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FUEN condems recent activities against Rhodos and Kos Turks

The FUEN criticizes the closure of places of worship which are of great importance in the religious life of Rhodes and Kos Turks, and condemns the sale of real estate properties as an important source of income in meeting social, cultural and religious needs of Turks on the islands.

Mosques and charitable organizations i.e. pious foundations belonging to the Turks of Rhodes (Rodos) and Kos (İstanköy) in Greece, a member minority group of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN), are being abandoned or disposed due to unlawful and arbitrary practices of Greece. The FUEN criticizes the closure of places of worship which are of great importance in the religious life of Rhodes and Kos Turks, and condemn the sale of real estate properties as an important source of income in meeting social, cultural and religious needs of Turks on the islands.

In the Turkish village of Germe (Platani), Defterdar Haci Ibrahim Efendi Mosque and Gazi Hasan Pasha Mosque, which were damaged due to the earthquake in July 2017 were closed for worship on the grounds of restoration. However, the restoration of the two mosques by the Greek authorities still has not been started. Currently, there is no mosque open to worship where Turks living in Kos can pray.

In January 2019, 34 acres of land owned by the Muslim Turkish Foundation of Kos were sold to a tourism company for 181 thousand euros with the approval of the management committee of vakf properties, of which members are appointed by the state. With this unlawful sale, more than 70 lands owned by Kos Muslim Turkish Foundation has been transferred and sold to municipalities for the purpose of car park, park and cemetery. A similar situation happens on the island of Rhodes.

According to the relevant regulation in Greece, properties belonging to foundations cannot be bought, sold, cannot be acquired and divided as inheritance. Although Orthodox Christian Church is exempt from all kinds of taxes in Greece, Turkish foundations in Rhodes and Kos are subject to the same tax regulation as commercial organizations. Properties belonging to these foundations are sold by the vakf administration of which members are appointed by the state.

FUEN asks Greece to respect the freedoms of religion and worship of the Turkish community in Rhodes and Kos, stop appointment of board members of vakf administrative committees and  unlawful sale of vakf properties.


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