Turkish-Muslim Foundation Goods in Greece (Kos) are being sold out by auction.
There are foundations belonging Turks and Muslim in Rhodes and İstanköy(Kos) of Greece. When government of the Islands was left to Italia it was decided that a commission would manage assets belonging to Foundation. When the Islands were left to Greece in 1947 the law numbered/dated 517/1947 was enacted.
The law in question specify “The laws and regulations currently in force in the Islands will stay in force until necessary laws are enacted, provided that they are not in violation of Greek laws“, and therefore a government delegation was assigned to manage congregation and foundation assets.
As it is in Greece and Rhodes, the foundations in İstanköy(Kos) are subject to 0.6 percent property tax. In other words, foundations of Turks living in Kos and Rhodes are subject to taxation at the same rate as a commercial institution owning property. In contrast, Orthodox Christian Church Institutions and the Church in Greece are exempt from all types of tax. It can be seen that this situation displays no equality. This unfair treatment has almost turned into a mechanism to provide excuses for disposal of foundation assets.
On the other hand, Turkish foundations in Greece were found on basis of the Ottoman Law System before the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 and thus they should be governed in accord with the Ottoman Law, Islamic Law and mutual treaties today. In this context, the truth which is known to all but avoided is that according to the Ottoman Regulations on Foundations “Foundation assets cannot be purchased, sold, possessed or inherited.”
According to the treaty, provision of the Regulations on Foundations renders all sale and donation transactions up to date null and void.
Foundations Administration does not hold any Property Deeds for properties like Mosques, Schools, Madrasas, Graveyards and Fountains which serve faithful congregations and public good. The legists who prepared the Regulations on Foundations have avoided issue of Property Deeds for such properties by design in order to prevent foundation properties from being sold. Therefore the provision that “a property without property deed cannot be sold legally” must be upheld.
On the other hand, it is clear that protection of these foundation properties is a matter connected to freedom of religion and worship for the Muslim Turk congregations of Kos and Rhodes. Protection of the properties in question is critical to allow these congregations to practice their rights of religion and worship. Therefore, it is our belief that the liquidation actions taken by the Board of Directors assigned by the Greek Government also constitute restriction of the freedom of religion and worship.
In summary, according to the ECHR and the European Union criteria, all these sales conducted up to date are unlawful and void.
In spite of that, Turkish-Muslim Foundation Goods are being sold out by auction by Greece in recent years.
We would like to call your attention to two matters related to disposal of Foundation Assets in İstanköy(Kos) which emerged in the recent months. These are disposal of a foundation property for the Hospital Building planned to be built in (İstanköy)Kos and again the matter of sale of a 34120 square meter foundation property at Gurniati-SCHINARI locale on 31 January 2019 to the museum.
In the past many properties belonging to the Rhodes Foundation were disposed in similar fashion. Today, the Rhodes Foundation is bereft of almost all property.
We are presenting the situation to the attention of Turkish and World Public Opinion.
Prof. Dr. Mustafa Kaymakçı