Turkey’s Greek Orthodox citizens living on the island of Gökçeada (Imbros) in the north Aegean cannot buy property on the island, the Taraf daily claimed on Sunday.
The issue emerged when lawyer Erhan Gökçe complained in court about officials who put up difficulties before non-Muslims on the island who want to obtain property. He first petitioned Gökçeada’s Land Registry and Cadastre Department, demanding to know why Muslims can easily buy property on Gökçeada while members of the Greek Orthodox community cannot. The Land Registry office has admitted to preventing non-Muslims from buying property, citing a National Security Council (MGK) decision, but refused to give further details. The office said details constituted state secrets and giving out the information might harm national security, foreign relations and national defense. Gökçe took the issue to an administrative court in Bursa earlier this year. The court ruled that Gökçe has the right to be informed by the bureau about the dubious property sale procedures on the island. However, the Gökçeada Land Registry and Cadastre Department appealed the ruling at the Council of State. The office argued in its appeal that both Gökçeada and Bozcaada are located in a strategic area in terms of national security.