This is the text of the letter that His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of Cilicia sent to H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister of Turkey
Mr. Prime Minister,
We read in the press of your government's decision to return properties seized from religious minorities in Turkey since 1936. Undoubtedly, this deci¬sion was an attempt to respond to recent developments at the European Court of Human Rights and to the US Congressional scrutiny of Turkey's repression of its Christian minority.
As the spiritual and legal Head of the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, uprooted from its centuries-old seat and established in Antelias, Lebanon, and as the representative of the faithful of the Armenian Orthodox Church, also ex¬iled from Turkey and dispersed all over the world, we find your decree of Saturday 27 August 2011 partial and unjust. The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia still holds the titles of ownership of several churches, hospitals, schools, orphanages, cemeteries and other church properties that were confiscated by Turkish authorities during the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The Armenian peo¬ple still keep the titles of ownership of the homes, businesses and lands they in¬herited from their grandparents who were victims of the Genocide planned and executed by the Ottoman-Turkish government of the time.
The current decree of your government may comply with European Union standards, but is not an act of justice. Mr. Prime Minister, selective acts of justice deny history and negate democratic values and principles. International instruments such as the European Court of Human Rights and Congressional and parliamentary bodies are implementers of democratic values and principles, and the people are their conscience. As Fridjof Nansen, the High Commissioner of the League of Nations (1921) and Nobel Prize winner, wrote in his well-known book, Armenia and the Near East (London, 1928), "The Armenian people have never abandoned hope; they have gone on bravely working, and waiting. They are waiting still…" (p. 324). And I would add that they will never stop demanding justice from Turkey for the Armenian Genocide; and they will never stop de¬manding the restoration of their human rights.
Mr. Prime Minister, your claim for justice and human rights will be credible only if you recognize the Armenian Genocide.
CATHOLICOS OF CILICIA31 August 2011
Dear fellow Armenians,
Human resources is the indicator of a nation's or community's inner power and creative mind and a guarantor of its bright future. The Armenian Diaspora is rich with human resources. It is vitally important that we get a clear, accurate and comprehensive information about our human resources in the Diaspora. Indeed, "Information is power; and the power of knowledge and information becomes a source of deeper self-understanding and self-affirmation" according to His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia.
The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia has initiated a program aimed at gathering information about our human resources in the Diaspora. By human resources we basically mean: community leaders, clergy, economists, people of media, writers, politicians, artists, public figures, medical doctors, teachers, university lecturers, businessmen, and generally specialists in the area of science and technology, etc. This initiative has the full support of His Holiness.
Thus, we kindly ask you to fill in the Form and submit it to the Catholicosate, Antelias, Lebanon. We also ask you to forward this e-mail (with the link http://www.armeniancatholicosate.org) to your friends.
ARMENIAN CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA