ISTANBUL — The Turkish government is discussing ways to save the Armenian orphanage in Tuzla from demolition, said the head of the Foundations Department, adding nationalization is the best option, Daily Sabah reports.
The government is planning to nationalize the Armenian orphanage located in the Tuzla region of Istanbul to save it from demolition. The Kamp Armen orphanage will be nationalized before being handed over to the Armenian community. This way, the current owner of the property will not suffer from the transaction.
Foundations Department President Adnan Ertem, speaking to Sabah daily, said some were trying to cloud the issue and attack the government, arguing that everyone needs to understand that the government was doing everything it could.
The Armenian community is demanding for the return of the camp deed to the Church Foundation rather than expropriation and the allocation of the camp to the foundation, calling on the government to display its political will and return the camp to its rightful owner. But according to Ertem this was impossible without nationalization. The property has changed ownership several times, and the present owner needs to be fairly compensated before anything happens, “The only solution is for the state to nationalize and take over the property. After which we can discuss handing it over to the community.” Ertem said.
The state seized the orphanage in 1987 before selling it. It changed hands several times over the years and the last owner, having decided to demolish the structure, faced serious demonstrations and protests. Dozens of demonstrators are currently holding a sit-in to prevent the structure’s destruction.
In addition to the discussions over nationalization and the handing over of the deed to the Armenian foundation, the Tuzla Municipality is also expected to revoke the site’s demolition license.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul parliamentary candidate Markar Esayan is also involved in the discussions. Esayan said he knew Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was involved in the matter, adding it is now impossible to demolish the structure. He accused the current owner of deceiving the municipality by arguing that the structure was close to collapsing, which is how he was able to obtain the demolition license. He said the Armenian foundation was also to blame for not filing the necessary legal claims for the building in time.