"ISTANBUL GREEKS SEEK JUSTICE IN LAND CLAIMS
Turkey is trying to bring its laws on minorities in tune with those of the EU, but ethnic Greeks living in the capital say they are victimized through unfair land expropriations.
By George Gilson - Athens News
VARTHOLOMEOS, ecumenical patriarch and archbishop of Constantinople, is wont to call the 2,000-strong Greek community of Istanbul a 'drop in the ocean'.
Shrunken and scarred by the violent vicissitudes of Greek-Turkish relations over the decades, that drop is now in danger of evaporating. Despite reforms for the protection of minorities intended to bring Turkey in line with European Union law, the leaders of Istanbul's Greek community are struggling for basic rights.
That includes establishing the legal grounds to claim back around 400 pieces of prime Istanbul real estate gradually confiscated by the Turkish state since 1974. 'The confiscated property was certainly worth billions of dollars. We are talking about entire apartment buildings and tracts of city land that produced significant revenues,' says Vasslis Kalamaris, an attorney for the patriarchate."
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