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12/17/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Turkey is set to approve new regulations for the administrative management of non-Muslim foundations. In Turkey, minority Christian groups like Armenians and Assyrians operate their churches, worship and business via foundations. Renewals for the foundation’s governing bodies have been stalled for years.

Director General of the Foundations, Burhan Ersoy, has met with representatives of religious minorities, though the group reached no unanimous consensus. Syrian Orthodox Christian Süleyman Can Ustabaşı, current representative of the non-Muslim Foundations within the Assembly of Foundations, requested that at least one more round of consultations be offered before the new regulations’ finalization.

The current foundations’ law is still based on the Peace Treaty of Lausanne from 1923 following World War I. The new regulations would allow for Christian and other groups to continue to operate their worship and renew their governing bodies. There are about 167 non-Muslim foundations registered in Turkey, with only 19 being Jewish communities. All others are various Christian communities.

Turkey has proposed April 2022 as the finalization and implementation of the new foundation regulations. The timing of this coincides with the Armenian Genocide anniversary, remembered on April 24 every year. As one of the primarily affected minority groups acknowledged by Turkey, April will be a notable month for the Armenian community. Any further consultations on the law or concessions in order for the law to be implemented are yet to be seen but not fully unexpected.

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