Turkey to return seized property to religious minorities – DW World de news

The Turkish government has agreed to return hundreds of confiscated properties to the country’s non-Muslim minorities. The European Union has joined Christian and Jewish communities in praising Turkey’s historic step.

A mosque and a church side by side

The Turkish state began seizing properties in 1936

The Turkish government has pledged to return hundreds of properties confiscated from religious minorities over the last 75 years, a decision lauded by the European Union and Turkey’s Christian and Jewish communities.

Former owners of any property or land sold on to a third party are also to be refunded the market value by the state treasury.

The decree was announced ahead of a fast-breaking dinner for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in Istanbul on Sunday. In attendance was Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as representatives of the Orthodox Christian and Jewish communities.

The decision to return the properties, which include churches, community centers, hospitals, schools, houses and cemeteries, was welcomed by members of Turkey’s Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Jewish communities.

“This is a restoration, a reparation of an injustice,” said Bartholomew I, the spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians and the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, during the holy dinner.

“This is a extremely great and positive step and certainly an event which the whole world will appreciate,” added Pantelis Vingas Lakis, president of Turkey’s largest Greek lobby group.

Read more at DW World de



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