1 August, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 08/29/2011
TURKEY
Historic decision: Erdogan returns seized property to religious minorities
by NAT da Polis
A decree published last night for the return of thousands of properties seized in '36, just hours before an Iftar of the Prime Minister with representatives of religious minorities. The beneficiaries are Greek-orthodox Christians, Armenians, Jews. Roman Catholics do not fall within the recognized minorities. The Prime Minister’s hopes: end to era of discrimination.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - In a sudden twist, the Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan has decided to return thousands of properties, confiscated by the government after 1936, to non-Muslim religious foundations.

This is Erdogan’s second surprise reserved for the old establishment of the Turkish Republic after the recent decapitation of the heads of the armed forces and the return of the primacy of politics over the military.

The publication of the draft-law on the restitution of property took place yesterday, just hours earlier than the traditional Iftar [the dinner-party that celebrates the end of the Ramadan fast] which the representative of the non-Muslim religious foundations, Lakis Vingas, held last night with the Prime Minister guest of honour.

The publication of the draft-law is a real "coup de theater": it will return all property to religious foundations that the Turkish administration with various subterfuges has seized in the past, after the census of 1936. Non-Muslim religious foundations means those recognized by various international treaties signed by Turkish Republic after 1923.

The decree has been published within a few days of Bartholomew I’s request for the return of unjustly usurped properties to minorities. In his campaign to see the return of certain properties of the Greek-orthodox communities, Bartholomew I had approached various European forums.

The decree provides:

1) the restitution of property as they were surveyed and registered in 1936 and subsequently confiscated from the religious foundations by the various administrations of the Republic of Turkey;

2) the return of the management of cemeteries belonging to non-Muslim foundations, which have been improperly sold to various towns and municipalities;

3) the restitution of undefined deeded property (such as monasteries and parishes), which were never recognized as legal entities by the Turkish Republic.

4) In the event that these properties have been sold or disposed of in various ways by the Turkish state parties, the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Turkey will establish with the owners a just compensation.

Interested parties are invited to submit the relevant documentation to the Directorate General of Foundations within 12 months.

It should be noted that the last law of the Turkish parliament voted on February 20, 2008, challenged and never accepted by opposition did not provide any of these regulations. What remains to be determined is the fate of mazbut properties (the so-called "occupied" properties) in which management, administration and property passed to the Turkish state.

According to an initial calculation, the decree provides for the restitution of 1000 properties to the Greek-orthodox Christians, 100 to the Armenians, numerous properties to the Chaldean Catholics and also to the Jews.

Nothing is expected for the Roman Catholics as they do not fall under the Treaty of Lausanne. But according to observers, the passage of the decree gives hope.

The decree has provoked positive reactions from all minority representatives. The director of the non-Muslim foundations described it as "a step of great importance and great historical content", the lawyer for minorities, Dr. Kezmpan, described it as a great revolution, after the liberation from the military dominance” . Another lawyer, Dr Hatem said that finally "the wrong done to the Church is restored."

In recent years the EU has always asked Turkey to take steps to remove discriminatory laws against religious minorities. And in some cases the European Court for Human Rights has condemned the Turkish state to return property or compensate the former owners.

At the Iftar yesterday, Erdogan said: "Like everyone else, we also do know about the injustices that different religious groups have been subjected to because of their differences…Times that a citizen of ours would be oppressed due to his religion, ethnic origin or different way of life are over".



e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
12/29/2005 TURKEY
Ankara is dragging its feet on new religious property legislation despite EU demands
09/05/2011 TURKEY
A "satisfied" Bartholomew I hopes for the reopening of the Halki School
by NAT da Polis
03/04/2004 turkey
Long, upward battle still ahead for religious freedom
12/11/2009 TURKEY
Turkey prepares to join EU in a building confiscated from the Orthodox
by NAT da Polis
12/16/2004 Turkey – EUROPEAN UNION
Brussels to decide Turkish bid to join EU

Editor's choices
CHINA
Unofficial catholic community of Wenzhou speak out against forced demolition of Crosses, whole diocese fasting
by Joseph YuanAfter 90-year-old Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou led 26 priests of the open Church community to protest against the government’s act to demolish Crosses, Coadjutor Bishop James Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou also led his priests to issue an open statement “Strongly demand a halt to demolish Crosses on all churches.
CHINA
Wenzhou: 90-year-old bishop and 26 priests protest against cross demolitions
by Joseph YuanThis is not the first time that the old bishop and his priests speak out against the demolition campaign against crosses and churches, which has touched more than 400 buildings. During the protest, police tried to disperse the group, which sought to submit a petition. The faithful recite a Crown of the Divine Mercy is in support of the Chinese Church. In Lishui, churches are expected to be torn down by 31 August.
ISRAEL - IRAN
After nuclear deal, Israel ought to become Iran’s best ally
by Uri AvneryThis is the thesis of Uri Avnery, leader of Gush Shalom, a major supporter of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. According to the great statesman and peace activist, Iran only wants to be a regional power in the Islamic world, able to trade with everyone, inspired by a sophisticated experience that goes back thousands of years. Iran, which faces backward-looking Gulf monarchies and emirates, could be a great ally against Daesh. Meanwhile in Israel Netanyahu, politicians and the media continue to blunder.

Dossier

Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.