ISTANBUL (Agos) — The symbol of the confiscation of the properties of Armenian society, Kamp Armen’s deed is returned to Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church Foundation. Foundation’s lawyer Sebu Aslangil declared that the returning process is done.
The most unconscientious confiscation
Kamp Armen is one of the most important memory centers of Armenian society. Tuzla Armenian Children’s Camp, which was bought by Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church Foundation with the permission of the governorship and General Directorate for Foundations, hosted children from outside Istanbul for years, including Hrant Dink and Rakel Dink.
The land that was bought by Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church Foundation, with its facility that was built by children themselves, was returned to the original owner by the state on the basis of 1936 Declaration. The confiscation process was ended in 1987, when the Supreme Court affirmed the decision.
Administrators of the foundation took all the legal actions they can for getting the camp back, but they obtained no results. Even the law suits that were opened to get compensation for the facility they built on the empty land remained inconclusive.
With the changes in Law of Foundations in 2011, the process of returning the confiscated properties of the foundations began and an application was made to General Directorate for Foundations for Tuzla Children’s Camp. However, the Directorate didn’t consider the camp as a “confiscated property” because the sale was annulled legally; so, there was no returning or compensation.
175 days of resistance
Fatih Ulusoy, the owner of the camp land, tried to demolish the facilities of the camp, but the demolition was stopped because of people’s reaction. After that, the negotiations between NGO representatives of Armenian society and politicians started; Prime Minister Davutoglu intervened and the returning process had begun. During this process, Nor Zartonk and Kamp Armen Solidarity Movement were on watch on the camp. During this watch, activists were attacked two times.
A part is expropriated
On May 22, Ulusoy declared that he will return the deed to the foundation. However, he didn’t do it despite his announcement. Meanwhile, the meeting with committees including officials from Tuzla Municipality, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and AKP government continued.
While the meetings were continuing, Tuzla Municipality expropriated a part of the camp land; so, the land that was owned by Ulusoy became smaller. After the expropriation, as the result of the meetings, Ulusoy returned the deed to Gedikpasa Armenian Protestant Church Foundation.