Property in Ortakoy returned to Greek community
The Directorate General of Foundations which is responsible for minority foundations in Turkey has returned the office building of Turkish Ministry of EU Affairs in the Ortakoy district of Istanbul to the Greek the community. The building has been seized by Ortakoy Municipality on the grounds of lack of Greek students in 1985. Afterwards, it was decided to destroy the building and turn the land into a green field, and then the building was allocated to Turkish Ministry of EU Affairs. The dispute between the Ayios Fokas Foundation and the Turkish government over the building has spilled over into the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), but the controversy over property was settled after almost 28 years with a decision made by the Directorate General of Foundations. Lakis Vingas, representative for minority foundations, was informed the decision in a meeting in Ankara yesterday. Touching on the issue, Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis said that they were following the process very closely, but that they have received no information on the decision and they would fulfill related legal obligations. The settlement of controversy without any trial at the ECHR has been considered as a positive development in terms of Turkish government's sensitivity about minority foundations.