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Monday, August 29, 2011

Turkey angling for another EU bid?

In what may be preparation for yet another bid to join the European Union, Turkey has announced that it will return properties confiscated from non-Muslim entities in 1936.
Confiscation of the properties of the 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 properties possessed by each and every foundation. Following the death of the nation's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, those property declarations were forgotten. When the Cyprus problem escalated in the 1970s, the General Directorate of Foundations asked non-Muslim foundations to resubmit their regulations. Yet those foundations did not have such regulations because of a practice during the Ottoman Empire where such foundations could only be established by individual decrees of the sultan of the day. Having received negative response from these foundations, the General Directorate of Foundations made a ruling that the declarations of 1936 would be considered their regulation. In case these declarations did not carry a special provision entitling the foundation to acquire immovable property, the General Directorate expropriated all the immovable property acquired after 1936.

These expropriation acts were in violation of both the Lausanne agreement and property rights.

The government's move has been welcomed by great joy among non-Muslim communities. Markar Esayan, a journalist of Armenian background, has said the move is of particular importance because it shows that the mentality of the state is undergoing a transformation in addition to making up for the unfair practices that were imposed on non-Muslims by the state for a long time.

“The decision means more than eliminating unfair treatment against minority groups. The state mentality is changing. The state no longer sees its Greek, Armenian and Jewish citizens as the ‘other' or a threat,” Esayan said.

Turkey's population of nearly 70 million, mostly Muslim, includes nearly 65,000 Armenian Orthodox Christians, 23,000 Jews and fewer than 2,500 Greek Orthodox Christians.
I guess once the minorities are such a small number, it's much easier to humor them by giving back their property.

Read the whole thing.

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At 5:57 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

There is divided Cyprus. Don't look for the Turks to join the EU any time soon without Greece's agreement.


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