04/23/2012, 00.00
TURKEY - VATICAN
Send to a friend

Turkish Catholic Church calls for a return of 200 properties. Better to ask for legal recognition

The bishops' request is based on a 1913 list, signed by the Ottoman Empire and France, once the protector of Catholics. The request, difficult to resolve, has stirred controversy and embarrassment among other Christian communities. Archbishop Lucibello, Nuncio in Turkey. It is urgent that Ankara recognize the Catholic Church, after 60 years of diplomatic relations with the Holy See.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The Turkish Catholic Church is trying to regain possession of 200 properties confiscated by the government in Ankara in the 1930s. But several elements of the community think the church should focus its efforts on the legal recognition of the community.

A few days ago, some Catholic bishops, including Msgr. Ruggero Franceschini, president of the Episcopal Conference, met with the Commission for Reconciliation of the Turkish parliament. The Commission has been working to study the return of properties confiscated by the government of Ataturk to non-Muslim communities (see: 29/08/2011 Historic decision: Erdogan returns seized property to religious minorities). But Catholics are not in the list of "non-Muslim communities" because at the time they were recognized as a "foreign" community.

The Turkish Church has submitted a list of over 200 properties (churches, schools, orphanages, hospitals, cemeteries, ...) based on a list drawn up in 1913 between the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire and France, erstwhile protector of the Church Catholic.

The problem of return of these properties is very complex: first, these assets have passed from hand to hand and it is not certain that they can be returned. But the most important issue is the lack of legal status of the Catholic Church in the current Turkish law. To date, the Catholic Church in Turkey can not own property and these can only be made payable to Turkish private citizens (often secular or church-related nominee), with ambiguous consequences.

Several political parties and newspapers have taken on the requests of the bishops, judging them "greedy". The request has embarrassed other Christian communities.

Some Church Turkish figures have stressed to AsiaNews that the real problem that needs to be addressed it is obtaining legal recognition by the State. Sources close to the episcopate state that this topic was not even addressed at the meeting with the Commission for Reconciliation,.

"On this recognition - said the apostolic nuncio in Turkey, Mgr. Antonio Lucibello - there are pour parler dating for decades. Even the pope, in meeting the new Turkish ambassador to the Vatican [January 7, 2010], once again asked for the legal recognition of the Catholic Church. This recognition should have already been granted because a country like Turkey has relations with the Holy See for 60 years and really should give this recognition : it would be a logical consequence because the Church in Turkey is in a sense as a derivation of the Holy See. "

 

According to experts, the forthcoming Turkish constitutional reform could lead to openings for the legal recognition of the Catholic Church.

 

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Religions should work for peace and states should respect their freedom, says Pope
19/01/2007
Holy See issues pastoral guidelines for the civil registration of the clergy in China
28/06/2019 13:19
"Purification of memory" in Tokyo, Diet acknowledges that Ainu are indigenous
20/06/2008
Catholic music to promote dialogue in Ambon, the city of sectarian violence
17/10/2018 13:29
Human rights activists are not giving up on three Indonesian Catholics
07/04/2006