His Holiness Karekin II Catholicos of All Armenians, Holy See of Etchmiadzin
His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of Cilicia, Holy See of Cilicia
We demand that Turkey return our confiscated Churches and Church Properties
In 2015, Armenians living in the Republics of Armenia and Karabagh and in the diaspora will commemorate the 1915 Genocide of the Armenian people, planned and executed by Ottoman Turkey.
In 1915, more than one-and-a-half million Armenians were deported and massacred. The survivors found refuge in Eastern Armenia (the current Republic of Armenia), Syria, Lebanon, the Arab countries and all around the world.
Armenians living under the Ottoman Empire in Western Armenia, Cilicia and other regions of Turkey lost all their personal belongings along with churches, monasteries, holy places, religious and educational centres, cultural and religious artefacts of great value, cross-stones, manuscripts and holy pictures. In addition to deportation and genocide, Turkey appropriated all of these belongings and artefacts under the pretext that they were “abandoned properties.”
Ninety-eight years after the Armenian Genocide, the current Turkish authorities, the legal successors of the Ottomans, not only deny the Genocide, but continue to hold on to the confiscated properties and artefacts, as well as church properties and religious treasures.
We therefore, demand the following:
1. That Turkey recognize the Armenian Genocide
2. That Turkey compensate Armenians for all their losses in human lives and human rights
3. That Turkey return the Armenian churches, monasteries, church properties and all spiritual and cultural monuments to their rightful and legal owners, the Armenian people.
As we pray for the memory of our victims of the Genocide, we condemn all violent acts against God-given human lives, all assaults on human dignity and all acts that disrupt peaceful co-existence, “for God [who] is a God not of disorder but of peace” (I Corinthians 14:33), invites people to love, to live together and cooperate in peace and harmony.
We are grateful to all those people and governments who have displayed their commitment to justice by empathizing with, assisting and sheltering the deported survivors of the Genocide.
The Armenian people will always remain grateful to all those governments, which, because of their commitment to justice, have condemned the inhuman acts of the Ottoman Turks and have formally recognized the Armenian Genocide.
On the threshold of the 100th Anniversary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, we shall pursue together the rightful and legal demands for justice for the Armenian people.