Three more minority properties returned in Turkey
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s Catholic community made a presentation in Parliament on April 17.Turkey’s Foundations Directorate General has agreed to return more properties to Armenian and Rum (Anatolian Greek) foundations in Istanbul, following its decision to hand back control of Istanbul’s Surp Haç Tıbrevank school to the Armenian community.
“We are grateful about the decision, but there is nothing surprising in this. What belongs to us is being handed back to us, the true owners. The most important [question] is how the community will make use of these gains,” Levon Şadyan, the head of the Kınalıada Surp Krikor Lusaroviç Armenian Church-Cemetery Foundation, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
Among the properties that are to be returned to the Armenian community are a 52-parcel cemetery and an estate across from an orphanage in Kınalıada, one of the Princes’ Islands off Istanbul’s coast in the Sea of Marmara. A five-acre estate in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district will also be handed back to the Rum community as part of the new Foundations Law.
“Tıbrevank was surely the most significant property, whose return pleased us [most] in recent times,” Şadyan said.
Even though the authorities have returned Tıbrevank, which was once used as a clerical school, the reopening of its theology department is not yet on the table.
“Bit by bit, the return of properties back to [minority] communities has begun taking place as a result of a long struggle. The owners are retrieving their rights. [Our] struggles are bearing fruit; that is a welcome [development],” Laki Vingas, a council member of the Foundations Directorate General, told the Daily News yesterday.