Saturday, November 27, 2010

Büyükada orphanage in Istanbul to be transferred to Greek (Ecumenical) Patriarchate


Büyükada orphanage in Istanbul to be transferred to Greek Patriarchate

Friday, November 26, 2010
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet

Procedures to transfer the orphanage on the largest of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate have been completed and the deed will be delivered to Patriarch Bartholomew on Monday, daily Hürriyet reported Friday.

The patriarchate’s lawyer, Cem Sofuoğlu, said the transfer of the Büyükada orphanage would mark the first time an issue in Turkey related to minority property rights had been resolved without a legal case.

“We are witnessing such an incident for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic,” Sofuoğlu said. “If there were not the political will, such a conclusion could not result because the case would go to the High Court of Appeals and getting [a decision] in favor of minorities is unfortunately not possible there.”

After paying a fee of 150 Turkish Liras to the Land Registry Office of the Princes’ Islands on Monday, Sofuoğlu will go to the patriarchate, located in Istanbul’s Fener district, and deliver the deed to Patriarch Bartholomew in a ceremony.

The Justice Ministry issued an official statement on the transfer, saying, “There is no alternative other than registering 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, Sofuoğlu 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.

“We hope that similar applications will not be impeded with the words ‘however,’ ‘but’ or ‘yet’ from now on and that our courts will take this decision as an example,” Sofuoğlu said.

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