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Why the Turkish government seized this Armenian church

The Justice and Development Party’s rhetoric and legislation differ on the expropriation of Armenian churches in Sur, causing further frustration among locals and diaspora Armenians.
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Turkey has been making drastic decisions in different towns of the majority Kurdish southeast in the past few weeks. On March 21, Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) government hastily passed legislation referred to as “urgent expropriation of the Sur district” of Diyarbakir province. On March 26, the government's Official Gazette announced all the addresses of the properties to be expropriated.

These decisions have been met with local opposition, which has been silenced swiftly. But the Sur situation generated global reactions because of the town's history — so much so that Galip Ensarioglu, a prominent AKP parliamentarian, told the press that the US Embassy had called him asking about the reports. Ensarioglu said the reports amounted to a smear campaign spreading false information about the confiscation process. Others beg to differ.

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