Catholics claim more than 200 properties
Turkey’s Catholic community made a presentation in Parliament on April 17.Turkey’s Catholic community is claiming more than 200 properties, based on a list included in a 1913 agreement between the Ottoman Empire and France, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.
According to the list, the buildings being claimed by the Catholic community include churches, schools, orphanages, cemeteries and hospitals that still exist, or once existed.
The list includes properties in Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Trabzon, Amasya, Samsun, Van, Konya, and other cities across Anatolia. Also included in the list are properties in Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and other countries in the Middle East that were a part of the Ottoman Empire at the time. Some 103 of the 200 properties are in Istanbul.
Representatives of Turkey’s Catholic community made a presentation at Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission on Monday.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Izmir (Roman Rite) Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini told the Commission that the Catholic Church was not recognized as a legal entity, and therefore demanded the return of the buildings based on a 1913 agreement between Grand Vizier Said Halim Paşa and French Ambassador Maurice Bompard, who represented the Catholic Church in Turkey at the time.
In 1936, upon the government’s request, Turkey’s minority groups were subject to government declarations detailing their real property. The Catholic community was excluded from the 1936 Proclamation due to the “foreigner” status given to them at the beginning of the Republic.
The Catholic community has asked from the Commission to compensate these wrongdoings in the new Turkish Constitution.