Turkey Loses Armenian Property Case in European Court on Human Rights

STRASBOURG (Hurriyet)–The European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Tuesday that Turkey violated the property rights of two Armenian foundations in Istanbul, reported the Turkish Hurriyet daily newspaper.

The Board of Governors of the Samatya Surp Kevork Armenian Church, School and Cemetery and the Foundation for the Armenian Hospital in Yedikule appealed to the Strasbourg-based court to overturn a Turkish court decision confiscating properties donated to the Armenian foundations.

The initial ruling against the foundations had argued that their charters did not give them the right to acquire immovable property. But the decision was in violation of property rights under the European Human Rights Convention

The two Armenian foundations were established by Imperial Decree in 1832 under the Ottoman Empire and later registered under modern Turkish law.

According to the ruling, Turkey must return the titles of all properties to each foundation and pay compensation of 600,000 euro to the Samatya Foundation and 275,000 euro to the Yedikule Foundation.

The charter of both foundations complies with the provisions of the Lausanne Treaty affording protection to foundations that provide public services for religious minorities.

The ECHR said Turkey had violated the protection of property rights defined under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of the convention.

Turkey has the right to appeal the ECHR decision in a higher authority. No announcement has been made as yet.

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