Not compensation but return of territories: Turkish lawyer of Aram I on legal case against Turkey
YEREVAN, JUNE 27, ARMENPRESS. The legal case on returning the Sis Catholicasate to the Armenian side, filed by His Holiness Catholicos Aram I of the Holy See of Cilicia, can serve a precedent for the return of other estates in the territory of modern Turkey. As Armenpress reports, Cem Sofuoglu - Aram I’s lawyer, who is currently in Turkey, informed this in an interview with the Turkish periodical “Radikal.” The lawyer highlighted that the demand of 37 million dollars mentioned in the lawsuit was made taking into account the procedure necessary for the legal case but their main aim is to get back the territory of the property and not the compensation.
“If this case is settled in our favor, it will become a precedent for the return of other churches and monasteries,” Sofuoglu said. Reflecting on the events of 1915 and their perception, the lawyer noted: “I acknowledge that the Armenians’ exile was genocide. I know that creator of the term “genocide” – Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin meant the exile of Armenians while preparing the UN Convention on Genocide and created the term based on those events.” He added that the only difference between the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide is that what happened to Armenians took place 30 years before the Holocaust and it has no judgement by an international instance like the Nuremberg court.
The Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia Aram I first declared the intention to demand the return of the Catholicosate of Sis during the opening ceremony of the 5th Armenia-Diaspora conference. “If we win the trial, honor and victory will return to our nation, homeland and church. And if we lose it, we will win again, because we’ll have reminded the perpetrators of the Genocide and the international community that the Armenian nation is claimant of its rights regardless of how many years have passed since the Genocide,” the Catholicos stated. The Catholicosate of Cilicia applied to the Constitutional Court of Turkey on April 28 demanding to return Sis to its historical Catholicosate.
In 1293–1441 the Seat of the Armenian Catholicosate was in Sis, the capital of Cilician Armenia. In 1441, however, after the demise of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (1375) and with the decision of the national- ecclesiastical meeting of Etchmiadzin the Mother See was transferred from Sis to Armenia and was reestablished in Vagharshapat.