Turkey Overturns Historic Religious Property Seizures
The Turkish government made a historic U-turn in state policy this past weekend, issuing an official decree inviting Turkey’s Christian and Jewish communities to reclaim their long-confiscated religious properties, Compass Direct News reports. The August 27 decree comes 75 years after the Turkish government seized hundreds of lands and buildings owned by its Greek, Armenian, Syriac and Jewish communities. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the surprise decision on Sunday evening in Istanbul, addressing a large gathering of non-Muslim religious leaders representing 161 minority foundations. Erdogan declared, “The times when citizens in our country were oppressed for their beliefs, their ethnic heritage or the way they dressed is over.” The landmark decree is a significant step toward eliminating decades of unfair practices imposed by the Turkish state against its non-Muslim citizens.