The Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church in Istanbul has objected to a sum of TL 147,000 that was set by the Finance Ministry to be paid in lieu of the return of a building previously seized from the church by the government, saying they would like the ministry to reconsider the amount due, Today’s Zaman informs.
Last year, the Turkish government adopted a decree to return all confiscated immovable property that had belonged to minority foundations in Turkey, a long-overdue step towards expanding the rights of minorities in the country.
According to the decree, minority foundations are able to repossess real property seized by the government for which they filed a claim back in 1936. All real property, cemeteries and fountains still held by the government to which minority foundations have claims will be returned to their rightful holders. Immoveable property now belonging to third parties is to be paid out rather than returned.
The General Directorate of Foundations ruled that compensation should be paid for the building that previously belonged to the Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church as the building is owned by a third party today.
The church organization, located in Istanbul’s Kumkapı neighborhood, had earlier sought an appraisal of the four-storey building, which the church had used as an orphanage for Armenian girls. The value was set at TL 550,000. The church has included this appraisal in its objection to the Finance Ministry.
This marks the first act by the government to pay compensation to a minority foundation in line with last year’s decree, Today’s Zaman reported.