ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)–The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate has reclaimed the 19th-century orphanage on Buyukada, the largest of the Prince’s Islands at Marmara Sea, on Monday after it was granted back to the community by the European Court of Human Rights.
Turkey took control of the building in 1997, many years after it was abandoned, on the grounds that it belonged to another foundation.
The European court, however, ruled in June that the land was registered to the Patriarchate, giving it de facto legal status to the building. Turkey was also ordered to pay 6,000 euros in compensation and 20,000 euros in court fees.
The Patriarchate’s lawyer, Cem Sofuoglu, received the land title after paying a fee of 150 Turkish Liras to the Princes’ Islands Land Registry Office to deliver it to the patriarch.
The Justice Ministry issued an official statement on the transfer, saying, “There is no alternative but to register the orphanage to the Fener Greek Patriarchate’s records.”
Noting that both the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry played a significant role in securing the outcome, Sofuoglu said Turkey had stood by its signed commitment in the European Court of Human Rights and carried out the court’s decision in a period of three months.