Cilician See Files Suit Demanding Return of the Catholicosate of Sis at the European Court of Human Rights


sis-1ANTELIAS, Lebanon — On December 6, the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia filed a suit at the European Court of Human Rights demanding the return of the Catholicosate in Sis (present-day Kozan) from the Republic of Turkey, according to the website of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia.

Previously, the Catholicosate had applied to the Constitutional Court of Turkey on April 28, 2015, requesting the return of its religious headquarters in Sis. This lawsuit was prepared by a committee of Turkish and international human rights lawyers presided over by Catholicos Aram I of Cilicia.

The Constitutional Court requested the opinion of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Turkey, which recommended refusing the case as outside the jurisdiction of the court. It was as a result of this decision that the Catholicosate applied to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

The Catholicosate had scheduled a press conference in Brussels, Belgium for Wednesday, December 7 (after Mirror-Spectator press time) to provide further information about its suit. Five of the legal experts pursuing the case on behalf of the Catholicosate were scheduled to speak along with a representative of the Catholicos and the director of the Brussels office of the Armenian National Committee.

The Catholicosate of Cilicia established its headquarters in Sis in 1295, but its clergy were forced to leave in 1915 during the Armenian Genocide. Though they returned after World War I during the period of French occupation, they again, together with all Armenians in the district, fled in June 1920 with French forces retreating as the result of an armistice between the French and the Turkish Nationalist authorities. By 1930, the Catholicosate had relocated to Antelias, Lebanon.