Turkey Returns Istanbul Properties to Bulgarian Church
Turkey has decided to restore the possession of seven Bulgarian Exarchate properties in Istanbul to the Bulgarian Orthodox community, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday.
The decision is based on regulations adopted in 2011 allowing the recovery of the property of religious communities and minorities.
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov congratulated Turkey on the move, saying it is the result is the result of long-standing efforts by the Bulgarian church authorities, the excellent friendly dialogue between Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as Turkey's recently adopted legislation.
"Properties of the Bulgarian Exarchate in Istanbul are not only of material value. They are part of the modern history of our nation and testimony to Bulgaria's continued efforts to achieve religious and political freedom," Mladenov stated.
"For decades, it was precisely in Istanbul that the Bulgarian Exarchate had its headquarters, which we associate with the epoch of National Revival and spiritual revival," he pointed put.
The Bulgarian Foreign Minister has expressed his hope that progress on outstanding issues regarding the Bulgarian Exarchate in Istanbul will be seen soon.
The properties, ownership of which is being restored to the Bulgarian Orthodox Christian community, include a convent building, as well as a cemetery and a number of plots in the prestigious neighbourhoods of Sisli and Besiktas.
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