210 properties returned to minority foundations in Turkey

In 2011 the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) adopted an amendment to make it possible to return property belonging to religious minorities that had been seized by the state decades earlier.

210 properties returned to minority foundations in Turkey

World Bulletin/News Desk

So far, 210 parcels of real estate seized from non-Muslim minorities have been returned to their rightful owners, more than half a century after they were confiscated, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said.

Monetary compensation was paid for another 16 properties that could not be returned, he said.

In 2011 the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) adopted an amendment to make it possible to return property belonging to religious minorities that had been seized by the state decades earlier. Since the passing of the law, 116 foundations have applied for 1,560 properties, according to figures cited by Arınç.

The amendment the government adopted on Aug. 27, 2011, added a temporary Article 11 to Turkey's Law on Foundations No. 5737, stipulating the return of property seized from minorities. The foundations were given a year to file applications.

Arınç said properties that are currently registered under third party names will be paid for by the Treasury or the Directorate General for Foundations (VGM), after the Finance Ministry assesses their net worth. Turkey currently has 165 active minority foundations.

Confiscation of the property of minority foundations dates back to the early days of the Turkish Republic. The 1936 Law on Foundations, known as the 1936 Declaration, ordered all foundations to submit a property declaration listing immovables and other property in the possession of each and every foundation.

In the 1970s, the VGM asked non-Muslim foundations to resubmit a declaration of their assets. When many could not supply such records the VGM ruled that the declaration of 1936 would be considered their current declaration. The VGM later expropriated all immovable property acquired after 1936.

Last Mod: 27 Nisan 2013, 11:08
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