- The Pious Foundations in Cyprus
Articles by Prof. N.
Yildiz, autority on Cypriot Evkaf:
1571 the Islamic religious organisation
has accumulated properties known as evkaf. They are properties
appropriated for, or donated by, a document called vakfieh to
charitable uses and to the service of God. Nobody has the right
to sell property designated as vakf. Evkaf properties can be
rented for ten years, but a longer period requires the approval
of the parliament.
divided into two categories: Mulhakak are properties that are
donated but the administration of the property remains under the
control of the donor until the time where there is no family
descendent, when the property then becomes a Mazbuta property.
Mazbuta properties are directly under the control of the Evkaf
Office, the statutory body that administers evkaf. During the
Ottoman regime, this office was directly under the Board of
Pious Foundations in Istanbul, which was directly responsible to
the Sultan as the Caliph of all Islam. When the administration
of Cyprus was taken over by the British in 1878,
an annex to the 1878 Convention on Cyprus was signed between
Great Britain and the then Ottoman Government. It was agreed:
that a Muslim resident in the Island shall be named by the board
of Pious Foundations in Turkey (Evkaf) to superintend in
conjunction with a Delegate to be appointed by the British
authorities, the administration of the property, funds and lands
belonging to Mosques, cemeteries, Muslim schools, and other
religious establishments existing in Cyprus.
evkaf designated properties were used for non-Islamic purposes
and on the appointment of the Mufti Dana in 1955, the British
governor returned all properties which belonged to evkaf to the
Turkish Cypriot Community along with £1,000,000 in
constitution of the  Republic
of Cyprus recognized and re- confirmed the legal rights of
evkaf accepting the importance of the institution of evkaf to
the Turkish Community, its sanctity, and the need for the
preservation and the protection of its properties under the laws
and regulations of the Turkish Cypriot Communal Chamber.
organizational structure of the religious affairs in North
Cyprus provides for control by government.
Moreover, all commercial and financial dealings under the Evkaf
Office operate independently of the spiritual side of religion.
The religious leader, the Chief Mufti, is not responsible for
the administration of evkaf. The organization of the Islamic
religion in Cyprus is given below.
Organizational Structure of Islamic Religion in Cyprus:
Religious Affairs (Din İşleri Müdürlüğü): Board of Directors
Chief Mufti (The Muftis Office)
3 Vice Muftis:
ii. 175 Mosques
Evkaf Organization (Evkaf Office)
a. Executive Director
i. Two Assistant
[Mosques, Land, Houses, Hotels, Shops]
controls evkaf revenues through a Board of Directors. The
cabinet appoints the Board every three years. (Members can be
reappointed). The Board decides where to invest and how evkaf
are to be used. The Chief Mufti and imams are not allowed to be
board members. They are paid by the government out of evkaf
funds. The Chieft Mufti is influenced by the Evkaf organization
and that is controlled by the government.
At the moment
(1992) there is not a Chief Mufti, but an Acting Chief Mufti.
The budget of the Chief Mufti is small, whereas the Evkaf
authorities have a large revenue.
- Morvaridi, B., (1993), Social Structure and Social Change,
in Dodd, C., (ed.), (1993), The Political, Social, and
Economic Development of Northern Cyprus, Eothen Press,
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England.