Turkey's parliament okays return of minorities' confiscated property

Turkey's parliament approved a law Wednesday to return properties confiscated by the state to Christian and Jewish minority foundations - a key reform demanded by the European Union. The EU has long been pressing Turkey to pass the measure that would allow the foundations belonging to minority groups to reclaim seized assets - including churches, school buildings and orphanages - that were registered in the names of saints. It would also allow Muslim foundations to receive financial aid from foreign countries. The reform appears designed to meet conditions set by the EU for Turkey's membership in the bloc. Parliament passed the measure 242-72. President Abdullah Gul, a close associate of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is expected to sign the measure.