Turkey returns Istanbul orphanage to Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Turkey yesterday finalized procedures to return ownership of Istanbul's Buyukada Orphanage to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Patriarch Bartholomew yesterday. Cem Sofuoglu, an attorney representing the patriarchate, received the title deed for the Orthodox orphanage for boys and delivered the deed to Bartholomew. Sofuoglu told reporters that calling the day "historic" would be an exaggeration. "However, this is a very important day" for human rights, the rule of law, democracy and respect for minorities, he said. "If I'm not wrong, this marks a first in Europe. Turkey became the first country to implement a decision of the European Court of Human Rights by returning property. This should be an example for other countries." He added that they have begun a similar process for the return of three buildings on Bozcaada (Tenedos) island to Turkey's Greek minorities.