Turkish Government to Return Seized Property to Religious Minorities

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Turkish government said it would return hundreds of properties that were confiscated from religious minorities by the state or other parties over the years since 1936, and would pay compensation for properties that were seized and later sold.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement on Sunday to representatives of more than 150 Christian and Jewish trusts gathered at a dinner he hosted in Istanbul to break the day’s Ramadan fast. The government decree to return the properties, bypassing nationalist opposition in Parliament, was issued late Saturday.

The European Union, which Turkey has applied to join, has pressed the country to ease or eliminate laws and policies that discriminate against non-Muslim religious groups, including restrictions on land ownership....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeTurkey

5 Comments
Posted August 29, 2011 at 11:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Truly ironic that it took an initiative by the AKP to do this.

Perhaps there is hope for a Christian-Democratic road for political Islam.

August 29, 12:42 pm | [comment link]
2. Confessor wrote:

Will this making amends, tolerance and generosity include the return of the Hagia Sophia? 

And allowing a re-opening of Orthodox seminaries in Turkey?

August 29, 1:43 pm | [comment link]
3. Terry Tee wrote:

I have been in correspondence with my Member of Parliament (MP) urging that Turkey not be admitted to the EU without taking this step.  If they deliver on their promises this would be good news indeed.  The island seminary attached to the Phanar (the Ecumenical Patriarchate headquarters) is among the properties closed and confiscated. 

Now if only Israel would release villages like Iqrit and Birim seized from Christian Palestinians in 1948 and never returned even although the Israel Supreme Court has said they should, then my cup would overflow and it would add cheerful news to cheerful news.

August 29, 2:00 pm | [comment link]
4. Katherine wrote:

Good news, and amazing that it comes from the AKP.

Hagia Sophia doesn’t come in the “since 1936” time frame, alas, #2.  The return of Patriarchate property is a start, and now if they will allow non-Turks to be Patriarch, it might survive.

August 29, 4:41 pm | [comment link]
5. Nikolaus wrote:

Katherine (or others), what prevents the Patriarch from leaving Constantinople and establishing his see in exile, free from Islamic meddling?

August 30, 8:36 pm | [comment link]
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