Turkish Constitutional Court: Estates should be returned to Armenian foundations

Turkish Constitutional Court: Estates should be returned to Armenian foundations
A+ A-
Earlier transfers of several Armenian estates in Istanbul and Hatay to the Turkish Treasury constitute a violation of the right to property, Turkish Constitutional Court has said.

Turkey's Constitutional Court decided that court rulings that rejected applications by two Armenian foundations to reclaim ownership of Armenian estates which had been taken over by the Turkish Treasury constitute violation of right to property.

The Foundation of the Armenian Orthodox Church of Samandag Vakifli Village had earlier applied to the Office of the Foundations Directorate in Turkey's southern border province of Hatay for several Armenian estates to be registered under the ownership of the foundation.

The estates consist of abandoned churches, cemeteries and farm lands, which are situated in the vicinity not only of the village of Vakifli, but all Armenian villages in Musa Dagh (Mount Musa), the chair of the foundation Cem Capar told Agos.

The village of Vakifli is the only remaining Armenian village in Turkey, as the Armenian existence in the Ottoman Empire was wiped out in the 1915 Armenian Genocide except for a small community centered in Istanbul. Unlike the village of Vakifli, all other Armenian villages in Hatay's Musa Dagh had been inhabited by people who moved in and settled after 1915.

The Constitutional Court also ordered the return of several Armenian properties in Istanbul to Yedikule Holy Savior Armenian Hospital Foundation.

The properties in question had been donated to the foundation by the owner's will, but were taken over by the Treasury on grounds that property cannot be transferred to foundations through will.