The Turkish government’s prolonged ban on the conducting of elections in all non – Muslim charitable institutions caused the resignation of the minorities’ representative at the General Directorate for Foundations.
Lakis Vingas submitted his resignation on March 21, in protest of the suspension of the electoral process in minority foundations from January 2013. Minorities have submitted their proposals for a new electoral regulation, nevertheless the process did not move forward, causing anxiety and discomfort because of the way minorities are treated in Turkey.
Vingas was the first minority elected at the fifteen-member Council and the General Directorate for Foundations of Turkey. From this position he represented not only Greek, but all non-Muslim communal institutions, from 2008 until today, having been elected twice.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (OIOMKO) stated in its announcement: “we praise Mr. Vingas’ actions, which we understand to be the ultimate attempt for the prevalence of legality in the administration of non-Muslim charitable institutions.”
The announcement also notes that “the long-term abolition of elections by the General Directorate for Foundations of Turkey, openly breaches the Treaty of Lausanne, which is an international act for the recognition of Turkey and in particular Article 40, concerning the right of management of charitable institutions from non-Muslim communities. It also violates the country’s laws, seeing as the latest Foundations Act provides for the existence of Electoral Rules and for non-Muslim foundations to be run by elected governments.”