Turk Laws Don’t Allow Armenian Church to Return ‘Seized Properties’

AZG Armenian Daily #068, 16/04/2005

Turkey

‘TURKISH LAWS DO NOT ALLOW THE ARMENIAN CHURCH TO RETURN ‘ITS SEIZED
PROPERTIES”

Christopher Smith, co-chair of the US Helsinki Committee, announced that the
current legislation of Turkey doesn’t allow the Armenian Church to return
its properties “unjustly seized by the state.”

Mediamax agency informed that Mr. Smith said this during his speech at the
US Helsinki Committee hearing on the religious freedom in Turkey.

“The Armenian Church has lost the great part of its property as a result of
the laws that allow the government to directly manage the property when the
number of the local community doesn’t amount to a definite number. On its
turn, the Istanbul Armenian Patriarchate keeps working on the
acknowledgement of its legal status. Last September, Turkey adopted new
rules for measuring the religious communities that allow the communities
that have legal status purchase new properties. But the loss of the
properties made great harm to the Armenian Church, while the legislation of
the country doesn’t allow to demand back the properties illegally seized by
the state,” Christopher Smith said.

The US Helsinki Committee is an independent agency that carries out the
monitoring of the implementation of the commitments undertaken by 55 OSCE
member countries.

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