Court slaps hand of Turkey for ‘holy’ violation
Turkey has been found guilty by the European Court of Human Rights of violating the property rights of a Greek Orthodox foundation whose land it had seized and has ordered the Turkish government to pay damages.
The court found that Turkey had breached the European Convention on Human Rights by barring the Foundation of the Bozcaada Kimisis Teodoku Greek Orthodox Church from registering its title to a church and surrounding lands on the Aegean island of Bozcaada.
The foundation was denied the right to register its title to three pieces of land and a building on the island after the state land registry was reorganized in 1991, according to the court.
Turkish courts had ruled against the foundation because it had missed an initial deadline to re-register its deed and had ordered the property be turned over to the Turkish state.
A 105,000 euros fine was imposed on Turkey for damages and expenses after the court ruled authorities had illegally prevented the rightful owner of the Kimisis Teodoku Greek Orthodox Church from registering its property.
The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Instanbul has filed more than two dozen cases with the European Court of Human Rights to recover some of the thousands of properties it says it has lost.
In September, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in a separate case that Turkey had violated the property rights of the patriarchate by seizing a 100-year-old orphanage on an island off of Istanbul and ordered its return.
It has also ruled that Turkey illegally took control of other properties in Istanbul owned by Greek foundations.
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