The Newsvine website reports today (August 28, 2011) that Turkey's government is returning hundreds of properties confiscated from the country's Christian and Jewish minorities over the past 75 years, in a gesture to religious groups who complain of discrimination that is likely to thwart possible court rulings against the country.
A government decree published yesterday (August 27) returns assets that once belonged to Greek, Armenian, or Jewish trusts and makes provisions for the government to pay compensation for any confiscated property that has since been sold.
The properties include former hospital, orphanage, school buildings and cemeteries. Their return is a key European Union demand, and a series of court cases has also been filed against predominantly Muslim Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights.
Last year, Turkey returned an orphanage to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, after the European Court ordered it to do so.