Turkish Assembly to Investigate “varlik” Tax on Minorities
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Turkish Assembly to Investigate “varlik” Tax on Minorities

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The Turkish National Assembly was expected today to act favorably on recommendations submitted to it by a parliamentary commission that it undertake a full-scale investigation of the so-called “Taranto Case” which grew out of the “Varlik,” the confiscatory tax imposed in 1942 by the Turkish Government against Jews and members of other racial and religious minorities in the country.

In this particular case, Leon Taranto, a well-known Istanbul Jewish industrialist, was assessed a tax of 2,000,000 Turkish pounds (about $700,000) under the “Varlik.” To realize that amount of cash before the deadline, he was forced to sell a factory valued at 1,500,000 pounds to a Moslem associate for only 450,000 pounds.

In 1946, after the “Varlik” was repealed, Mr. Taranto sued the purchaser of the plant but lost the action and also his plea to the Court of Appeal. He then petitioned Parliament to investigate the conduct of the courts in this case. A commission has now proposed this course and called for the trial of the former Minister of Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal and five other judges.

Considerable interest is attached to the outcome of this case for if Mr. Taranto should succeed in obtaining redress, other Turkish Jews who had to liquidate property under duress in order to meet their “Varlik” assessments, would have a precedent for their claims.

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