The Ministry of Justice of Turkey rejects Catholicosate of Cilicia’s Litigation demanding the return of its Seat in Sis

18 June 2016



On 27 April 2015, the Catholicosate of Cilicia filed a lawsuit at the Turkish Constitutional Court, demanding the return of its historical Seat in Sis.


The legal team, which comprises Turkish lawyers and experts on International Human Rights Law and the European Court of Human Rights, prepared a folder of more than one hundred pages, including documents proving its ownership of the property. The documents explained the historical role played by the Catholicosate of Cilicia for Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire and demonstrated irrefutable evidence of the forceful expulsion of Catholicos Sahak II and the clergy, and the confiscation of the Catholicosate’s property.


During the past year the public has been informed of the progress of the litigation through statements released by the Communication Department of Catholicosate of Cilicia, interviews given by His Holiness Aram I, and His Holiness’s briefing meetings with different personalities.


On 11 May 2016, the Turkish Constitutional Court informed the Turkish lawyer that it had asked the Ministry of Justice to give its views on the admissibility of the case. The Constitutional Court stated that the Ministry of Justice had challenged admissibility and that the Catholicosate had fifteen days to respond to the decision. The team responded by reiterating its original demand. The Turkish Constitutional Court must now decide whether to accept or reject the original demand.