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Catholic World News

Turkey: Church seeks return of confiscated properties

April 20, 2012

Catholics in Turkey are seeking the return of 200 properties that were seized by the Turkish government.

Citing a 1918 agreement with the Ottoman Empire, Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini of Izmir, the president of the Turkish episcopal conference, is asking for the return of churches, schools, orphanages, hospitals, and cemeteries. His appeal is address to a parliamentary Reconcliation Commission, which is weighing such requests from religious minority groups.

As part of a program of constitutional reform, Turkey’s government has agreed to consider requests for the return of properties seized from non-Muslim religious communities. Earlier this month the government announced that it would return 6 cemeteries that originally belonged to Jewish, Greek, and Armenian groups. These were the first properties restored to their former owners.


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