Christian Cemetery in Hatay Shown as ‘Green Space’ in Zoning Plan
A cemetery field owned by Rum Orthodox Church Foundation was shown as “green space” in the new zoning plan, HDP MP Hatimoğulları-Oruç has stated.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Tülay Hatimoğulları-Oruç has submitted a parliamentary question about a new zoning plan in Samandağ, Hatay to Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.
Hatimoğulları-Oruç asked the minister if the move violates the provisions of the Lausanne Treaty about the protection of minorities.
“Turkish nationals belonging to non-Moslem minorities will enjoy the same civil and political rights as Muslims. All the inhabitants of Turkey, without distinction of religion, shall be equal before the law,” says Article 39 of the treaty, which was signed in 1923 and defined the borders of the Republic.
Hatimoğulları-Oruç briefly stated the following in the motion:
“In the mentioned development plan, the area owned by the Antakya Rum Orthodox Church Foundation and used as a cemetery is declared a green space.
“It is the only area that the Christian community has used as a cemetery since the 1870s.
“Doesn’t declaring the area, which has been used as a cemetery for centuries and the title deed of which belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church Foundation of Samandağ, a park in the new zoning plan mean that the Christian community is disregarded both materially and spiritually?
“For which reason was the area used by the Christian community as a cemetery declared a green space in the new zoning plan? Is an area that has a green space status used as a cemetery anywhere in the country?
“There is not an area that the municipality has allocated to be used as a cemetery. Isn’t this approach contrary to the principle of regarding the Christian community as equal citizens?”