Search

 

Cablegate: Armenian Foundations Win Ruling From European

VZCZCXYZ0013
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIT #0620/01 3531642
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY AD0ED1A3 MSI5570-695)
P 181642Z DEC 08 ZDS
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8661
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000620

SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ADDED PARA MARKINGS PARA 1 AND 2)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL AA OSCE TU
SUBJECT: ARMENIAN FOUNDATIONS WIN RULING FROM EUROPEAN
COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

REF: ANKARA 326

1. (SBU) Summary. On December 16 the European Court of Human
Rights issued two judgments against Turkey for violating
the property rights of two Armenian foundations in cases
pertaining to properties they formerly owned. In both
cases, the court ruled that Turkey had violated Article 1
of Protocol Number 1 of the European Convention on Human
Rights. The two decisions are important for the future of
minority foundation property. One involves compensation
for property that had been transferred to a third party and
the other pertains to the Foundations Law's 2008 amendment
permitting the return of confiscated properties to the
foundations as long as they had not been transferred to a
third party. The GOT has a three month window in which to
contest the decision, but is expected to return one of the
properties and pay compensation for the other. End Summary.

2. (U) The "Samatya Surp Kevork Armenian Church, School and
Cemetery Foundation" and the "Yedikule Surp Pirgic Armenian
Hospital Foundation" brought cases against Turkey for the
seizure of foundation property. Both foundations in
question were established by Ottoman Imperial Decree in
1832 and are recognized by current Turkish Foundations
law. In both instances Turkish courts had ruled that the
foundations' charters did not give them the right to
acquire immovable property - such as apartments or houses.
On December 17, Minister of Foreign Affairs spokesperson,
Burak Ozugergin, said the issue was very legally complicated
and the MFA was still determining whether or not they would
apply to the ECHR Grand Chamber to appeal the decision.

Compensation for Third Party Transfer
--------------------------------------------- -----

3. (SBU) In the case brought by Yedikule Surp Pirgic
Armenian Hospital Foundation against the GOT, the lawyer
for the foundation, Diran Bakar, explained that the
property consisting of an apartment and garage had been
donated to the foundation in 1962. Upon donation, he said,
the property title was then registered in the name of the
foundation. However, a Supreme Court (Yargitay) ruling in
1974 determined that minority foundations could not acquire
property beyond that listed on their 1936 registry and a
1998 decision by Beyoglu's court of first instance demanded
the annulment of the foundation's title to the property.
According to the ECHR decision notes, in May 2001, the
court returned the property title to the original owner who
was long since deceased. Her heirs sold the property to
another party in January 2007 for 426,000 Euros. The ECHR
unanimously agreed that Turkey must pay the foundation
275,000 euros for the transferred property.

Potential Return of Seized Property
--------------------------------------------- -

4. (SBU) The properties in the case brought by the Samatya
Surp Kevork Armenian Church, School and Cemetery Foundation
against Turkey are three contiguous houses donated to the
foundation in 1955. However, following the 1974 Yargitay
ruling, the General Directorate of Foundations brought a
case against the foundation and in 1998 cancelled the
registration and returned the title to the deceased
original owner. The ECHR ruled that the GOT must either
return the property or pay 600,000 euros compensation to
the foundation. The foundation lawyer Setrak Davuthan told
us he believes the GOT would return the property rather
than pay compensation. He noted that the new Foundations
Law provides for the return of confiscated properties to
their foundation owners as long as they had not been
transferred to a third person. He said that the ECHR
provides yet another legal leg on which such a GOT decision
could rest.

5. (SBU) Comment: The judgment continues a trend set by
other minority foundations who have taken their cases to
the ECHR. Many of these cases were initially tried in the
Turkish court system and taken to the ECHR prior to the
amendment of the Foundations Law in February 2008 (Ref A).
The amended Foundations Law provides for the return of
seized properties not sold to third parties, such as in the
case of the Samatya Foundation, but does not appear to
provide for compensation for properties sold to third
parties. The ECHR decisions set a precedent for the return
of properties using the Turkish court system and may prompt
the Turkish Government to consider further amending the
Foundations Law to include the compensation for properties
sold to third parties. End Comment.

WIENER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC