global campaign
focused on finding support for reparative action.
100 years after the alleged genocide of 1915, the European Parliament
(EP) passed a resolution calling on all EU members to recognize the
Armenian genocide, following Pope Francis' description of the events
as "the first genocide of 20th century," during a Sunday Mass in the
beginning of April. The same month witnessed a number of states, such
as Germany, Austria, Russia and Bulgaria, recognizing the events as
genocide. As of 2015, the governments of 29 countries have recognized
the events as genocide.
Turkish officials have always denied the use of the term genocide to
describe the events and have responded to other nations embracing the
term by summoning the ambassadors of the countries that have used it
for an explanation.
Turkey's official standpoint on the events of 1915 is that both
Turks and Armenians died during civil strife that resulted in the
forced deportation of Armenians. Turkish officials also maintain
that the number of Armenians said to have died before and during the
deportations is inflated.
If Turkey were to accept the claims of genocide, it would be expected
to pay reparations worth tens of billions of dollars to the families
who lost their loved ones as well as their properties in Turkey during
Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:34 AM
ARMENIAN SIDE MAY APPLY TO ECTHR IF TURKISH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT FURTHER PROCRASTINATES
Politics - 09 March 2016, 23:01
What Scares Erdogan and Makes Him Use Terrorism: Turkey Ahead of
The consideration of the claim presented to the Turkish Constitutional
Court by the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia to return the
historical residence of the catholicosate of Sis has been postponed,
Armenpress informed, referring to Cilicia TV. On 1 March 2016 the
advocate of the catholicosate had sent a memorandum to the Turkish
Constitutional Court, demanding a judicial hearing. As the Turkish
court did not respond in any way, on March 5 Aram I held a meeting with
the legal team of the suit of the Catholicosate in Geneva to discuss
the circumstances accelerating the proceedings on this issue in the
Turkish Constitutional Court. The team has clarified the possibilities
of applying to the European Court of Human Rights.
The team listened to Turkish advocates and two other experts. It was
reported that there are a lot of cases pending cases at the Turkish
Constitutional Court since 2012 hence the Turkish court can prioritize
the cases at its discretion, and since the claim of the Catholicosate
of Sis has a political nature, the Court may consider it as non-urgent
In case of further procrastination, the Armenian side may, after a
reasonable time, apply to the ECtHR according to Article 6 of the
- See more at:
Posted 23 March 2016 - 10:06 AM
SIS CATHOLICOSATE FILES ANOTHER LAWSUIT IN TURKISH COURT
March 22, 2016 - 18:14 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Great House of Cilicia which had in April
2015 filed a lawsuit in Turkey's Constitutional Court over regaining
ownership of its historic headquarters in Sis, has submitted another
application demanding the examination of the lawsuit.
Submitted some two weeks ago by the Catholicosate's lawyer Cem
Sofuoglu, the application urges the Turkish court to review the
matter at the earliest possible convenience, as the lawsuit that was
submitted 10 months ago, hasn't been examined yet, Ermenihaber.am
reports citing Haberturk.com.
According to Sofuoglu, the lawsuit only seeks to recover the property,
"with no intention to discuss the events of the past."
"We are not going to bargain with Turkey over the issue," the
Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, His Holiness Aram I said, in
turn. "We just want to return the property that belonged to us for
over 800 years. If Turkey wants to move closer to the Armenian people,
this is the most appropriate moment."
The historic headquarters includes the Catholicosate, the monastery
and cathedral of St. Sophia, a major Armenian Christian holy site
located in Sis (currently Kozan), in south-central Turkey.
This site was confiscated by the Turkish Government following the
Genocide of 1915 in which an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were
killed or deported by the Ottoman Empire.
Filing the lawsuit at the Turkish court, the Catholicos has thus
set a precedent for the descendants of the martyrs to reclaim their
Posted 16 June 2016 - 12:35 PM
Turkish Justice Ministry rejects discussion on return of Sis Catholicosate
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users