Although Turkey has always been an 'ally' of Israel (in spite of recent ups and downs with the ruling AKP ) the Turkish state, albeit secular, has had a rocky relationship with its 'dhimmi' minorities. Now, however, in an AP report carried by Israel Hayom, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of the restitution of confiscated communal property to Jews and Christians. If Turkey still wants to be admitted to the EU, it had better comply (with thanks: Michelle):
In a goodwill gesture to religious groups, Turkey is set to return property confiscated over the past 75 years from the nation's small but vocal Christian and Jewish minorities, AP reported Monday.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday announced a governmental decree that will reinstate the assets of Greek, Armenian and Jewish trusts, as well as compensate the owners of any confiscated property that has now been sold. According to the AP report, Ankara's move comes in response to a series of court cases filed against the primarily Muslim country at the European Court of Human Rights, including one case in which Turkey was ordered to reinstate an orphanage to the Greek Orthodox church. The AP report describes the confiscated properties as former hospitals, orphanages, cemeteries and schools.
In 1974, a Turkish ruling made it impossible for non-Muslim trusts to acquire new property, prompting the confiscation of several properties. Others were requisitioned after being abandoned. Turkey has a long history of conflict with Greece and Armenia, as well as a tumultuous relationship with Israel, and the nation's Christian and Jewish minorities often complain of discrimination.
According to the AP report, Turkey's population of 74 million is overwhelmingly Muslim, but also contains 65,000 Armenian Orthodox Christians, 23,000 Jews and fewer than 2,500 Greek Orthodox Christians.