As the property had been sold, the VGM ruled to pay compensation to the Armenian foundation.
A government move in 2008 allowed the return of property to non-Muslim foundations, and the VGM has approved the return of 181 immovable properties to the non-Muslim community. Since then, however, there have been problems in the implementation of the 2008 law, leading the government to issue a decree to facilitate the process in September 2011.
The decree made it possible for property seized from non-Muslim religious foundations to be returned to them and, in cases where the state has sold the property to third parties, ruled that religious foundations will be paid the market value of the property by the Ministry of Finance. Non-Muslim foundations have until August to apply for compensation.
After the VGM completes research on the property claims, it will decide whether or not to return those properties to their original owners.
While the Gedikpaşa Armenian Protestant Church and School Foundation will receive compensation for their property sold by the Turkish Treasury, their application for the return of their orphanage in İstanbul’s Tuzla district was rejected as their demand was not in line with the new law on foundations.
The Armenian foundation will have to go to court to apply for the return of the orphanage, VGM President Adnan Ertem stressed.
“We expect to receive around 500 applications from community foundations for their properties. They have until Aug. 27, 2012 to file their applications,” said Ertem.