Doc. 10536
29 April 2005

Imvros and Tenedos

Motion for a resolution
presented by Mr Torosyan and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

1.       The Parliamentary Assembly notes that Turkey has embarked on a series of reforms with a view to starting accession negotiations with the European Union;

2.       The Parliamentary Assembly notes that the core of reforms concerns respect for an observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Turkey. However, it notes also that these reforms have not been fully implemented.

3.       The Parliamentary Assembly expresses its growing concern on the plight of the Greek Minority in Imvros (Gokšeada) and Tenedos (Bozšaada).

4.       It recalls that, according to Article 14 of the Treaty of Lausanne, both islands “should enjoy a special administrative organisation composed of local elements and furnishing every guarantee for the native non-Muslim population insofar as concerns local administration and the protection of persons and property”. This clause has never been implemented. Besides, the members of the Greek minority are still denied their right to be taught in their own language and to reopen their schools.

5.       According to the latest information received, the Greek minority on both islands is still faced with serious problems regarding the property rights of its members as well as those of their religious foundations.

6.       The process of establishing new land registries on both islands has not been based on fair and transparent rules, i.e. the old (Ottoman) title deeds have not been translated into the Latin alphabet as in the rest of Turkey. The result is the confiscation of properties, including churches, belonging for decades, even centuries, to the Greek minority, without possibility of recourse.

7.       The property rights on non-Turkish citizens are not recognised by the authorities and, therefore, the younger generations cannot inherit the land and the houses of their fathers.

8.       Furthermore, the Turkish authorities have assigned large parts of both islands (around 80% of the total surface of Imvros) to fall within the scope of the Law “On the preservation of Cultural and Natural Wealth” (No. 2863/1983, as amended by Law 5226/2004) and, therefore, summarily decreed them as “property of the state”, such confiscation done without recourse or compensation for owners.

9.       The Parliamentary Assembly draws attention to the necessity of legislative amendments and administrative reforms in the fields of minority protection and freedom of religion.

10.       Requests the Turkish authorities to fully implement already adopted measures in good faith.

11.       Requests Turkey to fully comply with European standards on minority protection and freedom of religion.

12.       Urges the Turkish Government to look into the matter in order to find an acceptable solution, restituting the properties of the Greek minority and addressing the needs of the people on the two islands.

Signed 1:

1     SOC: Socialist Group
      EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
      LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
      EDG: European Democratic Group
      UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
      NR: not registered in a group